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227 50 One clothespin and one more clothespin, and the last pair of trousers is hanging on the line. Two pairs of painter’s trousers and two painter’s jackets are nice and white and clean again. Maria has boiled the clothes twice on the kitchen stove and rubbed them on the washboard. There are hardly any more paint stains to be seen, and now a neat patch sits on the knee of one pair of trousers. The early morning sun is shining on the garden and the wash on the line. It will bleach it even whiter. The old tree nearby casts its shadow across part of the lawn. Yellow plums are lying in the grass. Maria ­ gathers them up into her empty laundry basket. When she bends down, she can feel her belly, which bulges a little below her apron. She lays her hand protectively on it. She feels both joy and disquiet. Every time she realizes that a baby is growing inside her, she feels this joyful anxiety. Fresh air, a brook, meadows, gardens, hedges, trees, and bushes surround the young woman, and in the distance are the backs of houses. Maria has been given half of the large garden behind Wilhelm’s parental home. Her part reaches from the rough wall of the old house up to the high hawthorn hedge. She tends the garden all on her own. Wilhelm doesn’t know anything about gardening. He only carries heavy buckets of water and the watering can on warm summer evenings and helps with the watering. The vegetable beds are planted in neat rows. The other half of the garden looks miserable in comparison. So many weeds are growing there! Maria walks slowly alongside her garden. How dense and tall the runner beans are growing! Soon she will be able to pick the long beans, snip them with the slicer, and fill them into stoneware pots. The heads of the savoy cabbage are crinkly and plump. Every day, she picks the caterpillars off the vegetables. It is the second year that Maria has been able to harvest all kinds of vegetables from her garden, even the sensitive cauliflowers that she Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 227 4/26/2017 12:17:46 PM 228 Maria Wallisfurth carefully covers with leaves to keep them pleasantly white.Wilhelm’s favorite berries, tangy and black, grow on the dark green blackcurrant bush in the middle of the garden. At the upper fringe of the garden, a thick peony bush grows, along with a round cushion of fragrant white carnations.That is all. Maria thinks those flowers are enough. She fetches a head of savoy cabbage, two leeks, and three carrots from the garden. Then she picks a bunch of celery and puts everything on top of the yellow plums in the basket. She crosses the yard for the washhouse where the tub of soapy water, the washboard, the big tub for rinsing, and the bucket are. She pours out the soapy water, rinses the tubs with clean water, and wipes them with a cloth. She takes everything down to the dark cellar, where she lights a candle. Only a faint ray of light falls through the tiny cellar window onto the heap of coal sludge underneath. Briquettes are piled up in the corner, and pieces of wood from the coffin workshop lie stacked up. Wilhelm has put up wooden shelves on one of the walls, as high as the low ceiling. They are lined with canning jars filled with vegetables , fruit, jams and jellies, pickled gherkins, small onions, and beets. The heavy stoneware pots are still empty. Not until autumn will they hold the sour smelling beans and the home-shredded, pressed white cabbage for sauerkraut. Above the potato box hangs the meat safe with its dense green mesh. Here, Maria stores butter, meat, sausages, and bacon fat in summer. She now takes out the wrapped bacon fat and places it in the basket with the vegetables. While she is putting potatoes into an aluminum pot, she glances at the mousetrap, but the glow from the candle does not light up the dark corner where a piece of bacon fat is laid to lure the mouse. Maria has to go over to the corner with the candle. No mice have taken the bait. She is not sorry about that; otherwise she would have to bury the mouse. She has an aversion to that. She carries the potatoes and...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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