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BythetimeNeeleywasayearold,KatiehadstoppeddependingonJohnny.Johnnywas
drinkingheavily.Heworkedwhenhewasofferedone-nightjobs.Hebroughthomehiswages
butkepthistipsforliquor.LifewasgoingtooswiftlyforJohnny.Hehadawifeandtwobabies
beforehewasoldenoughtovote.Hislifewasfinishedbeforeithadachancetobegin.Hewas
doomedandnooneknewitbetterthanJohnnyNolan.
KatiehadthesamehardshipsasJohnnyandshewasnineteen,twoyearsyounger.Itmightbe
saidthatshe,too,wasdoomed.Herlife,too,wasoverbeforeitbegan.Buttherethesimilarity
ended.Johnnyknewhewasdoomedandacceptedit.Katie
wouldn't
acceptit.Shestarteda
newlifewhereheroldoneleftoff.
Sheexchangedhertendernessforcapability.Shegaveupherdreamsandtookoverhard
realitiesintheirplace.Katiehadafiercedesireforsurvivalwhichmadeherafighter.Johnny
hadahankeringafterimmortalitywhichmadehimauselessdreamer.Andthatwasthegreat
differencebetweenthesetwowholovedeachothersowell.
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XI
JOHNNYcelebratedhisvotingbirthdaybygettingdrunkforthreedays.Whenhewascoming
outofit,Katielockedhiminthebedroomwherehecouldn'tgetanythingmoretodrink.Instead
ofsoberingup,hestartedtogetdeliriumtremens.Heweptandbeggedbyturnsforadrink.He
saidhewassuffering.Shetoldhimitwasagoodthing,thatsufferingwouldhardenhim,would
teachhimsuchalessonthathe'dstopdrinking.ButpoorJohnnyjustwouldn'tharden.He
softenedintoawailing,screamingbanshee.
Neighborsbangedonherdoorandtoldhertodosomethingforthepoorman.Katie'smouthset
inahardcoldlineandshecalledouttothemtomindtheirownbusiness.Butevenasshe
defiedtheneighbors,sheknewthattheywouldhavetomoveassoonasthemonthwasup.
Theycouldn'tliveintheneighborhoodafterthewayJohnnywasdisgracingthem.
Inthelateafternoon,historturedcriesunnervedKatie.Crowdingthetwobabiesinthebuggy
shewentovertothefactoryandhadSissy'slong-sufferingforemangetherawayfromher
machine.ShetoldSissyaboutJohnny,andSissysaidshe'dcomeoverandfixhimupassoon
asshecouldgetaway.
SissyconsultedagentlemanfriendaboutJohnny.Thefriendgaveherinstructions.Accordingly,
sheboughtahalfpintofgoodwhiskey,concealeditbetweenherfullbreastsandlacedher
corsetcoverandbuttonedherdressoverit.
ShewentovertoKatie'sandtoldherthatifshecouldbeleftalonewithJohnnyshe'dgethim
outofit.KatielockedSissyinthebedroomwithJohnny.Shewentbackintothekitchenand
spentthenightwithherheadonherarmsonthetable,waiting.
WhenJohnnysawSissy,hispoormixed-upbrainunscrambledforaminuteandhegrabbedher
arm."You'remyfriend,Sissy.You'remysister.ForGod'ssakegivemeadrink."
"Takeitslow,Johnny,"shesaidinhersoftcomfortingvoice."I'vegotadrinkrighthereforyou."
Sheunbuttonedherwaistreleasingacascadeoffoamingwhiteembroideredrufflesanddark
pinkribbon.Theroomfilledupwiththesweetscentofthewarmstrongsachetsheused.
Johnnystaredassheundidanintricatebowandloosenedhercorsetcover.Thepoorfellow
rememberedherreputationandmisunderstood.
"No,no,Sissy.Please!"hemoaned.
"Don'tbeadockle,Johnny.There'satimeandaplaceforeverythingandthisisn'tthetime."
Shepulledoutthebottle.
Hegrabbedit.Itwaswarmfromher.Shelethimtakealongdrink,thenshedugthebottleoutof
hisclutchingfingers.Hequieteddownafterthedrink;gotsleepyandbeggedhernottogoaway.
Shepromised.Withoutbotheringtotieupherribbonsorbuttonherwaist,shelayonthebed
besidehim.Sheputherarmunderhisshouldersandherestedhischeekonherbare
warm-scentedbreast.Hesleptandtearscamefromunderhisclosedlidsandtheywere
warmerthanthefleshtheyfellon.
Shelayawake,holdinghiminherarmsandstaringintothedarkness.Shefelttowardshimas
shewouldhavefelttowardsherbabieshadtheyonlylivedtoknowherwarmlove.Shestroked
hiscurlinghairandsmoothedhischeekgently.Whenhemoanedinhissleep,shesoothedhim
withthekindofwordsshewouldhavespokentoherbabies.Herarmcrampedandshetriedto
moveit.Hewokeupforamoment,clutchedhertightlyandbeggedhernottoleavehim.When
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hespoketoher,hecalledhermother.
Wheneverhewokeupandgotafraid,shegavehimaswallowofwhiskey.Towardsmorninghe
woke.Hisheadwasclearerbuthesaidithurt.Hejerkedawayfromherandmoaned.
"Comebacktomama,"shesaidinhersoftflutteringvoice.
Sheopenedherarmswideandoncemorehecreptintothemandrestedhischeekonher
generousbreast.Heweptquietly.Hesobbedouthisfearsandhisworriesandhis
bewildermentatthewaythingswereintheworld.Shelethimtalk,shelethimweep.Sheheld
himthewayhismothershouldhaveheldhimasachild(whichsheneverdid).Sometimes
Sissyweptwithhim.Whenhehadtalkedhimselfout,shegavehimwhatwasleftofthewhiskey
andatlasthefellintoadeepexhaustedsleep.
Shelayverystillforalongtimenotwantinghimtofeelherwithdrawingfromhim.Towards
dawn,histightholdingofherhandrelaxed;peacecameintohisfaceandmadeitboyishagain.
Sissyputhisheadonthepillow,expertlyundressedhimandputhimunderthecovers.She
threwtheemptywhiskeybottledowntheairshaft.ShefiguredthatwhatKatiedidn'tknow
couldn'tpossiblybotherher.Shetiedherpinkribbonscarelesslyandadjustedherwaist.She
closedthedoorverysoftlywhenshewentout.
Sissyhadtwogreatfailings.Shewasagreatloverandagreatmother.Shehadsomuchof
tendernessinher,somuchofwantingtogiveofherselftowhoeverneededwhatshehad,
whetheritwashermoney,hertime,theclothesoffherback,herpity,herunderstanding,her
friendshiporhercompanionshipandlove.Shewasmothertoeverythingthatcameherway.
Shelovedmen,yes.Shelovedwomentoo,andoldpeopleandespeciallychildren.Howshe
lovedchildren!Shelovedthedown-and-outers.Shewantedtomakeeverybodyhappy.She
hadtriedtoseducethegoodpriestwhoheardherinfrequentconfessionsbecauseshefeltsorry
forhim.Shethoughthewasmissingthegreatestjoyonearthby beingcommittedtoalifeof
celibacy.
Shelovedallthescratchingcursonthestreetandweptforthegauntscavengingcatswho
slunkaroundBrooklyncornerswiththeirsidesswollenlookingforaholeinwhichtheymight
bringforththeiryoung.Shelovedthesootysparrowsandthoughtthattheverygrassthatgrew
inthelotswasbeautiful.Shepickedbouquetsofwhitecloverinthelotsbelievingthey,werethe
mostbeautifulflowersGodevermade.Onceshesawamouseinherroom.Thenextnightshe
setoutatinyboxforhimwithcheesecrumbsinit.Yes,shelistenedtoeverybody'stroublesbut
noonelistenedtohers.ButthatwasrightbecauseSissywasagiverandneverataker.
