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The short, plump redhead walked out of the house that belonged to her hostess and looked around, her air that of someone about to embark on a grand adventure. She shook out her pale blue cotton dress and petticoats, then wrapped a collection of breezes around her chubby person as someone else might drape the folds of a shawl before she went to market. The breezes came obediently to her call, having become so much a part of her in the girl’s travels that they no longer rebelled. They spun around her black cotton stockings and sensible leather shoes, raced along the folds of skirt and petticoats, slid along the girl’s arms and over her sunburned, long-nosed face. They swept over the spectacles that shielded intense gray eyes framed by long, gold lashes, and twined themselves over and along her head. They followed the paths of her double handful of copper braids, all pinned neatly to her scalp in a series of rings that left no end visible. Only two long, thin braids were allowed to hang free. They framed either side of her stubborn face.

With her breezes placed to her satisfaction, guardians against the intense southern heat, the girl whistled. The big, shaggy white dog that was busily marking the corners of the house whuffed at her.

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