“George From Tangier”

“George From Tangier”

Chapter Two of The Devil Talked Back

By: Maggie Cassidy

Molly heard voices coming from outside. It was early morning, not long after sunrise. Her father’s voice, an accent muddled with bits of southern twang and northern clarity, set him apart from the other voices. It wasn’t unusual to hear his voice, considering that George Horn woke before the dawn to tend to his potato crops before the sun got too strong. She couldn’t name the other voices she heard, but Molly assumed that they belonged to Josiah and Milton Sticks from Pocomoke City. Molly had known Milton since she was young. Their daddies fought for the Confederacy together and settled in the Eastern Shore of Virginia after both Josiah and George were disowned from their Baltimore families for taking the so-called ‘rebel’ side.

When she was little, Molly was always proud that her daddy fought in the war. Her mother, Vivian, would tell her stories of her father’s valor in battle, and talk about what a strong man her father was for sacrificing his family for the sake of his values. But there was a rumor that circulated in Pocomoke City about her father. Over years of eavesdropping on the hushed whispers of fishwives, Molly was able to piece together that some people considered her father a deserter of the army. According to the rumors, George and Josiah fled North Carolina after his gunboat was taken down by the Union Navy, hoping that his commanding officers assumed them dead, and headed up the coast toward Virginia. Molly asked her mother if the rumors about her father were true, and was met with a slap across the face instead of answer.

Still, at 18 years old, Molly didn’t know much about her father’s life before the farm. Her father once told her that after he and Uncle Josiah left the army, they met a man called Old Scratch in Norfolk, Virginia who told him about a place where the soil was fertile, and the land and water lived in harmony. He called it the Eastern Shore. So, with no money and no names, Josiah and George made their way north getting passage with fishing and crabbing jobs, eventually ending up Greenbackville, Virginia. After all his time on the water, George chose a life of farming instead, and Josiah moved further north to Pocomoke City where there were more woods, hoping to rekindle his ancestral job as a lumberjack.

Even though it was Sunday, it was getting too late for Molly to stay in bed any longer without risking a lash from her father. Getting up and feeling her long hair break free from its knot, she began to re-braid her hair mussed hair. Somehow in the night, Molly’s plaited hair came out of it’s binding, probably from tossing and turning all night. She had the same dream that she a few weeks before, where she finds herself in the middle of the ocean standing on a row boat, watching another rowboat that is so tarnished that its wood looks black. Molly always woke up before she could do anything in her dream.

“Molly! You’d better get in here before your father outs that you’re still sleeping,” her mother called from the kitchen. Not wanting to anger her mother, or worse, her father, Molly finished braiding her hair and hurried out of her small bedroom into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Mama,” Molly said as she kissed her mother on the cheek. “Mmm. Smells good. Are you making grits?”

“Well good morning. I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that the Queen of Greenbackville was staying with us. Would you like to sleep longer your majesty?”

“I’m sorry. It’s just that I didn’t sleep very well last night. I was tossing and turning the whole time.”

“Well don’t let it happen again, especially with the first harvest coming up. We need as many hands as possible out in the fields with the house being almost finished. Your father expects you and your brother to pull your weight.”

“Speaking of Jackson, where is he? I thought he would’ve smelled your cooking by now.”

“Oh, he left to go out on the Bay with Milton. You just missed them.”

“I thought I heard Milton’s voice from outside.”

“What a fine, young man, that Milton is. Any girl would be lucky to be his wife.”

“Mama, please, can we not talk about that?”

“All I’m saying is that he’s a man of means, who you’ve known as long as you can remember. You’d live in the finest house in the area, well second finest, after ours is finished being built. And it would make your father very happy to have two of the most profitable families in the area united. It would be great for business.”

“Mama, how exactly would a potato business benefit a lumber business or the other way around? And besides, Milton hasn’t even asked me to marry him.”

“Hush now. All I’m asking is for you to think about it. Lord knows it would be best for you to want to marry him instead of your father forcing you to. Go on, eat your breakfast. There’s a lot of potatoes out there that need to be picked.”

