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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Friday Freebits ~ GENESEE


"Genesee van Cortlandt," her cousin giggled. "Good Lord! What are you doing? You'll break your neck."

     The prettily rounded figure of a young Dutch woman with rosy cheeks and an enviable head of tumbling honey brown curls leaned out an open window. Close by the substantial two-storey brick house a huge tree grew, an apple tree with spreading limbs, a tree her father had been so fond of that he had put his workmen to the trouble of enduring its presence while they built the house.

     The speaker was in fashionable undress – a shift and stays covered by a crewel-stitched morning gown that had, in quieter times, come from London. Behind her a couple of well-dressed and well fed Black girls crowded, peering out the window and adding their exclamations to hers.

     "Look at Miss Jenny," one of them cried. "Just like a cat!"

     On a broad limb of the tree, a limb which had been rudely cropped in order to keep it from intersecting with the wall of the house, her long straight black hair held with a scarlet ribbon, without a cap and dressed only in a fine white muslin shift, was a slender, supple girl. For a heartbeat, she steadied herself and then proceeded on small brown bare feet along the mottled limb.

     Genesee didn't acknowledge the others. All her attention was focused on balancing. There would be a whipping descent through a lattice of branches to a bone-snapping conclusion if something went wrong.      Jenny knew what she was doing was foolhardy. Still, it was always fun to play the wild frontier woman and shock her elegant Cousin 'Nelia.

~~ From the Epic Best Historical Novel, GENESEE


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