What’s New?

The door to the mercantile swung open, admitting the afternoon heat and dust from the prairie town’s main street.

“Afternoon, Mabel.”

Oh, Lord, give me strength. Ada Macon, the Sheriff’s wife, dragged the hem of her skirt across the floorboards, her heeled shoes clicking with authority. She swished left and right, her bustle adding to the momentum. Her plumed hat accentuated her beekish nose.

“Afternoon, Ada. How can I help you?”

“I heard you had a delivery yesterday. Well? What’s new?” She set her heavy purse on the counter and began pulling the fingers of her gloves to remove them. Stupidest thing I ever saw, dressing like a grand lady on the prairie. The scent of her rosewater perfume enticed me to take a deep breath. Oh, to smell like that.

I hated her and all of her finery. Hated her Boston money, her servants and that gingerbread house. Most of all, I hated her because Angus married her.

I turned to the tall shelves behind me, climbed up on a step stool and reached for the three new bolts of fabric that arrived with the wagon from Kansas City.

“I have this sturdy blue fabric. Denim they call it. Straight from France.”

“Ugh. That’s wretched. So hard.” She fingered and pinched the cloth. “I guess it could be useful to field hands or perhaps as a stiffening layer of a bodice.”



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