The Baby Growl
There is trouble in the rancheria over Agnes' baby. Agnes' baby has a bad name, they tell us. And it is not a white man who is the father of Agnes' baby.
"White man, he don't care," Steve had once told us sadly. "White man, he just get kids anywhere."
Nor is it a question of rape. Rape is unknown among the Indians and is regarded with horror. No, the father of Agnes' baby is an Indian.
Last winter while Kate was away, Clint Albers, from across the river, used to come over and see Agnes. When the baby came, everyone thought Clint would marry Agnes, Indian way. But instead, Clint went off to work in the valley, and now the baby has a bad name.
For the past few days Rube Morse has been staying with the Pete family, in the rancheria. There is talk that Rube would be willing to marry Agnes. There is also talk that Clint may be coming back from the valley. In every cabin there is a sense of impending trouble in the rancheria. Yesterday, Steve came over to ask us about white law. Steve was grave and plainly concerned. He was withdrawn and very Indian in his attitude. And there was the faint, intangible sense of menace in his manner that one always feels. when in the presence of Luther Hickox.
" Clint, he don't come back," Steve began. " Agnes' baby, he got bad name. Indians don't like it when baby got bad name. I think maybe there is a trouble. Agnes say maybe she marry Rube Morse."
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: In the Land of the Grasshopper Song:Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09. Contributors: Mary Ellicott Arnold - Author, Mabel Reed - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1980. Page number: 187.
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