Name: "Square Wheels "

Setting: Toronto 1925

Novel type: Family, situational drama

Characters: Protagonist, Siofra Connor, girl 14

                 Sister to Siofra, Nessa, girl 17

                 Father to Siofra and Nessa, Eamon, male 37

                 Mother to Siofra and Nessa, Abigail, female 36

                 Siofra's friend in Berry Grove, Margie Price

                 Margie's mother, Winona

                 Margie's father, Raymond

                 Siofra's friend in Toronto (burn victim), Esther Prior                

                 Esther's mother, Elaine

                 Esther's father, Paul

                 Raymond Price's friend and associate, Archibald Palmcrest 

                 Wife to Archibald, Audrey

                 Abigail's friend (physician), Miriam McPhee

                  

                 Head of Public Relations TPTC, Winston Harvey

                 Head Forman, maintenance TPTC, Wally Paterson

                 Head of Inspection and Safety TPTC, Frank Newton 

                  Lady on streetcar, Yaryna Zahorchak

                  Sister to Yaryna, Tatjana Czyz

                  Husband to Yaryna,  Valeriy Zahorchak

                  Toronto telegram reporter, Malcolm Lawrence

                  Toronto Mayor, Thomas Forrester

                  Douglas Monteith, associate instructor, Central Tech

                  Conor's family Physician, Jessica Mailloux

                  Petro Zahorchak, son to Yaryna and Valeriy

                  Jerome McCausland, gas truck driver

                  Whit Shortt, conductor

                  Gordon Piedmont, flagman

                  Garnett Rushby, switchman

                  Alan Haggerty, TPTC controlman

                  Wadanhyll Iasonas (Wade), Special assignment lawyer

                  Richard Quelch, Prosecuting attorney

                  Gordon Buytaert, head of operations and development, TPTC

                  Conor family address: Helena Avenue, Toronto

                  Zachary Jeffrey. head doctor 999 Queen

                  Place of work: Eamon, St. Clair Carhouse, Bracondale Ave. Toronto

                  Eamon.s brother-in-law...Robert Cruikshank

                  spouse, Susan (Eamon's sister) 

     

Preface

 

This novel has been a project of consideration for many years. In 1911 when my grandmother Siofra was born, little did she know that a story would unfold that would conquer the heart, exhilarate the mind, and draw tears that would run as rivers of joy and sadness. I knew my great- grandmother for the first thirty-three years of my life, as a bout with pneumonia brought to a halt her passage into the twenty-first century. I cherished the conversations I had with her. We went for long walks in High Park, she took me to the Earlscourt Library and introduced me to Robert McCloskey, Jean du Brunhoff, Charles Dickens and later Atwood, Garner and Laurence. Oliver Twist was my first advanced read. The characters jumped out like characters in a pop-up book. I talked to her about Fagin and Bill Sikes and she assured me that men like that did exist, and that she experienced them first hand in her childhood years... but everything to her was ultimately a joyous adventure. Life was an intriguing challenge, unpredictable, and never measured in absolutes. At the age of fourteen, her life began to unravel. But that was not her own conclusion. A series of events occurred that challenged her courage and cemented her spirit.  I have written the legend of Siofra Conor not as a biography, such as it is, but as a dedication and illustration of temerity blended with endurance and good humor. This I will claim to be the blueprint for success and happiness, if there can be such a master plan. Such is my hypothesis. I have told this story by complying with Grandma Siofra's words and wisdom, and by eliciting her life through research and conversations with past and present friends and relatives. The work is an accurate portrayal of her life and times, never fictionalized, but sometimes interpreted, in order to create a stream of consciousness which allows, wishfully, the complete submersion into a remarkable human drama.

 

Chapter 1

 

Who now has no house, will not build one (anymore).

Who now is alone, will remain so for long,

will wake, and read, and write long letters

and back and forth on the boulevards

will restlessly wander, while the leaves blow. (1)

 

October.  Siofra's favourite month.  She does what she can. Bold but gentle.  No desire to bruise those who walk in her path. The door opens and she walks through. Her world is small, but her awareness and curiosity tell her otherwise. 

She sits on the precarious edge of the family barbeque... it is collapsing and is almost useless. Weathered stretcher bond is attempting to hold it together, weakened by the Canadian winter and spring rains, but most significantly, by Siofra's blazing fires. Her father assigns her yard cleaning chores, especially in the spring and fall.

She then cleans up every twig and piece of litter until her mountain is built. Then the match is lit. Pondering the job before her, she delights in the calamity. Her father Eamon, always cautiously critical of the out-of-control blaze, and her mother Abigail, turning into a child, excited at the bi-seasonal event.

“Siofra is going to build one of her fires today! Our wonderful fall tradition.”

As it turns out, today was not the day. The wind was spinning, creating a game of 'catch me if you can' with the leaves and a rake-wielding Siofra. The sky was overcast. Not foreboding, but dredging any source of inspiration from her. Inclement weather suggested for Siofra, begrudgingly, the idea of study. Siofra was a reluctant student. It may be said she was lazy, but no, reluctant is more accurate. She quite simply did not want to be in that rigid place. Despite this disinclination towards school she had seldom played hooky. Siofra is not one to consciously make waves or to disappoint. She travels through exotic dreams. Sometimes these fantasies are transformed into actual excursions through the city, sometimes in daring; like the time she decided to see the birthplace of Mary Pickford on University Avenue. She managed to find her way home, but did get lost, and the three-and-a-half mile walk took her well over three hours. Siofra’s explanation of her prolonged absences always managed to make due. Eamon and Abigail had their suspicions, but Siofra's repeatedly responsible answers to inquisition seemed to satisfy. 

"Just watching the men on the cranes down on Wychwood," she said casually but with a twinkle in her eye.

She was referring to the new streetcar yards a few blocks away from their little home on Helena Street. A short time ago she enjoyed some of the activities taking place there but had recently been attracted to more exciting ventures. Her re-emergence of interest came as a pleasant surprise to her father, who in the past year had been transferred to the new yards on Wychwood Avenue after working at the Danforth location for a few years.

In response, he proudly proclaimed, "Yes, the yards are a great step forward for the TPTC. The new maintenance shops will be really modern, and those new Brill Peter Witt cars will be quite the cars."

Siofra hid her excitement... but she was looking forward to jumping on one of those shiny new red and gold vehicles, and venturing beyond the familiar stops on the Bloor-Danforth Tripper line.

The following morning was a school day… a cool autumn morning, with nothing much to look forward to. At breakfast, Eamon comments on the previous day's lack of productivity.

"The back yard seems to look much the same as it did yesterday, Siofra."

She looked up, well prepared for a reply and with calmness, said, “The wind was swirling the leaves around and I thought it was gonna rain... so I thought it would be better to get my homework done...  my science report is due on Wednesday. I can do the yard on Saturday, Daddy. "

"You had all weekend Siofra. You always put things off.  When I ask you to do something, I expect it done."

Siofra, sitting directly across from her father, did not want things to go any further. Nor did she want to apologize. She thought she was being treated too harshly.

In a sarcastic tone, she replied, "Nessa could do it for the first time in her life!"

"Possibly," said her surprised father, "But as soon as she started you'd raise a ruckus and want to take over."

"You still think I'm a child, but I'm not anymore."

"Well, get it done, or no allowance. You're lucky to get one at all. A lot of kids get nothing you know."

"A nickel doesn't even get me one of those new ice cream suckers, Daddy," she says with a bit of a pout.

"Well, if it's such a pittance, I guess you don't need it."

"I'll work so hard you'll want to give me more. Maybe then you'll stop treating me like a child."

Mrs. Conor was at the counter cleaning up a coffee spill and finally had a chance to turn around and face them. She was pretty in an ordinary fashion, her medium length greyish-brown hair swept back over her head, loosely supported by a golden silk kerchief. Her face was lit up by the glow of her dark-green eyes. She smiled, not because she was pleased, but because she was committed to pleasantness. Her plump cheeks managed to fill her face with a sense of blitheness. Her disposition was successful in helping her to apply her well-meaning but rather puritan agenda.

"We will discuss it later, the both of you," she commented softly. "There is lots of time until the weekend, and do not forget Eamon, we might be taking the Highlander to Silver Falls on Saturday. Remember we talked about that?"

"Uh... yes. We’ll sort it out later," Eamon spoke with a sigh of relief.

He stood up slowly and wiped his face. His tall angular frame cast a long shadow and his slow movement made it appear that he was older than was actually the case. His small strip of a moustache made him look stern, which he was, but his harshness was a result of a grim self-denial rather than an inexorable nature. 

He grabbed his well-worn jacket, walked a few steps, turned his head to one side and bent over, kissing Abigail gently on the cheek.

 "Have a pleasant day," he spoke with reserved sincerity.

He never forgot to kiss her before he left for work. It was not done with dash, but it was done with an austere commitment, which she appreciated.

It was Siofra’s first year at the palatial Harbord Collegiate. The twin towers rose proudly to the sky guarding the classrooms between. Three massive Roman-arched entrance ways welcomed the students each morning, introducing each day with pomp, as well as integrity. Her teacher, Mrs. Aves, told her in her soft but perky voice that her story, about a girl who fought with her parents over getting a pet dog, was very well written.

"I was very impressed, Siofra. I wrote some comments on it for you. I really liked the fact that the young girl's parents were stern and had a good reason to question her motives. They did not allow her the new pet until she had given them proof of her willingness to be responsible. I could really feel the presence of her parents when you referred to their ‘suspicious eyes’.”

Siofra looked up at her smiling teacher and wondered about the ‘Mrs.’ Mrs. Aves was young and curvaceous, with short blond hair and wore a tight fitting sweater that accentuated her figure, but was partially covered with a serge blazer. Her skirt hung just below her knees. In Siofra's mind, she did not resemble a teacher, let alone someone who would soon be a mother.  

Following the school day, Siofra occasionally liked to walk down to the park and sit under her favourite tree, a towering black oak. The tree was round and full and splattered with velvety buds and miniature acorns. She read about the adventures of Emily, her fictional heroine, a girl about her age who resists the authority of her authoritarian guardians. The description of Emily encourages the feeling that she is a kindred spirit, a thin, pale, dark-haired girl with a slow smile. Siofra matches this description, but she laughs to herself, realizing she might be a bit plumper, taking into account her love for candy and ice cream. It was Monday, she thought, a long time before the Good Humor Man's Saturday visit. She was anxiously waiting for the library to call her about the next edition of Emily's adventures, in Lucy Maud Montgomery's Emily Climbs.

     It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside--but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond--only a glimpse--and heard a note of unearthly music. (2)

Siofra's world now seemed miles apart from that of her sister Nessa. One similarity they once shared, before Nessa enrolled in vocational school, was their attendance at Hillcrest School. The familiar right turn at the end of Helena, then the walk down Bathurst past the delis and cigar stores, clothing stores, fruit markets and their favourite soda fountain; a twenty-eight seat cozy space, with six stools at the long white-oak counter. It was always a contest to see who would get to the more popular hassocks first, either on Saturday afternoons or after school, for those who were fortunate enough to get permission to be late getting home after school. Siofra yearned for the Tooted Fruit Soda… lemon, lime, orange and strawberry with a splash of ginger. For a refreshing change she would occasionally decide on the ten-cent pineapple malt.

The sodas were so good, and when young clientele asked the owner, Roger McCray, a middle-aged Scotsman, how he mastered the art, he proudly told them, "Ay, it's ma liquid diamond carbonator."

The children all looked at each other with questioning eyes, and Mr. McCray was delighted that his audience thought his machine was something magical.

