Archive for May, 2022

Gray Lace, Part 37

Chapter 7 starts with this quote: “Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.” Author Unknown. Our characters are beginning to understand how to divide their talents to achieve their goal; retrieve Catherine’s inheritance. Their office of Planning and Development is in the basement of Jacob’s Synagogue, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston.

Egad! page 68

“Mr. Newsome, please don’t feel that you have to help or even stay with us,” Catherine enjoyed the large pieces of tomatoes and mushrooms in the last few bits of warm soup and hoped he’d argue with her.

Thank fully, he did. “Mr. Newsome is it? Are we back to formality? It’s Jacob, call me Jacob, and yes, you’re stuck with me unless you vote me off the team.”

Catherine smiled at him in thankfulness and asked, “Jacob, do you recall a large hotel at the corner of Meeting and Webster? Perhaps I can convince Lord Coffman to supplement my non-existant funds until I can retrieve my own.”

A muffled retort came from the gentleman nudging her side. “Trevor,” he managed to correct her through the bread recently dunked into his soup and stuffed into his appreciative mouth.

“Yes, it was there when I left, but moved out of this fair town before you were forced to do so.” Jacob reminded her in kindness.

“Wait,” Trevor interrupted. “Why don’t you fine folks check into this hotel you spoke of? Catherine, here, please take some money.” He pulled several bills from his wallet and also gave her a quick kiss on her cheek. “I’ll join you in an hour or so. If for some reason things don’t work out, we’ll meet back here.” He stood and approached the waiter, gave him a donation before heading up the stairs to the outside.

“Gracious, that was fast. Where’s he going? What’s going on? Did I miss something? Joann gave Catherine a worried look. “By the way, have you forgotten how I’ll be received in any hotel in the center of this town?”

Catherine hugged her upper arm and said, “I’ve no idea what his lordship is up to, but I do have an idea that whatever it is, he’ll serve us well. And in my plan, all of us will have to behave as his humble servants.”

“That I can do,” Joann lamented.

“What are you thinking, Miss Catherine?” Ross had finished his third helping of soup and bread and was savoring his warm mug of coffee. “I can see the wheels turning in that fine mind of yours. Tell me, what is our next adventure?”

She drew in a deep breath before explaining to the group that they would all be acting as servants to the Earl of Warenwood. “I’ll bet all the hotels will want his business.”

“He’s not that way,” Jacob noted. “He doesn’t act the snob.”

“No, he isn’t,” Catherine explained to her valued friends. “He’ll have an acting job, too. You see, it’s debutant season both here and in London. He’s used to this, and he’ll know how to act the part. He’ll need his staff of servants to complete the drama.” She checked for spies and eavesdroppers, although she really didn’t expect any. “The mothers of young debutants will horse whip anyone who tries to stop them from flaunting their daughters in front of an English title. Therefore, they’ll spend money in any hotel sheltering that title. He’ll need a valet, a footman, and two wardrobe maidens. Won’t he?”

She enjoyed the silence and then they marveled, “Catherine, you’re amazing,” Ross sat back and seemed relaxed for the first time since they left their lake. “This hotel will serve as a great hide out for Joann as well as a place to plan our next step without fear of being found.” He wiped his mouth with the napkin and placed it next to his empty bowl. “I hope. Well, it’s worth a try and oh, when that Englishman of yours returns, we need to question him. He never said where he was headed. We can’t work together like that.” He shook his head and sighed, “But we shouldn’t proceed without a vote, and shouldn’t he have one? Do we wait for him?”

“He’s not an American. He’s not used to democracy,” Catherine responded, nodded with a grin, and stood. She thanked their waiter and the cooks as Jacob and the others worked the room as well. They walked up the steps to the outside in a much better frame of mind than when they went in.

Enough! For Now.

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Gray Lace, Part 36

Author’s Note: Today I will “publish” the beginning of Chapter Seven from my Gray Lace novel, a 1908 mystery set in my swamp just outside my window. We just experienced a 70-degree cold snap here in our eastern Carolina lake-town. Wearing a sweater, but planning tomorrow’s shorts, I’m excited to announce that my WIP is preparing to enter the Edit II phase and I’m struggling with its synopsis.

A synopsis is similar to trying on old clothes; fitting a 62,000 word count into 500.

Egad!

page 67, our characters explore Charleston, SC

After several blocks, Trevor was amazed at the unexpected civilization and genteel architecture. Catherine was soothed by the familiarity of her hometown. Jacob purposely marched ahead as if he anticipated the comforts of home. Ross slugged behind Joann with a frown at anyone who dared to glare at his wife, and she kept her head down in prayers for their safety.

She raised her head to take in the scenery when Jacob led the group down a shady side lane next to an amazingly beautiful white building. “Wow”, she whispered as she gawked at the shinney windows and white columns supporting a portico decorated with detailed ornaments. Her jaw dropped and head leaned back.

“Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim,” Jacob told her.

“What?”

“My synagogue”

“What?”

“My church,” he smiled when he recognized her understanding.

“This doesn’t look like anything I went-to-meeting-in,” she turned to Catherine and lowered her voice to ask, “What is it? Episcopal?” She waited while Catherine put her arms around her shoulders and gave her a hug. “Hey, wait, do I smell food?” She interrupted her own question.

“This way my friends.” Jacob directed. “Downstairs is where we’ll find safe shelter, fine friends, and delicious food.” He didn’t have to talk them into it. The stomach rumbling aromas tugged them down a set of steps leading into a large noisy basement. There were a dozen long wooden tables with clean place settings and empty bowls.

Jacob picked up a bowl and they followed him through a line of servers giving them hot vegetable soup and a large piece of warm soft bread. Once they were seated, a tall silent man with a welcoming smile came to their table and filled their drinking mugs with hot coffee.

“Not bad for a cold morning,” Ross commented after several mouthfuls.

“Not too shabby for a free meal,” Trevor grinned over the lip of his mug at Ross.

“Not underappreciated,” Catherine sighed. “Jacob, thank you. Is there a place we can leave a donation of thanks?”

“I’m sure there is. Our server will answer any questions. I haven’t been home in several years, but I’m very glad to see they still have this warm shelter for anyone who walks in.”

“Anyone?” Joann had not finished with her amazement.

“Our group is so diverse it proves a difficult test for any non-tolerance. Since we haven’t been kicked out, I think it’s safe to assume, yes, Joann, anyone,” smiled Jacob. “Now, my friends, as we begin to relax our hunger, shall we plan our next few steps?”

Enough! for now

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