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Authors: Lee Smith

Tags: #Historical, #Adult

Fair and Tender Ladies (9 page)

BOOK: Fair and Tender Ladies
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But Molly is real sweet and you wuld love her too. Molly is my age 14 she has shiny dark brown hair that curls all down her back, she has a million diffrent ribands for it too, they lay in the drawer of her trunk just like a rainbow, it is the prettest thing, all the colors you can think of, some you cant. The first time ever I seed them all laying ther like that, I starred and starred and cotched my breth, they was so beutiful. So Molly said, Why what are you looking at Ivy?
And when I told her, she laghed and said, Oh Ivy go
That is how she says it, Oh go
Molly laghs a lot, also she talks all the time. The firstest two days I was here, I got plum wore out just trying to foller what all she said, now I am keepen up pretty good. Molly looks so much like Mrs. Brown you wuld take them for sisters. Mollys momma is the elder and Mrs. Brown is the younger one. Molly can cross her eyes grate, also she can stick her tonge out all rolled up, and she is so full of notions Momma, if you think I am full of notions you shuld see Molly Bainbridge. I cant hold a candle to her.
So far Molly and me have played cowboy, queen, city, and goldrush. The way you play goldrush is, go to the creek with a seve and pan for gold. You migt find some. A boy found a ruby not far from here down in North Carolina, Mister Brown showed us this in a newspaper. Also now we are writting a play, we will give it for Mister and Mrs. Brown. Also Molly has got a jumprope so we jump rope a lot we sing songs too and play jumprope games.
One time Mrs. Brown come out and jumped rope too, she is not like a lady some ways she is just like a girl. Molly says that Mrs. Brown wants children the worst in the world, but so far her and Mister Brown has not had any luck. I thoght, if Molly comes up on the mountain to see us we culd get Granny Rowe to send Mrs. Brown something to holp her out. I will write more of this later.
Now I will tell you what all Molly has in her trunk, this is a Chinese red trunk with brass straps, inside it she has
17 Hair Ribands
5 Dresses
3 Skirts
4 Camisoles
3 Shirtwaists
Pink Stationary
A White Bible
Ballay Shoes!
A Bathing Costume!
She will not need the last two up here, belive you me! This is what Mrs. Brown toled her. She toled Molly that mountain girls do not dance ballay, nor swim in a bathing costume. But we have swum down at the swimmen hole in the bend of the Levisa many times when Daddy took us fishen, I said as much. Of coarse we did not ware a bathing costume to do so, I rember I wuld ware Victors old jeans and a shirt.
Molly lets me ware anything, so when I look in the glass sometimes I think it is her but insted, it is me!
Molly wants to have freckles moren anything just like mine but I hate them, I want to have dark dark hair like hers and Mrs. Browns, not red like mine, dark is more royal I think. When we pull up our hair the same way and put Mollys ribands in it, when we put our faces together then starring into Mrs. Browns glass, why then it is hard to tell who is who, and who has got freckles and dark hair, and who aint. One time I started a sentence and Molly finished it, and one nigt we dremp the same dream about walking down a long, long road.
Molly is so smart thogh, she has read ever book in the world it seems like.
But Molly is a only child. So she axes me and axes me, Where do you all sleep? What do you all eat? What is it like to have so many? I can not say. Molly has everthing she wants without lifting a finger, this is clear. But she is not spoilt.
In fact she is so sad sometimes and cries like her hart is braking, this is because her Momma is indisposed. It is what Mrs. Brown says, indisposed. It means her Momma is laying in a hospital due to her nerves, while her Father practices Law, Molly says he is very grand and very busy, he has hired a German lady to cook and take care of Molly. Molly has not met her yet but if she hates her she will run away to New York City and join up with a show! This is what she says. Molly is so full of spunk she has wore out her Father who just grubs after the almighty doller acording to Mister Brown, he said if he had to live with Robert Bainbridge he too wuld be indisposed. Molly crys to think of her Mother, she cryed to hear Mister Brown talk so mean about her Father.
