Sunday, November 11, 2012

Freedoms Mistress

              

For some time the carriage rattled along the narrow streets of Washington, stopping before the shop whose window declared “McLogsdon Tailoring”. The occupant stepped out and crossed the walk to the door.
            The proprietor brightened to see his best customer, stepping forward, hand extended.
            “What is the purpose of your visit today?” he requested politely.
            “I am afraid there is an element for concern,” adding hesitantly, “I wish not to carp.”  
The tailor asked in astonishment. “Pray, tell?” 
The gent reached and turned out a hip pocket made from a bit of cloth so small it might only hold a few coins.
“Mary and Joseph!” He remarked, his brogue slipping. “Stitcher Girl!” He shouted dabbing a hanky to his brow. There appeared through the curtained door a young lady, shyly bending her bonneted head toward the floor. “Here, say the reason for which ye have placed such a margin on pocket material? Have you no knowledge of the importance of my distinguished patron?”  Her silence explained nothing, but there came the sound of a great crashing sound from the street and attention was drawn by all to the shouts and accusations of a calamity without. Instantly the tailor’s eyes were drawn to the event and quickly he departed to determine what sort of damage had occurred.
Silently the two remained to wonder at the awkward moment that filled the room. Abruptly there could be heard the sound of a bubbling and the woman quickly brought her hand to her mouth. “Please sir,” she pleaded and left to see to the spilling, onto the hearth, in the rear quarters. “masters dinner!” she cried and hurried to the neglected kettle. There came a shriek of pain and a lid clattered to the floor.
“It’s not a problem.” The gent shouted to the empty store, “I shall return at a later time.”  With no response he moved toward the back, asking “can I help?” Slowly he pulled back the curtain to see the woman kneeling on the floor, her hand reddened from the steam of the pot,  trying to lift the heavy lid with her good hand.
            Abruptly she spoke from her pain. “Yes Mister President, you can free my people!” she raised her tearing eyes to meet his shocked face. Now the tables had suddenly turned and it startled him to be talked to with such sauce from a darkie. Slowly he bent to lift her and grasped her reddened hand.
“It’s not terribly bad,” he said soothingly, covering the spot with his firm hand.
His touch cooled her pain. Her eyes filling with tears; she worked them off her cheeks with her good hand. Slowly their hands reached around each other into a tight embrace. There was a long silence and he looked down to her tranquil face, “Be you the first to know my writing today takes up your very cause, have you people in the South?
She nodded, drawing her reddened hand toward his face; together they felt the heat there.
“Your britches pockets was a contrivance, I had to speak to you somehows” she said softly into his coat. “He will beat me, Mister Lincoln.”
“No, he will not.” The president mumbled turning for the door. “You are a very clever woman. I shall think of you as I complete my proclamation today.” Then, meeting the tailors return, “I am found of my new change pockets and intend to reward your stitcher, and you, with more orders. They have livened me with an immense feeling of freedom” he stated proudly as he returned to the busy street.

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