Nessa was Siofra's older sister, preceding her in age by three years. Nessa was attending the Central Technical School. Unlike Siofra, she was tall and slender, with long golden-blond hair. Her honey eyes were always partly shut, and when you looked at her, you were given the impression that she was up to some form of chicanery. Her appearance almost touched on plainness, but she had fine posture, a balanced taste in apparel, and carried herself with ascendancy. The total effect of the golden hair, dark eyes and sleek figure, was elegance. What she referred to as playing the field was not a careless habit, but rather a carefully planned strategy. She was concerned that the wrong man in her life would impede her development as a professional woman. Her prominent behavior was not the foundation of her persona, but a rehearsal for proper social standing.

Nessa’s style was modern. She wore the bandeau and fashioned the bob, but her pleated skirts were not quite up to her knees. She did not want to test her mother's license. She was being edified in dressmaking, but had aspirations of designing and leading the glamorous life of a renowned couturier.

Siofra had a confused relationship with her. On the one hand, she respected her older sister and felt a sense of refuge in her authority. On the other, she was angered by the boundaries that were set for her, a result of Nessa's first born privileges.

It was a balmy Saturday, the type of October day for wrapovers, raffia cloches and lightweight high-waisted jackets.

Nessa's seventeen years allowed her certain exemptions. Siofra would take the weekend holiday with her parents. Gone were the days that Siofra and Nessa would go on these excursions as giggling playmates. She would take the train ride, in hopeful anticipation that Margie, a new twelve-year-old friend, would be available as a companion on Saturday evening. Otherwise, she would have to listen to her father's silence and an occasional discourse on train mechanics. Her mother would be pleasant as always, but her conversation would be pedestrian.

She met Margie, the previous May, in Silver Falls over the Victoria Day celebrations. Despite her two years in arrears, she was witty and adventurous. Margie lived with her parents, ten miles away from the waterfront park, on the north shore, in a majestic but almost decrepit Tudor-style home, with a vast yard that seemed to offer infinite opportunity. Siofra was envious of the fact that Margie had parents who seemed to care little about where Margie was or what she was up to. This is not to say that they were uninvolved. They showed her love and affection and listened to every passing word from their daughter as if life revolved around her every thought.

On that surprisingly summer-like May afternoon, the locomotive chugged its way into Silver Falls, a scenic town of two and a half thousand people nestled in near the shores of Lake Muskoka. The now famous paddle-wheeler the SS Nipissing's second hull was being converted into a twin-propeller called the RMS Segwun, and Silver Falls was amidst the celebration of this modern innovation. It was a wonderful day, the perfect time to be visiting this town, waiting for the arrival of its river courier, following the Muskoka River six miles to open water. At the Silver Falls train station, Margie's mother was waiting for her sister to arrive on the three-o-four. Winona Pidgeon was sitting on a sparkling, freshly painted dark green bench. She was wearing a commodious smile, which accompanied a rather loud scarlet red polka-dot dress, and a bird-cage head of hair, displaying a rich plum ribbon.

Abigail approached her, with an eager and inquisitive look.

"Excuse me, sorry to bother you. I'm Abigail Conor from Toronto, and I'm wondering if you would happen to know something about the movie house. Is it nearby? We have not even arrived at our hotel yet, but my husband has already expressed interest in what is showing this evening. I suppose I should be grateful he wants to go out at all."

"Oh... good afternoon. Yes, I can help you with that. It's The Plastic Age. There's a matinee, but that has already started, and of course there is one showing this evening. I don't know much about it. It has Gilbert Roland in it. And Clara Bow, who I've never seen. But I've heard she’s quite a piece of work… naughty I mean. But that’s the trend these days isn’t it? It's at the Princess, just up the hill on the left side."

"Thank you very much, that's very helpful. Have a good afternoon."

Abigail was disappointed and stood in a moment of pondering. She was not one to frequent the movie house as a preference, but Eamon was not much for social activities of any kind, so the cinema was the almost palpable choice, otherwise they would not likely go out at all. Abigail did find Lillian Gish a particularly noble and heroic performer, unlike the many popular flappers who were frequenting the silver screen. She had commented to Eamon that she was hopeful that Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ would be showing. She would soon find out from her newly acquired circle of friends at the Patriotic League and Women’s Institute, that the Clef Club would be putting on a series of very entertaining plays, including the Tyrolean Dream.

At that moment, a young girl, quite chubby, was scurrying, with her arms flailing every which way, but her legs struggling to keep up.

"Are we going to the movies mommy? Are we... are we?"

"No Margie, the lady I was just talking to was inquiring about what was on. We have no plans to go."

"Why not mommy, can we... can we... ?”

"No dear, we'll have to plan for you to go the matinee sometime next week. Aunt Isobel will be visiting."

Siofra had caught up to her mother who was just turning to meet her and her father. Siofra then glanced at the young Pidgeon girl noticing the large sucker she held in her hand, held high, as if to say, “Hey everybody, look what I got!”

Siofra then ran up to her, and with a happy expression voiced, "Hi. Where did you get that sucker?"

Margie turned and pointed at the station, and said, "In there."

Siofra had a few coins in her pocket that Abigail had given to her as her spending money. Imitating Margie, she pointed to the station, and said, "Let's go in."

Abigail chuckled to herself, as she took notice of the ease with which the young girls befriended one another. Siofra was always this way, and seemed particularly eager to be grown-up and make her own friends. With the girls off to the confection section of the station’s small store, Abigail and Winona used the time for conversation.

“I’m sorry, Abigail, if I may call you that, I failed to introduce myself. I am Winona Pidgeon”

Eamon then walked up to Abigail. He had been at the station confirming the return schedule to the Davenport station in Toronto.

Abigail introduced Eamon to Winona and mentioned to him some of the information she had gathered during their conversation.  Eamon was told that the Pidgeon family lived in a large home just south of Willow Beach. Raymond Pidgeon was a lawyer, who, though specializing in deeds and trusteeships, took on various legal matters, as the demands of the townsfolk arose.

When the girls got back from the candy stand, Margie pleaded with her mother, “Can Siofra come back with us Mommy? Please. Pretty please!”  Winona enthusiastically agreed to take her back with Margie and her Aunt, who would be arriving within minutes.

Abigail, somewhat surprised at the ease with which Winona complied, responded. "Oh no, that's far too much trouble for you. To have Siofra with you and take care of your guest as well."

"We'd love to have her. They'll just play in the yard and have grand old time... and of course, we'd love to have the both of you as well."

"That's very nice of you, but we have to check in at our hotel, and get settled."

"Where are you staying?"

"At the Royal Queen's on Manitoba Street."

"Oh, yes. The McInnis’ run a wonderful establishment. I have an idea... we could take Siofra with us and you could come over for an evening tea later on.  We'd be delighted to take you back in the Maxwell." (3)

Eamon smiled and nodded. He was not one to readily embrace a social situation. This encouraged Abigail to accept.

"Thanks Daddy," exalted Siofra, running up to him and giving him a gentle hug around the waist.

Winona informed them that the hotel had a taxi service. Abigail reiterated, explaining that when she called the Motel that they promised a pick-up at the station.

Abigail asked Eamon to call the hotel to request the taxi. The four chatted while the restless girls began to climb the steel poles that supported the extended roof, under which were benches and porter trucks.

The taxi from the Royal Queen's arrived. Eamon and Abigail looked inquisitively. There was no identification on the sullied black exterior of the topless motorcar.

The driver then tipped his ivy cap and acknowledged, "Mr. and Mrs. Conor?"

It proved helpful that the gentleman quickly identified himself, because at first glance he looked like a young man on a Sunday jaunt, and not the representative of a hotel.  As Abigail and Eamon approached the vehicle they observed a surprisingly clean interior, and though casual, the driver had a nattiness about him.

"Good afternoon, I am Joel from The Royal. Let me help you with your bags." Abigail and Eamon soon learned that the Royal Queen's Hotel was simply known as The Royal. The community knew the proprietors well and enjoyed visiting them on a Saturday morning for their Brown Bear’s Breakfast.

Abigail thanked the Pidgeons once again, hugged Siofra and without waiting for assistance, jumped into the rear seat and waited for the gentlemen to load the car. It was a short drive to the hotel with a beautiful view of the valley, following the river that slowly disappeared into the horizon. In the distance, Manitoba Street rose to the crest of Queen's Hill. Being a weekend of celebration there were many families out on a spree. It was a pleasurable and balmy mid-afternoon and the festive spirit was noticeably enhanced by the weather and gala events. Automobiles eased down the street while the shoulders were spilling over with frolicking children. The occasional calash, jaunting car or carry-all, slowed the traffic down considerably as well as the caution that was undertaken by the drivers because of the preponderance of youngsters. Eamon spotted an Essex, and to his utmost surprise a Duesenberg among the vehicles participating in the day’s observance.

The vehicle pulled up to a brightly painted yellow rear portico. At the right, a green neon sign with a large arrow directed them to the office. They were cordially welcomed by the proprietor, given their key and taken along a golden clay-brick pathway. The pillared entrance led the through a lobby that was elegant but not pretentious. The north stairs took them to the third floor. They entered the cozy single room decorated with a mauve and yellow floral designed bedding ensemble and window dressing. Above the bed was a majestically framed photograph of King George V. Abigail walked over to the window, and was immediately smitten with the view.

“Dear, I think we have the best room in the Hotel. I can see all the way down the street, over the crest in the hill, right down to where the falls are.” Eamon nodded his head, thinking that somehow she might be giving him credit for attaining this particular room.

Abigail then initiated a discussion to establish their plans for the late afternoon and early evening. “We ate a bit on the train dear. Do you think a light meal in the diner would be all right?”

During the meal, Abigail suggested a walk along the river, but Eamon hinted at the picture show. Eamon, more often than not, just went along with Abigail, so a suggestion from him was a bit of a novelty. She found Eamon's interest motivating, so she agreed, despite the likelihood that she would find the film somewhat distasteful. A younger couple sitting at a table adjacent to them politely interjected, acknowledging that they had heard some of their conversation, and informed them that they were going as well. They offered to walk with them as it was only a few short walks to the Princess Theater. Before leaving, Abigail went to the office and asked for a directory, so she could call the Pidgeons, making sure that they arrived home safely, and to tell them that they would be arriving shortly after the show ended. She was shown to the candlestick phone at the end of the counter and asked the operator for 781.

Abigail had a brief chat with Winona. Siofra was outside getting a tour of the huge backyard so Abigail told Winona to pass on the message that they would be arriving in a few hours, and for Siofra to behave, be polite, and not do anything unless absolutely permitted.  After she hung up, she asked the young lady at the desk if they could get a ride out to the Pidgeon’s home after the picture show. The slightly bulbous miss had a smile that was so big and round that it took on an aura of permanent surprise. Twirling her light brown hair with one hand she expressively put out her other hand and said, "Oh, I'm sure that will not be a problem. I'll ask Joel if he is willing to do it. If not, my father will be sure to drive you. He owns the Golden Maple... we share the taxi, I'm his daughter Alma."

Not waiting for what she thought would be an inquiry, Alma added, “I work at my father’s place too… I take care of the rooms during the week. I just help out here.”

"Nice to meet you Alma," spoke Abigail sweetly. "I'm not sure exactly when the show ends, so I'm not absolutely sure when we'll be back."

"Don't worry Mrs. Conor, we'll be ready out front when you arrive."

"That so kind, we'll see you in a couple of hours or so."               

The Princess was an old and very intimate theater on Manitoba Street. Its modest entrance was like that of a storefront, with two large show windows and a slightly incurved single door into a small vestibule. Above the entranceway was a large brick facade with a proud Italianate top-ridge and a nondescript double window. Off to one side was the huge vertical black marquee boasting in radiant gold, Princess, with Theatre lettered modestly below.

The little show house was packed and when the movie ended it seemed like a stampede exiting the theater. While walking back to the hotel, they encountered their acquaintances from their motel and a short discussion about the film, The Plastic Age ensued. The young wife complimented the movie as very carefree and happy in its ending.