Molly did as she was told and ate her breakfast. There was a time when the Horn’s didn’t have enough money for food, let alone breakfast. Usually, their meals consisted of the unsightly potatoes from their fields that didn’t sell at the market in Pocomoke City. But as the years went on, the crops yielded more potatoes, and the Horns became known for their potato business. As the Sticks became wealthy with their lumber business, so too did the Horns with their potato farm. Even though the horns could afford meat and other luxuries, Vivian and George made sure that their children never lost their roots by serving Molly and Jackson a potato with each dinner. The two were even expected to work alongside their parents, the rest of the farmhands, and Skidmore, their black foreman. After years of being successful of growing potatoes, George Horn decided to dabble in tobacco crops, which proved just as successful. George Horn was the agricultural baron of the lower Eastern Shore.

Just as Molly was finishing her breakfast, she could hear the sound of her father’s classic whistling coming from outside. It was the same tune that seemed to linger in the memories of her childhood. George would always whistle the song as he went about his business, but not once did he tell his family the name or words of the song. “It’s just a song from soldier days,” he would say to placate their interest, especially Molly’s. And that was the end of it. George’s whistling stopped as he came into the house. His heavy boots thumped on the wood floor. “Well, good morning, you two,” George said as he kissed Vivian on the cheek.

“Good morning, Daddy,” Molly said rising from her chair to greet her father.

“Well, hello, Molly. I thought you were going to sleep all day.”

“I know. I’m sorry, Daddy. I didn’t sleep well last night. I suppose I needed a few extra minutes.”

“Well, as long as you do your work today, I won’t be as bothered.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Listen, I want you go out to the field near Old Man Joe’s house and meet Viola and Skidmore, make sure that they’re getting all of the grubs on the potatoes. I was out there this morning and they need attending to.”

“Of course, Daddy.”

“I’m also trusting you to make sure that they do an honest job.”

“Yes, Daddy.”

“Oh and – wait, let me see your hands.”

“Why?”

“Just let me see the damn things,” he hollered grabbing Molly’s hands. “Well, I’ll be damned. Look at all of the dirt you got under these fingernails, girl,” he said gesturing to her fingers. “Vivian, we got ourselves a genuine farmhand over here,”

“More like a girl who will never find a husband because she’s too busy out in the dirt all day like an animal,” Vivian retorted back.

“No. It’s a sign of hard work and becoming one with the land. I remember the first day I came to this Shore with your Uncle Josiah. I knew this land would become one with the Horn blood, and it has with you and your brother. You should be proud to call this place home.”

“I am, Daddy.”

“Well,” he said dropping her hands, “I think you better get out to the fields. Those grubs won’t kill themselves.”

“Oh, I know, Daddy, I know.”

“Make sure you’re not gone all day. Skidmore’s got me all frightened with those ghost stories he was telling the rest of the ‘hands. I don’t want you wandering around all day alone,” Vivian said.

“Your mother’s right, Molly. This land is home, but you never know what could be out there, waiting,” George said.

“Actually, I was hoping that I could go down by the new property and go crabbing. The moon was orange last night, and Skidmore says that means there will be many crabs in the water,” Molly asked.

“I don’t know, Molly. Can’t you go with Jackson when he gets back tomorrow?” Vivian asked.

“Your mother’s right, Molly. You should wait then.”

“Please, Daddy. I’ll take Skidmore with me. He won’t let nothing bad happen to me. I promise.”

“Fine,” George said after a few seconds of hesitation, “but if I go out to the field by Old Man Joe’s tomorrow morning and see one grub on those potatoes, you won’t be able to crab until the next harvest.”

“I swear I’ll get the job done. Thank you, Daddy. Well, I guess I better get on to the field. I’ll see y’all later today,” Molly said as she left the kitchen and stepped outside.

“You better be careful, Molly,” her mother said from inside.

Molly pretended like she didn’t hear her mother and headed straight to the path in the woods that led to the other field. She was confident that she would remove all of the grubs, especially if she was working with Skidmore and his wife Viola, both of them were natives to the Shore. Skidmore’s father was a free black during the war who took up with an Algonquin woman during the war. But Skidmore’s father fought in for the Union in the United States Colored Troop regiment, and was killed in the Battle of the Crater, leaving Skidmore to be raised only by his mother and her Algonquin values. Skidmore knew everything about planting and harvesting on the Eastern Shore, which was probably why Molly’s daddy was willing to work with a black man, let alone pay him for his farming techniques. Skidmore was the one who came up with the idea of rotating the potato and tobacco crops to avoid grub and pest buildup on the potato plants. He even made a homemade elixir for the potato seeds to soak in before they were planted. When Vivian asked Skidmore what was in the elixir, he said it was a mixture of herbs and roots only Algonquin farmers knew that his mother would use in her garden. Molly liked to think that without Skidmore, her father wouldn’t be as successful as he was.

