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MARGARET BLAKE

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suspect that if he had cared to stay, she would have renewed the acquaintance just as if nothing had ever happened. I recall asking her if he saw his son. She said he did not. He didn’t ask to see his son, and it did not occur to her to present him. Seeing the boy would probably have made Sam suffer. As for Maggie, it did not occur to her that Sam had any interest in the boy. She was proprietor of the children. I think she gave them their father’s names partly from lack of inventiveness and partly from shameless frankness. It is indicative of her nature that there was no difficulty about asking her the details of Sam’s visit. She told exactly what happened—and without comment. I have often thought that I never knew another person whose testimony equalled hers for accuracy. She never injected an opinion, bias, or prejudice. If the testimony was against herself, it came just as easily as any other part of the narrative. She had one characteristic inaccuracy in giving an account of anything, and that was to leave the women out entirely. She didn’t seem to see them. No matter what they did, it made no impression on her mind. If you would lead the witness, however, she would check back to that point and tell you exactly what took place even though it were a recital of a woman’s effort to break her spirit and kill her with shame. She would tell the story without feeling. It made no impression on her. She lived in a world of men, where she never had the slightest misgiving about her security.

I saw Maggie only twice in the year following the birth of Godfrey Wickwire, Junior. My responsibilities on the farm were growing heavier, and my interests were widening considerably as I grew into manhood. I was also spending much more time with books and seeking such opportunities as I could find for intellectual companionship. Moreover, I didn’t approve of Maggie; but in spite of myself I still liked her in exactly the same way, and that fact caused some turmoil of spirit, which created the first rift in my feeling of closeness to her. I went away for three months to a little five-teacher college. Before I left I slipped over to say good-bye to her. She was the same cheery person. She was greatly interested in my search for learning, but said nothing about my long absence.