La marcia by Edgar L. Doctorow

By Edgar L. Doctorow

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Da basso sembrava un ciclone, mentre spazzava il terriccio e la cenere di tabacco e rimediava al disordine lasciato dai militari. Wilma lavorava con la possessività di una serva. Quando Emily Thompson decise di voltarsi, la casa era come avrebbe dovuto essere, tranne qualche graffio e qualche gamba di seggiola rotta. Le due donne appesero drappi neri alle finestre del primo piano. Emily, con i capelli sciolti sul viso, si sedette in cucina con gli occhi asciutti e lo sguardo fisso nel vuoto, mentre Wilma faceva il tè.

E da dove passerà, se non tra le nostre colline? E non aspettarti che basti questo per far intervenire un’armata ribelle. Ma se mi sbaglio, e prego Dio di sbagliarmi, cos’avrò perduto? Dimmi... A Mattie non era consentito manifestare il suo dissenso in queste cose. Ancora più sgomenta si sentì, e non disse una parola, allorché, dopo il raccolto, John decise di vendere una dozzina dei suoi braccianti migliori. Furono destinati, tutti quanti, a un mercante di Columbia, nel South Carolina. Quando il giorno arrivò e gli schiavi in catene furono messi sul carro, Mattie dovette correre di sopra e tapparsi le orecchie per non udire i pianti delle famiglie giù nelle baracche.

Le donne non facevano la guerra: non si allontanavano al galoppo agitando le sciabole e gridando di onore e libertà. Ma lei non aveva immaginato che questa guerra avrebbe distrutto la vita che conosceva e che l’avrebbe piombata in uno stato permanente di abbandono finché, alzandosi bruscamente dal sofà, comprese di esserne pienamente convinta. Che cosa l’aveva spaventata? Forse erano già le due o le tre del mattino. Nel caminetto il fuoco si era spento, al pianterreno nulla si muoveva. Solo la luna illuminava quella stanza gelida.

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