Remember the rooster garage sale a couple of years ago?
Here’s a photo to remind you . . .
and the link:
Rooster at the Garage Sale
Boy, that was a good sale! Later, months later, the owner would
keep putting stuff out on a table near the road with big signs of
Free! Free! One day there was a pile of books on the table and
of course, I stopped and lo! and behold there were two Eudora Welty
books. Yea! I had read neither! And they’ve been sitting around
patiently –until I read one the other night.
The Robber Bridegroom turns out to be a book Ms Welty wrote
in 1942, early in her career, right after A Curtain of Green.
It starts out with three characters–Clement Musgrove, Mike Fink
and Jamie Lockhart. They are traveling on the road, looking for a
place to stay for the night–separate travelers. And they end up in
an inn where there is a spot to sleep.
Clement Musgrove is the first to arrive so he gets to choose which
side of the bed he wants–and to hide his bags of gold. Mike and Jamie
arrive later–they all share their jugs a bit and pretty soon there is a
big brawl. Eventually they fall asleep guarding their possessions as
best they can.
As the story goes along, we find out that Clement is the father of a
beautiful young daughter, and the husband of a miserable second
wife who is a cruel stepmother to the daughter, Rosamund.
It begins to sound a bit like a fairy tale———and guess what! It
IS a fairly tale—copied from an old story aptly named “The Robber
Bridegroom”. Maybe you can guess that Rosamund gets kidnapped,
but I won’t tell you by whom and how it develops.
Eudora Welty seems to have a bit of fun creating this novella—and
uses real names from Mississippi history—-Mike Fink, the Harps,
tough characters—and throws in the Old Natchez Trail and other
Mississippi scenery so we feel like we’re traveling in the swamps
It’s a lusty little tale, done with gentle humor and nice twists
and turns in the plot. Welty’s perfect descriptions keep us
“When the moon went sailing like a boat through the heavens . . .
and the stars like little fishes nibbled at the night, then it was
time for the bandits to ride home.”
This book wasn’t the Eudora Welty fare I was expecting to read,
but different and satisfying.
Two button review: