All Bedlam Courses Past (part six)

Posted by ractrose on 27 Jan 2023 in Fiction, Novels

Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfire






All Bedlam Courses Past


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


Old Trouble



She had watched her laborers walk the fencerow, shadowed by a creaking collie; Shad calling out: “Well, Miss, I brung my hired hand. You know Mr. Everard?” Old Richard moved crabbed like an invalid.

As boss of the project, Élucide felt she ought to meet them halfway, and say…

What her father would. Some question about the mechanics of it all, that she hadn’t the knowledge to ask. She might ask, “How is Richard? Do you see him?” No.

“I think…yes.”

She had never spoken a word to Old Richard, and these fell someplace in the air between them. Shad was not naïve to the vis-à-vis of Everard and Gremot. He stepped off the road and jogged to her, swinging a mattock. To her surprise, she saw Old Richard gather himself and double his effort. The collie, showing a white-muzzled grin, pulled to the lead, head and tail wagging.

Old Richard lunged and took the scruff. “Miss Gremot is gentry hereabouts. You want to regard any Gremot you see with a proper sense of place.”

To this, as pointedly as an adult being rude on purpose may, she shrugged, put her back to him and gestured Shad to the padlock. “I don’t know what about this.”

“Break it. I do that just now.” He did, ramming his blade through the rusted links. “Cause, Miss, nobody know where any key is, and it never open that lock no more…guess been rusted a long time.”

She could not have asked for better accommodation.

Shad’s helper said, with deadening formality, “Miss Gremot, how do you do?”

“Mr. Everard, thank you. I’m fine.”

“I take it there’s no orders as to which’un we stir up first.”

She answered Shad, “These at the very edge.”

There were no orders at all, not from Mr. Kempf…but no logic to start at the heart of things. Sights being nothing to stinks, she was leery of that low place water pooled.

“Now, sir. Get you any them tools you can lift easy, and whenever I take up a good chunk and lay it out, you knock it apart…but gentle. See what’s in there. Soon’s we come to them naked bones, we got to use a broom. Then you carry off the dirt in a bucket. I ain’t gonna work you too hard.”

Shad had his mischief about him, but he worked Old Richard with tolerance, like a man who means to saddle break a horse for its own good.







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















(2023, Stephanie Foster)




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