All Bedlam Courses Past (part eighty-four)

Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfire






All Bedlam Courses Past


Chapter Three
An Object in Motion
(part eighty-four)







It was at least an exercise to think of these things.

From Mother’s perspective her panic must be a fit, a freak, it beggared reason. Élucide granted this, fair enough. A daughter tucking digestive biscuits and fruit mash from Sarah’s tray into folded newsprint, rolling her pearls and best shoes (which can’t be worn for walking) into her winter overcoat, leaving the house by moonlight, tramping the woods…

“Well, the headaches. I suppose you just don’t know.” Tap of temple. “We go into town every Wednesday, and Luce, if she’s feeling up to it, is welcome to ride along. I can’t fathom her going off like that.”

Good that she had only imagined the acts, her pictured self tripping over obstacles aplenty. But think of it…a man like Ebrach can be all individualism, all eccentricity, all freedom to pursue his interests, freedom to speak of them.

And to sit on his hill, in his house, un-intervened upon.

While a woman, who is not a girl, is neither her own authority; she is her parents’ daughter. To Cookesville, she is. Onlookers wish Miss Gremot the best and return to their lives. Miss Gremot, whatever may be wrong with her, falls into the background. Walter and Fern have taken her away, to the countryside. It’s for the best.

That false heroism of the best, everyone wishing it, crediting themselves.

Mother and Papa are not trying to ruin my life. They see their children reflecting on them…

They see all that occurs in the light of its reflection. On Squire Gremot, on his business, on his office.

Then why, if hemmed in and hopeless, would you not feel a little mad? Reduced to spend your days needling cloth and penning letters, surrounded by a world that sees you troublesome for wanting to walk alone?

The way out is to crash through all convention. Make it impossible they can’t hear you, get your name in the papers like Mrs. Lincoln, even though the price will be…

Your mother’s name, when mentioned, attached always to “the poor soul”. Both girls, such a trial! But the elder’s only sickly…

Or, the way out is warfare. Take a shot to find the enemy’s position. Exploit weaknesses, take no prisoners…

Put enemy out of your head, Élucide told herself. You know your parents love you. But.

Rutherford’s sold pattern-prints; the poor embroiderer need only choose her colors. Mother would like it, concession…

“May I ride in Wednesday, please? Can’t Geneva sit with Ranilde?”







Pastel drawing of bird flying away from bonfireAll Bedlam Courses Past (part one)















(2023, Stephanie Foster)




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