WhenSissycameintothekitchen,KatielookedatSissy'sdisorderedclothingwithswollenand
suspiciouseyes.
"I'mnotforgetting,"shesaidwithpitifuldignity,"thatyouaremysister.AndIhopeyou
rememberedthat,too."
"Don'tbesucha
heimdickischer
ass,"saidSissy,knowingwhatKatiemeant.Butshesmiled
deeplyintoKatie'seyes.Katiewassuddenlyreassured.
"How'sJohnny?"
"Johnnywillbefinewhenhewakesup.ButforChrist'ssweetsake,don'tnaghimwhenhe
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wakesup.Don'tnaghim,Katie."
"Buthe'sgottobetold...."
"IfIhearthatyounaghim,I'llgethimawayfromyou.Iswearit.EventhoughIamyoursister."
Katieknewthatshemeantitandwasalittlefrightened."Iwon'tthen,"shemumbled."Notthis
time."
"Nowyou'regrowingupintoawoman,"approvedSissyasshekissedKatie'scheek.Shefelt
sorryforKatieaswellasforJohnny.
Katiebrokedownthenandcried.Shemadeharduglynoisesbecauseshehatedherselffor
crying,yetcouldn'thelpit.Sissyhadtolisten,togothroughagainallshehadgonethroughwith
Johnny,onlythistimefromKatie'sangle.SissyhandledKatiedifferentlythanshehadhandled
Johnny.ShehadbeengentleandmaternalwithJohnnybecauseheneededthat.Sissy
acknowledgedthesteelinessthatwasinKatie.ShehardenedtothatsteelinessasKatie
finishedherstory.
"Andnowyouknowitall,Sissy.Johnny'sadrunk."
"Welleverybody's
something
.Weallgotatagofsomekind.Takemenow:Inevertookadrink
inmylife.Butdoyouknow,"shestatedwithhonestandconsummateignorance,"thatthereare
somepeoplewhotalkaboutmeandcall
me
abadwoman?Canyouimaginethat?IadmitthatI
smokeaSweetCaporalonceinawhile.Butbad.…"
"Well,Sissy,thewayyoucarryonwithmenmakespeople..."
Katie!
Don't
nag!Allofusarewhatwehavetobeandeveryonelivesthekindoflifeit'sinhimto
live.You'vegotagoodman,Katie."
"Buthedrinks."
"Andhealwayswilluntilhedies.Thereitis.Hedrinks.Youmusttakethatalongwiththerest."
"Whatrest?Youmeanthenotworking,thestayingoutallnight,thebumshehasforfriends?"
"Youmarriedhim.Therewassomethingabouthimthatcaughtyourheart.Hangontothatand
forgettherest."
"Sometimes,Idon'tknowwhyImarriedhim."
"Youlie!Youknowwhyyoumarriedhim.Youmarriedhimbecauseyouwantedhimtosleep
withyoubutyouweretooreligioustotakeachancewithoutachurchwedding."
"Howyoutalk.ThewholethingwasthatIwantedtogethimawayfromsomeoneelse."
"Itwasthesleeping.Italwaysis.Ifitisgood,themarriageisgood.Ifitisbad,themarriageis
bad."
"No.Thereareotherthings."
"Whatotherthings?Well,maybethereare,"concededSissy."Ifthereareothergoodthingstoo,
that'ssomuchvelvet."
"You'rewrong.Thatmightbeimportanttoyou,but…"
"It'simportanttoeverybodyorshouldbe.Thenallmarriageswouldbehappy."
"Oh,IadmitthatIlikedthewayhedanced,howhesangasong...thewayhelooked..."
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"You'resayingwhatI'msayingbutyou'reusingyourownwords."