Her husband complied and added, "That Clara Bow was really quite a precocious little thing."

Abigail responded. "Yes, she was certainly lacking etiquette, but it became apparent that her love for Hugh was slowly bringing out her integrity. I believe her maternal nature invariably guided her towards setting a more respectable standard for herself."

Eamon had a slight grin on his face. He found the actress very vivacious as well highly entertaining and free-spirited. He was not only immersed in the playful and irresistible sensuality of Miss Bow’s character Cynthia, he was also affected by the portrayal of Hugh Carver, the disconcerted and sycophantic student.

Twenty years earlier, Eamon's father, a gasworks engineer, had exerted influence as well as his obtrusive character to place Eamon in an engineering program at the University of Toronto. Percival Conor's standing at the University and his stature as a Tau Kappa Epsilon paved the way for Eamon's future.

Eamon as a young student thought, as did Hugh in The Plastic Age, that the virtues of the institution were hard to recognize, and that they grew more inconspicuous as the initial school term advanced.  For a time, nothing seemed worthwhile. Eamon remembered being disgusted with himself, many other undergraduates, and the fraternity. He felt that the college had deceived him. Often he thought of the talk he had sustained with his father before he left for college. Sometimes that talk seemed laughable, an absolute farce. It infuriated him. What right had his father to send him off to college with such fool ideas in his head?

“Tau Kappa Epsilon, the perfect brotherhood! The fellowship you will develop with tomorrows leaders will put you in good stead for the rest of your life. An opportunity that you should relish.”

Nonsense. Eamon was not aware at the time that the college changed character significantly since the eighteen-seventies. He was a part of a cynical youth movement. He didn't have to honour his academic position. He thought that his father had deliberately deceived him for some bastardized form of influence. But in his quieter and more lucid moments he began to know better. His father was a dreamer and buffoon.

Explain issue.

FOR the first term Hugh slid comfortably down a well-oiled groove of routine. He went to the movies regularly, wrote as regularly to Cynthia and thought about her even more, read enormous quantities of poetry; ‘bulled’ with his friends, attended all the athletic contests, played cards occasionally, and received his daily liquor from Vinton. He no longer protested when Vinton offered him a drink; he accepted it as a matter of course, and he had almost completely forgotten that "smoking wasn't good for a runner." He had just about decided that he wasn't a runner, anyway.’’ (4)

Father was a fake. He was an academic, yes, but he did not really know the true benefits of an education. He was actually afraid. Afraid he might be found out. He didn't want anyone, especially me, to know what he really was.  God forbid if anyone recognized his cowardice and single-mindedness!

 Eamon began to realize that he was much smarter than his father.” 

Arriving at the hotel, Abigail and Eamon found Joel waiting for them with an almost devilish smile upon his face. As they seated themselves Joel was quick to explain that he did not usually work in the evenings, and that he had agreed to work late for the opportunity to drive the Conors out to Willow Beach. It was only a bit over six miles, but to Joel it seemed to take on the attributes of adventure. Of course, it had only been a little over a year since Joel, a young man, received his permit to drive a motorized vehicle. Previously he had been in the controls of a single-horse roadster, which seemed ample at the time for his personal use and errands for the hotel.

The ride to the Pidgeon’s residence was bumpy and breezy, with occasional brazen gusts.  Abigail looked out over the slightly choppy water of the bay, breathing in the fresh wafts of air. The sky was cloudless, allowing the soon-to-be-setting sun to cast its light on the caps of diminutive waves. Eamon looked straight ahead and occasionally stuck out his neck to look at the front tires. It appeared as if he was studying the performance of the Model T, observing the suspension and listening for foreign noises from the motor.

They arrived in a short time and Winona quickly opened the front door that boasted an overly taut spring that closed the door with enthusiasm. Winona welcomed the twosome and they passed through the vestibule, entering the cavernous living room.

It was as if they had walked through a time machine. The wallpaper was ornate and slightly yellowed. Tufted Victorian chairs sat facing the center of the room from each corner and a large embroidered sofa stretched across a section of wall. Above it was a massive triple paned window, reaching above, almost to the top of the twelve-foot wall, wrapped in a velvety blanket of drapes and valance.

Eamon felt a strange familiarity with the surroundings and seemed almost numbed by the casual elegance. He was taken aback, as he observed the large portrait looking down at him. It was an intimidating depiction, of a stern, livid looking man, in a heavy, drab greyish-brown suit, a double-round collared white shirt and an expansive butterfly bow slanting to one side. The fingers of his left hand supported a cigar and his right hand rested on the back of a fauteuil. He looked controlled and stately but his right leg was bent suggesting a lunge forward. It was as if he was planning a retaliatory action. (5)

Eamon's mood continued, unrestrained. His emotions shot to his feet and he was compelled to exert his trembling lower extremities to take him outside to find a place for his current sensibilities. As Abigail offered the appropriate compliments to the hosts, Eamon stood suspended in ineptness, wishing to inherit some social dexterity. His enervated spirit was becoming more apparent, but Abigail in her discernment gently placed her hand on Eamon's back and walked him towards the rear of the house.

To explain her action, she looked at Winona and said, "Please excuse us a moment, we want to take a quick look at the yard, and see to what the girls are up to."

“And yet in certain of these cases there is mere anger and grief and sad dejection of mind………those affected with melancholy are not every one of them affected according to one particular form but they are suspicious of poisoning or flee to the desert from misanthropy or turn superstitious or contract a hatred of life. Or if at any time a relaxation takes place, in most cases hilarity supervenes. The patients are dull or stern, dejected or unreasonably torpid……they also become peevish, dispirited and start up from a disturbed sleep.”(6)

Eamon was escorted down a short hall, Abigail navigating with a soldier-like alertness. Winona followed, slightly flustered at not being able to get by in order to show the way. They went through a solid oak door that opened so easily that it must have been unlatched, if not ajar. Abigail eased Eamon into a splat chair that seemed out of place. Abigail was confined to estimating Eamon's condition and had no perception of an appropriate seating arrangement. Eamon was having what Abigail usually referred to as an episode.  (7)

Eamon was shaking, especially his legs, but the motion was so fast it was an invisible vibration… only noticeable to Eamon himself. His skin became clammy. To him, it was as if hundreds of small multi-legged creatures were attacking him. His head turned slightly to one side, lodged in position. His expression was one of alarm and confusion, with his mouth quivering and his eyes wide open, with a long distance focus. Mr. Pidgeon was still in the house checking the secretary for cordial. Winona sensed a strange tension but was ignorant of its origin. (8)

Eamon had inherited a state of anxiety that was a bedfellow to his melancholy. Abigail in her nervousness, which created haste, had sat Eamon down as a way to settle him, but she knew in almost immediate recollection that movement was more beneficial to him.

As she then observed, Siofra and Margie were far in the distance, two squirrel-like figures surrounded by woods, at the end of an almost indistinguishable path.

Opportunistically she said to Winona, "Let us go and meet the girls, and maybe they can show us where they walked."

Winona replied, having to adapt to the sudden levity. "Oh yes, they'll show you the way down to the creek. It meanders for miles west of here and then takes a short turn and cuts into our property. It's such a blessing to have. Sometimes you can hear the little trickle from the house."

They walked to meet the new pals and were met with enthusiastic hugs from their respective daughters.

"Have you been having a good time, girls?" asked Abigail.

"What a great place Mommy, the path goes a long way. I can't believe this is their back yard!"

Abigail smiled and said, "Yes dear, we are quite a ways from the house already and we haven't even been in the wooded part yet. Tell you what honey, you and Margie play here and your father and I will take a look at the river. We won't be long."

Winona directed Abigail and Eamon. "Just go straight along the path and when you get to the creek there's a bit of sandy shore on the left. If you choose to walk along the beach you'll come to very heavy brush, and there is no path beyond that."

Abigail put her hand gently on Siofra's head and smiled reassuringly.

As they entered the woods, it was resplendent with hemlock, and bursting with ash leaf saplings. Abigail held Eamon around his upper arm, and they absorbed the sharp eruptive showers of light that danced with the bursts of cool early- evening air.

His evil had won victory

I will not hear you in the storm

I am disoriented in the rain

the howling, the blackness, the all powerful

Because the storm is awesome

the aftermath is perfection

A storm could never be better

It could never be more or less

It is victory

Victory over my soul

The currents of air, the hissing, the hissing, the flooding, the upheaval

I am the center

I see dancing girls, hear minstrels, envision endless sand and am captured by majestic mountains,

Carrying millions of pictures... manifesting

Out of control

I have no reign

Silence is surrender

 

Volume is resistance

Meditation is compromise

Inspired by Sebastian Faulks "Human Traces" (9)

Abigail and Eamon reached the unnamed creek. They sat for a moment, Abigail recollecting the words from the haunting note, found on Eamon's night table six years before.

I have no present

I have no hold because I cannot touch

I will look for water

Son, no son,

My skin is pale white

bloodless from an endless search

The man with the bow-tie has large hands

the sky is full of brick clouds


  







Chapter 2

 

Siofra found time on Saturday morning to complete her chores and successfully managed to pack her weekend necessities.  The Conors did not vacation as a rule. The original plan to go in May, as they had done previously was curtailed through various abeyances, generally a product of Eamon's lack of enthusiasm and adverse moods.  Abigail induced things a little by making a connection with the women she met at the hotel on their last visit, promoting it as an informal gathering of women to enhance the community of the Women’s League. Occasionally Eamon mentioned that the pilgrimage would be more enjoyable if taken in a new family vehicle. He planned on joining the new middle-class by being a car owner, as opposed to a jalopy owner, which he had been up until recently. Eamon had a preference for the Chevrolet, the Series K Superior being a roomy family vehicle and full of features which also happened to be attractive to the mechanically astute owner. Many times Eamon called attention to its large 171-cubic-inch four cylinder engine, offering 26 horsepower. “

“A new semi-floating rear axle with one-piece banjo casing was installed which was in response to a history of notoriously weak axles,” he liked to explain.

However, the Ford Model T, which had been around for almost twenty years, was still a very popular choice as an economical and reliable vehicle. Eamon pondered his preferences. His brother-in-law, Robert Cruikshank, who lived in Cincinnati Ohio, was a banker specializing in mortgages, for the Ohio Valley Bank. He was prospering from the post-war housing boom and deemed it necessary to upgrade to a new vehicle every year. He corresponded with Eamon out of obligation, preferring to talk to his sister who responded to his earnestness with more enthusiasm. He sometimes discoursed in financial planning with Abigail, and the topic of purchasing a car came up in the conversation numerous times.

“I can work out a great deal for you," Robert proposed.  "A friend of mine runs a Nash dealership… I may have mentioned him. There is a great Nash 41, which I could get you for, for, oh say… four hundred.”

The Conor vehicle, a Model T, was damaged virtually beyond repair from an accident a few months before. The car was hit on the passenger side when Eamon was completing a left turn. The accident coincided with Eamon’s transfer to the new streetcar yards, so buying a new vehicle was tentatively put off. Eamon was not one to go without a vehicle, but he seemed temporarily indisposed. His impressively modern new work facility and an increase in income was not enough to relieve Eamon of the anxiety of the transition.

He did manage to get the car running again, but Abigail insisted it was unsafe, and embarrassed by its ramshackle appearance adamantly stated that it was unworthy of them.

Robert expected his offer to be acknowledged and agreed upon with little negotiation, but Abigail left the deliberation for Eamon, who was anything but pro-active in these or any other matters. So as autumn arrived, plans were made to take the train as before, to their holiday nest.

