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Monday, February 2, 2009

ADELINE AUGUSTA VARNELL McGEE

Adeline (Lina), like her sisters and mother, doted on her younger brother Tom. She did what she could within her power to help her younger brother. Lina was the oldest living child of Isaac and Docia Varnell after her two older brothers, Augustus and Napoleon, died in their youths. She met and married Jasper McGee in Hill County. He arrived from Louisiana and had a gift of being able to work with even the most ill-tempered horse, long before the term 'horse whisperer' came into vogue. Their romance bloomed on the Varnell Ranch. They married Oct. 21, 1969. Her father gave them 70 acres of their own to farm. As the babies started coming, this bit of land was no longer enough for their needs.

A chapter that did not get included in Tom P's Fiddle is mostly about Lina and Jasper. It will be published here in more than one part. So here is the older but deleted 'Chapter Two' from the original manuscript of Tom P's Fiddle:

Chapter Two

4.July.1871

At times Adeline Varnell McGee wondered just what was she thinking when she married Jasper. He could be the most exasperating man alive, especially right now. She watched him saddle up Windever. He was getting ready to attend a 4th of July picnic in Hillsboro. Jasper was anxious to hear from his friends about the latest accesses of the State Police. It was time to do something about Texas Governor Edmund Davis.


“Jasper, it is time we had our own home, and you know it!” Lina stated.

Jasper ran his fingers through his hair and looked sheepish as he tried to refocus on his determined wife. It wasn’t easy to reason with her when she had her mind set on something. She always managed to bring up sensitive matters especially when he didn’t have time to marshal his arguments. He turned back to Windever and continued adjusting the cinch straps.

“Now, Lina, you know I want a home, too, but we’ll have to wait for the crop to come in. After all we don’t have all that much furniture or dishes,” replied Jasper trying to placate his irate wife.


“Oh, by the living! You’ve been saying that for two years. We need our own space now that we have a child. Mother and Pap don’t need us underfoot any longer,” she shot back at him knowing full well he did not have his mind on the topic at hand.

“It’ll work itself out. You’ll see! Now let’s go to the picnic,” he said, wanting to divert her attention.


“You go ahead. I have some work to get done and some medicine to mix up.” She seemingly was giving up. He hoped so.


“I’ll see you later then,” he called out as he swung up into the saddle and headed out.


Jasper had always had a dreamy quality about him. Solving practical problems rarely interested him, and “tomorrow” was always a good day to get things done. Perhaps that is what she had fallen in love with even if it meant she had to take matters into her own hands at times. She still remembered the first day he came riding up to the Varnell Ranch with little else than the ability to calm down just about any horse around. On that first day, Jasper roped an unbroken horse in the middle of the herd and immediately started talking low and earnestly to the stallion while walking slowly towards the animal. Jasper leaped on the stallion’s back with no saddle, just the rope. Instead of bucking, the horse stood there, continuing to listen attentively.

Lina knew she lost her heart that day. He seemed to be so much like Pap whom she adored. Tom P, her little brother, was the only other person she knew of that horses followed around. After a short courtship, Lina and Jasper were married in October 1869.
As Jasper left for the picnic, Lina headed for the main house. She had made a decision. Jasper could go to that silly picnic. She had things to do.

“Mother, I may need you to watch little Gus for me,” Lina called out as she entered the kitchen.

“Of course! What’s up?” asked Docia suspiciously.
“I love you, but I have to have my own place. I’ve waited for Jasper long enough. Time to take action.”

Lina poured a cup of coffee but left it untouched on the counter. She paced back and forth unaware of her agitation.

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