So althogh Molly the nice has everthing I wuld want in the whole world including a cocker spanel at home that can do five tricks and a house as big as a hotel with running water and who knows what all, she has so many trubles and crys and is not happy, now are you all suprised?
I wish she culd live here forever with Mister and Mrs. Brown but her Father will not let her do so. He says Mister and Mrs. Brown are mining fools gold anyway, but they are not mining atall so far as I can tell, except for Molly and me in the creek with our seve.
I am writting this letter at Mister Browns desk, it is a real desk with many little drawers to put things, I wuld so love to have a desk like this one. Early Cook made it for Mister Brown and brung it over here, he is so proud of it too. He has not ever had a call to make nothing like it before. For Mister Brown is a writter I think not a preacher atall, he walks the mountain for pleasure, carrying a walking stick and a notebook, and does not come home all day long. He has many notebooks I see here numbered one, two, three. Molly says he has studdied to be a preacher but he does not preach as you know, nor does he act like one. I have never knowed anybody to act like him atall!
First off, well you have seed Mister Brown and you know how he looks, aint nobody looks like him nether, that wild white hair sticking out around his head like dandelion fluff it is so fine, and his eyes real blue and extra big behind his glasses with the little gold frames. His hair is prematerly white Molly says, and says it runs in his family, but I think myself that it migt of turned white from all the books he has read, you can look in Mister Browns eyes and tell he knows moren most folks has ever thoght of.
Mister Brown calls me Brigt Eyes and talks to me a lot. One time when I toled him mine and Mollys favorite poem rigt now is young Lochinvar, he grabbed up both my hands and said,
Oh lovely lovely Brigt Eyes!
as if he wuld cry, now why wuld he act this way?
What I did not tell is, young Lochinvar reminds me of Whitebear Whittington, some way. Because sometimes when I say things, Mister Brown writes them down in his notebook and then I feel like whatever I have said isnt mine any more, its a funny feeling.
I thoght that Mister and Mrs. Brown have come here to live and run our school, and this is true, but they is considerable more to it than that I think. Mister Brown is a reglar card as Granny wuld say and a mistery to me. I have never seed the beat of Mister Brown.
I will tell you one thing he done for an instance, now this was yesterday, he come out on the porch where me and Molly was stringing beans for Mrs. Brown and he brung the Bible too, I thoght, Oh no now he will preach, but insted he read out loud to Mrs. Brown like he was an acter.
Mister Brown read, now this is outen the Bible mind you, Rise up my love my fair one and come away, for lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers apear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heerd in the land. I toled Molly, A turtle aint got no voice, for this is so. And we got to giggling and laghing so bad but we was trying not to, now it was hard. For Mister Brown was all wild and waving the Bible around. His forehead is big and white and peaky, it has lumps, you can tell he is so smart. He is real real thin.
Then Mister Brown says, Thy lips Oh my spouse drop as the honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tonge, and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. He is reading all this outen the Bible!
Oh honnestly David, says Mrs. Brown. Do stop, you are embarassing the girls.
But Mister Brown read that she is a garden inclosed and a spring shut up. You cant hardly tell if hes funning her or not.
My word David, says Mrs. Brown. Oh my mercyful soul.
You are a fountain sealed, he hollers, and with that she puts down the pan of beans and stands up and smooths out her skirt. Mrs. Browns cheek is as red as fire and little dark curls of hair springs up everwhere around her face. David, come inside for a minute, she says, and the way her face looks, you cant tell iffen she is real happy or real mad. Sometimes she just dont know what to do with him, this is clear. Sometimes Mister Brown actes like he is plum tetched in the head he is so crazy about her, but other times he gives her a lecture like she is still in school.
