"It was the horrible son of Mr. Wells. Benjamin, I think his name was," I say, leaving the ladylike tone and word choice behind totally in the presence of my best friend.
"Not Benjamin!" She giggles "I remember when he used to drop spiders and snakes and things on us from behind. I wasn't much bothered, but all the other girls... ooh, how they squealed!"
I sit on the front step, giggling along with her.
"I remember when he dropped that rattle-snake right at my feet and scared the daylights out of me. Oh, was I mad."
Mary sobered slightly.
"I always thought he fancied the girls, and that was why he did it. And by the looks of that snake, he fancied you especially."
"Why so solemn? You sound akin to the preacher during Mass. Do you fancy Mr. Wells?" I ask jestingly.
"No, Chasity. Never fear, you shall not lose your friend to housework and child-rearing yet. I have not yet fancied any man, whether rich or poor, that has crossed my path. They have merely been friend," she intones in a dramatic fashion.
"Nor have I. Quite curious, do you not think? Ladies such as we, nearing eight-teen, yet we have not found sufficient suitors. Of course, you, I believe, are simply choosy."
"I? Choosy?" She exclaims in such an exaggerated manner I cannot help but laugh. "Nay. As long as a man is stout of heart and fair to his lady I should not dislike him, though I would rather court and marry for love, and not just to do so."