Wednesday, December 2, 2009

IF I DID GO, I COULDN'T SAY -7th installment

Norman, Margaret, Mrs. Montgomery, Edith and Marion.

I am simply famished, exclaimed Marion the minute they entered the house, by way of the summer kitchen.

Mae scampered up on her light feline feet and took Marion's bag off her hands. "Welcome to Tighsolas," she said ironically, as this wasn't her home.

In stern instructress fashion Marion started doling out the duties: First things first: Flora pump some water at the sink for tea.

Mae, put some sticks in the wood stove and get it to a roar. Flora get some vegetables from the cold storage. Then set the table. How long has this tongue been marinating?

One hour, Flora admitted, because she found it hard to fib to Marion.

1 hour? I think we'll boil it a bit and then put it in the oven. Fill the large saucepan with some hot water. I was hoping to get to church this evening. Apparently, Jimmy T. is in town for a few days, up from his work at a car factory in the US. I heard he hates the indoor work, being from a farm.

Is he back for good, then?

No,the money is too good. Five dollars a day. And he has no particular skill!

It was late, but still light, when they sat down to eat, a cabbage and onion concoction that was tolerable tasty. Marian said came from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Marion asked Mae for news about her sister and all the Boston Watters and her cousin was happy to fill her in.

Flora, you've been rather untalkative this meal, Marion said.

Her little sister shrugged her shoulders. She'd been dreading questions from Marion about how she was doing at school.

But instead Marion said, "I have news. Big news. I have given my notice at Sherbrooke Academy and I will be going to the city in September to work for the Montreal board.

Do father and mother know? asked Flora.

Well, of course, but I wanted to tell you myself.

Mae began peppering Marion with questions.

Where will you be teaching?

At Royal Arthur in Little Burgundy.

Where's that?

Near St. Henri, below Westmount.

Is it a new school?

Yes, spanking new

What grade will you be teaching?

The first.

And how many students will you have?

Perhaps as many as 50. Double the size of my class this year, but still elementary school

"When you go to Montreal in September, will you go to Dominion Park? Will you see Pauline? Will you go up on the stage and get hypnotized?

As a respectable city teacher, if I did, I could hardly tell you.

Well, you must invite us to a play His Majesty's, added Flora, who loved sometimes dreamed of being an actress like Sarah Bernhart.
Or a motion picture show.

At a nickelodeon?

No, at the Ouimetoscope, which is a very grand, like His Majesty's. And very proper.

What part of town is that in?

East, but not as far east as Dominion Park.

Is it near de Bullion Street? Mae asked.

Mae! Flora admonished. What a thing to say!

I don't know where that street is, Marion answered.

Enough questions, Marion stood up, abruptly, leaned her body forward and pressed her thumbs against the table edge, for a moment she looked strict and imposing, like the school teacher she was.

Her voice, though, was all sisterly fun.

It's getting dark. Let's light some lamps and go into the parlour.I'd like to play you a new song I've learned. Bring along some of those ginger snaps, would you?