Empty milk bottle in hand

The Thinker, pp. 76. “Something in the voices of the men talking in the hotel office started a chain of thoughts in his mind. He was lonely and had begun to think that loneliness was a part of his character, something that would always stay with him. Stepping into a side hall he stood by a window that looked into an alleyway. At the back of his shop stood Abner Groff, the town baker. His tiny bloodshot eyes looked up and down the alleyway. In his shop someone called the baker, who pretended not to hear. The baker had an empty milk bottle in his hand and an angry sullen look in his eyes.

In Winesburg, Seth Richmond was called the ‘deep one.’ ‘He’s like his father,’ men said as he went through the streets. ‘He’ll break out some of these days. You wait and see.’

The talk of the town and the respect with which men and boys instinctively greeted him, as all men greet silent people, had affected Seth Richmond’s outlook on life and on himself. He, like most boys, was deeper than boys are given credit for being, but he was not what the men of the town, and even his mother, thought him to be. No great underlying purpose lay back of his habitual silence, and he had no definite plan for his life. When the boys with whom he associated were noisy and quarrelsome, he stood quietly at one side. With calm eyes he watched the gesticulating lively figures of his companions. He wasn’t particularly interested in what was going on, and sometimes wondered if he would ever be particularly interested in anything. Now, as he stood in the half-darkness by the window watching the baker, he wished that he himself might become thoroughly stirred by something, even by the fits of sullen anger for which Baker Groff was noted. ‘It would be better for me if I could become excited and wrangle about politics like windy old Tom Willard,’ he thought, as he left the window and went again along the hallway to the room occupied by his friend, George Willard.”

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The other time we see Abner Goff he is described has having a “stick or empty milk bottle” in his hand, ostensibly to throw at the grey cat of Sylvester West.


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