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Plain Mary Smith A Romance of Red Saunders   By: (1869-1930)

Plain Mary Smith A Romance of Red Saunders by Henry Wallace Phillips

First Page:

Plain Mary Smith

A Romance of Red Saunders

By Henry Wallace Phillips

With Illustrations By Martin Justice

New York The Century Co. 1905

Copyright, 1905, by THE CENTURY CO.

Copyright, 1905, by FRANK LESLIE PUBLISHING HOUSE (Incorporated)

Published October, 1905

THE DE VINNE PRESS

[Illustration: "I grabbed cans of tomatoes, and pasted the heap"]

CONTENTS

I "BUT WASN'T IT A GORGEOUS SMASH!"

II "THE VILLAGE PRIDE"

III SANDY GRAY

IV THE FIGHT

V "ON MY BUREAU WAS A KNIFE "

VI "I'M MARY SMITH"

VII "SAVE ME, ARTHUR!"

VIII ARCHIE OUT OF ASPINWALL

IX ENTER BROTHER BELKNAP

X "YOUR LIFE, IF YOU HURT HIM!"

XI SAXTON'S STORY

XII BILL MEETS A RELATIVE

XIII RED MAKES A FEW REMARKS

XIV BROTHER BELKNAP'S REVOLUTION

XV TOMATOES BY THE QUART

XVI RED PLAYS TRUMPS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"I grabbed cans of tomatoes, and pasted the heap"

"'You git married and shuck them clothes'"

"'You fight that boy fair'"

"I left home ... mother and father both waving me good by in the road"

"The Matilda saw a whale, or something, and shied"

"He grabbed up his wooden box and made a miracle"

"'Still wearing your legs cut short, I see'"

"I laid two strong hands on Archie's mane"

"I crowded my victim down against the saddle with my left hand"

PLAIN MARY SMITH

A ROMANCE OF RED SAUNDERS

I

"BUT WASN'T IT A GORGEOUS SMASH!"

Old Foster used to say the reason some women married men they entirely should not was because nature tried to even up all round. Very likely that's it, but it's a rocky scheme for the Little Results. When my mother married my father, it was the wonder of the neighborhood. I don't fully understand it to this day, as many things as I've seen.

She was a beautiful, tall, kind, proud woman, who walked as if she owned the world and loved it; from her I get my French blood. Was there a dog got his foot run over? Here he comes for mother, hollering and whimpering, showing her the paw and telling her all about it, sure she'd understand. And she did. 'Twixt her and the brutes was some kind of sympathy that did away with need of words. Doggy'd look at her with eyebrows up and wigwag with his tail, "Left hind leg very painful. Fix it, but touch lightly, if you please."

Father was a gaunt, big man, black and pale; stormy night to her sunshine. A good man, estimated by what he didn't do (which is a queer way to figure goodness), but a powerful discourager on the active side. He believed in Hell first, last, and all the time; I think he felt some scornful toward the Almighty for such a weak and frivolous institution as Heaven. How much of this was due to his own nature, and how much to the crowd he traveled with, I don't know. He had to have it in him to go with them; still, I like to think they led him off. Left to mother's influence, he'd have been a different man more as I remembered him when I was a little chap. This "church" of his was down on everything that had a touch of color, a pleasant sound, or a laugh in it: all such was wickedness. I remember how I got whaled for kissing Mattie. A boy that wouldn't kiss Mattie if she'd let him should have been trimmed to a peak. However, I got whaled for anything and everything. In this he was supported by his fellow church members, most of 'em high cheek boned men with feverish eyes, like himself. "Take heed to the word, Brother Saunders," they'd say: "'Spare the rod and spoil the child.'" So father'd refuse to spare the rod, and he'd spoil me for the time being, anyhow.

They weren't all men of that stamp, though. You can't get a crowd of fools to hold together unless there's a rascal to lead them. Anker was the boss of the business and a proper coyote he was. A little man, him; long nosed and slit eyed; whispered, mostly, from behind his hand. He had it in for me, most particular. First place, I nicknamed him "Canker" and it stuck; next place, one day me and Tom, Mattie's brother, being then about sixteen apiece, come up from swimming and stopped at Anker's patch to pull a turnip... Continue reading book >>




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