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Baby Godiva – A Vivid Journey of Innocence Lost

Baby Godiva – A Vivid Journey of Innocence Lost

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Published by Steve Murphy
Set in the the back-woods culture of a small southern town, simple farm-boy Carly Moore is arrested for raping Godiva Beamer, the preacher’s voluptuous 14-year-old daughter. Carly was seeing Godiva at his secret swimming hole in the woods, enjoying her impetuous ways and the new-found excitement. Now the swimming hole’s old and tottering cypress tree had fallen on Godiva, causing injuries that looked like a brutal rape. It was easy enough to suspect Carly as the rapist; after all, he was horse-whipped by the Reverend Beamer for his "sexual advances." Suspicions were confirmed when a dazed Godiva mistook Carly as her attacker. Convinced of his innocence, Carly’s lawyer mounts a relentless battle against a ruthless district attorney and a sociopathic judge. All hope for a fair trial is lost when testimony reveals Carly’s black heritage. Carly is found guilty and sentenced to death in the portable electric chair. A last-minute hunch finds proof of Carly’s innocence, requiring his lawyer to take desperate action.
"Adam and Eve was naked in the garden'a Eden," her voice purred. "Bein' naked ain't no sin."
—Godiva Beamer
Set in the the back-woods culture of a small southern town, simple farm-boy Carly Moore is arrested for raping Godiva Beamer, the preacher’s voluptuous 14-year-old daughter. Carly was seeing Godiva at his secret swimming hole in the woods, enjoying her impetuous ways and the new-found excitement. Now the swimming hole’s old and tottering cypress tree had fallen on Godiva, causing injuries that looked like a brutal rape. It was easy enough to suspect Carly as the rapist; after all, he was horse-whipped by the Reverend Beamer for his "sexual advances." Suspicions were confirmed when a dazed Godiva mistook Carly as her attacker. Convinced of his innocence, Carly’s lawyer mounts a relentless battle against a ruthless district attorney and a sociopathic judge. All hope for a fair trial is lost when testimony reveals Carly’s black heritage. Carly is found guilty and sentenced to death in the portable electric chair. A last-minute hunch finds proof of Carly’s innocence, requiring his lawyer to take desperate action.
"Adam and Eve was naked in the garden'a Eden," her voice purred. "Bein' naked ain't no sin."
—Godiva Beamer

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Published by: Steve Murphy on Sep 23, 2011
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  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 14
  • Chapter 15
  • Chapter 16
  • Chapter 17
  • Chapter 18
  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20
  • Chapter 21
  • Chapter 22
  • Chapter 23
  • Chapter 24
  • Chapter 25
  • Chapter 26
  • Chapter 27
  • Chapter 28
  • Chapter 29
  • Chapter 30
  • Chapter 31
  • Chapter 32
  • Chapter 33
  • Chapter 34
  • Chapter 35
  • Chapter 36
  • Chapter 37
  • Chapter 38
  • Chapter 39
  • Chapter 40
  • Chapter 41
  • Chapter 42
  • Chapter 43
  • Chapter 44
  • Chapter 45
  • Chapter 46
  • Chapter 47
  • Chapter 48
  • Chapter 49
  • Chapter 50
  • Chapter 51
  • Chapter 52


Baby Godiva by Marty Holland A vivid journey of innocence lost .

DATED AUGUST 13. THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ISSUED CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION NUMBER TXu 1-571-007. TO: Stephen Robert Murphy and Suzanne Estella Tarvin This paperback version Copyright © 2011 Stephen Robert Murphy and Suzanne Estella Tarvin All rights reserved ii .Marty Holland FOR THIS WORK. 2007.

................................................................................... vi Chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 HURRICANE HELENA ...................................................................................................................................................... 64 THAT WAS THE SECOND TIME HE‟D BEEN WITH GODIE ................................................ 170 EBEN AND IRA ..................... 110 FROG EYES................ 27 TWENTY-FIVE MILES SOUTH .............................................. 1 WARTEN SKINNER ..................... 210 MORE→ iii ........ 90 A HORSE-DRAWN WAGON ........................ 81 A GOLDEN-BROWN SQUIRREL............................................... 46 I’m gonna sit right down and cry over you ................................................................................................ 103 I WAS OUT AT THE FARM AND SAW YOUR STEPFATHER ........... 72 „FUNNY.. 12 THROUGH SHADOWY DARKNESS ..... 185 “REMEMBER........................................................................................................................................... v PROLOGUE ............................... 125 THE COURTHOUSE JANITOR ..............................Baby Godiva Table of Contents PREFACE... ITS BACK SEAT CAGED IN STEEL MESH ................................................................ 56 DUKE HAD SAID HE WAS HUNGRY ............................................................................................................................................................................ 199 THE JURY ROOM BUZZER SOUNDED ........................................‟ CARLY THOUGHT ....M................................................................... 119 ELEVEN A......................................................... MONDAY.................................. 158 JURORS STRAINED SIDEWAYS ....................... 24 FLAT-BOTTOM LAND DAMPISH SWELTERING HEAT ........................ 15 GORGED WITH THE SUDDEN DOWNPOUR ...................................................................... 181 PECAN TREES ........................ 208 A POLICE SEDAN........................................... 148 AFTER CONSUMING A THREE-COURSE DÉJEUNER .... 29 LATER THAT AFTERNOON .............................................................. 48 CARLY AND GODIE ........................................ THIS LAD HAD NEVER BEFORE .....................................................................................................................................................................................................

........................................................................................................................................................................................................................287 CARLY ................................217 THE WINTERHOUSE ACREAGE ................304 THE BARBER HAD ARRIVED .....................234 DECEMBER‟S GRAY TINTED THE SMALL BARRED WINDOWS ..................................................................256 THE HI-FI PLAYED SOFTLY .......299 “I „PRECIATE YOUR CONCERN.......................................................................................335 OUTSIDE THE SUN WAS SHINING ............... CROWN............295 IT WAS HERE – CARLY‟S DAY ................................................325 OUTSIDE THE RAIN CONTINUED .................................................................347 THE SUN SHONE WARMLY .................321 FLAMES SPAT AGAINST THE FIRE SCREEN............................................................................360 iv ......... LUCAS..............................................................................................271 GODIE COULD ALWAYS PRETEND ...........340 MIDAFTERNOON ............220 IT WAS AUTUMN ...................................................................................................................316 STANDING BEHIND THE ELECTRIC CHAIR ...............................................................................................265 “I‟LL TAKE THAT SUPPER TIN........................................................................................312 WITH GODIE BESIDE HIM ....................................................................................” ...............318 “YOU‟VE ACTED OUTSIDE THE LAW.....................................................................................................................354 IT WAS SUNDAY ..............................................................247 THE NEW YORK AIRLINER ..350 AS EBEN CROWN WAS SWORN IN ..... ” ...................................................................342 CARLY BOUNDED UP THE STEPS .............................243 JUDGE WINTERHOUSE ...Marty Holland Chapters (continued) 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 TIME ............................................................................................................................. ” ...................................296 THROUGH MORNING DARKNESS .............................................. .................................258 GODIVA .....................................................276 AN EARLY EVENING MOON ...........

In Memory of Film-Noir Novelist Ms. Marty Holland.Baby Godiva Preface This book is fantasy – but still a reminder of the fragile threads of justice and the barbarism of Capital punishment. any resemblance to actual persons either living or dead is purely coincidental. v . All characters in this work are purely fictional. Fallen Angel and The File on Thelma Jordan. It also reminds us of the need for love to be transmitted from one human being to another – in order to survive. physically and spiritually. emotionally. who penned The Glass Heart and novels made into major motion pictures.

Marty Holland

Baby Godiva vividly depicts the back-woods culture of a small southern town in the 1950s. Simple farm-boy Carly Moore is arrested for raping his budding love interest—Godiva Beamer, the preacher‘s voluptuous 14-year-old daughter. Carly was seeing Godiva at his secret swimming hole in the woods, enjoying her impetuous ways and the new-found excitement. Now the swimming hole‘s old and tottering cypress tree had fallen on Godiva, causing injuries that looked like a brutal rape. It was easy enough to suspect Carly as the rapist; after all, he was horse-whipped by the Reverend Beamer for his "sexual advances." Suspicions were confirmed when a dazed Godiva identified Carly as her attacker. Convinced of his innocence, Carly‘s lawyer mounts a relentless battle against a ruthless district attorney and a sociopathic judge. All hope for a fair trial is lost when testimony reveals Carly‘s black heritage. Carly is found guilty and sentenced to death in the portable electric chair. A last-minute hunch finds proof of Carly‘s innocence, requiring his lawyer to take desperate action. "Adam and Eve was naked in the garden'a Eden," her voice purred. "Bein' naked ain't no sin." —Godiva Beamer


lifted petticoats. Mud that would 1 . Rolled benches outside the post office and scattered debris over the vacant lot next door where eighty-year-old athletes pitched their daily game of horseshoe. Her warm gusty breath swept sidewalks. she had straddled giant waves. exposing Fork River to her gentler perimeter winds – clearing misty dankness from barnyards. and waterways of the farming community. Then she pulled a stranded white kite from a telephone pole and sent it spinning blocks away where it tangled and hung on a pine tree behind the First Baptist Church. in the Gulf of Mexico. But Hurricane Helena had spun eastward. Seventy miles south of Fork River. turbulent vixen that she was. her undulating thighs pushing ground swells shoreward to pound sea walls. her spike heels grinding destruction. Her wanton embrace would lay the countryside to ruin. swamps. Petulantly snapped awnings of Fitts Department store. had swirled her blustering skirts into town. tapped on windows. Piled green and yellow leaves at the entrance of the Hardware & Grain. she‘d withered to a momentary standstill in summer coastal waters. Blew over ancient loose-footed trees. sending dust swirling over sun baked clay before being stamped into mud. Her fringe rains spattered. Hustling north. crashing small craft and flooding tidelands. Then veering into a corkscrew dance she‘d whirled inland.Baby Godiva Chapter 1 HURRICANE HELENA.

five blocks from Main. sudden strains from the organ. causing spiders in the eaves to play dead. Reedy music swelled. long frayed rags of the kite‘s tail whipped the pane. ―Ma good friends. breaking in sharps and flats. Down Placer Street. With fidgeting and neck craning from the flock.Marty Holland soon bog-down paths and lanes leading to Reverend Elijah J. Occasionally the serenity of the room was interrupted by a breathy amen. In somber dark suit. As lightning frisked the churchyard.‖ the Reverend Beamer was saying in soothing and low-pitched tones. making the sermon more tolerable for children. then crashed to silence. then flee in fear from their untidy webs. clean-shaven. exposing frayed-white shirt cuffs. An old stand-by. his strong face shone yellowish-tan as he raised his hands. we choose our ultimate paths. His voice tremolo bore evidence of sincerity. were carried by the wind and struggled on. the sermon continued: ―No acts are without their precepts. the Reverend Beamer was going about his business of salvaging souls. the church was nestled among filigrees of air-born Spanish moss hanging from cypress and cedar. Inside closed double doors. or the giggle of a child glimpsing pieces of the torn kite caught in the pine tree.‖ a childish voice replied before a craggy hand was placed over rosebud lips. visible through the high window directly above the pulpit. He‘d preached it way back in 2 . Beamer‘s Sunday evening prayer meeting. We – the masters of our destinies – are we goin‘ up or down?‖ ―Up. As wind-driven rain battered down. The sermon was one of the first Elijah had composed and memorized.

his wife. Through this distraction. he‘d traveled from town to town with the faith of a mustard seed. get a choir together. hand-carved pulpit. with his Bible. Dig deep. her startling green eyes glued adoringly on him had caused him goose flesh.‘ he thought. Two days later he‘d married her and they‘d driven off in his truck. Penetrating the air-deprived room. and on Sunday he‘d had a crowd. 3 . The Lord provides. his gaze turned to the pump organ. folding chairs. Nowadays he often remarked to his laity: ―In that dark beginnin‘ – the collection basket brought mighty slim pickin‘. telling him she played the piano and knew every hymn in praise of the Lord – that folks missed singing. here at Fork River. as the Lord‘s teacher. with jaw set and hands still raised. So dig deep. After the sermon was over he‘d been pleasantly surprised when she‘d still remained. She would. he‘d set up revival meetings at the drop of a hat. But since then. standing awkwardly.Baby Godiva Arkansas when. let us trust in the Lord.‖ The preacher‘s voice was suddenly drowned by whistle blasts of the evening express approaching the south junction on rails bordering the rear of the churchyard. Reverend Beamer wiggled his fingers to emphasize that his point would wait the train‘s passing. From first sight. ‗A good woman. passed out a few cards on the street. In those days. if he‘d allow. ‗A real woman.‘ How different she was from the barefoot girl with long blonde hair to her waist that fifteen years ago had sat on the front row bench in his tent in Arkansas. Behind it sat Reva. brothers. and a tent rolled up in the back of his stake flatbed truck. Yea. The clanging air hissing caused the room to vibrate. Studying Reva‘s angelic beauty and tiny waistline he‘d considered remaining in Arkansas ‗til hell froze over. the Lord has provided us this fine and fittin‘ church. Entered a town.

with outside stairway leading down to Perez woods. 4 . Warm still air teamed with odors of unwashed hair. and she strained to hear if there was movement from upstairs where the Beamers shared private living quarters with their daughter. 14year-old Godiva.Marty Holland Ten years ago they‘d located in Fork River. intermingling with the faint scents of colognes from the few lone ladies who wore hats. socks absorbed with the day or week‘s perspiration.‘ he mused. Through it a hard gust of rain shook windows. Now Reva had changed. The roar of the train was subsiding. One slim calloused hand kept brushing up loose ends of thick unruly blonde hair slicked into a figure 8 – in almost sinful camouflage of its luxurious quality. Elijah looked disdainfully at one member of his first-row congregation who was asleep. a kitchen and breakfast nook. While waiting for the train to pass. The double doors opened. And he thought of the contrast between the girl in sack dress that he had wed. ‗Grown up. a loose-fitting cotton. wiped noses or slipped cramped feet out of Sunday shoes – unconcerned with thunder rattling directly overhead. The grown-ups rubbed aching backs. The parsonage consisted of two rear bedrooms set together. a front room parlor with piano. with lightning flashing white on the walls. Her dress. and the young lady at the organ with petticoat that rustled of silk. stretched legs. brushing raindrops from their coats. a few latecomers kept slipping in. hid startling curves that would rival a New Orleans showgirl. Reva‘s cool dark green eyes were fixed on him with a glow of piety and undying patience. Only now and then did her gaze shift to the stairs at the right of the pulpit. a few children had wandered to the rear vestry and sat cross-legged on the floor.

At last the Reverend was ready to continue: ―Oh yes.‖ Brown eyes flickered hotly.. mumbling amens in the divine crusade to grind down the devil. and his small eyes shone with a holy light.Baby Godiva ―Glad to see Scud Wilkes back in our fold. lascivious twistin‘.‖ Mae Skinner called out." Warten Skinner shot up to his feet. Scud smiled sheepishly and with thick fingers wiped his thin damp hair. we‘ve seen the depravity. His eyes fell to his open Bible. ―Couldn‘t be ‗cause there‘s a new grain company fixin‘ to come in to Fork River. Propagate. but hollowly blended with sanctimony. ―Me neither. west of town. The Lord blesses you. But as the preacher‘s voice droned on they listened and absorbed and nodded. ―Obscenity of folks on their way to shake hands with Satan. 5 .. accepting without rejections. He owned the Hardware and Grain store and he‘d reasoned that by steady church attendance he could hold on to his long-standing customers. We‘ve witnessed the dancin‘. Through sounds of steady downpour the Reverend's voice grew louder.. He sat down embarrassedly. ―Wouldn‘t own a TV!‖ His voice was not sharp or shrill. ―Have sons. television. Flesh sins.. a crop farmer. work-worn. There was a fading whistle blast as the train reached La Marche Crossing." Reverend Beamer was saying.‖ Looking across the small lake of redemption-seeking humanity it was plain that more propagation was not needed. gamblin‘ dens. since they could scarcely clothe the young‘uns they‘d already spawned. higher.‖ Laughter rippled throughout the room. In saloons. With a husky forearm she wiped sweat from her full moon face. He was a thin man.

Marty Holland

It seemed that all at once the wind subsided; the rain stopped; tree limbs visible through the high pulpit window hung heavy and still. There was suddenly no soughing of pines. The kite hung motionless. And outside the window the sky was lighted eerily, even though this Sabbath evening was slipping into night. *** Her white short skirt was ripped into shreds – as tattered as the kite in the rear pulpit window. Her right arm came up and crossed her face – the face of a baby angel. Stumbling and moaning, she followed a path in the woods toward her father‘s church. In her left arm she held two rain-soaked dolls, their gangly long legs flying askew. In her right fist she clutched a mass of blood-spattered hair. Her gaze dropped and she saw that her best Sunday panties were torn, her blouse hanging in ribbons. Rain stung her firm white breasts. Nipples, delicately pink, felt icy cold. A shocking zigzag of electric silver across the sky brought with it a long flash of quivering light, exposing the grotesqueness of her head with a two-inch square of scalp missing. And in its place shone iridescent bone. Her large green eyes came up searchingly. With her hand she touched a gash at the side of her eye, felt the eyelid puffing and closing. When she withdrew her fingers they were scarlet. New tears sprang down her tanned face. Slowly she tried to lick the fierce aching of her bruised mouth. She tasted warm blood. She reached the wobbly creek bridge and, as rain began to fall again, stopped still. With a sob she snuffled in warm air smelling of tree rot and leaf mold and looked up through a long-hanging tangle of limbs, her eyes red-rimmed as she stood defiantly studying a patch of open sky. She took the strands of

Baby Godiva

long golden blond hair and shouted incoherently. Although somewhere was the word ―trash.‖ As though signaling an ancient pagan ritual, she lifted the long fall of hair for the Heaven to view. Her lips moved silently, pleadingly, as though seeking to avenge a terrible wrong. She ran across the bridge. It groaned and sagged, wind humming. The rain poured in torrents. Her white bloodstained sandals hit a pile of rotted pine needles; she felt herself slipping. But with the grace of a swamp panther, she maneuvered her lithe body so that she fell on her knees; the dolls flying in mid-air and landing in a heap of arms and legs, their yarn hair askew. Still clutching the hair, her fists hammered air. She lifted her face, tears and rain integrating. And then she was motionless...listening. A strange clearly audible movement came from the sweeping trees at her side. Instinct told her...in the rain...creepy things come out! She pictured the horror of something wriggling, long and slimy – with rough scales, the evil head emerging from its coil...the darting black tongue! In semidarkness she waited...anticipating the spring ...the strike! Seconds ... minutes ... Only her eyes moved to search underbrush and limbs overhead for the deadly yellow-bellied cottonmouth. Or the slender hazel-brown copperhead with its hourglass markings. She shuddered. New tears gushed. She considered: if she moved would the imagined snake strike her exposed breasts? Then feeling outraged that she was again restrained against her will, she turned toward her dolls. Reaching out she drew them to her. Gathered them back into her arms. In slow motion she rose. Suddenly in a wild rush she flew on. Vines lassoed. Saw briers scratched. She plodded through wild blackberry

Marty Holland

thickets – the short cut – unheeding thorns scraping her already welted legs. Now approaching the yard clearing she heard hymn singing from the church: Send the fire...and send it now... Oh, the fire...is what we need... Send it now...send it now... She reached the woods‘ edge and turned swiftly, hurrying on, dragging her dolls over rocks and twigs, through stiff cane grass swishing about her shoes. At the gravel lane, she made a swift right turn. Pulled herself up the church steps. At the double doors she uttered a frantic scream before mustering the strength to pull them open. Her next outcry was smothered by the quavering organ. Reva Beamer had plunged into a second chorus. As the girl stumbled on down the aisle, a clamor of voices screeched: ―Godie! It‘s Godie!‖ ―Her hair – tored off!‖ Almost suffocating in sobs, Godie fell on her rag dolls at the steps of the pulpit. She managed to thrust the long strands of wet hair up to the platform at the feet of her Reverend father before slipping into unconsciousness. In the next flash of a second the congregation was on its feet, Scud Wilkes in front, crowding the aisle. Tiny children edged in, pushing skirts, trouser legs aside, to see what it was all about. Terror stricken, Reva Beamer had sprung from the organ bench. Now at her daughter‘s side, she fell to her knees and jerked the dolls out from beneath Godie. She pulled the lifeless form to a sitting position. Rocked the maimed and bleeding

Baby Godiva

figure to and fro in her arms. ―Godiva, m‘baby ... speak to me!‖ Godie obliged with a groan. ―She ain‘t dead!‖ Reva screamed. ―Thank God, she ain‘t dead!‖ ―I‘ll take her over to the doctor‘s house!‖ Scud Wilkes shouted, his weather-beaten face pale and ghost-like. The Reverend Elijah J. Beamer had not left his position on the rostrum. He just stood there, unbelieving and transfixed, watching the drama unfolding before him, his nostrils flaring in sensuous humiliation, trying to assure himself that this wasn‘t just another TV show concocted in Hollywood. No word escaped his lips. But now, in jerking motions, he slid out of his preaching jacket. He leaped forward and down the steps, throwing cover over the close-to-nude young body. ―Elijah...‖ Reva gasped. ―...Godie was...in her room. Stomach achin‘...from green apples. Promised me...wouldn‘t go out ag‘in.‖ Scud Wilkes was bending down, gathering Godie into his capable arms. The Reverend carefully tucked his jacket around exposed flesh. Wide eyed and milling, church members stepped out of the aisle to make way for Scud and the girl. Then in sudden spasm, Godi spread her legs exposing her panties, crotch crimson, for all to view. ―A maniac got her, that‘s what!‖ Somebody yelled. Women jerked children around, clasping them to their skirts. Palms covered little eyes as Scud carried Godie out through the double doorway. Then there was a grab for umbrellas and slickers. As if in shipwreck, women and children filed out first.


Marty Holland

*** It was an hour later before Reverend Beamer came out of Doc ―Buzz‖ Buskirk‘s house. He stood rigidly on the steps, glancing at the women huddled in and around the porch swing. Through the fine drizzle of rain he turned his eyes directly to the cluster of men hovering under the side rafter of Doc‘s Clinic which was attached to the living room. Inside the parlor window, Reva Beamer stared out quietly, dabbing a handkerchief to her swollen eyelids. Elijah cleared his throat. ―I‘ve called the Sheriff.‖ His voice wavered. ‖Doc Buskirk‘s jus‘ told me that my virgin daughter has been beaten; almos‘ scalped, and savagely raped! But she‘s alive!‖ he added quickly. ―Jest one thing,‖ Warten Skinner called out. ―Was it that horny bastard w‘at cornered her last week – the one you had to horse-whup for tryin‘ to git it then from Godie?‖ The Reverend hesitated, then nodded. ―It were. I jus‘ learned it from Godie‘s own lips. It – was that Carly Moore.‖ ―Oh, no!‖ Mae Skinner moaned. ―Then tell us, Reverend,‖ Scud Wilkes shouted, ―why do we need no Sheriff?‖ Elijah looked over at the six men gathered under the rafter, and he recognized the significance of the half dozen: although Jake Smith tottered with age, he and some others dated back to the original night riders who had made Klan history in earlier days. Reverend Beamer closed his eyes. ―Brethren...Doc Buskirk says Godie‘s going to be all right. This I‘m thankful for.‖ The tension left his voice. ―I can‘t have you stainin‘ your souls with revenge. Rape in this state is a capital crime. Let‘s leave the law take care of Carly Moore.‖


Baby Godiva

―Yeh,‖ Warten Skinner agreed. ―We go hangin‘ this feller tonight an‘ what sufferin‘ is that? I‘d ruther see ‗im fry in th‘ ‗lectric chair! That‘s what I calls real killin‘. Stringin‘ up ain‘t no pain at all.‖ ―But what if he gits hisself a real N‘Orleans shyster – and squeezes out,‖ Scud Wilkes proposed. ―Squeezes out?‖ Mae Skinner sputtered. ―After rapin‘ and almost killin‘ a fourteen-year-old kid and tearin‘ her hair! You out‘a your mind, Scud? He‘ll git the ‗lectric—‖ ―The Sheriff will be here direct,‖ Reverend Beamer interrupted. His voice was as full of compassion as if he were standing behind his pulpit. ―I‘m sorry to say I punished Godie for leavin‘ – earlier this Sabbath – but she knows she‘s s‘posed to be present at all Sunday sermons. I‘d entrusted her to remain in her room. It – it‘s clear she – disobeyed my wishes. Well, now she‘s payin‘ mighty hard for her sin of runnin‘ off, ag‘in my rules. ‗Till the sheriff comes, let us now bow our heads – and pray for—‖ He faltered on the last word. ―—Godie.‖


Marty Holland

Chapter 2
WARTEN SKINNER came out of the woods carrying his rifle, three lanterns, a coil of nylon rope and ships' flashlight. He was wearing his old army fatigues and there was a small flashlight attached to his cap. Hurrying back toward Doc Buskirk‟s house, he turned and looked down the road. No sign of the damn sheriff‟s car yet. He couldn‟t help thinking of the golden days when the Klan had ruled high and handsome and each den was a law unto its own. And you‟d see high muckety-mucks sneaking in and out of the church basement early as dawn. Lately, in these parts, old Kleagles had begun to wither on the vine, and many of their rank were resting in the local cemetery. He recalled the old hilltop meetings – eyes flickering out of the holes in them damn masks. He could smell the crosses burning. The Exalted Cyclops milling around shaking hands with the Grand Wizard and the Grand Dragon...God! That had been so excitin‟! He felt his flesh crawl. Thinking of it now, he slapped his leg and howled. Kids had started early, lookin‟ so cute in their little robes and hoods. It had been, Warten decided with a sting of nostalgia, a time of togetherness that had faded and gone. Strange how nowadays Eisenhower and the Feds were taking a dim view of the mask and robe. He couldn‟t understand why or how those remote people in the north could smother the power that he felt was right forever. „Then too,‟ Warten thought, „was the war that busted us up.‟ He glanced down at his old Army coveralls. „Still purty


Baby Godiva

damn slick fit.‟ And it had been a stretch of years since Normandy. “What the hell took you so long, Wart?” Scud Wilkes called from Doc Buskirk‟s front porch. Skinner„s eyes glittered. He edged in closer, swinging the rope coil. Reaching Scud, his voice trembled: “Was thinkin‟ – mebbe we didn‟t hear „bout Elijah‟s law men. If we had half the guts our ole Daddy‟s did – we‟d go git our masks and robes out‟a underneath the bed and make short work‟a that filthy stud!” Scud grunted. “Don‟t need wear no Klan sheets to string up Carly Moore. Not when the gal is the preacher‟s dotter. Did you see that pore torn-up baby? I‟ll take the rope, Wart, and the flash. You light up them lanterns. Hear that car makin‟ time? Sounds like the sheriff‟s. When he gits here we‟ll all spread out and close in on the Moore place.” Warten nodded. “The friggin‟ pup‟ll be snuck back home by now. We‟ll head over to Duke‟s farm.” Scud had turned to the group of waiting men. “Member – Duke Moore is only Carly‟s step-pa. So there‟s no love lost there. Since the Ma died, old Duke might be thankin‟ us to take young Carly off his hands. So don‟t count on much resistance.” He moved back to Warten. “But in case Duke raises a finger to proteck Carly, let the old bugger have it in the ass with buckshot. He‟d be interferin‟ with justice; „sides – we kin say Duke jumped us from b‟hind.” “Nobody‟d believe it,” Warten said. “There‟s seven‟a us. And Duke Moore‟s allus so sotted with rot-gut he couldn't jump a damn skeeter in a privy hole. Old bastard'll drink anythin‟ w‟at pores. Night a‟fore last we found „im passed out in the middle‟a the road. Blimp-ass Martin‟s nephew carried


Marty Holland

„im home. Threw Duke over his shoulders like a sack‟a potatoes, dumped „im on his porch rocker.” “Shut up,” Scud ordered, “and let‟s get organized. Redd, you look down the road and see if that ain't Sheriff Reid's car comin‟.” Warten wrinkled his face. “The Reverend wants that lameass sheriff to take over!” Scud cocked one ear and threw up his arms, jiggling them for quiet. “Hear that sireen skinnin‟ „round the bend? Mus‟ be pressin‟ 90 – in this damn rain! That‟s Sheriff Reid all right.” He turned to the men, “Chances are Carly did go right home. If he ain‟t there we‟ll fan out all „round the farm – far as the granite quarry – and close in from all directions.” “I‟ll go through the woods – to the train tracks,” Warten offered. “See this light on my cap? So jest don‟t any you smart bastards mistake me for the friggin‟ raper!”


Dark hair. Catfish would skip out of the stream to find themselves in small pools. A storm always churned the water and made it murky. And by noon. For the past several years he‘d cut it himself. after waters receded. he moved about with a 15 . All at once Carly‘s path was closed by a fallen tree. Oftentimes Carly had taken some home for a meal. He could easily have sprinted over it. At daylight the buzzards would circle overhead.Baby Godiva Chapter 3 THROUGH SHADOWY DARKNESS and soft falling rain. he followed the creek – toddling through puddles and ruts. His arms were hard with a smoothness that belied their strength. Now walking the edge of the east woods. If you didn‘t the fish would die. long-limbed. He was close to six feet tall with a handsome guileless face that was usually set in a serious expression. Carly Moore had traveled by out-of-sight back paths and lanes and had taken the pulp-mill bridge home. his blue dungarees and waistcoat soaked. but instead he stopped and looked back at his stepfather‘s farmhouse. a blistering sun would dry the mud and the marshy flats would echo the wheedling cry of black-banded killdeers. But tonight he only stared at the small floundering creatures. Small tight curls where he couldn't reach the neckline. with soles of his shoes mud-caked. jagged around his ears. where all you had to do was reach down to pick them up. Medium build. Whether feeding the stock or plowing the fields. But it could wrinkle quickly into a boyish smile showing perfectly matched white teeth.

Diamond was whinnying and pawing the slats of his stall. ‗And ole Duke. Carly saw that a light was burning in the kitchen. For a moment longer Carly watched anxiously..but thoughts were still churning: when the ten o'clock train came along he could grab on to the freighter and go. then turned and walked back cautiously along rows of corn he‘d planted. Now it was closing in.‘ he groaned. Dark eyes.anywhere the track led. he recalled Enid..‘ His heart sank. a sprinkle of snow was blanketing his Pa‘s grave. Now in the well-shaped head an anguished brain was ticking...Marty Holland seemingly preoccupied air. darted with concern from the farmhouse to barn... sparking amber glints. ‗Mebbe Diamond knows. He had made a decision. It meant that Duke was still up. his mother. And when the trees and the earth were turning green again. Carly‘s chin quivered.. Until this moment he had not known stark fear.. He remembered his mother and the little cemetery where. Or the old man might be passed out by now – sprawled over the kitchen table again. ‗. dressed 16 . ‗I really ought'a see why Diamond is raisin‘ a fuss!‘ he thought. In the same breath he stopped still and stared back at the barn again. He was glad that the horse had wandered on home ahead from the McIntosh place and that Duke had been sober enough to open the barn door to protect the animal from the storm.I‘m leavin‘!‘ Homing instincts were holding him in a vise. ‗what‘ll become of him?‘ A dull stab of love for the slovenly old man that had long ago taken his real Pa‘s place pierced his consciousness. Leaped over the hole where he‘d buried bushels of vines a month ago. even before they‘d left the grounds.

He‘d stare at her image for hours. ―Good God. while he and Enid did the work of four hands. ―Carlton Moore you‘ll be. and he ‗spects us to manage his farm. So we‘ll be workin‘ like slaves. saying: ―Son.‖ he‘d say over 17 . with a gallon of corn whiskey beside it and a tin cup. Lately he was rarely anything else. Even though the old goat took a bath every week and sat around playing his fiddle and sang. he let his hired hands go. but he‘s a good man and he owns four hundred acres. Sounds fancy. And whenever he'd spoken of Enid it was as though she‘d been a saint. Duke kept a picture of Enid on the kitchen table.. ―. No more Carly Ravenue.‖ It wasn‘t until after Enid had died that Duke took to heavy boozing..‖ was one of his favorite beginnings. Enid had told him: ―Duke ain‘t no King Midas. ―She was such a woman. tell ‗im hit‘s grand. And don't forgit – when Duke saws the fiddle.Baby Godiva up.‖ Enid had said. Carly thought. the o1d geezer who lived on the big farm down the lane – married to his mother.Duke Moore!‖ It had been hard to fathom – Duke. But we‘ll never be penniless or hungry ag‘in. Secretly. ―And you kin take his name.. Call ‗im ‗father. ‗Course.‘ hon.. smelling of rose sachet mixed with vanilla. this is your new father.. smiling and gay. ―We got to thank the Lord for our good fortune!‖ And Duke was a fair sober man in those days.I wouldn‘t'a let her git up and do the milkin'. Thirty-eight cleared off. sopping up the hooch and mumbling. ―If I had it to do all over ag'in.. how I loved your Ma!‖ he‘d moan when he was rip-roaring drunk. Hit‘ll tickle ‗im.‖ She heaved a deep sanctimonious sigh. She was such a lovin‘ little—‖ Enormous tears would roll down both sides of Duke's chubby face.

and—‖ He‘d shake his head sadly. And Carly would sit opposite him. ―Hells fire! How kin I eat corn – when she liked it so much! When I think'a her workin‘ in the fields—‖ He'd choke off to lingering brooding. snuggled close to her bosom. Desperately. Duke had always nodded. He showed no interest in church goingson. on occasions. Hit's like we had one‘a 18 . And he'd never touched his fiddle since. or anything much. But in the last few months Duke seemed to forget his tirades. Seven long years ago? She‘d nodded toward the window and said. ―Why didn't you tell me she was frail. her arms holding him tight. son – our plantation. dust-laden. Just drank quietly and stumbled about until he sank to the floor and to oblivion. But he never picked it up. For about six years it had gone on like that. It was as though the memory of Enid had dimmed and the booze took over. Could it have been seven years ago? Carly recalled the warm feeling of sitting on his mother‘s lap. "Jest boil some roastin‘ ears for me. Never left the farm except to stumble over to Dustin Whitley‘s place to fetch fresh jugs of moonshine from the still in the back shack. too. Sometimes he‘d stare at it. Then his head would jerk up.‖ Her laugh was warm. never knowing when he would explode in a new fit of misery. Duke never made silly practical jokes any more. ―Out there. And prayed to the Lord not to give her any work to do.Marty Holland and over. ‗Hit all belongs to us. ―Father. he'd climbed to the top of the hay loft and cried out loud. ―We kin thank our lucky stars. To the point where. Carly had missed his mother silently. son. But Duke‘s rantings over the years had almost been enough remorse for the two of them. Carly?" And after Enid died. strings loose. eating the buttered corn. It lay over to one side on the kitchen bench. kin I fix your supper now?‖ Carly would ask.

we‘ll both live in Pearlington. He‘d wrap up a dirty ole worn-out fur piece w'at he got from a second hand store and hand it to me – like he was givin' me a treasure on a silver platter. Your pappy—‖ Her laugh carried a hollow ring. But you got the whole world ahead. Carly remembered how the thunder seemed to shake the whole house.. I jest got sick 'a us bein‘ called nothin‘.Baby Godiva them big oil wells. Ashberry.‖ Then. Don't that sound jest wonderful! I hope someday you kin make lot‘a money – and live in Pearlington – wherever that is. Wind had howled and scraped tree limbs against the roof and when lightning bolts flashed they'd ran down to the cellar. too. ―'Member that rich woman.‖ ―Ma. He even had all the closets stocked with colored empty wine bottles.not so loud. ―Ma. ―That‘s what drinkin‘ does. Only ours is land – and this fine house. ―Now. Like a castle on the edge of the ocean.‖ There had been a storm that day. Bringin‘ home all them piles ‗a junk like ‗twas diamonds. Ashberry last year? Said she lived in Pearlington. softly: ―Oh. nor a ‗body else. I reckon. Ain‘t it nice to be well off?‖ And then she‘d said. when I make money.‖ He‘d thrown his arms around her waist. never kin say ag‘in.‖ He leaned over.‖ Enid had said. ‗there goes that white trash Enid with her snotnose 19 .‖ ―Well – don‘t ‗spect I‘ll git there. You see. figurin' he'd sell 'em someday. your father never aimed for nothin‘ big.. son. Carly? From Pearlington? She visited Mrs. Had our cabin filled with it. Sounds so snooty. ―Wouldn't go no place without you. ―that snooty-rich Mrs. put his head on her shoulder. when we‘re walkin‘ down the road. why‘d you have to marry ole Duke? Why did you?‖ ―Shhh.

Enid's voice had lowered to a soft whine. 20 . Ma. you kin say—‖ She broke off in laughter. Assberry – kin I be a help t‘you?‘‖ Carly had laughed. Ashberry. It‘s past midnight. Though his bedroom was way down the hall. after a silence. Ashberry comes in the store. I‘m coaxin‘ Duke to ask Scud Wilkes' ole Daddy if he won‘t put you clerkin' at the store. ―And she‘ll know all‘a sudden – Carly Moore never was trash!‖ They‘d both laughed again." ―Whee!‖ ―Yes. when the weather worsened. ―Don‘t let anybody ever call you trash. Later that night. he'd heard Duke‘s heavy snoring above the whistle of the wind. Carly had gone back to sleep. I learn easy. Duke says it ain‘t so hard. too. as though they'd contained a deep wonderful secret. She‘d hugged him. hear? You're jest as good as Mrs. And I kin teach you to make change and ring the register. ―I got plans for you when you‘re older. Stop it. Don‘t forgit it. son.‖ ―I‘d like that. It was funny. he‘d awakened. Your new pappy is Duke Moore. ya‘ keep your head high!‖ ―I will!‖ he'd promised. then: ―—Good mornin‘.‖ She'd smiled. Enid. And with it Duke‘s weary plea: ―Come on to bed.‘ We‘re goin‘ to have nice things. Duke says he kin learn ya how to read and write. he‘d heard the whirr of the sewing machine from the kitchen. And little fires had danced in Enid‘s eyes. And when Mrs. With the machine still purring. son.Marty Holland younq‘un.‖ Then.‖ ―Then you kin dress up in a suit and tie. Mrs. I‘m makin‘ you a real suit‘a fine cloth.

Hold his face against her breast. when Carly had gone out to feed the chickens. baked sweet potatoes. His eyes darted through darkness. He could smell the aroma of corned beef with cabbage and gingerbread in the oven. And by morning this terrible thing that had happened to Godie Beamer would vanish like a dream. When he went into the barn he'd said chipper-like to one of the cows: ―Soon I ain't gonna be hangin' 'round here so much.Baby Godiva The storm left as suddenly as it had arrived. there‘d been a new feeling through him. Lucy. And sob. rubbed a stone-bruised toe. It was planting time again and the corn would grow straight and tall. Just as it had always been when he was a kid. His Ma was smiling and laughing these days – even making jokes about Mrs. Ashberry. And I'll be clerkin‘ in a store – wearin' a tie!‖ *** Without wondering why. At the far end of the log. Diamonds' hooves were tapping the barn slats and through the noise something close by was rustling soft pine needles. On the next morning. Carly now thought of these things. He ached to run into her arms. Whenever he'd run into trouble or hurt himself. it had been his pretty young mother who‘d soothed away pain: kissed a cut finger. Then everything would be all right again. Ma‘s makin‘ me a suit. He felt proud to be a part of this big rich farm. A flawless image of Enid shone bright before him. Smell perfume of rose petals mixed with vanilla. a hen was crouched. He got up and gathered the wet feathered 21 . Now he wanted to go to sleep in her arms. a feeling of importance. Through the steady drizzle Carly moved back to the fallen cypress limb and sank down. and Diamond was practically his.

but it was honing his senses to razor sharpness. Warten‘s right hand held a rifle. He didn‘t know when it had first begun. he always forgot to feed the live stock. And he heard it again – the buzzing in his ears – and he wondered if a skeeter was caught in his inner ear.‘ He choked in panic. Retracing his steps. Whenever he slept there. 22 .. Two men had reached the back door of the farmhouse. There were streams of light across the field. A moving beam shone from his cap. or slept sprawled over the table. Carly saw that it was Warten Skinner. Behind him there was a silver flash.. With animal instinct Carly dropped quickly behind the log. with trees beyond dissolving into eerie shadows. The helplessness of his plight struck him headon. and even the familiar croaking of frogs took on a sinister meaning and made it difficult to hear.. Lanterns plainly visible at the grape arbor! He could distinguish figures! They seemed to come from all directions – closing in. As a lone figure approached. ‗. He heard strange sharp rustlings from the underbrush. his left swung a lantern and searchlight as he cut past the fallen log and stepped up his gait toward the farmhouse..who‘d feed the chickens? The pigs? The heifers? The wobbly-legged calf? Diamond? The mule?‘ He reached the cypress log and felt his heart lurch.Marty Holland bird into his arms. Carly crept on. After peering in all directions he carried the Rhode Island Red over to the coop and set it inside on the pole roost. ‗With me gone. Maybe Duke had passed out on the kitchen floor again. He lay flat and froze – like a lizard. Somebody was sloshing along the creek edge. hiding in foggy puffs of dampness. he looked back to the farmhouse.

the cooped Rhode Island Red escapee that had gone over the wall now jumped down from the roost. Exhausted sleep would fill the void in her empty craw. the hen forced her head up. As if obeying command she guiltily retraced her steps and quickly hopped back up to her place on the pole. Then the door was slammed shut.Baby Godiva In the distance Carly heard the scraping of the screen door. Cows adjusted their eyes to darkness again. It opened and banged shut before he ventured to look up again. 23 . as though refusing to carry him. All rooms in the house were lighted. Diamond was rearing and trying to pull himself free from the halter holding him to the feed bin. After a last agonizing look at the farm and with heart pounding in his throat he turned and began to run. Over in the hen house. The mule stood mute. But after a sharp admonishing cluck from the rooster. *** Shadows in the barn broadened and moved. Blindly gauged her way to the prison millet trough and frantically began to gorge. But his legs felt rubbery. The heifer and calf nestled closer inside their stall. Reflection from a lantern flashed from the barn window. Once again Diamond‘s whinny echoed through the stillness.

A lean frightened face peeked around from behind a tree. broad-shouldered man wearing a rain hat. “Raper?" Spitz echoed in amazement. “A‟most got your stupid ears blowed off!” Spitz smiled self-pityingly. his star-shaped badge catching an occasional gleam of reflected light. As the men sloshed along the flat land. “My beagle run off.” Scud Wilkes put in. “Come out! Arms reachin‟!” he snarled. and the yellow glow of lanterns had moved back into the thickets. A logger for the pulp mill.Marty Holland Chapter 4 GORGED WITH THE SUDDEN DOWNPOUR the Red River was swelling. “It‟s Spitz Slinger!” came a meek voice. flowing swiftly toward the Mississippi and the warm Gulf of Mexico. At last the sheriff and party had finished flashing lights around the banks. cypress and pine. The sheriff made a menacing lunge. his wet slicker open. He uttered a faint. “Halt. Spitz wore navy blue overalls. Sheriff Reid pivoted on one foot and grabbed his 45." “We‟re searchin‟ fer a raper. “Don't say! Right here in the woods? Who got the friggin‟?" 24 . They were nearing the cleared section at La Marche Crossing when Warten Skinner stopped abruptly. men!” and turned an ear toward the sounds of movement just inside the woods‟ edge. Sheriff Reid led the way: a tall. Figured he might be caught in a trap ag‟in. low-hanging puffs of fog formed in halos around the scrub oak.

” Warten said.” “No!” Spitz repeated.” Scud stared into space. “Oh. laid out right now in Buskirk‟s hospidal room. that „un. “Somebody said fourteen – fifteen?” “Hah!” Spitz gurgled. “Good looker – that Carly. “That's no fittin‟ place. and tore up her clothes includin‟ her pants an' raped her!” “Carly?” Spitz inquired. Seen Moccasin in the creek once. “And a hunk‟a that long pretty hair is tored off.” Scud said. “Mebbe she was playin‟ the nookey game.” “You wouldn't say that. too.” Scud answered.” “Why." Sheriff Reid countered sourly. But Carly ripped it. too. “How old is Godie?” Warten was holding his lantern up to Scud‟s face. playin‟ hide an' seek with the kids in the church-yard.” “No!” Spitz blurted. “And she‟s right purty – since she let her hair grow long. “That sweet Godie! She was took at the back‟a the old McIntosh place. And her Ma come out an‟ smacked her bottom side.” Scud nodded. I seen Godie. “Me. Slinger. Ain‟t quite right is she?” 25 ." Spitz wrinkled his forehead in thought. Ain‟t he „bout eighteen now?” "Reckon. “That boy Duke Moore took to raise. Turkey Ravenue‟s kid.” Warten Skinner replied. She was gettin‟ to be a teaser.” “She shot up like a hollyhock. that‟s w‟at.Baby Godiva “Preacher‟s dotter. She fought like a wildcat to preserve her cherry. “seems like only few months past. “if you'd seed how Godie is all banged up.” Spitz was saying. “Only thing I don‟ understand is why a big girl like that‟d carry them long-legged dolls with‟r.

I‟d slide down fast!” 26 . I'm figurin‟ Carly night be aimin‟ to hook a freight train somewheres along here and jest keep goin‟.” Scud said dully. “Why ain‟t ya at the Moore farm?” “Already looked through it. and a shotgun coverin‟ you – and we‟re tired and wet and mighty touchy. “Elijah horse-whupped Carly Moore right in the churchyard – for horsin‟ „round with Godie. See how it spreads high right over the tracks?” He was pointing.” Carly held his breath and stiffened as several flash beams shot upward. Now spotlighted. Then we‟d ride her for a spell and jump off. Git your friggin‟ ass down here!” Sheriff Reid demanded. “There‟s a forty-five. Carly." “Didn‟t learn his lesson.Marty Holland “Smart as a whup. “us kids used to climb up on that old walnut there. “He scooted off. If I was you. And his heart was skipping beats. “Gotta find the bastard tonight!” “What you all doin‟ here at the tracks?” Spitz rasped. holding fast to the rough limb and tree trunk.” Spitz said reminiscently. “All right. he was blinded. His trigger finger itched. “Don‟t you „member – last week?" Scud asked quickly." Sheriff Reid grunted.” “Well. Not much for him back on that farm now that Duke‟s a souse.” the sheriff put in. The ten o‟clock‟s past due.” the Sheriff explained. a thirty-eight. “We‟d hold on to that big limb – see that? An‟ drop on a boxcar when the train got under us. when I was jest a little tyke. “Girls jest like dolls.

expecting Elijah to descend. papers in hand. Folks milled listlessly up and down the aisle. Presently the room quieted.. beautiful river.. Reva Beamer sat playing. selecting seats. Even when his own sweet virgin daughter had been beat and raped. Children the yard. pumping. Nothin‟s like the good ole Days. beauteous blond hair limp. “„Cause he pleaded ag‟in a lynchin‟. Others. we’ll gather at the river. freshly bathed – as though emerging from a utopia of indolence.. She glanced at the side stairway. 27 .Baby Godiva Chapter 5 FLAT-BOTTOM LAND DAMPISH SWELTERING HEAT was closing in around the First Baptist Church. Dark green eyes kept shifting from lyrics to musical notes of her hymnbook: Yes...” they said. waiting for the sermon to begin. self-contained. stood on the platform just outside the double doors. looking cool. Then: “Shhh. Everyone hurried inside and was seated. oblivious to cloying sunrays. fanning themselves in the humid morning air. Sunday again.” The Reverend had floated down the steps.. making his entrance.. At the organ. were playing tag and yelling. And folks whispered to each other saying that they were losing faith in Elijah and the First Baptist Church. perspiring. Beads of sweat at her hairline glistened and ran downward in flat narrow streams. Gather with the saints at the river.. The beautiful.

“that Godie is still at Doc Buskirk‟s place. The law can't git nowhere if the court trial is overrun by mob rule. Sometimes they make great errors in judgment and in punishment. “So let us pray – that from darkness there is light. O.” “There can be no law and order if certain people take it into their own hands to create justice – to punish what they believe is wrongdoin‟ – when they are not positive about who is doin‟ the wrong deeds. “Sheriff Reid's asked me to plead. we are sheep beggin‟ for the guidin‟ hand of our Herder. he closed his eyes. So it is far better to let the human mistakes go through the channels of the Law.Marty Holland “I want to say first. She's had a sudden spell‟a fever." 28 . Then we can feel free of blame and can go ahead with our lives. So I‟m askin‟ you all to stay away from the jail.” Elijah began.” Holding smooth hands forward. our concern and sorrow is deep – but this too shall pass. O. Lord. Carly Moore is in the hands of the law and our Master who rules our destinies.” His eyes snapped open and moved from face to face of his herd.

burning bright by day. gray thoughts. accommodating lawbreakers all hours of the night. This sixteen-room cellblock included a large drunk tank that was set inside the right wing of the stone block courthouse. a toilet without seat. though twice as large. Prison denims. The worst part about jail. two-tier bunk beds with thin mattresses carrying lingering smells of previous occupants. Gray walls. that he couldn‘t go home to see if Duke was sober and taking care of things. speedsters and thieves—were easily transported next door for court appearance. guns bulging in holsters. A cement and steel cage without windows. Conveniently situated so that prisoners—including vagrants. Each cell with its lone amber light bulb fixed to the ceiling. wood stool. the excess of his long sleeves held up by rubber bands. The feeling of helplessness and frustration. 29 . dim by night. A spry old jailer. was an equally impersonal and unfriendly place.Baby Godiva Chapter 6 TWENTY-FIVE MILES SOUTH. gray steel. with keys dangling from a ring snap-locked to his hip pocket. Deputies with lazy voices and sharp eyes. And the jail. Carly had discovered. the parish seat of St. When tin plates of food were pushed between cell bars he wondered if the stock was going hungry. the grating sound of barred doors opening. was his thoughts of the farm. running to open cell doors. then noisily clanking shut. Tiberius is four times the size of Fork River.

June 21. Morning air was already hot. Tentatively friendly. at dawn no roosters crowed. Suddenly he was startled by a deputy approaching left. the door closed behind him. ―Carly.Marty Holland This worry took form of a steady gnawing in his stomach.‖ 30 .. tossing in a roll of clothing between the bars. a frayed shirt smelling of disinfectant. Included were denims. Welcoming this variation he threw off soiled prison trousers and quickly slipped into clean clothes. Crown tossed a business card on the cot.‖ Carly picked up the bundle. straightening neckline snarls. 10:10 P. ―Carlton? I‘m looking for Carlton Moore.M. and shoes.‖ His voice was pleasantly impersonal.‖ The prisoner hesitated. a man was grasping sheets of yellow paper and gesturing impatiently for the jailer to open up. None of this wearing apparel was his own. He figured that if he could see the angles of east shadows he could guess at the time of day.‖ Outside the bars. then: ―I‘m Carly. meals were hard to swallow. He ran it through his hair. eh? I‘m Eben Crown. Keys jiggled and the lock scraped.. Too quiet: you couldn‘t hear a bird or the bellow of a cow.. In one pocket was a little two-inch plastic comb. Carly was standing at the far side of his cell. On the following morning – formally charged. trying to look through the barred window at the end of the hall.Arrested Sunday night.. the lawyer was admitted inside the cell. socks. without ceremony held up papers and began: ―Let me see what it says here. Too damp. Appointed by the state to handle your case. your lawyer... mumbling: ―Git fixed up—the Judge at ten.

then up to the lighted amber bulb.‖ Carly only stared. brows gracefully arched. ―—we‘ll go down before Judge Winterhouse. Mother deceased.‖ ―But you did make that confession?‖ Carly took a breath. I didn't. age fourteen.‖ Crown rustled his papers.‖ He hurried on: ―Let me say to you. Moore.‖ His eyes came up from the papers. ―Well. ―Severe bodily harm to victim. Resides with stepfather. my birthday was Saturday.‖ His voice deepened.Baby Godiva Carly was admiring the lawyer‘s immaculate black shoes. ―How old are you. Tore her hair. boy?‖ Carly looked to the cement floor. Clean-shaven. ―—they – they tried to git me to say I beat Godie up. then thumbed to the second page and read on in perfunctory monotone: ―Father deceased. blue necktie. ―Eighteen. it's going to be difficult for you to confide in anyone." The lawyer‘s eyes bore steadily on his client for several seconds. expressive brown eyes. ―Says here you made a confession.‖ He paused in thought. gray jacket and dark blue trousers. ―The charge—‖ Eben crown gave the prisoner a scrutinizing before continuing: ―—Assault and Aggravated Rape. Godiva Beamer. Duke Moore. son?‖ ―The Sheriff and – the police—‖ Carly‘s voice was scarcely audible. glanced at his watch. Moore contacted – refuses to engage counsel. stared at the wall. ―At ten o‘clock—‖ He paused. ―Nope. He‘ll assign me to your case. Finally he exhaled. what about it. Mr. But you‘re going to have to trust somebody—‖ He puckered his lips in a 31 . The wristwatch looked like solid gold. Crisp white shirt. that after the ordeal of interrogation you've been through.

too – they took pit'chers. ―Yes. if we‘re going to build a defense.Marty Holland sympathetic smile. Scratches on on hands.‖ the prisoner interrupted in a nervous rush. ―At least you received medical attention. he went on: ―They drove me here to this jail. ―—and it's going to have to be me. They took off all the stuff I was wearin‘.‖ The lawyer moved closer. They scraped under my fingernails. ―It rained hard – the storm – Sunday.‖ ―Handcuffed you to a steel bar in the rear of the sedan?‖ ―Yeh.‖ 32 .‖ Carly blurted. Carly. to make scrapings. Did the sheriff take you over to the hospital?‖ ―No. And they said somethin‘ ‗bout not keepin‘ me at Fork River jail.‖ ―Yes. ―The Sheriff brought you here to St.‖ Dazedly. ―put me in the back of his car and fastened my hands to a bar.‖ ―The Sheriff. For analysis with dirt at the rear of the McIntosh plantation and—‖ ―They measured my feet.‖ Crown said knowingly. Took my pants. Now—‖ In an abrupt motion he rolled up his yellow pages.‖ Crown nodded. Scud Wilkes and some other men. I‘m size 10½. ―They took pit‘chers of my lip. we're going to have to know everything about this case there is to know. held up his eyeglasses and peered through them at the pinkish-scabbed lacerations. all right.‖ Carly‘s eyes shone wildly. Folks at Fork River could get downright ugly. ―And scratches on my face. Give me dry clothes. they was goin‘ to break in and kill me – Sheriff Reid said. Tiberius for your protection.‖ His fingers trembled as he felt his cheek. ―Get this straight. Now—‖ ―I was soaked to the skin. Some guy poured on red stuff. I'm going to defend you.

‘ Avoiding contact with Crown‘s eyes. banged her – and now it‘s molest.‖ Carly had not been listening as he licked his bruised lip.‖ he said finally. Carly—‖ ―When it was jes‘ gettin‘ daylight – the sheriff brought me back here ag‘in.‖ Crown peered closer.‖ ―Was it the District Attorney‘s office?‖ ―That‘s when the guy with frog eyes came right in.‖ ―You mean Sheriff Satterly roused Marvelle out of bed with a phone call? Must have worked him up real good. son?‖ ―They shoved me back in the sheriff‘s car ag‘in. What caused them?‖ he asked harshly. in the interrogation room – they attended to your wounds?‖ ―Yeh. He got on the phone.Baby Godiva ―Do you mean – in the basement of the courthouse. Then realizing that the boy was still visibly shaken and in emotional state.‖ he asked softly. ―Tole me to show ‗em where it happened.A.‖ ―Frog eyes? That must have been Marvelle Lightfoot. To a room in the courthouse.‖ ―I did?‖ 33 . Talked loud. ―did you molest that girl?‖ ‗Molest?‘ the prisoner thought solemnly. ―But you signed a confession. ―Carly. Them cops asked me if I raped her. Started askin‘ me stuff. humped her. the Assistant D. At daylight you say?‖ ―Yeh. They had sireens goin‘ – in my ears – all the way back to Fork River. ―Your lower lip – bruise marks. he softened his tone. ―What caused that. ―No. screwed her.‖ ―Well. Never heard of Lightfoot being in his office that early. ‗That‘s a new one.‖ The lawyer checked his watch again.

He said.‘" Carly sighed deeply. I guess so. Nobody said nothin‘ like that. Was it Lightfoot – you know – frog eyes?‖ ―Dunno. Beat you up.‖ ‗The dirty game.‖ ―They – never hit me.‖ ―I—‖ Carly hesitated. They asked me to write.‖ Biting the skin of his lower lip.‖ ―So they prepared a statement and you signed it. ―Then – they said they waren‘t goin‘ to let me sleep ‗till I done it. ―Somebody.‖ ―No.‖ Carly went on. ―put his fist up to my face. Somethin‘ ‗bout a lawyer.Marty Holland ―Well. I looked t‘the sheriff. ‗They got their confession!‘ Then: ―How bad did they roust you around?‖ ―Roust?‖ ―Yes.‖ The counselor was talking a little faster.‖ ―Did they ask you if you wanted a lawyer?‖ ―Dunno. ―Did they ask you to read it before you signed?‖ ―I think so. Carly. ―Was it the St. ‗don‘t write your name to it if it ain‘t right – hund‘ert percent. They said so much stuff.‖ The lawyer seemed surprised. ‗But it‘s a break that only a 34 . Tiberius sheriff – Satterly?‖ ―Nope. Yeh.‖ ―Think. Crown began to pace the small cell.‖ Crown‘s eyes gleamed hopefully. didn‘t you? You wrote down an account of what had happened.‘ Crown reflected. ‗Confess or else!‘ Isn‘t that right?‖ ―No.‘ he was thinking. ‗We‘d be better off if they‘d whammed the daylights out of you. ―He said. I told ‗em I couldn‘t think what to say.

The Sheriff and – and them men – pointed their guns and flashers up at me. at the farmhouse. ―I wasn‘t in bed when they come for me. ―I was up in the ole walnut tree. or anywhere – except out in the rain – hiding up in a tree – when apprehended. Tomorrow. If Moore had been in bed. The criminal spends a lifetime building up to his act of violence. ―We‘re not going to get scared about that confession. It was rainin‘. Crown folded his glasses.‖ The lawyer scanned his papers. Commence the laborious job of building a defense. the accused. Soon. At La Marche Crossing. Try to determine the why of it all. Mister Crown. With a sag in confidence. ―You were picked up at home. weren‘t you?‖ The prisoner‘s eyes gleamed with guilt. you‘re liable to sign your name to a lot of things you didn‘t do. It was now placed in the hands of the defense lawyer – and he‘d taken on the job – the search for details. Least of all. Running away cast doubt on the accused‘s possible innocence. and—‖ Seeing Crown‘s expression he broke off.‘ He turned to Carly. we‘re not going to worry one bit about that confession. I‘d crawled out on a big limb. And after 35 . Discover weak spots in the accused‘s yarn. Too. extenuating circumstances. Eben thought. No. Hell.‖ Carly wondered if he should say something. and the 'why'. ‗And who really knows the why‘. I – was hidin‘. This was not good. No time to go into it properly now. When the Sheriff jumps a young lad like you when he‘s asleep in bed and drags him off to jail – at night.Baby Godiva prepared statement was signed. He‘d have to sit down with Carly Moore. something written on the yellow pages bothered him: a three-word question that Carly had reportedly uttered at the time of arrest: ―Is she dead?‖ Eben checked his watch.

I jes‘ ran.‖ Eben‘s voice echoed hollowly. ―Is it true. Crown cleared his throat. ―—June 21. the first statement you made to the Fork River sheriff at the time of your arrest was ‗Is she dead?‘‖ ―Well—‖ A nervous twitch. but suddenly it did happen. was beaten and rendered unconscious.‖ ―Can you tell me why – you just ran?‖ ―No. Too late then. I never hurt her. Sunday.. Mister Crown!‖ The lawyer still managed an even tone. Mebbe asked that.‖ ―But you did have intercourse with her?‖ ―Huh?‖ ―Sexual intercourse?‖ 36 . Mister Crown. I‘m glad. ―I guess. ―I ran.. ―you ran?‖ ―Yeh. I was afraid. I can‘t.‖ After a gulp. He never expected it to occur.when you were with her on—‖ Eben glanced to his papers.‖ ―Huh?‖ ―. "The State claims that the girl.Marty Holland he has spent himself he‘s the one most often in the dark as to ‗why‘? And the aftermath of crime is often baffling even to the perpetrator. You couldn't stop it any more than you could hold back a flooded Mississippi. But they tole me she ain‘t. or unravel the yarn that had already knit its case against Carly Moore. Carly?‖ ―After I pulled her out from the tree.. But I didn't hit her! You got to believe that. What‘s the last thing you recall.‖ ―When you left Godiva Beamer you thought she was dead?‖ ―Yeh. Godiva Beamer.. or change the bad eye of a stallion.

my best friend.‖ ―Well—‖ Crown paused. We‘ll find out how badly Godiva was damaged and—‖ His voice trailed off as he looked down upon Carly‘s forlorn figure on the cot. They‘s got beds and a little stove in one‘a them shack-houses in back.‖ ―Duke Moore never helped?‖ ―Little bit. Planted. ―Ma used to help. Carly. Mrs. Seen to it the stock don‘t git sick and fed ‗em.Baby Godiva ―No. Lives jes‘ at the corner in Lila Ashberry‘s big place.‘ his thought process continued methodically. ―You were with her on June 21 – at the rear of the McIntosh house?‖ ―Yeh. Ashberry don‘t 37 .‖ Carly‘s face flushed. But after she died I done it. He well knew that oftentimes court decisions rested on sincerity displayed by the defendant – an excellent defense weapon. They only go in the big house to clean it up. He had been schooled to understand the values of sympathy and compassion. He resumed his questioning along slightly different lines: ―How much work did you put in on that farm?‖ Carly‘s eyes brightened. Plowed.‖ ―Dusty?‖ ―Yeh. Dustin Whitley. too.‘ Eben had already learned enough to begin weighing his case. ―—we‘ve got a lot of work ahead.‖ Carly felt his pulse quicken. ―Then why would the girl say you did?‖ ―Don‘t know. Sometimes Dusty came over – took a hand. With this quality strong in evidence miracles could happen. ‗Yet the sincerity and forthrightness of the lad lent credibility to his denial. Him and his Ma. Eben continued to slowly build on his thought within this framework and then the seed of an idea began germinating. ‗All the earmarks of guilt.

When she comes home she learns Dusty. that‘s quite a nice arrangement. if you did lose all sense of reason and – a – molest her.‖ ―A few hours after the alleged rape occurred you were apprehended – in a tree – in the rain – at La Marche Crossing. has identified you.. The truth is important. goes to school. ―It was our secret swimmin‘ place. Dusty‘s sister‘s in Gran‘ Coteau. Few times. the lawyer drew up the stool and sat facing the accused..‖ Eben said preoccupied. in sudden movement.or kill me.‖ ―You signed a confession. And the victim.‖ Delicately. Crown continued.‖ ―Too bad you had no witnesses to your activities that afternoon. well—‖ ―Were you ever with Godiva at the rear of the McIntosh place before that Sunday?‖ ―Yeah. why were you running?‖ ―Had to..‖ Carly‘s lips tightened. ―You see. His eyes glimmered hopefully.Marty Holland charge ‗em rent. ―Dusty wasn‘t with you that Sunday at the McIntosh place?‖ ―Nope. an excuse for the act.‖ Then. ―Carly.‖ ―Never been in jail?‖ ―Never. Godiva. They was gonna beat me up. You were figuring on taking a freighter.. Eben went on – testing: 38 .‖ ―Yes.‖ ―Yeh. Carly. we have to find a reason. Sometimes Dusty learns me.‖ ―Well—‖ ―If you didn‘t harm that girl.‖ ―Dustin ever tag along with you and – and Godie?‖ Carly shook his head. you been in trouble before?‖ ―No. Jes‘ Godie and me.

Mister Crown?‖ ―Well – there‘s an advantage in being tried by one man.. for instance. Eben Crown listened closely. That way. That was jes a‘fore I – seen Godie at Crazy Tree. The white leghorns – gave ‗em a speck‘a pepsin. then: ―Carly. Each one can blame the other for the verdict – and they all go home with a clear conscience and—‖ He broke off in thought. Temporary insanity. ―What do you say. He was remembering a picture in a magazine that Duke had once shown him: old women behind mesh wire with messy long hair and owly stares. ―Think of the beauty of that. then in sudden uncontrollable—‖ He was off on a new thought wave: ―Carly.‖ The prisoner tried hard to think.‖ Eben reconsidered.‖ He smiled.‖ ―I could throw you on the mercy of the court. I‘d jes‘ come from doctorin‘ a sick brood. we‘re going to have to start digging for a reason – one that‘s excusable in the eyes of the law.‖ *** As Carly talked on. ―Or we might be better off with a jury trial. They‘d been. Carly.Baby Godiva ―Do you suppose we‘d be better off if we pleaded guilty. where you‘d be placed in the state asylum. son?‖ ―Dunno. Crown nodded. if you went berserk and committed forcible rape on that girl. you wouldn‘t be tried by a jury – but by the Judge. how‘d you happen to be with the preacher‘s daughter in that Sunday storm?‖ The accused felt his stomach burning as words spouted: ―Well. and then 39 . ―A person can be perfectly sane. One experienced intelligent judge.‖ ―Insane asylum?‖ Carly sat up in alarm.. Of course responsibility is divided by twelve.

*** And here it was again. Alone. the self-cut hair. ‗Somebody worked this simple creature unmercifully . Hasn‘t he anyone that gives a damn?‘ *** Carly‘s voice faded back into his consciousness: ―I never harmed her. His simple machinery of the brain. a boy in whom absolutely no one had the slightest interest in redeeming.. Palms and fingers thick with calluses. and cries for help. and he was absolutely certain that Carly was not criminally inclined. muscles hardened. not an ounce of fat . Fascinated. Here before him in this wretched jail was a completely isolated human being.the plea of innocence that all his life had plagued him. The lawyer smiled without mirth..... Not even his fine stepfather.. To convince a jury would be something else. and without even basic compensation. an island.Marty Holland he began to hear something more than mere words in the voice of the boy. even schooling. and became aware of something even more disturbing. Mister Crown. They tell me no one‘s been here to see him.‘ Eben thought dismally.‖ And Eben believed him and knew within himself why he did — and it wasn‘t just on the premise that a lawyer is supposed to believe his client. ‗And slavery has been abolished for ninety years. Judge Crown!‖ 40 . showing all too clearly that the prisoner had known forced drudgery. From deep inside rose an undertone of loneliness and utter hopelessness. A human animal named Carly Moore. even in his sleep: ―I didn‘t do it. Eben found himself watching rather than listening. His examination of the boy had assured him.

