Peas in a Pod: part seven
Peas in a Pod
“Mr. Everard, your son may share your room tonight. In the morning, I will ask Gideon to fetch you, when Mr. Horace arrives. But I have never said I expect you to leave.”
She cast a glance at Gideon Haws, who hadn’t ceased intertwining his fingers on his lap. Her eyes widened and her brows drew inward, her voice giving way to a quiver of strong feeling, “I hope you were listening when I spoke just now, Mr. Everard…I hope Mr. Horace has done you some good.”
Dismissed, Richard’s father stood. Her distress moved him; the sardonic undertone was there, but the tears were as well, a tremor running through his own speech.
“Rebecca, the way that you mention has been a torment to me…I would hardly indeed have chosen such a path; nonetheless, all my life I have plodded it. I have not got my mind sorted on this question of God. Had I sought an end—done away with myself, Rebecca―I would not have considered it either bravery or cowardice…and I would not have considered it sin. But I have considered it often…I have been a torment to others. You know it, now.”
This was a thing past between the two of them, an old contention, the strength of which Richard felt; and felt jealousy, for his mother’s sake…or for his own. “But,” his father finished, “I have said it before…I will never have the means to thank you adequately. And you, Gideon.” He turned to Haws, gave his hand; and Haws, his face much relieved, jumped from his chair.
“We will have Jackson put the lamps out. I am overdue at home.” He said this to his cousin, throwing the remark over his shoulder; at the same time, he shook the elder Richard’s hand, and urged him towards the door.
“Well, Gideon, you might have gone home at once. I did tell you I could manage. Richard.”
Miss Haws had hooked him again, as he was rising from the sofa, on the verge of trailing after his father. “You must let Jackson or Gideon know if you have need of anything.”
“Mr. Angelis,” Richard’s father told him, “runs the kitchen over at Colonel Starke’s. Arthur―I am guessing it―had to go begging for ice. The heat has been damnable. And Mr. Horace is the preacher who gives the sermon at the Sunday prayer meetings. But also, his sway with Miss Haws is considerable. Rebecca knows her own mind, yet she will consult Mr. Horace at every step.”
Peas in a Pod
(copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster)