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English Short Stories - Cuentos en inglés
A Municipal Report - Part 4
Written by O. Henry. Transcript of radio broadcast. Source: VOA

Just before dinner, Major Wentworth Caswell found me. It was impossible to avoid him. He insisted on buying me a drink and pulled two one-dollar bills from his pocket. Again I saw a torn dollar fixed with blue paper, with a corner missing. It was the one I gave Uncle Caesar. How strange, I thought. I wondered how Caswell got it.

Uncle Caesar was waiting outside the hotel the next afternoon. He took me to Miss Adair's house and agreed to wait there until we had finished our business.

Azalea Adair did not look well. I explained the agreement to her. She signed it. Then, as she started to rise from the table, Azalea Adair fainted and fell to the floor. I picked her up and carried her to the old red sofa. I ran to the door and yelled to Uncle Caesar for help. He ran down the street. Five minutes later, he was back with a doctor.

The doctor examined Miss Adair and turned to the old black driver. "Uncle Caesar," he said, "run to my house and ask my wife for some milk and some eggs. Hurry!"

Then the doctor turned to me. "She does not get enough to eat," he said. "She has many friends who want to help her, but she is proud. Mrs. Caswell will accept help only from that old black man. He was once her family's slave."

"Mrs. Caswell." I said in surprise. "I thought she was Azalea Adair."

"She was," the doctor answered, "until she married Wentworth Caswell twenty years ago. But he's a hopeless drunk who takes even the small amount of money that Uncle Caesar gives her."

After the doctor left I heard Caesar's voice in the other room. "Did he take all the money I gave you yesterday, Miss Azalea?" "Yes, Caesar," I heard her answer softly. "He took both dollars."

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