The family decided to walk the short distance to the Davenport Station. It was a quaint building, of grey stucco, pink trim and beautiful gingerbread work crowned with proud finials. Since the amalgamation of the city’s railroads, the CNR had taken over the operations with government assistance and the public was anxiously awaiting the completion of the new Union Station. There was much concern over the closure of some local stations.

As was usually the case, Eamon perked up when the new locomotive lumbered into the station. He began describing some of the details of the new engine. It was a bit tedious for Siofra and Abigail, but they both appreciated it when Eamon showed enthusiasm.

Eamon announced, "These new engines have a very high steam pressure. That makes them good for hauling, but it's also good for express passenger runs. People seem to be demanding to get to their destinations faster, with fewer stops. This locomotive is one-hundred percent boiler."

"I think you will have to further develop that information,” suggested Abigail with a slight grin.

Eamon explained, “Oh that just means that the boiler out-powers the cylinders. It's very efficient. I'm glad CN is investing in this new technology. They were born out of both wartime and domestic urgency. When you think about it, railways are the only viable long distance land transportation. Everyone's getting pretty excited about the new amalgamation."  (10)

Siofra was preoccupied with the prospect of seeing Margie again. They had written each other several times. She brought one of Margie's letters along, as she found it a constant source of good humour. A part of the letter written three weeks previously read;

I don't have any really good friends. It's probably because

I only like to do certain things, and I guess I am a bit bossy.

It's funny. I play with boys more than girls. But maybe that's

just because most of the people my age around here are boys.

They play relievio, but they get kind of rough so sometimes so

I leave. I could beat them up if I really wanted too, they're not

so tough. Even though you're far away, you're really my best friend.

We have fun and you never boss me around. I'm so happy you're

coming up. (11)



The Conors made the necessary connections and after an hour and twenty-one minutes, left the Newmarket station and headed north. They were winding their way through endless acres of farmland before arriving at West Gwillimbury. Due to the surprising warm weather, most of the windows were open. Far ahead of them, the engine belched a steady column of smoke that rose at first, and then streamed back in a cloud that settled over the welcoming fields. As the tracks curved, the blackish cloud encroached upon the passenger car. A sudden call for "WINDOWS!" echoed down the aisle. Within minutes, the train took a different direction and the windows were again eased up. As this game became routine, the coach was covered in a fine dust. The passenger’s fingers transferred black smudges from sills and seats to sheets and newspapers. It occurred to Siofra that the first two cars were likely by-passed by this sooty invasion. Something to remember for the next trip thought Siofra.

They arrived in Silver Falls early Saturday afternoon. They made similar arrangements as they did the previous May. Again they stayed at the Royal Queen's Hotel, except that this year, Siofra and Abigail had been able to make preparations for Siofra to stay at the Pidgeon’s home. 

Abigail was to have afternoon tea with her Women’s League friends and Raymond had arranged a golfing match with Eamon and a third participant.

Abigail and Siofra took the short ride to the Pidgeon's home, and they were met with great enthusiasm, especially from Margie. Siofra could see her waving as they were still a good distance down the road, before they had to turn up the long gravel drive. Raymond was a bit irritated as he was eager to meet up with his friend at the local golf club. Winona requested that he wait for Abigail and Siofra to arrive, out of courtesy. He was not as pleasant as he could have been, but he managed to help take Siofra's hat box upstairs to Margie's room.

Siofra was almost overcome with the colour and vibrancy of Margie's room. A striking blend of purple and yellow adorned the suite, including the most luxurious bed cover she had ever seen... exploding with scenes of arbors covered with roses and vines and cherub-like children dancing to the music of minstrels. The girls sat down on the sleigh bed and turned their heads simultaneously and began to laugh.

Winona began to laugh as well and remarked, “I can see that you two are going to get along just fine."

"We sure will, thank you so very much Mrs. Pidgeon," responded Siofra.

The young pair was left to their own as Siofra got up and wandered around the room, inspecting many captivating effects.  A movie poster decorated the wall, and completely surrounded the elaborate vanity. Siofra was envious. Despite the admiration she had for her mother, Siofra felt somewhat suffocated by her tendency towards austerity.

She turned and asked Margie, "Where did you get the poster of Mary Miles Minter? I love it! She was so great in Anne of Green Gables."

"I sent away for it with a coupon from Motion Picture Magazine."

"And look at all your books. I always have to go to the library for mine."

"Well, I guess I am lucky. I ask Mommy for them and then she goes to Daddy for the money. He always gives in, and tells me I'm his favourite little girl. I tell him that I'm his only little girl, and then he laughs."

"You must be rich."

"I guess we do okay. My Dad's a lawyer and a lot of people seem to think that he's important. I don't know a lot about what he does, but I know that when people buy a house he signs the papers to make everything official."

The girls filled the afternoon quite easily. Following Siofra's interest in the book collection, Margie showed Siofra her favourite doll, a Baby Peggy. (12)

"If there had been a Baby Peggy movie on at the Princess this afternoon, we could have gone. Did you see The Family Secret? It was on here a few weeks ago,” asked Margie.

"No, but I saw Helen's Babies. Toodie and Budge are so funny. Remember when Toodie tries to shave herself?" (13)

"Yes, and remember when she tries to climb the tree?"

Siofra tilted her head and howled, slapping her knee. They chatted a while and then headed downstairs to encounter Winona preparing the dinner.

"Can we help Mommy?" asks Margie.

Although their assistance would assuredly be convivial, Winona had quite a bit on her plate, and she had to put some thought into what would be productive rather than incommodious. After a minute she decided that the sweet potatoes could be peeled and sliced. They did such a good job that Winona extended a similar duty to the pheasant pottage.

"If you don't mind girls," Winona asked, "seeing as you did such a fine job, could you peel and slice the potatoes for the hash?"

The girls were proud of their craftsmanship and enthusiastically began on the potatoes. When their task was completed, Winona explained the situation.

"I'm going to layer the potatoes and onions with the pheasant, but the poultry is still on a rolling boil, so if you want to go outside for a bit, I'll call you a little later."

"Okay, Mommy, don't forget!" said Margie, with purpose.

The autumn afternoon was getting nippy, taking on the features of a day in early winter. The girls should have gone upstairs to gather some sweaters, but as young girls sometimes do, they impulsively ran to their next adventure without care.

"We don't have much time to go anywhere, but I think I have time to show you the beach," suggested Margie.

They crossed a road that was virtually a little more than a path. Margie pointed to her left.

"If we walk that way, we would get to North Beach. Once you get there, you are so close to Pine Island, you can almost touch it. But it’s a long way. Maybe tomorrow!”

They continued more directly and in a few minutes traipsed through a narrow gap in a large grove of cedars. The setting sun was occluded by the thicket which added to the chill. As they approached the water's edge, they noticed an old weathered dory half in and half out of the water. They excitedly jumped in the small boat and tried to push off with their legs, which not being long, were barely able to exert any force or thrust. The boat rocked back and forth, giving them a stationary but pitching ride. There were no oars in the boat, evidently a deterrent to those tempted to take a brief excursion around the point. Life jackets did not even enter their minds.

"If we could find some oars, we could take this down to the pool."

"The pool?" questioned Siofra.

"Yes... it’s a place down the beach where the water trickles through a little swampy section, goes through a little gorge and comes out to form a little pool. The water is always warm. It's kind of a meeting place. Maybe we can check it out in the morning."

Winona had been calling the girls for over a half an hour, but was not overly concerned. It was not unusual for Margie to wander off. She always showed a penchant for regarding the time, and if not on time, she was generally only a few minutes late. When the girls did eventually return, Winona decided to have them assist with the dessert preparation, and also took advantage of the opportunity to instruct them on the art of making meringue.

“This sweet potato pie is heavenly Siofra, you will love it,” said Winona.

"Before we make the meringue," she instructed, "We'll mix together the batter ingredients. First is the sugar. We get the beet sugar from Hutchison Brothers Grocery, but it's not as good for baking as pure cane sugar, so I was able to pick up a few cups yesterday at the market. Then we add the buttermilk which is left over from the butter that Joe Howell makes for us."

Siofra made a grimacing face, as she watched the buttermilk pour into the batter.

Winona chuckled, and said, "Don't worry Siofra, you won't be able to taste the buttermilk... but it makes for a smooth batter and it helps bring out the flavour of the spices and contrasts the sweetness of the sugar. I know you'll love it. Then, in goes the nutmeg. You can use mace, it's ground from the shell of the nutmeg seed, but it's very delicate and won't affect the flavour as much. Did you know nutmeg comes from the evergreen tree? It's a special kind of evergreen, from Indonesia. The oil from it is used in perfume.”

“Then, in go the white raisins, which I like much better than the dark because of the nice texture. Then I add cinnamon and then a light touch of cloves. You have to use it sparingly because it's very strong. Then a little allspice. It's actually called allspice because it tastes like a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, even though it’s really an unripe dried berry."

After stirring the batter Winona poured it over the half-baked pie-shell and finished the baking process. Now it was time for the meringue. She split the eggs and proceeded to explain the whipping process.

"I've separated the eggs and which are at room temperature. I'll let you start Margie. Siofra, you add the water please, it’s hot but it won’t burn you. I've already measured it. Now sprinkle just a few grains of salt. That helps the whites stiffen. Now, here's a cup of sugar. Add it tablespoon by tablespoon while Margie beats it."

Margie whipped tenaciously, turning the hand operated crank with her right hand and holding the mixer as steady as she can with her left.

"That's great Margie, keep going until you see the peaks form and don't droop."

"I hope this is ready soon, Mommy, my wrist is starting to hurt."

"It's okay Margie, I'll finish."

Margie was disappointed, but did not offer to continue. Winona took the mixer and whipped the meringue into stiff white foam with her well-engineered strokes. The mixture was poured over the baked batter and browned in the oven. Then the pottage was layered and baked with a roux. The smell of baked sweet potato, aromatic pheasant and roasted cloves filled the dining room with an almost intoxicating smell.

For Eamon, the highlight of the weekend was a golf match, at the Brace Falls Country Club. It was going to be of a non-competitive nature, with Raymond, and his business associate and friend, real estate agent Archibald Palmcrest. The non-competitive aspect of the match was not because of any features of their respective games, but was a result of Eamon's lack of competitive spirit.

Abigail spent Saturday with her friends from the Royal, as well as Miriam McPhee, a friend she knew from Toronto, , now working on wage inequality issues through a Women’s League committee. Miriam was now a teacher and doctor of homeopathic medicine, but was semi-retired and spending her time writing for periodicals. Her articles proposed amending the British North America Act in declaring women as ‘persons under the law’. She was currently in Silver Falls visiting her son, who had a summer residence in Graven Mill. Miriam’s mother, also a student of medicine, had been turned down initially for her license, as women were not allowed to practice medicine. Miriam went to New York, where she armed herself with a medical degree, and came back to Toronto to exert her influence on the College of Physicians and Surgeons. With her determination, she succeeded in convincing the University of Toronto to admit women medical students. Her daughter was now such a student. Miriam was also concerned about the horrible conditions in asylums, which contained patients suffering from tuberculosis as well as melancholia. She was the first women doctor in Toronto to provide psychiatric advice, and this reputation greatly interested Abigail, who was dedicated to assisting her husband with his misunderstood disorder.

While the men were golfing, the ladies went to a bazaar which displayed candles, quilts, robes, letterman cardigans, roller skates, knickers, snowshoes, rouge, beetroot, Cupid's Bow , now available in swivel-up caps, and driving caps as well as a mammoth array of baked goods and spicy sausages. Abigail was excited when she saw a traditional Romanian tablecloth. How perfectly, she thought, it would go with the elm luncheon table, and it would protect the finish, seasoned from being passed on for generations.

