Sequence: Alas Falada (part two)
“It’s her back that’s hurt, you bugger. No.” She withdrew a hand, that she flung in a gesture, adding, “My mother won’t work again. And a man like Bragg”—Miss Quincy addressed the journalist—“won’t be made to pay. Not by the courts in this city.”
“Bragg’s having a little get-together,” the journalist told Rob, his face growing offensively bland. “Another young gent went inside about half an hour ago.” He glanced down at Miss Quincy. She smirked up at the Daily News man. Rob didn’t bother to answer.
Ethan’s parlor had a fireplace at one end, done in brown marble, against which the andirons, and the screen, so polished, and so brassy, made a bad effect. Elsie Bragg had put jade Buddhas on the mantelpiece. Otherwise, the room’s woodwork was dark, bookcases filled with bright dustcovers adding further clash to the impression of too much to look at, too many vague, musty smells; and here at the window, blocking the view, were eye-blighting drapes in crushed velvet, that Phillip meant to throw open to the light of day.
Acting as Gamotte’s agent, he’d got Bragg bearded in his den—his den of iniquity, as the tabloids sympathetic to Elsie had it―though the trauma of divorce had rendered this, at present, more an eremite’s cell. Bragg had schemed to avoid paying alimony. He disavowed this, but Phillip, intending himself to avoid alimony, found Bragg’s alleged conduct plausible, perhaps excusable. Also, however, incompetent and hapless—
(Now there was a line an ex-salesman might pursue…101 Helpful Dodges for the Unhappily Married).
His wife, following her second miscarriage, had been befriended by Ethan’s friend, Dr. Rascka. On the stand, Elsie had told of her recovery, an ordeal she’d endured while “lying virtually senseless” in her bed; of Bragg’s ushering Rascka, and his hypodermic, into the boudoir.
This had become a key point during the divorce trial. Elsie did not deny her addiction to opium; she insisted, rather, that Bragg and Rascka had machinated against a helpless woman—“A Prisoner in Her Own Home” (Herald headline)—with the intent of destroying her character.
Rascka had perjured himself on the stand…Elsie’s lawyer, during the third day of Rascka’s testimony, raising a ruckus in the courtroom and enriching the scandal rags, with his revelation that Rascka had no license to practice medicine in the United States.
(2018, Stephanie Foster)