. the seasoned lawyer. trying to make himself smaller as the defendant waved his arms in wild outcry: ―But I‘m innocent. hunched on his seat. shuddering as he peered through cell bars to eyes staring back: souls hungering. his father – Judge Jonathan Crown – dealing out his brand of justice.hanging on to his father‘s moist hand and oily words: ―Son. your Honor—‖ ―No questions!‖ Cheeks tinged. recalled the youth Eben. ―On what grounds? Your case has run its course!‖ As a boy. Now. brooding mistakes. wishing he was in no way related to the despot of the courtroom.... At the family dinner table. yet elegant house – those early days in Baton Rouge. Judge Crown..‖ Now Crown. you‘re crucifying an innocent man! One question. pass me another piece of blueberry. Eben had his first look at a jail. Mother.. He thought of his schoolteachers. humans wallowing. Huey Long. a small. From the bench. building his skyscraper in swampland – two blocks from the mile-wide 41 .. I want you to see what happens to bad men. he‘d sat huddled in a front row seat.‖ ―Appeal!‖ Judge Crown had snapped. Hits the spot. Judge!‖ Then: ―As God is my witness. as a court visitor.Baby Godiva Scenes and words were indelibly impressed in Eben‘s memory and he looked back to them. At the age of twelve when. Huey said—‖ He remembered their home. ―I sentenced that two-time loser today.the Judge saying unconcernedly.. Eben had found himself cheering the last forced sparks of exhaust from the defense counselor: ―We‘ll appeal. With Eben. beaming and ingratiating: ―Your father is Judge Crown?‖ While he‘d nodded and turned away.

white-faced: ―My God. It wasn‘t until Eben had entered New Orleans law school that he fully understood why those lawyers had been patronizing. He‘d passed away quietly. although he hadn‘t exactly needed it. Three lawyers tiptoeing around their desks while he‘d crammed for exams. Ramsey and Smith were winning an above average number of their cases. Taking good care of Crown‘s son was even more effective than having their man at the Capitol. ―You Jonathan Crown‘s son? Hell. And then for the first time. Tiberius. One sunny morning. we need a delivery boy!‖ Then college – Louisiana State – the law firm insisting that he stayed – working part time – on full salary. bill. he felt that he had earned it and was entitled to it. but breezed through on the second try. A war interrupted. He‘d flunked the first bar exam. in the Baton Rouge law offices of Hutter. Ramsey and Smith. Mother found Jonathan dead in his bed.I. Eben remembered how Jonathan had always had a warm spot in his heart for the courthouse at St. Okinawa. Once he went alone to the cemetery. pawed at the dirt a little while and wished for his father‘s advice – on questions as: where‘s the best place for a young lawyer to start out? Standing at the grave. mother – Huey‘s been shot! Quick – a clean shirt. I‘m goin‘ over to the hospital!‖ Eben recalled his first job: standing with high school diploma in hand. He laughed long and hard. Then back to Orleans law – using the G. and then he cried. without any fuss.Marty Holland Mississippi. yes. So Eben 42 . saying: ―You don‘t need a delivery boy here. Hutter. And always at the dinner table his father‘s booming voice: ―Huey says—‖ Or ―The Guv‘ner believes—‖ Or ―Huey holds firm on—‖ Then Judge Crown running through the living room. do you?‖ Cool indifference until he‘d mentioned his name. young Eben began to need his father.

Sometimes life is like that. Tiberius. Eben had marched into the courthouse. Then Judge Horace Matthewson and Judge Damon Winterhouse were added to the St. Eben had found rank distinction among the professionals of St. divorces. or the Governor. But there was more he wanted to know: puzzling points of law – that no one seemed able to explain. ―Eleanor Roosevelt once told 43 . And so it wasn‘t until after Judge Crown was long dead that his son began to understand him. Met Ellie Bates. and know him.Baby Godiva decided on St. Much like the Army. asked for assignments and got them. defended thieves. he—‖ Or. Tiberius. With more than adequate years of practice under his belt. awkward eighteen-year-old kid who‘d thought he was the fair-haired lad of Hutter. a schoolteacher. His thoughts surged on – until be thought he could hear Jonathan shouting up from down there: ―No further questions!‖ So the young lawyer said goodbye to his father for the last time and left with tear-stained face. He‘d laugh as he told incidents about that naive. Damon Winterhouse socialized with Judge Matthewson. married her. Ramsey and Smith. Eben had hung out his shingle in St. drunks – cases of every description. There was so much that the old Judge could have told him – if there hadn‘t been that six feet of earth between them. Tiberius. and appreciate and love him. Tiberius judiciary. Sometimes he‘d drop into Judge Winterhouse‘s chambers just to chew the fat. Winterhouse was found guilty of name-dropping: ―Last time I had lunch with Adlai. Settled boundary line disputes. The Judge seemed more interested in the antics of the fabulous Jonathan Crown. Often. Eben and Waterhouse would sit and smoke and reminisce about the grand old Jonathan.

to the courthouse. there was – a muskrat. once when I seen Godie at Crazy Tree. *** Rousing from nostalgia. we'll plead not guilty. A twister broke it. Eben sighed in faint annoyance. Farley says—‖ It brought back old times to Eben. ‗Not guilty. When he asks.." the lawyer broke in. you simply reply. If you tell me about doctorin‘ sick chickens or a muskrat.the girl only fourteen. Now. Son. our time is valuable. the effluvium of jail.Rape. could mean the electric chair.. we aren‘t going to get very far. we‘ll talk again. all about it. ―We‘re going next door now. with bodily injury. ‗I wonder if he truly realizes.. ‗that his life is involved here..‘ Then. tomorrow.. She was scared. You‘ll be requested to swear on oath that you have no means to engage counsel.Well.‖ 44 ..hearing the Governor called by his first name. For the moment. I want to know everything about Godie Beamer.. ―Governor Huntington doesn‘t go along with that at all. I want you to stand straight before Judge Winterhouse.. How many times you saw her. and I'll be assigned to your case.‘ he thought. the drone of Carly Moore's voice. now. ―We was at Crazy Tree.‘ Crown noted his watch once more and said calmly.. and—‖ ―Just a minute. until we reach a decision.‖ Carly was saying. don‘t discuss this case with anyone. Crown was now conscious of the prisoner again. And Carly. groping.. Carly... his words like his eyes. ―I call it ‗crazy‘ ‗cause it‘s got big roots stickin' way up and out – in the stream. ―I‘m trying hard to get to the guts of this thing. are we?‖ Carly‘s gaze dropped to the gray cement floor.Marty Holland me—‖ Or. searching for something stable on which to fasten.

started movement in trees overhead. In long determined strides they hurried across the lawn toward the broad courthouse steps. leaves and twigs went sailing across the yard. A loose board on the jailhouse window kept eking out a high weird screech. and boy handcuffed to a deputy. Debris. With some imagination and close listening. The deputy tugged the handcuffs. The lawyer held on to his papers and grimaced through little puffs of dust. The man. hastening them on. whispered. Carly followed Eben down the corridor. sang. The cell door was opened.Baby Godiva Carly nodded. Eben called for the jailer. A hot boisterous wind had swept in from the gulf. then slapped back into place – in plaintive wails of a violin accompanied by the beat of country music. And a garbled chorus of voices in the howling wind seemed to echo the refrain: The boy from the ‘lectric chair The boy from the ‘lectric chair. left the jail. 45 . The typhoonish wind bounced. you could hear its mournful lament: Man and Boy They moved along And they were quite a pair It was the lawyer’s job to save The boy from the ‘lectric chair. The boy turned his face as it tossed his hair.

.The placard swinging in his memory had read: DAMON L. He was struggling with the events and sounds of the morning courtroom encounter still ringing in his ears. have the money to retain a lawyer? Is there anyone you wish to contact for the purpose of retaining a lawyer for you? Do you wish the Court to assign a lawyer to represent you without cost? The Court assigns Eben Crown from the State Bar.. It had been a perplexing and disturbing experience... eyes closed.’ Carly compared. Unreal words were returning: ‘right to a Jury trial. assign. the morning had seemed to Carly like a fuzzy dream.. had been replaced by a younger impatient Judge. critical. But he was not asleep. saying that Godiva Beamer had been 46 . Why don’t they talk like folks do? Are there two kinds of people? Who learned them to talk that way – that guy with fish eyes in the ice cream suit.. Retain. Carlton Moore.’ ‘Like a news broadcast over the radio. who had presided at his indictment. Thoughts kept stirring. ‘Only harder to make out. they call Mister Lightfoot?’ Though Judge Winterhouse seemed as restless as a woodpecker.Do you. WINTERHOUSE Judge In court.Marty Holland Chapter 7 LATER THAT AFTERNOON Carly lay on his cell cot. his voice had been level until Lightfoot had read from his yellow papers. Elderly Horace Matthewson.

’ And from down the hall you could hear retching.’ Carly had seen the same light in the eyes of Duke’s mule when it was ornery. ‘That’s the same song Godie’s little transistor was playin’.Baby Godiva mutilated and was in critical condition... warbling bird calls. ‘Purty good. In the next cell a prisoner was whistling.. Carly sat up and listened. ‘Then the Judge gave me a hateful look. It had been a warm summer afternoon and the sun had dried a hard crust on the surface dirt.’ What was it Eben Crown had said? He’d be back tomorrow? ‘I want to know more about Godie Beamer.’ he’d said..’ 47 ..’ The whistler had switched to a tune. ‘Let me see... ‘Why ain’t he been to see me?’ Carly thought miserably. ‘Some guy pukin’. He had broken more than an acre when he’d swung the plow at the turn-row by the fence. They’d made it plain that Duke Moore wasn’t putting up money to help.when she came walkin’ down the road.. Prob’ly too drunked up to come to town.’ Then his thoughts drifted. ‘I wish the deputy wouldn’t put them handcuffs on me when he takes me to the courtroom and back!’ Carly brushed stinging tears and turned his face into the mattress.The mule had took a stubborn streak – and I was tryin’ to git the plowin’ done.. ‘I seen Godie four times at Crazy Tree. ‘Waren’t in the courtroom.’ Carly counted. ‘That was the first time I was with Godie..

And she‘d sung hymns loudest of all. too.. Through the blare he‘d heard her voice. clear as a bell: ―Mawnin‘. She was wearing a long green loose grandma dress with a ruffle around the ankles. sun-streaked with gold and silver. Her long blond hair. She was pushing an ancient baby buggy and carrying a small transistor radio..‖ He‘d seen her a few times before. When she was just a little squirt. He‘d heard the music before he‘d seen her coming down the dusty lane... and she was barefoot. with its lone crushed red rose bobbing on its long stem. I’m gonna sit right down and cry over you-hoo. The music had been faint at first. So they’ll know exactly what ah’m gonna do. at the First Baptist Church.. 48 ...Marty Holland Chapter 8 I’m gonna sit right down and cry over you.. and she‘d given him a huffy look as he‘d merely passed the offering box on down the pew. then swelled with electric guitar and a female singer: Gonna tell my Mama – tell my Papa. He still remembered how his cheeks flushed each time he‘d had no coin to drop. It was funny to see her little hat of leaf-green just plunked on top of her head... She‘d always jumped up to gather the collection. was plaited in thick pigtails that hung heavily to her waist. He‘d watched her squirming through sermons from her seat in the first row right next to the organ.

aren‘t you? Carly Moore?‖ Her voice reminded him of Mrs. you was always stickin‘ your tongue out at me – makin‘ a snoot. ―Hullo. panned back to the plow and mule. 49 . in effort to avoid her. I recall your Ma. young man. I was?‖ She thought it over.‖ It wouldn‘t be gentleman-like not to answer. hoping she‘d leave. ―Your Ma used to bring you to Sunday sermons. ―Duke and me‘s got a load of work to put in here. ―You makin‘ out all right since your Ma died?‖ ―Yep. but I don‘t ‗member seein‘ you at church. bent down.‖ He turned toward the mule.Baby Godiva Everybody knew she was Godie Beamer.‖ Her persistence made him more self-conscious. She‘d turned the music softer and nudged the baby buggy off the lane into the weeds at roadside. the preacher‘s daughter. then edged closer to the barbed wire fence. While your Pa was preachin‘. ―Hullo. From her pocket she pulled out a broken lorgnette. he began wiping sweat from the nape of his neck. ―Guess I jes‘ never liked boys.‖ ―Yeh. with a handle and one eyepiece cracked. why is it you haven‘t been to church since your Ma died?" He gestured. With her right hand she held it up and surveyed the distant farmhouse. Reckon I was jus‘ a child then. pushing her nose through a hole in the wire fence. ―Well. Knocked a clod of weeds off the plowshare. ―You‘re Carlton. ―I haven‘t seen you at church. you was. hinged in the middle. He‘d nodded. She‘d moved in closer.‖ he‘d said. Ashberry‘s snooty tone.‖ Her voice carried a faint lisp. then focused on Carly.‖ ―Oh.‖ He‘d turned and.

Marty Holland She put down the lorgnette. her lids lowered suspiciously. ―I‘ll be livin‘ in Pearlington. 50 . Her lips moved only slightly. You and Duke Moore.‖ Through the corner of his eyes he could see that she had no inclination to leave.‘ I seen Papa‘s papers already.‖ ―I‘ll be right pleased to see you and that old slobberin‘ drunk at the service.‖ Her lips set firm while her eyes grew round.‖ When he said nothing she asked in a high voice: ―What‘s a chameleon?‖ ―I dunno. her voice was softly slurring: ―Next Sunday‘s preachin‘s gonna be ‗That Chameleon Satan. You ought to git all that sin washed out‘a your soul. Did you know that Carly? That‘s what papa says. Ask your Pa. He‘s not usin‘ notes.‖ She waited for his defense of Duke. ―First you got to get over the notion‘a bein‘ a heathen. She surveyed him with the reprimanding air of a little old woman. then: ―The Lord hears you best at the stroke‗a twelve. jealously.‖ ―Then you kin come and see me. When I git to be a evangelist I‘m gonna do midnight prayers for both‘a you.‖ He shook his head. her teeth shone white in the sun.‖ She smacked her lips. ―I‘ll have to ask Papa. Gonna be a grand sermon. wondering what be meant.‖ ―Yeh. She studied him carefully. ―Will you be comin‘ to church on Sunday?‖ ―Don‘t know. Learnin‘ it by heart.‖ he managed. ―I‘m aimin‘ to be a evangelist. Carly. Ain‘t that nice? I‘m gonna teach heathen kids in China how to know the Lord.‖ She cocked one ear to hear if he was going to reply. When none was forthcoming she quickly changed her manner.

‖ There was a purring sound in her laugh. ―Now – why‘d he do that – his own barn?‖ ―Cause he was roarin‘ drunk. ―You mean your steppa‘s horse. My horse.‖ be lied.‖ Her small jaw line set stubbornly. Papa says Duke Moore is the rotten ol' devil. too.‖ Her eyes shifted to the farmhouse. ―Why did‘ya plow that little hill in circles?‖ ―So rain won‘t run off the plantin‘.‖ 51 .‖ ―Dunno.‖ Carly corrected. Awful smart. ―Mule won‘t move.‖ She drew a sharp breath. she puckered her lips daintily. I see now. Carly threw off the leather straps from around his shoulders.‖ Carly tried to smile. ―That old nag‘s got a bellyache. Diamond‘s sick.‖ ―That‘s a lie.‖ ―Why‘ya got that big rock sittin‘ on the plow?‖ ―Make it heavy. huh?‖ ―Diamond? – fine steed.‖ ―Why. then: ―Lightnin‘. ―Your burnt-down barn‘s gone.‖ ―Duke lets me feed and curry him. ―Why shouldn‘t he? With him layin‘ drunk all the while.‖ she said quietly. So‘s the blade‘ll dig in.Baby Godiva ―Papa says he‘d like to know where the moonshine still is – where Duke gits his swill.‖ ―Yeh.‖ She made a face. Papa says he‘d like to clean up all them dens‗a ‗niquity.‖ ―What started the fire?‖ He hesitated. Her gaze wandered. ―Smart. you‘re harnessed up like a mule. Gave him castor oil. ―Papa says Duke fired it. Don‘t belong t‘you.‖ ―Ugh.

―Well—‖ He made a motion to leave.‖ ―Sloppin‘ up the ‗shine. ―Papa says the fire happened on Sunday for a reason. You‘re lucky ol' Duke was at home. ―You got all that to plow under?‖ ―Yeh. ―Father don‘t really sin none. And git to know the Lord. low in her throat sounded as if a cat were purring.Marty Holland ―Well. He isn‘t even your father. ―Ain‘t that jus‘ bein‘ in church makes you a Christian.‖ ―Humph.‖ She raised the lorgnette and sawed it through the air in emphasis.‖ he countered quickly.‖ ―Duke don‘t make me. Jes‘ stuff like that.‖ She wrinkled her brow. ―We saved all the stock.‖ Carly squinted up at the sun and wiped the sweat from his forehead with the palm of his hand. Papa says it‘s a real sinner that‘s got to have the devil‘s brew slidin‘ down his neck from morn ‗till night. A little cane for m‘lasses. ―He makes you plow – tied up like a animal. ―Yeh.‖ She met his gaze squarely.‖ ―What‘y goin‘ to plant?‖ ―Oh. The Lord‘s way‘a tellin‘ Duke to stop sinnin‘. ‗Taters. But when you are in church. corn.‖ Carly kicked at the dust and changed the subject. Bein‘ so rich.‖ She looked off in the distance.‖ The giggling. You see?‖ He sighed deeply in exasperation.‖ He nodded. Papa broke up the evenin‘ sermon so‘s everybody could go out and look.‖ 52 . ―Father‘s most always home. Carly. ―He‘s sick in bed. ―You ought to git to church more. you jus‘ git thinkin‘ ‗bout the Lord more. Her talk was beginning to make him boil up inslde. he ain‘t. Duke don‘t need to do croppin‘.‖ ―Oh? Mean from the fire? It lit up the whole sky.

‖ She dropped her arm. ―If you had a TV.‖ ―Duke don‘t like TV. But I jus‘ hate it down there. ‗I reckon that ‗lows her to speak for the Lord. words just fell out. ―Ain‘t you never been over at Crazy Tree?‖ He hadn‘t meant to say it.‘ Carly thought. adjusted one side of her eyeglasses so that they wouldn‘t collapse in the middle. ―The Lord thanks him for that.‖ She set the little radio in the crook of her arm.‖ ―Secret?‖ She brightened. squinted through her fingers at the sun. Carly noticed her eyes: large.‖ She smiled sweetly. He smiled nervously. wondering if he should share his secret private world.‖ she added solemnly.‖ she speculated and dropped the lorgnette in her pocket. ―It‘s hot. pale green. a cool lush garden spot with its super swimming hole. ―Better tell me. ―You really want me to?‖ 53 .‖ ‗Bein‘ her Pa has the church and all. ―Crazy what?‖ ―My secret place. ―By their antennas. with little flecks of brown in the iris.‘ She held her hand to her forehead. you‘d have a aerial on your shack. ―That‘s how I kin always tell the sinners. She leaned forward. Such a dirty rotten little ol' swimmin‘ hole. Carly. ―Leah and me was on our way to Big Kettle Cove.‖ Carly stood hesitating. But we gotta‘ cool off. ―Awful warm. gesticulating to the baby buggy. Then she raised the lorgnette once more and looked up through the broken glass. thinking of Crazy Tree.Baby Godiva She frowned and plucked at her blouse.‖ She forced a smile to her lips.

―Papa says we kin only have secrets with the Lord.‖ Carly insisted.‖ she answered eagerly. he peered over at the buggy.‖ When he still held out she tried anew: ―Papa said he‘d take me to Fontainebleau. ―Mebbe I kin make you invisible – like I am. He looked at the ‗baby‘ and grinned. She was stumped for only a moment. On the roadside. Next Saturday afternoon there‘s a Tarzan. eyes glowing..‖ "But it‘s a secret. I‘ll ask if you can‘t go fishin‘ with us. ―.‖ Anxiously he glanced down at the farmhouse. ―I‘d like to know a place – where the kids can‘t find." She blinked in anticipation. It‘ll be our secret – jus‘ yours and mine.‖ When there was no answer she moved in close to the wire fence again. I‘ll show you.‖ she wheedled.. Won‘t tell nobody. ―Got my swimmin‘ suit right here. A big doll lay on its back with long legs sprawled. Mebbe the mule‘ll be over his stubborn streak when I git back. Can‘t stay long. Carly. You tell me your secret. ―So you kin tell me.‖ She peered closer to see if the new bait had been swallowed. then began to roll the carriage down the road.. I kin sneak into Scud Wilkes‘ store and watch TV. Her smile broadened. ―Why don‘t you show me where it is? Has it got a swimming hole?‖ He nodded.‖ Her eyes shone guiltily.‖ Carly gently turned the buggy around.‖ He climbed the post and hurdled barbed wire topping.. Godie. 54 . then curiously lifted the netting and peeked inside. Leah‘s got a fever.and I‘ll make you invisible. that‘s why the cover‘s over the hood. ―All right. ―You got a baby in there?‖ ―‗Course.Marty Holland ―Yes. and he walks right by without seein‘ me. It had yellow yarn for hair and blue button eyes. Mebbe Chicot Park.

Jus‘ like they do on TV. Grab their throats and tear ‗em dead.‖ She smiled crookedly. full volume. is ol' Duke gonna‘ skin you for runnin‘ off?‖ He gave her a sidelong glance. You could fight tigers for me. ―Father‘s never laid a hand to me. you‘re big and strong. Carly. ―Now I know you‘re a liar. but she‘d turned the radio up.Baby Godiva Godie held on to her transistor and skipped to keep pace with his long strides. ―My.‖ He‘d started to say something. 55 .‖ She laughed. ―When you git back.

‘ Of course there was Dusty‘s sister. They saw farmhouses. maple trees bright green. banks fringed with multicolored poppies.‘ Carly thought. As the road descended the earth was spotted with gravel. And Dusty‘s Ma was quiet. But she was always away at school in Gran‘ Coteau. the marvel of hickory buds opening. and left on a rustbrown lane. Now and then he stole a glance at Godie – to assure himself that he wasn‘t just dreaming. ‗My only real friend. And so many times Carly had ached for his Ma‘s soft voice. Carly‘s heart lightened. with hands toiling in fields. It was real: he was walking. There‘d been no female in his life – since Ma. pink-and-white dogwood. that his life these past several years had been filled with emptiness. Carly. Overhead a mass of lavender willow. It had been a barren all-male existence. shy. Now. walking with Godie. then over the hump of Perez Bridge. Carly and Duke had had to go it alone. Carly rolled the baby buggy down alongside the sorghum mill. her presence. ‗My best friend. And what a pleasant change. And Dustln Whitley.Marty Holland Chapter 9 CARLY AND GODIE walked on. Mostly. laughing.‘ in her husky contralto. her eager arms holding him. He smiled. Drucilla. 56 . never saying much except ‗Lo. Just Duke. He was realizing that he‘d been missing something important. talking with a girl.

Baby Godiva And the reason he was here with Godie was not so much that he wanted to share a secret. Godie gasped. gulping fruit of buckthorns. Before them lay a paradise of greenery: patches of brilliant wild flowers. and slippery elms. Birds chirped noisily: calling. Godie hesitated. Godie rolled the buggy on. 57 . In a way. catching on neighboring limbs. purple and white. it brought back Ma: Godie‘s pretty light hair. he was suddenly smothered with desire. The sun became splotched as the path led into the denseness of trees. In that instant Carly could hear her breathing and. It was good to know what girls were really like. the silly stuff females say. but that he liked to be with her. letting a welcome breeze cool her sweaty brow. wild cherry. She was waiting for him at a huge wooden gate of yellow birch. he let go of the handle. The gate creaked as he pulled it open. Then. her laugh. and as it rolled down a grassy knoll her breasts bumped his arms and chest in soft collision. He stood watching the swing of her fullgrown body move ahead. Then he bounced the carriage down moss-stained steps. Neither would let go of the handle. sprawling into low-hanging garlands of brightness: pink. with sound of rippling water beyond. Facing his approach she raised a hand. But the sting of her flaxen hair in his face and the smell of her skin lingered. When they stopped in a secluded glen she was no longer laughing. bewildered by this foreign and inexplicable experience. shrieking. vines running up tree trunks. brushing back a lock of hair. Ahead were several little streams curling gracefully into one large pond. after the charged contact of their flesh. and momentarily they looked into each other‘s eyes. And then they were playfully pushing the buggy together.

reminiscent of a creature frozen in time.. faint perfume of wild flowers. After his splash they disappeared. Then she was splashing in the cool water beside him. The tree was out of place in this sylvan serenity. her neck stretched. and clambered out. ―I‘m comin‘ in!‖ She ran to the baby buggy. its mammoth root structure exposed. 58 . she stood on the bank watching Carly. ―Oh. ―I jus‘ hate ‗em!‖ ―They‘s gone!‖ Carly assured her. ―This is Crazy Tree. like knobby knees and elbows poised in an insane stance. But a second later she‘d fallen into a hole.‖ He pointed to a huge cypress close to the pond‘s edge. with misshapen limbs taking off at angles. Her face contorted.‖ Carly said.. I hate snakes!‖ she screeched. sweet-smelling earth. wearing his trousers. her eyes grew wide.‖ Carly was right. Panting. ―Snakes is good!‖ Carly shouted.Marty Holland ―This is the ole McIntosh plantation.‖ ―All right. Jes‘ babes. ―Nobody keeps it up. She watched him with the wizened concern of a grandma. Water had washed away its footing. grabbed up her swim suit and disappeared behind a tree. bubbled a scream. A shaft of sunlight played on her hair. Carly peeled off his shirt and. Godie squatted at the stream‘s edge. Nobody‘s been livin‘ here. She bounced up. covering her head. chase 'em off!‖ she commanded. moss. She drew her dress up around her knees. ―Wouldn‘t hurt you nohow. encountering three small water snakes. it was perched precariously balanced on the bank of the stream like a dancer. They sank down and breathed in the warm fragrance of greenness. He pointed. jumped in the swimming hole. making shimmer-highlights.

‖ All at once she stopped.‖ She held out her arms to balance herself as she placed one bare foot before the other and made it across. she gathered together a bed of dry leaves mixed with moss.‖ she boasted. I‘m up high as the sweetgums. Leah! I gotta hang out the wash!‖ She grabbed Carly‘s shirt. ―Look at me now. Watch the diamonds shake!‖ She leaped off the log. ―Watch me. ―The ole tree‘s ‗bout ready to topple! Don‘t hang stuff on it! And don‘t git so close to the squawbush – can‘t you see that poison-sumac at the side there?‖ She thought for a moment digesting his words. With outstretched fingers Godie combed her wealth of hair. Then she was on her feet. ―No net!‖ She smiled.‖ She pointed to the log. Pretend I got lots‘a paint on my face.. My pants is all diamonds. ―Let‘s play house..Baby Godiva Presently. ―I kin do cartwheels. Carly. ―I‘m one‘a them beautiful circus girls. Carly. 59 . Walkin‘ a tight rope. ―Don‘t do that!‖ he warned. ―There‘s a table. Carly. I‘ll put Leah to bed and we kin have supper in peace. ―I kin even stand on my head!‖ She had jumped up on an old cypress log. stretching shapely berry-brown legs. Wish I had some veils.‖ She kept her shoulders straight and wiggled her hips. Carly got out of the stream and beat his hands over his pants to knock out the water.‖ She looked over at the buggy. I kin do back bends!‖ He watched her supple body bend back so far that she touched the moss with her finger tips. jumped up on the Crazy Tree trunk and flung it over a limb. ―Now git to sleep. fluffing and drying it in the warn shafts of sunlight. firm large breasts overflowing her last year‘s swimming suit bra. After dropping to her knees. ―Look at me. I‘m a harlot. I‘m dancin‘ like Salome. Carly. ―Look out below!‖ she cried. she unbraided her wet long pigtails. ―Look.

On its trunk were lines drawn in the shape of a heart. ―What‘s that say. He knelt. ―You‘re kinda dumb. ―Now. Godie?‖ She gave him an indignant stare.‖ Carly studied her. ―Why do you say that?‖ She shrugged. 60 .‖ He was watching a gray squirrel. ―Kind‘a mean to Leah. she picked up a twig and scribbled impatiently in the dirt: G O D I E. if I want to write it – like I sign my name – do I jes' fasten them letters together?‖ "Like this. my back‘s killin‖. And take to you. ain‘t you?‖ She looked up with innocent wide eyes. ―Good Lawd. limping.‖ He ambled over to the Crazy Tree.‖ she added. Often he‘d studied the letters. Shet up. tottering. no more‘a your whimperin‘.Marty Holland Arching one hand behind her back she came toward him. ―Dunno. ―Think of it. ―Sometimes I think that kid of ours isn‘t quite right. ―Why – I‘m jus‘ learnin‘ her to be on the side ‗a the Lord. Mebbe hund'ert years ago.‖ After a moment he went on: ―Show me how to write your name?‖ Reluctantly. I hear Mama sayin‘ it to Papa.‖ She turned to the doll. ―I don‘t wanna play this game. fascinated. ―Don‘t even know how to read?‖ ―Kin read some. with words carved inside. But I ain‘t been to school like you. or you‘ll git a whuppin‘. words scarcely discernable. He smiled.‖ Her brow creased.‖ She wrote: GODIVA.‖ ―Says ‗Cora loves Paul. I‘ll have your Papa git out the ole buggy whip. ―Now.‘‖ she answered indifferently. some kids like us carved their names on the Crazy Tree. Jus‘ silly married talk. And if you‘re as ornery tomorrow as you are today. hear?‖ Carly smiled. It‘s for little kids.

Fascinating. I kin act like a Pa. her face lightly tan.‖ Godie said. Here beside Godie.‘ But he really wanted to stay on. Godie?‖ Her hands flew to her hips. and laughed in wonderment. ―Leah and me need new duds. He glanced at Leah. ―Well – why don‘t the sheriff ketch ‗im?‖ 61 . ‗Purtier than a horse‘s mane even.. Purtier than corn silk.‖ Carly had perked up. Always wears a Klan hood so‘s nobody kin see his real face. ―How much did the collection bring Sunday?‖ Carly laughed out loud as he watched a squirrel scramble up a tree – leap over on another limb – and pull on a round acorn. ‗Our kid over there. Think I kin catch it. Carly? The ole window peeker came back to Fork River. Did ya know. matter-of factly. his gaze shifted to a patch of sky and he wondered: ‗Mebbe I'd best go on home. And she was built like a beautiful doll. ‗Fore it gits dark. Ashberry seen him peekin‘ in her bedroom. There was something wonderful about girls. if that‘s w‘at she wants – I'll do it! Plowin‘ kin wait. ‗She‘s the Ma – I'm the Pa. it ain‘t right!‖ He stared at her beautiful stern face trying to figure her out. ―Looks so soft. ―Maybe Leah‘s scared of the ole window peeker. Her hair so long and shining.‖ She turned to him.‘ He laughed in delight. ―You think ‗a ca-ray-zy things when the brat's ballin‘ her head off. Not havin‘ a brother or sister to play with. It ain't right. In the eyes ‗a the Lord. Godie‘s skin was so smooth. Then. Back to the plowin‘.‘ He would go along and humor her – in this game of pretendin‘.Baby Godiva With forefinger he traced her writing. Mrs. Hell‘s fire! I‘m stayin!‘ ―Tomorrow I‘m goin‘ to git some calico. Her eyes followed his gaze..

As Elvis‘ velvet voice continued. ―We don't kiss. too Oh. Godie squealed.. In pantomime she began to sip imaginary brew.Marty Holland ―Can‘t. and now Elvis Presley was shaking out his latest release: If you want to be loved Well-a you-a got to luv-a me. He could feel her heart beating against his chest. throwing her wet suit in next to Leah. Carly searched her flawless face. He runs fast as the wind. with her little finger raised. ―you really are?‖ ―‗Course!‖ she squeaked with glee. Shhh.‖ ―You – you think. it was bright as the sunset. and fell down on a moss 62 .‖ he choked.‖ And then she smiled. A warmness shot all through him. her panties and her dress. ―‗cept for goodbye – when they call you to preach at the Old Square Church. I‘d sure like to see that ole window peeker. I‘d run and hold his legs and—‖ ―An‘ – and yank off the hood – quick!‖ Carly sputtered. Suddenly he drew her into his arms and held her close. ―Now I‘m goin‘ to have that youngun – for Leah. We gotta sneak quiet to the kitchen for tea. swooned. She grabbed up her radio.. yeah – I ain't for no One sided love affair-ah . The male voice of the news broadcaster blared forth. then realized she was playing her game again.‖ she explained. her lips turned up at the corners – puffed a little. But. and disappeared behind a tree. The news report ended. After a few minutes she was at the buggy. But she pushed him away. Carly looked puzzled. silly. his hot combo burning the mike. don't rattle your saucer or the brat‘ll have ‗nother ‗a her nightmares.

.‖ She‘d yelled. When the song ended. A deputy had told the whistler to pipe down. ―I'll cut through by the stream. They kept brushing them off. ―Bring cigarettes.‘ he told himself.‘ Carly was thinking.‘ 63 .. *** The hall night light in the jail was flickering. and turned at the river road. nearing home. I‘d been thinkin‘ about her. As they sauntered on. This game of pretending was a little scary. ‗Oh. you won't. At the crossroad. Abruptly the music zinged with electric guitar. ―See you tomorrow.. Carly rolled the baby buggy up along the steps and through the gate opening. back way. Carly rolled the buggy in front of her. Godie got up and brushed off her dress. a lot. Time number two was ‗bout a week later. Carly also began to feel the rhythm.‖ she called. Everything was quiet. no. piano and base. ‗But I seen her three times more – at Crazy Tree. he looked at her.‖ ―See you at Crazy Tree. Duke might be lookin‘ for me.Baby Godiva clump with her face pressed to the little transistor. ‗I could ‗a left her alone after that first time.‖ Unsteadily.. white and pink blossoms fell on their shoulders. Too quiet. He hurried off. They edged along the twisted path and reached the road. Overhead a breeze was rushing branches. Her leg kicked the ruffle of her dress in beat with the drum.

Carly had strained to lay the old man out straight. The ring on her finger sparkled. “—Flat Lake 64 . too. Short. To the gills.I went over to — a—” She smacked her lips. And for a moment he‟d stood hypnotized. “Pssst.. her dress red. His muscles tightened. An open jar of meat lay on the floor. Head on floor.Marty Holland Chapter 10 DUKE HAD SAID HE WAS HUNGRY for Enid‟s canned beef.” As she edged close up a shiver ran through him. Then he‟d seen her hair. “. “W‟at you want?” “Carly. Then suddenly he‟d been conscious of a moving shadow outside the cellar door: “Pssst. Holding a blanketed bundle..” she‟d repeated in a whisper.. Red sandals. It was Godie. “Is he passed out?” He rushed up the short flight of stairs.. breathing her in. “What you doin‟ here?” he‟d asked sharply.. In the middle of the afternoon Carly had found him in the cellar. After a glance back at Duke he said softly: “Sotted.” He smiled. his body sprawled over the steps. lying in a drunken stupor. Blood was draining to his head. Her lips worked anxiously as she‟d pointed through semidarkness to the limp lump that was Duke. held loosely on each side by elaborate red ribbons. making his face beet red..” He‟d peered up through the half-light.

he shook his head. she was playing games again.” she went on in a loud whisper. halfchild. Rachel. Carly looked down into her saucer eyes and her closeness smothered him. It looked like Leah‟s twin. it‟s jes‟ – a—” Wearily he rubbed his forehead. Leah‟s got dull eyes.. Only Rachel had black yarn for hair. “You got to! Can‟t tell Papa I had „nother baby!” Unable to believe his ears. Brownish-black button eyes. “Four pounds.. Jus‟ till I get a place for her. “—kin you keep Rachel here? Don‟t want Papa and Mama knowin‟ yet. “Carly—” Eyes pleaded. “It – a – it‟s only jes‟ a big doll. Duke was mumbling between snores. „Bout Papa.” Duke‟s snoring was louder.” He stood fidgeting.” “Hell‟s fire! I can‟t keep her!” Her voice trembled. Her presence had 65 . wondering if he would ever understand this half-woman. Her lower lip curled. Inside was a longlegged rag doll. pondering if he‟d heard right. Pore thing‟s already got the fever. I named her. but Rachel is lovely!” He tugged at the edge of the blanket roll. “Scud Wilkes let me weigh her on the store scales. She‟s got your dark eyes. “Here. It was confusing until he remembered.Baby Godiva yesterday mornin‟.” “Jeez! Look—” “Don‟t you want to hold your own kid!” She was deflated. Got somepin‟ else important to tell you.” Her eyes shone brilliantly. take her.” his voice flared. “You‟re a fine one! I watched for you all week at Crazy Tree. “Denyin‟ it‟s your own brat?” “Well. Nervously he glanced back down the steps. “And had our youngun. Now Leah‟s got a little sister to play with.

” Behind her. He knew that she had feigned her fright but he was enjoying the contact.” she instructed. “I‟ll make a flower necklace for you. “Godie. I can‟t keep Rachel!” She crossed her legs. He motioned for Godie to roll it back to the road. “No purple. When Godie saw Carly coming she sank down on a log. “All white. with a little blanket folded neatly at their waists. “We can‟t stick „round here.” He wanted to please her. He hurried over. he saw the baby buggy and Leah sitting up. staring. under the grape arbor. and he fought off 66 . he only had to reach up to pull white blossoms from wild ramblers. “That means I got to sneak her to my bedroom. all legs. Once more be felt warm blood beginning to race. "Go on to Crazy Tree. Godie cringed. then: “Don‟t you even like her?” “„Course I do. Like I used to – for Ma. Then. lying on his back. “Slimy muskrat!” she squealed.” A muskrat slithered along the bank and plopped into the stream.” She was silent.” he said lamely.” When she rose again to help pull blossoms she stepped over him. whipping her short skirt across his face. then jiggled them.” *** Leah and Rachel were tucked in side by side on the forest bed by the Crazy Tree. He began stringing. “Not here. sprang up. Right away. I‟ll meet ya‟. emitted a short “yeep” and threw her arms around Carly.Marty Holland affected him in this strange way ever since their first encounter at Crazy Tree.” “Right away?” “Yeh. Now he pulled a handful of reeds and selected the thinnest. She held on and his calm gaze steadied her.

When I first peeked in last night all I seen was the robe. He could‟a left the rats out. Mama told him to put it right back in moth balls. Papa stopped and mumbled some funny words. “I ought‟a tell papa.” Carly pursed his lips. Instead he blurted: “Ma used to say the lord made all little critters. Then she was close beside him. Didn‟t dream t‟was Papa in it.” Carly kept stringing. Ain‟t got any.” “Whew!” He was silent. I was watchin‟ „em from hidin‟. “W‟at was he doin‟? Learnin‟ to fly?” She squinted. huh?” She met his gaze levelly. And I watched Papa rollin‟ up the robe and hood an‟ puttin‟ „em in a box under his bed. I bet. flappin‟ his arms up – like a big white pelican. Carly had finished the flower garland and was making another.” 67 . see? .And there‟s this crack in the door. Jes‟ supped it once. “Ain‟t likin‟ it for sure. Papa said he was jus‟ tryin‟ on the ole outfit. Mama said he had no business gettin‟ it out.” “What?” She was shocked. “Your step-pa‟s learnin‟ you to drink that filthy swill!” Her chin rose.” “Father don‟t learn me. “My bedroom‟s right next to Mama and Papa‟s. “You bring cigarettes?” “Duke don‟t smoke. He was runnin‟ „round the room. “I kin inhale. So you like to smoke.” They looked at each other glumly. then: “I kin drink whiskey. trying to recall.Baby Godiva an almost uncontrollable urge to pull her down upon him.” He saw her expression.” “Well. “Guess what? Papa‟s got a Klan robe. piling up blossoms and sniffling. then she remembered. to shake out the mildew. “Huh-uh. “Tell me – „bout your Pa. “Humph.” She was puzzled.” he added quickly.

bones and all.” A shiver ran through her. All our cryin‟ and prayin‟ won‟t keep us from drownin‟. She lifted one side of her bathing suit on her shapely thigh and showed him a welt. Prob‟ly take to boozin‟. “Papa‟s whip looks like a black snake. Godie. I will. “And she says a big twister kin scream in from the south islands and blow us all flat.” she added morosely.” “Not the Baptist church.” She cringed.” She gave him a lopsided smile. Wait a minute – Ma tole me once. He made „em „cause if everythin‟ was too easy for us – we‟d jes‟ lay down and all go to hell. You think I should tell on him?” “Well—” “If he beats me once more.” Carly shuddered. “Papa did this with the buggy whip. don‟t we?” She lifted one brow.” “So we don‟t think‟a our real miseries.” 68 . Even in the middle‟a sermon. “Even a church – when you‟re least expectin‟ it. So He has to keep us worryin‟. And big sharks‟ll eat us. “Whenever I‟m mean to Mama she says someday soon the earth‟s gonna break off – and we‟re all goin‟ to be washed into the gulf. People‟ll be callin‟ to the Lord for help.” “He beats ya‟?” Carly‟s eyes widened.” “Oh. “We don‟t worry – you and me. “Why you s‟pose the good Lord made snakes?” “He made „em „cause – I dunno. “Your Ma say that?” “Hurricanes blow down everythin‟. Flood the crops and bust up houses and barns." Her eyes darkened.Marty Holland “What‟s he keepin‟ it for?” “Don‟t know.

” her voice purred.” he heard himself saying. forgit „bout that stuff. Sun‟s warm. Think‟a the flowers. makes the corn sprout. Carly closed his eyes tight and peeled off his shirt and britches. “You naked.” She rested her head on his shoulder. Two‟s better‟n one to scare off them water snakes.” Godie took to the water with a delighted screech. Bare as a statue. “Then why don't you peel off? Feels so good!” Through the corner of his eye he could see that she was standing beside him stripped.” “Don‟t seem like sin. yes. and after a time nature washed away self-consciousness. eyes straight ahead. Still sitting on the ground.” She squirmed away from him and got to her feet. “There‟s so much to worry over. their awareness of their unclad bodies. “naked.” Savagely she bit her lip. Shucks! Let‟s swim naked.” he said. “I‟m naked. “Didn‟t bring my bathin‟ suit.” as he bellyflopped in after her.Baby Godiva Her mouth set defiantly. Adam and Eve was naked in the garden‟a Eden. He hadn‟t looked yet. “Oh. “Bein‟ naked ain‟t no sin. My bathin‟ suit was too tight anyway.” He held her close. “You jump in first and I‟ll foller. “Godie. Keeps me from thinkin‟a other things. Creeks like this for us to swim in. 69 . hear? Look at the way rain helps the crops. From the pool she called.” she added abruptly. “Hurry off your clothes. With new exhilaration they swam and splashed.” Carly sat through the flurry of motion beside him. Pinched my legs. Even Papa‟s church. Carly?” "Sure. “That's why I try so hard to worry „bout Leah and Rachel.

I like the curls on your neck. The flowers framed her laughing face and settled around her throat and breast. “Wish mine was curly.” “Oh. „She truly looks like a angel!‟ he thought. facing him. His vision cleared to see Godie following him up the bank.” She touched his neckline. smacked her lips. He marveled at the beauty of her form. "You're kind „a funny – dumb and ugly.” “Yeh. You‟d be spoilin‟ it for sure!” She turned on her side. Godie. don't do nothin‟ like that. Ma was purty. Says it‟s good to go naked.” He smiled softly.” she said tartly. “Yours is jes‟ right. too. Carly. Maybe I should.” he said.” She looked off. “Your hair‟s got silver streaks – But it‟s gold. clear rivulets flowing from his hair and down his straight body.Marty Holland Carly came out of the water first. He nibbled on a reed while she lay on her back. “You‟re purty. but first he quickly pulled on his under shorts. “Prayin‟ might help ya. not quite comfortable with being completely nude in the presence of Godie. like you.” he repeated.” She sighed. Cause it lets the pores breathe. then looking off unhappily. crossed one long limb over the other and kept jiggling one foot – her long damp hair curling over full-rounded breasts. “Your Ma had pretty straw hair. Carly rolled over to lie on his stomach.” “I take it all back. too. She laughed and plunked down on the moss beside him. “Gosh you‟re purty.” 70 . “You‟re purty.” She studied him.” “Papa uses stove polish on his hair. Impulsively he reached down and picked up the garlands he‟d woven and tossed them over her head. “I heard a doctor talkin‟ on the radio. Godie.

” He wondered what she meant but didn‟t ask. There‟s others knows about this place. Say teats. “Godie. not tits.” Carly was shocked. Gotta go home now. Get your clothes on. Carly‟s got to go cook dinner for the old Sot – and ole papa jus‟ might be lookin‟ for us too.” “Why do pores got to breathe? I think that doctor‟s a snit. get dressed.” Then straightening the dolls in the buggy. “Carly: Are my boobies too big? Why do men like to look?” “Guess it‟s jes‟ cause – how do I know?” he suddenly stammered. and his blood was racing again.” He stroked the silky wisps of her hair falling lightly over her bosom and was sure of it. Godie.” And as an afterthought – “We can‟t swim naked here. he said quietly. Then he was aware of a sudden movement in the foliage. Carly and Godie casually sauntered up the moss covered steps – to the main gate and out to the gravel dirt road. on the other side of the pool – up by the gate— Carly reached for his clothes.” Godie pursed her lips as if in thought. quick.” She pulled her dress down over her head and hurriedly tied back her hair with the wide orange ribbon. Leah. unimpressed.Baby Godiva He giggled and rubbed his arm. “Ours is sure breathin‟. “The girls in Sunday School call „em boobies. sounds more refined. 71 . and tried to look away.” She rose to a sitting position and threw back her shoulders. “Get your shoes on Rachel. “In Duke‟s vet‟nary farm book it says teats are on a cow. Duke is expectin‟ me. As he was quickly donning his pants. “You kin feel my teats if you want. quick. And you ain‟t no cow. “Get dressed.

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Chapter 11
THAT WAS THE SECOND TIME HE‘D BEEN WITH GODIE. For a week after, daily, he‘d hopefully trudged to the McIntosh plantation. But she wasn‘t there. After feeding the stock or raking the barn floor or running the ditches, he‘d known that as soon as Duke got swacked blind he‘d lead him to bed – then make a beeline down the road. Sometimes he‘d carried his fishing pole and can of worms. When he saw that Godie wasn‘t at Crazy Tree he‘d cut back to the river. And Duke would wake up to a waiting supper: ―Deelish‘us,‖ he‘d murmur all through the meal. Just the one word, ―deelish‘us,‖ while cramming down boiled taters and Carly‘s catch of golden fried catfish – as though he‘d never eaten before. On Saturday night Carly took a bath, washed out his white shirt. Sunday morning he got out the flatiron and pressed with care. Stepped into his one decent pair of Levis and stood before the mirror slicking back his hair. Then he sauntered past the First Baptist Church. But he didn‘t get a glimpse of her. When the sermon was over, and folks started streaming out the double doors, he ran on home, unseen. And so summer had floated in at Fork River, bringing with it foggy steaming mists that clung close to trees. At the Moore Farm – even though Carly had freshened the water troughs and hosed down the grounds and trees, the intense heat brought forth a stronger odor from the yards, singed the shrubbery, dried grass brown. Sunflowers along the fence drooped their

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heads. Listless cows squatted in the shade, only to get up and go into the barn seeking relief. Inert pigs softly scolded water hogs who were overstaying their turn in the wallow-hole. Chickens looked wan, lost their sprightly gait. Diamond was recovering from his sick spell – and when Carly would tend to him in his stall, he'd whinny and move his head up and down in stalwart recognition of Carly's loving care – especially after a curry or a rubdown. Carly liked to think of him as a fire-breathing stallion that could leap over mountaintops. But whenever he saddled him, the horse would look so forlorn that Carly lost heart to run him down the dusty road. So he walked Diamond down with him, to the McIntosh Plantation and hitched him to a tree in the shady glen. Then he lay down on a mossy knoll and watched a variety of birds overhead as they flew from tree to tree – making nests and softly chattering and warbling their songs. Carly had chewed on a reed while making a flower necklace. He‘d leaped up on the old cypress log, held out his arms and walked it with caution as Godie had done. He‘d listened to the cry of a far-away tramp locomotive. And then he‘d looked over through a fork in the branches, and there she was. Framed in afternoon sunlight. It didn‘t even occur to him to be surprised. So natural was her presence in the scene. It seemed that no time had elapsed since they‘d last been together. As she moved closer he saw that she was wearing a short orange dress, with her hair combed back on the sides and swept up at the back of her head – like a horsetail. Her face was thinner, piqued; her eyes appeared larger with a serious expression. Under one arm she carried Leah and Rachel squashed together.

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He smiled casually. ―You been away?‖ ―Warn‘t ‗lowed out‘a the yard,‖ she answered in a small forlorn voice. He pointed to Rachel. ―W‘at happened?‖ ―Oh.‖ A sigh tumbled out. ―Papa been ragin‘ ‗cause I – a – found the key to his desk. He beat Rachel. Fractured her arm.‖ ―It‘s broke?‖ ―‗Course!‖ she said aggravatedly. ―Why you think she‘s wearin‘ the sling!‖ She paused. ―Papa said I was goin‘ soft on dolls. Said I stole money to buy her.‖ He looked thunderstruck. ―I know you didn‘t!‖ She studied him. ―Well, I did fib to you, Carly. ‗Bout havin‘ Rachel over at Flat Lake. I saw her in the window at Fitts Department Store. I hew Papa wouldn‘t give me the money, so I—‖ Her lower lip trembled. ―—I wanted her so bad:‖ Her tone lightened. ―She was only a dollar ninety-eight.‖ She looked down at Rachel with concern, then sniffled a little. ―Papa says I got sticky fingers.‖ ―Well, you ain‘t:‖ he said testily. ―Or have ya?‖ ―Course not. But Papa came at me regular. Tryin‘ to find out how I found his key. So I—‖ Her voice was too high. ―Last night I confessed. When he got out the old buggy whip ag‘in.‖ Carly looked worried, ―Why didn‘t you tell him real quick. Then he wouldn‘t—‖ ―Papa said he was goin‘ to beat me ‗till he got the rotten ole devil out ‗a me. He did it. Hear? The devil's clean washed out 'a me. Look at me, Carly.‖ She smiled. ―I‘m practic‘ly a angel now.‖ ―And a right—‖ His voice broke in pity. ―—purty angel, Godie.‖ ―When he got out the whip I had to tell ‗im. I had to show him the crack in the door – from my room – where I can see

Baby Godiva

through. I told him how – I took the key and got the money for Rachel.‖ She paused for breath. Then tears sprang into her eyes; she reached over and pressed his arm. ―Carly, we got to run away. Right now. Think we kin find Pearlington?‖ ―Ain‘t so far, is it? We could—‖ He was flustered. ―Pearlington. Let me see. Where would that be, Godie?‖ She blinked and gestured. ―You jus‘ go over Arkansas – that way.‖ ―We could walk it?‖ ―Don‘t see why not. And roll the younguns in the buggy. We might have to sleep on the ground.‖ He reconsidered. ―Mebbe I can‘t run off. Heifer‘s ‗bout ready for calf. When the time‘s right I gotta run for the vet.‖ ―Let the ole souse do it.‖ Her mouth pouted. We got to worry ‗bout our brats.‖ ―I know, but—‖ ―We can run away, Carly,‖ she cooed. ―You preach and I‘ll play the organ. Jus‘ think – we kin have as many younguns as we want.‖ She smiled radiantly. He shivered, then laughed. Gosh, she was pretty. And her voice so nice all at once. Soft as the breeze. But she changed her mind so much. He felt a little dizzy. Did she really mean it? Naw, she was playin‘ the pretending game again. ―Can‘t we run away, Carly?‖ ―Father‘s most always sick. I‘m the only hand he‘s got...‖ She was fuming. ―If you wasn‘t the father‗a Rachel I‘d never come back to Crazy Tree!‖ She set down the dolls. Then, with cool deliberateness began pulling off her dress. Suddenly she was standing naked beside him. ―This is the way the Lord made me,‖ she said. ―I believe you.‖ He pulled his eyes away. ―Gonna swim?‖

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―Maybe:‖ Her voice was silky and soft again. ―Aren‘t ya gonna kiss me?‖ Carly reached over and kissed her gently, but. she pulled him closer. ―Godie! You kiss too long!‖ ―That‘s the way they kiss on TV, gooney.‖ Her arms dropped. Carly ran and jumped in the water. And she was pointing and screaming. ―Look!‖ ―Jes‘ three little snakes,‖ he scoffed from the pool. ―Always swimmin‘ together, got more sense‘n we got." He swam awhile then scrambled up to the bank beside her and started taking off his trousers to hang then up to dry. ―Pig! Stop it! You put yourself right back in your pants! Carly Moore, you‘re indecent!‖ ―Why—‖ he stammered. ―....ain‘t done nothin‘! I got on my under shorts.‖ But she‘d thrown on her dress. She grabbed up her shoes, dolls, and ran off. Standing there in a state of confusion he‘d heard the gate creak open and close with a thud. ―I‘m gonna tell Papa!‖ *** And she did. Elijah listened with his bony face turned ashen. Godie, captured by the excitement of the moment, was not above adding pure fantasy to fact in telling her story: ―I was jus‘ reachin‘ for a yellow swallowtail, Papa. And Carly Moore got after me, chased me into the woods. And – and—‖ The Reverend turned to her in concern. ―And what?‖ ―You know, Papa. Tuk‘ down his pants.‖ ―Oh, no...‖

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She nodded. ―I got away from him and ran, Papa. And I lost my butterfly net.‖ She reveled in the newfound excitement she had created. Quietly Elijah began cursing, hurling obscenities never heard before in the parish house. Then suddenly aware of his unholy blasphemy, his wide shoulders slumped in apathetic shock. Sitting on the stairway, Godie‘s mother, Reva Beamer commenced to weep. *** Unaware of the fury kicking up inside the First Baptist Church, Carly had gone in swimming, then wandered down to the river and had taken the long way home. It was almost dark when he‘d entered the open gate of the Moore farm. All at once it seemed as though he was struck by a bag of heavy sand falling from the sky. In one horrifying moment Duke‘s red bloated face had loomed from out of nowhere... Carly had felt a shoulder ram that sent him spinning to the grass: with a hurt and questioning expression he‘d looked up. Duke was shaking in rage. ―Preacher jest left!‖ Carly stared, stupefied. The old man had never turned on him before. He had no sooner gotten to his feet when Duke, muttering drunken curses in a new mustering of strength, lunged a second time. Carly was knocked reeling again, past the gate, and fell in the lane. ―Git down to the church!‖ Duke roared. On his feet once more, Carly attempted to brush off dirt clinging to his still-damp trousers. Then Duke was behind him, pushing him toward the roadway. Carly turned to him, ―Why‘d ya hit me?‖ ―Elijah‘s waitin‘ for ya‘!‖. Duke made a crazed, menacing gesture.

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―What for?‖ Carly asked. At the crossroads he looked back, Duke wasn‘t far behind, dragging his feet and making violent motions for Carly to take the left turn. At the First Baptist Church, Carly paused at the roadwalk until Duke caught up. Ambling closer, the old man shook his fist, ordering Carly to get on into the yard. Then his raucous voice boomed: ―Carly‘s here...Elijah...‖ Inside the parish, the Reverend Beamer had been tiptoeing to the crack in the double doors, peering out to see if anyone had entered the yard. Now the doors opened slowly. Elijah appeared, his eyes gleaming with a Messianic light. His right hand grasped a bull whip; his left clasped a Bible. Minus his preaching jacket, clad in long-sleeved white shirt and tight fitting dark trousers, he sprang with the grace of a Spanish dancer down the short flight of steps. Concentrating on Carly, he advanced. ―Reverend...‖ Carly‘s voice sounded to him as if it came from a well. He flinched. ―...Duke says y‘want‘a see me...‖ He kept noting the whip and edging back. Elijah‘s answer was a crack of the whip. Staggering under hot stinging lashes, Carly cried out, ―I didn‘t do anything wrong –‖ With the whip raised, Elijah slashed again and again across the boy‘s back and legs. Between strikes, Elijah held the closed Bible high in his left hand. Laboring for breath, he spat: ―When thou defilest a maiden...‖ As the whip continued to crash, Carly fell to the ground. He saw Duke with arms outstretched, jumping from side to side, prepared to tackle if Carly attempted escape. Carly had steeled himself as the whip whined and snapped. At last he saw Elijah signaling to Duke.


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Carly struggled to his feet. As he ran from the churchyard Elijah stooped, picked up stones and hurled them. But they missed their mark. Hurrying toward the farm, Carly had glanced back to see Duke, his flabby frame bouncing in a trot, hobbling as fast as he could in pursuit. Holding on to the porch rail by the grape arbor. Carly sank slowly to his knees. Dusk had fallen softly, like a caress. Diamond whinnied. Through the evening breeze, the honeysuckle won over the barnyard odor. ―The preacher‘s dotter.‖ Duke was ranting. ―Why? Why the preacher‘s dotter! Why did you try foolin‘ ‗round with li‘l Godie? Answer me that!‖ Carly closed his eyes to hide the pain. Duke was working himself up into new frenzy. ―Ain‘t it ‗nuff your Ma‘s dead, and I got all my aches an‘ misery?‖ Carly found his voice. ―I – never touched her, Father.‖ Duke managed to steady himself. With his shirt tail he wiped running sweat from his face. Bloodshot eyes glittered heavenward: ―Lord, did ‗ya think you‘d see the day when this kid ‗a mine‘d be lyin‘ like this? We got to ask You right here on this porch, to forgive ‗im; wash away this sin.‖ He tried to focus. ―You‘re on your knees, askin‘, ain‘t you, Carly?‖ Carly swallowed the dryness in his throat and nodded. I‘m askin‘, what I did wrong! What did I do?‖ The old man staggered to the porch post and held to it. He looked back at Carly. ―Ya treat this boy like a son. Give ‗im the run ‗a the place. Good grub,‖ He swayed and thought again. ―Glad yer ma ain‘t seein‘ this.‖ He licked his lips. ―Best I git in the house an‘ pray – all night long. Git a move on, son.‖ Carly felt thankful to be allowed to stand. His back ached; one leg felt numb; exhaustion was closing in. He took a step

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toward the screen door when Duke began to sob softly. Carly stared, half-choking in pity for the old man. It was best that he got out of sight. He turned abruptly and started down from the porch. Feeling that he should comfort Duke, he stopped and mumbled: ―I did nothin‘ wrong to Godie, father.‖ Duke grimaced, as though he‘d swallowed a strong dose of moonshine. He went into a fit of coughing. Then gasping, blurted: ―Don‘t say no more! That pore li‘l Godie!‖ ―Little? She knows more than you think.‖ Duke groaned, Then needing an emergency bracer, he rushed into the house. Carly had stood looking after him. A light snapped on in the kitchen. He heard the tin can rattle noisily. Dejectedly he turned and walked with weary footsteps toward the sound of Diamond pawing the barn door.


Strange how things were always more quiet on Sundays. And there I was ag‘in.‘ GODIVA LOVES CARLY And cut the shape of a heart around it. he‘d thought there might be a summer storm. He‘d heard a freight train switching.. Then left for Crazy Tree.. around for Duke. herded them into the barn.‘ He‘d stretched out on the mossy bank and looked up through a hanging tangle of vines and tree tops beyond. the mule and old Diamond. Closed the chicken coop and hog pen. A far-off rumble of thunder sounded. The sky was orchid and blue. Before starting out. then the engine whistling four blasts. Wild blackberry leaves took on a darker shade and glistened. air hissing as a coupling was broken. ‗I swore I‘d never go back. But a higher stratus was almost black. So he‘d rounded up the cows. but the air had turned warmer.Baby Godiva Chapter 12 ‗FUNNY. He glanced up at his handiwork: 81 ... I even carved our names on the Crazy Tree – next to Cora Loves Paul.. ‗Must be time purty soon for Reverend Beamer‘s six o‘clock sermon.. Looked. Sunlight was fading early. then apricot – like Godie‘s suntanned legs. found him asleep in the easy chair. Swimmin‘ and feelin‘ bad.‘ CARLY THOUGHT. As distant church bells struck he‘d turned an ear and listened.

When you really come to thinkin‘ ‗bout it.‖ he said matter-of-factly. He had lain back. that somebody loved him. And her eyes – they could look limpid. half a snarl – sometimes purring.Marty Holland GODIVA LOVES CARLY It had been good to see it spelled out.‘ His gaze wandered back up to the carved inscription. half a lisp. There was something wonderful about Godie. Then it occurred to him that something was wrong. ―I‘ll bet I‘m the only one in the whole world.‘ He‘d often suspected that even Duke would turn him out if he didn‘t keep hustling all the farm work – so that the old man could stay drunk all the time.. Hell‘s fire.. ‗There‘s plenty ‗bout them words that ain‘t right. ‗Them words is a lie. you never knowed from one minute to the next whether she‘d pet or bite.. Ma used to love me. crossed his legs and jiggled one foot – as Godie had done.‘ A lonely feeling seized him. the way when a soft lock of hair fell over one eye she didn‘t even bother to push it back.. ―that nobody never ever cares ‗bout. ‗Soft or snippy. ‗They was green. Her cool indifference – that voice of hers. I ain‘t got a Ma or even a real Pa.‘ He laughed. ‗Ain‘t girls funny?‘ He could see her lips. I ain‘t got nobody.‖ 82 . ‗But she‘s gone. then turn hard as hickory.‘ he thought. Green as a wine bottle when you look through it up at the sun. He thought of her careless beauty. puffed out. If you want the truth – them words should say:‘ NOBODY LOVES CARLY ‗Bet if Ma was here things‘d be different. Puttin‘ on them crazy airs.

Legs leaning over to one side! Long hair flowing around her back and shoulders. and Godie seen it all banged up. T‘was her husband dared her ride naked through the streets. Hit the trees and disappeared.. Blew. A small tin can with sudsy water splashing down the animal‘s side with her bounce. he‘d barely finished whittling off the words when he‘d turned toward a familiar clop-ety-clop of a horse‘s feet. and I had to use a stick for a crutch – I reckon she might feel sorry for me. And as if by magic. Or – if I drowned in the hole – she might cry some. speechless. more bubbles formed and were air-born. it caught on a high limb. ―How‘d you git Diamond? Did‘ya close the barn door?‖ ―‗Course! And looked all over for you. He stared. ―You‘re – specially beautiful on a horse. Godie!‖ She nodded. And then through the foliage. In her right hand. Leah and Rachel riding in front of her – and a roll of clothing. ‗She‘d probably say – Hi. ―Godie‖ he fairly shouted. ‗If I broke my leg. Diamond appeared in the midst of them! A sight he could scarcely believe! Godie – plum-naked! Riding Diamond! Bareback.‖ She rode past Crazy Tree and threw her bathing suit. stupid – you‘re so dumb you broke your leg. her hair only half covered full rounded breasts with nipples pointed. Godie held a corncob pipe.Baby Godiva He got up and kicked at a clump of grass..‘ He remembered it clearly. ―I know. but somehow she‘d managed to place the halter over the horse‘s head.‘ ‗Naw. Suddenly a billow of soap bubbles soared above the far thicket. She dipped it in the can of water. Papa says Lady Godiva wasn‘t wicked or a harlot.‖ 83 .‘ he reconsidered.

Face turned toward the darkening sky she blew more bubbles. ―Got ‗em this mornin‘. then slid down from the horse.‖ Eyes narrowed. ―Godie!‖ he cried. ―I jus‘ hate Papa!‖ 84 . Big bubbles. ―Why‘d you want to go tell your Pa! This was our secret place. ―She‘ll go on home. showing red welts. ―No! Diamond stops in a crowd!‖ ―Shucks!‖ She arched her body back. white sandals. Her jaw set rigidly.‖ ―Naked?‖ She nodded. Said I gotta stay in my room all day. turned her leg.everywhere. and disappear. ―Ridin‘ on down through Main Street.‖ She lifted her skirt. ‗Cause I ran down to the Randsbottom orchard and fetched some apples. She pouted prettily..‖ ―Well. suddenly – with Godie. he hurt me. Carly watched Diamond retrace his steps through the foliage. White skirt and blouse. ―I‘ll ride so fast nobody‘ll know it‘s me!‖ "No. I‘ll bet‘cha. Ate ‗em and got a belly ache. but his anger faded.. Now everybody‘ll know ‗bout it!‖ She was putting on her clothes. sash of turquoise blue. Godie – that big ‗un didn‘t break! Went all the way to Heaven!‖ She tossed off the dolls. Diamond lunged off." he gasped. Papa said I swiped ‗em. ―Duke might turn me out – but your Pa didn‘t hurt me much. ―Where you goin‘?‖ She haltered Diamond back to face Carly.‖ He turned resentfully to Godie. Carly jumped up on a small mound and pointed excitedly: "Look. ―Yawl very mad?‖ He could still feel the sting of the black whip.Marty Holland She threw down a bundle of clothing: shoes scattered. little bubbles. white panties.