In her rush to get away from the Horn shack, Molly had veered off the main path of the forest and lost her bearings. The path in the woods that led to the other field by Old Man Joe’s house always scared Molly when she was younger. The path cut through a deep patch of woods that made Molly feel like she was trapped in a never-ending forest that looked the same in every direction. She had an alarming fear of getting lost among the loblolly pine trees and the occasional wild turkey that would cross her path in the woods. Molly felt like she was walking in the wrong direction, so she stopped to collect herself. The loblolly trees grew high, casting a shade across the forest. However, the sun came in through the slivers between the needles, revealing small patches of sunlight on the wet, forest floor. To get her back on the right direction, Molly pushed a stick in the ground to mark the end of the shadow and waited for the shadow to move, a trick Skidmore taught her when she was younger to placate her fears of getting lost. After several minutes the shadow moved to the left indicating that she was heading east, the correct direction to the field. Molly continued in her original direction, and eventually made it to the clearing of the field.

Ahead of her were rows of green bushes that stretched for acres, with strips of sandy brown dirt breaking up the green. The bushes of the plants were so green, that Molly thought most would find it hard to believe that something as dull in color as a potato came from something so verdant and lush. Molly could see Viola, and other farmhands employed by her father hunched over plants in the northeast part of the field, and over on the northwest corner stood Old Man Joe’s dilapidated shack. Molly hadn’t seen Joe leave his shack in years, but Skidmore told her that George paid Joe a small sum and a supply of potatoes to patrol the field at night to keep out deer and other pests, accounting for him sleeping all day inside his shack.

“Hello!” Molly cried out to the workers, garnering their attention. She picked up her pace and walked toward the group.

“Well, hi, Miss Molly,” Viola said, “What are you doing out here?”

“Oh, you know Daddy. Always wanting Jackson and I to do our part for the family,” Molly answered.

“I would have thought with y’all building your new house out on the point that he’d have made you and Miss Vivian ladies of leisure now,” Viola said.

“That’s George Horn for you,” Molly said. “So, Daddy said something about getting rid of all of the grubs?”

“Yeah, hunny. Skiddie’s over talking to Old Man Joe. He’ll be over in a few minutes to tell you where you can start.”

“Old Man Joe? What’s Skidmore talking to him for?”

“Oh, nothing,” Viola said as turned her face away from Molly, looking out towards the shack.

“Aw, come on, Viola. There has to be a reason. No one’s seen Joe for the past five years. The only way we know how he’s alive is that the potatoes we leave for him are always taken. Come on, you can tell me.”

“I don’t know.”

“Come on, please.”

Viola wiped her hands on her apron, leaving a brown dust on it and said, “Oh, alright. But you have to promise me you won’t tell nobody. Understand?”

“I swear on all of the potato fields.”

“Alright. Well, Skiddie and I were walking here early this morning from the house. And in the middle of the field we saw all of these buzzards just sittin’ in the middle of the field. We went over to shoo them away, but none of them moved. Instead, they all seemed to be staring at this dead turkey that was on the ground. They weren’t eating or anything. Just looking.”

“So what? It probably just ate some bad berries or something.”

“No Miss Molly – it wasn’t that.”

“What then?”

“The turkey, it’s head was cut clean off, it’s wings too. And its breast was sliced right down the middle with all of its guts placed right next to it. There was blood everywhere,” Viola said with a frightened look on her face that Molly had never seen before.

“Why are you upset, Viola? An animal probably got to it. It’s probably nothing.”

“Now, Molly, what kind of animal down here in this part would be able to kill an animal like that without eating it?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t see what the big deal is.”
“Well, you wouldn’t would you.”

“Oh, well, um, what’s Skidmore going to find out from Joe?”

“He’s asking if Joe saw or heard anything last night. He doesn’t want your daddy to find out, so please don’t tell him. Promise?”

“I promise.”

They both looked across the field and saw Skidmore leaving Joe’s shack. Molly could hear Skidmore yelling something towards Joe’s house, but couldn’t make out what he was saying.

“Why don’t you and Beatrice go work on the third crop strip? And I’ll send Skiddie over to you when he comes back.”

“Ok. That’s fine.”

