|Home -> Miscellaneous (non California related books) -> Angel Island -> Chapter 7|
"Where's Peachy?" Julia asked casually the next afternoon.
"I've been wondering where she was, too," Lulu answered. "I think she must have slept late this morning. I haven't seen her all day."
"Is Angela with the children now?" Julia went on.
"I suppose so," Lulu replied. She lifted herself from the couch. Shading her hands, she studied the group at the water's edge. Honey-Boy and Peterkin were digging wells in the sand. Junior making futile imitative movements, followed close at their heels. Near the group of women, Honey-Bunch crept across the mat of pine-needles, chasing an elusive sunbeam. "No, she's not there."
"Now that I think of it, Angela didn't come to play with Peterkin this morning," said Clara. "Generally she comes flying over just after breakfast."
"You don't suppose Peachy's ill," asked Chiquita, "or Angela."
"Oh, no!" Lulu answered. "Ralph would have told one of us."
"Here she comes up the trail now," Chiquita exclaimed. "Angela's with her."
"Yes - but what's the matter?" Lulu cried.
"She's all bent over and she's staggering."
"She's crying," said Clara, after a long, intent look.
"Yes," said Lulu. "She's crying hard. And look at Angela - the darling! She's trying to comfort her."
Peachy was coming slowly towards them; slowly because, although both hands were on the rail, she staggered and stumbled. At intervals, she dropped and crawled on hands and knees. At intervals, convulsions of sobbing shook her, but it was voiceless sobbing. And those silent cataclysms, taken with her blind groping progress, had a sinister quality. Lulu and Julia tottered to meet her. "What is it, oh, what is it, Peachy?" they cried.
Peachy did not reply immediately. She fought to control herself. "Go down to the beach, baby," she said firmly to Angela. "Stay there until mother calls you. Fly away!"
The little girl fluttered irresolutely. "Fly away, dear!" Peachy repeated. Angela mounted a breeze and made off, whirling, circling, dipping, and soaring, in the direction of the water. Once or twice, she paused, dropped and, bounding from earth to air, turned her frightened eyes back to her mother's face. But each time, Peachy waved her on. Angela joined Honey-Boy and Peterkin. For a moment she poised in the air; then she sank and began languidly to dig in the sand.
"I couldn't let her hear it," Peachy said. "It's about her. Ralph - ." She lost control of herself for a moment; and now her sobs had voice. "I asked him last night about Angela and her flying. I don't exactly know why I did. It was something you said to me yesterday, Julia, that put it into my head. He said that when she was eighteen, he was going to cut her wings just as he cut mine."
There came clamor from her listeners. "Cut Angela's wings!" "Why?" "What for?"
Peachy shook her head. "I don't know yet why, although he tried all night, to make me understand. He said that he was going to cut them for the same reason that he cut mine. He said that it was all right for her to fly now when she was a baby and later when she was a very young girl, that it was 'girlish' and 'beautiful' and 'lovely' and 'charming' and 'fascinating' and - and - a lot of things. He said that he could not possibly let her fly when she became a woman, that then it would be 'unwomanly' and 'unlovely' and 'uncharming' and 'unfascinating.' He said that even if he were weak enough to allow it, her husband never would. I could not understand his argument. I could not. It was as if we were talking two languages. Besides, I could scarcely talk, I cried so. I've cried for hours and hours and hours."
"Sit down, Peachy," Julia advised gently. "Let us all sit down." The women sank to their couches. But they did not lounge; they continued to sit rigidly upright. "What are you going to do, Peachy?"
"I don't know. But I'll throw myself into the ocean with Angela in my arms before I'll consent to have her wings cut. Why, the things he said. Lulu, he said that Angela might marry Honey-Boy, as they were the nearest of age. He said that Honey-Boy would certainly cut her wings, that he, no more than Honey, could endure a wife who flew. He said that all earth-men were like that. Lulu, would you let your child do - do - that to my child?"
Lulu's face had changed - almost horribly. Her eyes glittered between narrowed lids. Her lips had pulled away from each other, baring her teeth. "You tell Ralph he's mistaken about my son," she ground out.