―We‘d git married. We kin run away. Godie! Don‘t git so mad!‖ ―You ‗pologizin‘?‖.‖ ―Dandy? You talk like Papa!‖ Then he was strutting back and forth. Carly had heard a rustling movement in the dried leaves. her eyes darting past his shoulder toward the old manse.‖ His heart leaped. I—‖ She broke off. She watched him speculatively. Godie.‖ ―Can‘t help it.‖ Calmly she scrutinized him. like we talked th‘other day. ―Hush!‖ she said. ―S‘all right then – if you ain‘t meanin‘ it. whispering: ―Couldn‘t come swimmin‘ no more. Godie. Not your own Pa.‖ ―That‘d be dandy. Both had been startled by a noise foreign to the usual sounds of the glen. That‘d be bad. Finally he mustered courage. Together they crept along the overgrown hedge. Jus‘ do.‖ ―Married?‖ It took a moment for the words to take effect. Pacing helped him organize his thoughts. listening.Baby Godiva ―You shouldn‘t. ―Reckon it ain‘t so hard to be a preacher. Then Godie was peeking through an opening in the old gate. ―Think jus‘ ‗cause I had a kid with you I‘m gonna marry you?‖ She was building up steam.‖ 85 . He‘s talkin‘ ‗bout sendin‘ me off to Baptist School. ―We sure don‘t want‘a be caught here – t‘gether. and to his own surprise heard himself saying: ―I been thinkin‘.‖ She agreed. he swallowed hard. ―Yeh. Carly‘s eyes were searching the underbrush.‖ He felt a warmness in the pit of his stomach. She turned to him slowly. She saw nothing. ―You got ‗nother think comin‘!‖ ―Didn‘t mean it.

you do! Say it! Don‘t be ‗shamed. Jes‘ don‘t wanna play games no more. then fluffed him off with a wide smile. Having knelt by the thicket for what seemed an eternity they rose and stealthily crept back to the creek-bank.‖ Grabbing her shoulders. ―Don‘t make me sorry I sneaked out lookin‘ for you. ―Let‘s put the brats to bed. Carly shook her gently. Godie. for he had started her off on another tirade of make-believe. Godie gave a scolding glance to the heavens as a new peal of thunder romped noisily. they waited. She leaned down to comfort Leah and Rachel. The way she melted into him. ―Ole thunder won‘t hurt ya. Carly pointed to Rachel and Leah sitting up side by side with their backs to a tree. ―It‘s all right now. looking. The noise had not repeated. her voice was sweet.. She sank down beside him. Carly took her by the hand and they walked quickly all the way around the old manse. Heat lightning flashed from the south.‖ ―Yes. thunder sounded a soft drum roll across the sky. Warm raindrops began to fall. Through the humidity.Carly sensed that something had changed radically. Let‘s jes‘ sit quiet.‖ But just the same. They returned to the pool and relaxed. but they paid no heed. kissed him violently. ―Godie! They‘s only dolls – made‘a rags and sawdust!‖ She blinked vacantly.Marty Holland Concealed. Must‘ve been a fox or rabbit or somepin‘.. I don‘t.‖ She threw her arms around his neck.‖ He took her by the hand and dropped down on the mossy bank.‖ he said and laughed at the ludicrousness of his statement. 86 . Then he was sorry he‘d said it. ―Jus‘ want to swim naked don‘t you?‖ ―No. sinking her whole heart and soul into it. Never ag‘in.

wandered down to his fly. plagued his conscience. skidded on a slippery piece of bark and fell with a thud to the squashy ground. In brutish decision he grabbed her.‖ In answer she forced him back into the leaves with her body. ―Now you‘re gonna git it! Papa‘ll beat you ‗till you‘re black and blue!‖ He wasn't listening. ―You‘re a devil. Godie!‖ Rain was pouring. Caution lights turned on. Fighting an inner upheaval he glanced up at the menacing sky. ―Kiss me. you‘re kissin‘ too hard. Her hands circled his neck. ―Godie! We‘re soaked. She had pushed him too far. Git up – please!‖ He escaped from her scissor-hold. But she wouldn‘t let go. covering the area. Aghast he drew back. Then first she tried bullying. and with one pass opened it. thunder ripped the sky. Overhead. clinging close as the mud on his shoes. she stared disbelievingly. Wind swayed trees. Before he could raise himself she was there beside him. ―We ain‘t married!‖ In the diffused light he saw her rain-soaked hair framing the passion in her eyes. Shocked. limbs rocked with screeching sounds. 87 . With his blood in flames his mouth sought hers eagerly. ―Godie!‖ he cried. Carly.‖ she whispered. He fumbled for her blouse. then flopping on top of him she pressed her half-open mouth on his. Fear warned him. Something snapped inside him. Lightning flashed.Baby Godiva ―Godie. Sobriety and self-restraint momentarily took flight. Squirming free of her he staggered to his feet.

In stunned silence she stood.Marty Holland Then she was on her feet. steel bars thicker. 88 . tangled it to branches which held her fast. her hair hanging in wet ropes around her small shoulders. groaned and collapsed! With Godie in it! Dead limbs snapped and fell with a crash. Jail grew colder. he had stood transfixed. *** Now in captivity. Crazy Tree quivered. looking at him menacingly. Desperately he‘d crawled in under the mangled tree. What had happened next? With all his strength he‘d tried to move the heavy trunk. Caught in the force of this devil-gale the great tree staggered. Then he‘d glimpsed her lying in the tangled debris! Watching terrified. you‘re a filthy trash heap!‖ Early darkness was closing in as she ran.. ―Carly Moore. Grabbing onto limp arms.. Godie was nowhere in sight. one hand fumbling in an attempt to button her open blouse. its whining sound bearing down on the glen. A gust of wind blew up her wet skirt. his mind racing while rain blew down in silver sheets. then carried her over to the bed of rain-soaked leaves. She‘d fallen with Crazy Tree. giant roots exposed! And when the crashing had quieted. ―Godie! Git down!‖ But it had been too late. and thoughts weighed heavily as he reviewed the last moments he‘d been with Godie. It wouldn‘t budge. jumped up on the first limb of Crazy Tree. with rain pouring down her face. Wind screamed in a great blast. he‘d slowly pulled her out. and then. Carly lay on the cot. tiptoed toward its trunk and reached for her bathing suit.

Godie... trembled and cracked with a roar through the turbulent sky as the rain muffled his voice – he thought: ‗I can‘t go home! Her Pa‘ll find me!‘ He‘d stopped still again. and then he ran on in the direction of La Marche Crossing. Godie.. her skirt torn and twisted up around her waist. cried out: ―Godie!‖ In his hysteria he‘d begged her to get up.. Pasty-faced and motionless. Carly relived his retreat. Gasping for breath he‘d placed his hands firmly on her shoulders and gently shaking her. ‗I got to go far. ―We‘ll go away together...‖ He‘d tried to call her name but no sound came from his throat. Foremost in his mind had been fear of Reverend Beamer.. 89 .Baby Godiva She had just lain there. ―Godie. breast exposed. ―Now.. Godie. creeping close to Godie and then bending over her! Had it only been his imagination? Just a flicker of a moving shadow in the shape of a man. blinking through the rain. But her face remained still and pale. With soft rain falling. Far!‘ He‘d listened for the sound of a train. Had it been the Reverend Beamer – out searching for Godie? His inner-voice screamed.Godie.. I‘ll get help. She was lifeless! ―Why did you run?‖ the lawyer had asked. He closed his eyes.‖ His eyes had snapped open. panting.. ‗Her Pa – her Pa'll kill me this time! But I've got to get help. Somewhere. thunder had matched his straining heartbeat: it bounced. yes he had run away― after he‘d glimpsed a shadow moving out of the trees. to open her eyes.. and then he was afraid to open them.‘ Rushing on.‖ ‗Could she be pretending?‘ he thought. And yes.

Then Eben Crown was squinting through early morning brightness as he walked up the side driveway. A car door opened and closed. Noted that the only relief across the front of the frame was a porch rocker. He took a turn around the veranda which followed the house at right angles. Before ascending three wooden steps. Eben edged past an expanse of weed tufts. Eben walked on to the veranda‘s edge and stood looking over the impoverished acreage. It stopped. A hot sun had dried. 90 . and peered down through branches to view a dark shiny convertible pulling into the shade at the road. he stood for a moment looking at the house entrance. a large window with panes cracked and further desecrated by unbalanced gray curtains. Now at the grape arbor lattice. Knocking gingerly upon a battered screen door he called: ―Anybody home?‖ No movement from inside. he edged himself in between a gondola davenport and fringed hammock. passing shriveled vines tied to wire fencing holding a multitude of stunted green tomatoes.Marty Holland Chapter 13 A GOLDEN-BROWN SQUIRREL raised its tail and with a thrust from strong hind legs leaped past the Moore farmhouse chimney and ran along the oak limb. alert and hesitant. cracked and blistered the rain soaked ground.

as his vision came back in focus he admired the trim tailoring of Crown‘s business suit. Words slurred: ―Did‘ya rake the barn?‖ The old man sat up. rusty farm implements lay scattered. he moved back to the door.Baby Godiva Close by. At his shoulder a climbing honeysuckle exuded a sweet fragrance striving to neutralize the odor of the hen house. then noted that two workmen with pitchforks in hand were moving about the barn.that stole the light of youth from the eyes of Carly Moore. The whisky smell of the interior made him recoil. clearing whiskey phlegm from his throat. snoring..‖ ―I‘m Eben Crown.. Eben thought of Carly‘s energies wastefully dormant in a jail cell. the tilling of this earth had broadened the lad‘s shoulders. in compensation. ―Duke Moore?‖ he inquired hesitantly. and with palms cupped against the screen he squinted into the kitchen. sprawled on a bench.‖ His words uttered lower than a whisper. 91 . Farther away. Cradled in Duke‘s arms was the remains of what had been a violin. He saw a wooden table with a chair overturned.‖ Yet.. Carly‘s lawyer. and had provided a sense of responsibility. luxuriantly green.. ―This is the farm.‖ He closed in with palm extended. It was effort for Duke to shake hands. steeled his muscles. Crown scanned the gray soil and marveled at the nearby corn. He was about to call to them when he detected a wheezing sound coming from inside the window to his right – like steam softly escaping from a teakettle. The screen door spring protested as Eben forced it open. ―You ain‘t my hand. the red barn looked new. ―. was a flabby hulk of a man.. A ruddy mass of face opened huge puffed eyelids. He coughed. Behind.. Retracing steps.

facial features contorting. ―Lawyer. Oh. with cardboard inserts.‖ Duke raised one fist and attempted to slam it against the other. then grinned. Been prayin‘. Crown?‖ ―Carly claims innocence. with clothes piled nearby. wouldn‘t be so darn scared. Duke leaned back on the wall and tried to concentrate. Duke‘s face sagged.‖ Tears glistened. a washboard was stuck into a tub. Kids don‘t know what trouble does to their Pa‘s. ―Got to have somethin‘ strong.‖ He leaned sideways and managed to retrieve a jug from under the bench. if the boy‘s truly guilty. Of course if we look at the darkest side.‖ He rubbed his eyes. Fer‘ pain. He looked at Duke – seated beside him. Must be the devil got into that kid. ―They wouldn't do it – to jest a kid. well – forcible rape is a capital crime and—‖ His voice dropped. ―Crown. soft hands. Been prayin‘ all night.‖ ―Crown. legs crossed.‖ Eben pulled a business card from his pocket and tossed it on the table. ―Crown – ain‘t slept a wink since it happened. ain‘t he. and noted that dirty dishes filled the sink board. on the linoleum. Crown sank down on the bench. but folks say Carly‘s headed for the ‗lectric chair!‖ He laughed shakily. Mister—‖ Bloodshot eyes strained. No doubt whisky was a priority here. eh? Got me a fire goin‘ over this mess. His gaze shifted to feet cramped in small shoes. ―—a youth or two 92 . In one quick maneuver he balanced it over his right shoulder and held his mouth open to catch a few remaining drops. the devil got aholt‘s that boy. Beneath. the wide freckled arms. feeling depressed.Marty Holland ―The Court has assigned me to Carly‘s defense. soles worn through. ―In fer it. The agony. ―Made ‗im bad. Would they. He set it down carelessly.

.. Lucky to git ‗em. Carly said he did most of the work here. they got a thing called Civil Rights goin‘ for ‗em. with state agents nosin‘ ‗round them shacks tryin‘ to give ‗em state aid. Mr. drank. ―Come for money. Good fer nothin‘. Dripping. limped and staggered to the sink. he straightened and turned back. ―Look at this mess. the state is paying for my service.. ―Warn‘t I feedin‘ ‗im? Providin‘? Raisin‘ ‗im like my own?‖ The lawyer‘s tone hardened. ―But we‘re going to need your help – your support. Crown. and gestured. Ran this farm and—‖ ―Why shouldn‘t he?‖ Duke interrupted.‖ He frowned. If it wasn‘t their heap broke down they wouldn‘t be here.‖ Peering through the window Eben observed the two itinerants leaning on their pitchforks. Clothes and stuff. held water in his hands. stead‘ a workin‘. ―When they get their car fixed up they‘ll move on. He 93 . ―How much schooling has Carly had?‖ ―Schoolin‘?‖ Duke appeared insulted. Lord knows by the look of this place you need him back quick. eh?‖ He weaved to the dust-streaked window. ―Carly isn‘t convicted yet. Then what? What‘s left for me?‖ Eben smiled warmly. ―What th‘ hell! Schoolin‘ nowdays is for nigger kids.Look at ‗em.‖ ―Yeh.Baby Godiva younger than Carly has been sentenced to the chair in this state.They was jest passin‘ through town when their axel snapped. I‘m going to do everything in my power to return that boy to this farm..‖ He managed to get up on his feet. I‘m not speaking of money. ―Wish I hadn't asked. Moore. bristling. Now. Had to put on two hands..‖ Duke breathed. then slapped it over his face. You could bolster Carly‘s spirits and— I‘d like to get a few facts straight. Jawin‘.

Mister Crown? I pays. Mister Crown. Like I said to him.‖ Crown nodded. ―They tole me. they‘re gonna give a party for me.A.‖ ―Who told you?‖ Crown exploded. Talk to Scud 94 . the boy‘s innocent! If you won‘t help him.‖ The lawyer stared.‖ Duke fumbled for words. ―Listen. I want you to come up to St. ―They doin‘ that fer me. Lightfoot. Now – Carly‘s trial starts Monday morning. Sames if he‘d gone to school. Moore. ―My God. That‘s it. ―If I perteck Carly.Marty Holland laughed bitterly. Said he was from the D.‖ He was silent.‖ ―Dummy eye?‖ Crown echoed incredulously. He‘s handling the prosecution!‖ ―Yeh. who will?‖ ―Innocent? Hell!‖ Duke‘s eyes flashed wildly. writin‘. And I got my order. His Ma every night taught him stuff – readin‘. you ain‘t gettin‘ me to no courthouse. They tole me. I said I ain‘t goin‘ to court. then: ―What the hell good is schoolin‘ for a farm kid…‖ ―Is Carly illiterate?‖ ―Illiterate hell! We learned him. ―That would be Mr. "What‘s the good‘a us standin‘ here lyin‘ to each other. there‘s some ole Klan boys underground in Fork River. ―It‘s like – the same as I tole that fella w‘at was here yes‘tidy with the dummy eye. ‗rithnetic. you understand?‖ Eben shook his head. Can‘t you git it through your skull: I ain‘t ‗lowed to help Carly after what he done!‖ Eben felt a trickle of perspiration on his forehead. ―Surely you can‘t mean that. Tiberius in the morning to see the boy and—‖ ―Jail?‖ Duke croaked. That gives us two more days. ―That‘s fine.

.‖ ―Naw. Even if you hand me one‘a them sub‘peenes. ―I want you in court Monday morning.‖ ―Whipping? What whipping?‖ ―Week a‘fore the arrest. no.‖ The lawyer moved closer. ―Why was Carly whipped?‖ ―Takin‘ off his pants. then: ―You were dreaming. Who does Carly have but you?‖ ―Not on your life. ―Sober they‘ll believe you. too. ‗Spose Mr. Lightfoot was a dream. ‗Sides. When I drug Carly down to church and Godie‘s Pa beat him – there in the churchyard – with the ole buggy whip. I want you on that stand Wednesday telling the jury that Carly‘s been a good hard-working lad that never got into trouble before in all of his eighteen years.‖ ―Anything more to it?‖ ―Meanin‘ what?‖ ―Attempted rape?‖ 95 .. Tole me if I moved a hand for Carly I‘d be hangin‘ from the oak – right in my front yard!‖ Eben considered the words carefully. Said he was defending southern young womanhood. who'd believe a ole sot like me nohow. Eben took a step toward the door. He‘ll tell you. I want you to hear the State‘s case.Baby Godiva Wilkes – he carried Godie to the doctor‘s.‖ ―Some dream – Oh. ―I ain‘t comin‘. Wildest pair‘a eyes you ever seen.‖ His jaw set stubbornly.‖ Eben wondered if he could be hearing correctly. Won‘t buck the Klan. ―The night after the sheriff took Carly – that‘s when this fella marched right in here.‖ Duke was eyeing the whiskey jug. Askin‘ facts ‗bout the whippin‘.‖ ―The Klan‘s dead!‖ ―Hah!‖ Duke sank wearily on the bench.

Do you know of any gossip – Godie perhaps together with another boy?‖ ―Nope.Marty Holland ―Dunno.‖ ―Don‘t you want the truth?‖ ―Yes! Yes. you know this girl.‖ ―And this incident occurred a week before the rape accusation?‖ "Yep.‖ ―What‘s that?‖ ―Pressure exerted to— Mr. Crown nodded.‘ Eben thought.‖ ―Where did this take place?‖ ―Perez Woods.‖ ―Were there any witnesses?‖ ―It‘s common gossip all over town. Carly‘s going to have to explain. so to speak – with the wiles end ways of females?‖ ―That sweet l‘il Godie? Jest wrapped up in the Lord‘s work.‖ ―Did Carly admit it?‖ ―In a way. "She‘s fourteen!‖ 96 .‖ Duke was saying. ‗this is a hell of a note. this Godiva. ―Under duress – with coercion.‖ ―This is all new information. L‘il Godie‘s jes‘ wrapped up in her dolls. I do!‖ ‗If it‘s true.‘ ―I hear Carly‘s confessed.‖ ―Things like this have a way of getting around in a small town. Do you have any reason to suspect that she enticed Carly. led him on. Moore.‖ ―Dolls?‖ Eben echoed sharply. preoccupied.‖ ―To your knowledge has she ever been in this sort of involvement before?‖ ―Ask them that knows.

Painted pink. There was a small side planting of cotton. Dumped on me. Grass and clover lawn. Kept ‗im busy. as far as possible. Carly got what grown men‘ll cheat and lie fer. I wouldn‘t hire ya.‖ Then: ―I‘m scared to walk down the street. Duke called after him: ―It‘s in your lap! If you was one ‗a them big city shysters you‘d know some tricks. ―Lila don‘t know nothin‘ ‗bout this. for trial..‖ Crown said more to himself than to Duke. ―Mr. Sweet innocence. be in court Monday morning and throughout the trial. Right back at the corner where you turned on Olive. Ain‘t my kid anyway. Now you‘re duty-bound to protect him.Baby Godiva ―They‘s great big dolls. and beyond vast empty acres.‖ ―Sure Carly worked hard. Moore. That wrong? Only earned his keep. ―I should have Carly moved somewhere else.‖ ―Perhaps. You should hear the rumblin‘s. Crown. gardens were filled with them.‖ Eben felt the need for fresh air. Big manor house.. Door hinges whined as he made his exit.. windows behind long pillars. Carly‘s been a great help to you. wide porches. Lila Ashberry liked nasturtiums." Duke‘s eyes brightened. that‘s it. with a wroughtiron gate.‖ Crown‘s shoulders slumped as he moved toward the door. Godie was hurt bad. its bricks painted pink.. You ain‘t crooked ‗nuff to be a lawyer .‖ ―I know. ―Can you direct me to Lila Ashberry‘s place?‖ ―You jes‘ passed it. Jes‘ likes dolls.‖ ―Is the girl retarded?‖ ―Huh? You mean in the head? Nothin‘ like it. 97 .‖ *** It was a colonial.‖ ―If you want facts. Judges is the same all over.‖ Eben had heard enough and felt exhausted.

They might have once been slave quarters. Now at the first shack an arm came out the window and closed the wood shutter. Eben went on: ―I‘m defending Carly. that Carly was always fair and square with him.‖ ―He‘ll be here later?‖ ―He won‘t come to cou‘t. 98 . Whitley?‖ ―Ain‘t dressed for visitin‘.‖ ―Well. ―Mrs.Marty Holland Eben walked to the rear and stood surveying a row of decaying cabins.‖ Eben moved closer to the door.‖ He stepped back and shaded his face from the sun ―Let me. ―I‘d like to speak to Dustin.‖ ―Ain‘t home.‖ Eben cleared his throat.‖ came a shaky reply. The lawyer made his way to the sagging door and knocked gently. Whitley. What‘ya want?‖ she queried from behind the closed door. ―Mrs. all that will be required of Dustin is – a character witness – his statement that Carlton Moore was a good friend.‖ After a silence: ―We ain‘t gittin‘ mixed up in nothin‘ like that. please let me talk to you. Mrs. He can‘t be late. with chimneys of clay and sticks. I understand he‘s a good friend of Carly‘s since childhood. Whitley. could I see you. And I want Dustin in court in St.‖ ―Dusty‘s gone. Just a few questions. to drive Dustin in.‖ There was no reply. From inside came a husky ―Yeh?‖ ―Dustin Whitley?‖ ―I‘m his Ma. Tiberius for Carly‘s trial. Carly Moore‘s lawyer. I can arrange for a car to be here. Ma!‖ a boy‘s voice spoke from inside. ―I‘m Eben Crown. I need Dustin next Wednesday morning at ten sharp. Hidden from the main road.

Over by the wheelbarrows a portable TV was blasting. trapper‘s cabins.‖ ―Sorry to bother you folks. I‘m leaving now.‖ Eben murmured. Judging by the amount of drink Duke guzzled every day he‘d probably imagined that the Klan had made threats.‖ Eben‘s lips puckered in a smile. Then his gaze came to rest on the sign: HARDWARE & GRAIN By the looks of the window display Scud Wilkes ran a neat place. Coasting into town he turned right on Main and parked across from the bank.. *** Slumped in the driver‘s seat. past farmhouses to his right. the sun merciless. silent. Drumming lean fingers against the steering wheel he idly watched Fork River‘s morning life and thought about the Moore case.Baby Godiva ―Hush!‖ The woman‘s voice grew shrill. ‗Dusty will be there. ―Carly‘s town. others were seated on benches.. In the vacant lot adjoining the post office. Eben looked ahead through the windshield at striped awnings decorating Fitts Department Store. ―Thank you. And the facts concerning the alleged whipping he now planned to extract from Scud Wilkes. Whitley. Dusty ain‘t comin‘ to no cou‘t. a smell of stale mud was noticeable from its motionless water. old codgers were pitching horseshoe.‖ He was satisfied.. Eben sped down the dirt road. field hands.‘ He hurried back to his car. Mrs. following the quarter-mile-wide Red River to his left. No customers were in evidence as Eben entered.M. Mr.. Children were running and yelling. His mother will see to it when I subpoena him. ―Now you git. Already at ten A. lawyer. and from 99 .

―Help you?‖ came a deep pleasant voice.Marty Holland somewhere he discerned a rolling clink of metal. Scud‘s mournful large eyes were taking in the lawyer‘s clothing.‖ He pulled it from its rack. ―I‘ve just come from the Moore farm. ―—the preacher gave Carly a goin‘ over. Sunlight streamed in from the open doorway.‖ Eben drawled and looked around the store: Lawnmowers. engaged in weighing and packaging common nails. Elijah tells it Carly was tryin‘ to learn his girlie to be a slut.‖ Dark eyes burned resentfully. Wart seen it. Then she tolt on Carly to her Pa. But when Elijah was in here last he tolt me ‗bout it. farm implements. He took a few steps forward. Scud.‖ 100 . lighting the floor and counter and fell on the full face of Scud Wilkes. Lightfoot what I know ‗bout that. Wart Skinner. Wilkes?‖ Scud‘s jaw dropped. bins of seeds.‖ he said domineeringly. dishes. ―Jest—‖ Scud swallowed. Eben continued to probe: ―And what was the reason he horsewhipped Carly?‖ ―Well. Glassware. What was this about Reverend Beamer getting out his bull whip?‖ ―I tolt Mr. Say – this is a dandy shovel. That what you mean?‖ ―And you witnessed this beating.‖ Eben smiled. Duke says you have new information. ―Tell it again.A. ―Just wanted to clear up a point or two. ―Never said I did. it was apparent that Scud thought he was from the D.‖ ―The Reverend Beamer?‖ ―Yeh. Scud managed a cautious grin. ―Don‘t you guys ever let up?‖ Crown moved over to the counter. ―Yeah.

You might say I done real well takin‘ this store over..‖ ―Sorry about that. ―What d‘ya mean – new rumble?‖ 101 . not me. I was just passing by.‖ ―You what?‖ Dark eyes flashed in anger at his gullibility and Scud mumbled: ―Could at least tole me! Ain‘t so healthy fer you in these parts. At the driveway there‘s two big oak. Wilkes. As I said. Turn right agin‘ and pass the crick bridge.‖ Eben was hurrying toward the front door. Scud. Jest to the left there is Perez woods. Say! I‘m beginnin‘ to be sorry I was the big-hearted sonofabitch what helped with that kid! Now I‘m in good and hard.‖ ―Thanks. Real well. Scud‘s countenance had lighted..‖ ―Oh? there isn‘t a Mrs.‖ The large round eyes began to water. When we got this new rumble I thought I‘d better talk to you.‖ ―She told you she‘d been raped. Turn in. Mr. ―Always been jes‘ me – since my old Daddy died.Baby Godiva ―You carried Godie to Doc Buskirk‘s house. ―Yes. Got my supee‘nee. Ain‘t got nobody I kin trust to run this place.‖ ―Now if you‘ll kindly direct me.‖ ―Drive right past the post office. How bad was she hurt?‖ ―Beat up and raped – whatever you call that. Carly Moore‘s lawyer. Wilkes?‖ ―Jes‘ me.‖ Eben replaced the shovel in its rack. Go straight down to the old sorghum mill. Wilkes.?‖ ―Tolt Buskirk. ―I‘m Eben Crown. Wilkes.‖ ―You‘re sorry? I‘m goin‘ to have to lock up the store for the trial on Monday. can you direct me to the McIntosh plantation?‖ He removed a card from his pocket and dropped it on the counter. ―Mister—‖ Eben turned around.

thanks. ―Seed her at church.‖ ―Queer?‖ ―Balmy. I reckon. Them dolls is jes‘ – oh. company.‖ Scud laughed. I seen moccasin in there. I guess.‖ ―Godie? Hah! She‘s way ahead‘a folks.‖ ―You never thought that Godie was possibly retarded?‖ ―Retarded? That mean—‖ ―Mentally younger than her years. Smarter‘n her ole Daddy.‖ 102 . All them dolls show is she‘s gonna be a dandy mother. ―I don‘t know no Klan boys. Never seed nothin‘ wrong. Know her? Been in here with her dolls to watch TV a few times. But I tell you w‘at bothers me – is cops coddlin‘ the frigger w‘at raped that kid. ―Them ole buggers—‖ He broke off. He said she has to be watched all the time.‖ ―Yeah? Well.‖ ―Watch your step. She‘s got no brothers or sisters.‖ ―Mister—‖ ―Yeah?‖ ―What‘ya gonna do out at the McIntosh place?‖ ―Just look it over. her Pa don‘t ‗low it. ―About those dolls. Scud.‖ He smiled broadly. sobering quickly. she— Come to think‘a it – when the preacher was here yes‘tidy he said Godie been actin‘ queer since she got out‘a the hospidal.‖ ―You know Godie pretty well?‖ ―Know her?‖ Scud blinked.Marty Holland ―Oh? Didn‘t Duke tell you? We got wind that some Klan boys plan to bust up the trial.‖ Scud scratched his ear. Why do you think she lugs them around – she‘s fourteen. Raised all alone in the church. Wilkes. or she‘ll run off. ―Never gave it thought.

Belles in hoop skirts. past acres that had once grown sugar cane. pantalets and shawls. a rusty metal deer standing on the lawn.‟ he mused.‟ He idled further into reverie. passing cattle grazing close to the road. „No doubt this place was once alive! Bright with fresh white paint. Jasmine and apple blossoms. Long lazy days in summer – starry nights. He stood surveying the deteriorating McIntosh manse with its sagging verandas. his eyes rested on the huge front entry with timeworn floorboards and colonial columns. turning in where two oaks arched the McIntosh driveway. Another ante-bellum southern manor house. and slowed at the creek bridge. rotten wood. and carriage hitching posts. screw curls set for 103 . missed in the Reconstruction. Broken crockery. He drove on. Eben Crown turned right. Passing peeled siding and broken sash.Baby Godiva Chapter 14 A HORSE-DRAWN WAGON emerged from the crossroad and moved leisurely across the highway. deserted and in shambles. outside chimneys. „Another relic of the Confederacy. Gardens of big puffy roses and mint. Reaching the deserted sorghum mill. Reaching the pavilion at the end of the long unkempt drive. Eben got out of his car and walked to the dogwood hedge lining the front expanse. Windows boarded. In the quiet of the moment he found himself wondering when the last proud McIntosh had moved on: „Elegance in rack and ruin. After passing Perez Woods he swerved left. Patches of brick walk showing through dried grass.

He scooted past a NO TRESSPASSING sign.‟ Eben‟s thoughts rolled on: „Four long years after: stragglers returning in small bands. And now even the land was depleted. Immaculate and dashing – spirits to match. Rags for shoes‟ Malaria and yellow fever. and the manor house falling to decay. its trunk resting in piled debris..Marty Holland the cotillion ball. Rusty hinges rebelled as he pulled on worn splintered wood. privileged lieutenants breaking rank to kiss their womenfolk goodbye on this very pavilion. Snarled roots exposed on the creek bank. he stopped abruptly.. aged bark with the carving Cora Loves Paul. Eben moved closer and examined gnarled limbs. 104 . And there it was. They would battle for their very special way of life! And lose. Then the damn Yankees and hate. to the road. Wounded. Carly‟s Crazy Tree. Close by two uniformed policemen stood watching a lab technician on his knees cutting into a section of ground. Then Eben was gaping at the scene beyond: the greenest of greens with streams entwining. and southern bugles blared!‟ Eben looked back. Inside. Uniformed in elegant gray. Suddenly he was jarred back to the present by sounds from behind the manse at the rear gate. seeing a state car parked alongside the creek. half-clad and hungry. Laying flat. A landscape gone wild! Blossoming vines dangling in profusion from trees. worn-out. „Soldiers marching past. letting his imagination picture it as it was. All that was left to those returning was the land. and breathed in the fragrance of pungent woodsy smells. past magnolias. A tangle of beauty that no painter‟s brush could ever capture. heading north. Southern trumpets were muted and the golden era was forever past.

unmistakably that of Marvelle Lightfoot. Big holes in his soles. Don't worry. I noticed his shoes. He was wearing a dark suit. A wealth of long dark hair cut in a straight line touching the back of his collar.‟s man had one lazy orb and it was always difficult for Eben to decide which retina was recording the scene. “Hello.Baby Godiva “Romantic setting for a rape. A well-built man with sweat beading his forehead and upper lip.” He let out a breath. “I‟ll let you in on a secret. Crown?” Eben recognized the voice. “We‟ll find his shoes – somewhere between here and La Marche Crossing. Marvelle. We got enough without this. didn‟t you know?” Lightfoot came into view. He turned to see an outline stomping behind dense ferns. “Still scouting around?” “Yeah.” He grimaced. for the learned D. I‟m Seminole.” Lightfoot was unruffled. “We‟re taking a piece of the McIntosh plantation into town.” He sucked in a breath.” “Still no good. yellow tie. too. Small. eh. Marvelle Lightfoot was reputed to be a lion in the turbulent jungle of law. the punk was wearin‟ his step-pa‟s shoes. “Carly was arrested in bare feet.A. Now he was resting one arm on the police car hood as the crime scene technician lifted the section of earth with its clearly defined footprint.” The prosecutor shrugged. picked up a stick and strode 105 . A tough and competent prosecutor.” Eben laughed tiredly and moved in closer. and a frown – his brown eyes shooting in two directions. the Assistant District Attorney. One of the Chief‟s quirks. “I was talking to Duke Moore this morning. “Carly Moore‟s? That print looks like Paul Bunyan's been here. But we came back for it anyway. and it was rumored that he was slated to join the Attorney General‟s staff.” Crown put on a smile he didn‟t feel.

Bed‟s filled with dolls.” Eben scoffed at the discovery.” “Oh. the confession neatly typed and witnessed.” Eben fired back.” The prosecutor stopped poking. “That tree there.” Lightfoot‟s stick was poking a tiny shoe. What would you have done?” Marvelle glanced back stoically. That‟s going to mean something to a jury. „Sign here. “Yeah.. Crazy Tree the kids called it – Godie was in it when it toppled in the storm.” “Of course there was blood.” “Altogether different – no psychotic attachments.” Crown straightened and squared his shoulders.” 106 . “Looky here. Carly pulled her out.” “And Godie. She was crushed and bleeding. I think that‟s her statement.‟” But Lightfoot wasn‟t sparring. “Imagine the guts – breakin‟ in with this place all boarded up. “she broke in too? How d‟you „spose she got in here?” “Netting butterflies. laughed softly.according to what Carly tells us. that‟s Carly‟s story – that Godie got banged up when the tree fell. Carly. what a sweet kid she is. Eben. Even though the rain washed out his britches. “We hauled Moore back out here and learned quite a lot. She says different. I got a niece in college.” “So? That in itself tells us quite a lot. now.Marty Holland over to a section of dried leaves and began to probe. She‟s twenty years old. Blood on his shirt.” “Doll shoe. “Not on your life.” Eben ventured. yes. jacket.” He pointed to an inner gate at the side entrance.. “Right here‟s where it happened. “Marvelle – Carlton Moore is innocent of any crime and you know it. “Our bright fourteen-year-old Godie is nuts about dolls.

Lightfoot gave his opponent a scathing glance. well. The girl was half beaten to death and screwed. “Yeah. Too conscientious for this rough stuff. Should stick to civil cases.” “Rough as we make it. A dose of solid justice would do more for the vote in this parish than anything else. Moore‟s in the chair already. “Now wouldn‟t you like me to spill all the dope we‟ve got. “And that's what Carly‟s qettin‟. “And here I was bendin‟ down to give you a ride. but the games they played turned into mayhem and rape.” “Rain-washed evidence. Justice.” Marvelle shook his head. When the Deacon got after Carly with the buggy whip. And if what we have isn‟t enough. Establishes premeditation. That‟s all a jury will need. Lightfoot.Baby Godiva “Oh?” “Missed your calling.” “Yeah. with an election coming up. Crown. Give him a break. I was working on the idea that we might reduce the charge – „till I talked to Reverend Beamer.A. “Come off it. Marvelle. Why don‟t we tie up a package?” 107 . If he goes to jury trial. there‟s plenty of public indignation. Eben. Why don‟t we look at it honestly – just a couple of kids – in here – foolin‟ around.” “You mean the previous incident?” Crown put in quickly in the attempt to pull information.” Crown stood rigidly. Look. And you listen real good – your defendant‟s in deep.” Lightfoot pointed a fat finger. Moore‟s been bird-doggin‟ Godie for some time – and once before in particular.” “A life sentence? Tell the D.” Eben said doggedly. If you‟re smart you‟ll change your plea to guilty and ask for clemency. I can‟t thank him enough.

“Fifty bucks says you weren‟t listenin‟. I could take the easy way out – but the boy would go to prison. then moved into the shade. It was cool in the glen. Lightfoot sopped his face with a clean white handkerchief. “You‟re dreamin‟. “Some layout. Wish I‟d known a spot like this when I was a stud.” “What do you say?” Eben picked up a pebble and threw it into the creek. Eben followed.” “Don‟t bet on human misery.” “Acquittal?” Marvelle swung his head from side to side with genuine sincerity.. Blood on Carly‟s shirt and jacket. „They have no absolute proof of rape – or Marvelle wouldn‟t have offered to make a deal. in afterthought: “Scud Wilkes said he‟d seen moccasin in here.‟ Gravely he made a decision: “I say no!” Crown barked. Got to get back to the courthouse. you‟re doing the kid real harm. I kind of promised Carly‟s step-pa I'd have him back helping on the farm.” “Seems it‟s you who missed his calling. Still no deal. perhaps for life.” Then. Take the afternoon.” the prosecutor said calmly. Marvelle. “Well..” He looked at the creek longingly. “I‟d like to peel off right now and jump in this old swimmin‟ hole. old buddy.” 108 .Marty Holland Crown‟s eyes shone brightly. “The place is all yours. Lightfoot had said.” “Go ahead. Don‟t blame Moore for bringin‟ her here.” Crown moved off. “Payable when the jury comes in. you see. Sounds like you‟re defending him.” Lightfoot sank his head back into the greenery of the tree and relaxed. Lightfoot.

„Well.A. No witnesses to the alleged rape... „The confession? Hell – we‟ll prove coercion. It would be Godie‟s word against Carly‟s. 109 . Crown began to evaluate. So far so good. All circumstantial evidence. apparently had special reasons for pushing for conviction. Yet the D.Baby Godiva *** Driving toward St. I‟ll show the sonsabitches.‟ Angrily he pressed down on the gas pedal. Tiberius.‟ Eben had drawn a measure of comfort from his brush with the Deputy Prosecutor.

Marty Holland Chapter 15 ―I WAS OUT AT THE FARM AND SAW YOUR STEPFATHER. ―Carly.‖ ―He did? I‘m awful glad‘a that. then plopped on the cot.‖ Carly weighed the lawyer‘s words. Been drinking quite a bit. why didn‘t you tell me about the whippin‘ you got down at the church?‖ For a moment the prisoner stared uncomfortably.‖ ―That‘s jes‘ fine.‖ Eben Crown was saying while looking out cell bars.‖ ―He‘s—‖ ―See Diamond?‖ Carly interrupted with concern. ―—not in shape to sober up. yes. ―Didn‘t ya even look in the barn – see if there‘s hay in the stall?‖ Crown smiled. then: ―He‘s been gittin‘ worse ever since Ma died.‖ Carly‘s eyes searched Eben‘s face.‖ It was the first time Eben had seen the boy‘s face relax and he wished he could slip out quietly. He watched a deputy escort a prisoner down the corridor. But there was unfinished business at hand. but I‘m afraid he‘s—‖ He saw the boy‘s deflated expression. ―Forgot ‗bout it. ―Diamond?‖ ―My horse.‖ 110 . Your step-pa‘s put on two men. Mister Crown. ―Everything‘s just fine on' the farm. then turned back to Carly: ―Figured we might count on the old man‘s testimony at your trial.‖ ―Oh. I saw two hands doin‘ the chores.

―You say you‘re innocent of the charges. June 21st. how Duke had dragged him to confront Elijah. she―‖ There was silence.‖ Crown said patiently. ―How are we going to explain it to the court and jury?‖ ―Well – I kin tell the Judge we was swimmin‘ and I was takin‘ off my outer pants so‘s I could throw ‗em up on a limb to dry. we was at Crazy Tree – it was just ‗afore it started to rain. 111 . Why don‘t you tell me everything. It‘s gonna be pourin‘!‘‖ Crown was listening intently. hadn‘t tried to make advances?‖ ―No. ―Jest kissed her like I always did ‗fore she went home.‖ ―Well—‖ Carly stated briefly.‖ ―Like what. ―Tell me about it now. but she seemed different this time – like the storm clouds was makin‘ her wild. What were you doing at the McIntosh place?‖ ―Well.‖ ―Yes – go on. curiously.‖ ―You mean you hadn‘t approached her. She jes‘ started runnin‘ off sayin‘ she was gonna tell her Pa.Baby Godiva Eben still stood at the barred door. Carly?‖ ―Well she didn't care about the lightnin‘ flashin‘ and crackin‘ or nothin‘. Just kept kissin‘ me and holdin‘ me close. I kissed her before but she never acted at all like this. tell me about that afternoon.‖ ―Are you sure?‖ ―For sure I didn‘t!‖ ―Then how about that Sunday. I said ‗Godie – we better get home.‖ ―Well. how he‘d cringed at the snap of the whip. The lawyer listened closely. haltingly.

Then I slipped on the wet moss and fell down – but she still wouldn‘t let go. Thunder too. and that‘s when ole‘ Crazy Tree fell over – with a crash. ―I can almost see the teeth marks. What happened then?‖ ―Well that made me kinda mad so I grabbed her and held her – then she clung to me more than ever. So I said Godie – we ain‘t married! We gotta get home!‖ ―Yes – go on. tried to pull‘em off.‖ 112 .. Slow. We wasn‘t afraid a‘the thunder.. ―Tree limbs all around her. Her arms was limp..‖ Crown removed his glasses and peered through them. Wouldn‘t budge. and her hair was all wet.‖ ―Fell along side it. Was too heavy – I couldn‘t. Then I crawled in and lifted her out. jes floppin‘ like Rachels‘ does. but that blast a‘wind almost blew us flat.. Fell that a-way. Didn‘t go into the creek like I thought it would. with Godie in it. bendin‘ all the trees.‖ ―Oh yes.‖ Crown nodded.Marty Holland ―But she just ignored me and bit my lip.‖ Crown was saying.‖ ―The storm set in and begun t‘blow somepin‘ fierce.‖ ―Rachel?‖ ―Her doll. Then I heard her moan.hard. We was mighty scared then – we was gettin‘ wet..‖ ―Yeh. nodding. Could see her in the middle ‗a the branches – just layin‘ quiet.. ―Yeah and Godie was nowhere in sight.‖ ―That‘s when I yelled for her to stop – that I'd git it – but she jumped up on the trunk and got caught. examining the wound. Made a big racket with the wind ‗n all.then she suddenly run for her bathin‘ suit hangin‘ high up on a limb on Crazy Tree. It begun to rain heavy.

‖ ―I see. ―No.‖ ―You ran – and left her there?‖ ―Did for sure.‖ Carly gasped. ―And then?‖ ―I heard someone. ―She had a doll with her that Sunday afternoon?‖ ―Two of em. she liked to pretend she was their Ma. what did you do next?‖ ―Her eyes – wouldn‘t move.‖ Then as an afterthought. or move. ―You mean – I done what they said – raped her. son. was she?‖ ―No. You said you were mad. that‘s what I mean. ―You thought she was dead.‖ ―I didn‘t think. Jes‘ laid there like dead. layin‘ there?‖ ―Yes. I was scared.Baby Godiva ―Oh yes.‖ Crown studied his client with apprehension. Mad. I pulled her over on the leaves and yelled at her to wake up. A lone sob escaped from his throat. Leah and Rachel. He shook his head slowly. ―Well. Then you ran?‖ ―Yeh.‖ ―Carly.‖ Carly looked down. I thought it was her father. Were you so angry that before you ran. there was a word you used that would impress a jury. Mister Crown.‖ 113 .‖ Crown studied the prisoner. brought dolls?‖ ―Well.‖ ―Didn‘t you think it was peculiar – a big girl like that. ―All right. His shoulders quivered.‖ ―While Godie lay there unconscious?‖ ―Unconscious?‖ ―She wasn‘t able to talk. don‘t collapse in remorse. Do you think that happened while she lay there – unconscious?‖ The accused‘s face frowned in concern. you molested that girl sexually?‖ The boy‘s face tinted.

‖ Making quieting gestures he rose quickly and peered through bars down the corridor.‖ ―You didn‘t confess to rape?‖ ―Kin you read them papers. I heard you.‖ ―What did she pretend?‖ Carly leaned back against the gray wall. Carly. son. then: ―They claim you committed assault and rape. Under pressure he looked more dismal. not her own Pa! . ―I don‘t know.. ―Easy.‖ A surprised lawyer heard Carly‘s voice rise in shrill anger. The defense isn‘t allowed to peruse the confession until such time it‘s to be admitted in evidence.‖ Eben thought it best to change his line of questioning. ―Do you think Godie is a normal healthy girl?‖ ―Guess so.Marty Holland ―But your confession – you admitted guilt. With no net.‖ ―Pretending she was walking a tight rope?‖ 114 ...‖ The outburst had drained Carly‘s energy.‖ ―How do you mean. Mister Crown. Carly..‖ ―Can‘t do it. pretendin‘. ―Quiet down.. It isn‘t permitted. and it‘s plain the somebody else you saw wasn‘t the preacher. it was somebody else – not me! I tole you – saw someone else when I was runnin‘. But that‘s alright. ―Walkin‘ one‘a them circus ropes.. ―Mister Crown! I tole you a hun‘ert times I didn‘t do it! If Godie was humped. But she does lots‘ a crazy stuff.. Mister Crown. Take it easy.‖ ―They jes‘ put it down that way. Who in hell was it! Think. crazy?‖ ―Oh.‖ Turning back to the prisoner in deadly interest he whispered: ―You didn‘t do it.‖ Eben fell silent. Carly. Her Pa wouldn‘t hurt her . Would he?‖ Eben was stunned by the boy‘s fury.. You‘ll see I didn‘t.

‖ ―What else did Godie pretend?‖ For a moment Carly was lost.‖ Eben‘s eyes widened.‖ Crown nodded and began pacing the cell.‖ ―You didn't mind doing all the work at the farm?‖ ―No.‖ The lawyer seemed pleased. ‗Cause Duke was allus sick. I don‘t think you‘d do too badly on the witness stand. ―Talked ‗bout her Pa a lot. wasn‘t she?‖ ―Yeh.‖ Carly breathed. ―Now everything boils down to one fact. But pretendin‘ to play house is what I mean.Baby Godiva ―Yeh. ―Well. And she peeked – seen her Pa in a Klan outfit. I‘ll go through the formality of asking your name and age. Remember that first you‘ll be sworn in. Now. bleeding from contusions. Carly. You had no sexual involvement with that girl. was he kind to you?‖ ―Awful good Pa. Finally he said. Her blood on your clothing was caused by your crawling in under the tree and pulling her out. She was bruised.‖ ―You think she‘s tellin‘ the truth?‖ ―Yep.‖ 115 . He wants her to be at church services. as to your stepfather. but when Carly tried to smile his forehead ached dully. Then I‘ll ask you how old you were when your Ma died.‖ Eben continued. ―Now – tell me how you‘re going to say it on the stand.‖ ―What about him?‖ ―He beat her. ―The Reverend Beamer? A Klansman?‖ ―Godie says he keeps his robe under the bed.‖ ―What for?‖ ―Runnin‘ off.

don‘t say yeh. sir. ‗Consumed?‘ ―Duke drunk it. sir.‖ Wearily Eben rubbed his forehead..‖ ―And when you started to take off your trousers..‖ ―You say Duke drank a lot of whiskey?‖ ―Yes.. ―Now – how are we going to explain the whippin‘ to the jury? You‘d gone in swimming at the McIntosh place. Not ‗naw‘.‖ "No sir.‖ ―Yes.‖ ―Whiskey made him sick?‖ Crown waited for an answer. ―When I put you on the stand you won‘t forget?‖ ―No.‖ Crown smiled.‖ ―Say no.‖ ―How much?‖ ―Dunno.. ―You say whiskey made him sick?‖ ―Yeh.. Say yes. but it might help.‖ ―Carly..moonshine. He realized that not all this was completely relevant. Only cried ‗bout Ma bein‘ dead. to dry them.Marty Holland ―I see. What made him sick.‖ ―So sometimes a full gallon would be consumed in a matter of a day or two?‖ Carly‘s brow wrinkled.‖ ―How much does a jug hold?‖ ―Gallon. I reckon.you were wearing undershorts?‖ 116 .‖ ―He got on drunken sprees and beat you and your Ma?‖ ―Naw. It will make a better impression in court. Carly?‖ ―Oh. yes sir.‖ Carly bit on a fingernail. sir. I reckon. sir. Better yet.‖ ―All right. ―Sometimes a whole jug‘ud be empty in – say – day or two.

. ―But now. You didn‘t know how bad Godie was injured when you left her. ―That wouldn‘t be too difficult to explain to a jury?‖ ―No.‖ Eben paused.‖ Eben was pacing again. We‘re about the same size. You thought you saw Reverend Beamer there – and he would care for Godie. He‘d whipped you once. Denial.. sir.‖ Suddenly his face darkened. And I wanted to get help for Godie. you‘ll need a suit for the trial.‖ Eben grinned.‖ ―Then you saw no harm in unzipping.‖ Eben wanted him to look as boyish as possible. We‘ll let the prosecution try and prove their charges. That‘s why you ran to La Marche Crossing – and hid up in the tree – trying to decide what to do. Is that clear?‖ ―Yes. ―what do we do when Lightfoot puts Godie on the stand and she points her chubby little finger ― says you raped her?‖ 117 . ―That‘s right. remember. In other words. I‘ll dig up something in my wardrobe so you‘ll look presentable. It‘s Godie‘s word against yours. then dropped it quickly and turned back to the prisoner. ‗Cept my pants‘ had buttons. But as you started to unzip. sir. When the barber cuts your hair in the morning don‘t let him cut off too much. Carly.. you were up in that tree at La Marche Crossing when apprehended. Now Crown held up his hand to motion for the jailer. Godie ran off – said she was going to tell her Pa. yes. sir. Remember as much of it as you can. Oh. The prosecution will say you were fleeing. ―Think over what we‘ve said. ―So actually there was no previous incident at all.. Denial. Denial.Baby Godiva ―Yes.‖ Eben turned quickly to his client.‖ he said slowly. our defense is going to be denial.‖ ―Didn‘t know w‘at to do! I thought Reverend Beamer was after me ag‘in. ―Carly.a fugitive.

Do you think you could hold your own with Lightfoot. ―Understand – I haven‘t quite made up my mind whether or not to put you in the witness chair. and stick to your story?‖ ―I reckon.‖ 118 .Marty Holland The accused drew himself up indignantly. It would be just fine except – you‘ll be exposed to cross-examination. ―I‘ll say she‘s crazy!‖ Eben nodded.

her. ―The D. But the Assistant District Attorney‘s brown eyes were roving: ―Hell. Reverend. you think I like botherin‘ Godie?‖ Lightfoot pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and sopped sweat beaded on his forehead. ―It‘s out‘a the question – you jus‘ can‘t do it!‖ Reverend Beamer was protesting. then wiped the back of his neck.Baby Godiva Chapter 16 FROG EYES was standing by the pulpit inside the First Baptist Church.‘. Godie's delicate condition won‘t ‗low it. wants to make certain we have a strong case.. ‗Yes. But she‘s got to.‖ The Reverend shook his head. That‘s why I have to talk to her again. ―When Godie gets in the witness chair she‘s going to have to reveal some – ah – intimate details. ―How Carly intimidated.‖ ―Hell. Reva was at the organ.‖ He turned to face the intruder. I can always ask the judge to clear the courtroom while Godie testifies.‖ 119 . Below and to the right of the preacher‘s platform. playing softly while one female choir soloist was rehearsing in thin voice. He said it‘d do no harm if I took it easy. ruffling his wealth of straight hair.‖ He edged closer to Elijah and lowered his voice. Jesus Loves Me. ―But she‘s jus‘ home from the hospital. don‘t I know.. I talked to Doc Buskirk. she struck a sour note and Reva told her to start again from the beginning.A.‖ Lightfoot continued. Still under strict doctor‘s care.

―Carly Moore‘s to be prosecuted to the full 120 . But she‘s always been mighty refined. Jesus Loves Me. cockeyes swiveled slyly. bent an ear forward and listened. Whispers a lot to her doll. of course. ―Can you hear her now – from the upstairs parlor singin‘ her songs dear to the Lord! Hear that? She‘s followin‘ Reva‘s playin‘ – ‗Yes. Coverin‘ her body like she‘s already a woman. ―So it‘s affected her mentally. Seems she‘s revertin‘ to early childhood. I reckon. she‘s actin‘ mighty queer lately. ―As a citizen I got rights. Can‘t understand why she coddles one and smashed the other.‖ One fist doubled. But that one she calls Leah she won‘t let out‘a her sight. She‘s gotta tell everything. ‗Cause her body‘s still mendin‘ from that young devil‘s throbbin‘ horn. When I asked her ‗bout it she wouldn‘t explain.‖ He hoped to bring the preacher around.‘‖ Lightfoot gestured impatiently. She even made me get out‘a the bathroom this mornin‘. That other doll she calls Rachel – she burned in the fireplace. ―If you won‘t co-operate guess we‘re wastin‘ our time tryin‘ to build on this case.‖ Marvelle‘s dark eyes flashed. Due to her religious trainin‘. She‘s—‖ He stopped suddenly. and he did: Elijah turned to him abruptly. ―—she‘s always favored dolls. Takes after her mother. ―What I want. ―Brother. ―Growin‘ up. ―I‘m ‗fraid my Godie is too lady-like to do that.‖ ―Marvelle shrugged. Can‘t be too rough. eh? I‘ll have to know more about that.‖ Beamer smiled sadly. Reverend. From me – her own Pa!‖ He paused. Lightfoot.Marty Holland Elijah rubbed long bony fingers across the bridge of his nose.‖ ―Well—‖ Reverend Beamer rolled his eyes heavenward. is to get it straight in her mind that she‘s not to hold back anything in court – how it was with Carly.

Elijah paused. Through thin walls the organ music provided the beat.‖ The Reverend walked on cautiously down the hall and snapped the parlor door open. closed the door securely behind him. washed dishes in a gambling joint. Jus‘ hope the Lord ain‘t tuned in!‘ He stepped quickly inside. with short open house robe swaying. Upon hearing the door click shut she stopped dancing and stood panting. half-hula. Elijah‘s nostrils flared in chastisement as he saw she‘d woven small flowers in her loosely plaited hair.‖ Lightfoot followed as the preacher led the way up the steps. Had a room way down on Gallatin Street. ―Wish I‘d known a lush spot like that when I was a kid in New Orleans. shrinking back from her father‘s gaze. then touched Marvelle‘s sleeve. from the District Attorney‘s here to 121 . Lightfoot. A small gauze bandage showed above one temple. I already told Godie to be expectin‘ to testify at a court trial. ―That feller. ―That McIntosh place—‖ Lightfoot was saying breezily. half-twist. You just come along with me upstairs.. In front of a full length mirror.Baby Godiva extent of the law. ‗Twistin‘ her purty li‘l hips to sacred music! When I forbade it. You kin talk to my fallen virgin. ―Wait here. Mr. I left the tribe when I was about fifteen. listening. Had to take a skirt down in the swamps to my old leaky canoe. ‗Dancin‘!‘ His spirits sank. Country kids sure got it good. lips shinin‘ with devil paint. Only place you could find privacy.‖ Reaching the top of the stairs. peered in. All I‘m askin‘ is take it easy with her. ―Always pretendin‘ you‘re somethin‘ you ain‘t!‖ Elijah drawled in a hoarse whisper. Plenty rough territory. It‘s sinful! How many times I‘ve warned you ag‘in enticin‘ Satan!‖ He was breathing with effort.. Barefoot. ―‗Spect you‘re thinkin‘ you‘re in one‘a them sin-packed dance halls. Leah‘s yarn locks were also braided with blossoms. I‘ll call you direct. Wigglin‘ up to long trousers. Godie was dancing.

‘‖ She made a face. Everyone talkin‘. She was wearing a narrow half-bra and scant panty briefs. ―Don‘t be ‗fraid‘a ole courtroom. I seen that. ―On TV. ―and I‘ll take my leave. Godie.‖ Lightfoot was staring at shapely bare curves under the half open robe. gonna break you‘a that if it‘s the last thing I do. girl. With a mean ole judge – like Papa. Miss Godie. ―That‘s it..‖ She gestured depreciatingly. I‘m in the middle‘a writin‘ a new sermon.. Papa.. You jus‘ smile at the bad ole judge. ―What they gonna do with Carly?‖ she asked languidly.Marty Holland see you. the State will take care of Moore. 122 .‖ He strode on through the doorway and down the hall.‖ ―Keep him in jail?‖ She purred a laugh low in her throat. And fasten that bath robe up ag‘in your neck!‖ ―Yes.‖ Lightfoot sat on the piano bench. You‘ll be expected to—‖ But Godie was on her feet. Lightfoot entered and closed the door. brother. You‘ll have to tell your story to a jury and—‖ ―Oh. Tiberius I want you to forget you‘re in a courtroom.sayin‘ ‗Yes. He pulled his gaze away and tried to fasten his attention to the piano. her head resting against the wall. I‘m bringin‘ him in. ―.‖ she breathed tiredly. ―Is Papa gonna whup him ag‘in?‖ ―No. girl.‖ Godie said meekly. ―Now. Elijah opened the hall door. act decent. ―Come right in. wipe that paint off your mouth. And don‘t keep crossin‘ an‘ uncrossin‘ your legs. ―Caught her in the middle‘a sayin‘ her prayers. Leah. and. Your Honor. ―He can‘t go swimmin‘. when your father brings you to St. swinging Leah upward at arm‘s length.. After composing himself.‖ he called pleasantly. You be seated. Godie sat slumped on the divan. and he won‘t git mean.‖ He effected a good-natured laugh. My li‘l Godie is seated and waitin‘.

―Jesus!‖ Godie gave him an admonishing glance.. ―Can you see the bandage now?‖ As though posing for a photographer.‖ ―Well – the tree limb broke off.‖ ―What? I was tryin‘ to get my bathing suit!‖ ―Carly‘s statement is that it was the fall of the tree that caused your injuries. ―Now.. he did?‖ She raised her arms to touch the gauze. we‘ve got to establish that Carly tore a hunk of that pretty hair from your scalp." ―Now. 123 . with both hands.‖ Lightfoot was listening carelessly as he took another look at curves inside the house coat. with open robe revealing the crest of her bulging bosom. and kept his eyes on the railroad tracks bordering the churchyard. in court I‘ll have to ask you – ah –‖ he turned to look at her again. the top line of her bra lowered over pink nipples. ―I was on the limb‘a Crazy Tree. And it fell hard. does it Mister Lightfoot?‖ She attempted to close her robe. In the far distance he glimpsed the slowly-moving engine of the afternoon freighter. to get on – Carly contends you were up in that big tree when it fell over in the storm. Miss Beamer. So I won‘t mince words and I hope you‘ll confide in me. After that – don‘t ‗member much.. then deftly loosened and tossed her lustrous hair forward. ―You swearin‘ or prayin?‖ ―Both!‖ He sprang up from the bench. ―Don't show now. crawling toward the south junction.Baby Godiva ―What I‘m trying to say.Don‘t remember.‖ ―Oh.. is that we‘ll have to talk out all the details of your encounter with Carly. Godie. Now. she stood motionless. Stood looking out the window. among other things.

‖ Her arms dropped. gesturing toward Godie: ―She‘ll do all right in court – with an all male jury!‖ 124 . braids flopping. ―I‘m part Seminole. All you gotta do is git baptized. ―Everybody sins sometimes.‖ Then. eyes blazing in pious astonishment! Through the din. ―Look. ―No. Mr. The freighter had reached the rails outside the churchyard.. he stepped on one foot. The room began to vibrate. My folks stayed on the reservation. mouth agape. Lightfoot hurried to the door and passed the Reverend.‖ With hips swaying to a gentle foot stomp Godie accentuated an up and down movement of her torso.‖ Jauntily. Godie followed suit. And repent. Ain‘t that nice? I kin baptize ya. I‘m aimin‘ to be a evangelist." ―Don‘t be ‗shamed. you know.. Above the racket of the train he called back: ―Can‘t seem to organize my thoughts today. breasts bouncing under the thin robe. And Marvelle looked up to see Reverend Beamer standing in the doorway. then the other.‖ She secured her robe with the tie-belt. Now. Lightfoot. you don't move your hips.Marty Holland ―Oh. ―I see. It's like this.‖ she cried happily.‖ ―I know how to war dance.‖ ―Indian!‖ Green eyes sparkled. Christ!‖ ―You swearin‘ag‘in?‖ ―Forgot I was in – church. tipping his head and shoulders back and forth in warrior fashion. I‘d like to save your soul ‗fore the ole devil gits ya. in the courtroom—‖ ―Didn‘t your Papa teach you the Gospel?‖ ―No. Godie. Not exactly.

MONDAY. aggravated: ―There‘s no water in my carafe. a few unruly locks lurched askew at the forehead. Although dark brown hair had been neatly combed. about fortytwo. A small scar on his temple escalated with his eyebrows when they rose. It was said that counsel never had to guess how they stood with Winterhouse. Centered between flags of the State and the Union. ―Will someone close the windows.‖ Then. 125 .‖ Upon hearing sighs of discomfort from the spectators he added: ―We‘ll open them again in a few minutes. ―Too much interference from the street. his manner set the serious mood for the STATE VS. a handsome man. CARLTON MOORE.Baby Godiva Chapter 17 ELEVEN A. WINTERHOUSE Judge The star was in the spotlight. that as objections were raised the Judge telegraphed in advance his denial or approval with his expressive ‗talking‘ eyes. A courtroom clock was set high over swinging doors. too grand for the dingy oven-warm courtroom. the placard on the elevated bench read: DAMON L. He seemed to outclass his surroundings. snatched the empty decanter and hurried off. after the street traffic quiets. Bright searching grayblue eyes.M. His tanned face was faintly lined.‖ he was saying in a slightly irritated tone. grim boyish features. eager to get on with his day‘s work. Will someone take care of this?‖ A deputy came running.

who just sat down at the defense table?‖ Judge Winterhouse was in the midst of examination of the jury. Tiberius no ‗southern ladies‘ were drawn for panel serving unless they had volunteered. Elijah J. He was here to listen and advise. Evidently the woman had filed her name with the parish clerk. From such point of detachment his help could be superb. Beamer. Reva Beamer?‖ Then Eben was addressing panel members individually: ―Are you a United States citizen? Ever served before? Have you relatives engaged in law enforcement? Has any member of your family. With proceedings under way. after surveying blank faces. do any of you know Godiva Beamer? How about the parents of the girl – the father.Marty Holland A jury consisting of thirteen men and one woman had been called. assistant counselor Ira Lemire slid down beside Crown at the defendant‘s table. ―Any of you know Ira Lemire. ever been the victim of a crime? Do you attend church regularly? Do you have any children? Boys or girls? Do you believe you can wait until you 126 . Eben was grateful that this man would share the awesome responsibility to be carried through the next few days. or have you yourself. as in St. he had long ago settled for the lesser rewards of a more tranquil style of law. she‘s fourteen years old. the defendant? Do any one of you know of a reason or fact that would disqualify you from sitting on this panel?‖ He waited for a moment and. Several years older than Crown. Throughout preparations Eben had used Ira‘s acumen and long experience in building Carly‘s defense. which included two standbys. went on: ―Now. ―Are any of you acquainted with Carlton Moore. and is voice fell deep and resonant. Lemire was a brainy but colorless man. or the mother. it is the claim of the People that the victim in this case is Godiva Beamer.

‖ Marvelle removed a handkerchief from his pocket and sopped his brow.‖ Hastily the clerk drew another name: ―Morton Quinn. ―Mrs. ―Now.A. white shirt. sprawled his legs and lounged back in his chair placed next to Eben. Then he straightened: ―The People will excuse Birdie Connor. Carly brought a breath of freshness 127 ..‖ As the business of interrogation was repeated for the replacement. had left the People‘s table. can you settle issues and get on with the business of determining a verdict? Do you have any conscientious objections to the death penalty? If so.Baby Godiva hear all the evidence before forming an opinion as to guilt or innocence? Will you give this case the benefit of your individual thinking?‖ The paneling moved on at a surprisingly swift pace. Seely – if you decided the defendant guilty of cold-blooded assault and forcible rape with severe body harm to the victim.‖ He turned to the lone woman. in the ice cream suit. olive-green tie. ―And would this bother your conscience?‖ ―No more‘n anyone else. Hair trimmed. neatly groomed in a trifle over-size suit of navy.‘s man returned to his table and bent over. is it possible that you could vote for the maximum penalty?‖ ―I believe so – yes. Marvelle Lightfoot. a crime of such character that it would be proper to impose the death penalty?‖ There was a long pause. can you conceive in your mind.‖ The D.. raise your hand. Mr. Carly Moore pulled at his collar. his one straight eye swiveling from juror to juror: ―Now. sometimes discussions turn into arguments in a jury room. Connor.‖ she finally said. conversing in a whisper to his assistant. ―Not at the moment.

as a quivering captured animal sniffs in new surroundings: the stench of cigar smoke clinging to limp faded green drapes. a diagram of Fork River. It was back now. On an easel inside the rail was a large area map with its wood pointer leaning against it.‖ Eben. It was difficult to blend him into the austere formality of the scene. the male court reporter with his stenotype machine. ―any of these jurors you want me to boot?‖ A lick of dry lips. His eyes came up slowly to view the Judge. Your Honor.‖ 128 . a chain and hooded lamp above. ―Dunno. Carly gazed steadily at linoleum squares at his feet. When it had happened in jail he‘d searched his cell for flying insects. Carly was feeling a great uneasiness and his heart was pulsating heavily. Tiberius sheriff standing beside him. Mister Crown. his nostrils dilating. how he would react in this different world of new customs and strange words. He was fearing his inadequacy. the St.Marty Holland to the stale environment. Colliding with any other sound it would cease. Actually. that unreal sensation he‘d been experiencing: the sound of buzzing bees which grew loud and then softened. Behind him sat an unfriendly courtroom audience. rising: ―The defense is satisfied. ―Carly. then continue as soon as outside interference subsided.‖ he whispered. While the court cast moved about on its small stage. Before him. Crown was leaning close. At this moment he could hear the singing of a wasp‘s nest. and the smell of furniture oil on glistening mahogany. Then he‘d discovered that the humming was in his ears and persisted only when he was distraught. The time he‘d heard it loudest was that awful night Sheriff Reid had caught him at La Marche Crossing. a Judge and a world of law which he would not have believed existed.

as witnesses are called. in the vicinity of Fork River. Is that clear? Those wishing to remain will do so quietly. City police will be on hand to enforce this ruling.‖ He straightened and continued dryly: ―There will be no photographs taken. unlawfully and feloniously.‖ The Assistant District Attorney rose and stepped forward. that the said Carlton Moore. a felony. ―Keep watch on it.‖ He took a sip of water and his gaze leaped to the back row of the courtroom.‖ the Sheriff answered forcefully. your Honor. to wit. Mr. saying: ―We now have a jury. did willfully. Anyone causing a disturbance will be arrested immediately and jailed. Scanning pages in his hand. on the 21st day of June. will you see to it that they get in quickly as possible.‖ in response to the oath administered by the court clerk. Have you placed the exclusion sign on the entrance door?‖ ―I have. CARLTON MOORE. Also the court is ordering witness exclusion. he went on: ―I want it known that I will tolerate no intrusion whatsoever in the conduct of this trial. ―Read from the information. No cameras. age 18. No recording devices. is charged on the information in COUNT I with the offense of AGGRAVATED RAPE. in the side corridor chairs are provided for witnesses. Mr. Then jurors stood behind their railing and mumbled ―I do‘s. large or small will be permitted in use. Winterhouse was pleased. Sheriff. 129 .‖ the Judge ordered.‖ Voice hardening. of any person or object.Baby Godiva The prosecution was also satisfied. he read: The defendant. ―It has come to my attention that a certain element in this court might prefer taking the law in its own hands in this case. Lightfoot. Surplus jurymen in spectators‘ seats were promptly dismissed. No interviews. His eyes lowered distrustfully.

