The Jilting of Granny WeatherallBy Katherine Anne Porter(1930)She flicked her wrist neatly out of Doctor Harry’s pudgy careful fingers and pulled the sheet upto her chin. The brat ought to be in knee breeches. Doctoring around the country with spectacles on his nose! “Get along now. Take your schoolbooks and go. There’s nothing wrong with me.”Doctor Harry spread a warm paw like a cushion on her forehead where the forked green vein danced and made her eyelids twitch. “Now, now, be a good girl, and we’ll have you up in no time.”“That’s no way to speak to a woman nearly eighty years old just because she’s down. I’d have you respect your elders, young man.”“Well, Missy, excuse me.” Doctor Harry patted her cheek. “But I’ve got to warn you, haven’t I? You’re a marvel, but you must be careful or you’re going to be good and sorry.”“Don’t tell me what I’m going to be. I’m on my feet now, morally speaking. It’s Cornelia. I hadto go to bed to get rid of her.”Her bones felt loose, and floated around in her skin, and Doctor Harry floated like a balloon around the foot of the bed. He floated and pulled down his waistcoat, and swung his glasses on a cord. “Well, stay where you are, it certainly can’t hurt you.”“Get along and doctor your sick,” said Granny Weatherall. “Leave a well woman alone. I’ll callfor you when I want you…Where were you forty years ago when I pulled through milk-leg and double pneumonia? You weren’t even born. Don’t let Cornelia lead you on,” she shouted, because Doctor Harry appeared to float up to the ceiling and out. “I pay my own bills, and I don’t throw my money away on nonsense!”She meant to wave good-by, but it was too much trouble. Her eyes closed of themselves, it waslike a dark curtain drawn around the bed. The pillow rose and floated under her, pleasant as a hammock in a light wind. She listened to the leaves rustling outside the window. No, somebody was swishing newspapers: no, Cornelia and Doctor Harry were whispering together. She leaped broad awake, thinking they whispered in her ear.“She was never like this, never like this!” “Well, what can we expect?” “Yes, eighty years old…”Well, and what if she was? She still had ears. It was like Cornelia to whisper around doors. Shealways kept things secret in such a public way. She was always being tactful and kind. Cornelia
was dutiful; that was the trouble with her. Dutiful and good: “So good and dutiful,” said Granny, “that I’d like to spank her.” She saw herself spanking Cornelia and making a fine job of it.“What’d you say, mother?”Granny felt her face tying up in hard knots.“Can’t a body think, I’d like to know?”“I thought you might like something.”“I do. I want a lot of things. First off, go away and don’t whisper.”She lay and drowsed, hoping in her sleep that the children would keep out and let her rest a minute. It had been a long day. Not that she was tired. It was always pleasant to snatch a minute now and then. There was always so much to be done, let me see: tomorrow.