HowcanyouwinoutwithapersonlikeSissy,thoughtKatie.She'sgoteverythingfiguredout
herway.Maybeherwayisagoodwaytofigurethingsout.Idon'tknow.Sheismyownsister
butpeopletalkabouther.Sheisabadgirlandthereisnogettingaroundthat.Whenshedies,
hersoulwillwanderthroughPurgatorythroughalleternity.Ihaveoftentoldherthatandshe
alwaysansweredthatitwouldn'twanderalone.IfSissydiesbeforeIdo,Imusthavemasses
saidforthereposeofhersoul.Maybeafterawhileshe'llgetoutofPurgatorybecauseevenif
theysaysheisbad,sheisgoodtoallthepeopleintheworldwhoareluckyenoughtorun
acrossher.Godwillhavetotakethatintoconsideration.
SuddenlyKatieleanedoverandkissedSissyonthecheek.Sissywasastonishedbecauseshe
couldnotknowKatie'sthoughts.
"Maybeyou'reright,Sissy,maybeyou'rewrong.Withmeitcomesdowntothis:Asidefromhis
drinking,IloveeverythingelseaboutJohnnyandIwilltrytobegoodtohim.Iwilltryto
overlook..."Shesaidnomore.Inherheart,Katieknewthatshewasnottheoverlookingkind.
Francielayawakeinthewashbasketsetupnearthekitchenrange.Shelaysuckingherthumb
andlisteningtotheconversation.Butshelearnednothingfromitbeingbuttwoyearsoldatthe
time.
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XII
KATIEwasashamedtostayintheneighborhoodafterJohnny'sgreatspree.Agoodmanyof
theneighbors'husbandswerenobetterthanJohnny,ofcourse,butthatwasnostandardfor
Katie.ShewantedtheNolanstobe
better
andnotasgoodasanybody.Too,therewasthe
questionofmoney.Althoughitwasnoquestionbecausetheyhadverylittleandnowtherewere
twochildren.Katielookedaroundforaplacewhereshecouldworkfortheirrent.Atleast,they'd
havearoofovertheirheads.
Shefoundahousewhereshewouldgetrentfreeinreturnforkeepingitclean.Johnnyswore
thathewouldn'thavehiswifeajanitress.Katietoldhiminhernewcrisphardwaythatitwas
janitorornohome,asitwasharderandhardereachmonthtogettherentmoneytogether.
Johnnyfinallygaveinafterpromisingthathewoulddoallthejanitorworkuntilhegotasteady
jobwhentheywouldmoveagain.
Katiepackedtheirfewbelongings;adoublebed,thebabies'crib,abusted-downbabybuggy,a
greenplushparlorsuit,acarpetwithpinkroses,apairofparlorlacecurtains,arubberplant
andarosegeranium,ayellowcanaryinagiltcage,aplushpicturealbum,akitchentableand
somechairs,aboxofdishesandpotsandpans,agiltcrucifixwithamusicboxinitsbasethat
played"AveMaria"whenyouwounditup,aplainwoodencrucifixthathermotherhadgivenher,
awashbasketfullofclothes,arollofbedding,apileofJohnny'ssheetmusicandtwobooks,
theBibleandthe
CompleteWorksofWm.Shakespeare
.
Therewassuchalittlebitofstuffthattheicemancouldloaditallonhiswagonandhisone
shaggyhorsecouldpullit.ThefourNolansrodealongontheicewagontotheirnewhome.
ThelastthingKatiedidintheiroldhomeafterithadbeenstrippedbareandhadthatlookofa
near-sightedmanwithhisglassesoff,wastoripupthetin-canbank.Ithadthreedollarsand
eightycentsinit.Outofthatsheknewregretfully,shewouldhavetogivetheicemanadollar
formovingthem.
Thefirstthingshedidinthenewhome,whileJohnnywashelpingtheicemancarryinthe
furniture,wastonaildownthebankinacloset.Sheputtwodollarsandeightycentsbackinit.
Sheaddedadimefromthefewpenniesinherwornpurse.Thatwasthedimeshewasn'tgoing
togivetotheiceman.
InWilliamsburg,itwasthecustomtotreatthemoverstoapintofbeerwhentheyhad
completedtheirjob.ButKatiereasoned:"We'llneversee
him
again.Besides,thedollaris
enough.Thinkofalltheicehe'dhavetoselltomakeadollar."