Winterhouse 130 . on or about the 21st day of June. CARLTON MOORE. unlawfully and feloniously assault Godiva Beamer. counselors. did forcefully. ―All right.‖ His eyes snapped back from the jurors. but her struggling was overpowered by force and violence used upon her by the said defendant. by methods of force likely to inflict great bodily injury. *** Sharply at two P.‖ Handcuffs were clamped on the prisoner before he was led back to the holding cell. Court is adjourned until two P. a human being. and with said act of sexual intercourse being achieved without the permission and against the will of said Godiva Beamer.M.‖ Winterhouse added. ―are separate offenses and each of the offenses of which the defendant is convicted or acquitted must be stated in your verdicts. age 14. a felony. who is not the wife of Carlton Moore. There was a scuffling of feet. The defendant. is further charged in COUNT II with the offense of ASSAULT BY MEANS OF FORCE LIKELY TO PRODUCE GREAT BODILY INJURY. the mahogany door to the rear chambers opened. ―Each of the offenses. and she then and there resisted the act of sexual intercourse. we‘ll hear your opening statements right after the noon recess. that the said CARLTON MOORE. a female.Marty Holland and with force and violence did have and perpetuate an act of sexual intercourse upon Godiva Beamer.M. The jurors are not to discuss this case with anyone – not even among themselves.

. Carlton Moore again accosted. a small man with moustache and receding hairline. ―Further. the State charges that on or about June 14 of this year Carlton Moore. A bang of the gavel – and then Marvelle Lightfoot turned to his collaborator. who will from time to time assist me. a minor fourteen years of age. one week later. ―At the People‘s table I want to introduce Mr. the defendant fled the scene. In the first row behind the defense table.‖ Mendez.. the accused finally consummated his brutal plans... The accused was prevented from achieving his carnal desires on this first occasion. ―We will prove all this occurred at a deserted plantation on the outskirts of Fork River. the accused..Baby Godiva entered looking refreshed. self-assured. We will prove these unlawful acts 131 . Victor Mendez from the Attorney General‘s office. Beside him. the State charges that on the date of June 21. and was arrested perched in a tree at La Marche Crossing. causing great and permanent body injury. and severe mental harm upon the person of Godiva Beamer.. preparing to abscond on the first railroad freight train leaving town. but this time did commit the crime of assault and rape. who escaped her tormentor‘s grasp and fled to the arms of her parents.. a male reporter from the St. a fugitive under the law. accosted and did attempt sexual assault upon the person of Godiva Beamer. After a moment Lightfoot faced the jury: ―Gentlemen. On second try. His evil and unlawful intentions were thwarted by the girl. Thereafter. Tiberius News sat sketching the glum profile of Carly Moore. and hurried up the steps to his bench. rose and nodded stiffly and sat down.. Flo Swann of the local Fork River Gazette was following the proceedings.

And it‘s my job to show you that this young defendant is innocent. aren‘t we. ―And you.‖ After another long glance at the People‘s table he continued: ―So we counselors are certainly on opposite ends. Lightfoot is a thirsty man!‖ He sighed deeply.‖ As Lightfoot sank down behind the State‘s table. ―But that‘s the prosecutor‘s job. I thank you. ―Gentlemen. facing the jurors. ‗Number Three is the toughest. have your job. The most important job of all . then sobered. Our Honorable Judge is here for the purpose of seeing to it that justice prevails .‖ Air in the room was close. of course. that‘s his job. Crown rose in unison.‖ He paused. But as Eben talked casually on he could sense a chill from the mixed lot of jurors..Marty Holland were committed premeditatedly with malice aforethought. Ira Lemire – who will assist me in the defense. We will ask for the maximum penalty under the law. And by the time this trial is finished you will agree with me that we are asking for it justly. ―The maximum penalty in this State means execution by electric chair.. that of guaranteeing our defendant a fair and impartial trial. I want you to know Mr.‖ Lemire stood quickly. If Number Seven had kept coughing like that during the paneling I‘d have dumped him. He gestured broadly: ―My! What was all that talk about the maximum penalty!‖ He gave a puckered smile. ‗Arms folded. chin up. Number Four is a shrinking violet. But fortunately this is a court of justice. fellow citizens.. ―Did you hear the prosecutor ask for it? Calmly. to obtain a conviction. Then with a steady glare of amazement in the prosecutor‘s direction Eben moved slowly in front of the jury box. as you and I would ask for a drink of water? My! Mr. And 132 . hot.. So first of all let's get all thoughts of penalties out of our minds.‘ he thought.

When he was eight years old his father died. Learn how their minds work and think for them. being led before seasoned law officers.. ―—can you possibly imagine the circumstances under which such a confession was obtained? Can you picture this: a young farm-boy who knows nothing but farm life.. Carly was raised by his stepfather on a farm in Fork River.. ―I understand there‘s a confession to be offered. but we‘ll find one at least. The prosecution will no doubt bring this into evidence at some point in these proceedings. I‘ve got to thaw them out. Put them in the shoes of Carly Moore. And up to now – Carly did all the work on the farm while his stepfather lay boozed up most of the time. Just work. From childhood this boy had drudged from dawn to dark on that farm for these many years. First his father. And it‘s true that Carly was with her on that fateful Sunday afternoon – so now he‘s the People‘s target.‖ Eben drew a breath. now—‖ He stood in center of the jury. Well. No time for play or school – like other kids.. It‘s still too early to single out possible favorites. And he‘s a decent lad. Then after a few years his mother died. Since then.‘ Eben‘s voice ground on: ―And so it was unfortunate that Carly Moore and Godie Beamer went in swimming in the rear of that old manor house. His mother remarried – a farming man. let me tell you something about Carly Moore. Only a few days ago Carly talked to me about how much he missed his mother.Baby Godiva Three. with no formal schooling. Well. and he knows hard discipline. trained interrogators. Well. for questioning? With clenched fists held to his face?‖ Crown paused to let this sink 133 . then his mother. he‘s never been trouble in all his eighteen years. staring at the ceiling. then warm them up.all within a short time. ―But going back to his earlier life. isn't listening. the boy has known intense loneliness.

. ―Now. ―Now." The side door was flung open. Carlton Moore didn‘t do it. After his being sworn in – name. ―So let‘s get along with the trial.‖ He smiled.. And if she was molested sexually.‖ After opening statements. the prosecution will no doubt present to you photographs showing how that girl was allegedly maimed and beaten. address. Bret H. Buskirk. For the moment that‘s all. which included photographs of the scene of the crime. do you recall the early evening of June 21 of this year – when Godiva Beamer was brought to you for emergency treatment?‖ ―Yes. Doctor. ―The People will call Dr. qualifications of medical profession extracted – Lightfoot proceeded: ―Did you serve in World War II?‖ ―I did. ―Call the first witness.‖ Lightfoot nodded. And so we can take that confession for what it is worth. there was a short recess while Crown and Lightfoot mulled over evidence to be admitted. entered and quickly made his way to the stand. Thank you for your close attention. the small florid-faced doctor.Marty Holland in.‖ Lightfoot moved toward the bench. You have agreed to keep an open mind until you have considered all the testimony. and a map of Fork River.‖ His tone softened. Well. ―I think our defendant would have confessed to anything put before him. Carlton Moore had no part of it. Scud Wilkes brought her in. Then Winterhouse was nodding toward the People‘s table. of Godie and Carly‘s clothing.‖ 134 . with his wealth of gray hair.not very much. ―And I will have some startling facts to present to you supporting our claims that the defendant is innocent of the crimes charged to him. if she was beaten.

I told Scud to put her on the examining table in my office.‖ ―Do you have a written report of this examination?‖ ―Yes. Lightfoot had moved to the witness chair. Doctor. Lightfoot went on: ―All right now. ―There was a patch.‖ ―And Godie was crying?‖ ―The child was sobbing her heart out. A two-inch patch torn off.‖ ―I first observed that there might be complication in the girl‘s breathing. Surely he couldn‘t have determined that the hair had been torn off. about two inches in diameter.‖ ―And you examined the girl?‖ ―I did. but I soon realized that her choking sobs were spasms caused by the hysteria and humiliation of her predicament. A section of scalp missing in this open space and blood was darkening and congealing.‖ ―Proceed with your examination findings. ―Was anyone in the examining room with you?‖ ―Only my nurse. Here in my pocket. sir. ―I started with Godie‘s head.‖ Winterhouse nodded. ―Your Honor – hadn‘t the doctor better stick to visual findings.Baby Godiva ―I got three rooms set aside for my practice. Miss Longquist. tell us about your examining procedure.‖ 135 . One is a hospital room.‖ Eben Crown had risen quietly to his feet. torn from the left frontal skull.‖ the doctor divulged.‖ After the report was scanned by defense counsel it was admitted into evidence.‖ the prosecutor went on impatiently.

‖ ―Doctor. ―And her mouth?‖ After a click of false teeth. and edged his way over to the jury box. Buskirk explained: ―One black eye. but it appears to be healing satisfactorily. Severe lacerations on the body and shoulders. did you observe that a patch of the girl‘s scalp was missing – about two inches in diameter?‖ ―Yes.‖ Judge Winterhouse said dryly. Knees all banged up. and ordered reference to the patch of scalp being torn off stricken from the record. or torn from roots?‖ ―I did. ―Same objection. Some required stitches. But Marvelle Lightfoot was not easily cowed.‖ 136 . I sutured the scalp back in place. your Honor. It appeared to have been pulled out.‖ Again Crown rose swiftly. I‘d say ten. Corner of her lower lip was cut. could it? At any rate. ―Doctor. I expected some complications to set in. ―All right. did you have occasion to observe any skulls where the hair had been pulled out.‖ Lightfoot said. Bruises inside the cheek region. with mouth contusions.Marty Holland ―Sustained.‖ ―How were you able to determine if the hair had been torn from the scalp?‖ The doctor chuckled.‖ And again Winterhouse sustained. He also informed the jurors not to form conclusion as to reason that the patch of hair was missing. There were several bad scratches on her face and neck. in your experiences in the Army. ―When a portion of scalp comes off with the hair it couldn‘t very well have been cut off. ―Doctor. what was the condition of Godie‘s eyes?‖ Lightfoot was now contemplating each member of the jury.

‖ ―What caused this development?‖ The doctor looked cautiously at Eben Crown. you didn‘t. Doctor?‖ ―I used a local anesthetic and stitched her up and gave her a tetanus shot. ―I diagnosed it as nervous reaction.Baby Godiva ―Did she tell you that these wounds had been inflicted upon her during a struggle?‖ ―She was cryin‘ too hard to say anything.not exactly.‖ Buskirk looked toward the jury. When they arrived I had to remove all the bandages ‗til they got through with their tomfoolery.. mutilated condition?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―And she remained there in bed – at your office?‖ ―In my hospital room.. but it‘s all left its mark. yes.‖ Lightfoot next brought out that the doctor had examined Godiva in the vaginal region. Doctor. Shock – caused by a traumatic experience. then: ―Did I say the police captain brought in a photographer and took pictures of Godie?‖ ―No. Had she been bleeding in this area? Buskirk replied in the affirmative. yes. After several days – it was when I was about ready to send her home – she developed high fever with delirium. ―And a girl is virginal before that hymeneal ring is broken.‖ 137 .‖ ―Did she suffer complications?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―And has Godie recovered from this delirious. and added that the hymeneal ring had been broken. She‘s at home now.‖ ―Enlarge on that.‖ ―Oh. yes.‖ ―What did you do for Godie‘s condition. isn't she?‖ ―That‘s assumed to be true. Well.

A few months ago. ―I thought it was very touching when she told me she aimed to be an evangelist. ―What possible difference can it make!‖ 138 . Lightfoot. as I recall.‖ ―Now. She appears fearful – reclusive. Aftermath of damaging shock. Buskirk may give an opinion on the girl‘s mental state. I recall thinking how pleasant a child she was. Recently her thinking is depressed. Godie had stepped on a rusty nail.‖ Eben Crown had reared up from his chair again. Yes. Very bright. She was very sweet. Now he set down his pencil. must Godiva Beamer be constantly referred to as the child or the little girl?‖ The prosecutor whirled angrily to the defense. I‘m not a psychiatrist. Smiled a lot. ―Your Honor. Dr.D.‖ ―What was Godie‘s mental outlook during that visit?‖ ―Quite normal. Staring ahead he said thoughtfully: ―It seems fair that as a general practicing physician Dr.‖ ―Then at that time she was not depressed and vague in her thinking?‖ ―I should say not.Marty Holland ―The high fever and trauma she‘s suffered seems to have affected her mental condition. before the little girl was brought to you on the evening of June 21.‖ The doctor smiled dreamily. Beamer brought her in. I‘m going to overrule. ―Your Honor. if it is stipulated for the record that he is not a psychiatrist and this is an M. Mr. Doctor. A mental tic of some sort. this is extremely irregular. Mrs. proceed.‘s observation. I shouldn‘t attempt to pin point it. had you ever treated Godiva Beamer as a patient previously?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―Indeed you shouldn‘t!‖ Crown was moving to the bench. Buskirk is not a psychiatrist!‖ Judge Winterhouse had been busy doodling.

―The State‘s Exhibits Number Three. ―Godiva Beamer is fourteen years old! The word child suggests a babe in arms!‖ ―Well. ―We‘ll take ten minutes. A fourteen-year-old is neither a child or a little girl. – spread the blood. They were passed from juror to juror. Will the jurors please disregard any reference to Godiva Beamer as a child or a little girl. 139 . Dr. aren‘t they?‖ ―Yes. In the future we will refer to Godiva Beamer as the girl. and think of her only as a fourteen-year-old. Four and Five – the clothing that Godiva wore when Scud Wilkes brought her in – are they not?‖ ―Yes.‖ Marvelle had turned to Eben with a smirk. Eben Crown and assistant Lemire sat with heads together. Gentlemen!‖ Judge Winterhouse cut in.‖ ―Brownish hue.‖ ―After recess. ―You may crossexamine.Baby Godiva ―You know very well what difference it makes! Crown snarled. Crown has a point here. The prosecutor held up a handful of rags. Carly also remained. the rain was intense. Buskirk verified that the photos did indeed depict correctly the bruised condition of Godiva Beamer. conversing quietly. with hands folded he glanced now and then at his lawyers. After Winterhouse looked them over they were allowed into evidence and marked for identification.‖ *** During the breather. or the young girl. the doctor replied glibly. isn‘t she?‖ Lightfoot bellowed. I believe Mr.‖ Winterhouse interrupted. ―Gentlemen. The blood acted as a tinting agent on the white fabrics.‖ Then Marvelle Lightfoot was holding glossy prints and clothing for the doctor to identify.

‖ *** Now Crown was rising and nodding to the clerk. ―Well – a – yes. I‘ve done thousands of such repairs in overseas hospitals. Up all night. ―Mister Crown?‖ ―Yes?‖ ―When Mister Lightfoot said he wants the maximum penalty – that mean the ‗lectric chair?‖ Eben‘s face went dead-pan. He turned to the prisoner and said pleasantly. but that‘s the extreme penalty. ―Carly. Didn‘t get much sleep though. Eben now stood by the witness chair: ―Doctor Buskirk.Marty Holland Once he forgot where he was and whirled around in his chair to face noisy spectators. ―Oh. ―Then the injuries were not of a serious nature?‖ ―The girl was suffering and bleeding. ―Don‘t you feel good today. sure. I see. and – a – even an alternative of life imprisonment would be unacceptable indeed. Thinking he saw the familiar face of Warten Skinner in the last row he turned around quickly.‖ His voice was grave. you‘re not a surgeon?‖ ―I am not. The lawyer‘s eyes opened. Court was coming to order. Now Eben leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.‖ ―But you did take it upon yourself to make surgical repairs on Godiva Beamer?‖ ―It was a simple procedure. we‘re working for acquittal. Carly. Didn‘t require the service of a surgeon. Mister Crown?‖ Carly asked worriedly.‖ 140 .‖ ―Oh. But it required no specialist. The condition necessitated immediate attention.‖ He began sorting through notebooks.‖ Eben moved toward the jury.

without speculation. when examining a female with the assumption that she had been raped – isn‘t it customary to take a vaginal slide?‖ ―Yes. I again instruct you to confine your remarks to the questions. please. and Eben wanted it stopped right there. penetratingly. The jury is to disregard it.‖ ―Any sperm cells found?‖ ―No. Buskirk.‖ While Winterhouse was admonishing Dr. whispering to assistant Ira Lemire. ―Your Honor. ―No? None at all Doctor?‖ "None. looking off into space.‖ ―No?‖ Crown‘s head jerked toward the witness. then laughed softly and tried to cover his obvious amusement. skated in gently: ―Doctor.‘ he 141 . ‗Must be getting through to them. How could he possibly know what had or had not been washed by the rain?‖ Winterhouse nodded agreement.‖ Crown glanced meaningfully to assistant Lemire. Buskirk. All were keenly attentive.Baby Godiva Crown walked back to his table and leaned over.‖ ―And you received a laboratory report?‖ ―Of course. such opinion is purely speculation on the part of the good doctor. Now Eben straightened and. In Perez woods and while Scud carried her in. Dr. She was soaking wet. But the doctor kept on talking: ―I want to emphasize that Godie had spent considerable time in a heavy rain. Eben had opportunity to scan the jurors again.‖ Buskirk insisted. ―Strike the answer. Any evidence of spermatozoa might have been washed by the rain.‖ No evidence had been found in the slide.

which is circled here in yellow?‖ ―Yes. to the diagram and pulled the chain.. are you indicating that the condition of Godie‘s clothing helped you decide that she‘d been raped?‖ ―No.‖ 142 . I‘ve explained the other factors. He continued with Buskirk: ―Now. many times. you have no way of knowing whether or not she had been sexually molested?‖ ―Since this is not an exact science.‖ ―Doctor. lighting the overhead lamp. I‘ve romped my dogs through there. Quickly his tone lowered.‖ Eben stated.Marty Holland thought. unable to conceal his surprise.. then she. But all the evidence pointed to it. Now the defense moved to the right of the bench. She was—‖ Crown was still gaping. The First Baptist Church is circled in green.‖ ―I merely stated my examination was not conclusive in this regard one way or another. I cannot determine for a certainty. you stated that you observed torn tissue in the vaginal tract and—‖ ―Didn‘t say that! I said there was evidence that the hymeneal ring had been ruptured. but he broke in.‖ Buskirk fumed. ―You are stating. And I see that the McIntosh acres have been circled in red pencil. ―Well.‖ Crown paused for a long moment and studied the witness speculatively. a blue pencil line indicating ‗swimming hole‘. Doctor. ―I am standing beside a large map of Fork River. Doctor. Eben picked up the wood pointer. that in the case of Godiva Beamer. ―For the record.may not have been assaulted at this time. Now. ―Did you determine how recent or how long ago this had occurred?‖ ―Can‘t always tell.‖ ―Can‘t always tell?‖ Crown echoed. have you ever had occasion to walk through Perez woods.

when you and your dogs went through Perez woods. Almost swollen shut when these photographs were taken.‖ 143 .‖ ―And in respect to Godie‘s blackened eye. was it not?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―Yes. "And the mouth photograph shown – this type of bruise – could it be inflicted on oneself by biting teeth hard into the lower lip?‖ He handed the picture to the doctor. A severe summer storm. who didn't bother to look.‖ ―And on that occasion. ―—here where I am indicating – Perez woods. prickly berry vines – saw grass. Naturally it‘s possible. Isn‘t it a possibility that one could obtain an injury of this nature by striking some object while moving through a woods – pitch dark – in a storm? Lots of trees and wild brush around. ―Could.‖ ―Anything is possible – of course it's possible – when there‘s no witness to injury.‖ Now. you know. Doctor. in respect to the scratches and bruises on Godie‘s legs.‖ Eben grabbed the photographs in evidence. did you observe a great deal of underbrush with thorns. And especially there‘s a great deal of honey locust in there―‖ Eben tapped the pointer. is it not possible that thorns and briars and tree branches – when a young girl is caught in a summer storm – in the woods – caused her to incur scratches and welts on her arms and legs?‖ ―Yes.Baby Godiva ―And – a – you said there was a deluge of rain when Godie was brought to you on the evening of June 21st. Honey Locust with long thorns.

Possibly. there‘s the old cypress. ―And she did not say that she had been sexually ravaged?‖ ―She didn‘t have to. ―Yes.‖ The witness nodded solemnly. Somehow I got the message. possibly. if someone was in that big tree when a summer storm blew it over – wouldn‘t the consequences to the victim be quite severe?‖ Eben turned to the jurors.‖ ―Or the forearms?‖ ―Same.Marty Holland ―And the hair missing from her skull. Probably snap some bones.‖ Eben hesitated. "Know it? I‘ve looked it over. ―Was there any injury to Godie‘s hands?‖ ―Yes. But Hoody Realty told me they couldn‘t locate the heirs. Oblivious to court proceedings.‖ 144 . Thought of buyin‘ the old plantation. Scratches and bruises.‖ Buskirk tugged at his pocket.‖ Carly heard only a jumble of words. Long hair. Doctor? Could it have been caught on a tree limb? Or possibly speared by a falling branch when a tree fell?‖ ―I don‘t know. Crown was pointing a finger.‖ ―Oh? You know that place pretty well?‖ The photograph was passed from juror to juror..‖ Eben stood at the exhibit table. that‘s the way it fell. He selected another photograph and handed it to the witness: ―I am presenting Exhibit 8 to you. Doctor – the rear of the McIntosh place. he was escaping the miasmatic air of the room by riding Diamond down to the river and rounding up the cows. ―Please note the debris indicating the force with which it fell. isn‘t it. ―Of course. withdrew horn-rimed glasses and quickly hooked them on..‖ ―Doctor.

‖ The defense lawyer was making a sinking slumping motion. It was almost as though you‘d been told how to testify in this case?‖ His voice rose. But you were perfectly at ease with the assistant District Attorney. ―I am insinuating! Since you witnessed nothing—‖ ―Well.‖ ―Are you insinuating—‖ ―Yes. ‗Carly Moore‘. Doctor. one last observation here. You‘re not certain.‖ ―I didn't ask you what you need. ‗Godie.Baby Godiva ―Oh. who done it?‘ And she said.‖ ―You didn‘t need words in Godie‘s case. When you are faced with cross-examination you become touchy. yes. Doctor. that you have been coached on presenting your testimony by the Assistant District Attorney!‖ 145 . ―Isn‘t it just possible. Did you witness Carly Moore mishandling Godie?‖ ―No!‖ ―Then as far as you know – Godie could have been attacked by a wild animal. ―it was obvious she‘d been mishandled. ―Now the word is ‗mishandled‘. Your crystal ball spelled out the words. ―Now. I see. are you?‖ ―Of course I‘m certain! I said.‖ Eben had moved so close that he was fairly shouting in the doctor‘s face.‖ He straightened.‖ Crown was smoldering.‖ Crown moved back and assumed his normal tone. as though staggering under weight.‖ Crown scowled. ―Perhaps if you think carefully you'll be able to testify coherently.‖ the doctor put in. ―But she did not tell you verbally that she had been assaulted and raped by Carly Moore!" "No. ―That‘s worthy of consideration.

a babe in arms.‖ ―That‘s all. or any member of the District Attorney‘s staff. ―At any time did I. 146 . had been throwing objections all over the place.‖ the Judge said. Dr.‖ He‘d reached the witness. that is all. ―Did I. Doctor!‖ Then: ―A question or two on redirect. and Crown straightened. Buskirk.‖ came the meek reply. ―Thank you.‖ Eben shot a look of triumph to juror Number Nine before returning to his chair. sir.‖ ―The witness may step down.‖ ―And it is your evaluation from long-standing medical experience that Godie Beamer suffered assault and forcible rape?‖ ―It is. Your Honor. sir. livid with rage. ―No. As Burkirk scooted forward in the process of rising. Doc. instruct you in respect to your testimony given in this courtroom?‖ ―No.Marty Holland ―Of course not!‖ ―And that Mr. or a babe in arms?‖ Lightfoot was sweating and sopping his face with a folded handkerchief. accusing Crown of badgering the witness. even remotely suggest that in testimony you are to refer to Godiva Beamer as a little girl. Lightfoot instructed you to refer to Godiva Beamer as a child. as so to vilify the defendant!‖ ―He did not!‖ At this point Lightfoot. Lightfoot commanded: ―Stay where you are. or a child. But the points had been made. or any member of the District Attorney's office.

Lightfoot. ―You made that plain in your opening statement.‖ *** It had been a fair first day. I will now read the confession of Carlton Moore. In the morning.. Startled.Baby Godiva Lightfoot moved quickly to the bench. lawyers gathered up brief cases and made hasty retreats. ―Your Honor. 10 A. the Judge disappeared into his chambers.M.‖ Judge Winterhouse interceded. And then – when the prisoner still continued to stare at the map of Fork River. spectators made a rush for the double doors. ―I will delay the reading until its contents is covered by further testimony. with his busy pencil.‖ He turned to the prosecutor. into evidence. 147 . He threw down his pencil and banged the gavel. ―Your Honor. ―We‘ll hear that testimony. After the jury filed out. Lightfoot?‖ Marvelle nodded. Mr. the defense insists that this so-called confession was obtained by coercion and therefore—‖ ―Yes. a deputy gave him an upward shoulder slap that knocked him to his feet.‖ Eben Crown was on the move.M.‖ ―Very well. ―Court is adjourned until tomorrow morning.. With a swish of black robe. Not only had the jury been selected in the morning hours. had doodled three exquisite yachts which lay without a sea on the papers before him.‖ ―Just a moment. ―Mr. if the court please. the State's principal witness had completed testimony. Carly looked around at the emptying room. Jail-trained now. but by five P. Judge Winterhouse. he held his wrists up and forward as handcuffs were snapped on and he was led out.‖ He then went through the procedure of cautioning jurors. the defendant.‖ Winterhouse agreed.

he was not unattractive to women. ―Sure does. receptionists. then sank down in a first row seat next to the St. Lightfoot‘s a tiger. The second was his headlong pursuit of personal pleasure. Tiberius sheriff. Never had he formed a lasting attachment to a responsible female. In his office he swears like a Angola lifer. Routine jaunts to the night spots of New Orleans. ―That Crown sounds jus‘ like a smart man. Over the years. A clutter of willing females. And don‘t he allus smell nice?‖ The sheriff nodded. Mobile. swished his feather duster over the mahogany railing. flights to Miami Beach‘s plush lounges. Deliberately and by choice he avoided all entanglements. His private delight was the company of easy-going society.‖ he was saying. ―But this Mr. On long weekends.‖ *** Marvelle Lightfoot was a careful man. On one level was his career in law. Baton Rouge.Marty Holland Chapter 18 THE COURTHOUSE JANITOR glanced at the half empty trial room. Then when he‘s in here before the jury – watch out. fascinating 148 . Yet he led two lives. You‘d think that Indian was a peacock fer all his airs. But he had meticulously shunned this sector so as to avoid personal involvements. girls‘ Friday. had been strewn throughout his business life. Despite his lame eyesight. secretaries. were the usual. But I‘d hate to have him on my tail.

That was no concern of his. Always learning. On occasion he‘d wondered about himself. Friends came easy. or for whether the defendant was innocent or guilty. A slow starter. Tiberius he soared. librarian. A neat 149 . on this hot brassy Tuesday morning.A. case clerk – low pay and long hours. his offerings of alcoholic friendship along with his cash. And in this process he‘d mangled any shred of conscience that he might have had to start with. The D.‘s man had no real concern for truth. After his appointment in St. that Carly Moore was in grave peril. Male typist. always clawing forward. his drive for problem solving. And this was the reason. an amoral life suited to his liking. always scheming. But the role he played in his off-beat world was part of his comfort. What he‘d lacked in talent he‘d overcome with keen political sense. even if he could. And perhaps there was something more. the second day of trial. because he wouldn‘t change a thing. He didn‘t give a damn. faded there. Morality? He had one single test: if it was good for Marvelle Lightfoot it was moral.Baby Godiva relationships had bloomed here. As his successes in law unfolded he could look back to the lean years.. or for justice. as they‘d moved up the line he‘d grappled their coat tails and they‘d taken him along. Progress had been slow but he'd hung in. his innate desire to mingle with social inferiors. not critically. his fortune prospered after he‘d discovered his genius for faking his way. His compensation was complete and absolute independence. It was now a way of life with him. Now his future couldn‘t be brighter. and a helping hand where needed. With advertent care he kept his dual paths from colliding. the State‘s dragon-slayer. In the courtroom he was the shrewd and fearless prosecutor..

‖ the clerk‘s voice rang out. one by one. Hear ye. are you ready to begin?‖ ―Yes. validity would be tested..‖ Judge Winterhouse entered and took his place at the bench. He followed a pattern of rising from his chair. ―Be seated. detention and interrogation. and right now he wanted Carly Moore‘s conviction on top of the stack.Marty Holland stack of convictions was what was good for Marvelle Lightfoot. that the defendant‘s statements and signature was obtained freely and voluntarily. Lightfoot. detective and state policeman. striding to the dock. ―Mr..‖ ―The People will call Captain Dan Lindley. First was Captain Dan Lindley. the six remaining minions of the law testified in carbon copy to the first. After a tap of the gavel the room quieted. His testimony was a flat declaration that no force.‖ The challenges in Eben's opening statement on the previous day did not go unheeded by the prosecution. Faithful to the text. threats or intimidation had been enacted. Crown interjected cross-examination in production-line fashion. Marvelle was to call to the stand. Your Honor. Hear ye.. Before reading the confession. *** ―Hear ye. ―All rise. as though all had memorized their lines from the same mimeo sheet.. straightening his jacket. Following Lindley. all seven lawmen that had anything to do with Carly‘s arrest. without persuasion or inducement promises.. then fired a set list of questions: ―Was it you that held clenched fist to Carly Moore‘s face? Are you the officer that forced the defendant under threat to sign – or else?‖ Without waiting for answers: ―Which one of you? Was it you?‖ After the flurry of denials 150 ..‖ The clerk was announcing in booming voice that court was now in session.

— Carly‘s statement at that time was. At the end of this onslaught Crown retreated to his table. then admitted it. Lightfoot seemed to grow inches taller. He was hoping his antics would accentuate the farcical nature of the sham being perpetuated by the prosecution. neatly dressed. ―That‘s all. and told that they depicted Godie‘s appearance when he had carried her to Doc Buskirk‘s. Tiberius the boy first denied he had been with Godie. in that storm?‖ ―No.‖ Throughout this entire exercise Eben‘s demeanor took on the character of a mechanical man.‖ Scud answered. through the woods. In cross-examination Crown only asked: ―While you carried Godie to the doctor‘s house did you realize that she had come all the way from the McIntosh place. In contrast. Clean-shaven. Because after he‘d laid Godie out on the examination table. a fugitive. Then Scud Wilkes was called. in the rain. He was not at all sure it was working.Baby Godiva from each witness he would hesitate and gaze intently at his quarry. shoulders slumped. But that the Doc must have cleaned off the blood before the photos were taken. ―Is she dead?‖ — While driving Carlton Moore to St. the front of his shirt and trousers were stained with blood. — That the defendant‘s face had turned red when asked if he‘d had sexual relations with Godiva Beamer. ―No further questions. Next Sheriff Reid was called and testified that: — His searching party had apprehended Carlton Moore. perched up in an old walnut tree at La Marche Crossing.‖ 151 . he was asked to examine the photos in exhibit.

Carly Moore had stirred in his chair. He understood so little of what was going on. sat.. screening out the hateful proceedings of the courtroom. Beamer?‖ Lightfoot was saying.. seedily-attired. ‗You took me to Sunday school. Ashberry's place. Ma. The whirr in his ears gradually swelled. He remembered a joyful morning. his cell walls seemed to have closed in. Slowly. and pressed down one side of his hair with his hand.. unintelligible and repugnant. And last night had been a horror. ‗I need you. At the dock. ‗Ma.. I ‗member walkin‘ down the road you held my hand tight.Marty Holland *** ―Elijah Beamer. with cooking smells from her apron as she‘d hugged him.‘ he was saying to himself.‖ with force. 152 .I need you back. testimony continued: ―This tragedy has been a great strain on you and Mrs.. looked as though he might have slept all night in his wrinkled suit. He walked slowly to the witness chair and said ―I do..‘ he pleaded in desperation.‖ Lightfoot called. Sounds now coming through to his mind blended into a blur..and he no longer really cared.. The Reverend. ‗Them was awful good days. by process of reversion his thoughts turned to those happy days on the farm with his mother. holding him awake until dawn.‘ he dreamed. sleepless eyes wide open. He watched Beamer through half-closed eyes as testimony began.. Upon entering the courtroom this morning. he had no sooner sunk down in his chair beside Crown when the familiar buzzing in his brain started again.. His mind had barely survived the yesterday session. He could almost feel the warmth of his mother‘s kitchen as she‘d bustled around preparing Sunday breakfasts. And we turned at the corner by Mrs.

―I prayed for her to strengthen. ―What caused you to seek out psychiatric help for her?‖ 153 . I thank the Lord our Fork River congregation has been generous. how long did Godie remain at Dr. I‘ll be able to pay the bill.‖ ―And has Dr.‖ was the glum reply. Lightfoot. Reva—‖ He craned his long neck around to the Judge.‖ The Judge blinked in thought.‖ ―How long did she stay at Dr. If she‘s alone she cries and tries to find a corner to hide in. Murdock examined Godie?‖ ―Yes. ―Reverend Beamer. ―Is it necessary for Godie to be attended by a nurse?‖ ―Yes. Reverend? To have Godie examined by the state psychiatrist?‖ ―I did. ―Continue. A few times. Tiberius Hospital?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―And where is Godie now?‖ ―With a nurse – right outside in the corridor. Chief Psychiatrist at the St. "When I left this mornin‘. Now he turned facing the spectators and glanced at his notes. She's home with me now. praise God. ―‗Bout ten days in all. Murdock provided the nurse.‖ ―Did you think this was necessary. but she can‘t get to this court. Your Honor.Baby Godiva ―Strain?‖ Elijah nodded somberly. but she went into high fever.‖ ―Are you referring to Dr. Mr. Buskirk‘s house?‖ Marvelle repeated. causing the Judge to tap his gavel. She asks to be excused – due to her poorly condition – her nerves.‖ There was a murmur of voices among the spectators. indeed. Beamer in due time. She‘s in sorrow.‖ Marvelle stood close to the witness chair. We‘ll take up Mrs. Buskirk's hospital?‖ ―I was fixin‘ to bring her home last Wednesday. Fritz Murdock. Dr. Mr. Lightfoot.

‖ ―What did she say to you?‖ ―She said. well. he brought his hands up. ―What was your answer?‖ ―Yes. Reverend. yes. Don‘t answer me or Mrs. Buskirk thought we should – she‘s not quite right. Beamer.. She came bouncing up the stairs.‖ ―She was not like this before June 21st of this year?‖ ―No. ―Never been like this before. Never like this. she isn‘t quite right?‖ ―She jus‘ stays in her room. She‘s always had dolls.‖ He rolled his eyes to the ceiling. I cut a path right over to the Moore farm. did Godie come to you in respect to something that had happened?‖ The Reverend dropped his hands slowly. But it – it‘s different now. then suddenly . And she – she whispers things to her dolls. ―I‘m not going to keep you much longer.Marty Holland ―Dr. She wants nothin‘ to do with me or Mrs. even when she takes a bath. I had to knock him an‘ scat fer my life.‖ ―Did you do anything about it?‖ ―‗Course. if she lost one‘a them dolls it would be – the end.. I was huntin‘ butterflies and Carly Moore pulled down his pants.‖ ―Wasn‘t she ever interested in dolls before?‖ ―Oh. Beamer.‖ 154 . ‗Papa.‖ He looked down at the floor. ―Yes.‖ ―Mentally?‖ Elijah nodded. burying his face in his palms.‖ He sopped a handkerchief at his brow and went on. But I must ask if you recall another incident.‖ ―What do you mean. Lightfoot looked from juror to juror. Jus‘ won‘t let ‗em out‘a her arms. She acts like. ―On or about June 14th of this year. Duke and me talked it over. Don‘t go outside. his soulful eyes roving about the room.

‗Reverend Beamer.. before or after.. And I administered fifteen lashes with my bull whip. Carly‘s stepfather?‖ ―Yes. of course. Winterhouse instructed the jurors to put out of their minds any words uttered by the defendant that might have drifted over.‖ Crown was flying to his feet. Said he‘d bring Carly over to the church – for his dues. Moore bring the defendant to your churchyard?‖ ―Yes.‖ And Winterhouse ordered the last two words of Elijah's reply stricken – the jury to disregard them. with terror and desperation clouding his face. ―Objection. Duke Moore. and sobbing. Then: ―Mr.‖ ―At the time that this corporal punishment was being inflicted. did Carlton Moore say to you. had sprung to his feet and with arms spread toward the ceiling. that 155 .‖ ―Didn‘t he even inquire why he was being beaten?‖ ―No. Attorneys blinked quizzically. He knew. or at any time. Ma! – I didn‘t do it . Conclusion.‖ ―Did Duke Moore give permission for you to punish the defendant?‖ ―Not only that – Duke was rip-snortin‘. I didn‘t do it!‖ ―Carly said nothing.. had exploded: ―Tell ‗em..‖ ―And did Mr. You mean. Jurors looked mutely at each other.Baby Godiva ―You say you and Duke talked it over.I didn‘t do it!‖ The gavel kept rapping as Winterhouse reared up to a standing position and inquired eagerly: ―What was said? What did he say? Counselors? What was said?‖ When all stood in silent uneasiness. Moore. Spectators sat on seats‘ edge. For the prisoner. At this moment there was a sudden stir in Damon Winterhouse‘s courtroom.

— By inflicting corporal punishment on Carly he had taken the law in his own hands. ―Try to bear up. — He had not questioned her regarding the truth of the June l4 alleged encounter with the defendant. instruct the defendant! We‘ll take a five minute recess!‖ *** Ira Lemire‘s voice was warm and soothing: ―What happened. Due to illness.Marty Holland is the first and last outbreak that will be tolerated in this courtroom!‖ His eyes flashed toward Crown. Lightfoot. the victim‘s mother. Carly?‖ The accused rubbed his eyes. You‘ve done remarkably well.‖ Lemire touched the prisoner reassuringly on the shoulder. And Carly hadn‘t admitted that the previous incident had occurred. — He had not attempted to question the defendant as to the validity of Godie‘s accusation. He had made no police report. ―Counsel. Then Winterhouse was saying: ―Mr. son. we have a witness problem. Eben Crown in cross-examination. was successful in obtaining admissions from the Reverend Beamer that: — Godie had lied to him on at least one occasion. ―Dunno. I understand how you could hear a lot of things. Jes‘ – jes‘ heard Ma – that‘s all. Will this cause hardship to the People?‖ 156 . wishes to be excused from court appearance. The defendant blew his nose and the incident was closed.‖ He handed the boy his handkerchief.‖ ―Well. Reva Beamer. *** When court resumed. Carly.

too poorly to make a public appearance. satisfied with this turn in events. she could add to the Reverend Beamer‘s testimony. MOORE retired for noon recess. in fact.Baby Godiva ―I don‘t believe. And the STATE VS.‖ Lightfoot was. Reva. provided strength to the State‘s case. 157 . Your Honor. ill from the calamity.

Since he had arrived late for the morning court session and had gone directly to the bench. On the beige leather couch he could. Laying there he sometimes appraised the tiny vase on his desk. Cases of Homicide. relax. Or his eyes would linger on the chair right of his desk: a parental heirloom. catnap. as time would permit. Below a foggy underwater photo of a sprawling wrecked ancient hull was a law library with adjuncts that included Psychiatric Examination. his father tanning hides. wood paneling. Treasures of the Aegean. and a rack of detective novels. a mirror attached to the closet door. Within easy reach were works on Greek Archaeology. or daydream. it was now onethirty and there was time for him to sort over his mail and thumb through The Wall Street Journal to see how his investments were faring. He would recall its history. And his mother had placed it facing the curtained window of the little frame house of his childhood which looked out upon the rear grounds of the 158 . Art Salvaged From The Sea. upholstering the seat and back. thirteenth-century pottery he had brought from the Dodecanese.Marty Holland Chapter 19 AFTER CONSUMING A THREE-COURSE DÉJEUNER at the Juan Les Pins Country Club. It was a pleasant room with subdued print draperies. or the copper plate recovered from the sea near the copper mines of Cyprus. and Scuba Diving. Damon Winterhouse was back in his chambers seated in the high-backed black leather chair at his desk.

Then. ―Dr. Looking back.‘ At high school age. a wonderful thing had happened. Damon had become a student of criminology. sometimes he came home with a side of beef and they had lived well. ―Don‘t look so forlorn. And she‘d sat him there so that he could look through wire fencing to the playground. His father had worked at the state Penitentiary as prison guard. as a kaleidoscope of violence and 159 . including The Life of Abraham Lincoln. Damon chuckled when he recalled the books on Law enforcement and penal codes which his father had brought him. ‗If my old Daddy hadn‘t brought home those books. Partly his father‘s influence.‖ To Damon it seemed an eternity that he had sat on that chair by the window watching healthy kids playing Cowboy and Indians. a crippling thing. boiled salt pork. Ling tells me your legs will get all right in time. His leg muscles strengthened and he‘d thrown away his braces.‖ his mother would say. And now as Judge. Recovery had been almost complete. ―He says you haven‘t got it bad. freshly-baked white bread. the Judge recalled years of boredom. ‗I‘d probably never got started in law. sweet potatoes. While his mother would come in the side door from the fields bringing baskets of greens and bend over the fireplace with her assortment of kettles.‖ It was polio. At first he‘d been disappointed that they didn't read something like Robinson Crusoe or Treasure Island. And then he was absorbing each one with avid interest. on holidays he‘d driven home a state police car and chauffeured Damon around the countryside.‘ he often thought.Baby Godiva grammar school. fried okra and dandelion greens. but later it was the exposure in his career as attorney in public law that drew his interest. at twelve years old.

. in color. and the shiny gold anklet below neatly curved legs.‖ the maid answered. that rehabilitation of the jailbird was a waste of time. His gaze turned to a framed photo. racket poised. ‗Extremely flattering shot. ―Lina – is Felicia about?‖ ―Un momento. Bra-less breasts. well 160 . on his desk by the phone: a smiling young woman in short tennis dress.‘ he thought... Dainty feet encased in gold brocade house slippers kicked gently at thick pile forest green carpeting as she talked. He could visualize his wife's face. defective humans.‖ "Hullo. enacting their idiotic behavior patterns. but that the act occurs only when one believes he can outwit the law. His path of learning led to that jungle‘s edge.‖ Now the gold chain anklet was partially hidden below cuffed chartreuse velvet slacks. Light red hair in loose waves. ―Winterhouse residence.Marty Holland misdoing flowed through his court. He studied the vivacious expression. The Judge was a true believer in the efficiency of punishment for the wrongdoer. But he did not pretend expertness in psychology.. wide brown eyes – her hair not beautifully combed as it was in the picture. he read widely and was convinced that his knowledge of crime and penology was exercised in great depth. Thus his views followed the hard line.. He pulled the phone toward him and dialed. Then for a moment he wished he hadn‘t.." Felicia's voice boomed through the wire. ―It‘s you darling. that criminals in general were fools. Damon entertained the etiology that all humans are capable of deliberate criminal behavior. but hanging casually. and there he stopped short. a believer in capital punishment for the capital crime.

‖ Her voice wavered. elegant Florentine noblemen. hiding a trim waistline. I talked to DaDa. Cissy‘s got her little bag packed – says she‘s staying overnight at her sister‘s again. It‘s cook‘s afternoon off. protruded from a burnished orange silk-jersey blouse. Hold on. chin that receded gently giving her a pouting expression. Haven't had a headache today. A classic oval face. Don‘t scold.‖ ―You‘re feeling better?‖ ―Measurably. ―Are you keeping your appointment with Dr.‖ she sulked. this place is getting far too much!‖ ―Didn‘t the agency send a housekeeper?‖ ―Yes. I – I must have someone able to take charge of – everything. ―I didn't get to the hairdresser. I‘ve spent the morning interviewing. I was ready to hire the Irish girl. ―Mumsie called right after you left this morning. ―But I feel one coming on. ―Now don‘t say it. ladies of the court. yet. Then Della arrived. darling. Says she can take over. too.Baby Godiva formed but drooping slightly. This Della – she‘s 161 .‖ He could see her thin little mouth lifting upwards at the corners over perfect teeth. As she gushed on he could almost smell her slightly pungent breath. and she seems competent. the flawless magnolia-petal skin that he once loved to touch. Fenton this afternoon?‖ ―No. Might be Creole. Even Cajun. Felicia‘s lovely body was slumped in a Louis XV chair at the upstairs hall phone desk by the stairway. her exotic mixture of perfumes. She seemed a part of the figures of the Renaissance pictured on the wall before her. I‘ll knock on wood.‖ she was saying.‖ ―Whats Della?‖ ―D-A-R-K. Says the gardener should clean out the flower beds and she‘ll instruct him. They‘re fiddle. Oh.

Your Honor.. since it‘s Cissy‘s day off. Miss Felicia. you know. She laughs! Over nothing at all.‖ ―Yes. she‘s pretty. I explained my headaches to her and. that you‘d be home in a jif‘..‖ he said irritably.Marty Holland perfectly sweet and she‘s had two years of college – fancy that..‖ ―Felicia. Says she‘s top-rate. I'll have to get back—‖ ―Della laughs! That‘s what I dearly love about her. I could take her with me anywhere.‖ ―Can‘t you just leave them – in a stew – there in the courtroom? Now.‘ I toured her all over the place. She saw our wedding picture and she loves you already. She just loves your libraries. darling?‖ She giggled. sweet thing. If we hired Della right now – she insists she can prepare dinner. Shall I tell her to go ahead? We could try her. lovey?‖ ―Did Horace call you?‖ ―No. Said he thought we could take it this week-end. ‗Now you go upstairs and relax.‖ ―We can plan on Saturday through Monday if Horace gives us the go. ―be reasonable.‖ ―Right-o. Said the hiring was up to you. Should he?‖ ―He was supposed to let me know about the motor yacht today. really? So soon? I wanted to attend that trial. Darling. I told her to wait.‖ ―Better not – ‗til I have a talk with her.. This case will probably wind up Friday at the latest and—‖ ―Oh. well. dear. ―Yes. Shall I tell her twenty minutes?‖ ―Felicia. she said. don‘t growl – just because you‘re on that nasty rape case. I have an entire afternoon session. this Della is amazing. Said you look tike an actor – and you are one. In a way.‖ 162 .

‖ ―You haven‘t tried Dr. aye. Horace. Fenton‘s new pills.‖ The fifteen minute buzzer sounded. The Golden Star could have been yours.‖ ―Oh yes. ―Oh. Felicia isn‘t feeling too well. too.‖ Abruptly she seized her brow with thumb and forefinger and arched her arms high. He ran a comb through his hair. yes. then went back to the phone and dialed Judge Matthewson at home.‖ ―Aye. Horace answered. I can‘t take the gulf. He set the phone on its cradle and rose. Damon. And it‘s—‖ There was a click in Damon‘s ear. Damon. slipped out of his jacket and into his black judicial robe. Fenton. Made me so frightfully sleepy.‖ ―Sorry about the cruiser. Damon. oh. Those same dizzy spells and migraines are keeping her under par.― ―Well. Damon smiled. But I just phoned Darbonne and they said there was engine trouble. Clarice and I are flying to Puerto Rico for a few days. ―Ask me again any time. ―Oh.‖ Matthewson said. she probably needs a tune up. Perhaps it‘s just as well. Yes – she‘s in for a tune up. I‘ve been urging her to get back to Dr.Baby Godiva Her enthusiasm waned. Matthewson slammed down the receiver the moment he was through with a conversation. I was just going to call you. Captain. my headache‘s back. not the Golden Star again.‖ Damon chuckled. Well—‖ she added with finality. You know I get seasick. 163 . ―Oh. ―Yes. I took one. Fiercely. ―See you at five.‖ ―I will. Habitually.‖ she said still clutching her brow. ―—you‘re going to sail without your first mate. Frankly I‘m worried.‖ ―Thanks anyway. Hurriedly he moved to the closet.

his eyes scanning even handwriting on the paper before him: My Dear Friend Damon: How time races. 164 . and was thumbing through letters when the summons buzzer sounded again. I am presently Superintendant of St. Doctor. He and Felicia had spent many pleasurable hours with him on the Golden Star. Winterhouse hadn‘t sorted through his morning mail. they‘d waited in line after the recess to assure reseating. ―Your occupation?‖ Lightfoot inquired. I will be in New York on schedule. Greece. They‘d expected the next witness to be Godie. Fritz Murdock. he noticed an envelope with the postmark: Rodhos. ―Doctor of medicine. But now they were stuck with tedious medical testimony. various degrees and postgraduate courses. then: ―Do you treat the mentally ill. specializing in Psychiatry. Rising to leave.Marty Holland feeling a warmness for the old judge.‖ As the doctor entered and sauntered to the stand. please state your findings in regard to—‖ Winterhouse had dropped out. and have you examined Godiva Beamer?‖ ―The answer to both questions is yes. It’s almost two years since we scraped amphorae together.‖ ―Now. and I’ve missed your counsel and enthusiasm for mutual interests. a sigh of disappointment echoed from the audience.‖ ―Your qualifications. *** ―The People will now call Dr. Tiberlus Mental Institution. the first week in December. Doctor?‖ Medical colleges were stated. From Otho! Eagerly he tore it open and palmed its pages as he moved toward the courtroom.

Doctor. This has caused a partial withdrawal from reality. she has a good chance for recovery. It will suit you admirably.‖ ―Very interesting. she needs immediate treatment.‖ Damon was jolted back to the court scene. let‘s have your conclusion. Reluctantly he lifted his eyes from his reading and studied the counselors. ―Too much conjecture. Dr. ―Now. as to prognosis. 165 . But it will take continued therapy. partial recovery at least. Laymen terms. time and patience.‖ Murdock blinked solemnly. of course. ―My conclusion is – Godiva Beamer has suffered a great shock. Time required for these cases is never accurately predictable. In my opinion. She engages in escape from the present. But her reasoning abilities are impaired. out of town – country style. Murdock?‖ ―Yes. ―Objection!‖ Eben was shouting.‖ ―Overruled. All right. ―Are you arriving at a conclusion. He gestured to Lightfoot. Your Honor. Then home to Corfu. I’ve acquired a second home on the island.Baby Godiva Confirm you will meet me there to elaborate on plans.‖ He had yawned through the testimony and now his eyes fell eagerly back to his letter. and am sure Felicia will love it. In meantime I’m sea-bound as Saccorhiza Bulbosa here at Rhodes for the next ten days. and she‘s getting it. ―Let‘s get along. She slides off into a private little world of her own – and she‘s happy in it. a traumatic experience. and I‘ll sum it up quickly. Any delay here might cause her further withdrawal and prolong the period of treatment.‖ Judge Winterhouse broke in. She‘s harboring certain tensions which cause psychogenic ailments. You’re bringing her.

Underwater archeology is in its infancy. However. Otho With monotony of court proceedings a distant rumble in his ears.. After the war. Enough of this. the gold. And then the Judge was recalling that he and Otho Macklin had become fast friends as college freshmen. history and archaeology. scanning the Grecian shore in search of landmarks. Otho‘s university-connected work in archaeology led him through the Middle East into Turkey. our investments will pay back a hundred-fold. But Damon. My clients for these goods are almost rapacious in their seeking. and the gear for this is costly. It is when we understand this.Marty Holland Soon I will fly to Yassi Aba to inspect deep-water equipment my people are building. ‗A galleon . 166 . It’s the deep stuff we’re after now. Damon sank back. lying on the ocean floor .‘ Seas slamming against her hull. waiting to be taken. a twoman sub that operates from shipboard controls. He could see himself standing on the bridge of his own power yacht. While Damon studied law. the silver... the ecstasy of steady sea legs. that we will have these treasures within our grasp. and had earned degrees in all three. The art. my dear Damon. In particular. Otho had pursued majors in Greek literature. My greetings to Felicia. technology is moving ahead so fast I’m afraid we might not get there first. And the history of ships is as old as man himself.. All things conceived by man through the ages have been the ladings of ships. binoculars in hand. while under him he could feel the roll and pitch. With flesh still tingling he closed the letter. and the bronze. I’ll see you in December.

And so. he was hooked. He was well organized. He was also eager for the good life. *** Now again. There it was the color. Then it was the people and their way of life that captured him. Hence. his years of institutionalized research within themselves became his reward. But mixed between these precepts lay the treasures of recorded history. but this was not enough.‖ 167 . and for the wealth to buy it. and was chagrined to hear the prosecutor reading the Moore confession into evidence. Completely. Otho had deviated from that straight line of dedicated research. foundation supported projects carried him to the Greek Islands and the Dodeconese. He was about to interrupt when he remembered that Lightfoot had said something while he‘d been reading and he‘d mumbled.Baby Godiva From there. when he hadn‘t given permission. He was moral enough to preserve antiquities for the historian. Blue waters meeting island landscapes. the pure luminous light of the islands that overwhelmed him first. The pursuit of underwater exploration as a pure science was tremendously exciting. He knew the azure waters of these islands like the palm of his hand. which he would never render worthless for the mere purpose of looting. into his private field of recovery for commercial gain. And Otho was ambitious. regulated and supervised as it was. Unsparing light bestowing its beauty in multicolored hues. Long servitude had endowed him with such vast experience and accumulated background information as to open avenues leading to pure gold. And his successes were legendary. ―Proceed. Winterhouse was conscious of the courtroom.

―Will the defense simmer down! Mr. ―Never did! Never did hit her. It started to rain. I tried to kiss her.. I have seen Godie in or about the McIntosh plantation or Perez woods three times before this aforementioned Sunday.” Carly had turned to his lawyer with large incredulous eyes. Her dress was all pulled up over her head. bleating in anger. Duke Moore – Mr. I thought she was dead but she woke up and tried to punch me. She brung her swim suit. Lightfoot addressed the court: ―Your Honor. Godie was qoin’ home.Marty Holland “This is my secret swimming hole. She didn’t want to. the bathin’ suit. I dragged her out and over to a bed of leaves. high up on the tree which I call Crazy Tree. Yes. Godie Beamer came in the back gate. it has come to my attention that the true and legal name of the defendant is Carlton Ravenue – that although the defendant was raised by his stepfather.” Lightfoot was reading from white typewritten pages: “I have went there sometimes to swim. Signed – Carlton Moore.. a Sunday. I was stronger. On late afternoon of June 21st of this year. I tried to git her out. She throwed it. but I couldn’t move the tree. This statement is made voluntarily of my own free will without threats. you‘ll have your turn in due time. Crown.‖ At this point. Godie. ―All lies!‖ Winterhouse‘s gavel resounded sharply as he looked down to see Eben standing.‖ he mumbled. I crawled in under. Then I had sexual intercourse with her without her consent. Moore never 168 . Godie showed me a welt on her leg and said her father done it. I hit her. I yelled her name. She run to get her bathin’ suit from Crazy Tree and the hole tree fell with her in it.

Baby Godiva did legally adopt Carlton. *** When court resumed. And Winterhouse found it necessary to keep tapping his gavel.‖ And the Judge called recess. ―The name Ravenue will be added to the defendant‘s name. Mr. ―Mr.‖ the clerk echoed. Winterhouse said.‖ the People called.‖ Damon nodded. But I believe. that due to this. Therefore.‖ ―Godiva Beamer. proceed. the name of Ravenue should be added. ―Godiva Beamer. Lightfoot. 169 . we‘ve proceeded this far with the name Carlton Moore. The noise level of expectancy from the spectators had risen several decibels.‖ ―It would do just as well. Your Honor. making it read Carlton Moore Ravenue. ―Well. may the record be corrected?‖ The Judge looked surprised. Lightfoot.

Her dress. the missing witness Faith Longquist could be viewed. then moved backward. Behind her. Godie. Marvelle Lightfoot went into a quick huddle with his assistant. leaned over and whispered something. Holding the doll under her arm. then plunked down at the People‘s table. Even the defendant sat up in new interest. hugging her doll. showed shapely calves and neatly curved long sun-tanned legs. As a deputy led her to the witness chair a babble of voices rose in recognition of her youth and beauty. her abundance of long golden-silver hair swept to one side with a wide pale pink satin ribbon covering the front skull section and tied in a neat bow at her shoulder. the tall nurse caught her hand. Deftly.Marty Holland Chapter 20 JURORS STRAINED SIDEWAYS as the corridor door now opened. Now cautiously. A tall nurse in uniform was first visible. slim hips swinging side to side in motions of a robot doll. And it was Victor Mendez that rose and nervously twitched one tip of his thin moustache in anticipation. short above her knees. peeked in. patted it. When she made no reply Judge Winterhouse took charge: 170 . Godie slowly made her way in and across to the bench. And reporter Flo Swann‘s scratchy pen bore down on her note pad at a faster clip. also in white. She was wearing a pale pink eyelet dress with long sleeves. The clerk went through motions of swearing her in. She blinked at the spectators.

‖ Victor Mendez stepped forward. round blue button eyes stared saucily. ―Yes. She sat daintily. She nodded and smiled at him again.‖ Godie once more gave Winterhouse a heart-warming smile. ―This is Leah. Sleepy jurymen sat up in strict attention. it‘s Leah. Facing the audience. ―—I want you to turn in your chair and look at the Judge. You can give your answers to the good Judge. now standing beside her. Miss. leaned over and whispered once more. ―Now. with pink satin ribbon over yellow yarn hair. showing a generous portion of sleek thighs. Is Reverend Beamer your papa?‖ the Judge asked.‖ 171 . you have been asked if you will swear on the Bible to tell us the truth. I will. then raised her doll.‖ Godie turned squarely and gave him her winsome smile. ―You‘re doing fine. It was now observed that the gangly blonde doll was dressed in replica of Godie – pink eyelet. and she don‘t tell lies neither. please?‖ the clerk was inquiring. crossed her legs with dress elevated. She‘s very nice. ―Yes. Carly peered closer. Winterhouse nodded. ―Oh. on Godie‘s lap.‘ he decided. The nurse. Miss Beamer—‖ His voice held just a trace of accent. white sandals – and all.‖ she answered sweetly. ―I see you brought your doll.‖ the Judge interpolated. ―And your father is Reverend Elijah Beamer?‖ ―Papa?‖ ―Yes. ―Your name.Baby Godiva ―Miss Beamer.‖ Mendez took a step forward. and the room grew breathlessly quiet. ‗Was it Rachel? No.‖ Godie said in small dulcet tones. ―Is your name Godiva Beamer?‖ the Judge interposed.

‖ She wet her lips and nodded. ―Miss Godie. with your clothing ripped.. when you ran to your father and told him that Carly had started to take off his pants at Crazy Tree. ―Oh. June 21st.‖ ―Carly.‖ Mendez shot a helpless look to Lightfoot and tried again.‖ He smiled ingratiatingly. yes .Marty Holland A titter of laughter echoed – quickly subdued by the gavel.‖ she continued in a wisp of a voice. in the past few weeks do you recall being very ill?‖ 172 . The court reporter‘s voice boomed: ―Every afternoon Leah and me have a tea party. then stopped. easily. ―—Every afternoon. In your own words. ―What was that?‖ ―What did she say?‖ the Judge asked quickly.. This was some time back.I am asking you to recall – to remember if an incident occurred a week before you were recently injured. Miss Godie.‖ ―Now.. I want you to tell the Judge what had occurred before—‖ ―I—‖ Godie broke in.‖ the voice was still silky. Jury and spectators leaned forward. when you entered your father's church. ―And you kin call me Godie. ―And your doll‘s name is Leah. ―Leah and me have a tea party.‖ ―Now. Took down his pants at Crazy Tree.do you recall a Sunday evening. Miss.‖ Mendez‘s face tensed.‖ Mendez said. on June 14th. ears cocked..your doll. ―Let it be indicated that the witness is holding a doll which she has brought into the courtroom.‖ ―And you reported this to your father?‖ ―Told Papa..‖ Mendez moved closer and spoke slowly. softly: ―.. Miss Godie.‖ ―Was it Carlton Moore that exposed himself to you?‖ ―Yes.... ―..

―I am displaying People‘s exhibit Number 8 to the witness. Can you tell us what happened on Sunday afternoon. sudden tears welled. ―And she‘s still a very sick child.... Buskirk.. with the court reporter listening in. June 21st – just before you ran home to the church?‖ 173 . ―Godie. He strode to the evidence table and selected the same photograph that Eben had shown Dr. Do you understand?‖ The witness was straightening the dress of her doll. Lightfoot remained. three of the lawyers went back to their seats. Judge Winterhouse probed: ―Do you see the person who harmed you?‖ Godie was whispering in Leah‘s ear. Buskirk‘s hospital room?‖ ―Yes. And you will refrain from commenting.‖ the Judge intervened. blinking back tears.‖ she blurted and smiled with tears glimmering. Now. a photograph taken at the rear of the McIntosh plantation. Miss. I want you to look around this room and see if you can point out the person that hurt you. Winterhouse nodded pleasantly.‖ the nurse said impatiently.. When the discourse broke. Miss Beamer. She turned to the bench.. please. Take that chair just inside the railing. will you look carefully.‖ When she was seated Mendez went on: ―All right now. He held it before Godie.were you very sick – when you were a patient in Dr. The Judge still observed her for a long moment.Baby Godiva She stared. Note the fallen tree. then: ―Will all counsel approach the bench. ―. will you move away from the witness. holding his stenotype machine in his left hand and tapping it with his right.‖ A muffled conference ensued between the Judge and four lawyers. ―Nurse.

you are expected to answer a few questions. and Lightfoot moved to the jury box. Then the prosecutor hurried back and carefully replaced the ribbon.‖ 174 . please. ―You are identifying the defendant here. Winterhouse was losing patience. I am going to remove your hair ribbon for a moment. ―Godie. asking Godie to look over to him.‖ Lightfoot set the photograph down and approached her.Marty Holland But the witness was talking to her doll and was smiling at the audience. ―He was there when the tree fell on me. She hadn‘t heard the question. Spectators gasped at the unsightliness. and with great ceremony. exposing several square inches of shaven scalp. knit with Frankenstein stitches.‖ Lightfoot edged over to the defendant‘s table. Will you sit up. She rose slowly. Lightfoot managed to push back the wide ribbon. and one week later assaulted and criminally attacked you – the defendant here?‖ ―Yes! It was that trashy Carly Moore!‖ Lightfoot whirled to Crown. ―Miss Beamer. He touched Carly‘s shoulder and turned to her. A new growth of fine blonde hair had already commenced to cover the wound area. Marvelle brightened. and directly and accusingly pointed a finger. please?‖ With slow gentle movements. ―Do you see the person in this room who first exposed himself to you. Godie smiled. her eyes turned to the defendant. This angle gave the panel a direct view of the scarring. The Judge wants to see where your head was injured. ―Your witness. lips trembling. ―Carly Moore!" Fresh tears streamed down her face. then gently touched the bow. Carlton Moore Ravenue? Is this the person that first exposed himself to you. and one week later hurt you severely?‖ Searchingly.

‖ she managed to add. please. nervously rubbing a mannish eyebrow.‖ she‘d told Dr. face set grim.. And her part in nursing the victim.‘s man was again patiently going over old ground. Tiberius. Eben Crown had picked up the photograph from the exhibit table. The jury was intrigued with her colorfully embroidered answers.Baby Godiva ―Be seated again.‖ the Judge said. Lightfoot. Lightfoot appeared to work hard to keep her on center. Crown.‖ And the nurse rushed forward to take charge of Godiva.‖ *** ―Faith Longquist. Not only had she been kept waiting all through yesterday. ever searching for motives.. and it was necessary for him to lead her back at times and straighten her testimony on Godie‘s condition upon arrival at Buskirk‘s hospital. she answered.. Faith was a gabber. ―to keep me waitin‘ ‗round so long. Miss Beamer. but she‘d wasted most of today. wondered why the D. Miss Beamer. Crown looked at Winterhouse..‖ Being sworn in. Lightfoot had reserved the right to call the next witness out of order. It was her second trip to St. ―Warn‘t very thoughtful of Mr. Buskirk as he‘d driven her back to the courthouse this morning.A. It was no use. ―Court is recessed for fifteen minutes. Much was a rehash of evidence already on record. Got a room all to myself. 175 . Faith Longquist glided past the mahogany railing as though on rollers.‖ Marvelle called. The Judge spoke gently to the witness: ―You are excused. ―I certainly do. ―I‘m nurse and housekeeper.‖ She gave her address – the same as Buskirk‘s. The girl had withdrawn to a more comfortable world.

