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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) the dog-boy of Carnies Past
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 16:22:07 -0500

Robert B. wrote:

>But does the mysterious Mr. Mason even exist? As Charlie writes to Den
>"[Doris] was a kid that belonged to Mr. Mason (whoever he was--I myself
>never laid eyes on him and there were quite a few people around the lot
>would have given you nine to five that there never was one."
>This to me suggests the strong plausibility that the notion of a "Mister
>Mason"--at least in Doris's case--is a nom de convenience. Mrs. Mason needs
>to explain where Doris has come from--she may have been or is being paid to
>be her ward, and "Mister Mason" may have placed her in the carnival to rid
>himself of the illegitimate child who may be a major embarassment for
>him--especially if he's on-track to be a major town figure. (There's also
>the potential of statutory rape charges if someone like Sherry Gold is

Whoever the real Mr. Mason may have been (Tilly or Smart or Weer or Other),
the cover-story in Charlie's letter is that Mr. M. has just died. Even if
that's a lie, and ignoring the problem of Doris being at least ten years too
old to be the daughter of Den and Sherry, _where has she been for the last
fifteen years or so since birth_?

Tilly had been dead for forty years before Charlie showed up at the plant.
Smart had recently died (but not, I think, recently enough to have been the
departed father Doris claimed), but surely he could have provided better for
a child (where had he kept her all that time?), and who was the mother? The
difficulties of Den being the father are even greater than for Smart.
Timeline problems aside, Doris's mother is said to have been dead for some
time before her father. If Sherry was that mother, then her death should
have precipitated Weer's stroke. Weer had _not_ had a stroke before
Charlie's visit. Besides, where had mother and child been living before
Sherry's death? With Weer? I don't think so. More importantly, with whom had
Doris been living during the time between her mother's death and the "death"
of her "father"? Weer certainly wasn't dead. What circumstance caused him to
suddenly farm out his daughter to the circus? Adam has already addressed the
improbability of Weer doing such a thing.

Then there is the problem of Mrs. Mason. Why should she, ostensibly the
jilted woman, feel a moral obligation (if she felt one) to finish raising
another woman's daughter? What hold did Weer (if he was Mr. M.) have on her?
Money? Not according to Charlie's account, and her niggardly treatment of
Doris seems to affirm that. If Charlie's account of Doris's story is true,
and if Weer was Mason, why had he been sending support money all those years
to Mrs. M. for Candy and Arline? Was he their father, too? More to the
point; why did he _stop_ sending money, as Charlie's account indicates, when
he should have been sending even more money to support Doris? He was very
rich and very much alive. It just doesn't add up. Weer could have quietly
arranged to have any bastard child sent to a girls' school in Switzerland,
or something, if her presence was inconvenient.

Also, Mrs. M.'s hostility toward Doris is too great to be accounted for just
by money concerns. The mere presence of Doris seems to be a personal affront
to her. Not letting her get enough to eat, even when someone else pays for
it, and tearing up her new clothes, that someone else bought, aren't about
money. It seems to me that Mrs. M.'s animosity is misdirected to Doris
because she can't get at Mr. M., probably because he's dead. If Weer was Mr.
Mason, he was alive, and all she had to do to get even with him was threaten
to expose him in his home town.



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