Turns out he used to be a bandit before he turned lawman and had returned to the old ways. Made a miscalculation robbing a bank near Fort Worth and those folks came down here for justice. I myself could not help him though you might have said he was a friend. It was half that, and it was a bank near Galveston not Fort Worth.
You look right well. Till then she had avoided the dirty patch covering his left eye, waiting for him, but in the tension of all in the room she now sensed an agreed deflection. The new gauntness of the large, square face glared at her. He leaned over the bed, flipping the patch to show a ruined hole damp with healing. Howling and howling. Her face burned for she was wishing she had not come at all.
Who else would ever look at her like that? Besides, I got one here. Cora gabbles on but she knows her trade. You being the grand lady in the Old States is worth something. We got a whole bunch of new girls too, did you see?
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Oh, they got to feeling blameful at the start but then they watch as their savings pile up! It is a great comfort to my father to know that I am accompanied until I am able to hire a female companion. He was a man who did not wear his weight well. Her throat went dry. What was Judah doing now?
Why it might feel to you he were alive yesterday. It did so with my sweet wife and little girl child. Time passes differently for the bereaved, does it not? And when you wake in the morning, there are those first moments when you are innocent of knowing like Adam in Eden. This man she was supposed to marry was a fool. She felt behind her to where Wilkie stood, thumbs in the pockets of his shabby waistcoat, and was scalded by his notwatching.
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Is it hard on you there being no Methodist church in town? Is it possible you might find comfort at a small gathering I sometimes frequent? You would find her elocution upon the subject of the deceased most enlightening. If I could arrange it, Mrs. You see, talk of them taking their revenge is all over town. It seems unjust when it was Shep Morgan who shot Pa, and Pa who was simply defending himself. Now she looked straight at him. Emmeline tucked the letter in a drawer next to a memorial tintype of August, her first baby upturned and openmouthed in her arms.
Henry had not wanted Caleb photographed saying we had him for eight years, we will not forget him. But the morning after Caleb died she and Henry walked the sunny fields, their sweat and tears loose in the gold lead heat. She turned from the dresser to face the balcony. She had to close her eyes to say it. She hated hearing her babies cry, the pained mewl that none of her words could soothe.
Wilkie folded his arms, as if to shrink his bulk. She needed fresh air, outside, the fresh air. She tried to wring the irritation from her voice. He shoved her down into the chair in front of the dresser, keeping his hands on her shoulders. Not me, but some. Her father thumbed her throat. For there was, you see, an impediment. What was that impediment, Wilkie? What was it? You remember? But as I knew Henry was the type to perish over a woman I said: pay me and they will never hear a whisper, those high- class Mississippi Stovalls. Emmeline rolled her head from side to side, stretching her aching neck.
Henry James Stovall — In the 34 year of his age. Not Judah.
She was leaving tomorrow morning on the next stage. To please her father, she would marry the mayor, but first she would go home to her son. Did she who could not believe in Heaven have a question? Emmeline crossed and uncrossed her legs, resisting the urge to kick. Did there exist a persistent, incorporeal presence hungry and blind and monotonous as hate, one neither wholly living or dead who by being neither was cursed to wander with eternal incomprehension of both?
When death came did that which animated dissolve back into the earth, or was there some union of energy wherein some shape or rather in no shape she would be with them again? Or did the straining and longing and recoiling of this life beget nothing but a silence beyond notsound? She was kneeling in a graveyard. The stone slab that covered the length of a coffin was cracked, shards of granite caved in. She heard a noise and looked up.
It was as if she were at the bottom of a well.
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Two faces peered down at her through a tunnel, a man and a woman whom she did not know. She lay in the dark on a sofa, the candles having gone out. Mayor Gibson and Miss Ada were bent over her, fanning her, holding up smelling salts. She burst into tears. Emmeline slept into the next afternoon. It was almost sundown when she woke in a daze, everything tilted, the sun crackling like light rain through leaves.
She thought she was in her bedroom in Mississippi hearing a baby cry in the next room. Standing, the blood roared oversweet in her ears.
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She saw the sealed letter on the dresser. She went to the nightstand, rinsing the sulfur from her mouth, and picked up her Bible, a wedding gift from Henry, as neither her mother nor her father had ever seen fit to give her one. Leaving off her veil, she stumbled down to the thoroughfare. The men and the whores had turned to stare. She was beating the window with her fists until she heard her left hand break.
Then she ran through the streets until First Street, north until she reached the treeless graveyard.
This is my younger brother. Good for them. Most people can afford to buy a couple books a year. Most people live near bookstores. Write a note explaining that. Not much to get outraged about. The thing that I think many here are missing is the incredible volume of submissions Tin House must get. Especially because everything is read twice.
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Sometimes we regret our open policy, but it was the policy we wanted to see when we were on the other side, as writers. They really ought to buy and read more books. Collectively, EL spends thousands of hours reading submissions, which is exponentially more time than we spend on anything else. The temptation to put up a small hurdle for submitters is understandable.