Wintering Well by LEA WAIT

Wintering Well by LEA WAIT

Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: 2003-07-15T00:00:00+00:00


June 2

After more than a week of practicing within the house, Will is now walking slowly back and forth on Middle Street. I accompanied him at first, but he was embarrassed to have a girl for assistance, even if the girl was his sister. In a town such things can be seen by the world. If we were back at the farm, I cannot think it would have been important to him. His new leg is paining him, and at night he bathes his stump in willow water to keep down the redness and swelling. The leather harness to hold the leg on functions rather like gallows—or as a gentleman would say, braces—do to keep up a pair of high stockings. But even though the harness is made of softened moose leather, it chafes Will’s waist and causes him much discomfort. He has tried wearing it both over and under his shirt, but either way is awkward. Sam came to see him this morning, and now his new friend, Paul, is here. It is good he has two friends who neither cater to him, nor ask him to do things that are impossible. I miss Mattie and Tempe and look forward to their letters. But they are too busy with cooking and cleaning and taking care of little brothers and sisters to write often. They say all is the same in Woolwich. I help Alice in the kitchen, but without seeds to plant and cows to milk and chickens to feed and butter to churn, there is less to do than on the farm. I had thought Will’s needs would fill my life, but he is determined they will not, so I must find other projects or people to fill my hours.

Will had been walking twenty minutes without a break. “I would like to rest awhile,” he admitted to Paul. “Could we sit on the steps for a few minutes? If you would like to go somewhere else, you know I would not mind.”

“I came to see you, not to test out the strength of your leg,” Paul answered easily as they sat on the top granite step outside the Deckers’ house.

“Wiscasset must seem very quiet for you after living in London.” Will reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his carving of Alice and a small chisel.

“Quiet? Yes. But there are many things to do here, too. In London I was required to study most of the time, and wear elegant clothes and be polite all of the time. Here I go to school in the winter, but in summer I am free to fish or row or go swimming.” Paul looked at Will. “Perhaps you could swim without your leg. The hulk of an old frigate, the United States, has been stripped and left to rot on the mudflats near Payson’s Wharf. We boys dive off it. You might have trouble climbing onto the vessel. But I’ll wager you could swim!”

“I used to swim in a pond near the farm,” Will recalled.


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