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Women's History
A Woman's Place Is in the West, Part 2



A Woman's Place Is in the West, Part 2
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    blindly, brat, courtship, foam-flecked, folly, frock, harlot, hastily, hussy, idiocy, marshal, morality, mounts, repent, riddance, sentiment
     content words:    But Esther


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A Woman's Place Is in the West, Part 2
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Seth had tried to do the honorable thing. One night he came to ask Father for Molly's hand. Father refused, saying that Molly was too young. "She'll soon be sixteen, Sir," Seth had said. "Most people feel at that age she may speak for herself. The law no longer requires the father's consent at that time," Seth had said.
 
2     Father snorted. "It will be a cold day in hell when that girl is fit to speak for herself," he declared. "Women aren't capable of deciding those things. I don't care what the state says; I will be the one to determine when she is ready for marriage!"
 
3     The day after Molly's birthday, Seth drove his buggy to the front steps of the house. Molly, wearing her best dress, came down to meet him. She carried her belongings in a carpet bag. It was clear that her leaving had been planned in advance.
 
4     Father was furious. "You've gone behind my back to play the harlot!" he bellowed at Molly. His face was blotched with anger. Seth sprang from the buggy and stepped between them.
 
5     "You don't want to be speaking to her like that, sir," he said. "I would take a dim view of it. There are many people who can tell you about our courtship. Molly has always been a proper lady. You have no call to question her morality." His words were quiet but firm.
 
6     Facing Seth's steady gaze, Father glowered. "Well, you seem resolved in this idiocy," he blustered. "Go! And don't be bringing the brazen hussy back when you've had time to repent of your folly. I have fed and clothed the ungrateful brat for two years. That's enough. Take her and be gone!"
 
7     Father turned. Mother stood behind him, weeping. "Stop that driveling!" he roared. "It was foolish sentiment that spoiled the child in the first place, when she should have had the switch. I say ‘Good riddance!'" He dragged Mother back into the house with him.
 
8     Esther watched Molly take Seth's hand and climb into the buggy. She waved and tried to smile. Molly looked at her little sister. She leaped from the buggy and ran to Esther. As they hugged, Esther collapsed, sobbing.
 
9     "Oh, Esther, I'm so sorry to leave you!" Molly cried. She leaned close and whispered "Take heart, little one. I will come for you in a week or two, as soon as we get our house set up. Hang on, dear one. We are nearly free!" She kissed her sister's cheek and ran to the buggy.

Paragraphs 10 to 21:
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