"That's what I told him," Peachy went on in a breaking voice. "But he said you wouldn't have anything to do or say about it. He said that Honey-Boy would be trained in these matters by his father, not by his mother. I said that you would fight them both. He asked me what chance you would have against your husband and your son. He - he - he always spoke as if Honey-Boy were more Honey's child than yours, and as though Angela were more his child than mine. He said that he had talked this question over with the other men when Angela's wings first began to grow. He said that they made up their minds then that her wings must be cut when she became a woman. I besought him not to do it - I begged, I entreated, I pleaded. He said that nothing I could say would change him. I said that you would all stand by me in this, and he asked me what we five could do against them. He, called us five tottering females. Oh, it grew dreadful. I shrieked at him, finally. As he left, he said, 'Remember your first day in the Clubhouse, my dear! That's my answer.'" She turned to Clara. "Clara, you are going to bear a child in the spring. It may be a girl. Would you let son of mine or any of these women clip her wings? Will you suffer Peterkin to clip Angela's wings?"
Clara's whole aspect had fired. Flame seemed burst from her gray-gree eyes, sparks to shoot to from her tawny head. "I would strike him dead first."
Peachy turned to Chiquita. The color had poured into Chiquita's face until her full brown eyes glared from a purple mask. "You, too, Chiquita. You may bear girl-children. Oh, will you help me?"
"I'll help you," Chiquita said steadily. She added after a pause, "I cannot believe that they'll dare, though."
"Oh, they'll dare anything," Peachy said bitterly. Earth-men are devils. What shall we do, Julia? she asked wearily.
Julia had arisen. She stood upright. Curiously, she did not totter. And despite her shorn pinions, she seemed more than ever to tower like some Winged Victory of the air. Her face ace glowed with rage. As on that fateful day at the Clubhouse, it was as though a fire had been built in an alabaster vase. But as they looked at her, a rush of tears wiped the flame from her eyes. She sank back again on the couch. She put her hands over her face and sobbed. "At last," she said strangely. "At last! At last! At last!"
"What shall we do, Julia?" Peachy asked stonily.
"Rebel!" answered Julia.
"Refuse to let them cut Angela's wings."
"Oh, I would not dare open the subject with Ralph," Peachy said in a terror-stricken voice. "In the mood he's in, he'd cut her wings tonight."
"I don't mean to tell him anything about it," Julia replied. "Rebel in secret. I mean - they overcame us once by strategy. We must beat them now by superior strategy."
"You don't really mean anything secret, do you, Julia?" Lulu remonstrated. "That wouldn't be quite fair, would it?"
And curiously enough, Julia answered in the exact words that Honey had used once. "Anything's fair in love or war - and this is both. We can't be fair. We can't trust them. We trusted them once. Once is enough for me."
"But how, Julia?" Peachy asked. Her voice had now a note of querulousness in it. "How are we going to rebel?"
Julia started to speak. Then she paused. "There's something I must ask you first. Tell me, all of you, what did you do with your wings when the men cut them off?"
The rage faded out of the four faces. A strange reticence seemed to blot out expression. The reticence changed to reminiscence, to a deep sadness.
Lulu spoke first. "I thought I was going to keep my wings as long as I lived. I always thought of them as something wonderful, left over from a happier time. I put them away, done up in silk. And at first I used to look at them every day. But I was always sad afterwards - and - and gradually, I stopped doing it. Honey hates to come home and find me sad. Months went by - I only looked at them occasionally. And after a while, I did not look at them at all. Then, one day, after Honey built the fireplace for me, I saw that we needed something - to - to - to sweep the hearth with. I tried all kinds of things, but nothing was right. Then, suddenly, I remembered my wings. It had been two years since I'd looked at them. And after that long time, I found that I didn't care so much. And so - and so - one day I got them out and cut them into little brooms for the hearth. Honey never said anything about it - but I knew he knew. Somehow - ." A strange expression came into the face of the unanalytic Lulu. "I always have a feeling that Honey enjoys using my wings about the hearth."
Julia hesitated. "What did you do, Chiquita?"
"Oh, I had all Lulu's feeling at first, of course. But it died as hers did. You see this fan. You have often commented on how well I've kept it all these years - I've mended it from month to month with feathers from my own wings. The color is becoming to me - and Frank likes me to carry a fan. He says that it makes him think of a country called Spain that he always wanted to visit when he was a youth."
"And you, Clara?" Julia asked gently.
"Oh, I went through," Clara replied, "just what Lulu and Chiquita did. Then, one day, I said to myself, 'What's the use of weeping over a, dead thing?' I made my wings into wall-decorations. You're right about Honey, Lulu." For a moment there was a shade of conscious coquetry in Clara's voice. "I know that it gives Pete a feeling of satisfaction - I don't exactly know why (unless it's a sense of having conquered) - to see my wings tacked up on his bedroom walls."
