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finish STORY: 'Lily Daw and also the three Ladies'

Eudora Welty Stories, Essays, & Memoir

through EUDORA WELTY The Library of America

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Lily Daw and the three Ladies

    mrs Watts and Mrs Carson to be both in the article office in Victory when the letter came from the Ellisville Institute because that the Feeble Minded that Mississippi. Aimee Slocum, through her hand still full of mail, ran out in front and also handed it directly to granny Watts, and they all three check out it together. Grandm Watts held it taut between her pink hands, and Mrs Carson underscored every line gradually with her thimbled finger. Everybody rather in the article office wondered what was up now.

    \"What will certainly Lily say,\" beamed granny Carson at last, \"when us tell she we're sending her to Ellisville!\"

    \"She'll it is in tickled come death,\" said Mrs Watts, and added in a guttural voice come a deaf lady, \"Lily Daw's getting in in ~ Ellisville!\"

    \"Don't friend all dare go off and also tell Lily without me!\" called Aimee Slocum, trotting ago to end up putting up the mail.

    \"Do you suppose they'll look at after her down there?\" granny Carson started to carry on a conversation v a team of Baptist women waiting in the write-up office. She was the Baptist preacher's wife.

    \"I've always heard it to be lovely under there, however crowded,\" said one.

    \"Lily lets civilization walk over her so,\" said another.

    \"Last night in ~ the time show----\" said another, and also then popped she hand over her mouth.

    \"Don't mind me, I recognize there are such points in the world,\" stated Mrs Carson, spring down and fingering the tape measure which hung over she bosom.

    \"Oh, grandm Carson. Well, anyway, last night in ~ the time show, why, the guy was just before making Lily buy a ticket to gain in.\"

    \"A ticket!\"

    \"Till my husband go up and explained she wasn't bright, and so walk everybody else.\"

    The females all clucked your tongues.

    \"Oh, it to be a an extremely nice show,\" stated the lady who had actually gone. \"And Lily acted for this reason nice. She to be a perfect lady--just collection in her seat and stared.\"

    \"Oh, she deserve to be a lady--she have the right to be,\" said Mrs Carson, shaking her head and turning her eyes up. \"That's simply what breaks your heart.\"

    \"Yes'm, she maintained her eyes on--what's that thing renders all the commotion?--the xylophone,\" stated the lady. \"Didn't rotate her head to the ideal or to the left the totality time. Collection in front of me.\"

    \"The allude is, what did she perform after the show?\" inquiry Mrs watt practically. \"Lily has acquired so she is an extremely mature for her age.\"

    \"Oh, Etta!\" protested grandm Carson, looking at she wildly because that a moment.

    \"And that's exactly how come we are sending out her to Ellisville,\" finished Mrs Watts.

    \"I'm ready, friend all,\" said Aimee Slocum, to run out through white powder everywhere her face. \"Mail's up. I don't know how great it's up.\"

    \"Well, that course, I carry out hope it's for the best,\" said several that the other ladies. They did not go at as soon as to take your mail out of their boxes; lock felt a little left out.

    The 3 women stood in ~ the foot that the water tank.

    \"To find Lily is a various thing,\" stated Aimee Slocum.

    \"Where in the vast world execute you intend she'd be?\" It was Mrs Watts who was transporting the letter.

    \"I don't watch a authorize of she either on this next of the street or ~ above the various other side,\" grandm Carson declared as lock walked along.

    Ed Newton was stringing Redbird college tablets on the wire throughout the store.

    \"If you're after ~ Lily, she come in right here while ago and tole me she to be fixin' to git married,\" that said.

    \"Ed Newton!\" cried the ladies all together, clutching one another. Mrs Watts started to fan herself at as soon as with the letter indigenous Ellisville. She wore widow's black, and also the least thing made she hot.

    \"Why she is not. She's going to Ellisville, Ed,\" claimed Mrs Carson gently. \"Mrs Watts and also I and Aimee Slocum are paying her method out of our very own pockets. Besides, the guys of Victory space on your honor. Lily's not going to gain married, that's just an idea she's got in she head.\"

    \"More power to you, ladies,\" claimed Ed Newton, spanking himself through a tablet.

    when they came to the leg over the rail tracks, there was Estelle Mabers, sit on a rail. She was progressively drinking an orange Ne-Hi.

    \"Have you viewed Lily?\" lock asked her.

