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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Scent Of Lilacs

Chapter 7 starts below:


This story was begun on Monday, June 28, 2010 and is entitled Katie and Mr Werbowski. Sometimes, I'll still post photographs and jump back and forth, because that's just how I am!


So if you'd like, use the following link:


Katie and Mr Werbowski: The very first post


...For the very first installment! I 'll also copywrite it, so don't get any thoughts there either!
(Little joke there! As if!)
__________________
 Chapter 7
 The Scent Of Lilacs

The heavy door latched with a clunk and Katie turned toward the dusty streets of Dublin. 


        "Hail there lass!" Came a lusty growl and Katie sidestepped the horses hooves and beasts pulling a dray.
           "Morning Mr McGovern!" She shouted, but the man, team of Clydes and wagon load of firewood had plodded on down the street. All she could see of the driver was a hand raised in greeting. No time for pleasantries for sure on this weekday morn'. She must herself make haste in order to get this letter on it's long journey to America! 
   " I should have asked in my letter if Missouri had telegraph?" She made a mental note to asking her next correspondence to Mr Werbowski. Surely, even if the farm was far removed from a city, there must be a telegraph machine for the train? She must stop and ask at the Post Office.
       The post office in question was just a few blocks from her parents home because of course, they lived in the oldest and also poorest section of Belfast due to financial restraints.
       "It will be grand to get Ma and Da out of this despicable city!" She cursed under her breath and sidestepped yet another horse plop. "I must come back this way," she thought. That plop will sure an' be dry by the time I come back!" Even if she was bound for America, there were still many bleak and blustery months ahead to survive and dried horse dung made a nice and cheap, toasty fire! 
       Katie had trod this same path to the post many times, but today was the first in many years that she actually hummed a tune! Now that she had made up her mind to go and her path was set, she felt somehow that there was a possibility of happiness in this life of hers that had before this, been one of just hard work and grime. When her brother had been forced to flee the country, she had made him promise to find a way to fetch her and when he had written that there were so many men in the wilder parts of America and not so many women still yet, they had hatched this plan: To find Katie a husband! Because of course, a slip of a thing like fair Katie could be allowed to work her fingers to the bone in Ireland and die a haggard old crone, but not ever could she leave her parent's protection without a man at her side! 
      Even just remembering that heated conversation with her Da two Christmases ago, she grimaced and cursed! "By the gods! I'll be free of this land full o' killin'!" She shook her head in denial of everything Belfast. "I won't stay here an' watch it na' more!"
   She quickened her pace in determination and just as she was rounding the last corner, she caught her reflection in the windows of a dry goods store. 
    The image of a young woman stared back at her in serious concentration. Slight, only five foot three inches tall and her bones stuck out at all the angles: Ankles and elbows and that pointy chin! That's what a person saw when they looked!
    "Gor!" She drew herself up as tall as she could and her hand found the errant wisp of red blond hair that always wanted to hide her eyes. "The mess you look lass an' you think a man will want you!"
     Her gaze was drawn through the glass of the window and took in the items temptingly displayed there for shoppers.  An idea formed in her mind. "Clever Katie!" She congratulated herself and reached into the folds of her smock for the pocket there and yes, there were the few coins she always carried with her. "For emergencies my girl!" Her Mam had always taught. "Ye must have need of a penny or two and you always have to make sure you carry a few! Never be caught without yer mad money me lass!" This was the very first time in her young life that Katie actually had need of the coins and glad she was that they were tucked in there! 
     She walked into the dim cavern of the dry goods store. 
    "Mornin' lass!" The store clerk greeted, seeming to sniff a sale. "An' what cha' be a lookin' for this fine fall morn?" His toothy grin was meant as pleasant, but Katie only shivered. His chin bore a jagged gash of a scar that only a bullet would leave. "Just another reminder that I'm doin' the right thing." She thought.
  "Mornin' sir, I would like to see the scented soaps if I might please? My mam is poorly an' I was thinking that a wee bit of scent might perk her up! Do you have anything in lilac?"
     The store clerk rushed over to the counter and snatched up a block of creamy soap stamped prettily in the center with the shape of a lilac flower. "Hand milled and straight from Paris France!" He proudly proclaimed! "This is a gift fit for a queen! Your Mam will love it I'm certain!" 
      Katie took the small bar in her hand and almost gasped aloud as she spied the price tag and silently cursed herself!
        "Ooh! I only have my few pennies! Not enough to buy this! What will I do?" The unspoken words ran through her mind and just as quickly as she spoke, she turned her wide, green eyes up to the clerk and asked, "Oh! An' do you have any lilac water to go along?" Her eyes searched the shelves behind the clerk as if seeing a bottle of perfume there. The clerk turned to look, as she hoped he would.
   
        Katie quickly drew the letter back and forth over the surface of the bar of soap, hoping it would take on some of the beautiful, aristocratic scent.


        By the time the clerk turned back to her, she had the bar of soap reaching back over to him and she plopped it into his hand. 


        "Oh! I think I hear me Da! I'll be right back! Thank you!" And she fled the store, the clerk not seeming to be the wiser for the transfer.
   Katie fairly skipped the rest of the way to the post and slipped the letter over the counter. At least the letter would smell like she was sophisticated! She prayed:

       ..."Oh Lord! Please let it still be there in America!"
                  .....Mr Werbowski lurched toward the wagon and grabbed the envelope. His senses were tickled with a hint of fresh lilac. His nose involuntarily lowered to the thin parchment of an envelope adorned with fine, fancy handwriting and drew in a heavenly scent. "Ah!" Tears filled his eyes.

           

4 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

so glad you are back! I missed your posts, and was looking forward to this next chapter. It's a fun read...can't wait to read more.

How are you? I've missed seing you. Hope everything is okay.

Brian Miller said...

excellent its been a while but i still remember the story...cant wait to see where you take it next!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I've missed you and all the places you go and of course your lovely story too. Welcome back.

Nezzy said...

I love it, so glad your back in the swing of things girl.

God bless and have a most marvelous day!!!