The Monkey’s Paw, Part 3 of 3

By W. W. Jacobs

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Me
Come back. You will be cold.
Mrs. White
It is colder for my son.
Me
But we must sleep.
Mrs. White
(A few minutes later, after giving a sudden wild cry.) The paw! The monkey’s paw!
Me
Where? Where is it? What’s the matter?
Mrs. White
I want it. You’ve not destroyed it?
Me
Certainly not; it’s in the parlour, on the bracket. Why?
Mrs. White
I only just thought of it. Why didn’t I think of it before? Why didn’t you think of it?
Me
Think of what?
Mrs. White
The other two wishes. We’ve only had one.
Me
Was not that enough?
Mrs. White
No. Above all, we’ll have one more. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again.
Me
Good God, you are mad!
Mrs. White
Go get the monkey’s paw, get it quickly, and wish — Oh, my boy, my boy!
Me
Get back to bed. You don’t know what you are saying.
Mrs. White
We had the first wish granted. Why not the second also?
Me
A c-c-coincidence.
Mrs. White
Go and get it and wish.
Me
I-uh, hate to say it, but he has been dead ten days, and besides he—I would not tell you else, but—I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?
Mrs. White
Bring him back. Do you think I fear the child I have nursed?
Me
I am going downstairs to get it, but…

An unnatural look

In the dark room he found the talisman in its place, and a horrible fear seized him that the unspoken wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escape from the room.

Even his wife’s face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.

Mrs. White
Wish!
Me
It is foolish and wicked.
Mrs. White
Wish!
Me
I wish my son alive again.
Mrs. White
You’ve dropped it!
Me
(Whispering to himself) A knock at the door!
Me
Another!

The matches fell from his hand and spilled in the passage. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated. Then he turned and fled swiftly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house.

Another knock

Mrs. White
What’s that sound?
Me
A rat — a rat. It passed me on the stairs.

(Loud knock resounds through the house)

Mrs. White
It’s Herbert! It’s Herbert! (She ran to the door, but her husband was before her, and catching her by the arm, held her tightly.)
Me
What are you going to do?
Mrs. White
It’s my boy; it’s Herbert!. I forgot it was two miles away. What are you holding me for? Let go. I must open the door.
Me
For God’s sake d-don’t let it in!
Mrs. White
You’re afraid of your own son. Let me go. I’m coming, Herbert; I’m coming.
Mrs. White
The bolt! Come down. I can’t reach it.

Long loud wail

There was another knock, and another. Finally the old woman, with a sudden wrench, broke free and ran from the room. Therefore her husband followed to the landing, and called after her appealingly as she hurried downstairs. But he heard the chain rattle back and the bottom bolt drawn slowly and stiffly from the socket. Then the old woman’s voice, strained and panting.

But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If he could only find it before the thing outside got in.

A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated through the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. Finally, he heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkey’s paw, and frantically breathed his third and last wish.

The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back, and the door opened.

A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of disappointment and misery from his wife gave him courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The street lamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.