Jag fortsätter min novellfråssa, nu med Vaughan Kesters Molly Darling, ur "The Hand of The Mighty and Other Stories", från 1913.
Det är något speciellt med "riktiga" böcker, att ha en trave liggande på bordet, bredvid tekannan — att kunna bläddra i dem, känna lukten av böcker och känslan av att hålla i en bok går utanpå e-böcker. Å andra sidan, vill jag inte för allt i världen vara utan e-böckerna — tänk att kunna ha med sig några hundra böcker i paddan, när man sitter på en ö utan internet, postgång eller affärer — och möjligheten att kunna slå upp ord, personer eller som i det här fallet musik, är fantastiskt. Nåja, på ön utan internet, får jag klara mig utan att slå upp. Att söka på nätet fick vänta tills jag kom hem.
Många av de gamla sångerna och dikterna som nämns i böckerna, har jag aldrig hört talas om tidigare — som "Molly Darling".
OUT of the warm distance came the song:
"Do you love me, Mollie darling?
Say you love none else but me—"
The man seated in the cabin door raised a battered face and listened, as down the trail came the singer and the song.
"Mollie, sweetest, fairest, dearest;
Look up, darling, tell me this.
Do you love me, Mollie darling?
Let your answer be a kiss!"
The dog at the man's feet cocked his head knowingly on one side and seemed to listen, too. The man addressed the dog.
"Duffer, that's a right sweet old song, ain't it?—a right plaintive air. When you're fifty odd, Duffer, them old songs dig holes in your memory." As he spoke he gently caressed the dog. It was yellow and palpably of uncertain breed, but just as palpably of distinguished social qualities. "Duffer, I'll bet you what you like he ain't fifty,—and that his Mollie's within safe walking distance!"
Around a turn in the trail, a winding path that led up and up, and from behind a big boulder, came the singer in blue work-stained overalls and blouse. He swung a tin dinner pail with one hand and his cap with the other. His years were plainly a scanty half of fifty. Catching sight of the man in the cabin door, he paused, while the song died abruptly on his lips.
Så inleds den här novellen där sången inte har någon betydelse för handlingen, annat än att ge den sin lokalfärg. Vaughan Kester är en ny bekantskap för mig — en trevlig sådan, och det trots att jag inte har något till övers för män av tvivelaktig karaktär i Vilda Västern. Men här är det den försynte mr. Brown (Duffers husse) som med en pistol i handen ser till att allting ordnar sig till det bästa.
Jag gillar språket i berättelsen med de snabba personteckningarna, som lämpar sig utmärkt för diskussioner om hur trovärdiga de är:
M. Ferguson was another Mollie, the younger Mollie's aunt. Years before while Sunset was still a prosperous mining camp, she had come West to make her home with her brother and to take charge of his motherless child. The brother had died in that evil time when the bottom was dropping out of Sunset. She had given the best years of her life to her niece; singlehanded she had fought a long fight with adverse circumstances and had won a modest victory. Now one can not live an utterly self-sacrificing life to no purpose, so Miss Mollie had a certain sweet dignity that came of much goodness, and a soul at peace with itself.
_ _ _
From under the flapping brim of his hat Brown stole a covert glance in her direction. She was very good to look at, he decided, with her soft brown hair drawn smoothly back from her comely face, and her dark eyes that held just the hint of a sorrow lightly borne.
som hur man med ögonkast avgör att någons ögon "held just the hint of a sorrow lightly borne".
_ _ _
Johnny listened abashed to Mr. Bunny's easy flow of words. It might have occurred to him that this fascinating stranger never spoke of anybody but himself; that his own moods, emotions, ambitions, thoughts so called, occupied him entirely and to the exclusion of all else, for he moved in a world of men rock walled by his own towering egotism. It was wasted labor to try to change the drift of the conversation. Whatever was said instantly reminded Mr. Bunny of himself. At the most, one merely opened up fresh and inviting fields for him to enter and claim his place in the foreground"
_ _ _
"Naturally she's feeling some annoyed the way you've acted, but if you go back humble... Look here,—you don't know the first thing about a woman's love. It don't go by merit. Just look at a woman,—take her as a mother,—it's a boy, or a girl, or it's twins,—and she's there with her love. She never makes a kick, not she! That boy, or that girl, or them twins, suit her apparently down to the ground. It's pretty much the same when it's a case of man. You come along and you're what she loves; not because you're any good—which you ain't—but you're what life's offerin' her and it's up to her to make the best of her chances. Does she notice any rake-off when she sizes you up? Nope, she don't. It's her nature to make mistakes and have poor judgment. She just loves you because you happen to be you. That there's a sixty dollar a month limit to the game you'll play, don't bother her none, for she's got a heap more courage than sense; she takes her fightin' chance. She's ready to believe in the luck you'll never taste, and through it all think you're a good man but unfortunate."
"I wonder feeling that way about women, you ain't never married," said Johnny.
"I respect 'em too highly. But if I ever had any idea of that kind, I wouldn't be like you, young man!
I ett förord, skrivet av författarens äldre bror Paul Kester, även han författare, får man lära sig mer om Vaughan än vad Wikipedia vet att berätta. Hos Gutenberg hittar du ytterligare några av hans böcker.