He is considerable oldern Mrs. Brown. Molly says that Mister Brown was her teacher, this is how come them to meet in the first place, Mrs. Brown says he swep her offen her feet. Well this may be so, but sometimes now I think he will talk her to death. It is a funny thing to see Mrs. Brown in the schoolhouse and note how she keeps even them big boys like Claude Presnell and Monk Lester in line, and dont put up with no sass, and everbody dotes on her, and then to note how she actes at home with Mister Brown, how she is just like a little girl agin, it dont make no sense to me. She actes jolly and laghing and happy as a child, and does for him all the time. Why Mister Brown dont have to lift a finger, not even to chop up the wood for the cookstove. Green Pattersons boy comes and does it for them, now what do you all think of that?
But they is other times too, and I will tell you one of them wich I seed with my own eyes, even iffen I wasnt supposed to. It was real early morning and I was up and listening to all the birds, Molly and me sleeps on pallets up ther in the loft it is like your plum up in the trees. They is a little winder what looks out on leaves and at nigt you look out into stars. So I wake up afore Molly ever day, and ever day the firstest thing I think is, now I have to go and milk old Bess, and then I rember wher I am and I dont. I lay ther and think of you All and of lots of things.
But so this one morning I was just laying ther and I heerd Mister Brown in the kitchen going on and on, now it was too early in the morning for one of them lectures of hisn and anybody with any sense culd of told him so. But I heerd him going on and on, and on and on, and then direckly I heerd something crash and brake, like a glass or a plate or something, and I heerd somebody running so ligt acrost the porch I knowed it was probly Mrs. Brown, and then I get up and go over ther and look out the little winder and what do I see? I see the back of her pretty blue dress just flashing along throgh the cherry trees, and then she stops by the well and puts her hands up to her face, and then she sinks down to the grass it is clear she is crying. And then direckly of coarse Mister Brown he comes out ther after her looking all wild and crazy, he tuches her sholder real easy but she jerks away. He dont leave, however. Then after a time Mrs. Brown stands up and rubs her face and takes Mister Browns hand and they walk back to the house together as grave and proper as dolls. In fact they put me in mind of dolls, I seen it all throgh the little winder wich has made a frame around it in my mind.
Now what I think is this. I think Mister Brown loves Mrs. Brown
too much,
is what I think, he is like to kill her with it but you cant blame him I reckon, I love Mrs. Brown too, and Molly who is so like her. And I love what all they have got down here in old Miss Leonas cabin like storeboghten soap and cans of food and Hershy bars and oranges that come in a box on the train, books and writting paper and pens does too. I reckon old lady Leona wuld of died to see how her house looks now, she culd not of featured it. They is a picture on the wall of some people walking a road in a place you have never seed, with big old trees like fethers around them, it is very beutiful, they is a nother picture of a fancy lady smiling very misterios.
Mister Brown has come in here now, poking all around. He says, What are you writting Brigt Eyes, that is the longest letter in the world! But he is tickled, you can tell it, and says he will take my letter over to the store tomorry, and send it up ther someway.
So I will have to close, but Momma I beg you, can Molly come back up ther with me and stay for a day or so? At first Mrs. Brown said No but then Mister Brown said Hell yes, let her go, lets give Robert Bainbridges daghter a fine education! So she can come if you will say so. Mrs. Brown is sending you a letter about this, I know she will send you money too, I urge you to swaller yor pride and take this as they is plenty more wher that came from belive you me! I do not mean no disrespect but my life is like a dream here, and I will be so happy to come back up ther and see what you all are up to, for I have not got spoilt a bit and belive me I remane forever yor devoted,
My dear Molly,
I am writting you this letter to tell you a secret that you can not tell to nobody, cross your hart and hope to die, you can not tell a sole.
Do you rember that day when it was raining so bad and we got Mommas needle outen her sowing box and stuck our fingers with it and mixed up our blud and swor it on the Bible we wuld tell each other iffen we ever kist a boy? I am writting you to say, I have done it. It was not so bad nor was it so good nether, this is what happend.
BOOK: Fair and Tender Ladies
6.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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