Cartwaith #2

Behind the trollie the extravagant lady rode atop, bumped and jostled a two wheeled trailer. Cartwaith couldn’t help but watch the woman drive, bumping and bopping all the way down the hill and over the uneven road.

“Whose that?” said little Blith, her raven curls wetted straight.

“Don’t know,” said her father. “But sure is a funny horse she rides, ain’t it?”

“Not a horse,” said Blith. “It’s a trollie, silly.”

“Same function as a horse though, ain’t it–get you from here to there, right?”

Blith turned away from her father for a moment, “Sure. I guess.”

“How’s it then, not a horse?” asked Cartwaith.

The little girl shrugged and her father grabbed her up hugged he close and told her not to try and outsmart her Da, because she’d not do that until she were older. Then he asked, “Where’s Smaeth?”

Blith pointed across the bridge that spanned the gap of the brook and continued along the road that led up the hill–the same one the woman on her trollie was trundling down. Cartwaith could see his son, running along the road toward the trollie with a few of the other children.

“What’s he done?” asked Cartwaith.

From afar and across the brook, he watched his son with the other children cluster around the trollie, and then begin to trot along beside it. It reminded Cartwaith of the honor guard he’d seen when Principal Argyles passed through Vestil last winter. Wasn’t often you got a Principal coming through a small town like Vestil, but Cartwaith supposed when somebody wants to get somewhere easiest way to do is by ways and means well explored and trodden.

“You believe,” said Cartwaith to his daughter, “that out in San Francisco they say they got those trollies like that on every street. H’aint not more horses and carts no more. Just trollies pulling darn near everything.”

“Thought you’d say’d it’s a horse,” said Blith.

“Sa, did,” said Cartwaith, scoffing. “Go ’bouts and grab Smaeth for me and get him away from that trollie. Whatever that red light is from it’s behind can’t be good nobody.”

Blith giggled at the mention of the trollies behind, then sprang up and scampered along the east bank of the brook until she came to the bridge and crossed to meet the trollie and other children. Cartwaith watched he talk to Smaeth, who was two years older, and he could see that the boy spoke back to her. Then the woman in the dark and red dress with the ostentatious hat let one hand go of the stack jutted from the floor in front of her, and pulled a cane where there had been no cane, from beside her on the seat.

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