“Beatrice,” Viola called over to the rest of the farmhands, “you and Miss Molly are going to work on the third crop strip. Make sure you show her that new trick of yours. I’ll be over on the fifth if you need me.” Viola turned and walked away from Molly heading not to the fifth crop strip, but to the end of the field toward Joe’s shack. Molly was confused by Viola’s behavior. What was so concerning about a dead turkey? Sure, the spilled blood on the potato plants would attract pests, but that was nothing new. And rumor had it that Joe was a drunk and walked around the perimeter of the field with a lantern in one hand and a bottle in another.

Molly spent the afternoon with Beatrice combing through all of the plants and removing every single last grub with a tobacco elixir that they recycled from last year’s tobacco crops. Molly always took pride in her work, a trait she learned from her father, but she made sure that no leaf went unturned on the third crop strip. She didn’t want to lose her crabbing privileges. A few hours later, after a long day under the Virginia sun, Skidmore announced that it was quitting time. All of the farmhands started off toward the woods that led to the plot of small homes where most of them lived. She noticed Skidmore and Viola leaving too. Not wanting to break her promise to her parents, she ran after Skidmore to get his attention.

“Skidmore! Skidmore!” Molly exclaimed running toward him.

“Hi there, Miss Molly. Did you clean up with Beatrice today,” Skidmore asked in his soothing deep voice. Molly liked to imagine that’s what God voice would sound like if he lived on the Eastern Shore.

“Yes sir. There wasn’t a leaf that I didn’t look under,” Molly replied.

“Well good. Well maybe I’ll see you tomorrow?” he said as he and Viola began to walk away.

“Skidmore? I was wondering if you could do me a favor,” Molly asked.

“A favor? Well that depends on what it is.”

“I told my mama that I would have you take me to the beach near the new house to go crabbing. She said I couldn’t go by myself on account of that story you told her last week – the one about the Wengo, Wingo? She’s been real scared of me going anywhere by myself ever since.”

Viola gave her husband a look that urged him to say no. “Well, I don’t know Miss Molly. Viola and I – well, it was such a long day. Perhaps another time?”

“Please, Skidmore. All you have to do is walk me there. I’ll be fine getting back on my own. Please?”

Skidmore gave Viola a defeated look, “Well, alright. But we gotta walk quickly, we don’t want the Wendigo – not the Wengo – to catch us,” Skidmore said with joking smile on his face.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Viola, do you want to come too?”

“No thank you, Miss Molly. I have some things to take care of at home. I have to go take care of my own garden,” Viola responded.

“Oh, okay,” Molly said as Viola gave Skidmore a kiss on his cheek.

“Oh, and Miss Molly?” Viola asked walking towards the path that led her home.

“Yes, Viola?”

“Remember what we talked about today. Don’t forget.” Realizing what Viola meant, Molly just shook her up and down in accordance. “See you at home, Skiddie. Don’t be gone too long.”

“Will do, hunny. Will do.” Soon, Viola was gone from the potato field leaving Skidmore and Molly alone. “Well, shall we?” he said gesturing to the direction of the bay.

 

 

“Say, Skidmore,” Molly said as she was crossing a small body of water in the cypress swamp that was about a mile away from the Horn’s new property, “did Old Man Joe have anything to say about the turkey you and Viola found?”

“Who told you about that?” Skidmore asked walking ahead.

“Viola did. She said you both found it early this morning. She also said not to tell anybody about it.”

“Well, she’s right about that. Please don’t tell your father about it. I want to figure out the cause of it before I tell him.”

“Why are you and Viola making such a big deal out of it? It’s just a dead bird. I told Viola that an animal probably did it.”

“Not an animal from around these parts at least.”

“Well, maybe some ship with an animal not native to here got loose after the ship made port down in Sinnickson.”

“Maybe,” said Skidmore continuing their journey to the bay.

“What, you don’t think it was an animal?”

Skidmore stopped in his tracks to turn around and look at Molly, “Now, Miss Molly, what have I always said to you every since you were small?”

“Nature always has a way of talking to us,” Molly recited back to him.

“Exactly.”

“And you think that this is one of those times?”

“I can’t say for sure, but maybe.”

“You never answered my question,” Molly said.

“What?”

“You never said if Old Man Joe heard anything last night.”

“Aw, well, turns out Old Man Joe is useless. Apparently, he hasn’t patrolled those fields for the past year. Claims his gout hasn’t let him walk, but he’s able to mosey on down to town to get his liquor and take money and potatoes from your father just fine.”

