XII

THE WARNING

 

‘All I know is that he fell for the girl,

the one they were calling Molly Saint-Claire.

To him I could see that she meant the world,

but I had learned more, and it was my oath to swear

that I would keep him from all sort of harm.

But it was bound to be tough with a woman of charm

using her wiles to bewitch my son.

I was so certain of what should be done.’

 

The inn was packed now, and Jimmy was delighted

with the turnout and he invited

everyone to have one or two:

‘Sure you’re here now,’ he said. ‘What harm can it do?’

 

‘I had known long he was mine,’ said the Lady Denise.

‘Moving from one town to another, I never did cease

to watch over him, and I used all resource

to keep my Norman upon his course

of being a happy, healthy man.

But it was here, at Two Trails Inn, that the horror began.

 

‘It seemed like the Devil had called them here;

all of those men who thrived on fear.

My Father and Peabody and the Merchant Saint-Claire,

and all the rest of them had gathered there.

 

‘Through means I won’t tell ya, I heard them talk,

and I heard such things that made me turn.

Straight to Saint-Claire’s house I had to walk,

cos it was right time her mama should learn.

 

‘But it turned out her Mama knew all of the truth,

and expected the time when her daughter was used.

I relived again the terror of my youth

and vowed with my soul that she wouldn’t be abused.

 

‘I also knew Norman could not get involved,

for surely he would die to protect his love.

He would not let her go once he was resolved

to make her his bride with a faith from Above.

 

‘And so I found the Saint-Clare girl,

a-wanderin ‘round town without a care in the world.

She had no idea of her terrible fate,

and so I decided to set her straight.

 

‘But she didn’t believe me, she called me insane

and ran to her parents to tell what I’d said.

Her father was so angry, he gathered his gun

and promised his girl that he’d see me dead.

 

‘Within the hour, he stood at my door

screaming profanities…you bitch…you whore.

But I stood my ground, as the folk gathered ‘round

and I told them all they should be scared no more…

 

‘And he shot me.’

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