Three Lives by Gertrude Stein | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Three Lives

Three Lives

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by Gertrude Stein

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The Good Anna 1
Melanctha 47
The Gentle Lena 142


Part I

The tradesmen of Bridgepoint learned to dread the sound of "Miss
Mathilda", for with that name the good Anna always conquered.





The Good Anna 1
Melanctha 47
The Gentle Lena 142


Part I

The tradesmen of Bridgepoint learned to dread the sound of "Miss
Mathilda", for with that name the good Anna always conquered.

The strictest of the one price stores found that they could give
things for a little less, when the good Anna had fully said that "Miss
Mathilda" could not pay so much and that she could buy it cheaper "by

Lindheims was Anna's favorite store, for there they had bargain days,
when flour and sugar were sold for a quarter of a cent less for a
pound, and there the heads of the departments were all her friends and
always managed to give her the bargain prices, even on other days.

Anna led an arduous and troubled life.

Anna managed the whole little house for Miss Mathilda. It was a funny
little house, one of a whole row of all the same kind that made a
close pile like a row of dominoes that a child knocks over, for they
were built along a street which at this point came down a steep hill.
They were funny little houses, two stories high, with red brick fronts
and long white steps.

This one little house was always very full with Miss Mathilda, an
under servant, stray dogs and cats and Anna's voice that scolded,
managed, grumbled all day long.

"Sallie! can't I leave you alone a minute but you must run to the door
to see the butcher boy come down the street and there is Miss Mathilda
calling for her shoes. Can I do everything while you go around always
thinking about nothing at all? If I ain't after you every minute you
would be forgetting all, the time, and I take all this pains, and when
you come to me you was as ragged as a buzzard and as dirty as a dog.
Go and find Miss Mathilda her shoes where you put them this morning."

"Peter!",--her voice rose higher,--"Peter!",--Peter was the youngest
and the favorite dog,--"Peter, if you don't leave Baby alone,"--Baby
was an old, blind terrier that Anna had loved for many years,--"Peter
if you don't leave Baby alone, I take a rawhide to you, you bad dog."

The good Anna had high ideals for canine chastity and discipline. The
three regular dogs, the three that always lived with Anna, Peter and
old Baby, and the fluffy little Rags, who was always jumping up into
the air just to show that he was happy, together with the transients,
the many stray ones that Anna always kept until she found them homes,
were all under strict orders never to be bad one with the other.

A sad disgrace did once happen in the family. A little transient
terrier for whom Anna had found a home suddenly produced a crop of
pups. The new owners were certain that this Foxy had known no dog
since she was in their care. The good Anna held to it stoutly that her
Peter and her Rags were guiltless, and she made her statement with so
much heat that Foxy's owners were at last convinced that these results
were due to their neglect.

"You bad dog," Anna said to Peter that night, "you bad dog."

"Peter was the father of those pups," the good Anna explained to Miss
Mathilda, "and they look just like him too, and poor little Foxy,
they were so big that she could hardly have them, but Miss Mathilda, I
would never let those people know that Peter was so bad."

Periods of evil thinking came very regularly to Peter and to Rags and
to the visitors within their gates. At such times Anna would be
very busy and scold hard, and then too she always took great care to
seclude the bad dogs from each other whenever she had to leave the
house. Sometimes just to see how good it was that she had made them,
Anna would leave the room a little while and leave them all together,
and then she would suddenly come back. Back would slink all the
wicked-minded dogs at the sound of her hand upon the knob, and then
they would sit desolate in their corners like a lot of disappointed
children whose stolen sugar has been taken from them.

Innocent blind old Baby was the only one who preserved the dignity
becoming in a dog.

You see that Anna led an arduous and troubled life.

The good Anna was a small, spare, german woman, at this time about
forty years of age. Her face was worn, her cheeks were thin, her mouth
drawn and firm, and her light blue eyes were very bright. Sometimes
they were full of lightning and sometimes full of humor, but they were
always sharp and clear.

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