Eamon, Raymond and Archie gathered, after their friendly match, at the Kokopelli Room, the golf club's eating establishment. Archie and Raymond decided on a Wilson's Ginger Beer, Eamon preferring a Coca-Cola. Their conversation started with an analysis of their respective games.

"You hit the ball a mile Eamon," Archie commented, "and you use that mashie iron like it's a driver. You're awfully good for a guy who doesn't play much. If you learn to get rid of that hook, you'll be all set, and if you don't mind me saying, you should start each shot by checking the position of your feet. I think you should move your left foot ahead of your right six inches or so and follow through a bit higher."

Eamon didn't mind the advice, but neither did he care. Golf was a social activity, grown from obligation, which he merely tolerated. They were sitting at an impressive rope leg table and the room was decorated with amateur deco drawings and rather tacky Pueblo-styled pottery. At the near side of the bar, stood a large radio, that caught Archie's attention. He quickly walked over to it, played briefly with the dial, then tipped it forward and studied the rear assembly. He shook his head with reverence and returned to his golf companions.

"That's quite the radio. It's a 5-tube Music Master... and with a 3-dialer with a horn speaker! "

Sports scores were being announced. The afternoon football match had just been played, between the Queen's University Gaels, last year’s Grey Cup winners and the University of Toronto Blues.  The Gaels were victorious which pleased Archie as he had a penchant for rooting for underdogs. Despite Queen's credible status, the Varsity was the team of the big-city boys, and most out-of-town fans enjoyed the prospect of their defeat. 

Archie was also keen on the results as he was a former player.

“I played in McGill’s inaugural season. I was half-back and defensive end. I might add that I wasn’t fast, but boy, try to knock me down. A bull mentality!”

Eamon no doubt believed him, observing Archie's imposing frame, still athletic and lean, despite the fact that it had been twenty years since he was an active player.

Eric, their server, overheard the reference to the radio and came over to the table to acknowledge its quality. Although offering no explanation, he gave the impression that he was responsible for its presence. Eric was also the manager of the diner as he leased the space from the golf club owners. As the business was modest, and seasonal, Eric elevated his status by declaring himself as the proprietor, chief cook and bottle washer.

Archie unobtrusively pulled out a silver flask, but not with great caution, as there was only one other family of patrons, sitting toward the other end of the long, narrow restaurant. Eric was not in view. Archie assumed that he was in the kitchen. Raymond held out his glass, and as Eamon observed, it seemed to be a routine practice between the two cohorts. Archie, holding the flask to his chest, gave Eamon an inquiring look. Eamon deciphered the message, aware that this procedure was practiced without verbal assistance, and quietly said, "No thanks, but I appreciate the offer."

Eamon was not in the habit of partaking in alcohol. He enjoyed it somewhat and certainly did his share of exorbitant consumption during his college days. Excessive merriment, unfortunately, led him to prolonged bouts of despondency. In the early days of his manhood, he was not aware of the possibility of mental illness, other than being acquainted with his volatility and unexpected bursts of anger.

After a matter of a few seconds, his conscience changed to desire and he returned, "On second thought, I'll have a wee bit, thanks Archie." 

He took a sip of his reinforced Coca-Cola and savored the brief but sharp attack on his throat. He smiled, and his expression inspired Ray to inform him that Archie's concoction was a blend of Gooderham's and home-distilled corn whisky. Archie initiated a discussion of the current state of business in the distillery industry.

"Gooderham's is negotiating a takeover of Hiram Walker. Wine and beer are weakening the whiskey market, so Gooderham's wants to be the biggest player, to minimize losses of market share. Quebec sales are pretty well saturated, but there's an expanding U.S. market. There's more and more smuggling back into Ontario, and with distillation still legal, the legislature might as well just repeal."

"I'm inclined to agree with you Arch. With distillation and wheat importation so big, and such a significant employer, they might as well just open the doors." Then Ray asked, "How do you feel about it, Eamon?"

"Well, I guess I see both sides of it. Alcohol- related crime is a problem, but of course, contraband creates crime of a higher scale. I like the idea of low percentage alcohol products being sold legally to create a compromise. I think more restaurants should be licensed to sell wine and Fergie's Foam. (14)

"You're right Eamon, it hasn't been legalized yet, but it's being produced, so it might as well be put in motion, it will be good for legitimate business."

Archie was the type of gentleman who would have enjoyed prolonging the stay, and in likelihood, would have become inebriated. Raymond on the other hand, was obliging himself, and knew they were expected back home for a dinner gathering.

So, the golfers proceeded to the Pidgeon’s where Abigail and Audrey Palmcrest would meet them for a supper involving the three families.

Raymond, in an attempt to impress, offered the blessing.

"Most holy and everywhere present God, our Father in Heaven, we ask thy blessing upon this food. And please, bless the hearts and hands that provide the same. And when we gather, as we do today, with friends, we are thankful for good health, and safety in travel, and a kind world for our children. Amen... and might I add a request for patience and forgiveness as we blaspheme on the golf course that you so kindly provided us..."

 Archibald, chortling, raised his wine goblet and proposed a toast to new and old friends. A brief silence ensued, followed by Audrey looking at Margie, and asking, "Tell us what you two girls did today."

Margie spoke up immediately, exclaiming, "We helped Mommy with dinner. We peeled the potatoes and helped prepare the pheasant, and we taught Siofra how to make meringue. Oops!" cried Margie, "Did I spoil the surprise Mommy?"

Winona smiled and said, "It’s okay Margie, I think a little suspense still remains."

After the wonderful meal, the men gathered in the study, a small, but high-ceilinged roomed, with two bergeres chairs and a third, a satinwood, which was stationed next to Raymond's writing desk.  Ray lit the coal lamp with the lighting stick, walked over to his scribing hutch and opened an ornate mahogany box. He then slid his hand formally under the box, turned around and presented the display to his two guests. (15)

"These are very fine cigars. One of my weaknesses."

Eamon, with apprehension, looked at Ray, and asked, "Are you sure Ray?"

Ray laughed and remarked, "No reason to be intimidated by them, just because they're imported."

Eamon took one and watched as Archie eagerly helped himself, thanking Ray with ebullience.

"Very nice Ray, Claro wrapped I see."

"Yes, King Havanos from Nicaragua. You might notice pepper and cedar in the taste. I got them from John Delroy of Sarjeants. I helped them with the Sanderson merger."

Eamon, wanting to join the conversation, felt that he was out of place unless transportation engineering entered the conversation. He had, however, found time to occasionally smoke a pipe, so he appropriately passed on his experience.

"I'm looking forward to this cigar, Ray. I must confess I do not regularly smoke them. I do manage to light up my pipe occasionally. It was a practice of my grandfather, who looked almost naked without one hanging out of his mouth. I inherited an old pipe from him, quite an attractive calabash with a meerschaum bowl, but of course, I only display it. I do enjoy Peterson Irish Oak once and a while."

Eamon was a bit nervous, because he was speaking in embellishment, and feared exposure.

"Yes, you're a bit fortunate, Eamon," informed Ray. "You have more access to sources of fresh tobacco down in the big city. I never did smoke a pipe, but I used some dip for a number of years. Me and some of the guys on the ball club used to take in a little Oliver Twist, it was better than having to use a spittoon." (16)

Ray then handed each gentleman a glass of crusted port. "This is very smooth. I've had it decanted for a while. It's good to have someone over to help me empty it!"

After chatting with their refilled port glasses, Archibald suggested that they play a little backgammon. Ray asked Eamon if he was familiar with the game.

“Yes, I played in university, but I wasn’t very good.”

Ray went to the bookcase that stood against the south wall, pulled out a narrow, almost hidden drawer, and took out an ornate box upholstered in silk. He set up the game and then followed by asking his two opponents about the doubling cube. He knew that Archie would play for almost any stakes, so out of courtesy he gave Eamon a glance, and an opportunity to reply.

After a pause he concluded Eamon’s hesitancy and suggested, "We'll start with a dollar and we won't go past a four-times stake." He looked at Eamon with assurance, “How’s that?”

Eamon, simply said, “Good.”

They proceeded to play each other in sequence. Each of them won a game. Eamon had played enough to know how to establish a 'priming' strategy. It was not successful against Archie, but stifled Ray. This approach was easily executed with the fortunate roll of three consecutive doubles (of three, four and five) which allowed him to protect his checkers and make it difficult for his opponent to start a run.

The women gathered on the rear porch. Though it was cool, it was a beautiful early evening to sit out, as long as they were covered with light sweaters. Winona led the conversation by expressing her plans to purchase a treadle floor-loom. She was excited at the prospects of making belts, ponchos, hatbands and carrying cloths, and then expanding to tapestries, which might lead to a modest commercial operation. The Silver Falls Women’s' Institute Bazaar was proving to be an assiduous enterprise, and Winona felt inspired to play an active part, as a vendor. The Pidgeon’s home, being well out of town, had not yet joined the new hydro grid system, and Winona still felt an attachment to the more primitive lifestyle. Audrey smiled and gingerly teased Winona while looking at Abigail.

"You will be the image of the new industrious woman, Winona." This comment was touched with irony as she noted the strong position Abigail took regarding the plight of women.

Meanwhile, the girls wanted to venture back to the beach area, but Winona made them promise to remain in the house or the back yard area. They decided to play a game of jacks. Siofra had not played jacks for a few years. Nessa had grown out of the pastime and Esther was more rambunctious, more inclined to outside activities. After flipping, Margie went first and immediately announced "horse before carriage". She quickly changed the game to ‘eightsies’.

“We can play eggs-in-the- basket Siofra.”

Siofra hadn’t played for a while, but she remembered the variation.

“Yes, let’s try it!”

She managed to attain the level of 'sixties' on her next turn, but Margie proved to be the master. Siofra could be described as a passive adversary, and in most competitive endeavors, almost preferred that the gratification of victory be attained by her opponent.  (17)

Later in the evening, Raymond put on the fire for a final gathering of his guests before it was time to leave. The Palmcrests would be heading back home in their recently purchased Chrysler Four Coupe. The Chrysler Corporation had rescued the Maxwell operation and the Chalmers Motor Company of Ford City. Chrysler had built up a good reputation fixing up all the faulty Maxwells and soon was able to drop the Maxwell line entirely.

"The rubber mounts have virtually eliminated vibration," said Eamon.

"Yes indeed Eamon, I'm really impressed with the smooth ride," said Archie.

"And it generates almost seventy horsepower." said Eamon.

 "You're right again Eamon, its one hundred and fifty-eight inches, huge for a Coupe model."

"And I hear it accelerates very quickly as well. The semi-automatic spark is quite ingenious," replied Eamon.

"It takes off all right! By the way... how would you like to take a ride in it? There's room in the rumble seat. We'd be glad to drop you off at the hotel."

"Well," said Eamon, "We were going to get picked up by Joel from the Royal, but I think that would be terrific, I'm sure Abigail wouldn't mind."

Abigail and Eamon said their goodnights to their hosts. Winona promised that they would drop Siofra off at the hotel sometime in the late morning, in time for them to gather for lunch. Archibald thanked Ray for the hospitality and suggested that they get together for a Colts hockey match down in Berry Grove.

"It's not the same without Ems, but it's still fun going to the old barn!  Of course, we could see the Black and Whites locally. Great team!"  said Ray.

"Oh yea Ray... I just heard that Ace bought Kinsey's station,” said Archie. (18)

"Yes... I just heard that yesterday must have been quite a contract he signed with the big club!" replied Ray.

They piled into the Chrysler and Archie tore off, leaving a storm of dust and small stones. Eamon remembered the promotional drive that Chrysler had recently broadcasted.

