All Bedlam Courses Past (part forty-three)
All Bedlam Courses Past
Avarice Creeping On
He was interrupting her, he was nakedly mortified by the notion of spiritualism; he had given to the word that intonation no member of Ebrach’s circle would bear unchallenged. And he was wrong, in any case, to impute Ebrachian leanings to Honoré.
“Honoré is not. I am. Ask me, and you’ll understand better. Mr. Ebrach opposes treating the divinities, and the comforts they have to offer the bereaved, in articles. The subject is too deep, the possibility of error too great.”
She had quelled, cowed, and somewhat repulsed Gilbert, all read in shades of conversational despair—and even so much facial engagement seemed grudged to her. Though one did have to speak of Ebrach, in speaking of fairly much anything Cookesvillian these days.
“These divinities…these spirits, they are…” elder Bertrand began.
He spoke to Élucide, in English; and in English she knew of words (many, and Ebrach’s) to secure a convert…
But a voice entered from the hall: “Hi-dee-ho, laddy-o!” It lost a beat to discovery, and added a rhyme: “I seek audience with Miss Gremot.”
Miss Gremot got to her feet. Elder Bertrand shot to his. Honoré’s son, at play in the wresting backwards of his chair, giggled, and cast a wide eye at Élucide, who explained:
“Monsieur faisait le pitre. Manfred…”
Exhausted suddenly with introductions, she finished, “Ryan-Neville. Mon ami.”
“Put off your train!” Manfred entered, mock-clearing the room with his stick. “Mrs. Buckley has a luncheon in store.”
“You see, Moult wouldn’t swear any oath, not on any terms whatsoever. He said, I’m finished with it, Reg. The country’s gone to hell.” She put a finger to her lips. “He said.”
They’d had to go up to Canada, to get a boat past the blockade. Their party had wintered in Portugal, toured the harbors of France, then spent a dangerous month crossing England.
Someone was after you?
Small rush to nudge between them, a hand on each elbow. No, Aylucide, the countryside, what would Mr. Ebrach call that, magnetism? You two see…you do. Moult had said, one day when we were in Yorkshire, some town with a B, all down in a valley where his granddaddy hailed, he said, Reg, let’s buy that castle. I said, it’s rocks, sugar.”
But! Sweep of the arm, sweeping turn, glower from Myra, who’d surprised Regina…why, sugar, you’re like a mouse! I just never heard you. Well, I just never did.
“I told Moult I absolutely have to be in a warm climate. I want my Alarica. So I got him to come back. Alarica means a queen, just like Regina, that’s why Moult picked it.”
(2023, Stephanie Foster)