Spunky Sue had walked on with her head held high, fully aware that her son was silently sweating in his pew.
“I’m here to honour my good friend, Charley. The Reverend
Jefferson has delivered a long sermon, depicting more of what he would have liked Miss Charlotte to be. But, let me tell you this: Charley Wood disliked Rev. Jefferson, and most of the hypocrites that attend this church. She always used to say,” Keep me away from that ‘holy congregation of black sheep’; they are always bleating out scripture that they never put into practice.”
Spunky’s words had elicited an instant din of muttering, and had driven the Reverend to pull out a large white handkerchief in order to wipe his forehead. Divinity School had failed to teach him how to respond to this kind of outrage.
When the murmuring and nervous coughs had died down, Spunky had continued. “Yes, indeed, Charley possessed all the good qualities mentioned by the Reverend Jefferson. But, young ladies, there are a few qualities that you might choose not to emulate. Charley was my lover. For thirty years we ‘got it on’. I think that’s the word you young people use today. Charley wanted me to make this declaration, and I’ve done just that! I love you, Charley!” That had been Spunky’s final declaration.
Judge Titus had risen to allow his mother to re-enter the pew. He was red-faced and sweating profusely. But Spunky had just ignored him, and strode right past him, and the congregation, to the exit. She had smiled as she heard the mutters of condemnation and other sounds of disgust. She had waited a foot away from the door, near enough to hear what Titus, or ‘Tight-Ass” as she frequently called him, would say to the congregation. She had quietly listened to his lie.
Titus, like the snake that he was, had apologized for his mother’s outrageous speech. He hadn’t been appointed as Judge without much political wrangling and powers of persuasion. He asked for compassion for Suzanne. Everyone knew that his mother was a fine equestrian. But did they know, he had asked, that she had recently been thrown by her horse? She was currently receiving treatment for memory loss and bouts of delusion. Judge Titus had asked the congregation for prayers for his mother. Reverend Jefferson had immediately risen, and asked the choir to launch into, “Jesus Heal Me Now!
The congregation had sung its heart out that afternoon, but already doubt had been planted in their minds. Suzanne and Charlotte were inseparable, had always gone on holidays together and had often walked, hand in hand. This hand-holding gesture had heretofore been considered sweet and child-like, but, now it was being held up for closer scrutiny. Further investigation would obviously be needed to get to the bottom of this very close ‘friendship’. Since neither Suzanne or Charlotte had been churchgoers, they were considered fair game for God’s Little Helpers!
Back at the Villa, Ramona shook her head. She would try and find a new abode for Spunky Sue. She was not going to lose a job that paid well. The wealthy Missus Gresham had to be accommodated somehow.