“Pardon me,” an older gentleman asks, “could I join you for a moment. This old man needs to catch his breath. ”
“Certainly,” replies Blake and he motions for the elder to join him on the bench. Blake notices his difficulty breathing and offers his arm for extra support as he sits down. It is most welcomed. Extending his hand once again, the younger gentleman makes his introduction.
"Stephen Blake, how do you do?”
“Much better now thank you Mr. Blake, The name is Green, Professor Stuart Green.”
“I take it you are here for the benefit.”
“Yes, Nigel and I were colleagues, teaching together before he came to Amherst. I retired five years earlier.”
Looking around so as not to be heard, Professor Green offers a little more.
“Truth be told, I should have met my maker before him. I led the excessive life not Nigel. He was too good and too busy to bother with any vices. That man had such a curiosity, he was never one to sit around."
And he smiled to himself as if a particular memory was still vivid to him. Then realizing reality once again, he returned to the conversation.
“I do feel for his dear daughter, Catherine.”
“I’d imagine that it has been a difficult time for her but, at least she is not alone. She has an extended family through the Eltons.”
“Vultures!” He hissed. They’re a fine lot those ELTONS!” he continued to mutter. There was an agitation in his speech.
Blake apparently stirred deep feelings in the older gentleman. After a moment, he continued again but with every word, his voice took on a hoarse quality.
“I don’t know what is to be made of that marriage. Catherine would do best to leee...” He coughed and struggled with his words. When his throat settled, he seemed to catch himself and took a moment before speaking again.
“I know her choice to marry was a great concern for her father, on many levels. What did she know of the realities of such a public life. He tried to speak with her but her mind was made up. She was in love! Ah, what is a father to say to that? He knew nothing would change her feelings so, he gave his blessing despite his reservations. I greatly disagreed with him and told him so on many occasions. I know that it has been difficult for him to watch their lives be played out in gossip circles. And now?”
Sadness was in his voice at the thought of his lost friend. “What more can one say or do?”
It was a long, quiet moment that they would spend on the benches before deciding to join the others inside. Yet in their silence, there seemed an understanding between young and old - neither wished to contribute to the small talk already stirring about. In the end, it was no one else’s place to say anything more.
Other "Saving Catherine" Excerpts...
Introductions - Meet the Eltons
Introductions - Meet Catherine Pt. 1
Introductions - Meet Stephen Blake
Introductions - Meet Dr. Nigel Eastwick