    \"I'm claimed to it is in out here watching for she now,\" claimed the Mabers girl, as though she weren't over there yet. \"But because that Jewel--Jewel claims Lily come in the save while back and picked the end a two-ninety-eight hat and also wore that off. Jewel wants to swap her something else because that it.\"

    \"Oh, Estelle, Lily says she's going to get married!\" cry Aimee Slocum.

    \"Well ns declare,\" claimed Estelle; she never understood anything.

    Loralee Adkins came riding by in her Willys-Knight, tooting the horn to find out what castle were talk about.

    Aimee threw up her hands and ran out into the street. \"Loralee, Loralee, you got to ride united state up to Lily Daws'. She's increase yonder solving to get married!\"

    \"Hop in, my land!\"

    \"Well, that simply goes to show you ideal now,\" stated Mrs Watts, groaning together she was assisted into the back seat. \"What we've acquired to perform is guide Lily it will be nicer to go to Ellisville.\"

    \"Just come think!\"

    While they rode approximately the corner Mrs Carson to be going top top in her sad voice, sad together the soft noises in the hen home at twilight. \"We buried Lily's bad defenseless mother. We offered Lily all her food and also kindling and also every stitch she had actually on. Sent her come Sunday institution to learn the Lord's teachings, had her i was baptized a Baptist. And also when her old dad commenced beating her and also tried to reduced her head off v the butcher knife, why, we went and also took she away native him and gave she a ar to stay.\"

    The paintless structure house through all the weather vanes was 3 stories high in places and also had yellow and also violet stained-glass windows in front and gingerbread approximately the porch. That leaned steeply to one side, towards the railroad, and the front actions were gone. The auto full that ladies attracted up under the cedar tree.

    \"Now Lily's virtually grown up,\" mrs Carson continued. \"In fact, she's grown,\" she concluded, acquiring out.

    \"Talking around getting married,\" said Mrs watts disgustedly. \"Thanks, Loralee, you run on home.\"

    lock climbed end the dusty zinnias top top the porch and walked through the open up door there is no knocking.

    \"There absolutely is constantly a funny odor in this house. I say the every time ns come,\" said Aimee Slocum.

    Lily to be there, in the dark of the hall, kneeling on the floor through a little open trunk.

    when she experienced them she put a zinnia in she mouth, and held still.

    \"Hello, Lily,\" claimed Mrs Carson reproachfully.

    \"Hello,\" stated Lily. In a minute she offered a suck ~ above the zinnia stem that sounded precisely like a jay bird. Over there she sat, put on a petticoat because that a dress, one of the things Mrs Carson kept after her about. She milky-yellow hair streamed easily down from under a new hat. You might see the wavy scar on her throat if friend knew it was there.

    mrs Carson and also Mrs Watts, the 2 fattest, satellite in the dual rocker. Aimee Slocum satellite on the wire chair donated native the drugstore that burned.

    \"Well, what room you doing, Lily?\" asked mrs Watts, that led the rocking.

    Lily smiled.

    The trunk was old and lined with yellow and also brown paper, v an asterisk pattern reflecting in darker circles and also rings. Mutely the ladies indicated to each various other that they did not understand where in the people it had actually come from. It was empty except for two bars that soap and also a green washcloth, which Lily was currently trying come arrange in the bottom.

    \"Go on and tell united state what you're doing, Lily,\" claimed Aimee Slocum.

    \"Packing, silly,\" stated Lily.

    \"Where are you going?\"

    \"Going to get married, and also I bet you wish you to be me now,\" claimed Lily. Yet shyness overcame she suddenly, and she popped the zinnia ago into her mouth.

    \"Talk come me, dear,\" said Mrs Carson. \"Tell old granny Carson why you want to acquire married.\"

    \"No,\" said Lily, after a moment's hesitation.

    \"Well, we've assumed of other that will certainly be so much nicer,\" said Mrs Carson. \"Why don't you go to Ellisville!\"

    \"Won't the be lovely?\" claimed Mrs Watts. \"Goodness, yes.\"

    \"It's a lovely place,\" said Aimee Slocum uncertainly.

    \"You've got bumps on her face,\" stated Lily.

    \"Aimee, dear, you remain out of this, if friend don't mind,\" claimed Mrs Carson anxiously. \"I don't understand what that is comes end Lily as soon as you come approximately her.\"

    Lily stared at Aimee Slocum meditatively.

