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  1. KINCADE’S EARLY YEARS PART ONE CHAPTER FOUR Angela would look back on the first six months of motherhood as an easy time. All she had to do was draw water from the well and haul it to the house for drinking and cooking. She did the washing outside on a work bench. This was a daily chore since she had only four dydees until the package arrived from Agnes with a dozen more as well as infant garments. Winter was coming so Angela gathered fallen trees and sawed them into lengths, stacking the wood against the south wall. She split kindling which was kept in a large wooden box. There was a garden to hoe, traps to check for animals which needed to be skinned and dressed for cooking, apples to be gathered beneath the three trees and then stored in a barrel in the root cellar. She tried to deal with the rodents which invaded all the storage places as well as the cabin. She had such poor luck trying to smack them with a shovel that she finally asked Archie to bring her some poison. The babies slept quietly through all her bustling around unless they were hungry. Then when one awoke crying for her breast, the other was sure to open his eyes and join in the demand. Angela looked forward to the cessation of work, to sit rocking and singing what she liked to call The Happy Song. "Mother didn't have any little boys; poor lonesome Mother; Mother said to God, please send me two little boys; the sweetest ones you have in heaven. God sent Mother her own Kincade and Wil – eensie, weensie, teensie, tiny babies. But those babies will grow and grow until they are great big boys." Kincade loved the Happy Song and snuggled down into his mother's arms. Wil's eyes looked up at her with baby anger. "Why did you feed him first?" they seemed to say. Or if she picked him up before Kincade he glared, "Don't rush me. I never get enough." Angela told herself she only imagined these thoughts from her tiny son. But why should she even imagine them unless they were put in her mind by some filial vibration? She would kiss the top of Wil's head to assure him that her love was equal, but she would immediately put him back in the laundry basket and not rock him after the feeding as she did Kincade. Archie was not a frequent visitor. When he finally did come he just stared at his sleeping sons. "Are they wet?" he asked. Angela shook her head. "I just changed them. Would you like to hold Kincade or Wil?" She made a point of shortening the name. "He's Wilson," Archie emphatically corrected her. "And no, I don't want to hold either." "I've made a list of a few things we need here." She handed him a slip of paper. "Would you please get them for me?" Archie read the list, "Hmm. Beans, flour, coffee, salt, corn meal….." He put the list in his pocket. "I'll send an orderly with them in a day or two." "Also any letter or box from Agnes - should one have arrived," she added with great apprehension. "What am I? A delivery service?" "Please, Archie." Her smile was coy. "Well, I'll be damned. For a moment there you looked like the pretty little thing I married." He pulled her close. "And not the ugly, stinking slut you've become." He tore open her blouse and grabbed her swollen breast with one hand as he pulled down his suspenders with the other. The twins were awakened by his loud voice and immediately started to cry. Angela pulled away. "Please, Archie. They'll just keep that up until I feed them." As he unbuttoned his pants he looked at her milk-full mammas. "First come, first served." And he lowered his lips over her right nipple and sucked hard. He quickly spit onto the floor. "God, that tastes terrible. I can get better milk from a magpie." He swished saliva around in his mouth and spit again. "Are you trying to kill my sons?" Angela broke from his hold and went to the cradle, lifting Kincade. "Get out, Archie. I've got better things to do than listen to you." "And I've got better tits to suck in the whore house." He pulled up his suspenders and buttoned his pants. "Don't expect to see those vittles you want, Angie – not for a long, long time – maybe never!" He strode out of the door, jumped on his horse, and galloped away with the speed of a dust devil. Angela sang the Happy Song and nursed Kincade while Wil continued to cry in the laundry basket.
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