As Eben objected for the fourth time. in the event of future appeals. it‘s worse‘n these pit‘chers show – they don‘t show really where Godie was tore up where I mean!‖ She assumed an all-knowing attitude and sucked air through her nose until compressed nostrils whitened. Miss Longquist—‖ To insure himself against accusations of riding sidesaddle. that she‘d had no formal training whatsoever. removed from the court.Marty Holland When Marvelle placed the photographs of a maimed Godiva in Faith‘s hands. threatening her with contempt. and that her entire testimony be stricken from the record of this trial!‖ Judge Winterhouse‘s gavel banged down on his new paper yacht. that she‘d slipped into practical nursing after a term of midwifery among the poor in surrounding communities. and Winterhouse admonished the witness for volunteering information. see here. and angrily spelled out the penalties involved – fines and jail terms. the testimony was stricken. Lightfoot. then turned to the jury. ―Your Honor. ―Mr. Crown successfully drew discrediting facts: that Faith Longquist was not a registered nurse. he proceeded to sternly reprimand. He looked over to the prosecutor‘s table. the defense is entitled to cross-examination without these damaging outbursts! I demand this witness be dismissed. the defendant?‖ Eben queried at last. ―Know him? After what that raper done to Godie. I wouldn‘t spit on him!‖ Eben whirled to face the Judge. In cross-examination." Then turning to the witness: "Now. you have charge of this witness. ―Do you know Carlton Moore. she blurted through Crown‘s objections: ―Why. 176 . He ordered most of Faith‘s remarks stricken.

one heartbeat of silence that seemed to portend the shocker to follow. And I‘ll remind you I asked the court to remove 177 . and he is entitled to the protection of this court!‖ And after the dust had settled there was a hush. then back to the Jury. He knew why this woman was on the stand. It is for you to decide. Faith Longquist just couldn‘t hold it back: ―Entitled to nothin‘. Judge – Carly Moore‘s a nigger!‖ Air in the room congealed. the witness was still stewing in her chair. after all evidence is presented. He finally rose. Lightfoot had used this bigoted creature as a vessel from which to pour his venom right into the heart of the trial! Eben was at first nauseated. ―Based on negative influence. This witness has prejudiced this court beyond recall! The prosecution has made a travesty of justice in calling this person! It was evident from the beginning.‖ He looked sharply at Longquist. voice harsh: ―If order is not restored immediately I will clear this courtroom!‖ Crown was regaining composure and could now be heard: ―Your Honor. whether or not these crimes have been committed.Baby Godiva ―Will the Jurors please disregard the witness‘ reference to rape. is entitled to this reservation. and whether or not the defendant is innocent or guilty of charges. A deathly pale Eben Crown was on his feet shouting objections. ―Quiet! Quiet!‖ Eyes flashing. Carlton. ―You are not to accept the opinions of any single witness – but reserve your judgment until all testimony is in. While the Judge was closing his tirade. swinging with hammering blows. Shock waves from the audience would not subside. the defense moves for a mistrial!‖ His voice shook. An angry Judge Winterhouse continued beating his gavel for order. It now came home to him. the defendant.

Time for the opposition to cool.‖ he snapped. It would be ticklish. grasping at thoughts which might help him cope with a situation that demanded all his talents. but he was confident. Grabbing notes from his desk.‖ When all were huddled together. Marvelle dallied at his desk. Ira Lemire followed. So far. and now I request the court to declare a mistrial on the basis that an illegal racial issue has been raised and is now an irrevocable part of these proceedings!‖ With a scathing glance at Lightfoot. Stared briefly at the standing men.‖ And with a semblance of order returning. and strike her testimony entirely!‖ He continued passionately: ―This was not done. the Judge abruptly made his exit. his planning was on target. he walked through the vestibule. allotting minutes to pass. Winterhouse removed his robe and stood at his desk waiting. Now Lightfoot entered the Judge‘s chambers.Marty Holland this witness. In chambers. All stood silently. ―Court is recessed for thirty minutes. Another moment passed. awaiting Lightfoot. Still in the courtroom. Winterhouse growled. then without a word. First to arrive was Eben Crown. ―The witless is excused. along with Victor Mendez. ―I‘ll see you all in my chambers! At once!‖ His gavel slammed. Winterhouse ordered Faith‘s last answer to also be stricken. And now he would have to face up to the events waiting. walked over and sank on the couch. bailiff again in control. He‘d predicted reactions accurately to this point. and he was fully prepared for the onslaught. He knocked and without pausing burst in. 178 . his face still flushed with outrage. the Jury to disregard it. ―But is to remain in this courtroom on call. All counsel will approach the bench.

Marvelle shrugged. generations back. and walked slowly toward the door. ―Mr. Crown. Winterhouse had made up his mind. The judge sank tiredly in his leather chair.‖ Crown said calmly. ―That‘s all that fine jury needed to hear!!‖ ―First. He relaxed and began rubbing his eyes. ―County records.‖ He turned to the panel. why? He‘s got enough going against him – Crown was shouting now." Damon surveyed his thoughts. then: ―Gentlemen.‖ ―New situation? Bull-shit! It‘s a cheap shyster trick! Crown moved to the door. His great granddaddy took the name of his slave-holders.Baby Godiva Judge Winterhouse cleared his throat. He could now censure the prosecution and declare a mistrial.‖ Winterhouse said evenly. Crown was right. Lightfoot had seeded his court to gain a dubious advantage. 179 .‖ He glanced at his watch ―Tell the bailiff we‘ll continue on schedule.‖ ―I know you‘re a rotten apple. Besides.‖ Crown closed in on the prosecutor. ―I‘ll have to do some thinking. ―You guys know me – I do my homework. ―For the love of God. is it true?‖ Winterhouse rasped. what we have here is a new situation. *** With the jury reseated. ―motion for mistrial is denied on merit. Will you leave me alone for a while. ―I repeat. He did this in extreme nervous tension. the courtroom quieted and session resumed. his face reddened in anger. But what good would that do? He‘d fare no better in retrial. Without Southern bigotry!‖ Lightfoot was yelling. it would be a waste of the state‘s time and money. Lightfoot.

Although he usually did not drink. For the second time.‖ Lightfoot approached the bench. including premeditation. Eben and Ira sat at their table in a state of dismay.‖ ―Very well.‖ As the courtroom cleared. now asked for dismissal of the indictment and a directed verdict of acquittal for his client. slowly picking up the tattered shreds of their defense. Exiting the courtroom. the state rests. Crown. Lightfoot cut in.Marty Holland all damaging statements by witness Longquist have been stricken. Judge Winterhouse denied Eben‘s motion and said: ―Mr. and the jury will disregard them. we‘ll start with your defense tomorrow. on this occasion Eben responded with a glum ―Why not?‖ 180 . insisting that assault and forcible rape. stating that the state had failed to prove its case. The court stands adjourned until ten o‘clock in the morning. now so badly damaged by the Longquist testimony.‖ Jaw muscles twitched as Eben. ―Your Honor. Prosecutor. I stress that issues of race will not find a place in these proceedings. had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr. Ira suggested that they stop at the Palace hotel for a quick drink. in husky voice.

“I don’t know. part Mulatto. Up to now. But now?” He gripped his glass. “You know. when session opened this morning I had a bright feeling. walked through the lobby and entered the cocktail lounge. we had a fifty-fifty chance.” “We’ll have to do the best we can. “How do you defend against prejudice and bigotry?” He didn’t wait for an answer. Reaching the entrance they turned in. It was sobering to hear his own feelings put into words. “Carlton Ravenue.” Eben motioned to the bartender and ordered another round. We weren’t doing too bad. The tall side-burned bartender stopped polishing glasses to serve the new arrivals. How do we adjust our case to that?” Ira sipped his drink and set the glass on the bar.Baby Godiva Chapter 21 EBEN AND IRA walked down Center Street to the Palace Hotel. and he knew it. Based on evidence given. He plainly had no solution and he wasn’t going 181 . looking solemnly into the mirror behind the bar. The two men sat talking over drinks. Eben had scarcely touched his glass.” Ira’s words were weak. We’ve been kicked in the belly and it doesn’t matter which way we fall – the prosecutor’s got race going for him now. “You don’t – not in this man’s neck of the woods. “From now on we’ll be fighting windmills.” He turned to Ira with the question that had been burning inside him since late afternoon. The Rainbow Room had its usual crowd of regulars. our defendant.

Actually. “We’ll just have to win our case on merit. Crown was feeling less depressed. He closed the door and dialed his wife.” He gave Eben’s shoulder a pat.” Ira turned and walked out through the hotel lobby. he chose an isolated stool at the far end of the rail to avoid his reflection from the mirror. fringed at the bottom. The bartender had followed his move and relocated his half-full glass before him. on a platform. Presently a girl took the microphone and began vocalizing softly. glints of cufflinks sparkled. She wore a short leather skirt. the place was coming alive. and Eben was glad he had such a man on his side. “Hell! Didn’t you notice the change in the jury? That fine bunch of bastards has already made up their minds – as of three-thirty o’clock this afternoon. He slid off his stool and finished his drink standing. As the evening wore on. a trio in western attire had set up for evening entertainment. “I’ll stop in and visit Carly on my way home.” Lemire had concerned himself with Carly’s personal welfare throughout the trial. A pale spotlight came on and caught the silky sheen of her orchid shirt. “See if he’s all right – he may want to talk.” Ira Lemire looked at his watch and made motions to leave.” “Merit?” Eben said bitterly. Eben fished for a coin and found his way to a phone booth. Coming back to the bar. If we make it. "See you in the morning. he was getting somewhat drunk! He’d learned that 182 . Suddenly remembering. the racial thing might fall to the background. guitar and base fiddle. Crown noticed that the room was beginning to fill. long and flowing. held by a wide barrette. To his right.Marty Holland to pretend be had. Cowboy boots. As she moved. Rich brown hair was pulled back. Piano. Ellie.

and now he was wiping the bar top in front of Eben. I want to cry for the whole town. “Joe.” Crown picked up his empty glass. “You look like you might cry. Miss?" “Connie – what’s yours?” “Eben.What’cha like?” “Wheel of Fortune. and his name was Joe..” “Wheel of Fortune? Don’t have it.” Eben paused and looked intently at Joe. The trio’s canary was now standing off stage. You’ll make it. “I just can’t stand the world tonight.” Joe gave a cynical smile. Eben approached her.Baby Godiva the bartender was an efficient and sympathetic man. Ever think about it?” “Yeah. Mister. “Miss. With fresh drink in hand he slid off the stool and sauntered over to the musical group.” “Yeah.” Eben’s gaze wandered back to the music. “I never touch the stuff. I’m a non-drinker.” “Miss – what’s your name. ever see me in here before?” “No. Then. “Up here.” 183 . “Has to do with the way people treat other people.” He was weaving slightly.” She pointed to her head. confidentially: “I’ve never been drunk in my life.” She studied him.” “You’ll probably never see me again.” “Then anything sad.. will you sing something for me?” “Try.” He mixed a new drink and placed it on the counter. “Could’a fooled me.” “Keep tryin’. Plenty times.

184 .” “You’re great.Marty Holland “Well. through the lobby and to a waiting cab. Eben.” He managed a smile. unsteadily. “I mean really nice. Back at the bar – he sipped the ice in his drink. be a nice boy and go back to the bar and sit.” He reached in his pocket and put a five-dollar bill in her hand. I’ll do “Cry Me a River” for you. See you next year.” Hearing strains of “Cry Me a River” he walked out. “Joe. will you call me a cab? I’ve got a big day tomorrow.

Crown was gratified to find the boy in good spirits. ―Well – she – Mr. Ma allus tole everybody Anqus was dark French. So now.. Carly was indeed in suspect of having African blood.Baby Godiva Chapter 22 PECAN TREES visible through the courthouse windows were motionless on the third day of the Ravenue trial.‖ Eben answered. yes. After exchange of greetings.‖ His eyes clouded. ―It‘s a bad thing. Lightfoot looked up some public records and it seems you – your grandfather Angus might be part black. This had aroused interest among blacks. 185 .. Marvelle Lightfoot was already grimacing at the cloying July heat and mopping his brow. Carly was now being led to his seat. the conversation switched to Faith Longquist‘s testimony of yesterday. But after a few moments of light talk. surveyed the spectators and recalled that on last evening‘s radio the local newscaster had referred to Carly as the confessed rapist and had mentioned nurse Longquist‘s accusation.‖ ―Turkey‘s Pa?‖ Carly beamed. and this morning the segregated section of the courtroom had doubled in attendance. Eben Crown. Through warm air an odor of burned leaves was drifting in from outside. Eben caught his breath. ―Ole Angus. he was purty dark. ―Why‘d she say I‘m a nigger?‖ Carly asked. his face set with an expression of concentration. Mister Crown – Turkey‘s Pa bein‘ a black?‖ ―It's not really.

Crown had planned to call Dustin Whitley first on the defense agenda. ―Your Honor. that is. however. and have a superior attitude.. they decided it would be best to pass up the boy completely.‖ ―And there is no difference. ―It‘s just that – white folks are in the majority.‖ ―A black ain‘t got no chance?‖ ―Didn‘t mean that. in the Southern Courts. and while his testimony would have been helpful.‖ Crown turned to see that the morning session was settling to order. the racial connotation of association with Carly might do more harm than good. prejudices are sharpened and. ―I thought everybody was jest the same – some dumb like me. where Dustin and Mrs. Since his subpoena.. But after a quick conference with Ira Lemire. ―Don‘t feel no different.‖ Crown smiled weakly. Dustin was Negro.Marty Holland The prisoner was scrutinizing the back of his hand.‖ Crown said hotly. ―Well. and some smart like you. when it comes to court procedure. and excused them from testifying. and rape is involved. And so Ira slipped out into the corridor. we have determined that his testimony 186 .‖ He smiled. Whitley were waiting.‖ Carly rubbed an ear. and told them to disregard the subpoena. as a character witness. in a racial situation. Never thought nothin‘ ‗bout it – ‗til Mister Lemire talked to me ‗bout it – last night. ―our first witness for the defense this morning was to be Dustin Whitley. But in a rape case – if the girl involved is white – past court cases have proved that the victim‘s testimony didn‘t even have to be corroborated.‖ Eben Crown was saying. Jurors are quicker to believe accusations of rape. He patted Carly‘s shoulder. ―I ain‘t dark.

as though ready to bounce up again and leave.. ―The People waive cross-examination. His blood shot eyes darted about as he sat gingerly. Not once did old Duke look Carly‘s way. and blue-gray eyes lighted in reproach.‖ 187 . ready to lay the witness flat with words.‖ the Judge said dryly. ―Let‘s hurry this thing up!‖ he croaked desperately to Crown. no tie.‖ ―Get along with it. Baggy pants were supported by suspenders over a faded blue shirt. But he saw the evidence of misery and softened. We therefore wish to eliminate him as a witness. Crown plunged in: ―You are here under subpoena. Moore – this won‘t hurt at all. Mr.‖ ―Duke Moore. Your Honor.. Moore?‖ ―Yeh. ―Relax.‘ he thought hastily.‖ ―Very well. Crown. A frown of agony was set on the full face. Sheriff Reid tole me – I better be here or he‘d come an‘ get me!‖ Crown approached the bench. Mr. But I felt it important that we hear him.Baby Godiva would serve no purpose in these proceedings.‖ ―Mr. Mr. aren‘t you. as though his neck wouldn‘t bend. buttoned at the neck.. ―Proceed. ―This is a hostile witness. the Judge opened his mouth.‖ He said quietly Eben noticed that upon seeing the old man Carly looked puzzled. He kept his head rigid as he made his way in..‗Sober today. Lightfoot?‖ Marvelle shrugged. *** The old souse was as dried out as if herd been hung on a clothesline. ―I‘m a sick man!‖ Winterhouse overheard the remark.‖ Eben called. After preliminaries..

Marty Holland Eben turned back to Duke. ―Yeh. and also brought out that Carly had prepared all of Duke‘s meals. week or month?‖ ―They gits forty dollars a week – the two‘a ‗em. and that Carly had grieved deeply over the death of his mother. ―Sober today.‖ Duke sat up tensely. Duke had married Enid. 188 . week or month?‖ ―Pay?" Duke‘s eyes bulged. Next Crown went through the duties that Carly had performed in farm work. Moore. immaterial. didn‘t you?‖ Duke glanced nervously at the spectators. And Winterhouse sustained.‖ ―I see. Had the run‘a the place.‖ ―How often have you been sober in the last several years?‖ This triggered Lightfoot to his feet: irrelevant. And after his arrest did you put on two hired hands?‖ ―Yeh. Crown.‖ Winterhouse growled. Moore?‖ Duke licked his parched lips. They‘s still workin‘ fer me. Carly‘s mother. ―And how much do you pay these two hands – by the day. ―And Carly was always a good worker?‖ ―Reckon.‖ ―Answer the question.‖ ―This is for doing the work on your farm – the same hard labor that Carly did?‖ ―Yeh. ―Worked for his keep.‖ ―But with Carly – you got that slave labor free of charge. Eben shifted gears and established that when Carly‘s father had died. ―Got a bad way‘a puttin‘ things.‖ ―And did you pay Carly by the day. Mr. Twenty apiece. aren‘t you.

Worked for his keep. Mr. wasn‘t he?‖ ―Yeh. Why did she lie? If we had the answer to that Carly Moore would walk out of here today a free citizen!‖ 189 . ―Course not.‖ ―Oh? He has? Tell us about it.. ―You figure you don‘t owe Carly anything?‖ Eben queried. ―Preacher‘s don‘t lie. Crown. Moore. you‘d owe Carly—‖ ―I owe Carly?‖ Duke‘s eyes rolled up to the Judge.. Moore. if that‘s what‘ya mean. Ain‘t my kid. When the preacher come over and tole me w‘at Carly done with Godie and horse-whipped him. They‘s—‖ ―But preacher‘s daughter‘s have been known to lie!‖ Eben cut in. let me see.‖ ―And when Carly was arrested – recently – you refused to engage a lawyer? In fact. didn‘t you?‖ Duke laughed shakily. isn‘t it?‖ ―Ain‘t got cash fer high-falutin‘ lawyers.‖ ―That preacher was the Reverend Elijah Beamer. Mr. At the rate you‘re paying these two new hired hands.‖ ―And Carly has never been in trouble before?‖ ―Sure has. ―Haven‘t they?‖ ―Why would Godie lie ‗bout it?‖ ―That‘s a good question.‖ Eben said harshly. That's right.‖ ―I tole you. I tole you. Mr. Who'd 'a looked after that kid – if it ain‘t been for me? He allus had food and a place to sleep. you didn‘t even bother to come and visit him in jail.‖ ―And this is another example of your fatherly concern. ―over the past several years.‖ ―Forty dollars a week. but just handed Carly over to the preacher to be whipped. You didn‘t question the truth of that accusation.Baby Godiva ―Never paid Carly money. Moore.

Marty Holland Lightfoot was on his feet. or are you telling the truth about this?‖ ―S‘ the truth. did he or did he not?‖ ―Don‘t know who he was..‖ Duke glanced cautiously around the courtroom. saying he was protecting southern womanhood – is that what you told me?‖ ―Yep. Carly‘s never been in any other trouble – before these accusations by Godie Beamer?‖ 190 . The jury will disregard the defense attorney‘s reference to Godiva Beamer lying with respect to the defendant.‖ ―This – a – Klansman instructed you to keep away from this trial.‖ ―And what was it you told me about a hanging?‖ ―That fella said if I come here I‘d be hangin‘ from the oak tree in my front yard. there is no evidence in testimony that Godiva Beamer lied in regard to the defendant. He had made his point. Don‘t know.‖ ―Now – was this a figment of your imagination. and Mr.‖ ―Couldn‘t you tell us who it was?‖ ―Hah! ‗Course not.‖ ―Who was this Klansman?‖ ―Can‘t tell if I know. Moore. ―And before this.‖ Crown waited through the furor. ―Your Honor.‖ he added slyly. yelling objections. ―Objections sustained. so help me. after Carly‘s arrest you told me about a visit by someone entering your house. Crown‘s ugly remarks are reprehensible!‖ Winterhouse supported the prosecutor. ―And that‘s the reason you had to be called in by subpoena today – you were fearful of your life?‖ ―Mebbe. during a fit of delirium tremors. He then quietly resumed questioning: ―Mr.

who had been listening closely. I can see that you‘re anxious to get back to your jug.‖ Winterhouse said. ―No questions. ―Mr. ―Why does a farm kid need a eddication? ‗Sides. ―One more point. she didn‘t want him to grow up a know-nothin‘. Moore.Baby Godiva ―Nope.‖ ―But he never got to a real school?‖ Duke stared belligerently. I was a good Pa. bounced up from his chair. ―We‘ll take ten minutes.‖ ―That‘s all.. Kept him too busy to git in dutch. *** Before recess had ended. with satisfaction.. as if in pain. Without as much as another glance around. Duke ignored Carly entirely. like I tole you a‘fore. Moore. writin‘. the prisoner was brought back into the courtroom.‖ the Judge said. don‘t you?‖ Duke shut his eyes tight.‖ ―You are excused. Eben and Lemire had talked it over.‖ Eben gave a scornful laugh to the jurors. Mr. Readin‘. Moore. decided not to let Carly know in advance that he would be 191 . ‗rithmetic . obedient. ―Why – every night his Ma had regular school goin‘s with Carly. don't you?‖ ―Don‘t know nothin‘.‖ Lightfoot. Mr.‖ "And Carly has always been a fine. he ain‘t my kid nohow.‖ Duke said stubbornly. You didn‘t think it was necessary to send Carly to school?‖ Duke‘s mouth flew open. I won't detain you. you know very well that Carly is incapable of harming anyone. Mr. ―Are you too afraid to tell the truth in this courtroom? You know Carly didn't harm Godie. and hurried toward the witness door and out. Moore. hard-working young lad?‖ ―Up to what he done to Godie.

. Unconsciously. and there was a little quaver in Carly‘s voice as he answered.. Eben watched closely.‖ Voice strained. sir. then to ease tensions: ―How did you get all those calluses on your hands. Silence fell over the courtroom. sir. wasn‘t it?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―Anybody help you do the farm work?‖ ―No. ―The plow. please. Jest the mule. I‘ll tell the truth. a sober face and the awkwardness of youth: at this point Carly was trying to find a comfortable place for his hands. Eben had sunk back in his chair and was studying Carly. The defendant was being sworn in. ran a finger across the side of his nose and walked to the bench with long strides. Eben found himself noting the boy‘s olive complexion. with mixed fear and hope. Carly?" A quick breath.‖ ―Most of the time.‖ Eben moved closer.‖ The prisoner stared.‖ Preliminaries were extracted.‖ A spectator snickered. will you take the witness chair. No relief from the heat was felt. ―Yeh. Judge Winterhouse was ordering the windows opened. and the counselors felt safer in letting nature take its course. He might panic or worry. ‗A fine looking lad. Eben saw a flicker of a hesitant smile.Marty Holland called next to testify in his own behalf. sir. ―Worked pretty hard on that farm. then rose numbly. The room was still steaming.‘ Eben observed. ―Carly. did you?‖ ―Yes. ‗If he were my son I‘d be proud. a lick of lips. Jurors were settling down as whispering was heard among the crowd. hair wavy behind his ears. He saw trusting eyes. ―Why didn‘t Duke help you?‖ 192 . Sometimes.‘ Now court had reconvened. ―The defendant will now take the stand. I reckon.

‖ ―And then. sir.‖ A spectator giggled. month after month. Carly?‖ ―Whiskey.‖ ―He drank every day?‖ ―Yes.‖ Carly nodded.‖ ―In the past several years have you seen Duke completely sober?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―And did you remove your trousers after the swim?‖ ―Jest started to.‖ ―It was a lie?‖ ―Yes. a gallon of whiskey every few days?‖ ―Yes.‖ ―What made him sick. Forgot I had on undershorts. She told him a big fib. ―Your stepfather sobered up today. Carly.‖ Carly hesitated.‖ ―How much?‖ ―The whole jug – in a day or two. sir. ―Today. ―Carly. sir.‖ ―And this went on day after day. And Godie run and said she was gonna tell her Pa. and you said you swam with your trousers on.‖ ―Every day?‖ ―Yes. do you remember the afternoon of June 2lst – a late Sunday afternoon – the day of the last big rain – 193 . Eben commented. Why?‖ ―Didn‘t have no swimmin‘ trunks – it was a hot day and I just jumped in. For the first time in months. do you remember the date of June 14th – when you and Godie went swimming at the McIntosh place. Was gonna hang em up to dry fore I went home.Baby Godiva ―Was sick. sir.

His mouth felt dry.‖ Haltingly at times.‖ ―I see. Godie had jumped up on the limb of the big tree to retrieve her clothing.‖ Courtroom spectators stirred and leaned forward. sir. then: ―Did you and Godie encounter anyone else in the woods on that Sunday afternoon?‖ ―Heard some funny noises. But didn‘t see nobody. How he‘d tried to pull her out from under fallen limbs and branches. Jurors listened intently.‖ Carly went over the same course of events that he had related previously. Carly?‖ ―Thought I seen her Pa. The Reverend Beamer had whipped you once for something you didn‘t do. How. causing her to fall with the tree when it crashed down. sir. when the rain began to pour down. is that right?‖ 194 .Marty Holland when you and Godie were again at the rear of the McIntosh place?‖ ―Yes. Carly went on to unfold the events of the afternoon. and how the big wind had blown her off balance and had entangled her in branches. The lawyer stepped aside.‖ ―I want you to tell this court what happened that afternoon. ―Then what happened?‖ ―I ran.‖ ―Why did you run?‖ ―‗Fraid her Pa‘d git me ag‘in. with little variation. ―What happened next.‖ ―You were there with Godie. We hunted ‗round. weren‘t you?‖ ―Yes. and finally did. Now Carly licked his lips.

and bloody.‖ ―And you remembered back to Reverend Beamer whipping you?‖ ―Yes. ―Was up around her middle – tried to pull it down. sir and ta‘ get help!‖ ―Did you know Godie was injured when she lay there after the fall?‖ Carly nodded.maybe. How did you think she would get home. get attention?‖ ―Thought it was her Pa in the shadows. thunderin‘. sir.‖ 195 . injured by the fall. Her eyes looked kinda funny.‖ ―But you didn‘t see him too clearly?‖ ―Couldn‘t tell ‗zactly. ―Her head was hurt. how was the weather?‖ ―Was rainin‘.. leaving Godie there. sir..‖ ―And remembering this whipping made you fearful of Godie‘s father.Baby Godiva ―Yes. Looked like Godie‘s Pa.‖ ―Any other bleeding?‖ ―No. And this is why you ran away after you freed her from the tree?‖ ―Yes. sir. what was the condition of her clothing? Was her dress in order?‖ Carly gestured.‖ ―Are you positive it was Godie‘s father you saw?‖ ―Thought so.‖ ―At this point in time.‖ ―And when you pulled her out from the tangle of tree limbs.‖ ―Her panties torn?‖ ―Don‘t rightly ‗member.‖ ―Did you think Godie might tell a lie to her father again?‖ ―Yeh. and gittin‘ dark. And her arms and legs scratched.‖ ―And you ran.

The defendant looked inquiringly at the Judge. 196 . ―afternoon recess. ―Huh-uh.‖ ―Did you stay home?‖ ―No. I seen those men with lanterns comin‘ up through the woods. ―The People will cross-examine. at any time?‖ ―No.thought her Pa would kill me this time. Was scared. Didn‘t know what to do.‖ ―That will be all. sir. but I didn‘t hit her! Didn‘t hurt her.‖ ―Now.‖ ―Carly. Carly?‖ ―I went home.M.Marty Holland ―And was it about that time you thought you saw her father?‖ ―Yes. Figured it was Godie‘s Pa gittin‘ Duke after me.‖ ―What did you do then?‖ ―Run ag‘in. The lanterns. sir. Run a long way.‖ Eben said. do you think this jury will believe a cock‘n bull story like that?‖ Lightfoot had charged in. I didn‘t.‖ *** ―Carly.‖ ―At La Marche Crossing.. Carly. Mister Crown. wasn‘t it?‖ ―Yeh.. you say you couldn‘t stay home because you thought Godie‘s father would horse-whip you again?‖ Carly turned his head sideways. Was awful scared. did you rape or sexually assault Godiva Beamer at any place. Then hid in a tree. I was going to get help for Godie – until I saw the men.‖ ―You were still afraid Godie‘s father would accuse you of harming her?‖ ―Yeh.‖ Winterhouse said.‖ ―Where did you go when you ran. Court is adjourned until two P.

half-smiling prosecutor seemed to be drawing him in. as they came up on their separate tracks. while Eben sat on the edge of his seat as Lightfoot went on: ―All right. Carly slanted his gaze and kept his eyes on Eben Crown – and his heartbeat quieted. ―That‘s all. He could see Marvelle without looking directly at him. sneering at Carly‘s answers. There was something magnetic about them. piercingly.‖ 197 .‖ ―Your first statement when arrested was ‗Is she dead?‘ You thought Godie was dead when you ran away?‖ ―No! I thought her Pa‘d pick her up!‖ Carly‘s cheeks reddened. ―I saw the men – the lanterns. Thought t‘was her Pa!‖ ―You claim innocence and yet you hid in that tree at La Marche Crossing. ―Why don't you admit the truth! You raped Godie. searchingly. This smirking. didn‘t you?‖ ―No!‖ Carly was shouting again. Carly turned from the swivel eyes.‖ ―Don‘t know!‖ ―You raped her after that fall. The People‘s advocate reviewed the defendant‘s testimony point by point. Why?‖ ―Dunno!‖ he paused. didn‘t you?‖ ―No!‖ Carly shouted. wasn‘t it? A tree shadow?‖ ―No! No sir. Lightfoot moved to the jury and studied the defendant with loathing.‖ He shook a finger. ―You admitted there was no blood on her panties right after she fell. Marvelle said. Winterhouse overruled time and time again. let‘s say the tree did fall at the time you say it did. Through Crown‘s heated objections. wanting him to admit to things that were not true.Baby Godiva Through the tense atmosphere he had hurled question after question at the defendant. ―And this man you say you saw – this phantom figure – it was a shadow.

we‘ll begin your summations in the morning. ―Counselors. No evidence of skin remnants. He admitted that scrapings of Carly‘s fingernails had been taken the night of arrest. you didn‘t clearly see the Reverend?‖ ―No.‖ Then the Judge was studying the court clock.‖ ―You just saw a man‘s figure. was hovering over Carly: ―Your Honor. Eben called a lab technician under subpoena who testified that Carly‘s clothing had been examined by ultra violet light. Your Honor. only grass fibers. you said you thought the shadowy figure you saw was Reverend Beamer.. or blood. Yes. Winterhouse inquired: ―Both sides rest?‖ ―Yes. D-width.‘s office didn‘t enter that footprint into evidence at this trial?‖ ―I‘m sure I don‘t.‖ 198 .Marty Holland Then Crown. Under a hand lens. couldn‘t it?‖ ―Reckon. Because the cast didn‘t fit the defendant‘s shoe – that‘s why!‖ On this hopeful note the defense rested its case. It could have been someone else. sir! Was someone!‖ As a final witness.‖ was the answer. ―Do you have any knowledge why the D. There was no further rebuttal. Carly. Crown said. They‘d revealed only particles of dirt. their markings showed evidence that the heels had been capped with metal. That it was a size twelve. Over Lightfoot‘s objection. He also admitted that the lab had made a cast of a footprint at the scene of the crime. placed in a Petri dish and examined under microscope. ruffled as a mother hen. one question on redirect. with a slightly run-over right heel. ―I do.A. and dirt had been detected. burrs. sir..

his voice holding only traces of anxiety. he said. THIS LAD HAD NEVER BEFORE seen the inside of a jail or even a police station..” It was Thursday. Then point by point he proceeded to pound home his facts: “The defendant‟s confession was obtained under threat and coercion. eleven-thirty A.Baby Godiva Chapter 23 “REMEMBER.‟ And that. if you will. And in the process had been tearing away husks from the grains of truth upon which he had constructed Carly‟s defense. no relatives. Remember he was all alone. is how it came about that Carly signed 199 ..M. the fourth day of the STATE VS. “I‟d like to have you picture in your minds our „friendly‟ Sheriff Reid saying „Just sign this.” Fixing his attention on Juror Number Six.. Carly. Laboriously.. A brief reference to Duke‟s testimony confirmed his stepfather‟s lack of care or interest in the boy‟s most meager needs. Even his sotted stepfather for whom he‟d toiled all these years had forsaken him. Do you understand? There was no one at all to turn to... no friends. how the early loss of his parents had delivered him into a state of veritable servitude to his tyrant stepfather. He‟d taken time to review the boy‟s deprived childhood. he had gone over the evidence from beginning to end. n‟ everything‟ll be all right. A haggard Eben Crown stood before the jury. RAVENUE. six or seven experienced and trained law men interrogating Carly. Gentlemen..” He stood for a moment with his fingers resting on the mahogany railing. “Consider for a moment.

the doctor said that – and you all heard it. a virgin before or after the accident. “On the contrary... I‟ll remind you that the state‟s laboratory technician was a defense witness. when Carly pulled Godie out from under the tree. “.‟” He paused to survey his audience thoughtfully. “True. but these were incurred in the rescue.. Buskirk would have you believe that any such evidence would have been washed away by the rain!” He thought he‟d seen a flicker of amusement on several jurors‟ faces. injuries inflicted on the mid-section could make the damage very well look like the aftermath of a brutal rape.” “It is quite likely that Godie did receive all her injuries from the falling tree. nor for that matter was his testimony definitive as to whether Godiva was. I done what I wanted to. or assault. This statement is made voluntarily of my own free will without threats. “Now I ask you. does that sound like the language of our defendant farm boy?” He went on to state that Dr.” His face lighted..Marty Holland that so-called confession.” At this point Eben stopped to laugh openly. there were small stains on his jacket and shirt. With legs flying out in this kind of a fall. the doctor‟s testimony confirmed that Godie could have been injured in the pelvic part of her body by the falling tree at the McIntosh house. “Yes.” He picked up his file and thumbed through it. Buskirk‟s testimony did not prove rape.. But indeed she was not injured by the defendant in a manner that the prosecutor would have you believe.” His eyes clouded. or on her way home through the darkness and hazards of Perez woods. and he testified that Carly‟s person and clothing had been gone over 200 . “I‟ll read a line or two from it: „Then I had sexual intercourse with her without her consent.. “And Dr.” “No spermatozoa was found on Godie‟s vaginal slide. or was not.

” With perspiration beginning to wet his shirt. after wet from swimming. Crown pursued this line of reasoning to further establish reasonable doubt.. “Hearsay evidence. Yet the prosecution did not choose to introduce into evidence the results of this testing. If the state had thought enough to take a plaster cast of it. After a moment‟s conference with assistant Lemire..Baby Godiva thoroughly. But there is absolutely no proof that this aggression did occur. why wasn‟t it presented as evidence by the prosecutor? We all know why.and an impression of that footprint was taken by the police at the scene of the alleged assault.” he exclaimed upon reference to this incident. you can be assured that the clothing of the defendant would have lain on that exhibit table!” After an interval of dead silence. “The state will hammer on this – to establish premeditation – to prove that the defendant was planning some kind of evil deed. He pressed on: “And why hasn‟t the prosecution taken time to seek out the identity of this unknown person? Our defendant reported this man‟s presence when originally questioned. We heard the defendant testify that indeed he was with Godie on that June 14 afternoon. He told you how. Crown continued with renewed strength. 201 . don‟t we? He simply found no incriminating evidence! If he had. and then again in his testimony in this courtroom. he added: “I would like you to consider very carefully – that there was a third party – an unidentified man in Perez woods at about the same the state claims Godie was assaulted. Why? We know why. The defendant's shoe didn't fit the mold!” He went on to say that on the afternoon of June 14 Carly‟s testimony revealed that he did not engage in deliberately exposing himself to Godiva Beamer. The laboratory man testified a twelve-size shoe.

Godie was not a completely responsible person even before the accident on the 21st of June. Therefore. and to all the jury. and keep it set apart in your thought process. “A girl who carries dolls at age fourteen – a girl who lived much of her time in a make-believe world – most likely a result of her father‟s mistreatment of her. we have the Reverend Beamer‟s hearsay allegation that Carly exposed himself to Godie.” “The lie she told her father on June 14 that resulted in Carly‟s whipping was a relatively childish thing.this same Reverend Beamer also testified that Godie had lied to him before!” Eben waited a moment for this to sink in.” “Now. It was evident that she was not mentally or physically capable of testifying at this trial. then fairly shouted: “Did Godie Beamer lie about what happened on the 14th of June? And did she lie about being assaulted and raped on the 21st June? The answer to both these questions is. “Godie Beamer was a mentally disturbed girl after the accident on June 21st. Then. “Why did she lie? Is Godie‟s accusation part of a childish vendetta of some sort – made 202 . But the lie she told about assault and rape was no mere child‟s play! Our defendant‟s very life could depend on the truth of such an accusation!” Effecting a change of pace he straightened and addressed his speech to Juror Number One. yes. Gentlemen. she did lie!” Eben turned to his table for a quick gulp of water and then resumed in a more normal tone. an experience in the course of kids growing up.. which in itself was of no great consequence. “But please remember this.” Eben paused to weigh his next words carefully. on the other hand. how can we believe an irresponsible person like that now?” His brows lifted inquiringly.” Crown was speaking slowly..Marty Holland he‟d started to remove his outer garments for drying.. His whippings. “..

And if it were true why should this alter a decision of truth and justice? Forget the warped old traditions of the South regarding these issues. within your own mind. “The Prosecution has willfully tried to inject a false premise to cloud your judgment and deny justice for the defendant: “There has been no concrete evidence presented in this court supporting any allegations that Carlton. 203 .” Eben noted the fidgeting jurors. This is what I‟m asking you to do now. “Carly Moore is falsely accused of these charges. He pressed a hand over his hair and went on quietly: “Now you have agreed that you will consider the facts individually – that each of you will decide for himself. a beautiful creature who‟s been wrongfully intimidated and badgered by her father. This means that if you.” Eben eyed Juror Number Four. or part anything.” “The evidence of the Prosecution against the defendant is only flimsy testimony from a retarded girl. Gentlemen. without being duly swayed by the judgment of others. reasonable doubt shall by all means be exercised – and your proper verdict will be – not guilty!” The defense paused briefly. cannot convict with absolute moral certainty. Even the court tells you it is not to be considered in arriving at a just verdict. and that she would get even by accusing him of rape? Or was it her lashing out against the world because of her father‟s beatings? All we have is her word – that the defendant assaulted and ravaged her – testimony that is uncorroborated by any kind of witness or proof. our defendant is part African or part Mulatto.Baby Godiva because of something Carly had done that she didn‟t like? Or was it something that Carly didn‟t do that she didn‟t like? Had she decided that Carly had rebuffed her sexually. The law clearly states that you are now to give Carlton every benefit of reasonable doubt.

and will continue to ask.. when Godiva Beamer left her home at the First Baptist Church to hunt butterflies in Perez woods. “On June 14th of this year.” “Now – members of the jury.. acquittal. and Eben became uneasily aware of this. that you return a verdict of guilty on both counts as charged.A. The state has asked. I ask you for a verdict of . “Gentlemen.” As Lightfoot moved to the polished jury rail his voice was pleasant and smooth.. a self-assured Marvelle Lightfoot commenced his final arguments: “The People of this State hold firm on its belief that the accused Carlton Moore Ravenue premeditatedly and with malice aforethought did commit the crimes of assault and aggravated rape upon the person of Godiva Beamer.” It was soon obvious that Marvelle was master of his subject.Marty Holland “If Godie Beamer was assaulted criminally on that stormy evening it was by someone else – after Carly had run from fear. Someone he saw lurking in the shadows. Expertly woven throughout the prosecutor‟s words was an invisible thread of omission.a verdict of not guilty.. For the accused? Yes. he made no reference whatsoever to defense testimony! Finality the assistant D. But isn‟t the real 204 .” *** Promptly at two. Someone who‟d been watching – someone with a Size 12 shoe. “Gentlemen. By design. Who was that man? We don‟t know at this moment. his cockeyes looking off tentatively.. I ask you – would you want to send an innocent 18-year old to the chair? Would you want that on your conscience?” He paused for effect. paused. and the accused will receive – his due reward.. what are we seeking in this courtroom today? We are seeking justice.

not satisfied with his first aggression. Now he shook his head slowly from side to side. on second try. By a Carlton Ravenue who. “The very proof we seek lies first within the girl‟s accusation – and second.Baby Godiva purpose of being here to seek justice for the maimed and damaged person of Godiva Beamer. who was accosted and exposed to insufferable indignities done upon her by the accused.. the untrusting vacant expression – the look that will haunt you and break your heart?” Barely discernibly his voice choked. I‟ll emphasize she is a child. his voice suddenly louder. The physical hurts. How can it be any other way? Proof indeed? First we see Godie coming home. falling into her father‟s arms. “But have you looked into the eyes of this girl? Have you looked in to see the fear.Godie Beamer‟s injuries will heal. truly the victim in this case? An innocent child. contusions and lacerations inflicted on her young body will mend. continued to stalk his prey and later. Then straightening abruptly he turned his head at a right angle to the box and almost spat his next word at the panel “Proof!” The single outburst seemed to explode in the room. did accomplish his despicably evil objectives. dragging out his words: “What kind of proof do we want?” He raced on. “And we know – all of us know – that this condition was brought on by the trauma and the shock caused by that brutal assault and ravagement perpetrated by the accused on the 21st of June.. Then. Now he became gently serious. the uncertainty. lips wet with tears 205 .” The prosecutor softened his tone. it lies within her bruised and injured body and mind. He paused. as though deeply saddened.” Lightfoot had delivered his dialogue casually. waiting until all jurors‟ eyes were on him. Yes. “Friends.” His quick appraisal of the jury told him his words had been effective.

His guilt or innocence you alone must decide – each of you – separately – from evidence presented. and the jurors filed out. what more proof do we want?” “The prosecution asks you for a verdict of guilty on both counts as charged!” *** There was a stirring in the courtroom.” Winterhouse rapped his gavel.” He then instructed the jury on „Flight After Crime‟. “Or when the victim is prevented from resisting the act by threats of great and immediate bodily harm.” “Aggravated Rape is when the victim resists the act. “Gentlemen of the jury – as Judge of this court it becomes necessary for me to instruct you as to the laws applicable to these crimes. We do not speculate on justice in this courtroom. stating that flight was not sufficient in itself to establish guilt.Marty Holland and blood. or against him. her young body lending testimony enough as evidence of the act! Again I'll ask. “And the crime of Aggravated Rape shall be punishable by death. but may be considered in light of all other proven facts in deciding guilt or innocence. and with one sound of the gavel the spotlight swerved back to Judge Winterhouse. You must now weigh the issues of fact that have been stated in the allegations and in the information filed. and the defendant‟s plea of not guilty. But there was to be none. Before Carly was taken to his cell his eyes brightened as he asked his lawyers gently: “Is it all over?” 206 . in anticipation of a recess. but her resistance is overcome by force. You must carry out your duties without prejudice for. told of Carlton Ravenue‟s dastardly deed upon her.

” Soberly he turned to Eben. “There wasn‟t a damn thing wrong with our defense – but Lightfoot pushed too hard. eh?” Lemire finally spoke. then both men walked together to their conference room.Baby Godiva Crown and Lemire watched Carly being led off to detention. And besides. What‟s the odds?” Lemire‟s face was blank. “Sure it‟s bad. Eben broke the silence: “You‟re the observer. let‟s get a cup of coffee. Ira. “That bad. that jury made up its mind two days ago. and he did not reply. Remember? Com‟on.” 207 .

It was twenty minutes later before court was ready to convene. Flo Swann and the St. Some spectators were applauding. a large man with a deep steady voice.” Winterhouse was scanning the small white paper. Judge Winterhouse glanced at the clock on his desk..” “Will the defendant rise. Also. and Carly turned back to see Crown polling the jurors. and took their places. Their faces blurred. he was instructing the sheriff to round up the lawyers. Then the sheriff was leading the prisoner out. “Have you reached a verdict?” the clerk asked. he handed it back to the clerk for reading. Now the all-male jury filed in.” There was a collective gasp from the audience. Then. Carly whirled and looked behind him. A group of females had risen and were eyeing him with pity. “We have. The colored section was full – on their feet staring. please. and face the Jury. In the third row a teenager was crying. 208 . the prisoner had to be brought in.. “Guilty as charged on both counts. The foreman rose. from the bench.Marty Holland Chapter 24 THE JURY ROOM BUZZER SOUNDED. somber-faced. The customary suspense had fallen over the courtroom. Tiberius reporter were edging up to Lightfoot. Was it possible? So soon? When they‟d been out only a little over an hour? He rose quickly and grabbed his robe.

we decided right off.” Carly remarked to a deputy who stood nearby watching. 209 . kid. Carly saw tears misting in his lawyer‟s eyes. Crown‟s pale face matched the prisoner‟s.” Carly looked wonderingly after his lawyer. Carly Moore Ravenue was formally sentenced to die in the electric chair. “He sure feels bad „bout me. “You don‟t enter into the pit‟cher. Crown‟s jest sore „cause he lost a case. “I – got the – „lectric chair.. motion for new trial was denied.” *** Eben Crown and Ira Lemire stood quietly in the corridor. I heard.” Carly stammered..” *** On Wednesday.Baby Godiva Through the babble Eben heard one of the jurors explaining to Victor Mendez: “We only had one holdout. “Yes. “But that‟s not final! And we‟ll petition for a new trial. He set down his brief case. But we convinced him! Carly should‟a thought‟a the chair before he raped Godie! Yeh. And as Eben again left the cell.. “You?” The deputy grunted.. staring inside the jail cell. I heard.” His voice firmed. *** One week later. Carly.

While earlier threats of lynching had dissipated with passing time. And instead of awaiting execution at St. The police car charged on and presently. the state was taking no chances. headlights swerved off the road. flat bottom land. Tiberius jail. Sheriff Satterly and his driver occupied the front seat. ITS BACK SEAT CAGED IN STEEL MESH passed the murky water of sloughs. Handcuffed to a steel bar running across the back of the front seat. Carly was being transferred for safe custody in the adjoining parish. headlights penetrating the pre-dawn mists of the expressway. at only slightly reduced speed. Sped on through the business district. The back seat deputy reached in to unlock the prisoner‘s left bracelet from the rail. It passed small houses with morning kindling smoke curling from kitchen chimneys. With morning light looming. In the Ravenue case.Marty Holland Chapter 25 A POLICE SEDAN. entered the small town of Delaine. and raced on through semidarkness. the condemned prisoner was not to be delivered to the State Penitentiary. three men emerged from a 210 . past a hospital with windows lighted. with officers piling out. He snapped it to his own wrist. Beyond the fire station. Carly sat rigidly in the rear with armed deputy alert beside him. the driver pulled to an abrupt stop under an overhanging willow which partially obscured a street lamp. Doors of the sedan cracked open.

He wore scuffed tan hard leather boots. AUGUSTUS SHERIFF STATION Two of the approaching men were deputies in khaki. and large horseshoe cuff links with tie clasp to match. ―You‘ll be notified.. swinging his immense paunch from side to side.‖ ―Glad to ‗blige. the tallest squinting in the half-light.holdin‘ our high-risk for each other. Tiberius law men had crawled back into their sedan and were taking off. Peck. Satterly. jes‘ a kid. His head and shoulders were dwarfed behind a huge belly that protruded over an ornate gun belt and holster. ―If you‘ll sign me out we‘ll be on our way. and the St.Baby Godiva whitewashed stucco building with black lettering above the door: ST. ―Good idea. ―Say. his grin showing large front teeth. a ten gallon. he‘s all yours..‖ Satterly called from the car.‖ The transaction had taken but a few minutes. Sheriff Satterly was holding transfer papers and strode forward to hand them to Carly‘s new custodian. Augustus sheriff waddled over to the car. the other medium height. and were forcing him lockstep inside the station. one in front and one in rear. Duck fashion.‖ Sheriff Peck‘s deputies had now taken charge of the prisoner. Inside the station the deputies were perfunctorily registering the prisoner when Sheriff Peck entered. Could save a heap‘a trouble.‖ Sheriff Peck‘s voice was a friendly drawl. ain‘t ya?‖ 211 . ―Carlton Ravenue. Satterly watched the maneuver. Keep him on ice for the show. the St. ―Thanks. ―Peck. eh?‖ He looked over his new charge. See you!‖ The state car roared back onto the highway. The third man‘s shirt bore the glint of his sheriff‘s badge. He signed the papers and passed them back.

Beyond was a tier of jail cells set against the far wall.. plastered with no part. ―Looks lak he jest dropped out‘a a tree. come on. topped with overlong black hair. ―Well. don‘t he? When he gits high on weed we gotta lock him up. And tonight‘s no ‗ception. In the first cell Carly observed a young man crouched at the far end.‖ They moved down a gray corridor with an open door revealing the sheriff‘s office to the left. Ravenue. Peck was sorting through keys at the adjacent barred door.. and the prisoner winced as the steel door clanged shut behind him. I‘ll take you to your quarters. This ain‘t no fancy hotel. with red hair flying.‖ Carly only mumbled. don‘t it?‖ Peck went on good-naturedly. From the jail section came the screech of a chair scraping concrete. had sprung up from his bunk and was hugging flat to the bars and studying the new arrival. wild-eyed and unshaven. This place‘ll be crawlin‘.‖ The sheriff escorted Carly on – to three cells separated from the tier – and stopped abruptly. ―Jest you wait ‗til tonight.Marty Holland ―Eighteen. ―This is my 212 . Peck‘s ham-like hands removed the cuffs. ―Lucas. and then a deputy came running to unlock the sliding steel door. Ahead at the end of the hall was another door of steel bars.‖ Carly followed the sheriff past empty cells. The row of cells appeared empty. ―Looks lak we‘re out‘a customers. Every Friday we git them drunks from the mill and the new saloon. ―That‘s Pinky. He‘s a dang nuisance. Carly stared ahead. Gotta have room for ‗em. Carly looked up into the countenance of the duty guard: a long thin face.‖ Sheriff Peck bellowed. Then all at once a gangly youth. With the sheriff close on his heels.‖ the Sheriff said.

There was a single wood stool.and that‘s bad.‖ He gestured toward the floor.‖ Peck chuckled. robbed the bank and shot up a highway policeman. Rizzo. ―that‘s bad. Aimed to be somebody. Next door to each other lak‘ this. Mebbe you heard ‗bout Rizzo. I‘m puttin‘ you in here next to Rizzo. a probable leftover from the previous occupant. Almost as bad as shootin‘ people. Gun and holster quivered. It comes out prick sometimes in the translation. We call ‗im the Prince. That‘s a‘fore he went ag‘in good folks and cut wide and loose. shootin‘ a policeman. A pipe leading to the seatless toilet evidenced leakage. Above.Baby Godiva high-power section. ―Aw. Pinky was shrieking and beating the bars. you two kin compare devilment and sing each other ta‘ sleep. ―Rizzo here‘s our VIP.. Sheriff. smooth as machinery. Sheriff Peck hurried away to quiet his resident pot-head. Your Grace. ―Yes.‖ Rizzo commanded. Carlton. but the opposite side was cement wall. you ain‘t so tough. on the outside wall. Went on that wild tear over in Tiberius. 213 . I‘m holdin‘ him for Sheriff Satterly. the door was opened and snapped shut as he deposited the new prisoner. a barred window showed a patch of sky. In his square drab cell Carly could look through the bars to Rizzo. He‘s waitin‘ for the chair same as you.‖ the seated prisoner snarled. a steel bunk. too.‖ Peck laughed. a puddle of brownish water lay on the gray floor.‖ ―When I gittin‘ out‘a heah?‖ From his cell. ―What‘ya doin‘ – playin‘ games with the roaches a‘gin?‖ Peck‘s tone was still a slow easy drawl.‖ ―Yeah.. You guys got somepin‘ in common. his big belly trembled. but now his movements were quick and precise. The sheriff continued in the same easy parlance: "Rizzo here is ‗eddicated..‖ ―Stick it. com‘on..

A thin Roman nose with a small line of bone jutting white at the bridge.‖ He smiled and rose. ―Smart as hell – won‘t play the game to the rules.‖ He waved to the small windows at the rear of the cells.‖ From his crouched position.‖ He paused and drew in a shaky breath. and not much taller than Carly. Best excitement we get is when they blow those damn sirens. Mister Rizzo.‖ He turned back to look Carly over. They‘re ‗bout the same. He was thin.‖ ―Yeh.‖ He watched the insect scurrying away. ―So you‘re Carlton Ravenue. But if you press your nose in close you can see the stars at night and catch the trees over there in the woods. guess I was in the papers. All you can see is the fire station wall and the ambulance coming in to the hospital. ―If I was a cockroach I‘d follow him. obviously broken more than once. Sheriff said you‘re gonna be here a spell too.‖ ―Read about you in the newspapers. all muscle. ―How putrid can a man get – envious of a cock-roach. Thick brown hair. He won‘t be back. skin drawn tight over wide cheekbones.. Only visitors I get are cop-crud and roaches. its waves cropped close. straight dark lashes.‖ Now he relaxed and walked to his bunk and sank down. ―Christ. He pointed to one. ―Fire trucks takin‘ off and meat wagons comin‘ in. I‘m Carly.‖ 214 .. We do get papers once in a while.‖ He was talking nervously and too fast.Marty Holland ―Hi. I‘m glad to see you. Carly looked over into yellow-hazel eyes. When he crawls under the door out‘a here it‘s for good. kid. ―I‘m plum tuckered out. eh? Rooms with a view. Rizzo had turned around and glanced through side bars at his neighbor. Peck had been right: Rizzo had cornered a couple of cockroaches. Think I‘ll rest. Been isolated here for a long time.‖ Carly had stood erect. ―Not too bad. ―Yeh. A sardonic smile played on the thick lower lip.

―They all got out this morning – after paying 215 . He wanted to talk more with the new young prisoner. kid. staring at the overhead light bulb encased in its steel guard. days. ―Carly. In his bunk facing the window he had awakened suddenly.‖ Carly yawned. All raisin‘ hell. Get some shut-eye. Then he lay back again. kid..That‘s a sonofabitch!‖ *** Fresh cigarette smoke drifted over into Carly‘s cell and he heard a stirring. and he‘d sung them under his breath – just to keep his mind active – just to keep something going to fill the vacuum of monotony. and to keep his raw nerves from snapping.‖ ―Didn‘t hear. It was light outside. He started to move and realized that his body muscles were stiff from sleeping in a cramped position.‖ There was silence while Rizzo reflected.Baby Godiva ―Just Rizzo. he could talk. We‘ll have plenty time to—― He broke off laughing. and through a long yesterday he‘d thought of words of old songs. At least twenty drunks. ―Go ahead. He heard a truck motor and reared up to look out the window and saw a bakery van unloading bread for delivery to the rear door of the hospital. Reluctantly he said. ―‗Time‘ — isn‘t that a hell of a word! Time.‖ Rizzo called over anxiously. still lighted.‖ He was wound up.‖ ―What? You slept through all that?‖ ―Seems like I did. you‘ve been in that sack all day yesterday and right through! Wasn‘t that somethin‘? Deputy herdin‘ all those slobs through here during the night. ―Must‘ve been out cold.. He felt that for hours. ―Yeh?‖ ―Christ.. He had been silent too long now.. Happens every Friday night...

‖ Carly smiled for the first time in his new surroundings.‖ Carly stooped over to drop his hands in a tin basin of water that had been set just inside his cell. you don‘t do nothin‘.‖ ―You got a sense of humor. brightening slightly: ―But Crown says won‘t never happen. kid.‖ ―Jesus.‖ Rizzo threw back his head and laughed. ―Ain‘t shavin‘ yet. He‘s my lawyer – and friend. ―Cops and lawyers and the law? They‘re good friends.Marty Holland their two-bit fines. 216 . ―Don‘t like to. He was slow to answer.‖ Carly‘s eyes flickered and turned down. alright. Rizzo watched. perched on a stool.‖ ―Smoke?‖ Rizzo was holding out cigarettes. Hardly need it though for that peach fuzz. How do you stand it? When‘s your date?‖ ―Date?‖ ―The barbecue. ―You mean you didn‘t hear Pinky throwing his pot fit?‖ ―Nope. freshly shaven and rubbing his face. too.‖ All the rest of the day Carly heard Rizzo‘s chatter and that night he slept soundly again – typical of many days to come.‖ Then. eh. A big talker. ―But we don‘t. Didn‘t hear nothin‘. kid?‖ Carly sat up and thrust his legs over the side of the cot to see Rizzo through the side bars. but we‘ll end up fryin‘! Plan on it and you won‘t be disappointed.‖ His voice dropped to sadness. ―I‘ll ask for the razor again if you want. ―Judge said ‗bout three months. He splashed it over his face.

Rizzo. ―Watch it – jest watch it! Or I‘m gonna tell Father Casale not to bother with you no more. ―Judge Matthewson presided at my trial. ―You get an automatic appeal in a death sentence. you best listen. no bigger‘n a canary cage. ‗Specially on poor asses. Now you keep that big mouth down or you‘ll git it!‖ The sheriff‘s face was flushed and his left eye twitched. Augustus sheriff-station jail. For ornery birds.‖ Carly looked over to see Sheriff Peck shuffling toward him. In the evening quiet. 217 . too. Like him. ―Tears ran down the old buzzard‘s face when he sent me to the chair. you was right nice all las‘ week.Baby Godiva Chapter 26 TIME continued to pass at the St. What the hell‘s his hang-up?‖ His voice rose. Peck‘s jaw muscles tensed.‖ ―I‘ll repent in hell – with your mother!‖ Rizzo snarled.‖ ―Oh. So you‘ll get a stay – while the court reviews. Who was your Judge?‖ ―Uh – Winterhouse. In the basement I got a little damp box. The Priest was startin‘ to think you was repentin‘ – for killin‘. ―Have a shit?‖ Peck shook a menacing finger. Rizzo and Carly were lying on their backs in their respective bunks. ―Carlton. ―If you ain‘t got no respect for good judges you‘re goin‘ downstairs! Siberia!‖ Rizzo gestured to the toilet. shut your criticizin‘ the law. that nice policeman.‖ Rizzo was saying. you start actin‘ smart-ass and you‘ll find out. yeah. He‘s a real bastard. I kin hear you clean from my office. And you git bread an‘ water. Carly. ―Prince. after supper.

boy?‖ Carly nodded sullenly.‖ Peck marched back toward his office. ―Winterhouse. ―Don‘t disturb your brain.‖ Carly shrugged sullenly. You can‘t hate him – because the sonofabitch is a moron. Then you won‘t have nobody comin‘ to see you a‘tall. ―Guess so. you‘re one and the same. they got all the money.‘‖ He swore under his breath. A nigger knows how to answer quick.Marty Holland I‘ll tell him you‘re bad stuff. then: ―There was something real smooth about that cool sonofabitch.‖ 218 .‖ Now his voice was no more than a whisper.‖ ―Thas better. Ain‘t worth savin‘. I think that sonofabitch had something in mind when he latched on to her. Rizzo gave the young prisoner a glance. Ain‘t that right. Those suits must cost him two hundred. ―Judges is right fine men. Rizzo began to swear softly. ain‘t they. don‘t he.. I could see down the court parking lot. ―That damn sheriff breaks me up. And they say she‘s kind of haywire. ―When ya got a little‘a that blood like Carlton here.‖ the sheriff gloated.‖ The small eyes narrowed.. Maybe it‘s ‗cause he‘s got everything – and he is a good-looking bastard. Beautiful but dingy. The Boston Creightons – Christ. Carlton? Ain‘t they?‖ ―Yeh. and every time Winterhouse drove up in his Continental I thought ‗Hail the King. The sheriff smiled broadly.‖ He turned to Carly. eh? During my trial in Tiberius I had the corner cell. Peck. "If I hear either ‗a ya talkin‘bad ‗bout good lawmen ag‘in you‘ll find out how a sheriff‘s brain operates. by thinkin‘ overtime. Creighton‘s her name. You know somethin‘? The jailer at Tiberius told me Winterhouse is married to a rich woman. then shook his head. Carlton? He knows—?‖ ―Nigger? Who‘s a nigger?‖ Rizzo broke in.

Unwittingly the state and Judge Winterhouse were providing him an education.Baby Godiva ―That sonofabitch. And already Carly‘s vocabulary was expanding.‖ Carly said thoughtfully. 219 .

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Chapter 27
THE WINTERHOUSE ACREAGE, with terraced verdant lawns, held a handsome two-story with Grecian columns. A few years back when negotiating its purchase, the Judge had been convinced that he had found a jewel at the outskirts of St. Tiberius. What had impressed him was the spaciousness of the place, wide hallways, the beauty of the stairway curving upward from the round foyer, its floor of tiled mosaic. The leaded glass in multicolor tints framing the huge oak door of the entry. Servants rooms off the kitchen. A root cellar. To the rear, a seemingly endless grassy expanse, dotted with pecans, was enclosed by an ochre colored cement wall. Nearer the house, flagstone walks led to and from several gardens. And upstairs, he could step out on various balconies with wroughtiron railings to survey the grounds. The master bedroom adjoined a luxuriously-appointed roman bath. There were several other bedrooms upstairs, and the one in front he‘d converted into a library. He found the downstairs room directly below with marble fireplace suitable for a second study. When the Judge looked back... modernizing and furnishing the place had been quite a project, but it had turned out well and he was pleased by the feeling of comfort that his handiwork provided. Then he had brought his aristocratic wife home and hoped she would share his love for the house. But Felicia had disappointed him. On the first evening home she‘d begun to find fault in small ways. Not openly. But she‘d made sly comparisons with her family home in Boston. And while

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her new abode was a delightful place, Damon knew it couldn‘t compare with the opulence she‘d known in her father‘s manse. The next morning in touring the grounds, she‘d complained. about the isolation, and openly wondered if she would be able to adjust and make a good life for herself in St. Tiberius. But she had. As a transplanted Boston socialite, Felicia had been sought out by the fashionable class; as a judge‘s wife she‘d been drawn into that political-social whirl having its register at the state capitol. And she‘d contributed generously to their own private way of life. A wealthy woman in her own right, Grandpa Creighton had, from time to time, bolstered her fortune with bestowments. Lacking a male heir, Felicia, at twenty-nine, had long been his favorite. Too, the elder Creighton admired Damon, and had fostered their engagement and later had blessed the marriage. Grandpa‘s recent gift to Felicia was title to four-hundredtwenty-thousand acres of Tennessee land that had been held by the family for seventy-odd years. Untouched and raw, but rich in timber and strip-coal, its value could only be speculated upon. By first spinning off a stable but unprofitable steel foundry from his conglomerate holdings, the senior Creighton managed to use this as a vehicle with which to transfer the land to Felicia; under conditions of best tax advantage. Once the foundry was privately held, he‘d arranged for a new stock issue which the closed corporation had used to purchase the land. Of course, the controlling stock became vested as Felicia‘s. In contrast, Damon‘s contributions were miniscule. He‘d made certain investments, and while his judgeship provided a shelter of dignity, his income was modest and by no means covered the cost of their expanded way of life. When Felicia had gone to St. Tiberius a bride, she‘d brought her money along. She and Damon never had a serious discussion about

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finances; she‘d regularly transferred money to their joint account. And this had become a common source of funds; no questions asked. Now, a scant two years after the honeymoon, Felicia occupied the master bedroom with its sunken bath, and Damon had retired to a second bedroom. It was dusk as the Judge turned along the row of cypress lining the drive, the top of his Continental brushing weeping moss. Following the side driveway, past the music room with its windows to the front, he parked inside the carriage barn, renewed and converted into gardener‘s quarters and a large five-car garage. Before emerging he picked up a florist‘s spray of pink roses and a box of candy from the car seat. Entering the rear service door he detected a tantalizing scent of baking and herbs. In the kitchen, he observed Cissy, the cook, busy with her ladle, bent over the oven in the process of basting... A delicious aroma; could it be roast veal again? With her hair tied in black scarf and a polka dot apron flying around the corpulence of her waist, Cissy looked as though she might have stepped off an Aunt Jemima box. She was unobtrusive. Like Carlos, the gardener, an efficient silent worker. Carlos‘ wife, Lina, had seen him coming in and had made herself scarce. The Judge sauntered through the kitchen and glanced in the open doorway of one of the servants‘ rooms to Della‘s quarters with fresh-cut flowers on her dresser. Carlos had probably placed them there, as he usually did in Mrs. Winterhouse‘s bedroom. Reaching the drawing room, it suddenly occurred to him that the entire house had taken on a brighter hue since Della came along. Ordinary things seemed to sparkle hospitably. He strode on, noting that the furniture shone with a burnish.

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Overhead, the crystal chandelier gleamed. Crossing through the main living room he noted a bottle of champagne cooling in its bucket on the side bar, glasses shining beside it. He saw that someone had rearranged the potted ferns in the foyer. And the tall beveled mirrors set against the foot of the staircase glistened. Everything was in order and he found it a pleasure to be home. He opened the dark wood louvered doors to his study, then set the roses and box of candy on his outsize cherry-wood desk. Here, behind a green leather couch, hung Grandpa Quincy Creighton – in full figure – overpowering the library. His encounter with the portrait always unsettled Damon slightly; especially when working at his desk – to look up and see old Quincy snooping over his shoulder. He‘d meant to speak to Felicia about it ... surely there was a more suitable wall elsewhere for her Grandpa‘s elegant presence. Then Felicia appeared, as she always did, from out of nowhere within moments after hearing his car drive in. In Damon‘s mind she had recently become more theatrical, an actress on stage at one time – off-stage the next. It was, ―Sorry, darling, I look a fright. I don‘t like me today.‖ Or she was immaculately coiffured and superbly gowned, eyes sparkling, the epitome of vivacity. Draping her arms softly over his shoulders it was, ―Darling, I‘m bored. Let‘s sneak over to the club for supper...‖ Tonight she was off-stage. ‗The milkmaid,‘ he thought, surveying her appearance. ‗Hair flopping to one side. Flat shoes. That silly Chaplin shuffle – that she thinks is so funny...‘ She noticed the flowers and cooed, ―How nice and candy...‖ She grasped the roses. ―Again? How sweet. You‘re getting so attentive.‖ But she‘d lost his attention with her prattle; and noticing his concentrated scowl: ―Another beastly day, love?‖

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He stood behind his desk sorting mail. ―I‘m famished.‖ ―Della‘s cooling champagne. Oh, before I forget, Mumsie called today and I promised her I‘d come home in December – for DaDa‘s birthday. She wants me to surprise him.‖ ―When are you off for Boston?‖ She sighed exasperatedly. ―Darling, DaDa‘s birthday isn‘t until December.‖ Preoccupied, he glanced up. ―Any other calls?‖ ―Farley. Said it wasn‘t important. And I might as well tell you – Eben Crown phoned. He asked me not to reveal everything he told me about that – that Carly Ravenue case. He seems awfully put out because he isn‘t getting very far with his appeals. You could help him a little, if you wanted to, couldn‘t you, darling?‖ She caught her breath. ―Now, Eben didn‘t say this – and I know you forbade me discussing problems with lawyers – but reading between his words I gathered he‘s quite upset because you haven‘t granted a new trial for that Carly.‖ ―Eben‘s a worrier.‖ She wet her lips. ―It‘s obvious he‘s worried sick because he lost that case. He sincerely believes Carly is innocent.‖ Damon, now seated behind his desk, pointedly declined comment. He dropped his mail in a drawer and closed it. ―The house looks nice.‖ Felicia knew the signal. He would rarely talk shop with her, and she would not press. ―Yes. Della‘s wonderful, isn‘t she. Says next week she‘ll start renovating. You know, doing all those things we‘ve put off so long.‖ ―Then you‘re planning on making her permanent?‖ ―Oh, goodness, yes. I‘ve grown terribly fond of her. She‘s so good for me – soothing somehow. And she has such wisdom. Always knows the right word to bolster me when I‘m in a bit of a funk.‖

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The Judge never ceased to be surprised by his wife‘s selection of quaint expressions. They came from her at random. In the presence of friends she‘d sometimes embarrassed him with her odd vocabulary. ―Are you in a – funk – often these days?‖ ―No. Oh, no. Della has only to remind me that I have such a good life with you. And then I have no right to feel bad.‖ Abruptly he glanced up. ―Did you keep your appointment with Dr. Fenton?‖ ―No, lovey. Now you must let up on that. I have to be in proper mood to go in. And besides I‘m trying to come out of it on my own.‖ She laughed quickly; it was like the tinkling of bells. ―Della says, ‗Felicia, you have no right to feel low. You‘re beautiful and you have a handsome husband. He‘s the best looking lover-man I ever saw.‘‖ The Judge couldn‘t help laughing. ―She said that, did she?‖ ―Word for word.‖ She giggled. ―And, she has me convinced.‖ As he rose she locked her arm in his. ―You should see the way she handles Cissy. Carlos and Lina just worship her. She‘s teaching Cissy gourmet cooking. Haven‘t you noticed? And Carlos – he wants to please her so much it hurts to watch.‖ She breathed a little gasp and pressed the back of his hand to her lips. ―Oh, whatever should I do without her!‖ After expressing her approval of Della to such length she hesitated, wondering if she had overdone it. When they left the study for the living room, arm in arm, Felicia whispered: ―Today Della said, ‗You know, this house is awful quiet. Then the moment the Judge walks in the whole place begins to sing.‘‖ She poked teasingly at his ribs. ―Your new name is Instant Sunshine!‖ The Judge smiled, then brightened further as Della entered from the dining room, carrying a tray of canapés which she set on the bar.

