All Bedlam Courses Past (part forty-seven)
All Bedlam Courses Past
Avarice Creeping On
But, Élucide thought as well, her poor Sartains were within their rights feeling peevish.
No, Madame (who was never ill, never) had been enjoying a concert, kindly insisted on by M. Montrose; and the day, she must add, had been a whirlwind, the train to Baltimore would be all too tedious…but her maid was not in Washington, nor was her luggage. Madame had awakened at this, and of the whispers in her dream, Gilbert’s, proffering tickets, proved real.
“It was too late! M. Montrose, he is a secretary of the embassy, already was delighted to escort Miss Brent, and Miss Brent already had sent a message to her father. I was to stay in her mother’s rooms, use her mother’s night things as I liked, her mother would wish it. Give no thought to telegraphing Gerde, it was done. Gerde would arrive in the morning, and Bertrand would share Gilbert’s room. And so, mademoiselle, I was lax, I admit it, in thinking Bertrand would be quiet on the train, after a late play. Which had only begun at eight, and so…”
She spread her hands.
“Eight is very reasonable,” Élucide said.
“Reasonable, the word! Why should I think it was other than a normal play? M. Montrose is besotted! But he is the son of a woman, who…it would be awkward to have him write a disagreeable thing. Miss Brent, I suppose, could not have known better. For the most part her help had been…”
Helpful, Élucide thought.
“Her father did not allow her to see it with her cousin. But, because they were two young women alone, what else would one imagine? And the gallery seats were more fun, it was what she said, I don’t know what it means.”
“They don’t mind…” Rowdiness. Food and drink. Private pursuits.
Élucide chose: “People talking.”
“Exactly, exactly. Miss Brent, yes, I believe it, would herself have been more discreet. But it was M. Montrose who gave the lines to Gilbert and Bertrand.”
Mon dieu, mon dieu, le sang ! Élucide’s sympathies were with the Brent cousins (whoever they were); she wanted to see this horror.
“Now, I have not a very good picture in my mind, as to where we are in America, how far from this Cookesville of my niece and her husband.”
A telegraphing look at Manfred, who, like the unknown Montrose, could safely be blamed. “Really, not far. I think we may just be on our way by tomorrow afternoon.”
(2023, Stephanie Foster)