All Bedlam Courses Past (part sixty-one)
All Bedlam Courses Past
An Object in Motion
The orphan state needed sinking in.
Honoré had spent his life straining against this rock—
No. Habit cast up the metaphor. It meant nothing, as to Papa. He had not been a rock. He was sand, swept flat by the thought of surf. He was a pebble in the shoe, a pain that could be walked far with…
What did it mean, Honoré asked himself, that Clotilde’s aunt was to live with them? What did it mean, they were to buy a piano, employ a tutor in English?
Élucide’s voice said Roger Metz, his mother was their dressmaker, the family was Swiss, he had been her own tutor in French. How old? Mme Sartain asked. A stranger said: “…only a partition wall, not so troublesome,” and louder, coming nearer the bedroom: “I wonder, sir, if I might see you at your desk?” To which Ebrach answered, “No, Bertrand, Crownhaven will take it on. Some patients have the wherewithal to move a household; a floor of full apartments has always been…”
Metz’s is on Liberty, we can walk after dinner. You’ll meet Roger and ask.
That too, the better way (although Mme Sartain did not like the young outflanking her).
In Honoré’s sitting room they plotted. A way sawed out and a door hammered in, Madame and her maid to traffic as they liked. His ears to be tried by his daughter’s new enthusiasm, for all day Mariette would bang at piano keys.
And Bertrand…could he play?
This was jealous-making as well, a pit-of-the-stomach regret, tinged with eucalyptus, mourning, and the ghostly feeling of hearing his world roll without him. Grief for an old passion contended with loss, terrible loss…
The anchor of his life was gone.
He was not himself, unready for it. He had thought only days ago it might be time to write.
You see, Papa.
Even then, there’d been nothing to prove.
Passion, putting herself forward to his rescue, stole back. Honoré blew his nose on the bed shawl. Anne’s name would not communicate here. If she knocked, she could not come in.
And if he said to Gilbert… “Why go home?”
A Cookesville Progressive could ride the coattails of Well-Being. He had Ebrach’s list of subscribers. Gilbert could be the new venture’s legs—
No. Nothing escaped this house. Honoré exercised a part of his mind, while closing repeatedly an inner ear, a voice telling him, the money is yours. She cannot force your signature. Every success is for the children, anyway.
(2023, Stephanie Foster)