Peachy did not wait for Julia to put the question to her. "As soon as I could move, after they freed us from the Clubhouse, I threw mine into the sea. I knew I should go mad if I kept them where I could see them every day. Just to look at them was like a sharp knife going through my heart. One night, while Ralph was asleep, I crawled out of the house on my hands and knees, dragging them after me. I crept down to the beach and threw them into the water. They did not sink - they floated. I stayed until they drifted out of sight. The moon was up. It shone on them. Oh, the glorious blue of them - and the glitter - the - the - ." But Peachy could not go on.
"What did you do with yours, Julia?" Lulu asked at last.
"I kept them until last night," Julia answered.
Among the ship's stuff was a beautiful carved chest. It was packed with linen. Billy said it was some earth-girl's wedding outfit. I took everything out of the chest and put my wings in it. Folded carefully, they just fitted. I used to brood over them every night before I went to bed. Oh, they were wonderful in the dark - as if the chest were full of white fire. Many times I've waked up in the middle of the night and gone to look at them. I don't know why, but I had to do it. After a while, it hurt me so much that I made up my mind to lock the chest forever; for I always wept. I could not help it."
Julia wept now. The tears poured down her cheeks. But she went on.
"After yesterday's talk, I thought this situation over for a long time. Then I went to the chest, took out my wings, brought them downstairs and - and - and - ."
"What?" somebody whispered.
"Burned them!" Julia's deep voice swelled on the word "burned" as though she still felt the scorching agony of that moment.
For a long moment, nobody spoke.
Julia asked their question for them. "Do you want to know why I did it?" And without waiting, she answered, "Because I wanted to mark in some way the end of my desire to fly. We must stop wanting to fly, we women. We must stop wasting our energy brooding over what's past. We must stop it at once. Not only that but - for Angela's sake and for the sake of all girl-children who will be born on this island - we must learn to walk."
"Learn to walk!" Peachy repeated. "Julia, have you gone mad? We have always held out against this degradation. We must continue to do so. Again came that proud lift of her shoulders, the vibrant stir of wing-stumps. That would lower us to a level with men."
"But are we lowering ourselves?" Julia asked. Are they really on a lower level? Isn't the earth as good as the air?"
"It's better, Julia," Lulu said unexpectedly. "The earth's a fine place. It's warm and homelike. Things grow there. There's nothing in the air."
"There are the stars," murmured Peachy.
"Yes," said Julia with a soft tenderness, "but we never reached them."
"The air-life may not have been better or finer," Peachy continued, "but, somehow, it seemed clearer and purer. The earth's such a cluttered place. It's so full of things. You can hardly see it for the stuff that's on it. From above it seems beautiful, but near - ."
"Yet, it is on the earth that we must live - and that Angela must live," Julia interpolated gently.
"But what is the use of our learning to walk?" Peachy demanded.
"To teach Angela how to walk and all the other girl-children that are coming to us."
"But I am afraid," Peachy said anxiously, that if Angela learned to walk, she would forget how to fly."
"On the contrary," Julia declared, "she would fly better for knowing how to walk, and walk better for knowing how to fly."
"I don't see it," interposed Clara emphatically. "I don't see what we get out of walking or what Angela will get out of it. Suppose we learned to walk? The men would stop helping us along. We'd lose the appeal of helplessness."
"But what is there about what you call 'the appeal of helplessness' that makes it worth keeping?" Julia asked, smiling affectionately into Clara's eyes. "Why shouldn't we lose it?"
"Why, because," Clara exclaimed indignantly, "because - because - why, because," she ended lamely. Then, with one of her unexpected bursts of mental candor, "I'm sure I don't know why," she admitted, "except that we have always appealed to them for that reason. Then again," she took up her argument from another angle, "if we learn to walk, they won't wait on us any more. They may even stop giving us things. As it is now, they're really very generous to us."
The others smiled with varying degrees of furtiveness. Pete, as they all knew, could always placate an incensed Clara by offering her some loot of the homeward way: a bunch of flowers, a handful of nuts, beautifully colored pebbles, shells with the iridescence still wet on them. She soon tired of these toys, but she liked the excitement of the surprise.