“So he didn’t hear anything?”

“Not a sound he said. Hell, anything could have happened in that field over the past year.”

They fell quiet for a few minutes as they made the final bit of their journey to the bay. The sound of the cicadas mixed with the rustling of the cypress tree leaves muted the sound of lapping water as they got closer to the bay. Growing up on the Shore, it was always impossible to find a quiet place. There were noises from everything: the pressure from the steamboats out on the bay, the rippling of the water, the late night scream of the Screech Owl, the building of the Horn’s new home. There was always something to listen to.

After walking through a cypress swamp and patch of the woods, Skidmore and Molly arrived at her crabbing beach. Molly loved crabbing here because it was the only place on the Shore where she thought that the woods and the water met and worked together to create natural hybrid of landscape. Behind them were the loblolly trees kept the woods shaded, with the Chincoteague Bay right in front of them. Bordering the beach were fluffy pockets of broom-sedge and lizard’s tail plants. There was also a small pier that George had Skidmore build for Molly a few years back when she first started crabbing. Looking north up the bay’s coastline, they could see the final stages of the Horn’s new family home being built. The Horn’s saw a surge in profit the year before, and George decided that it was time to build a family home worthy of their legacy. He decided to build on Guy’s Point, commissioning a group of men from Salisbury to build him a brown cedar-shake Colonial home.

“That’s one beautiful home your father is building. I bet he and Miss Vivian can’t wait to live there.

“They sure are. Daddy says it’s not just going to be our house, but our home.”

“And what about Mr. Milton?” Skidmore said with a smirk

“What about, him?”

“Viola tells me all of the gossip she hears in Pocomoke City. And I just assumed.”

“Well don’t assume anything just yet. He hasn’t even asked me. Skidmore, you sound just like my mama. Besides, no one has even asked me if I care for Milton.”

“Do you?”

“Oh, I don’t know Skidmore. I’ve known him for so long, and I feel like I already know everything about him, like there’s nothing new.”

“Well, all I can say Miss Molly is just listen to nature. It’s always saying something,” he said leaving Molly on the beach.

“What did you do with the turkey, Skidmore?” Molly said calling after him

“What do you mean?” he said turning around.

“The turkey. I mean did you bury it, or feed it to something?”

Skidmore looked at Molly for several seconds before he answered her, “Oh, no, Miss Molly. We burned it.”

 

 

Burned it? Why would they burn the turkey instead of using its remains for something else, Molly thought. Everything on the Shore was used to its full capacity. Nothing ever went to waste, which is why Molly was so confused as to why Skidmore and Viola just burned the turkey. She had never seen them act like this before. The two always seemed a bit superstitious. Skidmore, being half Algonquin, always read deeply into things that happened in nature, and Viola, who was born and raised on Shore, always referred back to old waterman culture, but it was never enough to warrant them to ask Molly not to tell her parents about something. She just hoped that whatever got Viola and Skidmore all riled up didn’t make it to her parents. What with Vivian scared from Skidmore’ Algonquin stories, combined with the turkey incident, Molly might not ever be able to go crabbing alone again. Soon, she bet they’d start making her take Milton with her.

Molly put the turkey incident away from her mind. She was already fretting about Milton’s impending marriage proposal, and her parents’ pressuring to accept it. Even her brother Jackson was making comments about how much he loved Milton like a brother, and how she could make Milton his brother. Molly loved Milton, but not in the same way that her father loved her mother, or the way Skidmore seemed to love Viola. Milton was too timid for Molly’s liking. When they would play as children Milton was always too scared to climb another limb higher on the cypress trees or too afraid to swim farther out in the Chincoteague Bay. Molly told her mother this once, but Vivian just waived it off as Milton being responsible and cautious. But Molly didn’t want her life to be full of worry and caution.

Molly adjusted her braid and noticed her grubby fingernails that her father pointed out earlier that day – a sign that the Shore was part of her. Her father was right. Years of digging up potatoes with her family not only made them wealthy, but made them part of this land. But the water, the bay, the sea – that was the world Molly wanted to be part of. Looking out across the bay Molly could see Assateague Island, a barrier island that protected Chincoteague Island and the shores of Virginia, beyond Assateague was the Atlantic Ocean, and beyond that, a world an ocean away. The water could take Molly away, and bring her back. She was proud of her father and of the work he accomplished, but being the daughter of a potato farmer and the wife of a lumberjack didn’t flow with Molly’s seafaring spirit. Frustrated, she went to the water line to remove the dirt from her fingernails. Instead, the water turned the dirt into a sticky mud, almost impossible for Molly to scrape it out.