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―Good evening, Mister Judge.‖ Della‘s voice was crisp, yet held a curious accent. ―Cissy says supper can be served in twenty minutes. Miss Felicia, I have your bath drawn.‖ She was still surveying Damon. ―Good evening, Della.‖ Though his words were stiff his eyes shot sparks. ―I think I‘ll have a highball.‖ ―I‘ll have a quickie,‖ Felicia put in, and handed the roses to Della. ―Darling, do something with these.‖ She snatched a tidbit from the tray and waited, fidgeting, until Damon gave her a glass that held a dash of bourbon and an abundance of seltzer water. As she opened her mouth to object, he said: ―You know what bourbon does to you, Felicia...‖ ―Yes, Doctor.‖ She turned to appraise Della. ―I knew that dress would fit you. It was frightful on me.‖ She moved off, carrying her glass. ―I‘ll hurry my bath.‖ She ran quickly on up the stairway. Della had located an antique vase from a lower cupboard. She set it on the bar and began removing florist wrapping from flower stems. Damon stood watching her, stunned with the beauty of this remarkable woman. Felicia‘s pink dress accentuated the brilliance of Della‘s deep almond-shaped hazel eyes, full lashes, with a devilish glint. The delicate eagle nose, high cheekbones, full lips. Black hair combed to her shoulders and glistening. ‗Her skin café au lait,‘ he thought. ‗A rich light amber. Her natural sun tan only adds to her elegance.‘ ―Never known a man to be so kind – so thoughtful,‖ she was murmuring. As she turned and gracefully set the roses in the receptacle, he took in the exquisite swing of her rounded hips. Instead of mixing a drink for himself, he began turning the champagne bottle in its silver bucket. Standing by the sideboard, Della was conscious of his eyes upon her.

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Raising the bottle from its ice, he said softly, ―Change my order. All that beauty deserves champagne.‖ ―Thank you, Your Honor.‖ He smiled. ―The formal address won‘t be necessary. I get enough of that in the courtroom.‖ ―I understand, Mister Winterhouse.‖ She turned, showing him the fit of her dress. ―It‘s Felicia‘s strawberry crepe. We‘re both the same size. She keeps loading me up with her clothes. I‘m beginning to feel like a rich woman. She even tried to give me one of her mink coats. ‗Course at home she says she has a full length sable and—‖ She broke off, then met his gaze squarely. ―I didn‘t mean that. I meant Boston. Her home is here.‖ ―Sometimes I wonder.‖ He was holding a hand towel over the wire cap of the bottle, and now released the cap with his thumb. The cork popped and bubbling champagne spurt forth filling the glasses. ―I told Felicia no about the coat,‖ she said demurely. ―It might look charming on you. It‘s whatever Felicia wishes – since she wants you to have it.‖ She avoided his warm gaze; and now he held the tallstemmed glass to her, filled to the brim. ―Thank you.‖ The liquid quivered only slightly in her grasp. ―This will be the best I ever tasted.‖ ―You haven‘t tasted it yet,‖ he said playfully. She brought the glass to her lips, then hesitated. ―I have. When Felicia‘s headaches are bad – she has me open some.‖ She sipped. After a flutter of lashes her eyes shone sensuously over the rim of the goblet. ―But now it tastes even better.‖ ―Does she still have her spells?‖ Della nodded. ―Today again – for a moment she thought she was going to faint. Then she came out of it.‖

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They finished their glasses of wine. Della went into the dining room to touch up the elaborate centerpiece. And the Judge went upstairs. Shortly after Della heard water draining from the upstairs pipes. Felicia and the Judge appeared in the dining room and took seats at the table. ―Have supper with us, Della,‖ the Judge said. ―Please do,‖ Felicia chimed in. Her face was scrubbed clean of makeup except for a touch of lipstick. Her long hair, dampened by the bath, was shortened into childish curls around her face. In her luxurious white gown with collar of pearls she reminded Della of a little girl playing grownup matron. Cissy served spinach potage, and then Lina carried out the empty soup dishes. Presently Cissy brought in a silver tureen holding chicken au vin in cream gravy, and a plate of wild rice centered among baby peas nestled in herb-simmered lettuce leaves. Della remarked that Felicia‘s gown was lovely. Mrs. Winterhouse revealed that it was a negligee, and that once she‘d even worn it to a dinner dance and no one had suspected, that she had in fact received compliments galore. Then Felicia spoke again of her phone call from Eben Crown. She leaned to one side of her chair so that she could see the Judge past the centerpiece. ―Darling, after sentencing those criminals, don‘t you ever get little pangs of – guilt – or doubt?‖ She looked over at Della. ―Poor Damon, how he must suffer to think he might have made a frightful mistake. Like – like that Carly Ravenue case.‖ Della fell silent. She felt it was improper for Felicia to be talking about courtroom cases at the dining table – while the Judge seemed to be enjoying his repast so thoroughly.


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Damon now ate stiffly, while Felicia jabbed her fork at the food and kept chattering. ―Wouldn‘t it be awful – to send that boy to the electric chair, and then find out later that he didn‘t rape that girl?‖ She looked up and her eyes widened at the thought. ―Oh!‖ she exclaimed as though she‘d just made a profound discovery, ―So that‘s why Eben Crown is so worried. He told me he was sure Carly is innocent. Poor Mr. Crown, what a burden to carry!‖ The Judge frowned, but withheld comment. Felicia again leaned to look past the centerpiece. ―Darling, what a terrible responsibility a trial like that must be for you. I never realized...‖ Damon put down his fork and stopped eating. ―The defendant in that case was fairly tried by a jury of twelve men. It was my duty to preside as the voice of the court. Now, may we change the subject, please.‖ But Felicia wasn‘t easily curbed. ―When you come right down to it, our society is still barbaric,‖ she said. ―Just think – an electric chair! And we call ourselves civilized.‖ Della had been picking at her plate uncomfortably. She looked quickly over to the Judge and hoped for a way to defend him, and at the same time divert Felicia. ―It seems unfair to me that our society should force good men to make decisions like that – between life or death,‖ she said. ―We debated capital punishment at Berkley. I was opposed to it then, and I...‖ ―How did you happen to go all the way to California for an education?‖ The Judge interrupted. ―Had relatives in San Francisco,‖ Della explained. ―They helped me get settled in school and find part time work. So I could pay my way. Papa insisted that I ‗escape‘ he called it. What he really meant of course, was leave the—‖ She paused

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to find the right words. ―—deep south. He always wanted to ‗git-away-north,‘ but farm and family held him. And he always thought I was something special. So my folks saved and deprived themselves for my education.‖ Both Winterhouses were listening intently. Della thought for a moment she might be prattling like Felicia; but the previous tension had been relieved and she decided to go on: ―I was raised on Papa‘s farm on the bayous. Thought everybody lived on boats ‗til I was thirteen. Papa had no cash crops, so he worked the canneries and extra jobs to earn my tuition and travel money. He worked, awfully hard, and I feel bad when I think how they sacrificed for me. Life on the farm was cruel – the winter rains, and the floods. I felt when I reached California I‘d escaped for good. Never expected to come back. It‘s different there. Then Mother got so very sick – there was no one but me to care for mon mére. She‘s better now. And so here I am, where I started – back in the deep south with it‘s—‖ ―Hospitality?‖ the Judge put in. Della smiled. Mon mére calls it something else. She‘s British and she—‖ ―But didn‘t you tell me you‘re Cajun?‖ Felicia broke in. Della nodded. ―From Papa‘s side. There‘s a lot of wild Indian in Papa. But he‘s French, too. And Spanish.‖ Felicia laughed. ―Then you‘re French, Spanish, Indian and British.‖ Della‘s chin tilted upward. ―And African. On Mama‘s side. She came from the British West Indies.‖ There was an awkward silence. Finally the Judge said: ―Did I hear you speaking French to the gardener?‖ Della nodded. ―Sometimes we switch to Spanish. Born on the bayous you learn everything.‖

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The Judge was now piling marmalade on a bit of bread stick, and Della changed the subject, saying that the rear landscape was improving beautifully under Carlos‘ care. And Della observed that whenever she made conversation, even when trite, Damon smiled his approval. And more than once she saw his stone-blue eyes on her low neckline. Della knew that the dress did reveal an ample portion of her full breasts‘ décolleté. ‗Why not be proud of them?‘ she thought. ‗Plunge necklines are stylish. I‘m sure that if Felicia thought this dress too daring she wouldn‘t have given it to me...‘ Before dessert, Felicia rose and excused herself, saying she had a headache and a dizzy feeling. She gave Damon a light peck on the cheek and said she was going to her room and try to read – that sometimes when she became interested in a book her migraine went away. While Cissy cleared off dinner plates by flickering candlelight, Della and the Judge remained at the table. He drummed his fingers on the linen. ―I‘m about Felicia. Her headaches are much too frequent.‖ Della remembered a friend in San Francisco who had suffered migraines, and a doctor had discovered a sinus problem; and she suggested that this might also be Felicia‘s trouble. Damon said, ―And you say she had another fainting spell today...‖ Della explained again that Felicia hadn‘t actually fainted, but had blacked out for a second or two. ―She recovers before she actually faints.‖ Her tone softened. ―I think she‘s worried about—‖ ―About what?‖ Della wet her lips. ―—It has something to do with business in Tennessee. There was a phone call today from Philadelphia.

Marty Holland

Naturally I didn‘t listen to what was said, but I kept hearing the word Tennessee.‖ The Judge nodded. ―Oh yes, the Tennessee land. Her grandfather gave her four-hundred-and-twenty thousand acres.‖ Della gasped. ―Four-hundred-and-twenty—― ―Quite a stretch of wilderness.‖ He chuckled. ―Worth about twenty dollars an acre right now, But one of these days it‘s going to be extremely valuable indeed.‖ ―Well – after that call she got a terrible headache. Then she phoned her father. And now I think I know what it was all about. The Philadelphia call was someone wanting to buy the Tennessee land. And she phoned her father for advice.‖ The Judge‘s eyes had darkened, and his voice was noticeably irritable. ―Why does she insist on concerning herself with business matters! I‘ll talk to her again about that when she feels better. This isn‘t the proper time to be disposing of that land.‖ ―It‘s an awful lot of land,‖ Della said. The Judge was silent, then suddenly threw down his napkin. ―Perhaps I‘d better phone her doctor. I am worried.‖ Della smiled. ―You haven‘t had dessert. And Cissy has prepared cherries flambé.‖ The Judge rose. ―I‘ll try and catch Dr. Fenton.‖ He took a few steps, then turned back and gave her a charming smile. ―I‘ll be back for brandy. And Della,‖ he added in tone lowered to a whisper. ―Your father was right. You are special.‖ He smiled again and left the room. *** In the upstairs library, Damon sat with phone in hand. His eyes roamed the high beam ceiling and down the rich wood paneling, to shelves of books, a framed photo of Governor

Baby Godiva

Farley Huntington. A large color picture of naval art – a 60foot motor yacht tied dockside, with the name GOLDEN STAR on her mirror-like transom. And Felicia and Damon, arm in arm, waving from the catwalk. ―Well, yes, Dr. Fenton,‖ he said calmly into the mouthpiece. ―I wouldn‘t have called this evening but the housekeeper just told me that there was another fainting spell today.‖ The black leather chair rotated slightly on its pivot; he looked past open French doors to the Orleans-pattern of the wrought iron railing. ―Yes, and a few nights ago Felicia was out on one of the upper galleries – I believe she doesn‘t realize the danger when she blacks out for moments...‖ Silently Damon closed the door. ―I realize that. Unfortunately she‘d had a few glasses of champagne and I found myself making a running tackle to hold her.‖ His voice lowered. ―The railing is only waist-high; she might have taken a fall over the side. It shook me up considerably. I think my world would end if anything should happen to—‖ He listened, then: ―Oh, I‘m sorry, didn‘t realize you were sitting down to supper.‖ After a moment he continued: ―I‘ve said everything except she still has the migraines. I‘ll find a way to get her in as soon as possible. Thank you, Doctor.‖ His eyes turned upward and gleamed reflectively as they fixed on the sleek bulwark of the Golden Star. She was a lot of boat for one man to handle, but Felicia was a fair sailor. And he‘d make one of Della.


leaves of the Water Oaks fading gold.. For a moment he dazed off into a half dream. Without being able to swim I dog-paddled out a mile. Damn near drowned. Not me. ―Like in high school.‘ He saw Blue Beeches turning red and orange. With sheer guts I made it back to shore before I collapsed. Rizzo singing and laughing as they worked side by side. Carly.‖ Carly felt he had to respond. And faintly he smelled the murky Red River.. thought of the old oak at the farm. ‗Duke‘s prob‘ly choppin‘ off the top for firewood. I wanted the moon – without learnin‘ to fly. standing at his cell window. When the exams came I guessed my way through – and got a B average. ―I remember the first time my mother took me on a picnic to the gulf. think I‘d been smart enough to know I couldn‘t attain the impossible. I wasn‘t even serious in college..Marty Holland Chapter 28 IT WAS AUTUMN. with Diamond pulling the plow. turning on relief valves of mental defense. You‘d.‖ he was saying. and then his imagination began working in high gear. A week later I pulled the same stunt. In the world of his subconscious he saw himself and Rizzo tending the fields... that I‘d have to learn to swim before attempting it again.. ―The crazy stuff we did when we were kids.‖ ―It ain‘t so hard to swim. Never opened a book.‖ 234 . the brown furrowed bark of the Slippery Elms – the Chinaberry tree by the barn. Then he saw the barred window and was forced back to reality by Rizzo‘s voice from his bunk next door.

the thought of whining. Carly. ―That all it says?‖ Carly asked. Peter. Your new date has been set for December 16. I‘ll file this in my office. then saw the slight forlorn figure of Father Casale approaching the cells. ―You have nothing to fear. But this plea had not impressed the man of the 235 . ―You want me to read it?‖ ―Yeh.‖ ―Peck unfolded the yellow paper.‖ ―Yeah. Signed Eben Crown. ―Only now we pray to the Governor. Carlton – if you‘ll place your faith in God.‘ The Sheriff smiled wryly.‖ Although raised Catholic. begging and groveling before any man was intolerable. ―Says here—‖ He read: ‗Conviction upheld. God Huntington. And now.‖ Peck said. but hid behind St. why didn‘t he get the church to hire a lawyer that specialized in petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the Federal Court. Carly. ―Now you know when you‘re gettin‘ out of here. his small reddish face pinched with concern. It was like talking to a jelly fish. ―‗Nother telegram from your lawyer. ―You been notified now. Father?‖ The Priest. studied Carly. ―All?‖ Rizzo laughed hollowly. followed by Sheriff Peck. He remembered when. he had during a weak moment blubbered to Casale that he wasn‘t ready to die. And he‘d further told the Priest that if he really wanted to help.Baby Godiva Carly opened his mouth to say something.‖ As Peck moved off. Father Casale edged in closer. before Carly had arrived.‖ Rizzo wheezed. James and St. And Rizzo wanted no part of spiritual comfort. The Priest‘s meek voice and shy expression left him with a desperate feeling. Rizzo had always resisted confession. that the electric chair was beneath human dignity. Casale wouldn‘t argue manlike. Right.

Scuffing his shoes on cement he moved through the corridor and into the sheriff‘s office. he had advised Rizzo to accept his fate: death as punishment for his sins. will help you through this ordeal. Deputy Lucas left his listening post in the third cell of the high risk section. and further explained that Rizzo would be spending time again in purgatory before he could know God‘s Heaven.‖ ―Ag‘in the rules for outsiders to bring grub for the fish. 236 . ―You get drunk waitin‘! Each day you get more drunk.Marty Holland cloth. opened.‖ ―The sheriff won‘t permit it. edging closer to Casale. Lucas approached them. sidemeat and molasses. And after this reminder.‖ Father Casale said quietly. By the time you make it out of here you‘re a basket case!‖ He was on his feet. White meat. ―And you inform your church that the meals we get in here aren‘t fit for hogs. Finding Deputy Virgil and the sheriff engaged in a game of checkers.‖ Peck said authoritatively. Carlton. Each day numbs you a little more. Father. I asked you to bring in some ice cream. White meat. Chocolate. Rizzo began to regard Casale as an enemy. a door and slammed it noisily. with all His mercy.‖ the Priest was saying. *** Cautiously. With this damn jail food you go into a toxic stupor. I asked you to bring me a slice of turkey. ―God. Rabbit. An‘ ice cream. face flushed: ―Rizzo‘s askin‘ Father Casale fer turkey ag‘in.‖ Rizzo chortled. ―Yeah. disguising his interloping to appear as if he‘d come from the shower room. He crept to the left.

Ravenue. Eben still stood at 237 .‖ ―Go git Carlton. Carly‘s lawyer‘s pullin‘ in. ―Aw.‖ *** With hands on hips. showing his huge teeth. fudge! Now you kin jump me! You win ag‘in. Lucas.‖ ―Jeez!‖ Lucas drawled.‖ With keys jingling. Virgil.‖ ―I say stop threatnin‘ and proceed!‖ Virgil‘s loose wide mouth had flapped open. made a wrong play. ―I gotta fix the window out front. Go shut him up.‖ The inner door swung open. Threaten him with Siberia ag‘in. Givin‘ this jail a bad name. Lucas. ―Hurry it up.. ―Been ag‘in the rules ever since Dolly Potter slipped that little saw in her chocolate cake. then I gotta be gittin‘ down to the saloon. Carly sauntered in tough-guy stance toward the sheriff‘s office. Peck.‖ ―Hear that?‖ Virgil cocked an ear listening. He saw Eben Crown standing behind the barred door. chewing a short piece of wood.‖ Peck gathered the checkers onto the board and carried it to a table by the window.‖ He saw that he‘d. Your lawyer‘s here. ―He won‘t be ‗round long now.Baby Godiva ―Yeh.‖ He glanced out the window. ―Yank the Prince down there! Know what the low skunk said to me this mornin‘? I was inside fixin‘ the plumbin‘ and when I was bendin‘ over. Rizzo had the gall to tell me I got a ass like a woman!‖ ―Cool it. ―He won‘t git no grub a‘tall if he keeps actin‘ smart-ass. Deputy Lucas opened Carly‘s cell door.‖ Virgil put in with a grin. ―You should‘a heard Rizzo tellin‘ the Priest he‘s gittin‘ hog slop. Carly breezed past his lawyer and plunked down in the sheriff‘s desk chair. Crown. ―And dummy up. He made a checker move.‖ Peck continued. Talkin‘ loud.‖ Peck said. ―Hello. ―It‘s Rizzo.

there was the prosecutor‘s statement that you were running away when apprehended at La Marche Crossing. ―You‘re looking good. They refused to review.‖ ―Now. Then. I‘ll tell Peck to let you have them. It usually takes dramatically important new evidence to get a Supreme Court review. It didn‘t. by virtue of the fact that all evidence against you was circumstantial.Marty Holland the inner door. But we did get a stay. I want to fill you in on what‘s been happening since I was here last. You know the State Supreme Court turned down our appeal. looking through the bars toward the maximum security cells. the court‘s final instructions to the jury. Eben was watching Rizzo lounging in his cell. Are you with me. Carly. There is no evidence to 238 . all this violated your constitutional rights. Eben sought to compensate with a bouncy optimistic attitude. You got my wire on that?‖ ―Yeh. And we claimed your confession was coerced.‖ Down the hall. Crown smiled his greeting. A box of chocolate bars too. Everything been okay here?‖ ―Yeh. Carly?‖ ―Yeh. Then noting Carly‘s stiffness. outlining possible verdicts.‖ ―In our appeal to the State Supreme. And lastly. I‘d expected a turndown. to the Board of Pardons and the governor. And that we didn‘t have. we claimed you‘d been deprived of due process of law by the police in their refusing you counsel before you made your confession. And that gives us time to present the same arguments. They‘re being processed by the deputy. and some new ones too. that was no real surprise. In other words. ―I brought some magazines. should have included an alternate of mercy.‖ ―Well.

It‘s a pain in the ass. ―You‘ve changed a bit.. since my last visit. he‘s a good man. ―If it wasn‘t for him – I‘d go plum nuts. ―Jail is a sonofabitch. That was really what he came for today. gulped. Yet it was stated as a fact in the prosecutor‘s argument. as Rizzo did sometimes.‖ 239 . and on Governor Huntington... One word from him and we‘ll get heard in high places. Jes‘ ain‘t dumb no more. Carly?‖ He wanted to hear the boy talk. ―You want to be like that? Like Rizzo?‖ ―Rizzo?‖ Carly was resentful. Introduced a racial issue unconstitutionally. Carly. ―Ain‘t changed. prevented you from having a fair and impartial trial.‖ Crown smiled with effort. to Rizzo. Carly?‖ ―To tell you the truth. And this is what we‘re using on the Board of Pardons.‖ Eben stared. The prisoner still said nothing. I‘m working on Winterhouse now. He‘s my friend. ―Now. Mister Crown. then studied the boy through half closed eyes. that the Longquist testimony prejudiced the Jury beyond recall. ―Does any of this make sense to you.‖ The prisoner spit out the piece of wood and looked straight ahead.Baby Godiva support this. and Crown gave him a nervous shoulder pat.. Carly. ―Can you wait it out. in addition to all this.‖ Carly was talking out of the side of his mouth. Really. Mister Crown. and this is most important. then looked back. ―All this. Carly.‖ Eben peered down the hall. That Judge Winterhouse should have granted my motion for a mistrial ipso facto. my new brief includes the claim. He‘s very influential with Huntington.

He talks fast. Rizzo says. On the farm I ‗member how I used to drop a pecan in the well. or a bug in the mattress. He slid into a chair left of Carly and placed an elbow on the blotter pad. watches out his little window a lot. but it never splashes.. It‘s so lonesome here. In jail.‘‖ He took a breath. We don‘t kill ‗em.‖ He pointed to the cement floor. jes‘ – jes‘ to keep goin‘.Marty Holland Eben felt his heart wrench. or that little spider right over there. You kin watch it. and hours pass. Where does it end? Rizzo says when you look far as you kin – that‘s a horizon. ―So you look ‗round for anythin‘ to think ‗bout. you keep lookin‘ for small things to put your mind to.‖ Carly gestured toward the hall. Mister Crown.. Not the kind Ma used to say ‗bout violets and spring – but dark soundin‘ words – like bastards and stinkers. and that takes up some time. and purty soon I‘m swearin‘ – like Rizzo. Jes‘ that crack there. He rubs ‗em on the floor. You drop the nut in the well. ‗Hell. Mister Crown. Sometimes he swears real quiet-like fer a spell.‖ He seemed to be the old Carly again. But when you‘re busy you ain‘t got no time to think ‗bout dyin‘. And I think ‗bout it.. ―We pitch pennies a lot. his left hand held his forehead. ―Rizzo there. Mister 240 . ―Then I stand at the window. let ‗em live. sands ‗em smooth.. Them kind‘a words. ―It ain't like that here. ―Days is awful long. Rizzo's got a lot‘a hate inside him caus‘ he don‘t wanna die! Every mornin‘ he reaches out that window and tears long slivers‘a wood off‘a the sill. I‘d hold my breath and listen hard for it to splash. Sometimes he makes up poems. Now and then he stole furtive glances as the prisoner began to express his feelings: ―Rizzo helps me with the waitin‘.‖ His eyes came up slowly. I‘m learnin‘ lots‘a stuff. Then we kin pick our teeth. but a day‘s a year. Lookin‘ up at the little bit of sky I kin see. or that grease spot over there – or even a skeeter.

―I‘ll have to start feeding Ellie and the kids again pretty soon. ―Well. the case has just about run its course. Before Carly come he was yellin‘ down to the other fish. Stuff I never knowed. I‘m not a rich man. I‘ve asked the Legal Aid Society for help. The lawyer expelled a deep breath.‖ Peck looked off in thought.‖ Crown‘s face took on determination. And Carly 241 .‖ But the prisoner had again seen mist in the lawyer‘s eyes. ―Sheriff. Together they‘re right nice – ‗cept Rizzo‘s a blabbermouth.‖ Eben took a few steps off.‖ Crown grinned. Sheriff.. then walked back to Peck. He just couldn‘t take it any longer. He‘s got Carly cornered. do you think Carly ought to be jailed next to Rizzo? A character like that. one eye twitching.‖ Eben was rising.. turning his face.‖ ―Think I should move Carly?‖ ―Do you?‖ ―Kin do anythin‘ I dern please. and I‘ve carried these appeals on my own. *** Walking morosely along under the pepper trees toward his car. I think ‗bout that horizon – and I kin wonder a long time – what happens when you git to it? I guess you jes‘ keep walkin‘ toward it and it jes‘ keeps gittin‘ further away. Crown ran into Sheriff Peck. There‘s a file on Rizzo as long as your arm. Reason was they found nothing irregular in the trial transcript. We‘ve been denied a new hearing. I‘m leaving now. At this late stage. ―All I do know is I‘m not giving up. ―But I don‘t reckon I should. I‘ll keep in touch. So it‘s better lak this. ―How‘s things comin‘ for Carly?‖ Peck inquired. We‘ll try to get our arguments before the Board of Pardons – and there‘s other things we‘re doing – but I don‘t know.Baby Godiva Crown. ―Carly. but they‘re bogged down – and slow.

―When a youngblood screws a teener down here.‖ Eben turned and hurried to his car and didn‘t look back. let‘s not change that. And the feelin‘ is mutual.Marty Holland likes to listen. Jist hast to git close.‖ ―That‘s the way it is.‖ ―Well.‖ Eben turned back. and his left eyelid twitched. Crown. Rizzo‘d burn twice if it‘d save that kid. Crown. that‘s all there is.‖ Eben gave the sheriff a short salute and started again for his car. A real friendship. And the kid worships the Prince. He‘d made three steps before he heard Peck call tersely: ―Say. ―Would you mind some advice from a fat hick-town sheriff?‖ Peck paused. ―Never seen nothin‘ lak it. Jest a minute. Quit wastin‘ yer time. Fergit it. and Peck moved in close. Rizzo‘s took the kid under his wing lak‘a eagle takes in a baby crow. eh?‖ The sheriff nodded. Fergit it. ―But the boy didn‘t do it!‖ ―Doesn‘t hast to. They both need all the love they can get. Crown. Lak I told you. ‗Specially since the rumor. 242 .‖ Crown‘s face was dead serious.

They had lain on their bunks stagnating.” Rizzo said bitterly. Rizzo clowning with Peck and deputies – but the shadow of the chair was inching forward hour by hour. “All twilight. talking. And in daydreams Carly was recapturing the freedom of the farm. A crisp day with off and on rain. He was thinner.” Carly knew that the weight of the chair was crushing Rizzo. Carly and Rizzo had spoken only a few words to each other since breakfast. all blue yesterday. feeling thankful that he still had time for it. lagging pennies. 243 . gone now.” he said. Now Rizzo was up from his cot. Carly and Rizzo had said very little all day. was clouded today. until the first of December was here. they always brought in unpleasantness. faces grim. Both were holding onto memories – both lying quietly – Rizzo breathing deeply. Carly opened his eyes and stared idly out the window. Time was all they dreamed about. hungered for. Last night‟s batch of drunks. “What a stupid way to die. His piece of sky. his face was as gray as his thoughts. Days were passing fast now. “No days any more. They had avoided it – laughing. Neither had talked about it very often lately. had been noisy. interrupted serenity of thought – marred precious moments.Baby Godiva Chapter 29 DECEMBER‟S GRAY TINTED THE SMALL BARRED WINDOWS. Weeks had clicked by.

„But he‟s lookin‟ bad. The rain was on again. the toilet. Pinky was back in on another charge. “They‟ve got this thing over with. Senses had become sharpened. Carly‟s concern was all for Rizzo.. First it was flecks of green on the hill. became symbols of security.” Carly still stared out the window. Days went like that. through a wasteland of time‟ hear prisoners moving about and cussing loud. Carly remembered the corn after planting time.Marty Holland “I‟m beginning to envy the dead. When them searchin‟ eyes look at me. Getting‟ paler. The resident pothead was yelling again. As the dreaded day for Rizzo grew nearer. not for himself. But now it was going too fast. quite a lot happened: the wind blew harder and rain crashed down. With same routine. And suddenly Lucas was rattling supper plates. And through it a siren screamed down the alley. hanging on cell bars. cheeks sunk in. and when you move in to grasp it between thumb and forefinger it‟s gone. During the first few months time had dragged. Like a lighted moth with wings still. same monotony. and the next time you looked it was tall as your eye. eared in its sheath. And an acute awareness of even smallest things was eagerly savored. values seemed to change.‟ Carly thought. As evening fell. gold tassels hanging.” Rizzo said in helpless fury. I jes‟ „bout crumble thinkin‟ he‟s goin‟. Gradually the bunks. Carly searched for something to think about. He‟s got a 244 .. and he could almost feel and smell it. They rolled like tumbleweeds. Days were passing so fast it was difficult for Carly to keep track. Morning – then night quickly passed. the wood stool. You‟d wake up and eat and. He faced each hour at a time. „He‟s so full‟a life. And it was getting hard to judge what time of day it was.

“How often she visit you?” Carly shrugged. He was about ready to say that if the kid wasn‟t bull-shittin‟. “Sometimes she jes‟ looks in and waves.” "Just lets you know she‟s floating around?” “Yeh.‟ This wave of depression left them listless.Baby Godiva fire in him. Languidly checking the lines they‟d both drawn to see which one‟s pebble was closest. He laughed so hard that tears sprang in his eyes. and kept laughing. Carly waved toward the window. Guess I never did have a fire in me. Ma don‟t want me to worry.. 245 . Carly wondered if Rizzo wasn‟t aiming carelessly just to let him win. he was in serious psychotic trouble.” “Who‟s Diamond?” “My horse. But still he kept laughing. “What the hell you doin‟?” Rizzo asked abruptly. From outside they heard the wind whining over the flat roof of the jail. “Jes‟ wavin‟ goodbye to Ma. he was laughing. eh?” Yeh. if he really believed his mother was around in some ethereal form. or I‟d learned more. hissing.” Rizzo‟s eyes lighted strangely. Rizzo hates to die. But remembering the futility he changed his mind and said.” “Your Ma – she keeps you posted. And he thought Carly had better snap out of it before he became a regular dingbat. He turned his face away and then he couldn‟t help it. sometimes warning that there would be no escape.” Rizzo gaped. Taunting.. Then it sang in low wails of an old Mammy‟s lullaby. Jes‟ tells me what Duke‟s doin‟ – how the crops‟s comin‟ – tells me Diamond‟s okay. Then they both began to pitch pebbles. Carly smiled. He grabbed the bars and tried to shake them.

“That Rizzo‟s a bastard. you should‟a heard Rizzo.” Virgil snorted.” “Hell. Did‟ya ever hear such crazy goin‟s on?” “They‟s jest gettin‟ desperate..” “Gittin‟ so they believe their own lies.” Virgil commented with mouth cram-full.Marty Holland *** “Listen t‟ that sonofabitch. Virgil. Jest listenin‟ to the rain and goin‟ to bed. If we was caged up. “Carly says he‟s puttin‟ all his faith in his Ma. “Ain‟t that raw? Rizzo said if he didn‟t tell his lawyer all that stuff – to git Crown back here and spill it. Face flushed. It‟s a helluva life.” the Sheriff said.” He saw Virgil‟s indignant expression. facin‟ the „lectric chair next week.” Virgil said to Sheriff Peck. asked him to git on top‟a her. “Sounds kind‟a hysteer-acle don‟t he?” “Aw. 246 . “I feel sorry for the Prince.” “Like what?” Virgil had pulled a sandwich out of his hip pocket..” Lucas‟ eyes bulged. “Said first day he seen that Godie she asked him to play house. blubberin‟ like a idiot! Then Carly started tellin‟ him stuff he never even bothered to tell his own lawyer. we night not be so level-headed neither.” Lucas wrinkled his face. He unfolded wax paper and took a huge bite. he gestured broadly: “My Gawd. that is. He knows damn well she‟s dead.” Sheriff Peck philosophized. “Gittin‟ jus‟ what‟s comin‟ to „em!” Thirty minutes later. Deputy Lucas slid away from his eaves-dropping post and hurried into the Sheriff‟s office. “Sometimes.

‖ her voice floated over from inside. ―Christmas always sneaks in. He sighed tiredly. dear. ―What did Dr. dear. pensively. Fenton have to say?‖ ―Didn‘t get to the doctor. He‘s expecting us at the Governor‘s fund-raising ball. ―You‘re not still sulking about last night—‖ He spoke quietly. ―Goodnight.‖ ―I won‘t be down. He hesitated.‖ ―I‘ll look in after supper. books piled around. You need a tonic of good salt air. I‘m thinking of you.‖ ―Christmas? I was hoping we could have an outing before then. 247 .‖ ―It‘ll be here before we know it. ―There‘s some notes on your desk.‖ she replied indifferently. In lace negligee she sat cross-legged in the middle of her huge bed. Felicia. ―Supper is ready.‖ she said flatly.‖ He lingered.Baby Godiva Chapter 30 JUDGE WINTERHOUSE knocked lightly on the door of the master bedroom. It would do you so much good.‖ He closed the door and went to his room. And said he and Clarise are spending Christmas in Maine and you can plan on taking the cruiser over the holidays. ―I told you how very sorry I am. then turned the knob and stuck his head in the doorway. Judge Matthewson called.‖ ―I‘ll be asleep. it‘ll be one of those hundred-dollar-a-plate dinner affairs at the capitol.‖ she said flippantly.

touching the napkin daintily to the side of her lovely lips. It was rather shocking to view Della sitting across from him wearing the dinner gown he had once loved so much on Felicia. well-modulated. how Felicia could be so unappreciative of her good fortune. then added: ―But I love her very much.‖ Della sat across from him. carrying silver tureens. And the Judge was noting a marked change in Della: immaculately groomed as always – but a certain chic-ness was added.‖ He looked up to see Cissy entering. And he observed that she spooned her potage with deliberation. to perceive how any woman could be so enriched as to have a man so strong and tender as a mate – and beyond that. Della was standing at the buffet. What had momentarily startled Damon was her gown – a cornflower blue silk with ruffle of lace at the neck. ―Mrs.Marty Holland Ten minutes later he was seated at the dining table with centerpiece of camellias. ―She won‘t be down. Her complexion seemed different. as if she‘d applied a lighter makeup. Her voice was low. her reflection in the gold frame mirror making a striking picture. She sat as a princess. holding her head high. easily. Winterhouse isn‘t feeling well. conversation flowed.‖ He noted Cissy again.‖ Damon sipped his wine. ―Felicia has to be humored like a child. an array of various cheeses on silver platter. she‘d worn 248 . fresh fruit in crystal dish with grapes overhanging. shoulders squared. Should I take a tray up?‖ ―She doesn‘t want to be disturbed. She dipped a silver ladle into a bowl and while serving potage studied Damon‘s handsome features and tried. pouring red Madeira into sparkling goblets. crusty French bread. her lipstick orange.‖ ―Oh? I‘m sorry.

He found. educated as well. ‗she hadn‘t worn it since. When all was quite in order. ‗Truly. she was relegated. Two candelabrums illuminated the room. Her poise and grace of movement was enchanting. she would not be back until much later.‘ he decided. it had also sparked his imagination. ‗Beautiful on Della. this creature would be exquisite. Here. All through dinner Damon had been observing Della closely.. ‗Come to think of it. Prisms of the chandelier broke up the light in tiny sunbursts of color. Then she served butter-simmered artichoke hearts in small vegetable dishes. a sleek and stunning coiffure. as she was – in the south.‘ he thought. ‗It was a matter of geography.Baby Godiva it twice during their honeymoon in Athens. ―Thank you. ‗a superior intellect. sparkled like gems.‖ Cissy left for her room. ‗here is a rare and beauteous woman. her every feature a thing of beauty. you may be excused.‘ he mused. I‘ll pour the Judge‘s coffee..‘ Now Della had fallen heir to it. to turn on TV. ma‘m?‖ She wanted to please Della and had accepted her complete authority. And—‘ Thoughts raced on. Cissy had brought in the covered entree and was tending service needs. ―Will that be all. She‘d been right. the midnight blue ceiling cast flickering glints.' The wine had improved their repartee. almost analytically. In Corfu? Commanding – queen of all she 249 . and refilled wine glasses.‘ he reflected. she asked Della sweetly. Della served roast pheasant onto glistening china and added a spoonful of corn soufflé before setting the plate before Damon. His eyes narrowed as he continued his appraisal from across the table: In another setting. and their reflections made Della‘s eyes shine dark blue. dear. Her lustrous hair shone black and was combed straight.

dear.‖ She sipped her wine. Not on a fancy motor yacht. You will come along?‖ ―Oh yes. Felicia told me she‘d be back from Boston for Christmas. All we had was pirogues and flat-bottoms. and in the jet set from Naples to Rome to Paris! His consciousness was penetrated by the mention of Felicia and he abruptly returned to the real and present. "I lived on the water as a girl. In December.‖ ―Oh. then – maybe it will work out after all.‖ he added. And I‘ve gathered that 250 . that certainly spoils the yachting.‖ Della had said casually. A holiday outing ought to do us all good.Marty Holland would survey. Della.‖ She smiled happily. Mr.‖Almond eyes wavered uncertainly..‖ Della looked up.‖ She set down her glass. Damon. ―She feels you don‘t want her to go. ―Well. and now had access to it over the holidays. and all the Aegean. ―But Mr.‖ He raised his glass in toast: ―Christmas on the Golden Star. too?‖ He explained that it was Judge Matthewson‘s cruiser and that he and Felicia had taken it out several times. Crown. ―Mrs. ―All of us.‖ His brow creased. Damon. You too. ―That lawyer. ―There‘s something else – perhaps I should tell you. I can‘t help overhearing conversations at times. seems to be calling Miss Felicia quite a lot. It has to do with that Ravenue case. ―You are a yachtsman. She did mention it a time or two.‖ ―Why – I‘d forgotten. Athens? Yes. Winterhouse seems worried about her Boston trip. A birthday for her father. ―Well.‖ The Judge studied her.‖ ―Then plan on it.. how wonderful. ―I‘d planned a Christmas party on the gulf. then: ―Mr.‖ They drank. I love the sea.

up close to watch.‖ ―Well. ―You‘re a lovely sensible girl. Della – how kind you are.‖ She avoided his ardent gaze.‖ ―Why. then refrained. then to the parted lips of her upturned face. The burden you must carry – how deeply it would hurt you to sentence to death an innocent person. ―There‘s something that concerns me a great deal. past pantry shelves and an outside transom window. I‘ve worried about it. ―Please believe I‘m concerned only for you.‖ All at once the Judge became serious. let‘s get out of the courtroom.. ―I‘ve been steering clear. ―Now.‖ She began to pour coffee.‖ She smiled into his eyes. Roughly he grabbed 251 .‖ She continued slowly.‖ Damon wasn‘t interested. smiling.‖ He pressed her arm. ―It‘s the very thought of what Felicia said.Baby Godiva Mr. Della had moved. He heard her breathing and her presence became intolerably magnetic. When they reached the open shelves of racked wines Damon began turning the bottles. Felicia did bring it up – again last evening. It will go well with demitasse. my dear.‖ *** On the basement ceiling was a single amber light bulb with chain hanging to pull it on. ―Yes. through cellar smells. scanning labels. In the dull amber glare she was irresistible. Crown dropped by to see Felicia. A horror like that would desolate me if you were hurt. today Mr. His eyes turned slowly to her shoulders and to the curve of her breasts showing above her gown.‖ He rose and went to her with tenderness. ―It devastates me. Della had followed Damon down the steps. Crown is asking Felicia to influence you to speak to the Governor about commuting a sentence. There‘s some rare old peach liqueur in the cellar..

Still adjusting her hair and gown. Quickly Damon pulled off the light. ―Whatever were you doing in the cellar?‖ Della struggled for composure.. ―It‘s Felicia. ―Della. ―Darling. will a gator swim?‖ He was fumbling with the snaps of her gown.‖ Felicia was entering from the hall. Can‘t find him. there you are. As he touched new bare flesh he heard her hoarse reply: ―M‘sieu.‖ Della‘s voice trembled. ―Oh. Della moved slowly up the stairway to the kitchen. and without a sound kissed the fullness of her breasts.Marty Holland her slim waist. ―Just ran down to turn off the light. ―Didn‘t want to disturb her program. again and again. will you have me?‖ She made no attempt to resist.‖ she murmured. I‘ve waited so long for this.‖ ―Shall I ask her to turn it down?‖ 252 . Then bracing herself she stepped into the light of the kitchen. she does have it on awfully loud. When he found her lips she pressed her mouth savagely to his.. Did you want something?‖ ―Yes. Then he explored her further and whispered: ―Mignon. My.. Then his mouth was traveling the cradle of her neck and throat. dear..‖ Then a repeat. and her flushed hot face to cool..‖ She looked toward the closed door where at the end of the kitchen came the sound of television blaring. There was a scramble of straightening and smoothing of clothing as hearts beat wildly. Before opening the door she stood stalk-still as long as she dared for time to allow her heartbeat to quiet. Damon. ―Della.. cramming his body against hers. I was about to ask Cissy if she saw him go out. He responded by holding her tighter.‖ came a soft voice from the top of the stairs.

‖ She sank in the sofa. And tonight he came home tapping at my door as if nothing had happened. I didn't speak to the old bear at breakfast.Baby Godiva ―Oh. ―He always sits there.‖ Her exotic perfume was filling the room.‖ *** The full lace sleeve of Felicia‘s robe unfolded as she pointed to the vacant easy chair by the fireplace. brushed back hair that had fallen across her face.‖ ―Felicia.‖ ―Perhaps Mr. ―It isn‘t like him to go out like this. ―Damon has never left like this – without a word.‖ Della couldn‘t help smiling.‖ ―I awakened. toward the dining room. ―You think he‘s mean? Why. Of all things I dreamed about an electric chair!‖ Della turned sharply. And last night he snapped my head off just because I told him something Eben Crown had said. Della. and ran to Damon‘s room.‖ The pale hand.‖ Felicia pouted. Felicia – down in the bayous I‘ve seen men beat their women half to death.‖ ―I checked both studies. Every time that lawyer calls you‘re upset. Let‘s not do that. I had the most frightful dream.‖ Della moved. I must put it out of my mind. Even throw them over the side of the boat. Winterhouse‘s in the upstairs library. ―Let‘s look. with third flinger revealing a large sparkling diamond.‖ ―Then he‘s fallen asleep in the music room. ―He detests walking. ―What a terrible nightmare. He isn‘t himself lately. And then the women came crawling back – to their men. you really must stop thinking about that Ravenue case. crying. He was almost brutal.‖ ―Yes. no.‖ ―He‘s probably out walking. ―Where is he? Oh.‖ ―Monsters: But does it excuse Damon!" 253 .

please.‖ Della said. there was mention of it in the newspaper. ―Eben says that when that girl Godiva fell from the tree she was unconscious. ―that Carly had a little African blood – like me.‖ Felicia nodded. Della.‖ ―But he‘s so very worried. Della. Eben said the brain-washed jury was already prejudiced. don‘t even talk to him. The trial lasted only a few days. Felicia saying. ―to execute an innocent boy.‖ ―Then why wasn‘t that brought out in court?‖ Felicia frowned." Della misunderstood.‖ ―But the Governor and Damon are – friends.‖ Della stood rigidly.‖ ―Why not? And do you know what he told me today?‖ ―Felicia.‖ ―Well. So it‘s up to the Governor. Della heard the Judge mumbling something and slamming the door behind him. please tell him you‘re ill. ―Della was 254 . and that‘s when Damon got mad – when I‘d merely suggested that he speak to Farley.‖ she said slowly.‖ She shuddered.‖ Front doorbell chimes sounded.Marty Holland Della stood at the fireplace. ―Didn't realize. ―Eben Crown?‖ ―No. Felicia sprang up and ran out into the foyer.‖ ―It surely would. Not Carly. And somebody else was in the shadows and could have raped her. Della. ―Eben Crown keeps you upset. And Carly is just a boy of eighteen. the boy – Carly Ravenue! Eben said this case demonstrates our double standard of justice. Damon said he had no sway with Farley. ―I was trying to tell Damon last night that Eben can‘t get anywhere with his appeals. no. and her eyes shone darkly. That‘s Eben Crown‘s whole point. It was when you first came here.‖ ―He said the reason Carly got the death sentence – was because it was rumored he‘s part mulatto.‖ ―It would be a terrible thing. ―It was.‖ ―When he phones again.

" Della moved to the stairway and stood looking up after them. 255 .. Then in slow thoughtful motions she turned out the lights and went to her rooms. I had a terrible dream. ―I needed you.Baby Godiva right – you did go for a walk.." And as they went up the stairway Felicia‘s whine.

Judge Winterhouse looked out from his window seat to the waters of Lake Ponchartrain. feigning health reasons. The Tennessee land! Title to the stock controlling these riches was held jointly by himself 256 . and great need for a prolonged rest. His share of the financing had been arranged. After Christmas he would resign his Judgeship. Plans for his partnership with Otho had been settled. He was committed. and further beyond he could see the shore line of Lake Cataouatche. Next he would commence severing business and social connections for reasons of fatigue and shock. And then the spent Mississippi. on a month’s notice. he had closed his briefcase and settled back in his seat for the coming landing. his absolute need. A precise timetable would guide his every move from this moment on. for the one single asset that would provide collateral for his princely venture. Overriding all else – transcending everything was his need. There would be no turning back now. As the ship banked into its traffic pattern. When the no smoking signs lighted. looping the city of New Orleans. Then he would quietly liquidate investments and assets of his own. The last two days had been exhilarating. Cash to be raised from these transactions could be a goodly sum.Marty Holland Chapter 31 THE NEW YORK AIRLINER was letting down preparatory to landing at Moisant International. And in a few short months he would join Otho in Athens – his dream was coming true. but only a fraction of what was needed in Athens.

there was none. she would disappear without trace! Oh. its narrow catwalks. he realized there was really only one alternative. And he was now prepared to go to any length to push his plans to conclusion! It would be easy! Christmas. When the ship finally came to a halt at the terminal. With its low railings. For months he'd studied his options – ways and means to control this vital key..on the Golden Star.. he was donning his overcoat for disembarking. It maddened him that there was no other way. That would be utterly unthinkable. and the prize was his! On the open sea of the gulf. After a short wait for luggage. heading toward St. He knew too well that Felicia would never in a thousand years permit her interest in Grandpa’s to be used in financing such a dream.. And finally to his dismay. But. he was in his Continental and on the expressway.. 257 . and alone. Tiberius and home. powerful engines and lunging speed! A single slip... there would be a race to shore – to report the accident! And there would be a searching of the open sea area by the Coast Guard! But nothing would be found! The bouncing of the plane’s undercarriage on the concrete runway aroused the Judge from his thoughts.Baby Godiva and Felicia. It would be folly to ask – even more foolish knowing his plans excluded her. or push over the rail.

‖ Della looked over curiously. Winterhouse emerged from the spacious sunken Roman tub. then leaned forward to pull on a tunic blouse.Marty Holland Chapter 32 THE HI-FI PLAYED SOFTLY. Della. You must see Athens. Della – the Acropolis and its temples.. let‘s pack my tangerine backless satin for that.. standing inside the bedroom closet. ―Daddy‘s favorite.. but please don‘t forget the wool suits. It‘s snowing in Boston. ―Mumsie‘s having dinner guests from the Norwegian Embassy on the twentieth.. was removing items of feminine wardrobe from their hangers. on the floor. ―Yes. ―Did you want to pack all on this side?‖ She indicated a trunk. There‘s something romantic about a mixture of the old and the new. One of those very chic shops.‖ 258 . Has to be formal.‖ Della.‖ She tossed a white-and-gold chiffon into the open trunk. and to be back home again. Mrs. Wearing only a yellow net bath turban with gold sequins cascading. you know. nearby.‖ she called through the open doorway. ―Bought it for me in Athens during the festival season. ―I thought you were in Athens with Damon. Such lovely people – bring the quaintest gifts. Felicia thrust long bare limbs into green hostess pajamas.‖ She entered the bedroom and stood rummaging through the walk-in closet. ―I‘ll be so pleased to see DaDa. ―I‘ll adore seeing them again. Stepping up onto a white velvet bath mat she grabbed a fringed towel and vigorously began drying herself.

But Damon had this college chum from L.C. Can you wear it?‖ Della missed a flying ball of fur.‖ She stroked it tenderly.‖ ―On your honeymoon? Why – that‘s unheard of. then tried it on at the mirror. He took us to the night spots—‖ She smiled reminiscently.. ―Mink hat. She picked it up from the carpet. Of course he had to pop off and find Otho. I had a scrawny honeymoon – with that damn Otho hanging on. ―—the roof taverns below the Acropolis.S. Then of course Damon ran off with him for two weeks. I heard of nothing else in Athens – Otho Macklin – and he was the most handsome bachelor. ―So Damon and I went the rounds in Athens. ―Smooth dancer – Otho. Della catch.Baby Godiva ―I was. And he‘s a brain – if you like to hear the history of Grecian sea battles. Damon says he‘d trade places with Otho in a minute. silly.U.‖ She reached for something on the shelf.‖ Felicia wet her lips. Flew off to New York to meet old buddy Otho. Our honeymoon. and the thousand-year-old junk he‘s brought up from wrecked ships and placed in museums.‖ 259 .. So Damon wanted Athens. ―That ancient place. all wrapped up in his under seas archaeology.‖ Della said enviously. ―All in all. They‘ve corresponded for years – he gets so excited over Otho‘s letters. With a beard.‖ ―Greece. Otho has some kind of organization – expeditions and diving – makes an awful lot of money. ―Course I wanted Rome ‗cause Mumsie and DaDa were at our villa. It was exotically becoming. They‘re the best of friends. – Otho – he‘s the one that‘s stuck on those little islands in the Aegean. hotels are very posh.‖ She began rummaging through the closet. That‘s where Damon is right now.‖ Felicia went on.‖ ―You‘re in for a surprise. B. ―I never cared much for the shape of this cloche.

‖ the Bostonian voice raced on. Boasts a Venetian ballroom. A four-story structure..‖ After a silence she continued.. how I long for the old joint! Cocktails on the terrace. They‘re matched – red. I phoned Daddy and he and Mumsie grabbed a jet and were with me in hours. they were spending that summer at our villa in Italy. Della.. and they‘re packed.. ―She‘s never forgiven Damon to this day.‖ ―Grecian gardens.‖ Della blinked with incredulity. ―I miss my spaniels. then they know it‘s the best they‘ll get and wolf it down. When Damon absconded with Otho. You‘d go mad over Remus and Romulus. I‘ll simply tell it to go away.are classical. You‘ll have to see our place. ‗Course everyone tells us that Mumsie‘s arboretum is even more beautiful. ―Did Lina polish my brogues?‖ ―Yes. Damon and I popped in on them before we flew on to Greece. and—‖ She broke off with a sigh. ―Imagine – there was Mumsie and DaDa and I attending concerts.. Della. And Damon was with Otho on some damn boat bringing up a statue they thought was from the period of the fall of the Roman Empire. 'But how did your parents happen to be there – in Athens?‖ ―Didn‘t I say. And Daddy turned purple.‖ She paused in reverie. ―Oh. ballets. Felicia touched her brow.‖ She smiled dreamily. Old. I won‘t humor myself. ―.‖ Felicia had moved to the trunk and was poking down 260 . stables far to the rear..Then whenever I hit rock bottom I‘d run my dogs over the grounds. No. darling. then off-handedly: ―Refuse their menu ‗til you change it for the third time. ―Oh – my headache!‖ ―Would you like a spot of champagne?‖ ―No. opera – touring the islands to watch ancient Greek drama at Epidaurus.‖ Della stared.‖ Felicia pouted.Marty Holland ―That‘s what Mumsie said.

‖ Her gaze fell dejectedly to the carpet. Had to put me all back together again and they weren‘t quite sure I‘d pull through. ―DaDa sold the horse next day. The whole hospital was filled with flowers.‖ ―Was this before you met – Damon?‖ ―Heavens. A thunderous toss. humdrum. Now this trunk is filled.‖ She sighed deeply. ―My life has turned into such a bore. ―The fall off my new horse – Champion. Sweet DaDa went four days without sleep.. Mumsie was under sedation. yes. She thinks they stopped after my marriage. Oh don‘t you just adore Mardi Gras!‖ I met Damon at the Krewe of Bacchus ball. ―All at once I feel nauseated. ―If she only knew. ―Why darling – that‘s impossible. I was twenty-one. ―How can you say that?‖ ―Everything here is so inelegantly simple. Said get him out of his sight or he‘d shoot him. ―The nurses just swooned when they read my get-well cards.‖ Narrow shoulders slumped.‖ Felicia tossed her hair and looked off. The music had switched to a lilting aria. bewildered by the speed that Felicia was covering ground. Mumsie and DaDa were crazy about him right off. He followed me back to Boston.‖ Della suggested with a touch of acid. Felicia.‖ ―Maybe you‘re pregnant.Baby Godiva clothing to make room for more. remembering. Such a frightful operation.‖ Della‘s gaze sharpened.‖ She paused. Tore up my guts.‖ Della froze. now caught in a brighter mood.‖ ―That‘s enough wardrobe for months.‖ ―Oh?‖ Della said. held out her arms and executed a 261 .. ―Mumsie would keel over if she knew my migraines came back.

‖ ―No. ―Della. But I remember everything. visible from the narrow balustrade. Della stood at the open doorway. ―Like yesterday.. Crepe myrtles glistened.‖ Her laughter died. I‘m so envious of the princess living happily ever after.‘‖ She studied her tremulous lips. You‘re the Judge‘s wife.Marty Holland series of pirouettes that moved her across to French doors. You know.. A happily married woman. ―Oh. And I did. ―You mustn‘t say that. ―How graceful you are. shining wet.‖ ―Am I?‖ Felicia whirled around. why do I keep thinking about those little fairy tales DaDa read to me when I was a tiny girl. But you wouldn‘t believe half if I told you about it.‖ Dark eyes flashed. do you recall all of your childhood?‖ ―Every bit. Della. Look at me. they say that if you can recall everything as a child. ―Della. She went out on the balcony. the calm quiet landscape.‖ Felicia held her fingers to her mouth. as though stifling a cry. too. Softly she murmured.. I‘m rusty.‖ Della laughed.‖ Felicia was looking out to the familiar street in the distance. Felicia brushed past Della and moved back inside.‖ ―Oh heavens. I can‘t give up my life for a man who‘s bogged down in work and so terribly unromantic!‖ ―Unromantic? How can you say that!‖ 262 . you had a happy childhood. Beneath her a flowering bush had outgrown itself with top leaves. It had rained earlier. I guess not. ―Wasn‘t it Emerson – ‗one little drop of dew globes the whole world.. ―You can believe my girlhood on a bayou farm was nothing at all like your back-bay finishing schools. Felicia.

‖ Della closed the French doors. it could. And there‘s so much of the world I haven‘t seen. Says I should travel. Damon just doesn‘t have Daddy's warmth. All those heartbreaking darlings. each one of them. Christmas on the Golden Star. And DaDa brought another doctor.‖ ―Oh. you‘ve got the Judge! What more do you need!‖ ―Oh. I am.‖ ―You‘re just homesick. I know. ―Like Carman – I‘m homesick for my mountains. Why. Believe me. Winterhouse rose and studied her reflection in the long wall mirror. stronger wine!‖ ―Why – why. He says I‘ve got to start having some – fun. You and Damon together. It‘ll be a happy time.Baby Godiva Felicia plunked down on the pale salmon quilted bedspread. He said injustice has always existed. I lived through several weekends on the Golden Star. The orphanage just couldn‘t 263 .‖ Mrs.‖ Della was preoccupied. We‘ll sail as far as you like. ―How could it have been – lonely – with Damon?‖ ―It could. Sometimes he reminds me of the Headmaster at Miss Simpkins School. ―What‘s so enchanting? It‘s lonely on that damn cruiser. ―Damon has a party planned. Della. I haven‘t been to romantic places like Hong Kong or Singapore! Dr. Mumsie noticed that right away. I mean Grandpa donated the money. Last year we built a new wing. heavens – a carefree life.‖ She turned around. ―Actually what I miss most is Christopher Orphanage. Just for you. She struck a dramatic pose.‖ ―Just you and me and Damon?‖ Felicia tossed back her head and laughed. Fenton told me I must stop worrying – especially about that Ravenue case. ―I feel like old Henry the Eighth – I want louder music.

Marty Holland have gotten along without us Creightons. it‘s not that I don‘t love Damon. isn‘t there an orphanage around here where you could rock the babes to sleep?‖ ―Yes. He doesn‘t like – people. placing a hand to her temples. I think I do. ―I miss little things – like rocking the infants. ―You just give me the Judge. Miss Felicia. too!‖ Felicia‘s shoulders shook with laughter. ―You should go home oftener.‖ She smiled sadly.‖ She saw Della‘s expression.. Italy.. Hong Kong and Singapore. The trunk lid slammed down with a bang. If the Headmaster would give his permission. ―I shouldn‘t have laughed so hard.‖ Della was touched. I do. Or better yet.‖ Della laughed stiffly. things like that. My headache. But he isn‘t – outgoing. He‘d puff out like a toad.‖ 264 . they‘re so adorable. ―And you can have Athens.‖ Della drew herself up. ―Oh. ―I wish Damon could hear you say that. and I would. caring for them. and stay in Boston.‖ She sobered quickly. ―That‘s a terrible thing to say about Judge Winterhouse!‖ ―Is it? Is the truth terrible?‖ She smiled smugly. We have children of various mixtures.

Baby Godiva

Chapter 33
GODIVA, with silver-gold hair piled on top of her head, was splashing noisily in the upstairs bath of the parish. At her right, propped in a corner of the tub alcove, a nude Leah lounged, with long legs crossed and barely touching water. White smoke curled from a lighted cigarette stashed in the crook of the doll‟s hand. From downstairs, Godie could hear the dreary monotone of her father‟s voice as he read from his Bible, pausing intermittently for „discussion periods‟ of Thursday‟s early evening Bible Class. She listened for a moment, then turned, to Leah. “Don‟t Papa sound like a regular ole Bible thumper tonight?” Through the window opposite the tub, a sturdy pine limb was visible, swaying gently in the wind that had come with dusk. Godie glanced up apprehensively as its foliage brushed the pane. Then she gasped upon seeing a pair of glazed round eyes looking in from the limb, drawing light from the room, blinking solemnly. Grabbing a towel, she covered herself and peered uncertainly out the window to watch a large feathered bird wheel from the bough in flight. She relaxed. “Jus‟ a ol' owl, Leah. Lookin‟ in my window. And getting‟ out‟a the wind.” She sank back down into the water. “No reason to git spooky, brat. So don‟t be scared.” She reached for the cigarette perched in Leah‟s upturned hand. Drew a quick inexperienced puff, blew out the smoke in

Marty Holland

a cough, then sighed in discomfort. With her mind churning, her eyes hardened and her lower lip curled: “No sir, Leah. you ain‟t goin‟ out past Perez woods to swim. Girl, I say no!” Her voice rose high and thin. “Didn‟t you git in „nuff mess over there last time?” She ended on a stifled sob. “Ought‟a be „shamed!” She sniveled, heartbrokenly. She leaned back against the tub. Tasting salty tears, she looked off and thought of something pleasant. Then she dipped the cigarette tip in the water and threw it in the waste basket. Her forehead creased in a frown. Eyelids closed arrogantly as she studied Leah. “You‟re confined to quarters,” she said in a low gruff voice. “So don‟t think‟a sneakin‟ nowheres!” Then voice normal: “I ketch you sneakin‟ and you‟ll git the big ole whip!” Tears fell. “If you wanna swim, girl, you swim in the bath tub!” Her face contorted in self-pity. “Stop your snivelin‟, girl.” In sudden decision she got out of the tub and stood before the long mirror, drying herself. Fascinated with the effect of her grown-up hair dress combined with her nakedness, she placed the towel around her hips and struck various poses, affecting a different facial expression with each. From the window, a moving branch caught her attention again. And hearing a fluttering sound, she whirled sharply. For a moment she stood still, gaping at the rustling leaves. Then she smiled. “Jus‟ ol' Mister Owl flyin‟ „round.” She turned, reached up into the cabinet and brought out a talcum-powder box. In the next instant a terrifying blurry white mask came into view at the window, partly obscured by the pine bough. A pair of brilliant eyes shone feverishly, warily, through the dark holes


Baby Godiva

of a Klansman‟s hood, devouring every movement of Godie‟s naked form! Unaware of the spine-chilling scene outside the pane, Godie resumed her posing. She raised her arms and successively rearranged her coiffure. Then she removed two clips, letting her hair fall to her shoulders. Eyes in the ghoulish mask at the window leered closer and seemed to pulsate, then ogled steadily. From her position on the tub, Leah‟s shiny button eyes returned the steady gaze. Now the gray-white mask moved to the left of the window and out of sight. Godie turned to the doll. “Too bad Rachel had that accident in the fireplace. But her Pa was that trashy Carly. Jus I don‟t cry, brat.” She smiled knowingly. “I‟ll be gettin‟ you another li‟l sister – somehow.” As she picked up the talcum puff from its box the door knob turned slowly. Godie‟s startled eyes darted to the knob as it suddenly reversed with a snap. From the hall, long bony fingers were tapping. "Godie," the Reverend's hollow voice floated in. "Why is it necessary for this door to be locked?” She stood rigidly, struggling for an answer. “Leah‟s naked – got no clothes on,” she blurted. “Didn‟t I instruct you to git down for Bible study?” “I prac‟ly know the Bible by heart, Papa.” “You know words, girl. You ain‟t learned the deep meanin‟s. Git downstairs.” "I still gotta dry off.” She stood at the door, listening. Then she heard him sniffing. “Am I smellin‟ cigarette smoke?” “„Course not, Papa,” she replied indignantly. “I tole Leah she daren‟t."

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His voice lowered. “Well, get down to the study.” Unaware that the bulging eyes behind the Klan mask had moved back outside the window, Godie stood at the door until she heard her father's footsteps fading down the stairway. Before the mirror again, she lifted the powder puff, tapped it under her arms, squatted and fluffed the puff between her legs. She picked up Leah. Balanced the limp figure on the bend of her knee. Patted the puff under the doll‟s arms. Then spread gangly legs, dabbing Leah's crotch with powder. “So‟s the ole prickly-heat won‟t git ya...” Suddenly she stopped still and listened, no longer oblivious to the form at the window. The corner of her eyes had caught a glimpse of a white blur as it disappeared in foliage. Her face drained of color. She looked down at her nudity, to the locked door, feeling trapped. And then she heard it again. A brushing sound – just outside the window. She was about to yell Scat! Then stopped. If somebody was out there on that tree limb, she reasoned in panic, it was too far up to jump to the ground. Having climbed the old pine dozens of times she was well aware that one had to crawl back on the limb and slide down the big tree trunk. And the trunk was just outside her father‟s bedroom! She was jabbing her arms into her bathrobe. Swooping up Leah and unlocking the door in one lunging motion she went sailing down the hall and entered the rear bedroom. She snapped on the light and ran to the screenless window. With a mustering of strength she pulled it open and stuck her head out. Her plan had worked! Something was there!


Baby Godiva

Something awfully big with trouser legs flying! Scrambling along the bough toward her! With arms tangled in long ribbons of the torn kite that had been hanging on the limb since the last storm! Turning his face from Godie, the interloper was frantically pulling off the mask. He stuffed it inside his jacket. To escape, he‟d have to pass through the rays of light shining out from the window! Or drop two floors below! “Scat!” Godie hollered. “You git! Or I‟ll come out there and ketch ya!” In the next second she was looking directly into the frightened face of Scud Wilkes! “Why – Mister Wilkes!” she cried. He clutched the tattered kite. “Ain‟t it all right,” he said hoarsely, “for me to be takin‟ down this ole kite?” “„Course,” she squeaked. “It ain‟t good no more.” She straightened and closed the window, then picked the doll up from the floor. Momentarily she stood motionless with an expression of blank wonderment. “Ain‟t nothin‟, Leah. Thought it was the ol' window peeker, didn‟t you? It was jus‟ ole Scud Wilkes – gittin‟ down that dirty ole kite.” She thought of something and, slamming Leah to her bosom, opened the window again. “Oh, Mister Wilkes...” But he‟d already slid down to the ground. And the kite was gone. And she‟d wanted to ask him if there wasn‟t a Roy Rogers serial starting next Wednesday... “And wouldn‟t you know, Leah,” she said grimly. “The church supper‟s next Wednesday...and Mama said I had to help serve...”

