The Amalgamation Polka (Vintage Contemporaries)
Born in 1844 in bucolic upstate New York, Liberty Fish is the son of fervent abolitionists as well as the grandson of Carolina slaveholders even more dedicated to their cause. Thus follows a childhood limned with fugitive slaves moving through hidden passageways in the house, and the inevitable distress that befalls his mother whenever letters arrive from her parents. In hopes of reconciling the familial disunion, Liberty escapes--first into the cauldron of war and then into a bedlam more disturbing still. In a vibrant display of literary achievement, Stephen Wright brings us a Civil War novel unlike any other.
Single pupil daring to stir, their innocent eyes intent upon this strange, mad woman laid out before them like a corpse awaiting resurrection—the frightening moment when Ma’am L’Orange would sit up with a start, as if catching herself in the midst of a great fall and, searching frantically about the bedclothes for her willow switch, seize in her bony grip the nearest hapless youth (never the agile, feisty Liberty whom she’d soon enough discovered wasn’t worth the trouble) and commence whaling.
To draw the toxins from the air; the drunken locktender who one night, deep into the corn, tried to light his pipe with a live coal and caught his beard on fire, and the next morning there was nothing left but a heap of char they sold to a local baker to burn in his kiln; the pathmaster’s wife with the temptational eye who would lie down in the timothy with you for a mere pistareen; the terrible breaches that sometimes left the Croesus helplessly “mudlarked” for a whole day or more; and, of.
Be of some interest.” “Well, it isn’t.” The dusted veneer of Mrs. Thorne’s face collapsed like the crust of a cooling pie, and without a word she retired to the dining salon and the reliable hospitality of complete strangers. “Will she be all right?” asked a concerned Thatcher. “Does she require attendance of any kind?” “Heavens no,” snapped Augusta, impatiently. “’Tis only her manner to which, over the years, I’ve become tediously accustomed. But tell me, do all you impetuous Americans go at.
Bedroom. There was a grand mystery and haunting romance to the setting which she experienced viscerally like a sweet breath drawn throughout the length of her small, thin body. Home. She simply could not imagine living anywhere else. She had been born in her parents’ bedroom mere steps down the hall from the room she now occupied and fully expected, some far distant day, to die in. And to glimpse again, after an absence of even the shortest duration, the familiar grounds and comforting lineaments.
Liberty,” he yelled, “I always have.” Then, with a tinny fanfare from the band, the curtain parted again, disclosing the stage now set with a row of empty wooden chairs in front of which posed a tall, lean man in a black frock coat, blue satin vest and black pantaloons. Tacked to the rear stage wall was an enormous banner announcing Professor Winslow McGurk’s Laughing Gas Exhibition. The tall man stepped to the edge of the stage and raised his hands for quiet. “Good evening, gentlemen,” he.