"The Chrysler Four is more than merely a spectacular automobile at an affordable price. It is an outstanding accomplishment in quality manufacturing, possessing in combination four qualities not obtained in like degree from any comparable car that has ever been built: extraordinary performance, unapproachable beauty, exceptional quality and low price." (19)

The girls said goodnight to the elders and resigned themselves to Margie's room. Siofra began again to flip through Margie's capacious assortment of books. Margie offered to read to her, and mentioned that she reads to little Heather, who she occasionally sits.

"Sure, can I pick the book?" asks Siofra.

"Be my guest."

Siofra then grabs a handful and browses more carefully through them.

"This one looks good.  The Princess of the School. Do you know what it's about?"

"Not sure, but I read The Luckiest Girl in School, which is by the Angela Brazil too.”

The two chums proceeded to put on their respective sleepers, Siofra in her cotton-candy pajamas, and Margie exhibiting a mauve peignoir. (20)

They laid down, Margie sitting up with her shoulders part way up the head guard. Siofra lay close to her, her head nestled against Margie's modest bosoms. Margie began to read:

   On a certain morning, just a week before Christmas,

   the little world of school at Chilcombe Hall was awake

   and stirring at an unusually early hour. Long before

   the slightest hint of dawn showed in the sky the lamps

   were lighted in the corridors, maids were scuttling

   about, bringing in breakfast, and Jones, the gardener,

   assisted by his eldest boy, a sturdy grinning urchin of twelve,

   was beginning the process of carrying down piles of

   handbags and hold-alls, and stacking them on a cart which was

   waiting in the drive outside.  

   Miss Walters, dreading the Christmas rush on the railway (21)

As Margie became weary, Siofra also displayed a dreamy sleepiness and began gently stroking Margie's arm. Margie interrupted her reading and ran her hand through Siofra's hair. They were in a trance-like silence as they expressed their affection through a sweet-tempered exploration with whispering fingers. Siofra softly traced a river along Margie's round thigh and then walked her fingers slowly to where Margie's legs converged and tickled her softly. Margie, though not startled, was captured by a feeling she never had before. The surprise was almost immediately taken over by a sense of tranquility and consolation. She eased herself down to place her hand on her pillow. The girls cuddled, smiled without their eyes meeting, and soon drifted off to sleep.

Abigail was having a wonderful time with the women of the League. One concern however, was that with her being so occupied, and Siofra being at the Pidgeon’s, Eamon would have too much idle time. Eamon would become anxious without the day being planned.

One late afternoon he was invited to the Albion Hotel, to join Raymond and a friend, Ian MacDonald, to discuss investments with him. Raymond was also gathering information on a newly developed endowment plan, being offered by his friend through the Confederation Life Insurance Company.

“This is a unique policy Ray. It couples term life insurance with a savings program. As the policyholder, you choose how much you want to save each month and when you want the policy to mature. Based on your monthly contributions, you're guaranteed a certain payout.”

“Ian, that is interesting. I like the versatility of it.”

Before getting into much detail, a reporter came rushed into the room and informed the gentleman of an accident. Eamon was then introduced to Brian Tisdale, who was the publisher of the Silver Falls Herald. A serious accident had taken place in Falkenville on Moore's Sideroad. A thirty-one car junket carrying lumber, silver and pulpwood had de-railed. The fireman and brakeman were killed instantly. The extent of injuries to other railroad employees was unknown.

Although Eamon was a streetcar mechanic, he was very knowledgeable regarding freight car trucks and track adhesion. He was fortunate to be invited to go along with Mr. Tisdale to inspect the site. Eamon was aware almost immediately that there must have been a broken arch bar or truck strap. He could see the rail markings well back from the accident. This diagnosis was confirmed during the investigation.

“You certainly diagnosed this accident with expertise, Mr. Conor,” complimented Mr. Tisdale. Not knowing what to say, he just smiled, and said, “Eamon.”

The engineer died the following day. The inspection of this vehicle had taken place in the North Bay yards, but the summation implied no negligence. 

Eamon was also very interested to hear that a new highway was being built to connect Silver Falls to Carlings Bay. He was impressed with the activity that was taking place in this seemingly small town, and thought to himself that it would be a wonderful place to live and invest in his skills.

Siofra responded when she heard of the accident.

"Imagine?" she said to Margie. "You see someone in the morning, and then suddenly they're gone. How do people get through that? It must be awful."

Margie replied, "Mommy had a sister. She died really young, from polio. She was really healthy and then got really sick and was gone so fast. Mommy cried and cried. Her Daddy told her that when people die they are not really gone. They stay in your heart forever and you feel like they are with you. That made her feel a lot better."

Siofra smiled softly. "That's nice, but I still hope no one in my family gets sick."






Chapter 3

 

Toronto was a wonderful city, connected through a modernistic and extensive trolley system. Starting in 1850s these lines snaked through the downtown area and into the surrounding hinterland carrying thousands upon thousands of passengers to work, shopping and places of leisure.  At first they were drawn by horses, but after the turn of the century these trolley lines represented the world that was familiar to young Siofra, and provided an occupation for her father. Tracks ran throughout the streets and trolleys were connected to cables extending above the streets, creating a web of wire, a symbolic roof over the contemporary city. Passengers entered the cars from the street, paying their five- cent fares and exiting from the center of the cars, a new feature of the Peter Witt trolleys.

Problems associated with the streetcars were frustrating.  An accident on the road that stretched across the tracks made getting around these obstacles difficult for the trolleys, considering their level of attachment to the infrastructure. If an accident occurred right in front of a trolley car it was impossible for the vehicle to divert its direction. If there was a flooded underpass, it was impossible, unless at a double loop, to make a simple detour.

By 1925, the trolley system was ingrained in the lives of most Torontonians. The trolleys were a matter of course, and the MTS, the Metropolitan Transit System was deemed a nurturer, protector and facilitator of the woman, men and children who boarded these providers of transportation.

In 1923 the company that ran the trolley system, the MTS Board, ordered a number of new cars from Cleveland Ohio. The new "Peter Witt" cars, engineered by the commissioner of Cleveland's transit system were sleek, smooth, quiet, quick to accelerate and came in a mixture of cream and Indian Red pain schemes. They were quickly dubbed “Red Rockets” by the public.

Through service finally came about through a major restructuring that took place on July 1, 1923. Finally, crosstown service was established without all the bothersome gaps in the route. Tripper routes were joined bringing the Danforth and Bloor trolleys into unison.  Two years later, after the VIP opening ceremonies the previous day, the last gap was closed and the Bloor cars ran west, beneath the new railway overpasses, to Jane Street. (F)

This establishment of this efficient new corridor was combined with the building of the St. Clair car-house.  Eamon Conor took the opportunity to embark on the training program and serve the MTS proudly as an expert and highly respected mechanic. He learned to master the various features of the modern trolley car. With the higher speeds, he understood the importance of expertise and safety precautions. Eamon, on a typical work day would check the operation of the two-position switch, all-wheel drive, hidden drive train, and even the speaker system, essential for emergency communications as well as stoppage announcements.

At the front of these streamlined new cars sat the conductor and the ticket girl. It was the girl’s job to greet the passengers and collect the fares. The vehicles had the new ‘blinker’ doors which slid sideways and resembled a blinking eyelid. The passengers entered at the front then exited the cars through the smaller middle doors or the larger doors at the front of the car depending on the current number of riders. Passengers could board through the front doors without waiting or paying, and they could also pay the conductor immediately and sit in the rear of the car, in more comfortable seats. This had the effect of reducing the car's dwell time at stops, improving schedule times and increasing capacity.

The interiors of the cars were comfortable and modern for the time. The windows cranked down much like in an automobile. They could be lowered far enough for a slim passenger, or maybe a child, to slide out. The company then added bars across the windows to prevent people from sticking their heads and limbs out and risking injury. There was a growing list of persons being clipped by passing trucks and service vehicles.

On Saturday October the 17th, 1925 the trolley with the designation of 2666 was assigned to the Danforth Tripper-Bloor route. This was a particularly long route that ran all the way from the Luttrell Loop to the east and the Jane Loop to the west. The night before this fateful day a rainstorm had drenched the city. This had resulted in several viaducts becoming flooded which would require that the streetcars would have to be diverted using elaborate re-routing methods. Since each car ran on electricity and ran low to the ground it was impossible for them to just blow through the flooded viaducts.

One of the routes that would be affected by this was the route for trolley 2666. The upcoming chain of events would change the way public transportation was managed, and changed the way people felt about street car travel for a long time afterwards. 

The water-soaked streets were nothing but intriguing for Siofra, and created a number of exciting possibilities. After a lunch of ham and pea soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, Siofra decided to partake in adventure. She called her friend Esther, who lived a few blocks to the east, on Wells Hill Ave.  Going to Esther's involved crossing Bathurst, which gave way to various temptations; looking for a poetry reader in a café, looking for a treat that would be within her very limited budget, or challenging herself to mingle with a ‘slightly’ older crowd of young people. Her plans for the day, as revealed to Esther were non-specific, described as "fooling around". She asked her mother if she could go to Esther's for the afternoon, and her mother was very accepting as she usually was. She just expected Siofra to be home in time for dinner.

Abigail was a moralistic woman, and very disciplined. Her expectations for her daughters were to behave with dignity, be honest and responsible and to show compassion for those less fortunate. She was guided by the Suffragette movement. As a young woman she attended Bishop Strachan School, a prestigious Anglican school, but one that was affordable for her middle-class family at the time. It was a girl's boarding school, which prepared them for a university education, as well as for a life as equals to men. Abigail admired the work of Emily Murphy an earlier student of the school, who worked diligently to proclaim women as persons under the law. Abigail enjoyed her education but did not have career ambitions. She was more than happy to raise a family with a serious-minded responsible husband. She was protective of her daughters but was very encouraging with regards to their growth of individual character. She instilled in them the confidence to use what could be referred to as diplomatic frankness. 

Siofra quickly left, running down Helena Ave. and took Bathurst down to Nina St., after passing many acquaintances who were often on the streets on Saturday afternoons. Women and children were shopping for a Sunday ham, which might be caught on sale at fifty cents a pound, and often the children would be allowed their one treat for the week, a soda, an ice-cream cone or for those fortunate enough to experience extravagance, a fifteen cent Bull Moose sundae.

Esther and Siofra ran out of the front door of the small storey-and-a-half home and waved to Esther's mother, who had not been given sufficient details of their plans. She assumed that they would be playing in the vicinity and would not go beyond Bathurst, or one block to the north or south, which was an unwritten rule, unless special permission was granted, such as for a visit to the picture show.

It took the girls only a few minutes to get to Davenport Road, a busy intersection where it joined Bathurst, an important transfer point for street-car passengers.

Siofra offered a suggestion which startled Esther, but also quelled some enthusiasm.

"My Dad was talking about all the flooding in some of the street car loops. I think it would be really neat to go for a street car ride and see how bad it is."

Esther put her head down and placed her hand on her forehead. "I don’t know Siofra, that does sound like fun, but we’re already further away than we're supposed to be. We'll be sure to get in trouble."

Esther was a follower, and she admired Siofra for her audaciousness. Their many perilous undertakings were tempered by Siofra's insight into where the line was drawn between simple mischief and foolhardiness.

"Don't worry Esther, I'll take the blame. You can tell your mother that we were only going to go a few stops and get out at the playground. You can say that I wouldn't get off and you stayed on ‘cause you were worried about leaving me alone."

Before they could really come to any decision they had merrily jumped on the streetcar and paid the three cent fares. Between the two of them they had enough to return home.

It was windy and overcast and seemed more like a diffused siesta time than the usual cheerful afternoon throng. The trolleys were noticeably bare of passengers compared to the usual rush of Saturday shoppers and browsers. Siofra thought that the weather might be a deterrent to traveling or “Maybe there are safety because the storms,” she suggested to Esther. This was her way of building the drama. To her surprise, the car was half-full.

