Want Nothing Will Write: Hammersmith (fourteen)
Aimee had taken one seat, facing the caboose, and Hogben had taken a prod from the passenger behind’s umbrella. He scuttled between seats and came to rest across from her, murmuring, “Pardon me, Mack.”
“Well, here we are.”
Aimee offered this, and her companion responded, “On our way.” He stuck his nose in a Philadelphia paper he’d bought from the porter.
She had paid for her ticket, of course. She would pay for her lunch, if he’d let her, but the weighing of what she might honorably pass off on Monty (she was only being frank with herself to say so) was one of the excursion’s brass tacks. Before breakfast, she’d popped the lid of her footstool, and shaken out ten of twenty silver dollars tucked there in a sock—the most of her rainy day fund Aimee could sacrifice for Jane’s sake.
Well and want nothing. Will write.
She’d got his message off by telegram, without seeing room for improvement. Why encourage Carey to say, “I love you, dear”? He had not loved her at the start.
Before Minnie’s cake finished baking—yesterday—Hogben had scooted from the table, pulled down his hat from the top of the cupboard, and said, “Ma’am.”
“Oh, not yet, you don’t mean to leave us, Mr. Hogben, before dessert! And why leave at all…” Ruby, saying this, leaned far back in her chair, to eye through the archway the parlor accommodations.
“I won’t try to say all that I might, Mrs. Bard…”
He’s worked out a speech, Aimee thought. Minnie interrupted him.
“Mr. Hogben, I wanted you to crank the ice cream! I guess Mr. Shaw can do it, though.”
Shaw, with his wonderful resistance to insult, had put in, “Sure can!”; then added, “I’ll have to run Ruby’s errand before the shops close.”
It was more harm than Minnie could suppose, Aimee knew, to be commandeering her ice like that. Minnie had an encroaching personality, a generous view of others’ resources…and, it seemed, no travel plans of her own. As with the Maine mystery, which had grown (by that morning’s news) into a definite fault of Spain, Mr. Starkweather’s firing of Ruby had become an act of war. Minnie had trenched—never mind in whose house.
Aimee caught Hogben inching backwards through the kitchen door, mumbling, “…a debt I can scarcely repay…”
Want Nothing Will Write
More of this piece on Hammersmith page
(2017, 2018, Stephanie Foster)