The Wet Parade

The Wet Parade

The Wet Parade

The Wet Parade

Excerpt

The visitor from the North sat and fanned herself vigorously with a palm-leaf fan; she was not used to such temperatures, even in midsummer. But Mama did not mind it, having lived here all her forty-odd years; she was stout and placid, and sat and rocked slowly, with perspiration running in streams down her pink and white cheeks. She knew it was good for you to be bathed in perspiration, provided you bathed in water morning and evening, and used talcum powder meantime, and put on fresh linen. She explained this to the anxious stranger, and added, apologetically, "We cannot open the doors just now, because there is a snake in the house."

The visitor started visibly. "A snake?"

"Yes," said Mama; "one gets in every now and then, you know."

"And what do you do about it?"

"Well, you see, he gets hidden; but sooner or later he has to come out, and then we kill him with a stick."

The strange lady cast uneasy glances around the drawing-room, and furtively began to gather up her skirts and tuck them tightly about her ankles--this being in the days before skirts got out of the reach of ankles and snakes. "Why don't you keep the doors open, and let him go out?" she quavered.

"But then we wouldn't know he was gone," explained Mama, amiably. "We have to keep track of him."

"Are they poisonous, Mrs. Chilcote?"

"Unfortunately, yes--they're generally moccasins."

"Good gracious me!" said the lady from the North, and arose from her chair, saying that she just must hurry along, as she had another engagement, and was already late. Mama detained her, in the Southern way of hospitality, but the lady from the North never stopped edging herself towards the front door, meanwhile gazing about at the floor of the drawing-room, which was kept in semi-

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