Talking Book

What I Never Understood about Mabel and Malcolm


My dear, dear sister Mabel, what a poor, young thing! She has just broken things off with her young man — the man she is utterly in love with — and will not stop crying!

After writing to Mabel about my loneliness in my new home, she and Malcolm, decided to come visit me and John for a long weekend. It was such a beautiful weekend, being that perfect weather between Spring and Summer. On the first night of their arrival, Mabel and I were lying in my bed while John and Murchison were on the piazza.

“Annie,” she said with tears filling her eyes, “I think Malcolm is seeing another woman.”

“Why do you think that, my dear?”

“Well, Diana from the shoe store told me that Kate from the mayor’s office saw him walking into church with another woman. I haven’t got the gut to ask him.”

“Honey, you must. That is the only way you will know.”

My sister and I fell asleep, and the next morning I woke to an empty bed. I walked into the parlor room to see Mabel crying, holding a folded picture of a woman in her hand.

“Samantha. It says her name on the back of the picture. This must be her.”

“Oh, Mabel,” I said, running over to her.

“That’s it, I must leave him.” She left the room and stormed into the guest suite to confront Murchison.

The afternoon was a disaster — the two of them would not stop yelling, and John was as cranky as ever. I told him not to engage in the argument, and to allow my sister to say what she needed to say. She was betrayed, after all. My sister’s rage and Malcolm’s wrongdoings made me think about my marriage with John. I had never suspected John of running off with another woman. In fact, he has been interrogating me about Julius to such a degree that I believe he may be jealous of my relationship with him.

My poor sister, I feel so awful. She is so different than I am, she has no control of her emotions. She never allows herself to process, she just reacts to any given situation with fire and passion. A girl like that is bound to get her heart broken.

My sister decided to stay an extra few days. She and I both needed the company. She took a liking to Julius as I have. (What did John dislike about him so much?) On our way to the neighbor’s vineyard, I wanted to stop and get some flowers. In the middle of the journey, our horse stopped, and Julius claimed it was because of a ghost the mare saw, a ghost named Chloe.

While sitting in the middle of the path, we listened to Julius’s story of Chloe intently. Mabel began to cry — the thought of being separated from Malcolm as Chloe had been separated from Jeff was unbearable. For she had to get her sweetheart back.

On our way home, we saw Malcolm’s servant, Marshall coming up the road to pick up Malcolm’s things from our house. I leaned over to Mabel, “He’s here, sweetie. You can give it one more try, or walk away and risk never finding another love like that again.”

Mabel squeezed my hand, and jumped out of the carriage. When we caught up to her, we saw her and Malcolm hand in hand, walking along the road.

Later in the week, Julius came to visit me in the kitchen.

“Julius, did you know Malcolm was coming back?”

“Yus’m. I told em he wuz makin’ a big mustake n needed tuh say his sor’y to miz Mmabel.”

“And why did you do that?”

“Miz Mmabel wuz talkin wid me about mistuh Malcolm n I told huh the story of me n mah wife Evangeline. She wuz so sad fuh me that she brought me sum food from da market n sum flowas fuh my wife. It made Eva so happy I nearly cried. I wanted ta do sumthin fuh miz Mabel in return.”

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