WhileKatiewasputtingupthelacecurtains,MaryRommelycameoverandsprinkledthe
roomswithholywatertodriveoutanydevilsthatmightbelurkinginthecorners.Whoknows?
Protestantsmighthavebeenlivingtherebefore.ACatholicmighthavediedintherooms
withoutthelastabsolutionofthechurch.Theholywaterwouldpurifythehomeagainso,that
GodmightcomeinifHechose.
ThebabyFranciecrowedwithdelightashergrandmotherheldupthecruetandthesunshone
throughitandmadeasmallfatrainbowontheoppositewall.Marysmiledwiththechildand
madetherainbowdance.
"Schoen!Schoen!"
shesaid.
"Shame!Shame!"repeatedFrancieandheldouthertwohands.
Maryletherholdthehalf-filledcruetwhileshewenttohelpKatie.Franciewasdisappointed
becausetherainbowwentaway.Shethoughtitmustbehiddeninthebottle.Shepouredthe
holywateroutintoherlapexpectingarainbowtocomeslitheringfromthebottle.LaterKatie
noticedthatshewaswetandpaddledhersoftlytellingherthatshewastoobigtowetherpants.
Maryexplainedabouttheholywater.
"Ai,thechildhasbutblessedherselfandaspankingcomesfromtheblessing."
Katielaughedthen.Francielaughedbecausehermamawasn'tmadanymore.Neeleyexposed
histhreeteethinababylaugh.Marysmiledatthemallandsaiditwasgoodlucktostartlifeina
newhomewithlaughter.
Theyweresettledbysuppertime.JohnnystayedwiththechildrenwhileKatiewenttothe
grocerystoretoestablishcredit.Shetoldthegrocershehadjustmovedintotheneighborhood
andwouldhetrustherwithafewgroceriesuntilSaturdaypayday?Thegrocerobliged.Hegave
herabagofgroceriesandalittlebookinwhichhejotteddownherindebtedness.Hetoldher
shewastobringthebookalongeachtimeshecameto"trust."Withthatlittleceremony,Katie's
familywasassuredoffooduntilthenextmoneycamein.
Aftersupper,Katiereadthebabiestosleep.Shereadapageoftheintroductionto
ShakespeareandapageofbegatsfromtheBible.Thatwasasfarasshehadgottentodate.
NeitherthebabiesnorKatieunderstoodwhatitwasallabout.ThereadingmadeKatievery
drowsybutdoggedlyshefinishedthetwopages.Shecoveredthebabiescarefully,thenshe
andJohnnywenttobedtoo.Itwasonlyeighto'clockbuttheyweretiredoutfrommoving.
TheNolanssleptintheirnewhomeonLorimerStreetwhichwasstillinWilliamsburgbutalmost
nearwhereGreenpointbegan.
XIII
LORIMERSTREETwasmorerefinedthanBogartStreet.Itwaspeopledby lettercarriers,
firemenandthosestoreownerswhowereaffluentenoughnottohavetoliveintheroomsin
backofthestore.
Theflathadabathroom.Thetubwasanoblongwoodenboxlinedwithzinc.Franciecouldn't
getoverthewonderofitwhenitwasfilledwithwater.Itwasthelargestbodyofwatershehad
seenuptothattime.Toherbabyeyes,itseemedlikeanocean.
Theylikedthenewhome.KatieandJohnnykeptthecellar,halls,theroof,andthesidewalk
beforethehousespotlesslycleaninreturnfortheirrent.Therewasnoairshafts.Therewasa
windowineachbedroomandthreeeachinthekitchenandfrontroom.Thefirstautumnthere
waspleasant.Thesuncameinalldaylong.Theywerewarmthatfirstwinter,too.Johnny
workedfairlysteadily,didnotdrinkmuchandtherewasmoneyforcoal.
Whensummercame,thechildrenspentmostofthedayoutdoorsonthestoop.Theywerethe
onlychildreninthehouse,sotherewasalwaysroomonthestoop.Francie,wasgoingonfour,
hadtomindNeeley,whowasgoingonthree.Shesatforlonghoursonthestoopwithherthin
armshuggingherthinlegsandwithherstraightbrownhairblowingintheslowbreezethat
cameladenwiththesaltsmellofthesea,theseawhichwassonear-byandwhichshehad
neverseen.ShekeptaneyeonNeeleyashescrambledupanddownthesteps.Shesat,
rockingtoandfro,wonderingaboutmanythings:whatmadethewindblowandwhatwasgrass
andwhyNeeleywasaboyinsteadofagirllikeher.
SometimesFrancieandNeeleysatregardingeachotherwithsteadyeyes.Hiseyeswerethe
sameashersinshapeanddepthbuthiswereabrightclearblueandhersadarkcleargray.
Therewassteadyunbrokencommunicationbetweenthetwochildren.Neeleyspokeverylittle
andFranciespokealot.SometimesFrancietalkedandtalkeduntilthegeniallittleboyfell
asleepsittinguprightonthestepswithhisheadagainsttheironrail.
Franciedid"stitching"thatsummer.Katieboughtherasquareofgoodsforapenny.Itwasthe
sizeofalady'shandkerchiefandhadadesignoutlinedonit:asittingNewfoundlanddogwith
histonguelollingout.Anotherpennyboughtasmallreelofredembroiderycottonandtwo
centswentforapairofsmallhoops.Francie'sgrandmothertaughtherhowtoworktherunning
stitches.Thechildbecameadeptatstitching.Womenpassingwouldstopandcluckinpitying
admirationatthetinygirl,adeeplinealreadyshowingattheinneredgeofherrighteyebrow,
pushingtheneedleinandoutofthetautmaterialwhileNeeleyhungoverhertowatchthe
brightsliverofsteeldisappearlikemagicandthencomebackupagainthroughthecloth.Sissy
gaveherafatlittleclothstrawberryforcleaningtheneedle.WhenNeeleygotrestless,Francie
lethimpushtheneedlethroughthestrawberryforawhile.Youweresupposedtostitcha
hundredorsoofthesesquaresandthensewthemtogethertomakeabedspread.Francie
heardthatsomeladieshadactuallymadeabedspreadthatwayandthatwasFrancie'sgreat
ambition.Butthoughsheworkedintermittentlyonthesquareallsummer,autumnfounditonly
halfdone.Thebedspreadhadtobesavedforthefuture.
Thefallcameagain,winter,springandsummer.FrancieandNeeleykeptgettingbigger,Katie
keptworkingharderandJohnnyworkedalittlelessanddrankalittlemorewitheachseason.
Thereadingwenton.SometimesKatieskippedapagewhenshewastiredatnight,butmostof
thetimeshestuckwithit.Theywerein"JuliusCaesar"nowandthestagedirection"Alarum"
confusedKatie.Shethoughtithadsomethingtodowithfireenginesandwhenevershecame
tothatword,sheshoutedout"clang-clang."Thechildrenthoughtitwaswonderful.
Penniesaccumulatedinthetin-canbank.Onceithadtoberippedopenandtwodollarstaken
outtopaythedruggistthetimeFrancieranarustynailintoherknee.Adozentimesoneprong
wasunfastenedandanickelfishedoutwithaknifetoprovideJohnnywithcar-faretogettoa
job.Buttherulewasthathehadtoputtencentsbackoutofhistipmoney.Sothebankprofited.
Onthewarmdays,Francieplayedaloneonthestreetsoronthestoop.Sheyearnedfor
playmatesbutdidnotknowhowtomakefriendswiththeotherlittlegirls.Theotheryoungsters
avoidedherbecauseshetalkedfunny.OwingtoKatie'snightlyreading,Franciehadaqueer
wayofsayingthings.Once,whentauntedbyayoungstershehadretorted,"Aw,youdon'tknow
whatyou'resaying.You'rejus'fullofsoun''n'furrysiggaflyingnothing."
Once,tryingtomakefriendswithalittlegirlshesaid,
"WaithereandI'llgoinandbegatmyropeandwe'llplay"jumping."
