But the barn was alive now. The horses stamped and snorted, and they chewed the straw of their bedding and they clashed the chains of their halters. In a moment Candy came back, and George was with him.
George said, “What was it you wanted to see me about?”
Candy pointed at Curley’s wife. George stared. “What’s the matter with her?” he asked. He stepped closer, and then he echoed Candy’s words. “Oh, Jesus Christ!” He was down on his knees beside her. He put his hand over her heart. And finally, when he stood up, slowly and stiffly, his face was as hard and tight as wood, and his eyes were hard.
Candy said, “What done it?”
George looked coldly at him. “Ain’t you got any idear?” he asked. And Candy was silent. “I should of knew,” George said hopelessly. “I guess maybe way back in my head I did.”
Candy asked, “What we gonna do now, George? What we gonna do now?”
George was a long time in answering. “Guess.... we gotta tell the.... guys. I guess we gotta get ‘im an’ lock ‘im up. We can’t let ‘im get away. Why, the poor bastard’d starve.” And he tried to reassure himself. “Maybe they’ll lock ‘im up an’ be nice to ‘im.”
But Candy said excitedly, “We oughta let ‘im get away. You don’t know that Curley. Curley gon’ta wanta get ‘im lynched. Curley’ll get ‘im killed.”
George watched Candy’s lips. “Yeah,” he said at last, “that’s right, Curley will. An’ the other guys will.” And he looked back at Curley’s wife.
Now Candy spoke his greatest fear. “You an’ me can get that little place, can’t we, George? You an’ me can go there an’ live nice, can’t we, George? Can’t we?”
Before George answered, Candy dropped his head and looked down at the hay. He knew.