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Good Bye Proud World Margaret Emerson Bailey

Good Bye Proud World

Margaret Emerson Bailey

Published March 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781406765595
416 pages
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 About the Book 

Text extracted from opening pages of book: GOOD - BY t, PROUD WORLD BY Margaret Emerson Bailey New York CHARLES SCRIBNERS SONS 1945 CONTENTS Part One CHILDHOOD page 1 Part Two YOUTH page 87 Part Three BRYN MAWR page 171 Part Four CHICAGO UNIVERSITY pagt 285 Part Five PROVIDENCE page 321 tf Because I know that time is always time And place is always and only place And what is actual is actual only - for one time And only - for one place 1 rejoice that things are as they are and I renounce the blessed - face And renounce the voice Because 1 can not hope to turn again Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something Upon which to rejoice. T. S. ELIOT from Ash-Wednesday PART ONE CHILDHOOD CHAPTER I Except that her grandfather lived in the same house and shared the same big rosewood bed, Meg would not have known that he knew her grandmother to speak to. Only once a year he asked Grandmother just one question. At Thanksgiving dinner which took place at his house, he stood up and poised his carving knife above a giant turkey. Then he would say in the gentlest voice, What can I give you, Mrs. Simmons? You know I always take the breast/ Grandmother would reply from the other end of the long table. After which he would slice off two of the thinnest slivers edged with crackling and place them carefully on a big Canton plate. Grandmother was the person whom Meg could be left with safely. Not that Meg minded. On those afternoons she was with someone who understood that there were better things than toys. Whenever she got twichety, there was a fat brown album that unbuckled and that could make Grandmother stop her work for the whole afternoon. There he is, Meg would begin. For there he was theSen atorby far the grandest person in the Simmons family. In all the years before she was alive, everything that had ever happened had to do with him. Even in his photograph he had a high, fierce face that she knew would look right over her at somebody who was important. It seemed queer to think that Grandpa was his son. The Senator had the finest ruffled shirts in Washington, she would begin. Who was it said so? Grandmother would ask. Somebody in his heyday. Heyday was a word that stuck in mind. It was Daniel Webster, Grandmother would say. At a big state dinner, he remarked that he didnt think that his own ruffles had been hemmed with quite so fine a seam. Where did he hail from? was Grandmothers next question. He worked his way from Little Compton to a cotton mill: Meg liked to say that, for Little Compton was a place shed been to. It was where she went in summer to the seashore and when she said, He worked his way, she felt that she was trudging through the sand dunes till Grandmother interrupted her and yanked her back. The Senator was a great man in his day. A smart one, too. Your fathers people had to come to him for favors. The Baileys with their grapes in green-houses . . / That was one of the worst things that Grandmother could find to say about Megs fathers family. Meg was always thankful when the story led back to the Senator. Tor well-nigh forty years/ Grandmother would start, he had Rhode Island in his pocket. He was a great man for high tariff and he was the first to frame the Stamp Bill. Wed have had a mint of money if hed had the sense to use a stamp himself and hadnt franked his letters home. Whats a mint? Meg always had to ask. More money than youllever see if your father has the manag ing. Each time that remark was made it hurt The child turned quickly to a story that she knew Grandmother loved to tell. The Senator, Meg would say, was a great friend of Lincolns. Lincoln got shot. He got shot when he wasnt looking. He was sitting in a red plush velvet box just like the one I sat in when I went to Hip Van Winkle with my father. Where were you, Grandma, when you got the news? Meg knew the story word by word but she loved to hear it over. When the news came I was standing in the summer kitchen. As Grandm