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“Godiva... git down here!” she heard her father‟s voice from downstairs. Back in her bedroom, she pulled on her stockings slowly. Then with a small brush she began fluffing out Leah‟s hair. “If we keep hurrying like this...” She giggled. “...we might git down for Papa‟s very last amen.”


―So I brought my portable down for you. Once you asked for chewin‘ gum. They puke it up jes‘ a‘fore the switch is pulled – or right after. But even a bird like me can‘t hog down two quarts. Brought you some nice thick slices‘a white meat. ―And here‘s two quarts‘a ice cream. 271 . Git yer gut full. ―And I got you a little somethin‘ special—‖ ―For me.‖ The voice dripped virulence.‖ ―Sure.‖ Carrying the tin and two cartons.‖ Rizzo smiled at Carly. ―Wife cooked a whoppin‘ tom-turkey. Too much mess fer the boys to cope with. Red River Valley.‖ He turned back to the sheriff.. bristling. then carelessly: ―They just can‘t do enough for me around here.‖ ―You have my sympathy. Better cram it down.Baby Godiva Chapter 34 ―I‘LL TAKE THAT SUPPER TIN. Sheriff? You shouldn‘t have.‖ ―Now... Prince. it's my favorite..‖ He shoved the food though the bars.‖ Deputy Lucas was wheeling in a record player on rollers. Sheriff. he approached Rizzo‘s cell. For his last meal. here it is. ―I want Rizzo to have this stuff my wife cooked. The extra must be for a stupid sheriff with a belly for two. Strawberry and vaniller. ‗Cause I passed a new rule: prisoners ain‘t ‗lowed no breakfast ‗fore they go.‖ Sheriff Peck said. insults ain‘t goin‘ to help none. Somethin‘ real nice. ―Here y‘are. LUCAS.‖ He set the cartons on the floor.‖ Rizzo jumped up from his bunk. ―You overwhelm me Sheriff. Rizzo.

‖ Deputy Lucas was rubbing his eyes at the early morning light. Virgil. They‘s jest like with a ornery dog.‖ 272 . shocked at the sound of music blaring. Lock the cage while I git cuffs on him. ain‘t no harm in this.Marty Holland ―Boy. Best I go in unarmed. Rizzo grabbed an imaginary partner and began dancing around in the small cell. Inside. Rizzo – let‘s git goin‘! But you men be right behind me.‖ The sheriff beamed back at Rizzo as the prisoner danced on snapping his gum.‖ Peck shook his head. He knows I ain‘t scared. Deputy Virgil had just come in from outside after checking out a burglary report. ―I know. Ain‘t no harm in it a‘tall. ―That high-power section jest ‗bout drives a sheriff out‘a his wits. ―I might puke it up jes‘ a‘fore or right after. watching disbelievingly the wild scene in high-risk section.‖ He blinked through misty darkness of his office. while Carly watched and rolled back on his bunk laughing.. In the hallway. and laughed. fetch me a jug of Dago Red. I likes to see ‗em have a good time ‗fore they go.‖ Peck agreed. With disapproval on his face he gazed in through the long bars. I know. ―What I‘m sceered of.‖ A scratchy needle was set and tinny music began.‖ ―Yeh. chewing gum wildly. Friendly-like. ―is when you first go in for the big bastard. then tapped his foot to the beat of the music and slapped his belly where it protruded above his gun holster. let‘s keep calm. Peck moved over to him. That‘s a quart I can hog down. So I‘ll jest say. ―Well. ‗Member. he‘s got nothin‘ t‘lose. mimicking the sheriff‘s voice. they smells fear. he‘ll make a lunge fer your gun. ‗Come on.‖ Rizzo said hurriedly. At the barred door he stopped still. ―Now.

―What you lookin‘ at. ―Nothin‘. That‘ll be four‘a you with thirty-eights drawn. With cigarette poised. ―You‘re smart as a quiz kid. shucks. And the noises in his head. you‘re downright bloodthirsty this mornin‘. ―I‘ll be back for you in a few minutes. We‘ll have ‗em posted at the far wall facin‘ high-risk when I go in and git him cuffed. Rizzo stood looking out the little window.‖ Lucas grinned nervously. ―You ready.‖ 273 . you git on the horn an‘ call in two extra men.‖ the Sherlff drawled. And the taxpayers won‘t mind a bit. Rizzo?‖ Carly‘s voice trembled. ―Lucas.Baby Godiva ―I seen ‗em strike out with cuffs on.‖ Virgil warned.‖ The deputy was still worked up. Virgil. Tell ‗em to git here on the double. Tell you w‘at.‖ Rizzo threw down his cigarette and stepped on it. ―The Prince‘ll come along peaceable. It‘s a unwritten law. Rizzo?‖ he called good-naturedly.‖ He looked to the sheriff for approval. were louder than ever before. You‘re ‗lowed to shoot a high-power any old time – fer prac‘ly no reason.‖ ―Naw. It expelled suddenly with such force that he felt dizzy.‖ the Sheriff mumbled. the buzzings. ―I was just saying goodbye to the cockroaches. Everything. ―‗Member Baby-Face Solino?‖ ―True.‖ Carly was not aware that he was holding his breath. I mean the works! Cut ‗im to size. We‘ll blow up a little dust. he inhaled and blew out the smoke in a long thin stream. Jes‘ you ca‘m down and let me handle it!‖ *** Sheriff Peck made too much ado of rattling keys as he walked past the high-power cells.‖ Peck humored him. Lucas. ―If the Prince even looks crosseyed we‘ll give ‗im the works. ―Won‘t be necessary a‘tall.

his eyes locked on Rizzo. ―You ready. But I do have a last request – when they shoot the juice I want you sittin‘ on my lap. one eye twitched.‖ Rizzo said lightly. Prince. Peck waddled over to the condemned man. then the hollow sound of one pair of hands clapping.‖ ―Aw – if I really took on them insults I‘d‘a shoved you in Siberia long ago.‖ ―And that‘s the biggest part of you. I‘m rather a timid fellow. Now the cell door swung open. ―about that Godie. ―You tell your lawyer the things you told me. ―Sure hate to lose you. Sheriff?‖ ―Who do you think told Napoleon to sell Loozyana?‖ Peck held his belly. get you a new trial. Hurts me in my belly. ―Don‘t go causin‘ the boys to git itchy fingers. Rizzo?‖ ―Say. It hurts me. He might be able to make something out of it – and. And then Sheriff Peck was back. It‘d hurt me to see you layin‘ on the floor. ―You were once young. Carly. Carly remained immobile. The prisoner held his hands forward and cuffs were snapped on.‖ The drunks had been cleared out. and it quivered while he snickered. ―You expectin‘ trouble.‖ Peck had turned the key in the lock. Suddenly he sobered. and his throat was tightening. With gun holster missing.‖ 274 . Sheriff?‖ Peck‘s right eye twitched anxiously. but there was a ripple of laughter from Pinky. Rizzo pulled his gaze back to Peck. His forehead felt too warm. Sheriff. But I used to be young an‘ poke fun m‘self. Only then did Rizzo notice three additional guards at the far side of the room with guns drawn and poised.Marty Holland Carly inhaled a quivering breath.

Now they were out the front door. to shout ―Goodbye.‖ He only glanced at Carly.‖ Rizzo said tightly as he moved out. The Governor might get back from the whorehouse in time to pick up a phone.. Carly tried to call out. There were little sounds – clicks of metal. The shifting of noisy gears.‖ But no words would come. A motor starting..Baby Godiva Carly had moved to the far right of the cell. Carly strained to hear what was going on outside. his heart thumping. ―Be sure and get the damn plumbin‘ fixed up. two guards in front. He stood stunned. And then everything was quiet. Rizzo‘s voice sounded so far-off. ―I may be right back. slamming shut. and the Sheriff. ―Don‘t count me out yet. watching Virgil check the cell lock and leave. Rizzo was gone! Carly was alone.‖ Carly stood glued to the floor. He saw a wave of Rizzo‘s arm. two deputies following. Ravenue. A car door opening. 275 .

you rotten li‘l kid! Last time we played you cheated!‖ She straightened and smiled sweetly at Mr. This afternoon..Marty Holland Chapter 35 GODIE COULD ALWAYS PRETEND that every church supper was a picnic.‖ Yawning in boredom. For a while. he kept shifting his aim as if his entire future depended on one play. Reva instructed Godie to pile up the used supper paper plates. And she maneuvered him into risking his prize agates. the boy accused her of cheating and staggered up the steps into the church. She almost smacked him while. blubbering. with mouth twisting. with long tables set with bowls that folks had brought in. And sat around drunk with food. 276 . Before taking her place at the organ.. Jamie. fried chicken. milk-cinnamon and pecan pies. He was a poor loser and she ran in after him and whispered in his ear: ―Serves ya right. Skinner. Godie went outside in the yard and played marbles with Wart Skinner‘s boy. Until after everybody had eaten his fill of ‗tater salad. black walnut cake. a Maplewood ice cream freezer. an aroma of steaming coffee. it was fun. When she had won everything from him. exchanging familiar small-talk and farm news: ―How‘s the calves doin‘ on the new bran? Jed Banes is pullin‘ stumps in his ten acre corner. right after she accompanied one of the choir ladies in a solo rendition. and marbles and agates clinked securely in her pocket. chock-full. Her mother announced that Jamie would play on his violoncello.

. unnoticed. In her room. thrilled with how brazen her escape had been. and crept silently down the back steps. Godie worked diligently at the tables. All at once her spirits sank. stealing disconsolate glances at the parish clock. Scud Wilkes had drawn the blinds across the front windows.. skipping downtown to Main.. enchanted with sounds and crisp smoky smells of Fork River. But when he saw that it was Godie his forlorn countenance sharpened 277 . It was a beautiful exciting world outside her father‘s parsonage. And now she was sure she could hear Leah crying. *** Then she was on Placer Street.. When she passed the post office and reached the Hardware & Grain store. welcoming the nips of breeze on her face. Scud Wilkes opened his door with aplomb. tossed Leah up in the air and caught her. For a moment her chin quivered in disappointment. shuttling his wonderful displays from sidewalk view. snatched Leah from her bed. But thin beams of electric light were leaking out at the edges. pulled a scarf over the bandage above her forehead. wrapped her in a little blanket. almost five! Desperately seeking an excuse to tear herself away. she slid her arms into her warm coat. She tapped insistently on a pane. ran. her cheeks were rosy-pink and her eyes sparkled as green as her light emerald blouse. Now it all belonged to her! She laughed. When Jamie began his cello solo she edged. In panic she saw that the big hand had jumped .Baby Godiva For a while. up the stairs. Now she could hear a scuffling of footsteps. she glanced upstairs and remembered that Leah was taking a late afternoon nap.

‖ Then he noticed beneath her coat she‘d turned back her high-neck blouse to form a low V. ―I‘m fixin‘ to start inventory. and I‘ll throw some wood in the stove.‖ he said nervously. he appeared relieved that she was alone. Miss Godie.Marty Holland suspiciously. He began counting. peering into the interior. You closin‘ early?‖ She gave him a dazzling smile. ―It‘s Leah. pencil over one ear. 278 . ―Good evenin‘. Jest turn on the switch. She wants to watch the Roy Rogers. ―W‘at you want. Then Scud. realizing that she was suddenly no longer invisible at the Hardware & Grain. was perched on a high stool.‖ he said greedily. and his licentious mind‘s eye visualized how they looked underneath the jersey. his big watery eyes turned mournfully toward the back partition. with ceiling lights accentuating his red hair. holler. forcing his attention to his shelves. He saw the outline of her full breasts. She took another step forward and leaned on the doorframe. but his huge frame blocked the doorway.‖ When she was inside he slammed the door shut and fastened the latch securely. Godie?‖ thick lips mumbled. She stood disappointed. He stuck his head out and glanced up and down the street. If it gits chilly back there. turning at intervals to jot down figures on a ledger sheet. She made an attempt to dart past him inside. ―Yeh. ―Come on in. As the sound of TV surged.‖ He breathed more easily. ―All closed up.‖ As she ran to the rear he eyed her slim shapely legs. Looking behind her and beyond. ―Nothin‘. ―You know where it is. He couldn‘t concentrate and found himself counting the same item over two or three times.‖ She sniffled.

As a news broadcast came on she got up. Best you keep away. Godie kicked off her shoes and curled up on Scud‘s day-bed. ―Naw. ―You tell and I‘ll sock ya. Then squatted beside the lawn mowers and touched a sharp blade. She reached him and stopped dancing to watch his counting and marking.‖ He eyed her again. You‘d jest ball me all up. Mister Wilkes!‖ she said coyly. When I‘m a man. she lapsed into a dream fifteen minutes before the program ended.‖ he called sternly. Godie.‖ His eyes gleaned sensuously. ―You do that to me. Godie.‖ She leaned over his ledger to see what he was writing. ―Do ya‘ Godie?‖ She looked up and lowered her eyelids. drew himself up rigid.‖ She moved off and kicked at the stacked sacks of grain. turned the TV knob. A purty girl‘s perfume allus tends to make me wild. Then slyly: ―You tell your Pa I was takin‘ down that kite?‖ 279 . Wiggling her hips and shoulders to the beat of the music she came out from behind the partition. ―And you got on perfume. Godie. Hearing thuds on the board floor. git your head out‘a my papers. suddenly thoughtful.‖ she threatened with a smile. Make me wild. ―Your Pa wouldn‘t like that. ―An‘ you don‘t want no wild man kissin‘ ya. Scud. Holding Leah on her lap. ―Shouldn‘t be dancin‘ ‗round teasin‘. and settled on a rock‘n roll group. Godie. ―Now.Baby Godiva It was cozy in the little back room. ―Why. Ain‘t got no woman. Scud‘s gaze again wandered to the back partition as Godie danced in and out of his view. ―Kin I help you do that?‖ He pulled his eyes off her. He grinned abashedly.‖ He choked out a laugh.‖ His voice was almost a sob.

Shouldn‘t be ‗lowin‘ you in here nohow when I‘m closed. couldn‘t see over the table top.‖ he stuttered and looked trapped. ―You ought‘a let me work for you. ―I heared water splashin‘.‖ Her voice rose shrilly. brat. Noticed that Leah. and shakin‘ your tits and teasin‘.‖ With TV blaring she piled up dirty dishes. Godie. She grabbed up Scud‘s bed pillow and placed it 280 . Mister Wilkes?‖ ―Now if you ain‘t watchin‘ TV. straightening seed packets in their rack. ‗Bout nothin‘. ―Not ever. Then Godie was surveying the untidy back room. No more.‖ Godie was on her feet. ‗Cause he might think I wasn‘t doin‘ jest that – jest takin‘ down that kite. I jus‘ love ta‘ hang ‗round. Mister Wilkes?‖ she sald off-handedly. Wouldn‘t have to pay me nothin‘. best you scoot on home. Your Mama‘s got to clean house. Scud‘s table set with electric coffee pot and grill and big coffee cup. ―I do that. Godie.‖ He relaxed. ―Don‘t never go tellin‘ him. You sayin‘ things to drive a man wild.Marty Holland ―Don‘t tell Papa nothin‘.‖ ―I‘m watchin‘!‖ she squealed and rushed behind the partition. Almost as good a setting to play house as Crazy Tree.‖ she said.‖ He frowned. shaking his head. ―How‘d you know I was takin‘ a bath. ―Can‘t see your pa permittin‘. ―Your Pa might git a notion I was up to somethin‘ – real bad. ―Why – why. sitting in Scud‘s big teddy bear chair. Up there in that ole tree while you was takin‘ a bath an‘ all.‖ She scowled. ―Now.‖ He swallowed uncomfortably. ―you watch TV.‖ She moved to a table and began rearranging his assortment of shiny pots and pans.

She pulled it open and saw that it was a Klansman‘s hood. knocking over the stool. didn‘t I?‖ She giggled. ―Warn‘t snoopin‘. ―You don‘ believe me? ―Didn‘t think you wore ‗em.‖ ―Godie.‖ He lunged and grabbed the stockings and hood. ―Thought I was the ole window peeker. ―Scared ya. Startled out of his wits. When she reached. he threw the stockings and hood back under the bed. ―And this stuff came out with it. ―‗Sides. But the table still blocked the doll‘s view. Just pulled out a ole pillow for Leah to sit on. ―W‘at the‘hell you doin‘!‖ She screamed in delight and jumped down from a chair. ―Why you mad. Godie pulled off the mask. Who tolt you t‘go snoopin‘!‖ He was furious. he jumped to his feet. Puffing. ―I use them stockin‘s for strainin‘ paint. laughing hilariously. Scud was jotting down figures when he glanced over to see a Klan mask with eyes starling around at him from high up on the side of the partition doorway. Scud. ―You got any notions ‗bout that stuff?‖ 281 . Wait!‖ he gasped. And the pillow had also dragged out a dirty white folded cloth.‖ ―Oh. down and. they got runs in ‗em.‖ She laughed.Baby Godiva under Leah. didn‘t ya‘!‖ Red freckles stood out brilliant in the pale background of his blooddrained face. She saw the corner of a floor pillow showing from under the day-bed. a wad of twisted silk stockings was fastened to it.‖ He turned to her with suspicion. you git th‘hell outta here!‖ Reluctantly she stepped into her shoes and picked up Leah. ―No. pulled it out. He was panting for breath.‖ She held up the stockings. Scud?‖ She followed him into the back room.

―She‘ll have red hair. How much did the store bring in today?‖ He winced. pore dear. Scud. ―Ain‘t none‘a your business!‖ She screwed up her face. A keepsake. Under his bed.‖ She smiled. ―And I‘m a big girl.‖ She hurried to the table. Are you?‖ ―Course not. preoccupied. ―You jus‘ sit down. Silly. Jus‘ pretend. And I‘ll git you some coffee. she needs a new baby sister. ―Yes. never been out under that bed. Was my old Daddy‘s.‖ ―I already noticed.‖ He stood dumbfounded.‖ She nodded. ―Din‘t wanna go home jus‘ yet.‖ he said. Godie. W‘at th‘hell you thinkin‘ ‗bout?‖ With a jerk of her head she tossed back her hair. ―You want me to—‖ ―Don‘t mean really.‖ He was flabbergasted. too. ―Papa‘s got a keepsake. Scud. ―Ain‘t you noticed I ain‘t no li‘l kid? I‘m a big boy.Marty Holland ―Huh? Didn‘t you say you used ‗em to strain your paint?‖ ―Thas‘ right. Think I‘ll name her Delilah. he grabbed her arm.‖ His face had turned deep pink. Godie?‖ When she didn‘t answer. it is so! If you‘re the Pa and I‘m the Ma. I had it a long time. You wanna play?‖ ―Play?‖ He said angrily.‖ 282 . What you meanin‘?" He shook a long finger.‖ Her attention shifted to the television picture. ―You think I‘d do such a bad thing.‖ She giggled. Leah. ―We better git to bed. ―That Klan hood. ―Now you ain‘t gonna git no crazy notions ‗bout nothin‘ else. Leah and me was playin‘ house. Mister Wilkes. ―You mean – humpin‘?‖ ―Naw—jest make believe.

‗Cause I gotta know!‖ She took his hand in hers. she thought of an ugly fat snake. ―Even if you beg me.. He blinked in thought.‖ He gazed hungrily at her contours. You thinkin‘ I‘m the Peepin‘ Tom that everybody‘s talkin‘ ‗bout? Tell me the truth. 283 . Godie. He took her hand and pressed it to him. silencing her. hell!‖ When his tongue slid under her upper lip.‖ he was saying. Scud. Like a rock. ―Pretend. No more – please!‖ His breath was hot in her face. ―and you won‘t want no pretendin‘.‖ Tears gushed. ―You feel that big hard I got for you. ―Don‘ never go gittin crazy notions!‖ He grabbed her arms and mashed her against him. ―An‘ I ain‘t goin‘ to. Godie. ―W‘at you up to?‖ His brow creased worriedly. ―No more. ―You temptin‘ me so‘s you kin run to your pa with lies? So‘s to git me in bad – like you done with Carly?‖ ―Why – Scud!‖ His lips trembled. W‘at you think I am. Scud. huh? All right!‖ He held her tighter and crushed her lips with slobbering kisses. That‘s plum crazy. wearin‘ perfume. wigglin‘. You‘re a Devil-fearin‘ member of Papa‘s church!‖ ―Thas‘ right. ―So now you wanna play..‖ She pouted prettily.Baby Godiva ―Jest play at it?‖ He jerked her close to him. Godie? You come in here after closin‘.‖ ―No! Lemme go!‖ His mouth was on hers again. ―Only – pretend. Was jus‘ pretendin‘. ―Relax.‖ she squeaked.‖ He laughed feebly. ―Only pretend!‖ she managed. ―You did tell your pa I done took down the kite. ―‗Course not. You feel that good.

Miss Godie. ‗Thank you. Bad as you are. ―It was jus‘ pretend!‖ ―I couldn‘t git ‗nuff watchin‘ you. An‘ you jest do for me w‘at you done for Carly. W‘at th‘hell you think I‘m made of! You take off that blouse so‘s I kin see them big tits. ―An‘ somethin‘ else you got to be knowin‘. Seen Carly runnin‘ off. And. I‘m goin‘ to say. ―You‘re gonna git it.you ain‘t tellin‘ nobody ‗bout this!‖ His voice was hoarse and thick. You ain‘t gonna fight. It was you w‘at went after Carly.‖ ―Mister Wilkes. Nobody raped you an‘ you know it! You lied. ―I‘m gonna lay you down now. when it‘s all over you‘re gonna walk out‘a here real nice-like. And I seen you and Carly the day of the big storm. ―You jest tell – and I‘ll tell on you!‖ Sweat dripped from his forehead.‖ He smiled slowly. for lettin‘ me watch the TV‘. Godie! So if you 284 .. I seen it. Seen you layin‘ there. too. you stop that right now!‖ Her eyes filled with terror. ―.. ‗Good evenin‘. At the McIntosh place.. He nodded. That‘s bad. Seen you fall in that big tree. Mr. ―Me?‖ she garbled through his closed hand.‖ She let out a scream before his hand covered her mouth and held her jaw rigid. Jest lay down.‖ ―That‘s a lie!‖ ―An‘ I‘m gonna jump you like I seen that Carly Moore jumpin‘ you.. case anybody‘s passin‘.Marty Holland teasin‘.‘ and you‘re gonna say. Wilkes. I seen you tryin‘ to make a play for Carly. Godie. So you‘re gonna shut your mouth ‗bout tonight or I‘ll tell the Judge you lied in that court. Godie. They‘ll put you in jail stead‘s Carly. I‘m gonna stand at the front door and.‖ Sick eyes watered.

He hurried to the entrance. petrified.‖ Wart studied her curiously.‖ ―Git off them pants ‗fore I rip ‗em!‖ Suddenly there was a sharp tapping on the front door. I‘ll slide ‗em in!‖ ―Mister Skinner!‖ Godie yelled as she grabbed Leah and her coat and made a running dash for the front door. please stop. I – I was huntin‘ in Perez woods. Then Wart was rolling in a bicycle and blinking with incredulity. I looked through the hedge an‘ seen everythin‘.‖ It‘s bad you lied ‗bout Carly like that. ―Now open your blouse and pull down your skirt. ―was peekin‘ at Carly an‘ me!‖ ―Not peekin‘.‖ she sobbed. ―What you doin‘ here. Heard you and Carly. Scud‘s hand tightened over her mouth. ―You gonna be nice.Baby Godiva ain‘t real good to me and quiet now. ―Jest drivin‘ home from church supper.‖ ―You – you.‖ his voice grated. ―Watchin‘ TV. Open up. Wart?‖ Skinner was still shouting through the door crack. Godie. honey?" She nodded. Scud.‖ ―Scud. Godie?‖ Scud answered easily. Scud sprang to his feet. ―Why you cryin‘. He picked her up easily and placed her on the couch. and if you go tellin‘ on me – you‘re gonna git in real bad with the law!‖ Her body slumped. Seen you left your bicycle rack out. ―Don‘t never say that. ―Yeh. ―You go sayin‘ one word and I‘ll fix you good!‖ His hand snapped off and he jerked her up to a sitting position. ―It‘s me – Wart!‖ Skinner was shouting. tucked in his shirt and pushed back his hair. You‘re hurtin‘. girlie?‖ 285 . Lots‘a times.

girl?‖ ―Papa. ―for lettin‘ me watch TV.‖ She made her way inside. Miss Godie. I – ‖ Tears fell. ―You ain‘t got nothin‘ ta be snivelin‘ ‗bout.Marty Holland ―Sad movie. ―My pore baby. preparing to close the church for the night. ―Roy‘s horse got stole and Roy had a hell of a fight. Mama.‖ She ran on outside.‖ 286 .‖ Scud put in. Jus‘ feelin‘ the blues. ―Don‘t forgit w‘at I tolt you. ―See you soon. Ain‘t nothin‘ a‘tall. she held Leah very close for comfort. Mister Wilkes. Light streaked her face as double doors behind her kept opening and closing with folks leaving church supper.‖ Scud called after her. Godie.‖ He turned to Godie.‖ ―Thank you. Then her mother was leaning over her. didn‘t I say you ain‘t sneakin‘ off? You know what time it is. ―Ain‘t nothin‘. Cryin‘? Whatever‘s ailin‘ ya?‖ With leaden footsteps she made her way toward the stairs. Sobbing softly. The Reverend was fastening the bolt on the right door. Her lips worked frantically for words.‖ she sobbed. Hope you had a real nice time. *** Godie reached the church entrance and sank down on the first step. His voice broke dry and cutting: ―Godie.

Baby Godiva Chapter 36 AN EARLY EVENING MOON shone brilliantly white against the long windowed side of the Winterhouse residence. pulling an opened bottle from its silver bucket as she ran. whispered conversations and a tinkle of glasses had accompanied the past hour‘s love-making. she again fell into his arms entwining her body with his. From a far corner. But instead of filling his glass with champagne. revealing cream satin sheets. Suddenly she whirled around and whimpered. Then covering him with openmouth kisses she whispered. ―Damon. your glass is empty. his tanned unclad form stretched out full length.‘ he was thinking. I love you!‖ 287 . ―Besides. A quilted coral spread was pulled down to the foot of the large bed. Taped music. He was toying with an empty stemmed goblet as he watched Della leave the bed and tiptoe toward the sunken bath alcove at the far end of the room. And resting on them was a spent Damon Winterhouse. a small table lamp added a pink glow that diffused softly with pale light sifting in from windows.‖ she cried. Its rays filtered past balcony railings through wide chiffon curtains lighting the elegant interior of Felicia‘s master bedroom. ―I can‘t leave you – so far away!‖ She rushed back to the bed. She had reached the tiled coping. His eyes on her nude and sensuously swaying backside in motion made his blood surge anew: ‗A goddess carved of light topaz. and with one toe wetted was about to slip into the water.

Standing. I gave Cissy and Lina the week off.‖ 288 .‖ He laughed. ―And now we‘ll bathe!‖ He bent down eagerly. ―You‘re sloshing more than we‘re drinking!‖ She giggled again with delight and filled her own glass to overflowing.‖ ―She‘ll be happy for eleven days more.Marty Holland He grasped her nakedness and pressed her to him passionately. ―Now I‘ll be counting the days. ―My first time in Felicia‘s tub. Reaching for the bottle she splashed champagne into his glass.‖ ―Mumsie and DaDa?‖ ―Yes.‖ Della rippled the water. the liquid pouring down over her erect bosom. ―Mumsie and DaDa.‖ She stretched out her arms reaching for him in the waist deep water. she rose and was pulling him by the hand. his lips suckling the clear frothy bubbles from the contours of her perfectly formed breasts. He laughed a protest.‖ he sighed. my dear. Della entered the water first.‖ She giggled mischievously and rose to a sitting position. ―I have a lovely supper prepared. he quickly downed the remainder in his glass then followed her glistening body to the Roman tub. Damon followed with a splash. ―I adore that!‖ she was gasping. ―You‘ve spoiled it!‖ She mimicked a Felicia-pout.‖ ―Oh.‖ he said lazily. ―Like a California swimming pool. spilling a goodly portion on his throat and chest. ―it wasn‘t as bad as that. you know. ―I swam here this morning while you were sentencing some poor devil to the rock pile. ma hors d‘oeuvre.‖ she said.‖ ―Darling. ―You‘re more delicious than wine. But before fires would be kindled again.

and I called her Brass Ankles. then my shoulders. Damon was delighted with the grace of her movements. ―I can remember when I wasn‘t very old a girl once called me – Bug alee. We had a real hair pulling. holding her shoulders under the spray from the fountain. Releasing her stiffness she melted into his embrace. ―I love your beautiful skin – I adore it!‖ He was rubbing his hands all over her body. He followed. It becomes part of one‘s very nature. ―Remember mine is a different world.Baby Godiva ―Then we‘ll have one more glass before dining!‖ He was looking around for champagne when she popped out of the water. Grabbing a towel. why did you say that?‖ ―Mignon—‖ He touched her arm. She returned. and smothering her with kisses.‖ Della laughed low in her throat. ―I adore the coloring of your skin. ―What‘s wrong with my – coloring?‖ she asked crisply. She moved over to the far end of the tub.‖ He was filling glasses.‖ Smiling. then slipped into the water again.‖ Her voice mellowed. ―It was just that I was hurt for a moment – but not now. and about shook my teeth loose. she pulled away. 289 .I can‘t help being defensive.‖ she halfway pleaded. She leaned back. she ran to the night stand for the bottle and glasses. It was an endearing term – and you didn‘t like it. ―I could gaze at your beauty for the rest of my life. setting the wine and goblets on the tiled sill.‖ ―Coloring?‖ Long lashes turned down over almond eyes. ―When I ran home and told ma mere she grabbed the front of my dress. ―—did I say something?‖ He was shocked that he might have offended her.. sweet mignon. ―Darling.‖ He took her tenderly into his arms.. ―Forgive me. ―I didn‘t say there was. Her breasts rose with a deep breath.

―And when I went away north to school I found a different life. She leaned back against the tub. From now on you will always have to protect yourself. But still. And Felicia said Carly wouldn‘t have gotten the death sentence if he hadn‘t been . ―I‘ll always remember ma mere saying that. I find I can‘t always quite get away.‖ ―Well. Felicia is wrong as usual..‖ ―Get away?‖ He was puzzled. she touched his face gently... ―the Ravenue case. ma petite Cherie. but I found my questions still painful and the answers even more so. Della.And she said one day I‘d find out where I belong.‖ 290 . ―He‘s the same stripe and breed as I. you‘re not going to pick up where Felicia left off.‖ ―And what could that possibly be?‖ She lifted a perfectly shaped leg and gracefully kicked at the water. Then I decided to quit seeking.‖ Continuing. first from one side and then from the other and it‘s only because you‘re beautiful!‘‖ She smiled wistfully. There always seems to be something to drag me back to reality. And now I try to live my life on a neutral plane that‘s separate and apart – uninvolved. My studies and education improved my world. made me happier. ―Yes.‖ ―I can‘t help it. ‗Della.Marty Holland She said. ―Well.‖ ―Oh. there‘s nobody bettern‘ you and you remember it!‘ I‘ll never forget when Mama looked deep in my eyes and said. ‗You‘ll walk a tightrope all your life.‖ ―And have you found out?‖ ―No.‖ she answered cautiously. The jury decided the Ravenue case and the Law set the penalty.... for instance. like me. almost tearful.

More important. why in the world do you want me to do all this. that Carly had a fair trial. For some crazy reason I feel a kinship to Carly Ravenue. But Eben Crown told Felicia a tree fell with that girl in it.‖ Her eyes had set with determination. in my courtroom justice always prevails. ―Please. ―And Della. You‘re very persuasive with him. Nobody tells Farley Huntington his business. speak to Farley and get that boy a commutation.‖ ―Yes.‖ He longed to drop the subject. no defense lawyer ever has a guilty client. could you take another look? Exercise a second judgment? Talk to Eben Crown. dear. ―I don‘t know. ―And the jury was all white. ―I don‘t.‖ He paused. As for Eben? Well. She touched his lips. then kissed them lightly.‖ ―Yes. that came out in the testimony.‖ her voice fluttered. I know. That‘s what stuck in the juror‘s craws. The evidence all pointed to guilt. mon cher.‖ ―How well I know. 291 . And he‘d maimed her in other ways – badly.‖ ―But you‘re good friends.‖ ―No. but Della. Finally he spoke again: ―Now. Damon. And want to keep loving you. The victim‘s hair was torn. Della?‖ He seemed receptive for the first time. Don‘t want you hurt – and don‘t want you to hurt me – or anybody else. How can you think me a prejudiced man?‖ Suddenly he felt uncomfortable about his answers. ―Maybe it‘s simply because I love you.‖ Damon rested an elbow on the coping and pondered. but don‘t you think it‘s possible he‘s innocent?‖ ―No. ―Just rest assured my dear.Baby Godiva She pouted again. Maybe she wasn‘t even raped at all. rape is a terrible crime.

I knew you would. Della. Mignon!‖ Her wet hand pushed back a tousled lock on his forehead.‖ Taking her hand his mood became serious.‖ ―You will?‖ She was overjoyed. it‘s only you I come home to. darling. ―To your very wicked Mignon!‖ Briefly. And I would have started living at the club – except for you. and intelligently so. too.‖ ―Oh.‖ he said resignedly. looking at him wonderingly – adoringly. ―I‘ll speak to Farley. and I don‘t think she cares a whit for me. Damon told her about his boyhood and his college dreams. She dislikes my work. ―He‘ll listen to you. darling. ―And I‘m crazy about you!‖ He laughed gleefully. And ravishingly beautiful – and downright irresistible!‖ He stroked water over her smooth skin. glorious. I‘ve heard of it before. For a long time. How as a child his earlier illness had limited boyish 292 .‖ He labored for breath. ―My water nymph it‘s time we put into words what we both already know.‖ ―I‘ll do everything in my power. causing him to duck his head. Halting from time to time he went on: ―Of course you realize by now there‘s nothing between Felicia and me. ―You make me feel like a college kid. Simply. She leaned back again toward the fountain spray and splashed his smooth shoulders with its bubbling water.‖ ―Well. ―I think of her now as a piece of ice. wonderful things for you and me!‖ Della was silent. our marriage never quite took – because she never really left Mumsie and DaDa and Boston. Anything we ever had that would pass for love died over a year ago.Marty Holland Something will come up to prove him innocent. ―—exciting things. I love you dearly!‖ ―You‘re most persuasive my dear. I‘m going to tell you some things—‖ He beamed.

Now I‘m sailing up the coast to Corfu – home to my love! Our home is a beautiful place in an island country settling.. Can you imagine – my being thus far into a career of law only to find I detest my everyday routine?‖ He told her about Otho. living a life I‘ve always dreamed of.‖ He pointed to a tongue of foam on the water‘s surface. my hated 293 . the Vestal Fire. Damon‘s excitement was almost feverish. my own golden sultana!‖ Della sighed ecstatically. ―It‘s a sister ship to Otho‘s. ―I do hate my work. ―That‘s Otho‘s Vestal Virgin. always the spectator – watching other people have the fun. ―What a lovely dream!‖ His fantasy was so real that he felt choked. ―I‘m joining forces with Otho early next year. I‘m quitting law – getting out – my judgeship – everything. ―More than a dream! My time has come!‖ His eyes glowed. Seizing the nearby plaster soap dish. All my life. And she sensed she was hearing thoughts and words that would not be said to anyone – anyone not truly endeared. and how much he longed for the active life alongside Otho as his partner. Then he pushed the little boat careening toward Della. his successes. I‘ve never been the participant. it seems. he tore off a bit of paper towel and made a sail. My ship is here.Baby Godiva activities. This was a side of Damon she‘d not known. ―When I had polio I had to sit at the window and watch other kids play games. Described Otho‘s glamorous activities in Athens.‖ His gaze devoured her. Even now. I feel I‘m still sitting there watching – only the game has been changed to Cops and Robbers. You‘ll walk down to the shore and stand waiting for me. We‘ll both escape. Cutting all ties and leaving for Corfu to begin a new life! By May I‘ll be standing aboard my yacht in Kerkirka waters. I.‖ Della sank deep in the water and listened with fascination. How they‘d taken separate paths after college..

my dearest one? Will you come with me?‖ He was happy once more and she joined in his mood. she said: ―I can answer your question now..‖ She pressed her lovely body to him until she was enfolded by his. drawing him closer and closer to her upturned and flawless face. Slowly lifting her eyes and with lips lightly on his. Della had sat in motionless rapture. 294 . And she sensed a touch of something sinister in his next words: ―There is a penalty. Perhaps a terrible one. and you my darling. scarcely believing all she‘d heard was real. ―Will you help me.Marty Holland environment.‖ He hurried on. And when he quieted she was holding his face between her hands.‖ Their mouths closed hungrily and their joined bodies lowered into the water together. will escape your entrapment. the narrow prejudices that oppose our happiness! There is no such thing where we‘re going!‖ Damon‘s enthusiasm was catching. there always is – in exchange for happiness. ―I belong to you – all of me..

Sheriff Peck and Deputy Lucas had returned from St.” Peck hurried on down to Pinky. He knew – the miracle didn‟t happen.‟ And Carly didn‟t have to ask. And when Peck walked past his cell. For a miracle that could bring Rizzo back.Baby Godiva Chapter 37 CARLY had lain in his bunk all day staring at the lone amber bulb – with light making faint patterns on the ceiling – waiting.” Rizzo had said. jumped up and grabbed the cell bars. With each sound of a car stopping outside the jail. „after he drunk the whole gallon. And praying. The Governor did not pick up the phone.‟ Carly thought. Tiberius. eyes bloodshot. 295 . and he staggered a little. „If they killed Rizzo. Later.) And Carly refused supper that night. Carly asked softly: “Did – Rizzo go?” “Foolish question... Carly had scampered to the bars and watched the inner door.. „Like ole Duke. “Where‟s my goddam lawyer!” (“You got to keep after these lawyers.and my date is in seven days.‟ He knocked off the tears. and then began to think of self preservation.. He sobbed bitterly. And then he sank on his bed and tried to imagine what an electric chair might be like.

Then he donned a robe over pajamas. The Ravenue boy is scheduled for execution at ten. he sat up in bed staring through darkness. ―Please remind the Governor that the Ravenue boy is innocent. Eben‘s voice dropped an octave and was steady again. ‗Who asked you to make that officious speech. Eben Crown awakened before dawn.Marty Holland Chapter 38 IT WAS HERE – CARLY‘S DAY. please bring them to his attention again as soon as possible. Surely the Governor knew by now whether he was going to grant commutation or a stay of execution. While his wife still slept. Brazenly he put in a call to the executive manse. Afterward he went into the den and sat at his desk in early morning shadows.‖ ―Well. I know. Crown?‖ ―Yes?‖ ―Governor Huntington‘s political views are based on close adherence to law in these convictions. And all I‘m 296 . In the kitchen he made toast and coffee.‖ ―Yes. and added: ―Your recent letters are on his desk. His gaze shifted back and forth from clock to phone as daylight began to appear. impassive.‖ Eben flinched inwardly while the words raced through his mind.‘ he thought angrily. then blurted: ―But the boy is innocent!‖ There was silence from the other end of the wire. In minutes a sleepy-voiced male secretary informed him that the Governor wouldn‘t be taking calls until nine.‖ The secretary‘s voice was cool. ―Mr.

―This is St. and was connected with the warden‘s office.‖ ―Thank you. Eben fumbled through papers on his desk. Yes.‖ Eben said with a sinking heart. There was a chance that Governor Huntington might have already notified Sheriff Satterly of his decision to act in Carly‘s behalf.‖ The secretary read it back. Satterly would have cancelled the delivery of the electric chair. In this event. ―Hello. a portable electric chair was infinitely more diabolical in concept. ―Yeah. While slowly replacing the receiver. Here‘s the phone number. He pushed the phone away from him and sat for a moment longer. Tiberius Courthouse for his call. Eben could hear movement and footsteps. ―Has the chair left yet?‖ There was no answer.‖ ―Well – take down this note.Baby Godiva pleading for this morning is time – for a review. Then the phone clicked at the Governor‘s manse. Tell the Governor we‘ll be waiting at St. And of course I‘d be awfully pleased if he sees fit to commute—‖ ―Mr. Why did the state employ its use for executing the condemned? Why was it necessary to bring a mechanical killer traveling from jail to jail to perform its grisly task? Crown had never obtained responsible answers. the truck is on its way. Then he got up and went to the window and looked out unseeingly..‖ he kept saying. Been dispatched. ―there‘s no need in going on. Crown.‖ the stoic voice broke in. please. I have no influence in this matter. But to Eben Crown. An electric chair by any means of measure is grotesque enough. ―Hello.‖ Finally the clerk was back on the phone. Tiberius courthouse.. please.‖ Eben said authoritatively. found the number of the prison. 297 . Eben decided to call the State Penitentiary. And read it back to me.

―Yes.. Nevertheless. The clerk in the warden‘s office had said. And now he had come to the conclusion: chances were nil that the Governor would take steps to intercede and save Carly from his appointed doom. Tiberius courthouse for the purpose of killing Carly Ravenue. 298 . in the event that an order for stay of execution might come through. Eben had arranged an open line to the Governor‘s office. Instructed him to get to the courthouse early and monitor telephone calls. Eben went to the phone once more and called Ira Lemire.‖ And Eben knew that at this moment a portable mechanical monster was joggling along the expressway in the direction of St. There was one last desperate gamble.Marty Holland As Eben once more pondered these questions. And ten minutes later Crown was in his convertible heading for Fork River. the truck is on its way. stark reality provided the painful answers..

When the van finally came to rest. There was the driver. Now it pulled to a stop in front of the stone courthouse. In the empty street the truck stood conspicuous in front of the building. an inmate from the State Penitentiary.Baby Godiva Chapter 39 THROUGH MORNING DARKNESS the closed van came lumbering down the main thoroughfare of St. the two men returned to their rig and commenced opening van doors. then backed up into the driveway alongside the courthouse. assistant electrician. in full morning daylight. Turning off the engine. Looking down the street. the only sound in the block coming from its idling diesel engine. They would have coffee. Tiberius. racing its motor. The second man was Vance Unger. It would be his job to oversee the unloading and placing of equipment. The town had just started to awaken. and lights of its public buildings were still burning. turning in a wide circle. it moved forward slowly. they spotted lights of the local all night diner and headed in that direction. The driver continued to jockey the trailer unit back and forth into a position close to the building wall. it had closed off a double door side entry to the jail administration office. 299 . two men emerged from the cab and leisurely walked around the truck inspecting its position. placing skids into position preparatory to unloading their heavy cargo. Presently. An hour later.

Combining efforts. placing it in the center of the large room. several deputies approached and joined Vance Unger. With skids now in place. Sheriff Reid emerged and approached the men working on the truck. workmen pushed and directed the awesome device down the hall and into the holding tank. Its weighty studded legs and oaken arms. With these secured. they manhandled the heavy hardwood chair down the ramp from the truck. with loose straps and electrodes flapping and clanging seemed already grasping for its next victim. Outside. 300 . The electrical generator serving the high voltage current was mounted stationary on the truck. long and heavily insulated copper cables were dragged from the truck through the double doors and connected to the control panels on the stanchion. confirming that the unloading would take place as usual. cables were then connected leading from switchgear to the chair. First. clattering. Starkly evil and alive. the heavy angular contraption.Marty Holland Inside the jail. with its overhanging headpiece. operated by its own powerful diesel engine. Here a heavily ballasted stanchion carrying control-panel boards and other switchgear was brought in and placed in the corner behind and to the right of the chair. Unger and his helper continued with the business of connecting electric circuits for operation of the chair. day shift deputies had arrived and were busily engaged in transferring a few prisoners out of the drunk holding tank. which was the largest room in the jail and was used for executions. As the chair came to rest on the floor. through double doors and into the wide hall. came sliding down the ramp. The deputies quickly retreated. unloading the death chair and its accompanying switchgear. conferring with them for a moment or two. Viewed from the jail. a patrol sedan had entered the parking lot.

He lay on his back remembering: Ma and old Duke. a live current of twenty-six hundred volts was registered at the grounded control panel. He then went back to the truck and started the powerful generator for its testing. *** Twenty miles away. then an outsize visage of Peck‟s face was blotting it out. Unger shut down the whining generator and closed van doors. The aggravating part was that images of Sheriff Peck and his deputies. This routine work had made him hungry and he walked to the street. Carly. at St. Satisfied that the device was in good order. From his small window he‟d watched misty dawn melt into sunlight. Carly Ravenue had awakened early on his last morning. and Dustin and Godie. heading again for the diner. its vibrations tightening nerves of all in hearing distance. also drifted in and out of his memory patterns. in various focus. Fork River floated into his view. and in a final touch to keep them out from under foot kicked them over close along the walls. they interfered with scenes and sounds from the farm. hear their voices. The chair was ready. Superimposed on familiar settings. and git ready.Baby Godiva With all equipment now in place. “Hurry up. He could see their faces. Amid the roar of the diesel. Vance Unger followed the lines of heavy cables from truck to chair. 301 . We‟ll be goin‟ in „bout a hour. This level of output was maintained for several minutes while the angry sound of the dynamo echoed throughout the jail and into the halls of the courthouse. Augustus jail.” Sheriff Peck‟s voice drowned sounds of rippling water flowing at the swimming hole under Crazy Tree.

” She sang in her quavering soprano: Oh. that could get louder. When two little babes.” And the big Chief said to the little Chief Tony-o. He was snuggled safe in Ma‟s lap‟ his face pressed sideways against her breast. “All right. a familiar sound. He raised his hands to accept steel cuffs. But it was difficult for Carly to hear. tell me a story. don’t you remember a long time ago. Outside the farmhouse window was the twisted trunk of the grape arbor vine.. now the buzzing sound was so loud in his head. he could smell corn bread in the oven. and she was rocking him to and fro in her arms. their names I don’t know Were lost in the woods on a bright summer’s day And ne’er were found. His memory drifted back to his childhood... unlocking the cell door. I hear people say. 302 . “Ma – tell me „bout Tony-o.” She began to recite the story that had no ending: “It was a dark and stormy night. The sound that he could call upon to ease his fear. A welcome sound.. No longer able to discern the real from the imagined... And Tony-o began.. but his eyes were blurring with bloated and distorted imagery of Peck. His transfer to St.” Sheriff Peck was standing outside the bars. It was a dark and stormy night. and nearly blind with fear.. “Carly.Marty Holland Carly scarcely heard it at first: the soft humming in his ears.. “Ma – sing to me.. Carly‟s escape was now compete. Lucas and Virgil... Tiberius would not interfere with his turned-on comfort.” he was saying. we‟re leavin‟ now.

Carly kept his head down and walked up courthouse steps. greeted the St. His blurred vision took in passing faces. Car doors flew open. and the room quieted. Carly . His footsteps slackened.Baby Godiva *** The Sheriff's car stopped with a jerk in front of the St.” A tug of handcuffs. Carly was shunted into a first floor office with barred windows – one of the interrogation rooms. and the adjoining jail building. The vaguely familiar sight brought back fuzzy thoughts of the cell he once occupied during his trial. the stale smell of the courtroom.. Carly turned his face away from a second photographer‟s flash and forced his legs forward again. with its attached cables snaking in through side entrance doors. Several people left. A news reporter held himself aloof at one side of humanity crowding for a closer view. Carly followed instructions and was seated. In motions of a sleepwalker. He caught a glimpse of Father Casale conversing with a Negro Priest. following closely. the lights. oily grins of the guards. pecan trees. Sheriff Peck.. but was unaware of their purpose. A small group of townspeople filled the narrow sidewalk. “Come on. With tugs and shoves from the lawmen. frowns of Judge Winterhouse. Tiberius Sheriff. Tiberius courthouse. He saw the prison truck parked to his left. Two small children watched curiously. Handcuffs were released from the steel restraining bar. while a cameraman snapped a flash shot of the white-faced youth on his way to pay his debt to the state. 303 . Flanked by deputies. Small and barren except for a single wooden chair. “Why the hell ain‟t that barber showed up!” somebody said.

―Well – she ain‘t. Not hard.‖ He dropped his sanctimonious tone.‖ ―Where is she?‖ Eben said desperately..‖ He looked sharply at Crown. The Lord giveth – and the Lord taketh away. Jes‘ remindin‘ him someday he‘d know who‘s boss.Marty Holland Chapter 40 ―I ‗PRECIATE YOUR CONCERN for that unfortunate boy. ―Quite a change has come over my girl. ―from the path of righteousness. may I please have a word with her?‖ Eben was pleading. once I had a ornery mule. mind you..‖ Beamer licked his lips and scowled.‖ Reverend Beamer was saying. ―You thinkin‘. One fine day 304 . and—‖ ―The lad strayed. Brother Crown. But Brother Crown. The preacher stuffed his hands in his pockets.‖ He smiled smugly.my Godie ain‘t told the gospel truth?‖ ―Reverend. ―And I‘m full aware he‘s gittin‘ his dues this day.‖ Eben said tensely. his manner indicating no intention of permitting his visitor beyond the entrance. ―it‘s God‘s will!‖ He stood just inside the parsonage door..‖ he added icily. ―But it‘s Carly‘s last hope..‖ Elijah interrupted in his best pulpit voice. She‘s obedient these days and she‘s getting good grades. ―You know.. ―.. I‘ve got to talk to Godie!‖ ―Can‘t see why – what good‘ll it do?‖ ―I don‘t know. ―School‘s out for Christmas holiday she must be here. But I jes‘ kept pesterin‘ him – with a whip. ―Reverend.

Prob‘ly out somewheres right now. Eben‘s face. he found the gate boarded up tight and over it hung a NO TRESPASSING sign. he made an abrupt U-turn. Was she here? She had to be. When he found an opening. Take yesterday. ―she snuck off a‘fore breakfast ag‘in.‖ ―I hope so. he stood overlooking the streams and landscape.‖ Elijah went on. ―Now. Swerved left and crossed Perez Bridge. ―Cold spell‘s let up. Reverend. He jumped back into his convertible and turned down Placer Street heading toward town. suddenly cleared. practicin‘ to be a evangelist. Yep. Swerved left at the McIntosh manse. her Pa kin be mighty proud of that!‖ With a sinking feeling Eben glanced at his wristwatch. Slamming on the brakes. He picked up speed. But I ain‘t worryin‘. As he skidded to a stop. I was fixin‘ to punish her good. with new base roots 305 . he was out of the drivers seat.. Eben retraced his path to the bridge and hurried down along the edge of Perez woods. Climbing the bank. We‘ll have a warm Christmas. Converting sinners.Baby Godiva that mule came over to my way‘a thinkin‘. ―That‘s the way it is now with my purty Godie. Not when she‘s carryin‘ her load of the Lord‘s work. hands grasping the steering wheel turning white at the knuckles.. he held back the hedge and scraped through to inside grounds. Where else would she be on this day of all days! Running to the fence. deeply lined in concentration. But when she come home she told me she‘d been sittin‘ on the post office bench all day long. and there was Crazy Tree.‖ Eben was making his way out of the churchyard. He turned right and found the sorghum mill. Well. Eben reasoned.‖ He unbuttoned his jacket and tugged his tie loose from his collar.‖ His nostrils quivered. tires screeching. this mornin‘. she snuck off.

―Yes – I‘m Eben Crown. Purple blossoms had dried to deep violet-blue. Won‘tcha come in?. Pink flowers deepened to henna. with legs crossed. knees crossed. Eben froze in his tracks. and a second doll.Marty Holland reaching high. dotting the tangle of vines. He‘d been wrong. were looking soulfully up to the sky. Mind if I join you?‖ ―Mind?‖ Leah says you‘re the fines‘ lookin‘ man she ever saw. when her voice rang out.‖ She stretched her tan legs straight out. she rested on her back. And there lay Godie. sat three tiny teacups surrounding lumps of sugar and a little pewter teapot. in vivid light green. taken in by the charm of the scene in this idyllic setting. Serenely oblivious of his presence. he observed the sawn top of a tree stump covered with a large handkerchief. Dejectedly. Then catching sight of a small satchel at the foot of a mossy rise. He was wondering how he could announce his presence without startling her. To her right and left. His heart sank as he surveyed the quiet beautiful scene. Red and gold leaves fell lightly all around him. With delight and surprise he nodded. then sat up and looked at him boldly.‖ Then she smiled sweetly. Crazy Tree was deserted. peering through an opening in the bushes. With eyes half closed she was gazing skyward through the lacy tree tops.' She turned and smiled. ―You‘re that lawyer. he started walking back to the break in the hedge. he stood still. face up. He brushed foliage aside and quietly entered the private dell. They too. 306 . ―Tea‘ll be ready in a jif. the upper leg jiggling.‖ Eben took a step forward. ―Even if you were helpin‘ that trashy Carly Moore. On the white cloth. lay Leah.

‖ He suddenly realized she was living in a private world. ―That‘s bad ole Delilah. She smiled and dropped a lump of sugar into the tiny cup. ―One lump or two. Don‘t talk to her.‖ She gurgled a little laugh. pick up the other doll and toss it aside.‖ Eben noted the doll‘s red yarn hair and brown button eyes. In bewilderment. her profusion of long hair fell and formed a tent around her shoulders.Baby Godiva ―I was just walking through. Leaning toward him. ―You seen Leah a fore that day she came to court.‖ She threw back her head and rose gracefully.‖ She wrinkled her nose. It fell in a heap. he watched her lean over.‖ Eben sat cross-legged at the table. please. ―Thought by some chance you might be here. ―Been wanting to talk to you!‖ He looked around. ―I put them freckles on her face with my crayon. She passed it to him. Eben?. with clinging sweater to match. Crown. ―She‘s not ‗lowed to come to the table. Got chicken pox. causing liquid to splash over the side.‖ she gestured. ―First I thought it was ole Papa.‖ ―I‘m glad it‘s you. softly flaring. Mr. Her skirt was persimmon.‖ Eben managed casually. ―You can sit down there. Light green eyes shone starkly. ―Aren‘t you afraid to be all alone here after what happened?‖ ―I got Leah and Delilah here. 307 .‖.‖ ―One. Her movements and mood seemed in tune with the beauty of Autumns' background. face up. Godie grabbed the blonde doll and sat down beside Eben. and her hair caught the filtered sun and glistened with silver lights.‖ Then she poured tea and laughed joyously. Leah‘s new sister.

―Yes. you‘re a handsome man. then leaned backward on the mossy rise behind her.‖ ―Pretend them‘s cookies – cause I ain‘t got any. She knew he was looking at her shapely thighs and she gazed flirtingly at him in childish fashion. one knee raised. Carly would meet his doom between ten and twelve. I was thinkin‘ we oughta have a man at our table. ―Carly in the clutches of the chair and this beautiful young animal is blithely unaware! It was 9:30. ―Eben. feigned a swoon. Eben?‖ ―Indeed you are. Godie. ―You got nice hands. ―Course.‖ 308 . He looked away from her exposed legs and uncomfortably returned her half-smile. He watched awkwardly as she posed.‖ Eben thought. hands clasped behind her head. You like playin‘ house?‖ ―Well – yes –.‖ she said.‖ looking at her now – his voice seemed weak and he felt his heart beat strangely – she was so beautiful. For a moment Eben felt oppressed – overpowered with the futility of it all. ―You could make a lovely sister for Leah. Was there a way to wrest the truth from her! Anxiously. She placed a soda cracker in his hand.‖ She perked up. ―I do.‖ he said patronizingly.Marty Holland ―My God. Eben.‖ Eben faltered.‖ she breathed. She pushed herself from the table. his eyes were drawn from his wristwatch to her face as she rambled on. ―Thank you. Godie. and you‘re a remarkably attractive girl.‖ She smiled coquettishly. ―Ain‘t it funny? ‗Fore you came visitin‘. ―I am – attractive.

―Jest went to the Hardware and Grain to watch TV. leading her on. Don‘t like him at all. ―You don‘t pretend things like that. "Rachel was Carly‘s kid. ‗cept Wart Skinner came along. I shoulda told Papa! But Papa.Baby Godiva ―I could??‖ He asked. Cause he said I already ruined him in Fork River – his good name.‖ 309 . who?‖ Godie looked down at the moss by the tree.‖ She snuggled up beside him and reached for his hand.. ―Scud? Scud Wilkes?‖ Eben took hold of her hands. ―Who. ―All different fathers?‖ he asked quickly.‖ Sudden tears welled and ran down her cheeks .. ―he‘d jest beat me again.‖ Her green eyes were shining but with a look of innocence." Eben was standing now. ―Just hold my hand and pretend to love me. He twisted my arms and hurt me bad. Eben?‖ She squeezed his hand.. He was beginning to catch on. ―She‘d be pure of heart.. We‘d call her Bathsheba. They all gotta have a father. It‘s a game I play.‖ She looked up demurely.. Godie. She nodded. lifting her quickly to her feet. edging closer.‖ His voice dropped huskily..‖ ―And Delilah there?‖ He motioned to the doll on the ground. It‘s just ta git ma dolls. a ray of sun sparkling in her gold-green eyes.. ―I do. I get em all by pretendin‘. Is that wrong. ―I was jest watchin‘ TV and he tried ta take ma clothes off – you know. ―How could I do that?‖ She sat up now. Godie. Scud said he‘d tell on me if I told on him. Almost made it real. He‘d a really hurt me worse. ―I don't like her Pa.

―He was a-peekin at Crazy Tree. Godie. I didn't. Aimin‘ ta be a Harlot! Eben – you think I‘m bad? I oughta let Papa beat the rotten ole Devil outa me again. he picked her up. he thought of searching for a telephone. ―Godie – what did Scud have to tell about you?" She caught her breath.‖ Eben was stunned by the revelation tumbling from Godie‘s lips as he wiped streaming tears from her face. Eben took her in his arms and she clung to him. Now it was a race against time! Speeding down the country road. Then realizing it would take ‗first person‘ confirmation to be convincing. he changed his mind and bore down on the gas pedal. Convulsively she asked. Eben – I didn‘t know – till Scud told me how he‘d peeked at Carly and me and seen everything. ―Are they really gonna hurt Carly?‖ ―Yes. Reaching the convertible.‖ Eben‘s mind was racing. know. Tiberius was a long twenty-five miles away! 310 . we‘ve got to hurry. he set her quickly onto the front seat and climbed in behind the wheel.‖ Overcome with emotion.‖ Mustering strength. Guess Carly just ran – afraid it was Papa in the shadows he saw. Eben. here in the storm. And St. the doll dangling from her arms and carried her out of the garden.Marty Holland She held on to Eben. and through the hedge opening. He said nobody raped me — ‗cept ol' Crazy Tree." ―What?‖ ―I didn‘t know. Papa says I‘m bad too. she started to sob hysterically. her hot tears wetting his cheeks. ―Scud says I‘m a teaser. This was all he needed! Frantically he looked at his watch. Saw everything. ―Guess I‘ve been awful bad to Carly‖ Godie babbled on – ―but I didn‘t know.

Eben. He took a quick glance at her. whimpering. ―Go fast as the wind!‖ 311 . ―Where we goin‘.Baby Godiva Godie was snuggled close to his side.‖ she suddenly commanded. Eben nodded. How did one figure her out? A psychiatrist could examine her ‗till he was old and gray and never solve the puzzle that was Godie! ―Hurry. Eben?‖ ―To the jail – to save Carly – if it‘s not too late.‖ ―Is – is it this morning?‖ she asked fearfully.

“Well.” he said with a cute smile. “Carly‟s askin‟ for water.” he snorted. “Shou‟ do. Lucas.” he pleaded.Marty Holland Chapter 41 THE BARBER HAD ARRIVED. closed the door. holding a small testament and was mumbling a prayer. “You got a li‟l soldier?” Lucas entered. He pulled out a fresh pint from his pocket.” He retrieved the flask and gurgled again. There were too many people in the small room and Carly felt stifled.” Peck said after swallowing the fiery liquid and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Peck jerked his empty behind him and let it slide down into the waste basket. And somebody was slitting his pants-leg up from his shoe. Father Casale had entered. He took a leisurely swig and passed the bottle to his fellow law officer. “I want a drink‟a water. There was a snipping of scissors as Carly‟s hair was first cut off in hunks. 312 . *** Sheriff Satterly and Sheriff Peck had slipped away into a side office. Peck dug into his shirt and pulled out a pint flask from his belt line. “Gimme some air! Leave me alone!” He rose halfway but was forcibly pushed back down by the deputies. “You guys wanna li‟l nip?” Deputy Lucas had opened the door and stuck his head in. “looks lak you got things purty well organized. In quick maneuver.

“Hell. the truck‟s diesel engine had started and was idling slowly. lips moving. Sheriff Satterly and a deputy held firm grips on his elbows. Deputies and the coroner and a police lieutenant were milling around. but Carly was still unable to grasp their meaning. too. Carly was barely conscious of the roped-off section and the small group who‟d been admitted to witness his murder. With straps fastened around his chest and under his arms. legs and arms bare.” He hiccupped and handed the bottle to Peck. the generator turning with a low whirr. Finally Peck handed it back. His eyes squinted as he searched faces for Eben Crown. down the twenty-three feet of corridor. there would be no pictures taken.” “Them‟s my feelin‟s. he won‟t be thirsty in jest a little while. head shaven. whiskey ran down the corner of his mouth. Lucas had been standing by watching zealously. You git these guys pukin‟ an‟ you jest screw up a ex‟cution. first on one foot and then the other. *** From outside. “Can‟t give „em nothin‟. he had smelled sour mash on the good man‟s breath. fearful that he wasn‟t going to get a drink from his own bottle. Carly was on his feet now. and the deputy downed the remainder in one short slurp. Press photographers had been escorted from the room. and into the large holding tank that held the electric chair. escorting him through the doorway.” Peck said and guzzled. And. Father Casale bent over him and said a few words. Carly‟s hands clutched the arms 313 . Carly wondered what he was saying. As the prisoner was being strapped into the chair. Father Casale moved in front of him.Baby Godiva Satterly took a long pull. hands bent in supplication.

All was ready inside... who was handling the truck controls. Carly's thoughts were racing now – in blind fear. sometimes heard in such desperate moments. electrodes were clamped to Carly‟s legs. Sheriff Satterly leaned close to Carly's ear. Carly looked at the men around him.. A black hood was dropped over his face. Crown? I wanta see Mr. Tiberius news was leaning forward over the ropes straining to hear what Carly was saying. And the police lieutenant weaved slightly as he dipped a piece of cheesecloth into a pan of water. Carly yelled out frantically “Anybody seen Mr.. In a few minutes the cloth would be dry and the skin underneath it charred. Now. The diesel engine began to accelerate until its roar was mixed with the loud whine of the generator. With heart jolting he saw that the coroner and his aid were as bleary-eyed as old Duke.Marty Holland of the chair.” he thought. forming breathy words reeking of whisky. Amid the blasts of sounds coming down the hall into the chamber. The cheesecloth was placed around the condemned‟s head to aid conductivity of the coming electrical charge. Quickly. and to his head over the wet cloth. The images shifted rapidly. He recalled Rizzo laughing wildly and scoffing – „Trust those damn Shysters? Hell no! They‟ll let you burn!‟ 314 . A deputy shoved him back roughly. Carlton?” Instead of screams of anguish. A reporter from the St. Lieutenant Carson raised his hand and a deputy signaled down the hall to Vance Unger. “They‟re all sotted. Crown!" His rising voice was heard over the roar of the powerful motor on the truck outside.. His mother‟s face appeared on the black screen of his closed eyes and he saw Rizzo as he had last seen him leaving his cell the day Sheriff Peck came for him. "Got anything to say.

before he lapsed into the hazy comfort of semiconsciousness.Baby Godiva “Ain‟t I gonna see Mr. and a flood of sweat rolled down his torso. Crown?” Carly‟s angry voice was loud. He envisioned a world of monsters milling about and closing in upon him. Then through the din of it all he heard his mother‟s sweet voice singing Babes in the Woods. as they began to resemble his captors and tormentors in grotesque form. and more so by the clamor around him. seemed to pierce his skull under his black hood. He suddenly felt stifling hot. but muffled by the hood. 315 . Carly‟s ears were ringing louder than ever now and a loud clanging as from a rusty bell. unseen and unfelt by the small crowd of self-styled "Humanists" pressing the ropes in front of the chair.

Suddenly his heart surged and began pounding heavily and he knew what he had to do – and that he had to make his move this instant! How many minutes or seconds he had to act out his mission was purely a guess now.” he 316 . and as he faintly heard Godie saying “Tell „em Carly didn‟t do anything bad. Others going in and out of the Courthouse as usual. Drained of emotion. Then calls to Judge Winterhouse. Earlier. Eben had called the capitol over and over. Eben sat very still watching Vance Unger and his helper adjusting cables and equipment. and an innocent boy shaking with fear and about to be executed for a crime he did not commit.Marty Holland Chapter 42 WITH GODIE BESIDE HIM. Then the last call to Ira Lemire who had monitored the telephones for the call that had not come – the call that would have reprieved his boy-client. Eben prayed he had not held off too long. “Wait here. Godie! Don‟t leave the car. an ashen Eben Crown sat in his car near the foot of the courthouse steps – watching a few stragglers going in and out – some going in for a last minute curious attempt to witness an execution. whatever you do. Eben slammed the car door shut.” This was a deadly command and Godie realized it. As the workers passed signals back and forth between Courthouse and truck. but the governor couldn‟t be reached. oblivious to the presence of an electrical monster lurking inside. Eben felt helplessly transfixed.

Eben‟s pulse had been hammering. His movements became nimble as he led the way towards the spectators bunched at the end of the hall. the grey figure stepped boldly out into the sunshine and joined Eben‟s stride in lock-step. but steadied now with the knowledge that he was no longer alone. As he neared the signboard. handing him a loosely wrapped package. both men moved swiftly. infantry style up the remaining steps and through the wide open front doors and into the Courthouse. He felt the weight of the „thirty-eight‟ sagging his side pocket. Halfway up the steps. 317 .Baby Godiva 317 started his march up the long Courthouse steps with robot-like precision. A strong feeling of exhilaration was replacing his stark fear. without any loss in forwardmarching cadence. he noticed the outline of a vaguely familiar figure standing erect behind the ever-present „Join the Army‟ sign on the grassy platform ahead.

He was waiting for the instrument to indicate a sufficient level of power. While waiting this brief moment. he reached for his bottle and took another swig – a final bracer to help his special job as executioner. There was a loud crashing sound at the door of his holding tank – and all at once he heard latches being released and the corridor door open wide. an effortless routine. holding automatic rifles lurched through the opening. the life of Carly Ravenue would be no more. In a moment or two. He would then take a deep breath and bear down on the switch-gear when the Sheriff gave the signal. Between the surging of the engines. He was desperately trying to sort out the many strange sounds coming through the darkness of his hooded world. He remembered from previous executions that if not enough power was generated. the whirr of the generator began to accelerate and the sharp whine from outside was penetrating Carly’s dulled consciousness. Unseen by Carly. Lieutenant Carson was intently monitoring the voltage meters on the far wall. the condemned victims were only shocked to insensibility by the first jolt – and the grisly task had to be repeated. two men without masks. he thought he was hearing the cries and groans of spectators being over-run and thrust aside. Both men 318 . Now with the lieutenant’s order to Unger. he contemplated without feeling.Marty Holland Chapter 43 STANDING BEHIND THE ELECTRIC CHAIR.

Suddenly he was free and he jumped to his feet. He could not quite believe his ears. The force of the rifle blast caused Peck’s 319 . eyes wide and mouths agape in their semi-drunken stupor. “Rizzo! Rizzo!” Carly’s voice resounded again. “One wrong move and you’ll get it! There’s plenty for everybody. The lawmen quickly loosened their belts. All moved away and submitted by lining up against the wall in startled disbelief. he returned a volley of fire into the fat belly that bulged over the beltline of the portly Sheriff Peck. and waving the automatic around. echoing throughout the hollow tank chamber. “Guard! Unstrap that chair! Pronto!” Eben’s voice rang out commands loud and clear. Then he felt hands unfastening his harness and the straps confining him. the second man reached up and pulled the electric cables loose from their terminals and off the wall. dropping them to the floor. “Freeze – and don’t touch the switch!” The command was yelled out.Baby Godiva hunched forward with leveled rifles covering the mid-sections of the lawmen in charge. taking in the lawmen. “Crown?” Carly shouted from under the hood. striking him full in the chest at close range. “Drop your weapons – quick and easy!” A voice barked out. “Hurry up!” A second voice called out to the guard unbuckling Carly’s leg straps. “Arms up! Move back from the chair!” The lieutenant. With both hands he tore off the hated hood in time to see a blast of fire from Sheriff Peck’s magnum cut Rizzo down.” he yelled as he moved lightly like a prize fighter in the ring. Rizzo slumped to the floor. With rifle in hand. one by one. sheriffs and guards reacted swiftly – a circling rifle barrel reinforcing each order. As he was falling.

“He’s gone. Eben reached down with the cuffs and took Rizzo’s pulse. Carly knelt and put his arms around Rizzo’s shoulders and was trying to hold him upright. “Ain’t ya gettin’ help for him? He’s hurt bad.” Rizzo tried once more to smile – his dark-lashed hazel eyes looked at Carly then all at once he slumped forward to the cement floor letting go of the life force. Eben knew anything he would say could not ease the stark reality of the moment. 320 . Rizzo was breathing hard now. Carly. “Can’t we do something?” Carly cried out frantically. but a hysterical Carly still held on to Rizzo calling his name over and over. the room was cleared. As a semblance of order returned. There’s nothing we can do for him now. Then in a moment. was flung onto the Electric Chair like a rag doll. Looking up. he saw the deputies holding Eben and handcuffing him. cold beads of sweat appeared on his forehead. he forcefully pulled Carly up to a standing position. Carly looked up at Eben.Marty Holland body to catapult backwards – and with an overpowering force.” Then a dazed and sobbing Carly Moore was led from the Courthouse and taken to the Prison Infirmary.

And it had hurt him deeply inside. 321 . You‘ll be in my custody. Lucas?‖ Satterly asked impatiently.‖ Satterly looked dumbfounded. CROWN.‖ ―What is it. His eyes glowed with a new peace of mind. and a voice came on the loud speaker: ―Message from the Governor‘s Office.‖ Eben said calmly. Sheriff. For a long time now he‘d been heavily disturbed. gesturing for Eben to follow him to the front desk. Crown was stunned into a moment of silence. Carly‘s new trial will disclose evidence for complete acquittal. You‘ll be confined to prison until yer trial. Now the burden had been lifted – and his heart was light – with a contentment he hadn‘t experienced in months.Baby Godiva Chapter 44 ―YOU‘VE ACTED OUTSIDE THE LAW. ―Telephone message deerect from the Governor‘s office. Sheriff. Sheriff Satterly regained his composure. ―Fifteen minutes too late. The buzzer from the front desk sounded out starkly.‖ Eben nodded. reading as follows – Verbatim: ―Immediate Stay of Execution for Carly Moore Ravenue with commuted sentence – Orders from Governor Huntington. feeling so strongly that Carly was innocent. Now wasn‘t that thoughtful!‖ Eben said quietly. This is O-fficial. ―I‘m arresting you. ―I don‘t mind at all. that he hadn't been able to convince the Court.‖ Sheriff Satterly was saying quietly.

‖ ―I‘ll appreciate your finding out. ―Oh – one thing. ―Is Carly alright? Did ya tell ‗em Carly didn't do anything bad? Did ja tell ‗em? I prayed real hard. after an unsuccessful phone call.‖ he stated. Godie was clutching Leah and asking a barrage of questions. Crown. I‘ll have to call higher authority to see if ya can even git bail! This is a criminal offense you‘ve committed. ―And I‘ve got to drive Godie Beamer back to Fork River. exhausted. Sheriff. Sheriff.‖ And then Eben remembered Godie. Crown. but feeling triumphant. Ellie.‖ Satterly held his chin with his hand. ―Are we both goin‘ ta jail. He‘s going to get a new hearing and an acquittal. Crown?‖ 322 .‖ ―Hold it. ―I'll give ya three-and-a-half hours ta do yer business. Mr. Sheriff. mulling it over in his sobering-up mind.‖ ―Yes – I told them. Outside. interferin‘ with the Law. Godie noticed the guard‘s holster and guns and looked uneasily at Eben. Important unfinished business regarding Carly‘s new hearing. ‗companied by a Deputy guard. New evidence.‖ Then Eben suddenly remembered that he had a wife. I‘d like to arrange bail.‖ The deputy took the back seat and Eben climbed in behind the wheel. As he opened the car door. and you‘ll be back here at four a‘clock ta check in. ―She‘s in the car. Crown. Doubt if ya can git bail at this point at-tall. I‘ve got to see Damon Winterhouse immediately. Carly's going to be alright. a misty rain had started. and that he must call her soon.Marty Holland Eben was suddenly alert again.‖ ―I appreciate that. Mr. waiting in the car. Unsnapping Eben‘s handcuffs he said. then made a decision.

Godie.‖ ―I'm tired too. Is that the word." Elijah listened in silence. in the garden. Crown?‖ ―That‘s perfect.‖ ―Good. Crown. she waved goodbye and went on inside. You‘re her only chance. She told me the truth about Scud Wilkes. I‘m pretty tired out. Eben inched forward to where the Preacher was standing and rolled down the window. ―Reverend Beamer. From the platform. Eben leaned forward on the wheel. He's gonna see that I get you home O. This is Deputy Smith. Reverend. We‘re going to drive you home. Scud Wilkes said it wasn‘t Carly. I had to take Godie to the courthouse today. The Governor gave him a commuted sentence. 323 . Will you come to the hearing and testify that Carly never did hurt you?‖ ―Oh I will.‖ Elijah seemed perplexed. She needs your understanding.K.‖ He wanted the Deputy to hear this. taking it all in. but I'm shore glad Carly‘s gonna be acquitted. ―It‘ll all come to light at the new hearing.‖ Beamer turned his gaze to the sky. A cloud had lifted its gray shawl. posting a holiday sermon schedule on his bulletin board. Carly‘s innocent.Baby Godiva ―Oh no. Mr. Glints of brightness streaked the churchyard. As they pulled into the church yard. Mr. Said he was there." Eben said. His lips pursed tightly. ―You‘ll understand it all soon. Remember — you‘re the most important gift you can give your child. The convertible stopped and Godie got out and ran up the church steps. Elijah was standing at the fence. ―She‘s a growing girl. Carly is innocent of charges.

324 . as he started the motor. Then after a moment.‖ Eben said as he waved goodbye. you still have time to be saved. Eben caught a nod of sudden apprehension from the stoical expression. With a friendly quick smile.‖ Eben squinted into the playful rays of the sun.‖ Eben continued.Marty Holland ―There‘s that high court up there. ―You‘d do well to throw away that whip and pray for your own Salvation. he nodded a salute. "Gonna be a warm Holiday. Reverend. you know. ―Brother Beamer.‖ Elijah‘s head snapped resentfully.

pacing before the window. glanced up at Grandpa Creighton. holding garden scissors. face thinner. I‘ll not listen to any more of this sort of thing.Baby Godiva Chapter 45 FLAMES SPAT AGAINST THE FIRE SCREEN AS A LOG CRUMBLED in the marble fireplace. ―A nasty accusation. And Crown had spent the last hour feverishly trying to find out what had caused the delay. stood beside pots of poinsettias set on newspapers strewn over his leather top desk. Now he clipped off a dried leaf from beneath a flower and waved his snippers at Eben Crown. Beyond. ―Bar be damned! And you‘ll listen to what I‘ve come here to tell you. then to the dismal rainy afternoon outside. Unworthy of a member of the bar.‖ Crown. his eyes larger. He whirled back abruptly. And I sure as hell wasn‘t fooled!‖ Eben was talking with great effort. 325 . lay packages festively tied in red and green. resting in white cotton snow at the base of the Winterhouse Christmas tree. still adjusting to startling developments that had sent him barging into the Judge‘s home on the day before Christmas. Tips of the evergreen touched the high beamed ceiling of the main drawing room. Eben. A stay of execution for Carly Ravenue had come into the St. Tiberius courthouse a full fifteen minutes after the scheduled time for the execution. There was a freshening scent of pine drifting in through the open library archway. The Judge. He had just finished hurling grave accusations at Judge Winterhouse.

Look – Eben. ―You‘re not looking at all well. You‘ll feel better in the morning.‖ ―Wilkes?" Damon turned his face to the window grasping for some association that would identify the name. Crown‘s eyes flashed.‖ He'd forgotten Eben was not going home. Nor with Carly. Eben. ―Seriously. ―Carlton Ravenue case a political issue?‖ He scoffed. The lawyer‘s lips curled.‖ He waved an arm in emphasis. ―But capital punishment is coming up as a real political issue in this state. Why would Farley use the Ravenue case for political gain?‖ ―I‘ll tell you why!‖ Crown‘s voice shot up. And with election votes around the bend. and I know it! Why didn't they get the wheels turning one hour earlier? To allow for delays and verifications?" Damon flinched uncomfortably. get some rest. ―Save your sympathy till you‘ve heard the rest: Scud Wilkes is in custody at Fork River Jail. ―And you got it.‖ Damon said complacently. You know it. Winterhouse stopped puttering with his poinsettias and surveyed the lawyer critically. both opponents and proponents stay satisfied – with a standoff.‖ Eben's face flushed heatedly. Sleep it off. ―It's common knowledge Farley‘ll need all the support he can get this time!‖ Crown was almost shouting. Eben. don‘t come to me reeking of bar-room alcohol making those confounded assumptions!‖ Eben and the deputy had stopped for a quick drink at a local bar.‖ Eben said grimly. ―Sure I did – just like it was planned – too late! The goddam thing was contrived. ―Didn't he figure somewhere in the Ravenue ease?‖ 326 . he was interested in Farley Huntington! The way this worked out. ―I‘ve never heard such defective reasoning. his voice casually patronizing. ―He wasn‘t concerned with my appeals. "Ridiculous.Marty Holland ―I begged Huntington for that extension. Go on home. why?‖ He paused.

‖ Eben drew a sharp breath.‖ Eben's voice was becoming hoarse. All that was left was for me to speed on in.‖ ―What‘s he charged with?‖ ―Suspect. All too damned complicated to save Carly – at that last moment. You can imagine my predicament. it‘s most likely he would've been accused of raping Godie and—‖ 327 . because it would have incriminated him – exposed his perverted sex drive and revealed how he gets his kicks. ―Too bad.‖ Eben added with a touch of sarcasm. Even the D.‖ The lawyer‘s voice rasped with dryness. He said if he‘d told about it. ―Wilkes claims nobody was raped – that the falling tree was what maimed Godie. ―And here‘s the best part. Says he watched their antics on that late Sunday afternoon Godie went home injured.‖ He paused. But it all happened so fast. ―The same character that carried Godie Beamer to Doc Buskirk‘s hospital. ―You forced me to do this. ―And he had that figured right.A." The Judge listened in dismay. But – and get this – Wilkes has admitted he hid out at the rear of the McIntosh place on a few occasions and saw Godie and Carly playing around there at the creek. Your Honor. Reid is still trying to get the straight of it. Here I had Godie in my car.‖ Crown‘s tone was flint hard. When I reached the Courthouse I saw Rizzo on the steps. I figured what he was planning to do and I joined him. Couldn‘t find you.Baby Godiva ―He sure did. ―Couldn't get through to the Governor. was out. ready to admit the truth. He told Reid he couldn‘t have come forward with the truth. Winterhouse!‖ Damon's brows had wrinkled. Godie told me enough to put the screws on Scud. ―Sheriff Reid thinks Scud Wilkes is the Peeping Tom that‘s plagued neighboring towns for such a long time.

His recriminations left him feeling ashen. ―Afterward.‖ Eben opened the entry door and left. not meaning to slam the door so hard. ―— he probably did!‖ Crown saw the anguish on Winterhouse‘s paled face. Have a hell of a holiday. ―‗cause somehow I'm just not up to playing Santa. in truth. even in his hour of triumph.‖ He took a few steps toward the entry.‖ he laughed. ―That‘s a serious offense.‖ He laughed hollowly Then he moved toward Damon a pace. Judge. ―Yes I know.‖ Crown shook his head. then called back. 328 . Wilkes hurried home. Three hours bail. ―Probably a good thing I‘m going back to the jailhouse. Justice is a blind Goddess. These perfect blooms. spent.. and was sitting there in the pew as Godie regained consciousness and made her way home. It is Christmas. Eben. But Nature denied them the fragrance of Truth!" He faltered. and the law is imperfect. Things aren‘t always what they seem. Through the long silence that followed small sounds magnified: the sweep of gentle rain on the panes.Marty Holland He hesitated again and his eyes came up slowly in thought. interfering with the Law. wrung out. deserve a fragrance to match their beauty. changed into dry clothes and slipped into church service. having accomplished his mission. Damon. He felt suddenly very tired. Then as he faced Eben he said. ―We keep learning.‖ the Judge‘s voice was slow and toneless. Eben stood at the far end of the study feeling empty. ―This is the way it turns out sometimes. Eben.‖ Avoiding Crown‘s eyes he turned to his desk to study the poinsettias. isn‘t it?‖ he added with irony. ―Well. and with it slowly paced dripping from a roof downspout.‖ Neither man moved. Crown. ―Ellie was expecting me to play Santa Claus tonight.. ―I‘d do it all over again.

Plans were in motion – Christmas was here – time for the next move on his schedule. How can they be so lovely!‖ She slid down in the chair beside him and slithered one arm around his waist. *** Through the reflection in the stairwell mirror. He looked up now as she entered the library.. ―You know it‘s grand to be home again. Seeing the plants her eyes twinkled. ―And they‘re potted! They‘ll last for a very long time.‖ she glided. ‗Thank God I‘ll get away from all this sort of thing soon.‘ Damon was soon preoccupied with thoughts more important to him.Baby Godiva The deputy was waiting.‖ she went on gushingly. He felt a strange excitement. disturbed and shaken.‘ he thought. He moved over to his easy chair. Felicia had turned up the tape machine and opened the door wide from upstairs. But someone else would bear the brunt of it. And wrinkling her pretty nose: ―I always forget. He smiled wryly. and sank down on the soft cushions.. ‗I won‘t be around.. Next year at this time he‘d be spending Christmas in Athens or Corfu. over Crown‘s visit. *** Strains of Santa Claus is Coming to Town suddenly filled the room. If Wilkes‘ story turned out to be true there would probably be some kind of an investigation. no scent. Looking over her shoulder at the poinsettias 329 .‖ she said gaily. He could forego the joys of Yuletide for now. over to them and instinctively bent over to smell a blossom. ―How sweet of you – to remember – I just worship poinsettias. Winterhouse had watched Eben leave.

not one.‖ Felicia smiled sweetly. Raining again. Some kind of a conference. He frowned.‖ ―Silly Felicia.‖ Felicia moved to the doorway and paused. It was like old times. ―Aren‘t they gloriously teeming with life!‖ She snatched a kiss.‖ she added in a small strained voice.‖ She giggled. ―Boston streets were filled high with snow. ―Just a wee bit. do you like my new dress?‖ When there was no reply she moved to the window and peered out. Della told me I would. you know. always rambling. I helped a Salvation Army Santa Claus fill his pot. He was all packed for Washington.‖ She fussed with a flower on the desk. 330 . ―I was gone over two weeks. ―Darling. Promised Cissy she could go to her mother‘s for Christmas. ―Where‘s Della this morning?‖ ―Took the station wagon. Phoned in to cancel. then saw that Damon was reading a newspaper. She‘s driving Cissy to the bus depot. ―Darling. ―You‘ve been in the champagne. She scowled up at Grandpa‘s portrait.‖ She turned worriedly to Damon.Marty Holland her eyes shone happily.‖ He gave her a disinterested smile. Said her mother was counting on her to be home for Christmas. and did miss the Headmaster. Your bark and all of you. Refused to run out on me. Stood for two hours in the falling snow – and rang his bell.‖ ―She did? – You have a nice trip?‖ She bounced to her feet. ―Damn cold in Boston. don‘t fall apart when you hear rumors I‘ve taken a lover. ―DaDa was barreled over when I breezed in. I missed you. darling. ―Della was a little sad. Circling back she glanced forlornly around the room and then at the ceiling.. ―Feel marvelous. and it‘s barely noon!‖ She laughed..‖ She kissed him again teasingly. ―I didn‘t have one headache.‖ Then smiled wanly.

you really consider that?‖ ―How could I.‖ He looked.‖ Her chin rose. Christopher. darling. At once!‖ She laughed softly and surveyed the dark living room. Grumpy Damon. ―Kind Sir. They direly need more help. up quickly. may I say something else?‖ ―No. Yes. Are you packed? We‘ll be leaving in a couple of hours. Della fed you well. Why don't you cite me for contempt. ―Be quiet out there. and to the stairway mirror.‖ She skimmed past him.. ―Wilt Thou direct me to the nearest Inn?‖ Damon rattled his newspaper. ―More lovely than a fragile rose!‖ She turned and curtsied. There. I‘m packed. I‘ve only gained three pounds. ―You don‘t possess one jealous bone. I am a beauty. darling?‖ After a sigh she continued: ―I‘m the mother of thirty new children. I said it.‖ ―Felicia. Felicia. make yourself some black coffee. Thy flattery hast made me bold.‖ She wilted. ―How do you do. I‘m Skinny Silly Felicia.Will we ever move from this dungeon?‖ 331 . You‘re looking very chubby these days. darling. I can‘t concentrate. out the doorway. DaDa said sell the Tennessee land if I need to. ―Well. That little orphanage outside Middletown folded. Felicia.‖ she whispered. ―Did. ―O. Felicia. Don‘t forget your seasick pills.‖ She rushed back to the doorway and looked in at him. Thou art fair. brought their flock to St. weren‘t you. ―You were listening after all.‖ ―Your Honor. ―Ghosts framed in gloom. ―Oh..Baby Godiva She danced back to the window. Somebody‘s got to tell me. without consulting you. then stopped suddenly studying her reflection. Or this rambling rose shall surely wilt!‖ ―You‘ve had enough champagne for one day.

I‘m a silly skinny rambling nitwit. Why does everything feel so – so strangely different since I‘m back. That‘s another pet name you have for me..‘ Her lids snapped open. She went back to the stairwell mirror. ‗He hates me today. then get rid of it and put something else in its place!‖ The sudden crispness of his voice startled her.‖ she coaxed. isn‘t it? Looks like a smelly old barge.‖ And her impishness goaded her into adding: ―I‘m just your nitwit. ―You aren‘t very choosy these days.Absolutely nothing is in proper perspective (as she recalled Damon‘s words: ‗Felicia. I mustn‘t be commonplace. and was consciously ignoring his wife.‘ Damon was still absorbed in his reading.Marty Holland Newspapers rustled. ―Awfully bad seascape. Please. you must learn to put things in proper perspective. Thinks I‘m getting hard to handle. darling. and her mood changed to self-reproach. Damon. And you once said I was too aristocratic in bed. Something has been stolen. Her eyes were fixed on the side wall. ―I‘m caught in a mood. He‘d learned by experience that this was the best way to handle Felicia‘s flights of fancy when she‘d imbibed too much champagne.‖ ―Well. yesterday. ‗Don‘t let it show that this morning while writing a long note to Mumsie I consumed a full bottle of 332 . So cold. ‗Oh.. Why won‘t you ever tell me what you meant. tell me what you meant. ―I hung it there myself. ―Pictures don‘t help. ‗I‘m getting little wrinkles. There was no reply and she pouted and thought.‖ She made a face. ―Don‘t mind me.‖ she said. wise me up. Something has vanished from this house. New. Come on.‘)‘ She closed her eyes.‖ Damon looked up.‖ She studied it. cocking her head.

. a lone hot tear fell on his hand. Mumsie and DaDa‘s numbskull who never grew up. Grandpa. yes or no..‖ Damon looked up curiously.‖ She threw back her head defiantly. breathing him in with pride swelling painfully in her bosom. Grandpa. whatever are you doing? Come over here!‖ She ran and sat on the floor by his chair.‘ Her gaze concentrated on the full figure portrait.. Build bridges. Damon is so jealous of my heritage..‖ ―For the love of—‖ Folding of newspapers blurred the Judge‘s words... what an orgy! I must remember not to defend Grandpa and Mumsie and DaDa. As she arose from kneeling.‖ Words spilled.‘ ―Felicia. Instead he‘s bogged down in that stuffy courtroom. He could lead Armies. Ye Gods. Blow over forests with a puff. ―You‘ve had to contend with me.and we‘ll get him out of this small town judicial trap. ―You don‘t hate me. with a silver star on her headband. but he was chuckling softly. Felicia turned and studied him. Oh. he‘s bright as a Christmas star! I‘ll just manage to have a serious talk with him.‖ she didn‘t hear the rest. Grandpa. He 333 ..Baby Godiva champagne. resting her face against his knee. Damon. this sort of sentiment. isn‘t he magnificent.. ―I‘m cross examining Grandpa. ―Poor darling.. Oh.. the little girl in ballet slippers. my husband! Powerful! A warrior. holding her fairy‘s wand.. A Julius Caesar.. ‗Oh. ―Did you say grave?‖ ―Quiet. ―. she could feel him drawing away.‖ Her voice fluttered.would you still love me if you found I won‘t reach my grave sustaining the role of a proper and refined old grandma? Answer briefly. I do love you!‖ She felt she‘d overdone it again. ―Felicia.

Then abruptly he attempted to disengage himself. his neck.‖ Her arms had encircled his waist. Felicia. until all at once his guardedness vanished and he yielded. and at this moment she seemed to be the delightful girl that he‘d once known. She was hugging him. as she drew him down to the divan.Marty Holland wiped it off and stood looking at her closely. pleadingly. We‘d hear her driving up. urgently. kissing his mouth. She was a beautiful and sensuous woman.‖ His tone mellowed. whispering in her ear.‖ With a new note of eagerness she went on. ―In a few hours we‘ll be singing carols on the Golden Star.‖ ―Nonsense. ―Stop it. Della might come in. 334 . his ear. Strange how these sudden caresses brought back thoughts and longings he hadn‘t felt since their courtship. warm and compelling. overwhelmed with her nearness and warmness and softness and the enchanting blend of her perfumes. Impulsively Damon took her in his arms and held her tenderly.‖ She was gently pressing her fleshly-manicured talons into his firm shoulder flesh. We shouldn‘t. ―We can do what we like – it‘s our house. ―Don‘t be so glum.

stunningly pert. Don't think I could have swung it without Rizzo – Carly‘s former cell-mate.‖ Drops of rain clung to the fur coat. ―It‘s just wonderful and poor Judge Winterhouse was so upset with the Governor.‖ Crown studied her a moment.Baby Godiva Chapter 46 OUTSIDE THE RAIN CONTINUED in a steady drizzle. ―You‘ve worked so hard to save Carly – and Mr.‖ he said quietly. ―Is that you. Mr. the gift from Felicia. Della noticed the drawn look on Eben‘s face. Crown? May I talk to you for a moment?‖ She parked quickly and hurried over to the other car. Crown—I felt a special kinship to him you might understand. ―He gave his life for Carly. He could have just left town. ―I‘m Della.‖ Della‘s eyes were misty. she pressed the brake and rolled down the window.‖ He pondered. ―Rizzo came back after his escape. ―Thank you Mr. ―Can it be true about Carly Ravenue?‖ Her eyes were sparkling with joy.‖ 335 . As Eben and the deputy were driving out the long tree-lined entryway. He tried so to help that boy. Della was turning in from the main road. Crown. When she saw the convertible. in mink coat and hat.‖ she smiled.‖ Eben opened the door and she eased gracefully in beside him. ―Hop in out of the weather. The closeness of the interior accentuated her faint exotic perfume. you know – especially to save Carly. I just want you to know I think it‘s a wonderful and brave thing that you did. "It was brave alright.

the rain fell harder.‖ Della thought about it briefly. ‗Not at this stage of the game.Marty Holland Something within him could not let this erroneous remark go by. ―Oh. Remembering the station wagon – Della walked back down the driveway. ―But he could have granted a new trial for the boy after the appeal.‖ Eben protested. The deputy looked at his watch. he reflected." he said. He had accomplished much today – something he had not been able to do in the courtroom and with this thought he felt good. while outside. Della said goodbye and ran to the house. He was anxious to get back – as he knew he would sleep well that night – even on a jail cot. Crown sat silently. Everything was in order now.‖ she said softly. forgetting the car at the mouth of the driveway. No need to disillusion her or jeopardize her position with the Winterhouses. 336 . Eben felt a sudden affinity to Cinderella. Then he wondered how she would react to the whole truth. appreciating her beauty and poise. But he decided against telling her about the delayed reprieve. and respecting her concern. As she entered the garages. ―But I‘m so glad for Carly now. unchallenged. the rain fell in torrents – with hail pelting the walkway. but his coach could not turn into a pumpkin now. he thought complacently. ―We‘d better be getting back now. She felt snugly cozy in her furs. She turned off the ignition and waited for the downpour to subside. regardless of his exhausted state of mind. listening to the sounds of the storm and watching the water cascade down off the rooftops. I‘m sorry to hear that. Wishing Eben a Merry Christmas – not knowing he'd spend it in jail.

Her fur apparel glistened with raindrops. Standing straight. the deep pile carpet muffling her footsteps. adding sound to the ugly scene. stunned at the sight reflected in the stairway mirror – showing all to clearly the interior of the library. never to return. Back in her throat she swallowed frenzy that tasted of metal. The mink coat fell open and graceful full breasts rose and fell with belated breathing.. making delicate sounds against library windows. Immediate confrontation! But instead she leaned back against the closed door and threw her purse reeling across the bed. she somehow crossed the living room. while the two lovers had heard only the far-off rumble of thunder. Then she fought off a desire to rush back to the library – now! So he‘d know she saw him in his own disgusting setting. the Winterhouses did not hear the wind that had set the shrubbery in motion... eyes unseeing. At this moment she stood rigid. One hand clutched her purse until knuckles turned white.‘ she decided limply in silent rage. She clenched her teeth hard to hold back a wild urge to scream. she barely controlled her first impulse – to quickly pack and flee the house. Della walked into the living room. soft and undisturbing.Baby Godiva *** Locked in embrace. The front door had quietly opened and closed. in nausea. Held frozen to the spot she heard softly murmured love talk coming over the end of the couch. A quiet helpless fury consumed her. ‗He‘ll never know what I just saw. For a moment. 337 . moved silently through dining room and kitchen and reached her own sanctuary. she watched a world fall apart. Breaking away.

Looking around all four walls of the room. and British.Envious women whispering to each other: ―She's a mixture of French. I‘m Mrs. she was remembering her visit with Eben Crown. The Judge‘s firm hand escorting her into roof taverns. happy Damon aboard his Vestal Fire – sailing home to her! Her imagination shifted and stretched to its utmost: she saw herself running home to Maman. ‗He‘ll never feel this little Mignon again!‘ She rose and walked aimlessly about the room. with an enormous diamond on her finger. ―Maman. In his arms. Mistress of all that beauty nestled between green hills and azure sea – with a tanned... grasping – for time to think – to clear her throbbing head.Marty Holland Moving blindly to the bed she sank down. Garbed in sequined gowns. wearing dazzling diamond tiaras in her hair. white satin with white fox. Spanish. Indian. Damon Winterhouse!‖ Thoughts returned to reality with a crash. ‗He‘ll never have Della in his arms any more!‘ Her lovely eyes narrowed. Swathed in sable and chinchilla. Her eyes teared and filled with loathing. Licking her lips she stood fascinated by her changing image in the dresser mirror. She saw flashes of plans with Damon she‘d conjured of herself. What was it he had said? Damon could have granted a new trial for the boy? ‗Southern justice would prevail. dancing on the moon-washed after-deck of the Vestal Fire. 338 . and Heaven knows what else! And isn't she lovely!‖ Then visions of their country home – a dream in Corfu appeared. The loathsome scene kept repeating in her mind's eye – she couldn't stamp it out! She tried to weep but couldn‘t.‘ she thought bitterly. But her mind had cleared and began working rationally. stately ballrooms and the opera.

with needles of rain tattooing her face. cases of champagne – all packed for the holiday. cooling the dragon writhing inside her. past the Winterhouse luggage.‘ Why did he get so flustered whenever Felicia mentioned selling her Tennessee land? Why this trip on the Golden Star to a choppy gulf in the middle of winter? What was the penalty for happiness? She paled. ―Please help me!‖ 339 . She stood watching. ‗She almost fell over the balcony again. Through the service door she saw that Carlos was backing the station wagon in from the street." she moaned. Damon saying. saying things about Felicia that weren‘t true? Only last evening she‘d overheard the conversation. ―Oh God. She ran out to the rear yard and saw him lifting suitcases from the porch and setting them into the rear of the wagon. Then she rushed to the service porch.Baby Godiva Why had Damon phoned Dr. Fenton so often. fishing poles.

“They’ve compared Scud’s shoe with the print now.” “Yes. Crown. 340 . And that Eben had been granted special permission to continue the case in lieu of the new evidence that was to be brought forth – as another attorney not familiar with the records would cost the state much more time and money. and boyishly handsome in his own jeans and white shirt and tie. Ira Lemire had visited Eben often at the jail. curling in flat ringlets and he looked trim. His hair had grown slightly longer in the few weeks.” Carly nodded. As the hearing drew to a close. You thought it was Reverend Beamer – so you ran. Eben learned that he had been able to set up the new hearing for Carly instead of a formal re-trial – due to the commuted sentence issued by the Governor. “Don’t forget you’re still on trial.Marty Holland Chapter 47 OUTSIDE THE SUN WAS SHINING once again. Mr. As Eben greeted Carly in the Courtroom he whispered low. by the simple confession of Scud Wilkes of his presence in the garden. a weary but happy Eben Crown had brought to light new exonerating evidence of Carly's innocence.” Carly nodded in apprehension. You were confused. in the storm. From Ira. that the court had allowed. pretty evident he was there in the garden. So be careful. to the conclusion that Carly had not harmed Godie but had run in startled confusion and terror. as a witness and voyeur. Remember you saw a figure in the shadows after you had pulled Godie free of the branches.

341 . currying him and walking him often on the country road. regardless of the hired hands that Duke had put on. although the horse began to improve soon after Carly’s return – as Carly showered him with attention. And so in three weeks after the thwarted Execution Day. not Carly. Tiberius Jail and returned to the farm – still young in years. Carly Ravenue walked out of St. after being felled in the tree. Diamond’s neglect showed also. Upon questioning by Eben. but no longer a boy.Baby Godiva Reverend Beamer had also been subpoenaed to assure Godie’s presence at court. that Scud confessed to her at the Hardware and Grain that only Crazy Tree had injured her. Duke was drinking heavier than ever and the farm life was at a low ebb – in a precarious state because of Carly’s absence. and that Scud had witnessed Carly in fearful flight in the dusk of that evening in question. Godie’s testimony established she had only erroneously thought that Carly had harmed her. in her unconscious state.

all Spanish. tires singing on wet asphalt of the main highway. Beyond and in front was the Golden Star moored to the dock. 342 . respectfully worshipping his passenger. an inlet on the gulf. He instinctively sensed her tension and knew something was awry. was following about a mile behind. fishing poles rattling. Only his kindly eyes betrayed his feelings when he responded to small talk. during the ride. would converse only when spoken to. Traveling bags and marine gear filled the back compartment. her almond eyes smoldering.Marty Holland Chapter 48 MIDAFTERNOON – the Continental was wheeling its way southeast. driving the station wagon. She was a stately vessel. Carlos. past small farms with acreage of stubble corn. Carlos. Carlos saw the Continental and pulled alongside the empty car. windshield wipers slapping an imperfect beat to the radio‟s Christmas carols. a languid Felicia was snuggled up to Damon. sat straight beside him. but remained silent. outsizing all other craft nearby. making his own way. After an hour out. Her proud and shining bow moving up and down with occasional swells from the inlet. toward Port Darbonne. She roused as the car turned south on a secondary road and began to watch the countryside. Approaching the marina. Over and around waterways and marshes and cane fields they sped. A sleek cat-like Della Rousseve.

it struck her that they looked well-loved and secure. Using the rear-view mirror Della freshened her lipstick before reaching for the door handle. “Does Carlos have your gear aboard? “Well. Della had remained seated. The Judge and Felicia were in the wheelhouse.. Stopping in the middle to sniff the clean washed air. they turned. making trips back and forth from station wagon to gangplank. beckoning her to hurry. was chattering and pouring bourbon over ice in a third glass for the latecomer. Felicia. He opened the car door and she got out. we‟ll all have a drink and I‟ll show you to your cabin. was snuggling close to Damon. „Grown-up little rich kids. Damon was smiling. arms outstretched in welcome. She had watched Damon and Felicia walking the dock to inspect moorings. as though Heaven had always smiled down on them. both wearing sea jackets and yachting caps. laughing and talking into his ear. From the corners of her eyes she noted her suitcase still in the rear compartment. emotionless. looked curiously. Della.Baby Godiva Despite the weather. and already sipping highballs as Della entered and stood in the doorway. at the chart table.‟ she thought „at the seashore building their castles in the sand. her brows raised as she gave Carlos a significant smile. Damon waved again. murmuring two words – “no vallas. and waved to her. as though she was anxiously awaiting the holiday. his eyes caressing her.. As Della watched.” She grasped her coat to her breast and walked to the Golden Star. Both turned and began walking arm in arm up the gangway to the ship‟s deck. Then Carlos was busy unloading. animating the white hull. But she lingered.” 343 . Felicia.‟ Before disappearing into the cabin with Felicia. with arms around his waist. brass trim gleamed. waiting while Carlos closed the tailgate and stood outside the car.

“Felicia! For God‟s sake. melting doubts that made her heart hammer. set down her glass and stared. and the beauty of their love dissolved. And again she felt the old weakness. and you‟re in his way!” Fearing she‟d lack the courage to finish. couldn‟t you have been satisfied with the love we had!” Her voice had turned almost melancholy.” She turned to the chart table. “He wants your Tennessee land! Wants it all for himself – and Otho! He‟s desperate..” She was talking to him only. Felicia looked on. But she could see him shrinking.” Sobbing.... as though they were alone in the room..‟ she thought. „Almost unnaturally bright. She commenced again.” Her eyes flooded. “I just can‟t. unbelieving horror in his eyes. Della went on painfully. she rushed on urgently. why.Marty Holland His eyes were shining. her gaze settled on Felicia. And now the horror in Damon‟s eyes was venomous hate. Della!” Della‟s eyes again fixed on Felicia. “Oh. Damon.” Della said huskily.. “And Felicia. stupefied. transforming him into a vision of ugliness and evil. I can‟t watch you destroy anything more. leave this boat at once! Stay clear of the railings – and don‟t take seasick pills!” 344 . his eyes were eagerly searching hers. Della‟s soft lips tightened.. she shut him out.. “Don‟t! Don‟t do it. Gathering strength. With his back to Felicia... mildly surprised. Damon looked over sharply. "I can‟t go through with it. “Damon. I‟ll not have that drink. a wonderful dream. “And you can‟t go through with – with your plans! Your plans have destroyed us already. There was a deafening silence while he stared at her in cold disbelief.” Her voice choked off. Felicia. “I‟m not packing aboard. “It was just a dream. Turning away.

por favor. the road narrowed and became bumpy. and at the gangplank burst into uncontrollable sobbing. but turned back to answer. and the waters of the bayous appeared.” she said. Carlos met her on the dock and followed her to the station wagon. Miles on. “Saving my sanity – and perhaps your life!” She ran on out. la otra manera. “Della. Della was comforted by Carlos‟ gracious silence. The implications in Della‟s words were slow in taking effect. A weathered directional signpost leaned against a tree: LAFOURCHE GREEN MEADOWS Familiar sights came in view. Reaching the main road. “Carlos. She felt rapture as cleansing gusts of warm wind blew through a cane field. Now her mother‟s strong hands were grasping her shoulders – shaking her hard „til her 345 . it was happening too fast for her mind to comprehend.” Her voice was soft and sure. lifting her spirits. her face a blank.” Without hesitation he spun the wheel. Della‟s tear-stained face was dry. His old eyes had eloquently professed understanding. meandering close in places. fields greener. She stood up. no answers needed. leaving the low shelf of the bay and sped on over flat countryside. as only Felicia could. “what on earth are you doing?” Della had moved to the door. Carlos prepared to follow the return route home.Baby Godiva Felicia was dumbfounded. No questions. “Vuelta aquí. The station wagon negotiated the swerving road. and picked up speed. turning east instead of west. There had been no more than a touch of the hand.

its rays lighting tops of trees. then laugh with teardrops on her eyelashes. looking ahead. a grove of water cypress beyond.Marty Holland vision blurred. And now she stopped still. The rain had ceased.” he said warmly. A brown-spotted cow was swimming from one ledge to the next to eat marsh grass. A tinseled evergreen at the window with colored lights blinking expectantly.” “Para nada. Then she was out of the car. There was a rustle at the screen door. Reaching through the open window she touched his sleeve with words of gratitude. mi amiga querido. “Gracias por todo. She ran down a pathway. To fences of split cypress surrounding a lopsided frame house. A cloud was lifting its gray shawl and the low-slung sun peered through. Carlos. the car motor fading in the distance. Suddenly she was alone. “You‟ll have to always be strong because you‟re beautiful!” She opened her eyes to a lane forking from the road. Water lay in shallow pools. The front porch was on stilts over quiet water channeling away through a green meadow. The sight made her smile. “Maman.” she cried. alto aqui por favor. she sloshed through it. “Carlos. I‟m home for Christmas!” 346 .

but when her mind is opened to the truth. He couldn‘t quite believe this was all happening. he rehearsed his speech.‖ Eben looked up and smiled.‘ Eben continued. Crown. she suddenly sees. Everything is on a beautiful plane again. A guard ushered him to the private cell where Eben was sitting on the jail cot. Crown. Crown.‖ Carly hesitated before he spoke. reading.Baby Godiva Chapter 49 CARLY BOUNDED UP THE STEPS of the St. I‘m glad ya did it fer sure. remembering Damon‘s words.‖ he heard himself saying calmly.‖ Carly faltered. being on the outside now. ―I‘d like to see Mr. ―Hello Mr. Carly. ―I never thought I‘d see you inside these bars – and all on accounta‘ me. and everything looks good.‖ ―Don‘t. Approaching the desk. then turned a sharp right to the jail entrance. digesting Eben‘s philosophy. Carly looked puzzled. ―But I feel awful bad about it. Carly. He extended a hand through the bar opening. Everything is fine with me. It was like a dream come true.‖ he bowed his head.‖ ―Mr. Don‘t even think about it. ―Justice is sometimes a blind goddess. but. Tiberius Courthouse. ―Good to see you. then walked forward to the barrier. 347 .‖ He smiled reassuringly.

And when you‘re on the right side of something you‘re sure of. Carly. ―I don‘t want you to. there‘s no way out. Mr. ―I feel I should be tryin‘ ta git ya outta here. you see.‖ ―Oh. ―Don‘t forget that‘ll be all yours.‖ He paused. when it finally sinks in that you were innocent all along – I‘ll probably get a 348 . I don‘t care. But. ―It won‘t be long. someday. I never thought of it. Crown.‖ Then the tone of his voice changed. you bein‘ in here all of a sudden. Carly. he‘s to get help to work with you. it makes you feel good. according to the Courts. I been thinkin‘ – while I was plowin‘.‖ ―Well I know one thing.‖ ―Well if ya ever do need me. If there‘s anything ya ever want –‖ he paused and looked at the floor. Eben shook his head. Carly. I'll never be able to pay ya back for what ya done fer me. Right or wrong. Crown.‖ ―I reckon. Crown.‖ he whispered.Marty Holland ―I woulda‘ been here sooner but ole Diamond's been sick from all that neglect. I‘d let you. I'm glad to do it – ‗cause it‘s part of something that‘s right.‖ He paused "Mr. I‘m not too far away. Always. I interfered with the Law—‖ Crown looked around to see if he had listeners. ―The best thing you could do is get back to that farm and take care of Diamond and see if you can improve that land. ―and they‘re going to make me pay a penalty. and me. Duke has been notified by law. Don‘t even think about it.‖ Eben drawled. But the strange part is. I don‘t expect it. ―It‘s awful hard not to think about it. ―If that were all there was to it. free as the wind. Maybe one of ‗em could git you outta here. I could hitch down to Baton Rouge and git ya one of them high powered lawyers— I heard Rizzo talkin‘ about ‗em down there.‖ Eben drew closer.‖ Eben said quietly. Mr. And I appreciate the offer.

to usher him away. which I'll send to the Governor. ―They‘ll get tired of feeding me. 349 .‖ Suddenly the guard was there too soon. Ira Lemire is making a motion for a new hearing regarding my sentence. Carly and Eben shook hands warmly and then Carly Ravenue was on his way back to Fork River. especially when I keep complaining about the food!‖ Carly laughed nervously for the first time. I can really concentrate on it here.‖ Then as an afterthought. and feeling a new and exhilarating warmth in his heart. as Eben took on a ‗devil-may-care‘ attitude.Baby Godiva pardon. He knew he'd never forget Rizzo – never. on Capital Punishment. I‘m not really worried too much.‖ Eben said confidentially. And Rizzo. ‗How could anyone be so fortunate as to have a friend like Eben Crown?‘ he thought. He couldn‘t remember ever being so happy before – even in his childhood. a long one. ―I‘m writing a Thesis. Carly seemed relieved somewhat. it seemed to Carly. ―Besides.

He stopped to rest the mule. A vision of beauty in mint green dotted dress. potatoes. Carly could see his hazel eyes and dark lashes vividly. Then Rizzo in the tall rows of corn stalks. while they were in jail. planting corn. Carly welcomed the soft breeze that cooled his sweating brow. He would start him out a little at a time. Then suddenly Carly was laughing out loud as he remembered Rizzo dancing in the jail cell to „Red River Valley‟. to the very end. a scoop neckline. *** He was just about to start the mule again. It was good to be home again. „If Rizzo had just got that pardon. gathering up the ears and smoking rolled up corn-silk and laughing. Carly pictured them now. „Rizzo would have been happy here on the farm. As he guided the plow. he decided. when he heard a soft rustling and a clicking of heels nearby. Carly seemed to be drawn irresistibly toward her. he and Rizzo could have worked the farm together. It would be a few days longer before Diamond would be up to working again in the fields.‟ he thought. he‟d been thinking about Rizzo. muskmelon. to get him used to the exercise. long.‟ he reflected.‟ The tears welled in his eyes and he sat down on the plow seat and recalled how brave Rizzo was. He looked up and saw her through the fence rails. „He would have been like a real brother to me. 350 .Marty Holland Chapter 50 THE SUN SHONE WARMLY on the furrowed rows that Carly had just plowed. and ruffled at the hem.

so I cud think fer myself. Legal Aid Sissiety and Welfare tole papa ta leave me alone now.” she boasted. “I can go where I want now. with small clusters of pink and blue flowers attached. “See how I‟ve growed? See my heels?” She lifted the green ruffle and Carly looked down at four-inch heeled sandals. Two long narrow braids hung forward. Like „em? Brings me up sky-high!” She held up a pair of low-heeled Mary-Janes from the buggy. Fifty cents. His hair. Just tell mama where I‟m goin‟ and be home „fore dark!” 351 . He looked surprised. t‟let me grow up on my own. tanned arms. a‟ course.” “You just try me. “I wondered why ya seemed so tall. he had missed her feminine wiles. “I‟ve growed up.” “Has your pa seen those spike heels?” “Ole Papa‟s got nuthin‟ to say „bout it now. to the fence. Her golden hair cascaded down in wavy abundance over bare. not quite sure if she were welcome or not.” She smiled mischievously. it‟s you.Baby Godiva “Godie. Regardless of all the misery she‟d caused him. grown longer now.” She turned her head flirtingly. gave him a handsome boyish appearance and his dark eyes sparkled with admiration. Carly looked thoughtful. They tole‟ him I was too old to beat. Just in case I have to walk home fast.” “I got „em at the Thrift Store. She looked up coyly at Carly. I‟m fifteen an‟ a half now.” Carly said. her tigerlily speckled green eyes shining with a trace of guilt. He don‟t whip me no more. “It‟s been a long time. near each side of her face. She was holding a small pink umbrella up over her head. “But I bet you're not allowed down at Crazy Tree. twirling the parasol. Second-hand. The other hand held on to the buggy with Leah and Delilah. Don‟t hafta sneak no more.” He walked slowly and unsteadily over dirt clods. “Well!” Then as an afterthought.

but pleased at the sudden revelation. “And they tole papa ta git rid a‟ the ole Klan suit. am I Carly?” “Naw. Godie rambled on.” Carly just listened. “I‟m not too bad.” she said. All kinds a things happen. Jist don‟t do it again. as it would be dusk soon and he had chores to do. That a upright preacher shouldn‟t keep a souvenir if he don‟t believe in the Klan. “Not too much.” he yelled from the field. I promise.” “What‟s a Suds Opera?” “Don‟t know „zactly. “Carly – I didn‟t mean ta‟ cause ya‟ all that trouble – yawl very mad?” Her voice had softened with a hint of an apology.Marty Holland Carly looked amazed. And the lady just cries and rings out her handkerchief . “A lady comes in once a week and turns on a Suds Opera for an hour. and seemed to enjoy hearing the latest news. Will I be seein‟ ya‟t Crazy Tree sometime?” “I reckon." *** Carly hurried to finish the rest of the section. “What‟s that?” Carly asked. “But there‟s just one drawback. nodding now and then. and of course cook the 352 . Takes it ta heart!” Carly was abruptly aware of the mule standing in the sun and he quickly said “Hafta git back to work now.” He stepped back from the fence. It‟s crazy. The Hotel Lobby keeps one goin‟ ev‟ry afternoon all the time.” “Oh I won‟t Carly.” She stopped for breath. “And I found a new place to watch TV. Then Godie added. There‟s Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies and a new one comin‟ called „The Virginian‟.

had sobered up long enough to hire two hands to help with the chores and farm work. Carly hoped it wouldn‟t rain too hard and wash out all the corn he had planted.Baby Godiva supper for old Duke and himself. Old Duke. Carly hoped they would be there soon. advised by the probation office. In the distance a low rumble of thunder was heard by the countryside and already heat lightning was flashing across the sky. 353 .

While he. Tiberius courthouse. had viewed their marriage as a transitory experience that did not quite measure up to her girlhood fairy-tale dreams. and on a separate path. Her charity in management and support of the Philadelphia Orphanage served to fill this void in her otherwise empty private world. a desolate Judge Winterhouse banged his gavel firmly on the bench. His drawn features reflected utter disappointment. a substitute fulfillment that would compensate for her barrenness.‟ he thought dryly. was searching for the full life in selfish pursuit of visions of action and adventure. Deep anxiety was taking its toll on Damon Winterhouse. was seeking a meaningful purpose. their worlds were far apart in common ground – farther than either would consciously admit. As if she too. he simply could not adjust to the bizarre events that had almost destroyed his fantasy of a free-wheeling jet-set future. At this point. It came to him as a surprise that Felicia had taken the shock of the truth somewhat lightly. The easy life that wealth provided only increased her drive to help the less fortunate.Marty Holland Chapter 51 AS EBEN CROWN WAS SWORN IN on the witness stand at St. childless. His tired eyes revealed sleepless nights of scheming and planning that had finally come to a dismal nothing. she Felicia. It was easy for Felicia to take the next step and translate this goodness into a 354 . Damon. „The mark of a true aristocrat. and that for some time now.

Baby Godiva measure of happiness that she could not share with her husband. cook and servant. So Felicia had gone back to Mumsie and Dada. But he had reasoned it all out. alone over whisky highballs at his country place. Since being alone. were powerful enough to justify Eben‟s criminally irrational behavior. also began to feel more relaxed. “At the time in question. he concluded. His immediate personal routine. back to the soft mental cocoon that she had known and loved so much before. It alone would amply guarantee the means for the good life with Otho and the carefree ventures in the Agean that he had planned. on that morning of the scheduled execution. in his own particular pattern. to take such action outside the law to prevent Carly Ravenue‟s execution?” Ira Lemire had begun building Eben‟s defense step by step – compiling reasons. Eben answered cautiously. A clicking of door-latches brought Damon back to the court proceedings at hand. even Cissy. He began weighing every facet of his new situation. his housekeeper had become more solicitous in catering to his daily needs.” With half-closed eyes. that the trial-jury had rendered a verdict that was based upon wrongful conclusions and upon prejudicial testimonies by an unscrupulous prosecution. Loyal Cissy. Damon had not created this for her. The thought comforted him. and suddenly his conscience began easing within 355 . I had complete knowledge that the boy was totally innocent. “And will you please tell the court what prompted you. with each on a relative scale of importance. already half his by law. when taken altogether. I knew beyond doubt. Damon's wandering mind returned to his own problems brought on by the divorce. He felt fortunate. He could rest content with only half the Tennessee Land.

but in the cause of justice?" 356 . halfway in remorse and halfway in longing. Damon Winterhouse was becoming increasingly aware that the defendant‟s choice of trial by judge was adding measurable responsibilities to his bench. and the hurt of this bothered him.Marty Holland him. not in the name of the law. This would be needed to make right those horrendous wrongs found scattered throughout previous rulings. some of which an astute observer could classify as negligence on his part as presiding judge in the Ravenue Trial. if only he had played his game differently. he had not meant to crush Della so completely. He had thought of Della often of late. Remembering Della‟s sympathy for Carly moved him back to the Courtroom once again and he began to sense a sharpening in the proceedings that cleared his mind of extraneous detail. and at the same time allow his court to expand upon judicial limits to the utmost. „Beautiful. Any restitution that he could manage now would ease the guilt he secretly harbored. Still. „But there are very beautiful Greek and Italian women in waiting. and to render best judgments that would tend to rectify previous mistakes. It was his duty to ignore his long-standing friendship with Eben Crown. desirable Della!‟ He had not counted on losing her. The trial was rapidly coming to a high-point with Lemire‟s hard line of punching questions: “And you were willing to risk the suffering of such severe penalty for what you thought to be immediately necessary. a warm feeling of tranquility was helping to erase the guilt that had been weighing him down since his unfortunate encounter with Della on the Golden Star.‟ he mused in consolation. She was a prize that could have been.

then turned to Judge Winterhouse – “Your Honor.” Ira concluded. and a refreshed Judge Winterhouse began reading from a prepared text that had been completed by his clerk.” He spoke in a deliberate tone of austere authority. for taking the law into his own hands. Crown. “My conscience would cry out. to save an innocent life from destruction. the afternoon before..” Winterhouse proceeded to spend the next forty minutes reading his detailed explanation of his verdict.. his manner poised to continue. “This court is adjourned until two o‟clock this afternoon. “And even though a grave miscarriage of justice was prevented by the overt action of Eben Crown. Damon glanced at the clock. “That‟s all. and both men waited for Judge Winterhouse‟s pronouncement..Baby Godiva “Yes Sir!” Eben cut in quickly and his reply resounded throughout the suddenly quiet courtroom. over which he had presided. His voice was steady and without emotion or animation: "Notwithstanding the unusual and mitigating circumstances under which a timely Stay of Execution and commuted sentence was granted Carly Moore Ravenue . He would explain how the Governor‟s Stay was delayed by a crucial fifteen minutes after the scheduled execution was to have been carried out. Mr.” He arose abruptly and stepped down to the floor leading to his chamber.. under any threat. 357 . in the St.. under any penalty. The afternoon session convened promptly at two P. may we approach the bench?” The State prosecutor edged in beside Eben Crown. Tiberius courthouse jail. as it related directly to the earlier Carly Moore Ravenue trial. I severely reprimand this defendant. and moreover save our State from the shame of inflicting Capital punishment upon an innocent boy!” Eben‟s eyes were flashing.M.

Amid spectator chattering as the courtroom started to clear. and then did commit his criminal acts against the State of Louisiana. She hugged him and kissed him quickly on the cheek. as he perfunctorily closed the case and dismissed the court. “Maybe Ellie and I can have that long-planned vacation now – you know we‟ve put it off for years. and now he would soon be out of such small town hum-drum routines. “Now I can have my husband back again. Your Honor. but thereafter. Damon then flipped his last page of documentation closed and smiled. His handling of this most difficult case had been well received.‟ he thought. For this reason it became mandatory that the court hold the defendant fully accountable for violation of the Statutes in question. tearful but jubilant. Eyes shining with appreciation. he said.” But Winterhouse‟s thoughts were racing way out and beyond the courtroom. „Extenuating circumstances in this case would nicely justify his waiver of prison confinement in favor of probation. the Judge smugly responded to Eben‟s handshake. met Eben at the courtroom gate. However – a further penalty was imposed under which the defendant was prohibited from practicing law in the state of Louisiana for a period of six months. and thereby sentence him to the prescribed five years in prison – to be served in the State Penitentiary. “Thank you.Marty Holland The Judge then dwelled upon the fact that Crown was not cognizant of the subsequent outcome of events – at the time he conspired to commit.” Eben stood straight to look up at Damon. Ellie. allowed to resume practice under continuing probation for the years designated. Having done this." she said to Ira Lemire as he 358 . Winterhouse immediately suspended sentence and imposed five years of strict probation as an alternative under the law.

359 . in silent gratitude – a free agent once again. “It‟s wonderful” – she laughed. as they moved on together.Baby Godiva joined them. as the smiling trio walked arm in arm to the parking lot. Eben felt fortunate – at this moment. He breathed deeply.

vines running up tree trunks. calling to their mates. Birds chirped noisily. ripped by the storm. he drew in his breath in wonderment. Passing the sorghum mill. Now. and red Hawthorne apples. Before he opened the big white birch gate. Giant Rhododendron in blossom. Carly walked past the familiar farms. He stepped into the clearing that was the garden of Crazy Tree. he crossed Perez Bridge and turned left on the reddish dirt lane. shrieking and sampling fruit of Buckthorn. flat and close to the ground. Carly glanced at Crazy Tree. banks covered with blooms of white and pink dogwood. wild cherry. it was a neatly sawed tree trunk. The gate creaked shut as he bounded down mossy steps and the path leading into the denseness of the trees. a cottonmouth swimming in the storm ditch. Honeysuckle intermingling with blue Mandeville trumpets sending forth exotic fragrances. with fields neatly showing the week's toil. wild tea roses rambling on wood fences. Before him lay an ethereal paradise of greenery. purple and white. Once again. he heard the sound of rippling water beyond. Slippery Elm. Once it had perched like a dancer on the edge of the pond. 360 . catching on to neighboring limbs and sprawling with low-hanging garlands of Bougainvillea. patches of brilliant flowers gone wild.Marty Holland Chapter 52 IT WAS SUNDAY. Ahead. several little streams curved gracefully into one big pond. alongside the tree-shaded road of bright green maple and yellow-gold hickory. pink.

As Carly moved to the tree to 361 . and her wonderful child-like antics. sweet smelling earth. large platform. taking in the peacefulness and the beauty of this terrestrial scene. multiplied by nature. On one side shoots had grown in an artistic array of light green leafy branches. A red fox jumped out from the bush and scampered out of the clearing. in jungle fashion for the delight of the senses. that he might be pointed out for having been in jail. Carly sat down and breathed in the warm fragrance of greenness. two jays screeching at each other for supremacy over a nest of robin eggs they had found to plunder. He wondered where she was at this moment – watching TV most likely – or helping her ma with the choir practice at the church. Silky dragon flies swooping down near the pond. planted long before his discovery of this Eden. It was good to just day-dream and listen to the sounds of the garden and the rippling streams. after he had stopped to gather nectar from a blossom. instead. ‗Guess I‘ll just come back again tomorrow.Baby Godiva resembling a round. listening to sounds of the birds. Redbirds and Finch. He didn‘t try to calculate how long he sat there. Startled by a rustling in the foliage. and the sweet singing of the Ruby-Throated hummingbird sitting on a slim branch. moss. Orioles. Carly sat there a long time. Jays. watching huge butterflies gently land on the foliage and waft their fragile wings. he stood up quickly.‘ he thought. He was reluctant to go to church. He sat down again on the mossy steps and debated if he should wait there awhile longer or walk by the Baptist Church. seeing a squirrel climb up a tree. Suddenly he was distracted by the birds. dreaming and thinking about Godie. to see if he could get a glimpse of Godie. and faint scents of flowers.

and ma robes is all white – I‘m pure as the driven snow.‖ she panted. He looked up. He had forgiven Godie long ago. Godie. Her gold hair. that charlatan – that Jezebel. Carly looked pleased. There she was – Godie in all her splendor – in embroidered white eyelet. ―I saw you paintin‘ that fence. "You look like an angel. pulled easily to one side of her neck in one long thick braid. Nobody can say – ‗There goes that wicked Godie Beamer. to the v-neckline with wide ruffles draping at the shoulders. Her gold-green eyes sparkled as she spoke sharply – ―I was lookin‘ fer ya here all week!‖ ―I been too busy ta come – but I thought about it a lot. ―I came here yesterday and the day before—and all last week. white satin ribbon.‖ She put her hands to her waist. ―That‘s all over now. Wanted to.‖ Carly interrupted. arms out at her sides. was tied boldly with a bow of wide.Marty Holland get a better look at the nest. his brown eyes shining. Lyin‘ and stealin‘ and gettin‘ ya inta all that trouble.‖ he said with confidence. ―I was wicked. softly flared and ruffled. She was out of breath.‖ Carly‘s eyes expressed admiration. Carly. ―You notice I‘m all in white? Know what that means? I've repented all ma sins! All ma sins is been forgiven. She struck a pose. stopped on the road by your farm.‖ Her eyes flashed with a trace of guilt. 362 . from her short skirt.‘‖ She looked serious. Almost like a‘ angel. I‘m pure now. as if she‘d been walking very fast.‖ ―That‘s ‗cause I‘ve repented. he heard another squeaking – of buggy wheels at the top of the steps. Godie – ya sure do. ―I said to myself – I‘ll never call that Carly Moore ‗trashy‘ again!‖ She smiled boldly and paused for air.

Y‘ever read the Bible.‖ ―Oh he‘s changin‘! He‘s sound-proofed up all the walls upstairs. But it‘s good.Baby Godiva ―Yeh.‖ She ran over to Crazy Tree and stepped out on the smooth round platform. But not like Papa. the wings looked electric. Raising her arms outwardly she posed for a moment – her wide shoulder ruffles draping downward. I been readin‘ the Bible a lot this week. some day. Papa don‘t know how ta‘ preach. ―And don‘t know how ta‘ ‗terpret the Bible.‖ ―I‘ll hafta teach ya. Been studyin‘ the dictionary too.‖ Carly said. Collection plate was big that day.‖ she scoffed. He‘s all Hells-afire and brimstone. making him feel alive and wanted. As the sun shone on the pond. ―He‘s even let up on saying bad things about ya. Makes ya feel better. learnin‘ lots‘a big words.‖ Godie revealed. reflecting on the water like wings. Her speckled green eyes shone mischievously. Made a big impression with the congregation. Carly?‖ ―No – can‘t read. Carly. ―Even ole Papa repented all his sins too – last week. Everybody should repent. ―That doesn‘t sound exactly like him.‖ She looked up at the trees. It‘s easy. she whirled around like a dancer. ―I‘ve been thinkin‘. Got down on his knees at the pulpit. preparin. I'm pure now. Carly sat down on the steps. I been practicin‘ at the pulpit when Papa was gone downtown. ―Lak‘ ya been born again!‖ Letting go of the buggy handle.‖ She giggled. She entertained him with her unexpected enthusiasm. ―Maybe I‘m gonna be a Evangelist. 363 . He was glad she was there.‖ she said. He says – ‗Maybe I‘ve misjudged that boy some.‘‖ Carly let her ramble on.

―I always miss you. ―You‘ll have ‗em swarmin‘ up the aisles like bees!‖ ―Think so? Wouldn‘t ole Papa‘s eyes bug out!‖ Then she was unbraiding her hair. But. ―You‘ll light up the whole place.‖ She looked up at him – her emerald eyes turning gold in the sun. Godie. I will be. and it fell over her shoulders. ‗I wish Godie would marry me!‘‖ He reached for her hand. Then he remembered she‘d been here every day looking for him. He wanted her to want him. He wanted to believe her.‖ He moved to a soft mossy bank. I was thinkin‘ when I was paintin‘ the fence. welcoming the warm rays filtering thru the trees. I‘m cold. from the trunk platform. Godie? Then we wouldn‘t hafta worry ‗bout your Pa or anybody!‖ 364 . She backed down. ―Ya know – I could baptize you right now in this pond!‖ Carly laughed out loud. I guess I ain‘t qualified yet. Carly. Have to be a real Evangelist. ―I been missin' ya Carly. Godie.‖ A new idea dawned.‖ She sat down beside him and pretended to shiver. making a luxurious frame for her tan body. too. He wanted to believe her. when you‘re not around. It‘s getting‘ shady. ―Why don‘t we get married. Surrounded by a natural glorious environment – and suddenly – ―Godie.‖ Carly said cheerfully. Carly felt his heart-beat rise unsteadily as he glanced at her beauty. ―I got ta get down there in the sun. Looking at Godie now.Marty Holland across the pond. she did remind him of a beautiful Angel. ―You? Missin‘ me?‖ Carly asked. ―No. making the motion.‖ She said confidently. ―But you ain‘t never really sinned.

And for the first time – really wanting each other – they felt the magic of young love.‖ Godie listened intently to his plans. ―I love ya. the curves of his arm muscles. Don‘t ever wanta go home!‖ She put her arms around his neck and held him near and as they kissed – she touched his silky brown hair. ―And after awhile. ―Kiss me first and hold me Carly. but part time. I‘d hafta spend some time workin‘. ―And don‘t forget – someday we hafta find Pearlington. Makes me uneasy. After a while. their ecstatic new feeling of love and passion burst into flame.Baby Godiva ―And ya mean we could play house all the time!‖ Reaching over. ―But. you could put away them dolls – maybe later on far in the future – have a real live doll. I don‘t wanna go home. I always wanta keep Leah and Delilah ‗cause I read in a book once – a real true mother never gives up her children – no matter what!‖ ―Alright. ―It‘s gonna start getting‘ dark in an hour or so. ―Well. Carly stood up.‖ They sat basking in the sun and listening to the sounds of the dell.‖ he said casually. you‘d know. Godie – I love ya – I want ya forever—‖ Carly said softly. the soft curves of her apricot-tan breasts. She pulled him down beside her on the mossy bank of warm fallen leaves by the pond. smooth and strong against her heart. And as he kissed her full sensuous lips.‖ She jumped up. ―A real live doll? Oh Carly!‖ the thought scared her. Besides – your Pa might really git me this time – seein us here in this predicament. ―But what would I do with it?‖ ―Don‘t worry. holding her close. 365 . she kissed him quickly. not all the time. his chest.‖ He laughed.‖ he ventured.

Carly. and somehow he knew that love would sustain her. Afternoon shadows were closing in as they were leaving – only splotches of sun shone now on the leaves.‖ She motioned to Leah and Delilah. Carly and Godie had found each other. Looking up to the sky. she would be a happier Godie – already stepping out of her make-believe world.Marty Holland She caressed his cheek. Carly. Forever. ―Think I always loved ya. ya hafta marry me. sweet whistles of black and orange Oriole. Carly. the noisy chirping of jays. and held her close. I do love ya.‖ Oblivious to the noise of the squirrels. ―Guess I better marry ya then – someday soon. make her well. Godie stood by the buggy and looked up at Carly. the soft rippling water – they blended into the beauty of the Garden.‖ She whispered – ―You‘re ma‘ man.‖ he said. He kissed her gently. Without the distortion of her father‘s influence. Godie. ―Ya know.‖ Carly laughed hilariously with happiness. ―Ya gotta take care a‘ these kids a‘ yours. his face caught a warm ray of sun streaming through the Cypress. FINIS 366 . ―This is our garden. the chipmunks.‖ She paused.

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