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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesO Pioneers! - PART IV - The White Mulberry Tree - Chapter 8
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O Pioneers! - PART IV - The White Mulberry Tree - Chapter 8 Post by :LRS101 Category :Long Stories Author :Willa Cather Date :March 2011 Read :2053

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O Pioneers! - PART IV - The White Mulberry Tree - Chapter 8

When old Ivar climbed down from his loft at four o'clock the next
morning, he came upon Emil's mare, jaded and lather-stained, her
bridle broken, chewing the scattered tufts of hay outside the stable
door. The old man was thrown into a fright at once. He put the
mare in her stall, threw her a measure of oats, and then set out
as fast as his bow-legs could carry him on the path to the nearest

"Something is wrong with that boy. Some misfortune has come upon
us. He would never have used her so, in his right senses. It is
not his way to abuse his mare," the old man kept muttering, as he
scuttled through the short, wet pasture grass on his bare feet.

While Ivar was hurrying across the fields, the first long rays of
the sun were reaching down between the orchard boughs to those two
dew-drenched figures. The story of what had happened was written
plainly on the orchard grass, and on the white mulberries that had
fallen in the night and were covered with dark stain. For Emil the
chapter had been short. He was shot in the heart, and had rolled
over on his back and died. His face was turned up to the sky and
his brows were drawn in a frown, as if he had realized that something
had befallen him. But for Marie Shabata it had not been so easy.
One ball had torn through her right lung, another had shattered
the carotid artery. She must have started up and gone toward the
hedge, leaving a trail of blood. There she had fallen and bled.
From that spot there was another trail, heavier than the first,
where she must have dragged herself back to Emil's body. Once
there, she seemed not to have struggled any more. She had lifted
her head to her lover's breast, taken his hand in both her own,
and bled quietly to death. She was lying on her right side in an
easy and natural position, her cheek on Emil's shoulder. On her
face there was a look of ineffable content. Her lips were parted
a little; her eyes were lightly closed, as if in a day-dream or a
light slumber. After she lay down there, she seemed not to have
moved an eyelash. The hand she held was covered with dark stains,
where she had kissed it.

But the stained, slippery grass, the darkened mulberries, told only
half the story. Above Marie and Emil, two white butterflies from
Frank's alfalfa-field were fluttering in and out among the interlacing
shadows; diving and soaring, now close together, now far apart;
and in the long grass by the fence the last wild roses of the year
opened their pink hearts to die.

When Ivar reached the path by the hedge, he saw Shabata's rifle
lying in the way. He turned and peered through the branches,
falling upon his knees as if his legs had been mowed from under
him. "Merciful God!" he groaned;

Alexandra, too, had risen early that morning, because of her anxiety
about Emil. She was in Emil's room upstairs when, from the window,
she saw Ivar coming along the path that led from the Shabatas'.
He was running like a spent man, tottering and lurching from side
to side. Ivar never drank, and Alexandra thought at once that one
of his spells had come upon him, and that he must be in a very bad
way indeed. She ran downstairs and hurried out to meet him, to
hide his infirmity from the eyes of her household. The old man
fell in the road at her feet and caught her hand, over which he
bowed his shaggy head. "Mistress, mistress," he sobbed, "it has
fallen! Sin and death for the young ones! God have mercy upon

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O Pioneers! - PART V - Alexandra - Chapter 1 O Pioneers! - PART V - Alexandra - Chapter 1

O Pioneers! - PART V - Alexandra - Chapter 1
Ivar was sitting at a cobbler's bench in the barn, mending harnessby the light of a lantern and repeating to himself the 101st Psalm.It was only five o'clock of a mid-October day, but a storm hadcome up in the afternoon, bringing black clouds, a cold wind andtorrents of rain. The old man wore his buffalo-skin coat, andoccasionally stopped to warm his fingers at the lantern. Suddenlya woman burst into the shed, as if she had been blown in, accompanied bya shower of rain-drops. It was Signa, wrapped in a man's overcoatand wearing a pair of boots over her

O Pioneers! - PART IV - The White Mulberry Tree - Chapter 7 O Pioneers! - PART IV - The White Mulberry Tree - Chapter 7

O Pioneers! - PART IV - The White Mulberry Tree - Chapter 7
When Frank Shabata got home that night, he found Emil's mare inhis stable. Such an impertinence amazed him. Like everybody else,Frank had had an exciting day. Since noon he had been drinking toomuch, and he was in a bad temper. He talked bitterly to himselfwhile he put his own horse away, and as he went up the path andsaw that the house was dark he felt an added sense of injury. Heapproached quietly and listened on the doorstep. Hearing nothing,he opened the kitchen door and went softly from one room to another.Then he went through