Hammersmith (thirteen)

“Doesn’t seem so long ago.” Mack, unable to do anything about Aimee’s arm hooked through Hogben’s, though it pleased him to see Hogben once or twice give a mild tug, ill-at-ease…had got next to Shaw behind them (he ignored Shaw), and was throwing out chatty com-ments, in a louder than natural voice. “Curach, the man […]

Hammersmith (twelve)

Her father hadn’t seen the host of faults, communicated in his offhand errand, the one he’d promised Mossbunker he would do himself. “Stage name, that’s the phrase you want. Ask her if it’s one.” Minnie Leybourne, Mossbunker the patriot would like to know whether you’re Jewish or Catholic…Lebanese or Sicilian, possibly. She’d said this to herself. […]

Hammersmith (eleven)

There were two types of men women fell for. Her weeding partner was of the third. Ralph had been. Inclined on their honeymoon to sit by the window, read the newspaper, and tell his new wife, “Go off, look at the stores, if that’s what women like to do. I’ll be fine.” Aimee recalled having […]

Hammersmith (ten)

“Mr. Hogben, the parlor sofa…” Less sticky about being accommodating than she’d feared, he’d done her the favor of saying, “I might head down with Shaw, when he goes after that salve, and see about a room at the hotel.” Of course, by that, she’d probably lost him. Why had she ever said it to […]

Hammersmith (nine)

Aimee Bard, having that in common with the settled object of her campaign, began the morning wondering if she could get a moment to herself. She’d gathered Mrs. Frieslander’s bundles, an errand she never did for mere kindness—“Please don’t thank me! You know I’m always in town for one thing or another”—so much as to […]

Hammersmith (eight)

Hogben had broken a rule of his own, one that had always served…and Hogben had been a traveling man for twenty-odd years. He’d had scrapes. He’d not often had a partner to rely on. But even these past few, when with the Professor he’d gone the route from Philadelphia to San Francisco—north to Bismarck, south […]

Hammersmith (seven)

He was lying as though asleep, his trousers rolled, knees bent, his bare feet under water. “Ah!” Ruby said. “Is it cold?” She thought she hadn’t meant to say this aloud. It was only that the flood waters had been so cold, like ice. The poor Professor, him with the French name, so grand, Mr. […]

Hammersmith (six)

The banqueting hall, hung with tapestries that seemed to emit an odor of medieval sweat…authentic, Mack was willing to believe—had an oblong table, where this knighthood of American purity sat decidedly in an order of precedence. He was at the foot. At least he supposed so, as at his back a vast oaken door swung […]

Hammersmith (five)

She detected Mr. Hogben’s voice, and thought a sort of misery colored his inarticulate grunts. The other man she knew at once for a stranger. Now and again she could hear Minnie Leybourne. Mostly the stranger, passionate. War an invention of the military interests, an affliction on the helpless poor…starved, driven from their homes, murdered. […]

Hammersmith (four)

Hogben tried singing counterpoint to the melody…got absorbed in the challenge, started over, switched to “Nearer My God to Thee”. He fell silent, the hymn reminding him to plan. They always began a show that way, a prayer and a song. Brought the audience together, gave them a common purpose, one that with luck would […]