Hammersmith: Private Enterprise (2)

Pastel drawing of 1800s farmhouse




Private Enterprise
Chapter Twenty-Seven





“And so Mossbunker thinks he will actually win the war himself?”

“Ah. And there are complications.” Here, Zetland felt the need of a prop. Using Derfinger’s sugar tongs, he took up a cube, and waggled it with gravity. “Your son…”

“I haven’t got one. Can you mean Carey?”

“This Abel.”

“My stepson.”

“He owns the house you live in. You plant it, this farmland, we will say, in apple trees. You build a house for a man to manage the orchard. Hogben, it may be.”

“Hasn’t,” she asked, “Hogben been made another agent of Mossbunker? My fault, I agree.”

“All the better for the example I make. Mossbunker acquires this land from Abel… And your trees are his trees. Your apples are his apples. Hogben may stay. The house you have built for Hogben is Mossbunker’s house to collect rent. But now we add the condition that Mossbunker will let you stay as well. You will only give him most of your profits from the apples, and only, if you want to bring your apples to the marketplace, pay a fee to Mossbunker for this also.”

“The sugar interests,” Shaw said, low-voiced, “don’t want Cuba independent.”




(2017, Stephanie Foster)

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