    \"There! Wouldn't you prefer to go to Ellisville now?\" asked mrs Carson.

    \"No'm,\" claimed Lily.

    \"Why not?\" every the females leaned down towards her in exceptional astonishment.

    \"'Cause I'm goin' to get married,\" stated Lily.

    \"Well, and also who space you going come marry, dear?\" asked mrs Watts. She knew exactly how to pin world down and make them refuse what they'd already said.

    Lily little her lip and began come smile. She reached right into the trunk and also held increase both cakes of soap and wagged them.

    \"Tell us,\" challenged Mrs Watts. \"Who you're going to marry, now.\"

    \"A male last night.\"

    There was a gasp from every lady. The possible reality of a lover lower suddenly like a summer hail over their heads. Mrs watt stood up and also balanced herself.

    \"One of those show fellows! A musician!\" she cried.

    Lily looked increase in admiration.

    \"Did he--did he do anything to you?\" In the lengthy run, it was still just Mrs watt who can take charge.

    \"Oh, yes'm,\" stated Lily. She patted the cakes of soap fastidiously through the tips of her little fingers and also tucked them in through the washcloth.

    \"What?\" inquiry Aimee Slocum, increasing up and also tottering before her scream. \"What?\" she called out in the hall.

    \"Don't ask her what,\" claimed Mrs Carson, coming up behind. \"Tell me, Lily--just correct or no--are girlfriend the same as girlfriend were?\"

    \"He had actually a red coat,\" claimed Lily graciously. \"He took little sticks and went ping-pong! ding-gong!\"

    \"Oh, ns think I'm going come faint,\" stated Aimee Slocum, however they said, \"No, you're not.\"

    \"The xylophone!\" cried Mrs Watts. \"The xylophone player! Why, the coward, he must be run out of city on a rail!\"

    \"Out that town? he is out of town, through now,\" cried Aimee. \"Can't you read?--the sign in the cafe--Victory ~ above the ninth, Como top top the tenth? He's in Como. Como!\"

    \"All right! We'll carry him back!\" cried Mrs Watts. \"He can't obtain away native me!\"

    \"Hush,\" claimed Mrs Carson. \"I don't think it's any type of use adhering to that heat of reasoning at all. It's better in the long run for him to it is in gone out of our stays for great and all. That type of a man. He was after Lily's body alone and also he wouldn't ever in this people make the poor tiny thing happy, even if us went out and forced him come marry her choose he ought--at the allude of a gun.\"

    \"Still----\" began Aimee, she eyes widening.

    \"Shut up,\" said Mrs Watts. \"Mrs Carson, you're right, i expect.\"

    \"This is my expect chest--see?\" stated Lily politely in the stop that followed. \"You haven't even looked in ~ it. I've already got soap and a washrag. And I have actually my hat--on. What space you every going to offer me?\"

    \"Lily,\" claimed Mrs Watts, beginning over, \"we'll offer you numerous gorgeous points if you'll only go come Ellisville rather of obtaining married.\"

\"What will you provide me?\" asked Lily.

    \"I'll provide you a pair the hemstitched pillowcases,\" said Mrs Carson.

    \"I'll give you a huge caramel cake,\" claimed Mrs Watts.

    \"I'll offer you a souvenir native Jackson--a little toy bank,\" claimed Aimee Slocum. \"Now will certainly you go?\"

    \"No,\" said Lily.

    \"I'll give you a pretty little Bible through your name on the in real gold,\" claimed Mrs Carson.

    \"What if i was to offer you a pink crape de chine brassiere with flexible shoulder straps?\" request Mrs watts grimly.

    \"Oh, Etta.\"

    \"Well, she requirements it,\" claimed Mrs Watts. \"What would certainly they think if she ran everywhere Ellisville in a petticoat looking like a Fiji?\"

    \"I great I might go to Ellisville,\" claimed Aimee Slocum luringly.

    \"What will they have for me down there?\" asked Lily softly.

    \"Oh! numerous things. You'll have baskets come weave, ns expect. ...\" mrs Carson looked vaguely in ~ the others.

    \"Oh, yes indeed, they will let you do all kinds of baskets,\" stated Mrs Watts; then she voice too trailed off.

    \"No'm, I'd rather acquire married,\" stated Lily.

    \"Lily Daw! now that's simply plain stubbornness!\" cried Mrs Watts. \"You virtually said you'd go and also then you take it it back!\"

    \"We've all asked God, Lily,\" stated Mrs Carson finally, \"and God appeared to phone call us--Mr Carson, too--that the place where you should be, so as to be happy, was Ellisville.\"

    Lily looked reverent, but still stubborn.

    \"We've yes, really just gained to obtain her there--now!\" screamed Aimee Slocum all at once. \"Suppose----! She can't remain here!\"

    \"Oh no, no, no,\" claimed Mrs Carson hurriedly. \"We mustn't think that.\"

    They sat sunken in despair.

    \"Could i take my expect chest--to go to Ellisville?\" request Lily shyly, looking at them sidewise.

    \"Why, yes,\" stated Mrs Carson blankly.

    Silently they rose once much more to your feet.

    \"Oh, if I could just take it my expect chest!\"

    \"All the moment it was just her hope chest,\" Aimee whispered.

    Mrs watt struck she palms together. \"It's settled!\"

    \"Praise the fathers,\" murmured mrs Carson.

    Lily looked up at them, and her eye gleamed. She cocked she head and spoke out in a proud imitation of someone--someone completely unknown.

    \"O.K.--Toots!\"

    The ladies had actually been nodding and also smiling and backing away towards the door.

    \"I think I'd better stay,\" claimed Mrs Carson, protecting against in she tracks. \"Where--where could she have learned that damaging expression?\"

    \"Pack up,\" said Mrs Watts. \"Lily Daw is leaving because that Ellisville top top Number One.\"

    In the station the train was puffing. Nearly everyone in win was hanging approximately waiting for it come leave. The Victory civic Band had assembled without any type of orders and also was scattered with the crowd. Ed Newton provided false signals to start on his base horn. A crate full of baby chickens got loose on the platform. Everybody wanted to see Lily every dressed up, yet Mrs Carson and Mrs Watts had actually sneaked her into the train from the other side of the tracks.

    The 2 ladies to be going to travel as far as Jackson to aid Lily adjust trains and also be sure she go in the right direction.

    Lily sat in between them ~ above the plush seat through her hair combed and also pinned up right into a knot under a tiny blue cap which to be Jewel's exchange for the nice one. She wore a traveling dress made the end of part of granny Watts's critical summer's mourning. Pink straps glowed through. She had actually a purse and a Bible and a warm cake in a box, all in she lap.

    Aimee Slocum had actually been gaining the outgoing mail stamped and bundled. She stand in the aisle of the coach now, tears shiver from her eyes.

    \"Good-by, Lily,\" she said. She to be the one who felt things.

    \"Good-by, silly,\" said Lily.

    \"Oh, dear, ns hope they gain our telegram to accomplish her in Ellisville!\" Aimee cried sorrowfully, together she thought how much away that was. \"And it was so hard to acquire it every in ten words, too.\"

    \"Get off, Aimee, before the train starts and you break her neck,\" stated Mrs Watts, all settled and waving her dressy pan gaily. \"I declare, it's so hot, as quickly as we get a few miles the end of town I'm going come slip my corset down.\"

    \"Oh, Lily, don't cry under there. Simply be good, and also do what they call you--it's all since they love you.\" Aimee drew her mouth down. She was backing away, under the aisle.

    Lily laughed. She pointed throughout Mrs Carson's bosom out the window toward a man. He had actually stepped turn off the train and also just stood there, by himself. He was a stranger and also wore a cap.

    \"Look,\" she said, laughing softly with her fingers.

    \"Don't--look,\" stated Mrs Carson very distinctly, together if, the end of all she had ever spoken, she would impress these two solemn words upon Lily's soft tiny brain. She added, \"Don't look in ~ anything it spins you obtain to Ellisville.\"

    Outside, Aimee Slocum was crying so difficult she almost ran right into the stranger. The wore a cap and was short and seemed to have actually on perfume, if such a thing can be.

    \"Could girlfriend tell me, madam,\" he said, \"where a tiny lady resides in this burg surname of miss Lily Daw?\" the lifted his cap--and he had actually red hair.

    \"What execute you desire to recognize for?\" Aimee asked prior to she knew it.

    \"Talk louder,\" stated the stranger. He almost whispered, himself.

