All Bedlam Courses Past (part nine)

Posted by ractrose on 2 Feb 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 nine)



Her scheme was being upset by this ordering of precedence between Shad and his old master. She would have offered Richard’s father the water first, and on the strength of his needing to thank her (he might not), passed the remark, “I see your son in town now and again.”

Which, of Lawrence, was true.

She decided not to bother with subtleties. “How is Richard?”

The weathered face came over sullen; then he chose to shoulder a second penance. “Not well. Not poorly, you understand. Nothing amiss that wants meddling with. Richard needs to be kept working steady, is all…he wouldn’t balk at even a job like this…”

Maybe, with that dismissive sweep towards Shad, he thought to get a little of his own back. He called her by name, wanting that heart’s tattoo of Everard grievance, Gremot, to sound its syllables.

“Miss Gremot, my son has only the difficulty pride throws in his way. He can’t ask.”

“Well, I’m sorry.”

She had more to say…sorry, that he seemingly couldn’t be asked, either…

“Five years of doing not much. And the drink, I won’t deny it. You’ll want to lay the blame on my son’s character. On mine, as you are a logical-minded young lady. Your father would. I only say”—he cut her short again—“Richard didn’t get the start in life. He couldn’t go out at a young age to pick and choose, learn what he liked doing and didn’t. He acquired a sour view on it all.”

“Oh, now,” Shad said.


Like most things that had fixed themselves where they were no longer wanted, the typhoid cemetery needed extracting by stages, by method, the difficult object backed out the way it had gone in. The first thing cited by the Hospital Board’s panel of three, had been a thorough search of records. No one expected success.

Mr. Snedden reported no digger to spare…further, he saw some compromise to the poor men, though he was no student of the law. It would be better consulting Mr. Kinaelty.

“We may do. Compromise, however…because of…? If any had family, if any name might be put to…”

“I don’t believe they would mention it, sir, the men. Put them in a bad frame of mind, and they won’t like having the association known.”

Ebrach studied Snedden. Snedden sat, on his underground store of knowledge.

“I think,” Ebrach said, “we may manage our affairs with less troubling of the waters, as it were. This vacation, coming as news to some, will come as reminder, also. I have never seen these graves decorated. Now, Miss Towson will recommend a man…?”

He allowed her to speak. She didn’t. Ebrach, to Snedden, said, “She has used odd job men…owning property and keeping a rig, as she does…”

“Richard Everard,” Miss Towson said.

No one seconded the motion.







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















(2023, Stephanie Foster)




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