All Bedlam Courses Past (part five)

Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfire






All Bedlam Courses Past


Chapter One
The Peculiar Nature of Logical Science
(part five)



“I feel, myself,” she said, “that we ought to dig and box, dig and box, if that’s not a crude way of putting it. The bones, the skeletons, being not intact. Don’t you think it’s too much of an undertaking…”

She stopped, frowned at them both, as though either had offered to smile. “I don’t know why we’d want to lay them all out, and then try to find out who they might be. If we can even put a name to anyone, given the records…”

“Ebrach and I will sort that.”

“But of course,” Ebrach said, “it’s Mr. Everard one might not wish to have left at loose ends.”

She rose with a fair alacrity, taking up her notes. She did not exit at once, but came to stand before Kempf, compelling his attention. “I don’t know how you like doing things. Does your secretary keep a receipt book?”

A Gremot sort of speech, with which Kempf was familiar. She meant to say, “You are probably very slipshod in your habits”; at the same time, she meant to say, “I am taking these papers away with me”.

Her father might have put this across, but Kempf wasn’t having it from Miss Gremot.

“Ebrach and I,” he repeated, making his face, the set of his shoulders, and his voice, quelling, “will sort that.”

For fifteen minutes they discussed Miss Gremot. Ebrach averred he had seen her smile often, allowed she had a serious bent. Kempf saw it for himself how she didn’t shy, could face a human skull like a scholar. Presence of mind. Miss Gremot will manage the clerical side very competently. Ebrach steered all the talk this way. She did his letters, his correspondence, had done for some months. Her parents were willing.

Kempf, not satisfied, persuaded that Ebrach would gossip to her, squatted to open the safe. She would have known it was here. Kicked that boot against it, seated in his chair. Gremot’s daughter ought to imagine valuables (few, but wedding rings, lockets…how kin could yammer after a petty thing gone missing!) to be forwarded, as were the inmates themselves, to the state hospital.

“Dr. Woolsaver was a scientist. That is not the case with…one, two, three, four…every medical doctor, every holder of a degree, or practitioner. Tricky, tricky…quiet, please. There. Yes. Many,” he stood, “have practiced lifelong with no curiosity, no desire to improve the method.”

Kempf had been loading out papers, muttering to Ebrach to look, look all he wanted. The experimental work was nothing one would hide. When Woolsaver was alive to speak for himself, he had given public readings, to boards of guardians, governors. Qualified men…

True, Ebrach was a doctor. But above that, he was rich. Nepotism and the sway of money…that was how your elected officers decided things these days.







Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfireAll Bedlam Courses Past (part six)















(2023, Stephanie Foster)




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