As he approached the lightless house, standing in the darkness like a body with the spirit fled, he could but contrast this dreary home of his with the bright kitchen and cheery faces he had left.
Entering the house, he groped to the kitchen door and opened it; then struck a match and stood in the doorway peering in.
"Not home, bain't he?" he muttered, the tiny light above his head. "Wet inside as well as oot by noo, I'll lay. By gum! but 'twas a lucky thing for him I didna get ma hand on him this evenin'. I could ha' killed him." He held the match above his head.
Two yellow eyes, glowing in the darkness like cairngorms, and a small dim figure bunched up in a chair, told him his surmise was wrong. Many a time had he seen his father in such case before, and now he muttered contemptuously:
"Drunk; the leetle swab! Sleepin' it off, I reck'n."
Then he saw his mistake. The hand that hung above the floor twitched and was still again.
There was a clammy silence. A mouse, emboldened by the quiet, scuttled across the hearth. One mighty paw lightly moved; a lightning tap, and the tiny beast lay dead.
Again that hollow stillness: no sound, no movement; only those two unwinking eyes fixed on him immovable.