his charcoal pot ’at come right out of the world
His deprecating, pleased laugh came; his buoyant spirit was already slipping past his trouble, finding courage in the day’s work and his home’s solace. With his wife he watched his mother go on her eternal puttering about the rooms, while Demetra stood by in her clean indifference. She had quite recovered, it seemed, and before her husband was her usual tolerant, disengaged self, a burden he would carry gladly, life long, so strange is love, so eager to scourage itself, to wear chains, to go hungry, to go fetch for the scantiest meed. ₁
That last night we talked late on the gallerie. And long after midnight, when we had turned in, I was aroused by voices outside, to discover that some swamper had come in from his lonely camp to consult Len about a sick wife. And Len was up “puttering” about in the left-over stock of drugs and patent medicines of his defunct general store. They measured and tasted and discussed and Len was all eagerness to help. He sent the man away with advice called out long after the swamper was out on the dark river. “Give her a hull spoonful every hour and soak her feet in the mustard, and if she don’t come ’round hard a-port and answer the helm, we’ll mix up a little something else tomorry!”
Good old Len!
He was visibly perturbed when we told him that we would go on down Grand River that day.
“Hate to see you go. Folks most generally stay round a month when they strike my place, so’s we can have a little talk. I do like to meet folks ’at come right out of the world.” ₂
I went on up the gallerie stairs and heard Papa Prosper within puttering about his charcoal pot. Then a siren whistle afar on the lakes, Virgil’s second supply steamer coming to the main canal. Then steps behind me; and I discovered that the two from the white boat were following.
“Well,” I said : “Since you are here, you may as well tell them.” ₃
all by Charles Tenney Jackson —
- My Brother’s Keeper (1910, 1913 this edition, with illustrations by Arthur William Brown) : 171
via google : link
- The Fountain of Youth. Illustrated with Photographs. (New York: Outing Publishing Company, 1914) : 220-221
LoC copy/scan (among several via hathitrust) : link
LoC description thus : “Narrative of vacation experiences in the Gulf region of Louisiana southwest of New Orleans.”
- John the Fool : An American Romance, Illustrated by Hazel Roberts (1915) : 323
(U California copy/scan, via hathitrust) : link
John the Fool Bayou, in Louisiana : link
Charles Tenney Jackson (1874-1955)
annotated list of his writings, and something about his life, at 358a