All Bedlam Courses Past (part forty-nine)
All Bedlam Courses Past
An Object in Motion
Had the planets been as swift as Comets
In proportion to their Distances from the Sun
They would not move in concentric Orbs
But in such eccentric ones as the Comets move in
Isaac Newton, Letter to Doctor Bentley
What Ails Em
Sharing the driver’s seat of Gremot’s fancy wagon was less a trial to Thacker than, say, sharing a mixed parlor, ladies present, charming chat the only recourse.
He wasn’t sure people had chats with Gremot…
Who seemed, for that matter, uncharmable. But such words exchanged as had profit in them, waited only until they’d got well out River Road.
Gremot pulled up, spotting Sperling. “Hang on, Thacker.”
Thacker came back from a picture in his mind, hearing Gremot’s boots.
“Could be an idea.” The tone conveyed, largely, that it could not.
“Well, sir, I don’t have to tell you…” Sperling, on the other hand, thought he did. “Everard’s wanting a lease on the barn, and buy whatever part of the crop you can’t sell no higher.”
“Now that’s a hard thing to understand. Lawrence gets a scheme in mind, gets around to trying it, never has turned up pitching me anything. Saves his own to invest… Him, and I guess, Carter?”
“Clark. Farmer Clark. Got a business head on his shoulders. Lawrence,” Sperling finished, visible in his effort to cap this talk.
Which Gremot did not allow. “Keeps himself sober.”
They had a dozen miles, bearing west, to the Kentucky ferry. Gremot’s finger directed Sperling; Sperling hopped on the tailboard, to ride the last acre of Gremot’s property, where the road to Dominionville looped his hilltop.
Gremot cocked back on a toe, mouth set, reins jogging over his patient team’s backs. He too seemed lost in thought.
The gem of Thacker’s intelligence, the clincher, had been a gift from Gremot’s daughter. A parting word, just that, at the Cookesville depot, pulling him nearer by the sleeve: “Weem, didn’t you have the idea the Beacon belonged to Rowan? He owned the press and all, as property, I mean?”
She knew what she was up to, Thacker was a little thrilled to learn, with her father’s circle and their aims.
(2023, Stephanie Foster)