In December Johnsy and Sue hauled the blank white canvas into their workroom and prepared to paint. They mixed shades of grey resembling his beard and a silvered blue for his eyes. Finally the first blot of color stood on the canvas, and the canvas’s loud begging call that lasted twenty-five years faded into a whisper until it called no more. Blots turned to lines, lines turned to shapes, and shaped formed into a masterpiece.
The following November, the month of Mr. Behrman’s death, the solemn girls wrapped his portrait up in butcher paper. They carried it down the lonely steps to their employer’s office from the local new paper and magazine. Along with the painting they asked them to publish Mr. Behrman’s story and tell of his sacrifice.
At their request the editor scoffed and said, “I wouldn’t give a jitney to hear the story of this poor, old, unfortunate Mr. Behrman—there are hundreds of men like