Peas in a Pod: part six
Peas in a Pod
Richard agreed, on both counts. He said so…and there was a quiet space between them. Mrs. Purfoy suspected him of idling, he thought. But Thomas’s business was his own.
“Mr. Richard.” He cleared his throat. “I like you to know somethin. She has got a sum a money from your father. She made a choice she wasn’t gon tell you. I can’t say myself how much money in the envelope, but I can say what place it was sent from.”
“Thomas,” Richard said. “I’d appreciate knowin it.”
“Haws Temprance Hotel, Main Street, Louville.”
He’d got a satisfactory look at the address; Mrs. Purfoy winking an eye, and reading it off, with a trip in her inflection as she pronounced the word, “temperance”.
“Haws,” Richard repeated. He thought Main Street would stick in his memory well enough.
“I expect you’re right, sir. That’d be the one Joab knowed, from way back.”
Way back…those were the days before Richard’s birth, and he hadn’t been thinking of this story at all. Thomas remembered that time; he, along with Richard’s father—the elder Richard the survivor of his generation—had known the dead Everards, Richard’s grandparents and his uncle Lawrence. Thomas’s mind could walk the landscape. Richard knew his father took some pride in his dealings with Captain Haws; at the same time, he had never told Richard all of it. A fence he would not jump balked him, something Haws had done that angered or embarrassed him.
“Thomas, do you know what become of Joab?”
“I know he said he live one place all his life, and he goin on the railroad, see somethin of the country. But I ain’t hear from him, no.”
“My daddy been in Louville!”
Set up there, Richard guessed, with work and a house of his own…wanting to provide for his wife and sons, not willing to come get them. What can I do? He might have spoken these words aloud. Thomas, from his back pocket, extracted a roll of bills. “Naomi put that by. I think you got to make your way up to Louville. Can’t say what she has in mind.”
Richard, telling himself he must not stop to count it out, tucked the money away; and now, for the second day in a week, he carried cash in his watch pocket. In the time he’d lived in Paducah, he’d not once seen Naomi. He hadn’t considered how Thomas lived…where Thomas lived. Belatedly, Richard opened his mouth, and Thomas forestalled his thanks.
He spoke again of Mrs. Purfoy. “No, I can’t never say what she reckon to tell, and what she reckon keep to herself.”
Peas in a Pod
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(2017, Stephanie Foster)