"Generous to us!" Chiquita burst out - and this was as unexpected as Lulu's face-about. "Well, when you come to that, they're never generous to us. They make us pay for all they give us. They seem generous - but they aren't really - any more than we are."
"They are far from generous," said Peachy. "They are ungenerous. They're tyrants. They're despots. See how they took advantage of our innocence and ignorance of earth-conditions."
"I protest." A note that they had never heard from Julia made steel of the thrilling melody of her voice. "You must know that is not true!" she said in an accusing voice. "Be fair to them! Tell the truth to yourselves! If they took advantage of our innocence and ignorance, it was we who tempted them to it in the first place. As for our innocence and ignorance - you speak as, if they were beautiful or desirable. We were innocent and ignorant of earth-conditions because we were too proud to learn about them, because we always assumed that we lowered ourselves by knowing anything about them. Our mistake was that we learned to fly before we learned to walk."
"But, Julia, what are we going to do about Angela?" Peachy asked impatiently.
"I'm coming to that presently," Julia answered. "But before - I want to ask you a question. Do you remember the big cave in the northern reef - the one we used to hide in?"
"Oh, I remember," Lulu said, "perfectly."
"Did you ever tell Honey about it?" Julia turned to her directly.
"No. Why, we promised never to tell, didn't we? In case we ever needed a place of refuge - ."
"Have any of you ever told about it?" Julia turned to the others. "Think carefully! This is important."
"I never have told," Peachy said wearily. "But about Angela - ."
"Have you, Chiquita?" Julia interrupted with a strange insistence.
"I have never thought of it from that day to this," Chiquita answered.
"Nor I," replied Clara. "I'm not sure that I could go to it now. Could you, Julia?"
"Oh, yes," Julia answered eagerly, "I've - ." She stopped abruptly. "But now I want to talk to you, and I want you to listen carefully. I am going to tell you why I think we should learn to walk. It is, in brief, for Angela's sake and for the sake of every girl-child that is born on this island. For a long time, you will think that I am talking about other things. But you must be patient. I have seen this situation coming ever since Angela's wings began to grow. I could not hurry it - but I knew it must come. Many nights I have lain awake, planning what I should say to you when the time came. The time has come - and I am going to say it. It is a long, long speech that I shall deliver; and I am going to speak very plainly. But you must not get angry - for you know how much I love you and how much I love your children.
"I'm going back to our young girlhood, to the time when our people were debating the Great Flight. We thought that we were different from them all, we five, that we were more original and able and courageous. And we were different. For when our people decided to go south to the Snowlands, the courage of rebellion grew in us and we deserted in the night. Do you remember the wonderful sense of freedom that came to us, and how the further north we flew, the stronger it became? When we found these islands, it seemed to us that they must have been created especially for us. Here, we said, we would live always, free from earth-ties - five incorruptible air-women.
"Then the men came. I won't go into all that. We've gone over it hundreds and hundreds of times, just as we did this afternoon, playing the most pathetic game we know - the do-you-remember game. But after they came, we found that we were not free from earth-ties. For the Great Doom overtook us and we fell in love. Then came the capture. And we lost our wings."
She paused a moment.
"Do you remember that awful day at the Clubhouse, how Chiquita, comforted us? I - I failed you then; I fainted; I felt myself to blame for your betrayal. But Chiquita kept saying, 'Don't be afraid. They won't hurt us. We are precious to them. They would rather die than lose us. They need us more than we need them. They are bound to us by a chain that they cannot break.' And for a long time that seemed true. What we had to learn was that we needed them just as much as they needed us, that we were bound to them by a chain that we could not break.
"I often think" - Julia's voice had become dreamy - " now when it is so different, of those first few months after the capture. How kind they were to us, how gentle, how considerate, how delicate, how chivalrous! Do you remember that they treated us as if we were children, how, for a long time, they pretended to believe in fairies? Do you remember the long fairy-hunts in the moonlit jungle, the long mermaid-hunts in the moonlit ocean? Do you remember the fairy-tales by the fire? It seemed to me then that life was one long fairy-tale. And how quickly we learned their language! Has it ever occurred to you that no one of them has ever bothered to learn ours - none except Frank, and he only because he was mentally curious? Then came the long wooing. How we argued the marriage question - discussed and debated - each knowing that the Great Doom was on her and could not be gain-said.
