PART II. Neighboring Fields
9. CHAPTER IX
On Sunday afternoon, a month after Carl Linstrum's arrival, he rode
with Emil up into the French country to attend a Catholic fair. He
sat for most of the afternoon in the basement of the church, where
the fair was held, talking to Marie Shabata, or strolled about the
gravel terrace, thrown up on the hillside in front of the basement
doors, where the French boys were jumping and wrestling and throwing
the discus. Some of the boys were in their white baseball suits;
they had just come up from a Sunday practice game down in the
ballgrounds. Amedee, the newly married, Emil's best friend, was
their pitcher, renowned among the country towns for his dash and
skill. Amedee was a little fellow, a year younger than Emil and
much more boyish in appearance; very lithe and active and neatly
made, with a clear brown and white skin, and flashing white teeth.
The Sainte-Agnes boys were to play the Hastings nine in a fortnight,
and Amedee's lightning balls were the hope of his team. The little
Frenchman seemed to get every ounce there was in him behind the
ball as it left his hand.
"You'd have made the battery at the University for sure, 'Medee,"
Emil said as they were walking from the ball-grounds back to the
church on the hill. "You're pitching better than you did in the
Amedee grinned. "Sure! A married man don't lose his head no more."
He slapped Emil on the back as he caught step with him. "Oh, Emil,
you wanna get married right off quick! It's the greatest thing
Emil laughed. "How am I going to get married without any girl?"
Amedee took his arm. "Pooh! There are plenty girls will have
you. You wanna get some nice French girl, now. She treat you well;
always be jolly. See,"--he began checking off on his fingers,--"there
is Severine, and Alphosen, and Josephine, and Hectorine, and Louise,
and Malvina--why, I could love any of them girls! Why don't you
get after them? Are you stuck up, Emil, or is anything the matter
with you? I never did know a boy twenty-two years old before that
didn't have no girl. You wanna be a priest, maybe? Not-a for me!"
Amedee swaggered. "I bring many good Catholics into this world,
I hope, and that's a way I help the Church."