A Figure from the Common Lot
Readers, A Figure from the Common Lot is off the blog, as I’m preparing a fresh edit; next to send it out for consideration by publishers. But I’ll leave behind a sample, below.
Book One: 1870-1871
Chapter One: Cette Illusion de la Mortalité
Book Two: 1876
Chapter Two: Possente Spirto
The Eye of a Magpie
Leaf, sharp, continuing, under-hand
Wheeling gears, dying in prison
Is a low-rate postcard
Issued by the government
One follows, the other is drawn behind
The House of Gremot
He was disturbed by the breakfast.
He had two letters to compose, and had finished the first—a short note, really. After last evening, Honoré had seen nothing more of Verbena’s husband; they had not met, in a true sense, and Everard might not know who it was that thanked him. Everard had roused from his stupor, eyes moistly throwing back a fraction of lamplight, half-comprehension in the jerking of his head. He’d looked Honoré over as Ebrach walked him to the porch.
Ebrach, wishing, as Honoré thought, to study Everard, had slowed. Given his lead, he might have gone as far as speaking. Honoré had preferred he did not. Let there be one new acquaintance before whom Ebrach’s solicitude did not render him an imbecile. Drained by grief, and fearing that he must not wait to lie down, he had pulled away. And afterwards had reason to be afraid.
Under the name of Jerome, and on the authority of Ebrach, he had now entered the house of his relative. He addressed the envelope to both Everards, but the note only to Verbena. Honoré wanted her to be pleased. Had he, this morning, remembered the name of her son, he would have pleased her better, in writing the lie:
Mr. Ebrach has awakened for you this loved one’s spirit. I witnessed this myself.
Yet, he felt he would insult her to offer more than this letter of gratitude, and the wish—which he knew to be nonsense—that the Everards would visit the Jeromes in turn, when he had settled his own household.
He’d responded to Ebrach’s nudge, waking, sluggish, in a hot and unfamiliar room, disgusted that he smelled like a man who for days had not bathed; struggling, as always, to right himself.
“But we must return now to Cookesville, to the hotel…I have nothing here. I do not even know―”