Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chapter 13: Husking bee

We've reached September now, which means it's time for more colonial New England traditions. Kit doesn't think a husking bee is much to get excited about, but Judith and Mercy know what's up. "'Just husking corn all the evening?' It sounded to Kit like an odd sort of party."

In a similar vein, Judith is ready to get married, and doesn't mind saying so: "But I know how John feels, and I know what I feel, and why should we wait forever without ever making plans?"

While Kit still doesn't think much of William, she's more or less ready to get married too, if she has to.
"She had long since decided what her answer would be. As William's wife she could come and go as she pleased. There would be no more endless drudgery, and she could snap her fingers at a woman like Goodwife Cruff."
But with a romantic polygon going on, nothing is that simple. For instance:
  1. John Holbrook tells Kit that Mercy is the one he's been interested in all along: "'Oh, John!' In a burst of incredulous joy Kit flung both arms rapturously about his neck. With a startled glance up the road, John tactfully freed himself."
  2. Kit figures out how Judith is likely to respond to that knowledge: "Judith is going to mind terribly. But she is so proud. She'll put her nose in the air and pretend she never had such an idea in her head."
  3. John lets Judith's enthusiasm get in the way of making a move on Mercy: "such utter happiness and trust shone from those eyes that John faltered, and in that moment of hesitation he was lost."
  4. Kit realizes that John can't do anything else once Judith makes her move: "John understood Mercy. He knew that she had never in her life reached her hand for so much as a crust of bread that Judith might want. If he should hurt Judith now, Kit knew, Mercy would never forgive either him or herself."
  5. William thinks it's a good time to make a move of his own: "What her answer would be he seemed to have not the slightest doubt." But Kit, despite her earlier vow to marry him and get out of there at the first opportunity, can't actually bring herself to go through with it.
  6. So off they go to the husking bee, one newly-engaged couple and one so-what-are-we-then pair. And Kit gets to see that her neighbors do, in fact, know how to have fun once in a while. ("Had her uncle ever been to a husking? she wondered.")

Oh, and there may be a red ear or two lying around. Just to keep things interesting.

No comments: