The Chrysanthemums

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WORDS  1244

The Chrysanthemums

On Henry Allen's ranch east of Salinas
Elisa plants yellow chrysanthemums as
Henry is selling thirty head of cattle to
agents of the Western Meat Company.
After he and Scotty go to round up the
cattle, a tinker shows up. He asks for
work which Elisa says she hasn't. He
asks for seeds for a lady on his route.
Elisa gives him seedlings with
instructions, and then she finds work for
him which he does professionally. To
celebrate the sale Henry drives her to
Salinas for dinner at the Cominos Hotel
and a movie; they drive past the tinker
on the road and she privately weeps.
2. The White Quail
Mary has her garden designed before
its lot is bought, before she's married.
She picks Harry because she thinks the
garden will like him. After the house is
built and the garden established Harry
finds her perfect though untouchable.
She doesn't care for his occupation
(making loans for cars); it's unfair. She
routinely locks him from her tiny
bedroom on the garden. He tries the
lock and leaves quietly. She refuses to
let him have a setter pup since it might
damage her garden. After a white quail
visits the cement pond she fears a cat
will come and asks Harry to put out
poison fish. He refuses but will try to hit
such a cat with his new air rifle. Next
morning he shoots the white quail then
...