11,041 vagabonds plus:
"It's this way", he said. "Take my hand". She did, noticing for not the first time her hand was buried.
"Up here. Close your eyes". She laughed silently.
In the clearing, in the mud, he brought her to a water-logged, dilapidated fence, over-sized for his grandfather's grandfather's ghostly horse and carriage that hauled a flimsy hope chest.
"Now", he whispered. Now she opened her eyes. And before her a wondrous vista for miles.
"This will be ours", he promised. "Dublin beyond the gate". She looked down and playfully twisted her left foot in the mud. "Ours"?
"If you will be mine". He looked to the horizon of rolling green fields and fertile farm land. She did not look.
"I will". He looked at her and her eyes were flooded. "Yes".
photo: The Peak District, wedged between Sheffield, Manchester and Derby.
the flower shop
Zuzu was born today. Petals provided here, but not from peonies, maybe later. That is what she was aching to tell you. She has not conquered the english language. She sits and weeps quietly. Quiet as the rising sun. She'll never let anyone come close to her flowers. She's funny that way. Not Zazu Pitts funny, more a quirky misfit funny that's never lost in translation. Peonie petals are for tossing anyway. Like for celebrating a newborn. What you want are the cushioning type. Roses maybe. Bed for the newborn. A crib for Zuzu. No. Not Zay-Zoo, it's Zoo-Zoo. But goodnight, Zazu Pitts, wherever you are.
William Merritt Chase, 1897
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