    \"She's unable to do away--she's unable to do to Ellisville!\"

    \"Gone?\"

    \"Gone come Ellisville!\"

    \"Well, I prefer that!\" The male stuck out his bottom lip and puffed it spins his hair jumped.

    \"What company did you have with Lily?\" cried Aimee suddenly.

    \"We was just going to obtain married, that's all,\" claimed the man.

    Aimee Slocum started to scream in front of every those people. She virtually pointed come the lengthy black box she saw lying top top the ground at the man's feet. Climate she jumped back in fright.

    \"The xylophone! The xylophone!\" she cried, looking back and soon from the guy to the hissing train. Which was much more terrible? The bell started to ring hollowly, and also the man was talking.

    \"Did you say Ellisville? the in the state that Mississippi?\" choose lightning he had actually pulled the end a red notebook entitled, \"Permanent facts & Data.\" He composed down something. \"I don't listen well.\"

    Aimee nodded her head up and down, and also circled roughly him.

    Under \"Ellis-Ville Miss\" that was drawing a line; now he was flicking it through two small marks. \"Maybe she didn't to speak she would. Probably she stated she wouldn't.\" He all of sudden laughed very loudly, after the means he had whispered. Aimee jumped back. \"Women!--Well, if we play anywheres near Ellisville, Miss., later I may look she up and also I may not,\" that said.

    The bass horn sound the true signal for the band to begin. White steam rushed out of the engine. Generally the train quit for only a minute in Victory, yet the technician knew Lily indigenous waving in ~ her, and he knew this was her huge day.

    \"Wait!\" Aimee Slocum did scream. \"Wait, mister! i can get her for you. Wait, mr Engineer! Don't go!\"

    climate there she was earlier on the train, screaming in granny Carson's and also Mrs Watts's faces.

    \"The xylophone player! The xylophone player come marry her! Yonder the is!\"

    \"Nonsense,\" murmured mrs Watts, peering over the others to look where Aimee pointed. \"If he's there i don't watch him. Wherein is he? You're looking in ~ One-Eye Beasley.\"

    \"The small man through the cap--no, through the red hair! Hurry!\"

    \"Is the really him?\" mrs Carson inquiry Mrs watt in wonder. \"Mercy! He's small, isn't he?\"

    \"Never saw him prior to in mine life!\" cry Mrs Watts. But suddenly she closeup of the door up her fan.

    \"Come on! This is a train we're on!\" cried Aimee Slocum. She nerves were all unstrung.

    \"All right, don't have actually a conniption fit, girl,\" stated Mrs Watts. \"Come on,\" she said thickly come Mrs Carson.

    \"Where space we walk now?\" request Lily as they struggled under the aisle.

    \"We're acquisition you to acquire married,\" stated Mrs. Watts. \"Mrs Carson, you'd much better phone up her husband appropriate there in the station.\"

    \"But i don't desire to git married,\" said Lily, beginning to whimper. \"I'm going to Ellisville.\"

    \"Hush, and we'll all have actually some ice-cream cones later,\" whispered mrs Carson.

    just as lock climbed down the steps at the back end of the train, the band entered \"Independence March.\"

    The xylophone player to be still there, patting his foot. He come up and said, \"Hello, Toots. What's up--tricks?\" and also kissed Lily v a smack, after which she hung her head.

    \"So you're the young man we've heard so much about,\" stated Mrs Watts. Her smile was brilliant. \"Here's your' little Lily.\"

    \"What say?\" request the xylophone player.

    \"My husband happens to be the Baptist preacher the Victory,\" said Mrs Carson in a loud, clear voice. \"Isn't the lucky? ns can gain him here in 5 minutes: i know specifically where that is.\"

    They were in a circle around the xylophone player, every going right into the white waiting room.

    \"Oh, i feel just like crying, at a time like this,\" said Aimee Slocum. She looked back and saw the train moving slowly away, going under the bridge at key Street. Then it disappeared around the curve.

    \"Oh, the expect chest!\" Aimee cried in a stricken voice.

    \"And whom have we the pleasure of addressing?\" Mrs watts was shouting, while grandm Carson to be ringing up the telephone.

    The tape went top top playing. Few of the civilization thought Lily to be on the train, and also some swore she wasn't. Anyone cheered, though, and also a straw hat was thrown into the call wires.

(C) 1998 Literary classics of the unified States, Inc., All rights reserved.


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