"Then came the betrothal, the marriages, and suddenly all that wonderful starlight and firelight life ended. For a while, the men seemed to drift away from each other. For a while, we - the 'devoted five,' as our people called us - seemed to drift away from each other. It was as though they took back something they had freely given each other to give to us. It was as though we took back something we had freely given each other to give to them.
"Then, just as suddenly, they began to drift away from us and back to each other. Some of the high, worshiping quality in their attitude toward us disappeared. It was as though we had become less beautiful, less interesting, less desirable - as if possession had killed some precious, perishable quality."
"What that quality is I do not know. We are not dumb like stones or plants, we women. We are not dull like birds or beasts. We do not fade in a day like flowers. We do not stop like music. We do not go out like light. What it was that went, or when or how, I do not know. But it was something that thrilled and enchanted them. It went - and it went forever."
"It was as though we were toys - new toys - with a secret spring. And if one found and pressed that spring, something unexpected and something unbelievably wonderful would happen. They hunted for that spring untiringly - hunted - and hunted - and hunted. At last they found it. And after they found it, we no longer interested them. The mystery and fascination had gone. After all, a toy is only a toy."
"Then came our great trouble - that terrible time of the illicit hunting. Every man of them making love to some one of you. Every woman of you making love to some one of them. That was a year of despair for me. I could see no way out. It seemed to me that you were all drifting to destruction and that I could not stay you. And then I began to realize that the root of evil was only one thing idleness. Idle men! Idle women! And as I wondered what we should do next, Nature took the matter in her hands. She gave all you women work to do."
Julia paused. Her still gray eyes fixed on faraway things.
"Honey-Boy was born, then Peterkin, then Angela, then Honey-Bunch. And suddenly everything was right again. But, somehow, the men seemed soon to exhaust the mystery and fascination of fatherhood just as they had exhausted the mystery and fascination of husbandhood. They became restless and irritable. It seemed to me that another danger beset us - vague, monstrous, looming - but I did not know what. You see they have the souls of discoverers and explorers and conquerors, these earth-men. They are creators. Their souls are filled with an eternal unrest. Always they must attempt one thing more; ever they seek something beyond. They would stop the sun and the moon in their courses; they would harness the hurricane; they would chain the everlasting stars. Sea, earth, sky are but their playgrounds; past, present, future their servants; they lust to conquer the unexplored areas of space and time. It came to me that what they needed was work of another kind. One night, when I was lying awake thinking it over, the idea of the New Camp burst on my mind. Do you remember how delighted they were when I suggested it to them, how delighted you were, how gay and jubilant we all were, how, for days and days, we talked of nothing else? And we were as happy over the idea as they. For a long time, we thought that we were going to help.
"We thought that we were going with them every day, not to work but to sit in the nearby shade, to encourage them with our praise and appreciation. And we did go for a month. But they had to carry us all the way - or nearly carry us. Think of that - supporting a full-grown woman all that weary road. I saw the feeling begin to grow in them that we were burdens. I watched it develop. Understand me, a beautiful burden, a beloved burden, but still a burden, a burden that it would be good to slip off the back for the hours of the working day. I could not blame them. For we were burdens. Then, under one pretext or another, they began to suggest to us not to go daily to the New Camp with them. The sun was too hot; we might fall; insects would sting us; the sudden showers were too violent. Finally, that if we did not watch the New Camp grow, it would be a glorious surprise to us when it was finished.
"At first, you were all touched and delighted with their gallantry - but I - I knew what it meant."
"I tried to stem the torrent of their strange, absorption, but I could not. It grew and grew. And now you see what has happened. It has been months since one of us has been to the New Camp and all of you, except Peachy and myself, have entirely lost interest in it. It is not surprising. It is natural. I, too, would lose interest if I did not force myself to talk with Billy about it every night of my life. Lulu said yesterday that it seemed strange to her that, after working together all day, they should want to get together in the Clubhouse at night. For a long time that seemed strange to me - until I discovered that there is a chain binding them to each other even as there is a chain binding them to us. And the Bond of Work is stronger than the Bond of Sex because Work is a living, growing thing."
"In the meantime, we have our work too - the five children. But it is a little constructive work - not a great one. For in this beautiful, safe island, there is not much that we can do besides feed them. And so, here we sit day after day, five women who could once fly, big, strong, full-bodied, teeming with various efficiencies and abilities - wasted. If we had kept our wings, we could have been of incalculable assistance to them. Or if we could walk - ."
"But I won't go further into our situation. I want to consider Angela's."