"Youmeanyou'll
git
yourrope,"thelittlegirlcorrected.
"No.I'llbegatmyrope.Youdon'tgitthings.Youbegatthings."
"What'sthat-begat?"askedthelittlegirlwhowasjustfiveyearsold.
"Begat.LikeEvebegatCain."
"You'rebuggy.Ladiesdon'tgitcanes.Onlymengitcaneswhentheycan'twalkgood."
"Evebegat.ShebegatAbeltoo."
"Shegitsorshedon'tgit.Youknowwhat?"
"What."
"YoutalkjustlikeaWop."
"IdonottalklikenoWop,"criedFrancie."Italklike...like...Godtalks."
"You'llbestruckdowndeadsayingathinglikethat."
"Iwon'tneither."
"Nobodyhomeupstairsinyourhouse."Thelittlegirltappedherforehead.
"Thereisso."
"Whydoyoutalklikethatthen?"
"Mymotherreadsthosethingstome."
"Nobodyhomeupstairsinyour
mother's
house,"correctedthelittlegirl.
"Wellanyhow,mymotherain'tadirtysloblikeyourmother."ThatwastheonlyreplyFrancie
couldthinkof.
Thelittlegirlhadheardthismanytimes.Shewasshrewdenoughnottodebateit."Well,I'd
soonerhaveadirtyslobforamotherthanacrazywoman.AndI'dratherhavenofatherthana
drunkenmanformyfather."
"Slob!Slob!Slob!"shoutedFranciepassionately.
"Crazy,crazy,crazy,"chantedthelittlegirl.
"Slob!Dirtyslob,"screamedFranciesobbinginherimpotence.
Thelittlegirlskippedaway,herfatcurlsbouncinginthesunandsanginaclearhighvoice:
"Sticksandstoneswillbreakmybonesbutnameswillneverhurtme.WhenIdie,youwillcry
forallthenamesyoucalledme."
AndFranciedidcry.Notforallthenamescalledbutbecauseshewaslonesomeandnobody
wantedtoplaywithher.TherougherchildrenfoundFrancietooquietandthebetterbehaved
onesseemedtoshunher.Dimly,Franciefeltthatitwasn'tallherfault.Ithadsomethingtodo
withAuntSissywhocametothehousesooften,thewaySissylookedandthewaythemenin
theneighborhoodlookedafterSissywhenshepassed.Ithadsomethingtodowiththeway
papacouldn'twalkstraightsometimesandwalkedsidewaysdownthestreetwhenhecame
home.Ithadsomethingtodowiththewayneighborwomenaskedherquestionsaboutpapa
andmamaandSissy.TheirwheedlingoffhandquestionsdidnotdeceiveFrancie.Hadnot
mamawarnedher:"Don'tlettheneighborspickonyou."
Sointhewarmsummerdaysthelonesomechildsatonherstoopandpretendeddisdainforthe
groupofchildrenplayingonthesidewalk.Francieplayedwithimaginarycompanionsandmade
believethattheywerebetterthanrealchildren.Butallthewhileherheartbeatinrhythmtothe
poignantsadnessofthesongthechildrensangwhilewalkingaroundinaringwithhands
joined.
Walter,WalterWildflower.
Growingupsohigh.
Asweareallyoungladies
Andverysuretodie.
ExceptingLizzieWehner
Whoisthefinestflower.
Hide,hide,hideforshame.
Turnyourbackand
Tellyourbeau'sname.
Theypausedwhilethechosengirl,aftermuchcoaxing,finallywhisperedaboy'sname.Francie
wonderedwhatnameshe'dgiveiftheyeveraskedhertoplay.Wouldtheylaughifshe
whisperedJohnnyNolan?
ThelittlegirlswhoopedwhenLizziewhisperedaname.Againtheyjoinedhandsandwalked
aroundinacirclegeniallyadvertisingtheboy.
HermyBachmeier
Isafineyoungman.
Hecomestothedoor
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Documents you may be interested