When Skidmore first built the pier for Molly a few years ago, he hollowed out the trunk of a fallen loblolly tree so she could keep her crab pot at the beach safe from nature. After removing the soil of the potato farm from her fingers, Molly went over to the tree, which had started to significantly decay – probably from all of the salt from the bay – and discovered that her pot was missing. Looking once more in the trunk of the tree and around the sea brush that bordered the beach, the crab pot was still missing. Well, there was no need for Molly to worry about her parents being too afraid of letting her crab by herself, because she wouldn’t be able to crab without the pot. Her father was strict when it came to replacing things, especially if Molly or Jackson lost something through carelessness. There would be no new crab pot for Molly. She searched the shore again when she looked out into the water and saw something bobbing up and down. Molly thought that it might be the buoy to her crab pot. Maybe she left it in the water the last time she was hear, Molly thought, which was odd because she could have sworn that she and put it back in the trunk when her and Jackson went crabbing a few weeks ago.

Nonetheless, Molly started taking off her heavy work clothes, leaving her in nothing but her undergarments, and began to swim toward the buoy. The water was cold, but refreshing against the hot Virginia sun. Swimming was one of Molly’s favorite things to do. She loved the weightless feeling, the ability to ride a current to another destination. She liked to go further out in the bay where the water was deeper, where she couldn’t touch. Milton never swam that far with her, always saying that he was afraid of fish, or worse, sharks. Molly was never afraid in the water. After swimming about 30 yards, Molly made it to the object she saw floating and discovered that it was her crab pot after a hard tug. It was heavy as she began to tow it back to shore, a sign that there were crabs in the pot. As she was swimming with her load of crustaceans she began to hear someone yelling. There was no one on the shore yelling at her, and night watermen wouldn’t be going out on the water for a while. Molly held tight to the buoy and turned around to see the source of the yelling. A dark, almost black looking, boat was coming toward her. Someone on the boat was yelling at her, but they were too far away for Molly to figure out what they were saying.

“What,” Molly yelled across the water. The boat got closer and she could hear the person on the boat.

“Stop! What are you doing?” cried the person from the boat.

The boat was now several yards away from Molly. She could see that it was man on the boat. She couldn’t tell how tall he was because he was sitting in the boat, but he dark, curly hair and a beard that was tinged with auburn coloring. It was strange. He wasn’t dressed like a farmer or a waterman. She had never seen someone where those types of clothes before. “I’m taking my crab pot to shore,” she answered.

“That’s my crab pot,” said the man.

“It most certainly is not. My daddy gave this to me a few years ago. See here, on the buoy, my initials are carved: M. J. H.”

“Those could be anybody’s initials. How do you know they aren’t mine,” the man quipped back.

“Is your name Molly Joan Horn? I don’t think so. And let me guess, you ‘found’ this crab pot in a hollowed out tree trunk up on that shore?”

“Maybe,” the man replied sheepishly.

“That’s what I thought. So we can agree that this is my crab pot? Good. Now, I’m a little fatigued from treading water and having this conversation, so I’m going to swim ashore and enjoy the spoils from my pot,” Molly retorted as she began to swim ashore.

“Molly Joan – that’s a pretty name,” said the man on the boat.

“Excuse me?”

“I said you have a pretty name,” he repeated as he brought the boat closer toward Molly. With him closer, Molly could see that the man had deep, green eyes, almost as green as the loblolly needles.

“Thank you. They were my grandmothers’ names. Can I ask what you’re doing out here. You’re obviously not a waterman by the way that you’re dressed, and you’re definitely not a farmer because I would recognize you.”

“Oh, I’m just passing through,” the man replied.

“Oh, so you’re just passing through,” Molly said skeptically.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Well, if you think my name’s so nice, why don’t you tell me yours so I can see how pretty it is?”

“I’m George Bender, ma’am, but you can call me Bender.”

“George – that’s my daddy’s name. Well you’re name’s half nice Mr. Bender. Tell me, Mr. Bender, you’re obviously not from around these parts. So where are you from?”

“I’m from Devil’s Island, Miss Molly.”

“George From Tangier”

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