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.“I’m not going to discuss this further.”The trouble with being upset with Erris was that I was attracted to him at the same time.It made it difficult to have a proper argument.Nor was he the arguing sort.Everything was a joke to him.He laughed now.“No one can look so indignant as you, Nim.Well, unfortunately I can’t prowl around at night and search your room, so I will have to trust you’ll tell me if Hollin says anything unseemly to you.”“It isn’t as if you’re my suitor, anyway,” I said, hoping to provoke him.“Well, I should hope that doesn’t mean he is your suitor.” Erris still sounded teasing, but there was nothing teasing about the sudden slant of his eyebrows.“No, it means simply that if he does say something unseemly, I shall defend myself.”“I have no doubt of that,” he said with a grin.Which only irked me further.Another couple of weeks passed.It rained frequently, and the evergreens flourished with clusters of cones.The maple, birch, and poplar began to shed their leaves of flame, and one morning I woke to the first snow, falling soft and sparse.As the world began to tuck in for a long sleep, Violet began to wake up.Erris’s simple treatment of fresh food and hours of fresh, brisk air didn’t make her catch cold as Celestina feared but instead brought color to her pale cheeks, although she was still thin.But then, she didn’t eat much.She had a hideous tantrum when he tried to feed her raw carrots for breakfast.The trouble with Violet’s feeling better was that she wanted to follow everyone everywhere.Whether we were cooking or all gathered around the piano, Violet was there chattering as if she had years of stored conversation to unload.She told us stories from books she was reading when we’d rather simply read the book ourselves, and she sulked when we didn’t pay attention to her.She was a champion sulker, capable of keeping the same sullen face and pose for an hour straight until it was impossible to have fun in her presence, but her good moods were almost as irritating.One afternoon I had just set out on a walk, and Violet came running after me like an excitable puppy.She panted dreadfully when she caught up to me.I thought for a moment she might pass out.“Nimira—where are you—going? I want to—come.”“To the bluff.”“Oh—near—Mother’s grave?”“I don’t know.I’ve never seen a grave there.”She paused to breathe a moment and then said, “You haven’t seen it? I’ll show you!” She sounded rather eager about a grave, I thought.Along with color in her cheeks, Violet now wore proper clothes every day and not nightgowns and robes.Celestina had offered to make her trousers, but Violet had a wardrobe full of dresses and she wanted to wear them.They were the dresses of a girl, not a woman.Today it was a plaid affair with a square white collar.The ribbons in her hair matched the dress, and the whole thing was topped off by a double-breasted coat with puffed sleeves and white piping.“When will you put your hair up and your skirts down?” I asked her as we trudged through fallen leaves.The last snow had melted, but the leaves were wet.“Oh.Should I? What age do girls usually?”“Fourteen?”“I’m fifteen! Celestina never told me.”“Well, it’s no use if you’re in bed all the time anyway, but maybe now you should.”She nodded.“So I should have all new clothes.But it should have been last year.I wasn’t sick all last year.Is it too late to go to town and get new clothes? We really should go to the city even.That’s where these clothes came from.Papa took me to the city.”“It’s certainly too late to get clothes now.And we can’t take you to the city! Just ask your father when he gets back, I suppose.”She sighed heavily.“When will I ever get to do anything?”“I don’t have anything to do with it,” I said.“I think it’s ridiculous that you can’t go anywhere and everyone forgets who you are.How are you supposed to get on in the world like that?”“You came from some really faraway country, right, Nimira?”“Yes.”“How old were you?”“Thirteen.Well, almost fourteen.”“Were you scared?”“Well, I was, but.I don’t know.Once you commit to something, you just manage through each moment.And nothing truly awful happened.The voyage over was uneventful.I found work right away, just not very good work.The worst thing wasn’t something terrible, it was the lack of anything wonderful.”Violet sucked in her breath.“What about Erris?” she asked.“Erris? I met him much later.”“Yes, I know, I just.” She tugged on one of her hair bows.“You fell in love with him, right?”“I—I don’t know,” I said.“It’s not polite to be so blunt, you know.”“I’m not trying to be polite,” Violet said.“I want to know what it’s like to be in love.I want a girl to talk to, and Celestina is no help [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]