Monday, August 28, 2017

Marthy's Letter



Unknown

Back to the letters I had my characters write me., telling me what to say in the novel. We've heard from Judy and from Col. Keith. This is Marthy's letter.

There really was a Marthy -- but almost nothing is known of her. She is described in the official records as 'an idiot girl.' I have taken the liberty of imagining her not an idiot but a mute.

To Miz Lane --

I can't mouth the words myself so I'll be right proud to have you speak for me. O, my head is so full of words, rising and falling and trying to escape, like birds in a net. They beat at the back of my throat but still my tongue stays tied.

So you tell my story. Likely if anyone remembers me it'll be as the "idiot" girl what was hung up and whipped by the Secesh. But there was so much more -- and now here you come, offering to give me words and life.

So tell of my love -- my loves. The first and the last. The way my heart swelled in my bosom. The way my heart broke. . .

And tell of the sweet times along with the bad. The happiness of families, the light sifting through the poplar trees, the animals kneeling at midnight on Old Christmas, the fun of our play parties and the feasting after pig killing.

It's a terrible thing not to be able to voice my sorrows and pain. But it's somehow even worse when you can't give tongue to joy.  I want you to do that for me.
                                                       
                                        Your true friend Marthy White



4 comments:

KarenB said...

Oh! That one brought tears to my eyes.

Cindy said...

I cannot WAIT to read this!!

Gayle Pearson said...

Vicki, I had an Aunt Marthy who lived up in the mountains around Valle Crucis. I don't remember ever hearing her speak. I think she could but she was painfully shy. I remember walking up to their house once, my Mom wouldn't drive her car up to the house because the road was little more than a rocky path, and there were children in each window. Then they would all disappear! They would eventually reappear and we would play on the rocky hillsides and in the tobacco barns. We would also pick Wolf River apples close by. They were the biggest apples I have ever seen! Times were so simple then.

Gayle Pearson said...

Vicki, I had an Aunt Marthy who lived up in the mountains around Valle Crucis. I don't remember ever hearing her speak. I think she could but she was painfully shy. I remember walking up to their house once, my Mom wouldn't drive her car up to the house because the road was little more than a rocky path, and there were children in each window. Then they would all disappear! They would eventually reappear and we would play on the rocky hillsides and in the tobacco barns. We would also pick Wolf River apples close by. They were the biggest apples I have ever seen! Times were so simple then.