The Six Wives of Henry D. Aith
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by April Hill
Description: Henry Aith is a well-educated Wyoming lumberjack and contented bachelor deceived into thinking he's found the woman of his dreams in Annie, a wide-eyed, innocent young heiress. After a whirlwind courtship, he loads up a buckboard and rides happily off with his wealthy new bride to her prosperous mountain "estate"--which Henry soon learns is a run-down farm occupied by a house full of Annie's unkempt, uncouth, and unwed sisters--all of whom swear like longshoremen and have the temperament of polecats. Trapped for the winter by a heavy storm, Henry undertakes the taming of all these unsavory shrews--after he takes his conniving bride across his knee for one hell of a well-deserved walloping--one of many wallopings, that is. Turning his hellish backwoods sisters-in-law into mannerly, marriageable young ladies proves to be a daunting task, requiring a lot of schooling and a lot of spankings for a lot of very stubborn young women. A hilariously humorous story for adults only.
eBook Publisher: Newsite Web Services Publishing, 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: June 2008
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [177 KB]
Reading time: 108-151 min.
Still, he had come here with every intention of making the best of the bad situation, and he wasn't about to be put off so easily. Henry looked around the room at the gathered sisters, trying to put faces to names. He began running through their names, by age.
"All right, then," he said, when he thought he had them straight. "Now that we're all together, let's see if I remember everyone." He pointed to the two closest sisters, at the checker board. "You're Belinda, I believe, and across from you ... that would be Caroline."
In response, Caroline flashed him a rude gesture, and all of the sisters laughed. Henry gritted his teeth and tried again. "And over there in the corner is Damaris..."
"Daisy!" the girl snarled. "I ain't answerin' to nothin' else, asshole. Ma only give all ten of us them stupid-soundin' names so she could keep track. Like, A, B, C, and so on."
Henry sighed. It wasn't going as well as he had hoped. From all appearances, his deceased mother-in-law had apparently never once denied her husband his marital privilege, but she had at least shown good sense in naming the resulting offspring. "Thank you, Damaris--Daisy. That will make my task much easier. So, after having Daisy, your unfortunate mother was delivered of the enchanting twins, there--Evangeline and Fiona. Then, wishing to make her life even more miserable than it already was, she produced the mysterious Georgina. Hannah was next, then Isabelle a year later. Last but not least--after an understandable delay of seven years, along came the sweet-tempered little Jody. Now, did I get everyone's name right?"
Sullen silence. A moment later, Jody came down the stairs, hand in hand with Annie. They were dressed in heavy coats, scarves, and boots, and wore heavy mittens against the cold.
Annie scowled. "What the hell do you want, here?" she demanded.
Henry sighed. "Well, now that you ask, my love, I want many things, but for the moment, I'll settle for a hearty, home-cooked breakfast."
Raucous laughter, dwindling to snickers.
"We've already had our breakfast," Annie said, her voice as cold as the icicles hanging from the cabin's leaking roof. "You want to eat, go feed yourself. It's on the damned stove."
Henry sniffed, aware of the same rancid odor he had noticed yesterday. "Then, what in the name of all that's holy is that.... that smell?"
"It's breakfast, stupid."
"Dear God!" Henry exclaimed. "You didn't actually eat something that smells like that?"
Annie shrugged her shoulders. "Since Ma died, Belinda's been doing the cooking."
"How many more of you were there, before Belinda started doing the cooking?" Henry inquired.
Annie shot him a filthy look. "I'm going out to the barn. You can eat what's there or starve to death. It's all the same to me! Do your own cooking if you're so picky. There's fresh eggs in the kitchen!" With that, she stormed out the front door, dragging Jody behind her. She stopped just outside on the porch and leaned in the door to smile sweetly back at him. "Do be good enough to tidy up after you've finished, husband dear." Then, she slammed the door behind her and stomped down the steps into the yard. The sisters giggled.
"Kind of a handful, ain't she?" Evangeline crowed proudly. "I reckon you was thinkin' she'd bend her knee to you like you was her lord and master after that lickin' you gave her. Well, mister, you'll jest have to stick around a little longer to learn that we Ketchum women is made of stronger stuff than that. The rest of us might just be ignorant as a bunch a' fence posts, but Annie went off and got herself a education. Now she's back, and we're all gonna' be jest fine! We don't need no damned man tellin' us what's what, neither."
Henry looked around the room, taking in the sisters, as well as the broken-down furniture, the cracked windows, and the general atmosphere of poverty and desperation. He resisted the urge to make a sarcastic remark about the condition of the house and its threadbare occupants. The Ketchum women were made of strong stuff, all right, but they had reached bottom, and they had been living on nothing but senseless pride and arrogance for much too long. What they needed was help, and they were all too damned proud and stubborn to simply ask for it. Someone was going to have to force the help they needed on them--down their pretty throats, if necessary. The only one around to do that right now was him, but like Custer at the Little Big Horn, Henry felt surrounded and vastly outnumbered. He needed reinforcements, and reinforcements were nowhere at hand.
First things first, Henry thought. He had read somewhere that an army travels on its stomach, and he was starving to death. Breakfast first. He couldn't be expected to take on a pack of hostile natives on an empty stomach.