"You are wondering what all this has to do with the matter of Angela's flying. And now I am going to tell you. Don't you see if they wait until she is a woman before they cut her wings, she will be in the same case that we are in, unable either to fly or to walk. Rather would I myself cut her wings to-night and force her to walk. But on the other hand, should she grow to womanhood with wings, she would be no true mate to a wingless man unless she could also walk. No, we must see to it that she both flies and walks. In that case, she will be a perfect mate to the wingless man. Her strength will not be as great as his - but her facility will be greater. She will walk well enough to keep by his side; and her flying will supplement his powers."
"And then - oh, don't you see it - don't you see why we must fight - fight - fight for Angela, don't you see why her wings are a sacred trust with us? Sometime, there will be born here - - Clara," she turned her look on Clara's excited face, "it may be the baby that's coming to you in the spring - sometime there will be born here a boy with wings. Then more and more often they will come until there are as many winged men as winged women. What will become of our girl-children then if their mates fly as well as walk away from them. There is only one way out. And there is only one duty before us - to learn to walk that we may teach our daughters to walk - to preserve our daughter's wings that they may teach their sons to fly."
"But, Julia," Peachy exclaimed, after an instant of dead silence. There was a stir of wonder, flutelike in her voice, a ripple of wonder, flamelike on her face. "Our feet are too fine, too soft. Ralph says that mine are only toy feet, that no creature could really get along on them."
She kicked the loose sandals off. Tiny, slim, delicately chiseled, her feet were of a china whiteness, except where, at the tips, the toes showed a rose-flush or where, over the instep, the veins meandered in a blue network.
"Of course Peachy's feet are smaller than mine," Lulu said wistfully. "But even my workaday little pads wouldn't carry me many steps." From under her skirts appeared a pair of capable-looking, brown feet, square, broad but little and satin-smooth.
"Mine are quite useless," Chiquita sighed. "Oh, why did I let myself grow so big?" There was a note of despair in her velvet voice. "It's almost as if there were no muscles in them." She pulled aside her scarlet draperies. In spite of her increasing size, her dusky feet had kept their aristocratic Andalusian lines.
"And I've always done just the things that would make it impossible for me to walk," said Clara in a discouraged tone. "I've always taken as much care of my feet as my hands - they're like glass." This was true. In the pale-gold of her skin, the pink nails glittered brilliantly.
"And think of your own feet, Julia," Lulu exclaimed. "They're like alabaster. Pete says that from the artist's point of view, they're absolutely perfect. You don't imagine for an instant that you could take a step on them, unsupported?"
"No?" said Julia. "No?" With a swift leap of her body, she stood on the feet in question. And as the other stared, stupefied, she walked with the splendid, swinging gait of an Amazon once, twice, thrice around the Playground.
"Come, Angela!" Peachy called. "Come, baby!"
Angela started to spread her pinions. "Don't fly, baby," Peachy called. "Walk!"
Obediently, Angela dropped her wings, sank. Her feet, shell-like, pinky-soft, padded the ground. She tried to balance, but she swayed and fell.
"No matter, darling!" Peachy called cheerily, "Try again!"
Angela heroically pulled herself up. She made a few uncertain steps, but she stumbled with every move.
Honey-Boy and Peterkin came running up to her side; Junior, grinning happily, waddled behind a long way in the rear. "Angela's trying to walk!" the boys cried. "Angela's trying to walk!" They capered with amusement. "Oh, isn't she funny? Look at the girl trying to walk!"
The tears spurted from Angela's eyes. Her lips quivered. Her wings shot up straight.
"Don't mind what the boys say, Angela!" Peachy called. "Put your wings down! Keep right on walking!"
Again Angela's pinions dropped. Again she took a few steps. This time she fell to her knees. But she pulled herself up, sped onward, fell again, and again. She had reached the stones that bounded the sand. When she arose this last time, her foot was, bleeding.
"Keep on walking, baby!" Peachy commanded inflexibly. But there was a rain of tears on her check.
Angela staggered forward a rod or two; and now both feet left a trail of blood. Then suddenly again she struggled for balance, fell headlong.
"Keep on walking, mother's heart's treasure," Peachy commanded. She dropped to her knees and held out her arms; her face worked uncontrollably.
Angela pulled herself up with a determined settling of her little rose-petal mouth. Swaying, stumbling, staggering, she ran on in one final spurt until she collapsed in her mother's arms.