Bethany With the Blue Eyes

Bethany used to read stories every night.

Long stories, short stories, novels, verses, fables, folk tales, all. She played the characters, too. Sea captains spoke with surly speech and courtly ladies had lovely little lilts in their voices. Every evening she came to the attic where I stayed and every evening she brought a different book. Father allowed it, but our uncle certainly had some objections. He called it a slippery slope. He felt that if I knew how to read, I would learn how to write, and if I knew how to write, I would learn how to leave pieces of myself for the world to see. This would cause people to ask questions. “The wrong sort of questions,” he would say. The sort of questions that angry mobs tend to only answer with pitchforks and fire.

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