All Bedlam Courses Past (part sixty-two)

Posted by ractrose on 1 Aug 2023 in Fiction, Novels

Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfire






All Bedlam Courses Past


Chapter Three
An Object in Motion
(part sixty-two) 






But as physician, Ebrach could strip all privilege from Jerome’s poor embodiment. He could invent decline, cause it with his medicines. The spiritualist ruled Olympia and Hades alike; mystique a sort of tailwind Ebrach summoned as he coursed along. And he valued that. Being wise and apart, celibate, holy…

Success. Honoré tried a different daydream.

“Mr. Unversaght, you enjoy Mr. Ebrach’s revue? You would have faith that I, as editor…?”

Ah, but what? Even Ryan-Neville did not pander to Unversaght.



The Fresh-Air Pavilion, an enclosure worthy of the Bois de Boulogne, had its screened porch, that rested on steel beams, bedded in Arcadia Rock at the View’s brink. The View was of the valley cut by Tranquility Creek to the sparkling Ohio, flowing west with a saucy back-glance…at the invalid in his chair. The Pavilion had its gallery, its ceiling fans, its pushcarts of periodicals; and its wicker lounge chairs, kitted with footstools, rugs, cushions, folding screens.

It had its dining room, served by its own kitchen. Summer patients drank their tonics, ate their boiled lunches, on a deck with outdoor tables. A veranda roofed in green and white let the infirm be hauled up-ramp by attendants.

The patients were more, of late. If any skeptic could pass Ebrach’s door, Honoré might share his scant knowledge of the spirit game, and his disgust…

But he was a feature of Crownhaven’s furnishings, mobile and ill enough to strike the exemplary balance; often he saw Ebrach with guests look his way, saw the guests take measuring stares—

A cello, bowed in the F minor scale, swayed in. Dr. Signorelli played, a protégé of the Contessa, who had brought his therapeutic tones from Livorno. Today’s opus cast a brown haze over Honoré’s mood already brown, his sad resistance…

Gilbert was on his train. There had been a day they could sit together talking, not about this final reunion, or the wasted past, but only what was new. What the Americans seemed to think.

Arthur would be president, the Vanguard thought. Mr. Garfield rallied, per the Beacon. Agreement between them, that “our present task is to pray suffering end, and that right be done.” Rutherford printed editorials from the Chicago Daily Tribune, bald (or thinning, in not-over-libelous patterns) in accusing a man named Conkling of plotting the president’s death. Persons-in-the-know spoke in corridors, at party bastions, sometimes “Albany” …

Gilbert cited the over-mentioned Lecomte: “Let me read to you what I have in my notes.”

“You have never heard anything of Michelet,” Honoré interrupted.








Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfireAll Bedlam Courses Past (part sixty-three)















(2023, Stephanie Foster)