Mary Smith: Puritan

Mary smith opened the casement with trembling hands and walked out on the marble balustrade. It was summer and the night was perfect. A full moon threw its eerie light over the woods. An alley of cypresses stretched away to a waveless pool. A loon wailed in the distance and a dog whined at the end of its chain.

Mary Smith leaned over the balustrade of marble and dreamed. Love had never come into her life and on this day, her fiftieth birthday, infernos of regrets had surged into her brain. Her life had been ruled by an iron hand. Generations of respectability and puritanical teaching had cowed her blood. She had never dared. Twice the Blessing had been offered to her—love and its holy consummation without matrimony—and she had fled! Her father and her mother and those myriad Dead had threatened her with their inquisitorial eyes.

Now the life of Mary Smith has passed and the twice-offered blessing with it. She leaned over the marble balustrade in the moonlight, her hands trembling violently, for it was only that day she had discovered that her long-widowed mother had had five lovers besides her father, and Mary Smith had just celebrated her birthday by murdering her mother while she slept.

A loon wailed in the distance and a dog whined at the end of its chain.

Benjamin De Casseres

 

Source: The Bang, Dec. 6, 1915