Bloodline: Five Stories
Ernest J. Gaines
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In these five stories, Gaines returns to the cane fields, sharecroppers' shacks, and decaying plantation houses of Louisiana, the terrain of his great novels A Gathering of Old Men and A Lesson Before Dying. As rendered by Gaines, this country becomes as familiar, and as haunted by cruelty, suffering, and courage, as Ralph Ellison's Harlem or Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County.
A Long Day in November
The Sky Is Gray
Just Like a Tree
up,’ ” Daddy says. “I don’t even know what she’s talking ’bout. I wonder who them other men was she was speaking of. Johnny and his wife had a fight the other week. It might be him. Frank Armstrong and his wife had a round couple weeks back. Could be him. I wish I knowed what she told them.” “I want another piece of cane,” I say. “No,” Daddy says. “You’ll be pee-ing in bed all night tonight.” “I’m go’n sleep with Uncle Al,” I say. “Me and him go’n sleep in his bed.” “Please, be quiet, Sonny,”
people you didn’t love. I never messed with a woman I didn’t love. I always loved all these women I ever messed with.… No, I didn’t love them. Because I didn’t love her last night—I just wanted to fuck her. And I don’t think I ever loved Marie, either. Marie just had the best pussy in the world. She had the best—still got the best. And that’s why I went to her, the only reason I went. Because God knows she don’t have any kind a face to make you come at her … Maybe I ain’t never loved nobody.
Generals don’t go through back doors,” he said. “Tell him what?” He didn’t say any more, he just looked at me. He looked at me the same way any the other Laurents would ’a’ looked at me. No, he looked at me the way Walter would ’a’ looked at me if he had told me to do something and I had asked him what. You didn’t ask a Laurent what; you did what the Laurent said. “You’re his adjutant, aren’t you?” he said. “His what?” He gived me that Laurent look again. For a few seconds he might ’a’ been
with their hats in their hands, stood before Frank Laurent like two little children. ’Malia, in her corner, went on sewing like nothing was happening. Poor ’Malia was so tired, and she had seen so much foolishness, things like this didn’t bother her much any more. “You two niggers stay on my place?” Frank asked. “Course we do, Mr. Frank,” Little Boy said. “You know us.” “Do I?” Frank said. “The only thing I know is that somebody’s running round this place telling me where I can put that back
start it, and the people that bombed the house didn’t start it, neither. It started a million years ago. It started when one man envied another man for having a penny mo’ ’an he had, and then the man married a woman to help him work the field so he could get much’s the other man, but when the other man saw the man had married a woman to get much’s him, he, himself, he married a woman, too, so he could still have mo’. Then they start having children—not from love; but so the children could help