All Bedlam Courses Past (part seventy-six)

Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfire






All Bedlam Courses Past


Chapter Three
An Object in Motion
(part seventy-six) 








She wasn’t sure, the rhododendron masking them from one another, that Lawrence could be speaking to her. A moment passed, while neither Élucide nor Mrs. Koker answered.

“Ma’am,” he said again. “I don’t know what exactly is the side door, what she told me to come around to.” He was ma’am-ing her for the presence of Mariette, if that were possible.

And this sight must be seen. “Lawrence!”

She bustled, finding him in a suit. The corner of her mouth made unserious twitches. She might have looked him up and down a tad brash. “What a treat for Bertrand! He thought he wouldn’t get to see a one of you.” She shook a finger. That too. And pinched his sleeve, bent to tap Mariette ahead. “Go on, lovie. You know who you’re named after, Lawrence… Mrs. Koker!”

The doorscreen framed the housekeeper’s silhouette; other forms were seen pressuring her to let them exit. Small Bertrand broke from supervision, squeezing under the crook of Mrs. Koker’s arm.

The door banged, but the flinch was Mrs. Koker’s particular one, when receiving orders from Élucide. “Miss Gremot, what else was you wanting?”

“Just, will you take Mariette upstairs? Oh, wait! Bertrand, have you learned the way?” She repaired her lapse. « Est-ce que tu sais ton chemin autour de la maison ? »

The look on Lawrence’s face was more gratifying than the one on Mrs. Koker’s.


At the front door, where strangers knocked, Crownhaven’s housekeeper had assumed what she fairly might, that Lawrence Everard was calling after his rabbits. She left him to see what Mr. Ebrach would have to say. But being spoken to of the kitchen, Lawrence, without prejudice, set off to skirt the architecture.

Ebrach had remarked, mild with it: “Was that Mr. Everard coming up the stairs? Mrs. Koker, I believe Miss Gremot has invited him as a guest.”

Elder Bertrand now stepped out beaming, telling Lawrence at once that if he’d known his uncle! So courteous, and such joie de vive. So very tragic a thing. “And do you know, has your father told you, you are his image, the Lawrence I had the pleasure to meet?”

“Daddy don’t…” Lawrence tugged at a vest button, placed it (with some surprise) in a pocket. “Daddy don’t talk about my uncle.”

Bertrand Sartain, with no Old Richard in his repertoire of types, allowed a profound grief must account for this.










Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfireAll Bedlam Courses Past (part seventy-seven)















(2023, Stephanie Foster)




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