Trouble's Child

Trouble's Child by Mildred Pitts; Walter Read Free Book Online

Book: Trouble's Child by Mildred Pitts; Walter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mildred Pitts; Walter
midwife. She’s good, Martha, one of the best.”
    â€œBut Miss Boudreaux, I want t’ finish school.”
    â€œYou’ll have to ask your grandmother.”
    â€œPlease, can’t yuh hep me?”
    â€œMartha, that means going away. Your grandmother would have to agree on any arrangement. You will need money and it’s late now to start plans for this year.”
    â€œBut can’t we do somethin?” For a moment they stood in silence.
    Finally, Miss Boudreaux said, “Maybe I can go on teaching you.”
    â€œGranma won’t let me come evey day.” Martha lowered her eyes and pulled her shawl tighter.
    â€œOh, not every day. We can set a schedule. I’ll give you assignments that you can do at home. Then I’ll see you when they are done and you’re ready for more.”
    Martha kept her eyes fixed on the ground. Miss Boudreaux said, “Martha, one day you’ll be able to go away. Maybe when you’re older.”
    Martha looked up and smiled. “I’m so much obliged t’ you, teacher.”
    Miss Boudreaux drew Martha to her for a quick embrace. For a moment Martha was breathless, but in that small space in time she felt sheltered.

SEVEN
    Martha and Titay walked on the trail that led to the Gulf. The bushes along the way were wet with morning dew, and as they came closer to the water, fog clung to the earth in heavy clouds. The only sounds were those made by their footsteps and the surging of the Gulf. They walked in silence through the fog toward the bed of seaweed.
    Suddenly the blurred outline of a boat appeared. Startled, Martha stopped, grabbing Titay’s arm. Titay said, “What is it, girl?”
    â€œGranma, you see that?”
    â€œSee what?”
    Was it a ghost ship? Martha had never seen one like it before. The sails were limp and the boat listed heavily to one side in the low tide, close to shore.
    â€œI git a glimpse of somethin.” Titay moved closer to the water.
    â€œNo, Granma. Le’s go back.”
    â€œWait, girl.” Titay held Martha’s hand, and as the fog passed in and out they saw that it was a real boat.
    They looked up the trail. Only a short distance away Martha saw the form of a man, lying face down. “Granma!” She put her hand over her mouth to stifle a scream. “Look, there’s a man! Le’s run and warn the village.”
    Titay moved toward the stranger.
    â€œNo, Granma!”
    â€œIf he dead, he can’t do no harm. If he live, he might need us t’ hep im.”
    The man lay in the mud, his wet clothes clinging to him. Titay knelt and turned his head. With one hand she felt the pulse while the quick fingers of the other hand cleared his mouth for easier breathing.
    â€œHe breathes,” Titay said, “and he shakes.”
    He groaned as Titay covered his body with her shawl.
    â€œRun, git hep, girl; we got t’ git im home.”
    Martha returned with only two men, Beau, and Ocie’s father, Elmo.
    â€œWho’s he?” Elmo asked.
    â€œI don’t know,” Titay answered.
    â€œThen what yuh want us fuh?” Elmo asked.
    â€œT’ tote im in fuh care.”
    â€œBut e’s a stranger,” Beau said. “How yuh know …”
    â€œWe know e’s our kind,” Titay said sharply. “And if we wash up on ’is sho, would we want im t’ ast questions, or take us in?”
    â€œTake us in,” Elmo answered.
    â€œSo we do as much fuh im.”
    â€œBut I can’t take im. I got no room, no.”
    â€œThen t’ my house.”
    â€œBut, Granma!”
    â€œT’ my house!” Titay said again.
    Beau glanced at Martha to show sympathy. Martha shrugged and sighed. She whispered to Beau behind Titay’s back, “That’s jus like Granma, ain’t it?”
    The fog lifted slowly and drifted out to the Gulf as they carried the stranger on to Titay’s

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