Is hysteria next?
Ed Morgan halted the horses in the dooryard of the cabin, set the brake, and looped the lines around the handle.
"Lizzie, don't fret," he said in an undertone, but loud enough that Marie heard it as she stood behind Ma.
Lizzie? I'd not like to be called that, Marie thought, biting her lip to prevent herself from frowning. Good thing my name is plain enough and can't be made small.
"Elizabeth," Ma said. "Mr. Morgan."
Her voice wasn't cold, Marie judged. It merely gave the barest of greetings. What was wrong?
"Julia, you picked a pretty place to settle," Mrs. Morgan said, climbing down from the wagon over her husband's feet. "Look at this meadow, and you have your own creek!"
"We have a river," Ed Morgan muttered, but his wife ignored him.
She turned to give the house a good looking-over, shading her eyes from the rays of the lowering sun. "Your cabin is so sweet, just like your house back home."
"This is home," Ma said, a trifle stiffly.
"Yes, yes, of course. It's so quaintly situated. Did Mr. Owen pick the location?" She went on, with no expectation of being answered. "Of course he did. Only a man would put such a distance between the house and the water." She turned on a smile.
"I picked the location," Ma said, and this time, ice crept into her response. "I'll have a garden put in next spring between the creek and the house."
"Well, I never! You're going to have to bring up the water? Your man won't see to it that the boys water the vegetables?" She turned a circle and faced Ma, her smile broadening.
Ma squared her shoulders. "Come in and quench your thirst, Elizabeth. We have water enough here for that."
"Oh, we couldn't wear out our welcome when we've just arrived," Mrs. Morgan answered. "Just tell us where to pitch our camp, and we'll settle in. Mr. Morgan and the boys need a good night's rest so they can do a good day's work on your barn."
Marie heard her mother's quick inward breath. "Suit yourself," Ma said, and waved her hand toward the south. "Pick out a spot." Her voice sounded for all the world as though she spoke through clenched teeth.
She refused our hospitality! No wonder Ma's cross with her. What sort of family am I fixin' to join?
Have you ever realized you've made a poor choice? What did you do to mend the situation?