olly, a bright-eyed girl of colonial Beaufort,
twirled her dark curls with one fi nger while dipping another
into her mother’s pudding.
“Is it sweet enough?” her mother asked.
Molly had been rolling hoops with her cousin Lydia.
When Lydia had been called in for dinner, Molly had come
in through the kitchen door with a sad look on her face. It
had only been a couple of minutes since Molly and Lydia
had parted, but Molly was already bored. When she saw her
mother making fi g pudding, Molly had run over to the table
Mother had picked the fi gs right from their backyard
and had just cooked them over the hearth fi re. Now she
was adding the sugar, eggs and spices. Molly begged to
mix it with the wooden spoon. She quickly wiped her dusty
hands across the front of her apron and started stirring,
making lopsided circular motions in the large pottery bowl.
Her mother smiled as Molly absentmindedly stuck out her
tongue and placed it at the left corner of her mouth. It was
Molly’s way of concentrating when she was doing something
she thought was important.
“Have you and Lydia been in the creek today?”
Mother asked. She knew that on hot days, the two girls loved
to jump into the nearby creek - in just their underclothes,
mind you - when they thought no one was watching. Mother
had warned them over and over again to be more “ladylike,”
but had long given up when the warnings continued to fall
on deaf ears. Besides, the neighbors didn’t seem to mind. In
fact, by talking to them to fi nd out what the girls had been up
to, Mother found out that the neighbors secretly wished they
could do it, too.
Molly whined. “Yes, but it was so hot! And we didn’t
mean to do it. We were just wading up to our knees. But
the water was so cool - we wanted to pretend that we were
otters, swimming and playing in the sea!” Molly fl ashed that
wide, snaggle-toothed grin she had. Then a puzzled look
suddenly came across her face. “How did you know we went
Mother smiled. “Mothers just know th