IV

MOLLY SAINT-CLARE

 

‘Some kind of foreign merchantman came wheeling into town.

The fella and his family were come to settle down.

Back in those days, there wasn’t much to see by way of fair.

But I remember, Pastor Bill…Ooh ee…I remember Molly Clare.

 

‘She stepped down off the wagon with a curiosity

that created in us boys around a wealth of jealousy.

We saw each other diff’rent then, as Molly’s smile alighted

‘pon the boys of Two Trails Cross, who stood and watched, delighted

cos there wasn’t much to look at, like I said ya, Pastor, true.

There was never ways of telling then…

 

what that pretty smile would do.’

 

Pastor Bill he nodded like a child with time to spare,

a-wond’rin’ of the point to this when Hell was in his hair:

‘Do ya know what’s goin’ on or not?

I ain’t time got time for too long a plot.’

 

Jimmy grinned, for Inn-Keeper hadn’t always been his name.

Jimmy grinned with the patience of a man who knew the game:

‘There’s time to listen, Pastor, and there’s time to hear it all.

The Horseman won’t be back tonight. Hell, if he ever comes back at all.’

 

So Bill pulled up a bar-stool and gestured for a drink,

while Jimmy took the story up without a need to think:

‘As time went on, we all fell for the girl and her pretty smile,

but there was one of us who didn’t think to try would be worthwhile.

 

‘Norman was the lad’s name, aye, Peabody was his name.

He used to be a lot of fun right up ‘til Molly came.

Why, he went right strange and quiet when he saw the Saint-Clare girl.

We thought he peed his pants right there as she stepped into our world.

 

‘I recall he was right shy ‘round her, and we knew he had it bad.

But never once did he ask her out, and he looked at her right sad.

His Mama was none too happy ‘bout the thing; she saw the way he looked.

I tell ya, Pastor, we never dreamed of the evil that one cooked.’

 

Jimmy was snapped from story-town as someone burst through the door:

‘Don’t you say another word, Jimmy! I tell ya, not one more!’

And Pastor Bill turned to see the woman stood in red.

‘There ain’t nought for you to learn here, Pastor,’ the Crimson Lady said.

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