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Fearing, Kenneth (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXIII, Number III (December 1923)

E. B.
Interlude,   pp. 19-20

Page 19

By E. B.
On the rare occasions when Mrs. Lindsey
wanted Ellie, she was gone.
"Ell-ee" she called.
"She isn't here, mother," called Marian Jane,
Laura Lindsey stood looking at Marian Jane
a moment before she went back into the house.
She was momentarily surprised at herself, when-
ever she looked at Marian Jane. The child
wasn't her daughter, not possibly. Wee Wee,
and even Ellie, might pass for children of hers,
but Marian-Laura had never in her life been
as competent as the child was already.
"I do think Ellie might stay around the house,
mother. Especially she needn't promise to help
me weed my flower bed and then sneak off."
Marian was complaining again.
But her mother did not feel equal to solving
anyone's problems just then, so she went back
into the house through the kitchen door, a half-
laugh, half-frown disfiguring her face, call-
ing, "Vera! Where are you, Vera?"
Oh, bother. Couldn't she have even a minute
to herself? Was all her time someone else's-
Laura's or Robert's or Robert's children's?
"Coming, Laura."
"Oh, there you are. I didn't mean to disturb
you. Were you lying down?"
"No," said Vera aloud, and thinking, as she
,always did when she came into the living room,
"What perfectly atrocious old stuff Laura's
furniture is." Then, "Nearly teatime, isn't it?"
aloud to Laura.
"Yes, but Claribelle is taking her afternoon
off, and mother went down to the village with
Wee-Wee. I wonder if you would just put the
water on, Vera. My head-"
"Of course. Sit where you are, Laura. I'll
have you some tea in a second."
Laura sank back in the chair's leather cush-
ions (it wasn't nearly as comfortable a chair as it
sounds) and closed her eyes. She was tired, very.
Tea would be a blessing. Afterwards she would
lie out in the swing awhile, and-not sleep, she
never did in the daytime-but just lie there and
look at the hedge that was shooting up so re-
markably, and the red lilies along the drive-
until Robert came home. Then dinner, of course.
She didn't want to think about dinner now,
though. There was something hot and heavy
and stifling about it-not nearly so pleasant
as tea.
"All right, Laura." Vera had brought her a
cup, steaming. "Where are Marian Jane and
Ellie ?"
"Delicious," murmured Laura, sipping slowly,
and pinching off small chunks from the little
round cake Vera had brought in. "Marian Jane
is digging weeds-or something. Ellie has run
away  or   been  kidnapped-or  something."
She wished Vera wouldn't always be mention-
ing the children. It made her feel guilty, as
though she were neglecting proper duties. But
then, how could she act like a mother, when she
had never even once felt like one? Oh, well, it
didn't matter much, because none of them knew
what she felt like, really. How astonished they
would be, for instance, if she should say: "You
all think you are rather clever, but really you
are most awfully dull, if you think I am like the
rest of you. I'm not! I'm different! As differ-
ent as-as Claribelle. You think I live here, in
this house-Robert Lindsey's wife. You're quite
wrong. I don't live any place! I'm not 'Mrs.
Robert Lindsey.'  I'm-myself.  Outside all
this life that goes on around here."
But because it would be utterly impossible to
say that, she would have to pretend to be what
they thought she was, and seem interested in-
where Ellie was-
"Well, you did come back." Marian Jane was
looking at Ellie with distinct disapproval, only
it was wasted because Ellie was looking at a little
hole she was digging in the soft dirt with the tip
of her shoe.
"Say, Marian Jane-did you ever hear of Fal-
low Cove?"
"Of course."
Ellie sighed. Marian Jane always had heard
of everything and there was no use trying any-
thing new on her. Ellie went on digging little
holes in the dirt along the edge of Marian Jane's
garden. Presently, though, Marian Jane soft-
ened enough to ask: "Why?"
"Oh, nothing much," answered Ellie, "I just
December, 1923

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