They sat on the left aisle, the third pair of seats down. There was a moment of silence as the two girls both seemed to realize at the same time that they were going on a streetcar ride with no actual destination. As they sat quietly they managed to overhear an elderly couple in the front seats discussing the predicament following the storm.

Siofra was a bit more perceptive than Esther regarding this situation, as she was frequently updated by her father, who regarded the daily saga of the TPTC as a topic worthy of discussion. Although she did not understand her father`s melancholy, she did sense that he was uncomfortable outside of formality.

 The venerable twosome commented on flooding, particularly around the Prince Edward Viaduct. Apparently things were shut-down the day before, but the trolleys were all on schedule today. 

The 2666 car rolled along with a constant swishing sound, as it passed over numerous pools of water, adding to the normal smooth rumble made by the wheels rolling over the tracks.

Before it approached the flooded viaduct at Prince Edward, a previous streetcar had been told to stop, go back and then divert to a switch track that would allow the driver and the passengers to go around the flooded area. It was a difficult operation and it slowed down the lines in general and backed up traffic, as it had been doing all day.  The flooded area was also causing problems with traffic as horse-drawn buggies, trucks and a few automobiles slowly crawled through the water. When the previous street car had made the turn the switch was inexplicably left open. Because everything was running late, the driver of car 2666 was driving faster than he should have.

Stationed near the viaduct was a man with a green flag. He motioned the cars to a stop and then escorted them back to the turnaround portion where the elaborate reconfiguration could occur. He was diverting traffic and rerouting the trolleys all morning long. Trolley 2666 was in perfect working order and had been recently checked. The car was almost full, surprising considering the time of day. Contrarily it is generally assumed that cars are fuller than expected when weather causes delays and staggered stops. Full cars are then followed by almost empty vehicles.

Circumstances coming from the other direction seemed to be making things much worse. A gasoline truck driven by a man named Jerome McCauslen, was headed westbound. The truck was headed for some gas stations in the neighborhood and had almost five-thousand gallons in the tank. It too was approaching the flooded viaduct at a high rate of speed.

The motorman running car 2666 totally missed the flagman.  He seemed oblivious to the flooded viaduct and the slippery conditions.  He also seemed unaware of the temporary turnaround that was devised.  The trolley came into view and the flagman waved his marker frantically. The trolley was moving fast and he could tell almost immediately that disaster was looming. He stood there in shock as the trolley shot past him and then hit the open switch from where the prior streetcar had made its turnaround.

The streetcar struck the open switch and immediately jumped its rails. It then veered into the westbound lane. The passengers inside were thrown against each other, first from one side and then from the other, and were sent into screaming, entwined mass. There may have been just a brief moment when the motorman and Jerome McCauslen, the truck driver, saw each other before they unavoidably collided near the intersection. There was a hideous sound of crunching metal, breaking glass, screeching brakes and people shrieking. Then, as the impact sent shockwaves along the street, a spark was struck and five-thousand gallons of gasoline exploded into flames. Just before the gas truck had exploded the trolley had torn open the hull of the tank and sent a flood of gasoline into the street, which now became a river of fire. As stunned witnesses stood by looking on in terror they saw a single fireball erupt from the tanker and completely engulf the trolley.

The trolley was now caroming as it approached the sudden turn. The abrupt curve sent the multitude of passengers tumbling again, this time to the panels of the overturning vehicle.  As the fireball erupted they found themselves trapped inside the rapidly discoloring red and cream vehicle as the world turned to flame outside. Those that had time to get to their feet found themselves baking alive as the flames covered the outside of the trolley, turning the metal white hot and then setting the interior on fire. Those inside began to pile up against the side doors and the rear doors. The safety lock was in place, and the doors were impossible to open.

The windows were designed to be aesthetic rather than as escape routes. Those who tried to climb out found that the windows only rolled down so far and even if they could wedge an arm out they could climb no further because the bars across the bottom of the windows prevented them from crawling out. Inside the heat reached extreme levels. The clothing, hair and flesh were melding into one giant aggregate from the heat and the screams from inside were only partially drowned out by the sound of the flames from the fire which enveloped the trolley.

Siofra and Esther were in a tangle of horrendously seared bodies. Esther was suffocating as well as being paralyzed with fear. Siofra found herself still energized, and scrambled feverishly for air and stability. She got her balance but found herself standing on a layer of lifeless victims. She was not completely separated from Esther as yet, and found herself instinctively moving people aside to rescue her from the vigil.

Siofra took on the persona of her father. Deliberate and facing the task before her, without looking at anything but getting the job done. Fear, worry and concern, were put aside for later.

Their position was near the centre of the car which put them a short distance from the side doors. Siofra, half lunging grabbed a knob and pulled it with all her might. The center doors flew open and a large assembly of seared patrons rushed for safety.

Somehow about twenty-five passengers managed to crawl out of the wreck. Tragically, behind them, about the same number remained in the street-car, burned alive, trapped against the doors.

The explosion itself rocked the entire neighborhood. Windows shattered up and down the street and buildings shook. The fireball itself shot two to three stories into the air. Flames rocketed down the street and lit up seven buildings along Danforth Avenue. The ruptured side of the truck kept feeding this carnage. The walls of some of those buildings collapsed after the shock of the explosion and then the heat from the flames. The heat was so intense that metal melted and twisted, glass from surrounding buildings was fused and parts of the street were melted as the asphalt grew into tar.

The fire alarms began to ring. All the local fire companies responded and arrived upon a scene of horror. They began pouring water on the out-of-control fire and it would take nearly two hours for them to get it back under control. Meanwhile, as many as a couple of thousand people came out of their homes and offices to watch the fire and the flames. The smell of burning flesh hung in the air and would linger in the area for days after the accident.

Ambulances came and it was apparent that it would take great organization and levelheadedness to sort through the bodies and evaluate the priority of each victim. The transit station was used for an emergency treatment center and invariably, a temporary morgue. Those still surviving were given as much comfort as possible and treated with preliminary care. The ambulances were slow but started to come in great numbers and proceeded to the Toronto Western Hospital.

Siofra and Esther were clinging to each other as they ran from the wreckage and were placed in the emergency shelter side by side. Their heads and legs were raised, as to be above their hearts and cool cloths were distributed over as much burn area as possible. The girls were both sobbing, desperate with pain. Many patients were in shock and totally silenced. Hours counted down until an ambulance carried the girls to the hospital.


Chapter 4

 

Eamon, Abigail and Esther's parents, were already deeply concerned about the whereabouts of the girls. Eamon showed little concern, but his silence spoke of worry. Esther's father had been foraging Bathurst Street, checking spots where he thought they might be loitering. Abigail was the one who attended to the phone when the hospital nurse made the call. Fortunately, Siofra had been conscious and alert enough to give the staff the pertinent information. The news was so alarming, that Abigail froze with the immediate knowledge regarding the accident's severity. She then realized that thinking of the worst scenario would numb her with anguish. So being calm and deliberate was imperative. She walked the twenty steps to Eamon, sitting in the large gold Mayflower chair and spoke quietly, holding back tears.

"Eamon, Siofra and Esther were in a terrible street car accident. According to the nurse at Western, they have second and possibly third degree burns."

Eamon's head turned abruptly and with no time to ponder the grievous situation, blurted, "A street car accident?  What the hell were they doing on the street car?" 

Before any conversation ensued, they had notified Esther's parents, grabbed their outerwear and arranged to head down to Bathurst and Dundas, the home of the thirty year old Toronto Western Hospital.

The four disquieted parents along with Nessa, arrived, but were not allowed to see the injured girls immediately. There was also a doctor shortage, as the hospital administration was busy contacting doctors to assist in the proliferating emergency center. After what seemed like hours, a thin, pale nurse, possibly younger than her appearance suggested approached the families. She introduced herself as Althea Makos, and apologized to them for the wait. She also explained that because she was not a doctor she could not actually give them any kind of long-term diagnoses, and that it was up to the doctor to provide them with this kind of information, after a careful assessment. She was able to give them the most up-to-date information of their symptoms, and report on the current status of their burns.

"Siofra and Esther both have what appear to be second-degree burns. Siofra has most of the charring on her legs, below the knees, as well as the back of her hands, the back of the neck and a large portion of her right temple area. The burns do not appear to be deep, but we haven't had time to survey that aspect of the injuries as yet. The burns are red, and are beginning to show clear blistering.  The burns are moist, and when pressured, they blanch. She is in great pain but has remained conscious throughout the ordeal. The surface area appears to be shallow enough to be non-life threatening. Esther has a similar overall condition but has a little more surface area damage and she has yet to show any blistering. This could mean that the burns area deeper. She has much scalding on both arms and hands, her left leg from the ankle right up to the top of the thigh, and her left cheek area and nose have been affected. The important thing at this point is that we watch for infection. They both have a decrease in cardiac output, which is expected, and that should go back to normal in a day or so. They were given respiratory care and both show good breathing and circulation. There is no fear of a need for intubation. We are dressing the wounds and applying benzocaine for the pain."

"May I ask, what is intubation?" inquired Elaine Tiller, Esther's mother.

"Oh, I'm sorry, that is just an emergency tracheal procedure to allow for proper breathing."

"And what about scarring?" asked Elaine quite eagerly.

"I can't really confirm anything in that regard. In second degree burns, the thickness of the burn will greatly affect that. I can't confirm for you whether the burns have actually gone into the reticular dermis. That is the area under the skin that has blood vessels and connecting tissue. Many of our patients have deep third degree burns, and there were, tragically, many fatalities at the site of the accident, so I think it is safe to say that the girls have been fortunate, not to lessen the seriousness of their condition of course. All I can ask is that you continue to wait, and if a doctor becomes available, he will gladly report to you. The girls will have to stay in hospital until any chance of infection has subsided. They have also been given a tetanus vaccine."

 

Once the fire was out the horror show really began. The emergency workers who arrived were numbed and appalled by the sights that greeted them. When they got to the streetcar, the middle door area was too congested for access. They had no choice but to pry open the front doors. It was difficult, but they manage to gain access and proceeded down the aisle. The smoke was still billowing from inside the vehicle, and the smell of burnt hair, clothing and flesh hung thickly around their noses, invading their lungs. What greeted them was a pile of black and burned flesh that did not resemble humankind anymore.

According to some reports they were not even able to find body parts in some instances. They found skulls and parts of limbs. All of them had to be removed and placed nearby in the temporary morgue. They discovered that the other doors had no emergency lever that could have been pulled. The passengers had bottlenecked at the doors and been fused together by the intense heat. Siofra and Esther were extremely fortunate to be situated at the middle doors, as well as benefiting from Siofra's dexterity under paralyzing conditions.

Once the wreckage was pulled away from the scene, investigators set about extricating and inspecting it. It was quickly determined that Car 2666 was in perfect working order. They also determined that the gasoline truck was also working just fine. Both the motorman and the driver of the truck had been killed in the accident so first-hand information was obviously out of the question. Most of the fingers pointed to the driver of the trolley who had had ten minor accidents before this accident. As the investigation ensued, many questioned why he was even behind the wheel.

Despite the driver's record, the real blame invariably fell on the construction of the trolley car itself. The problems cited included the lack of emergency pull levers throughout the car so that the doors could be opened in case of an accident, as well as a fault in the tension setting of the lever springs, which demanded a great deal of strength to release. The steel bars across the windows prevented anyone who could open the windows from escaping. The doors of the vehicle, other than the small side doors with the emergency escape lever, could not be opened by anyone outside or inside the car. It was a senseless tragedy that cost thirty-three people their lives.

Those who had been pushing for alternatives to the trolley system suddenly found themselves in the majority. The public was shocked by the tragedy and the neighborhood where the accident occurred took months and years to recover. The TPTC was a new corporation, and this predicament was a harbinger for their future.

The trolley system had served Torontonians well. The problems involved were frustrating at times. An accident on the road that stretched across the streetcar tracks made getting around those obstacles difficult for the trolleys attached to tracks and wires. If an accident occurred right in front of a trolley car it was impossible for the vehicle to swerve around it. If there was a flooded underpass, it was impossible to make a simple diversion so that the passengers and driver could move around.

Now an investigation was going to decide the direction the TPTC would go.

Eamon was full of converging thoughts. His daughter was in the hospital, badly burned, a victim of the accident. Eamon himself, a service technician was one of a team of specialists, who were responsible for the safe operation of the vehicles. He had been especially trained on the new Peter Witt units. He felt they were state of the art and almost invincible. He had not had the time or enough information for a proper conclusion. Who was negligent he thought… the trolley operator, the driver of the gas truck, or the flagman? He could not bring himself to conclude his own negligence. He was full of deep-seated guilt, but was not willing to face that possibility. He was too much of a perfectionist. He did anticipate that he was going to be confronted and questioned about his preparation of the new stars of the tracks.

Abigail and Eamon had not entered into any kind of conversation regarding an investigation. Siofra's condition was the only current concern of the family.

Back home Abigail comforted the Prior’s with a hot cup of tea and some newly baked shortbreads. They all agreed that under these situations, a good night's sleep would be a remedy for their worries, and they would prepare themselves to go back to the hospital in the morning to support their suffering daughters. There was little conversation. They all knew what the others were thinking and asking. How were the girls, and when were they coming home.

What were the girls' plans? What motivated them to walk down to Davenport and catch a streetcar going eastbound?  Was it some kind of spontaneous mischievous act? Did something come up that demanded their attendance?  Was there an instigator? Certainly it would be unfeeling to bring up the possibility that one of the girls lead on the other. Neither of the parents assuredly would be impertinent enough to blame the other’s child. Siofra was known as being the more free-spirited of the two. No one spoke of that. These implications seemed arbitrary with both girls lying in pain at the hospital.

Siofra was slowly easing from the pain and it appeared that in a few weeks she would be able to leave the hospital. For Esther there was a complication. There was an infection her left thigh as well as a muscle contracture and dark blistering. She would be remaining in the hospital for at least a month. The girls, in adjacent beds, cried and laughed together and managed to count their blessings. Esther wanted the doctor to be up front about her condition, which he was. The good thing for her was the fact that the scarring would be on her thigh as opposed to her face or hands.

The local newspaper, and many other journals scattered throughout the country, reported the accident as front page news.

People woke up to:

 

                      TORONTO STREETCAR TRAVESTY

                             33 DECLARED DEAD

 

The TPTC was displeased with the headline as it implicated the streetcar and the TPTC without suggesting the role of the gas truck. Although the role of flagman was reported, and the speed the gas truck was going, as well as the possible negligence of the driver, the crux of the article did not detail the actual accident as much as it assessed the safety features, or lack of them of the new street car. Eamon was startled, and was nervous regarding the impending investigation. He thought about what his role might be, and hoped that his function would be more advisory than hands on, as he had confidence in his mechanical aptitude and understanding of the catenary systems, contact wires and line tensioning. He was well aware of the fact that he and two of his less experienced fellow technicians were inspectors of the very vehicle that was in the accident, number 2666.

Eamon was well aware of the safety deficiencies of the car, but when he inspected it, he felt responsible for the operation of the safety features as they were installed. He felt that they did function according to their design. He was a maintenance mechanic, not an engineer. Design faults could have been mentioned separately on a report, but he was not inclined to do that especially considering the tight deadlines and high praise of the new Peter Witts. Could he be implicated for not making safety recommendations, which would have postponed the launching of the new trolley? This thought suddenly filled his head like a storm cloud.



Chapter 5

 

 Independent. Fortified. Predestined. Nessa was all these things. It was a plan. She felt that Siofra's destiny was as wayward bird, never to find its nest. Nessa concluded that Siofra's almost tragic accident was something she had asked for. An impulsive, undisciplined, dreaming child. Nessa saw no method in Siofra's apparent madness. Nothing would stop Nessa's ascendancy to an appropriate destination. Nessa was calculating, the one trait and perhaps the only trait she had in common with Siofra. She failed to recognize this community with Siofra, and if she did, she would not be inclined to admit it. The vulnerabilities of her family were not going to impede her in her journey. Although not needing authoritative guidance, she did rely somewhat on the stolid and affirmative approach her mother took to life. As the family endured Siofra's recovery with a quiet acceptance, she observed the contrast in her parents’ handling of the situation. Her father's strained aloofness seemed to be a lull before a storm of volatility. Her mother on the other hand, would likely remain lodged in her role of calm control and would be a source of scheduled orderliness.

Nessa felt an obligation to be supportive of her mother at this time of worry. She entered the kitchen with the intent to be consoling. Abigail was preparing hot milk for Eamon, and heating up a few scones left over from a batch she had made earlier in the day, some of which she had given to the Priors.

"Hi, Mom." She then paused and seated herself.

"Are you worried about Dad? I don't know if he's going to be able to handle all the publicity that is going to come because of the accident."

This was an atypical inquisition coming from Nessa. Abigail was momentarily caught off guard, but she composed herself and responded.

"I'm not sure dear. He's very knowledgeable and I don't think there is any chance of him being implicated as negligent. You know your father. He is painfully thorough. He has a lot on his mind, especially going to work in the morning without having much of a chance to go over things. I think the press will be more inclined to correspond directly to Mr. Paterson, the head foreman, and Mr. Harvey, the head of public relations."

Being unusually protective, Nessa said, "I hope he's not too hard on Siofra when she gets home. He seems to be just about at the end of his rope. The madder he gets at her for getting into trouble the more she seems to find it."

"Well, your father does over-react, but he means well, and considering how much she has suffered I do not think he is going to come down on her. I will talk to him about it."

"OK Mom. I'm going to bed now. I have early classes tomorrow. I hope you don't mind me not going to visit Siofra.”

"I'm sure she will understand dear. I'll go with Elaine Prior. I am a little more worried about poor Esther than Siofra. Deep burns can cause severe complications."

Nessa kissed her mother goodnight, left the kitchen, and passing by the entranceway to the living room, casually waved to her father.

"Night Dad."

"Goodnight Nessa," muttered Eamon, not raising his head.

 

The next morning, Eamon strolled to work, a short walk west to the end of Helena and north on Wychwood, and then only a couple hundred feet to the entrance to the new St. Clair yards.

Service on the St. Clair carhouse began in 1913. The carhouse on Bracondale Avenue (soon to be Wychwood  Avenue) was opened in 1914, four months before Britain would declared war on Germany, and the mobilization of soldiers would begin.

Canada's armed forces quickly expanded from an army of a little over three thousand to a force of over thirty thousand. Following the declaration of war six hundred thousand men enlisted and three thousand army nurses were sent to England. The TPTC would be an important cog in the large transportation network that would transport soldiers from the city to training centers and to ports for the mass exodus to Europe.

Previous Prime Minister, and now Governor General, Sir Wilfrid Laurier,  spoke for the majority of English Canadians when he proclaimed: "It is our duty to let Great Britain know and to let the friends and foes of Great Britain know that there is in Canada but one mind and one heart and that all Canadians are behind the Mother Country."

 

 

Up until that point, St. Clair streetcars were stored in a temporary yard on Station Street. The property chosen for the new site was originally a park, but in the spirit of progress, and now the cause of democratic freedom, there was no controversy in the transformation.

The structure began as a simple building two hundred feet long and thirty-eight feet wide. It had a steel frame and concrete, brick and hollow tile walls. A storeroom and a traffic office were located at the Christie Street side of the building. In total, the original structure had room enough for three tracks. A fourth outside track provided additional capacity; in total, twelve cars could be stored. Double-ended cars drove into the stub tracks and, when they entered service, they did so on a single track up Bracondale Avenue.

The structure was expanded in 1916 when the Lansdowne Civic route entered service. A second three-track structure abutted the original structure on its south wall, bringing the capacity up to twenty-seven vehicles, not including the snow sweeper.

In 1921, the Toronto Public Transportation Commission took over operation of all the Toronto Railway Company properties and operations. The tracks on Bathurst Street were extended north from Davenport Road to St. Clair Avenue. Five more connections were established and the St. Clair carhouse proved to be a dynamic center of streetcar routing and maintenance.

That year, the TPTC spent almost a quarter of a million dollars to renovate the structure, adding two more three-track bays on the south side of the building, a two-track repair bay on the north side, large traffic offices at the northeast corner, doors over all the bays, and new tracks so the cars could enter at the west side of the barn and exit at the east side, with runaround capability. There were nine outdoor tracks, and a double track was laid down on Bracondale to provide easier access for arriving and departing cars. By the end of the year, the St. Clair carhouse had capacity for a total of one hundred and sixty cars, fifty in the carhouse, and one-hundred and ten in the outdoor yards.

It was quite a setting. Rows of glistening streetcars and a maze of web-like overhead formations made up of catenaries, tension cables, messenger wires and clamps. It was as if the city had been enclosed by a roof of metal thread. The horizon was a long line accented by a stripe of white with a proud monolith-like chimney jutting up towards the sky.

Eamon walked past the rows of streetcars at the south-east side of the yards, and approached the east entranceway. Outside the front door a crowd gathered which was an assortment of civilians and reporters. Eamon spotted Winston Harvey, the head of public relations, at the front of the crowd. Eamon was quite relieved to see him present. The last thing he wanted was to face this situation alone. He inched his way along the south end of the crowd, hoping to be inconspicuous. When he was almost inside the vestibule, he took a glimpse at Winston. They made immediate eye contact. Winston signaled him to approach him. Winston then excused himself from the reporters and walked past the arched window and turned the corner, standing against the south wall. There he met Eamon.

"Good morning Eamon. Thanks for being here promptly to face this rather anxious situation. How is your daughter doing?" he asked with his hand gently placed on Eamon's shoulder,

"Things look very promising Mr. Harvey. She has no infection and the burns aren't deep. She should be home soon."

"That's great. When she gets home she'll certainly receive a hero's welcome."

Eamon looked at Mr. Harvey quizzically. "Well I don't know about being a hero, but I guess she has endured quite a lot, and ... has shown a certain degree of courage. But unfortunately, she is a bit of a trouble-maker."

Winston looked at Eamon with surprise. "Well, she saved twenty-five lives, that's not bad for getting into trouble.”

Eamon jerked back, and shot a stare at Winston.

"Twenty-five lives? I'm afraid I have no idea what you're talking about."

"You mean you don't know what transpired during the accident?"

"All I know is that she somehow got out and is now in the hospital with second degree burns… and other than that all I know what I read in the papers. I'm expecting some sort of investigation regarding the safety features of the car."

"Yes, Eamon, there certainly will be, and I'm confident that we checked out the controls sufficiently... but didn't you hear about Mrs. Zahorchak?"

"Mrs. who?"

"Yes... a Mrs. Yaryna Zahorchak. She was a rider on the car. She was one of the nearest to the middle doors, and when they were opened, she escaped with relatively mild burns. When she was in the hospital getting treatment, she recognized Siofra. She told the nurse that she was the one who grabbed the release lever and opened the side doors. It was amazingly clear-headed of her, and those controls are pretty stiff as you know, so they won't ever slip to inadvertently open the doors. It's really quite amazing."

"This is the first I've heard about it. Siofra didn't utter a word to us."

"Winston smiled and said, "Well, maybe she's in a bit of shock, or maybe she did it so instinctively under the frenzy of the moment, that she forgot she even did it."

"That could be... yes... that's probably it."

"Come over and meet the reporters Eamon. We must remain calm as well as receptive. I just want you to introduce yourself and answer any questions regarding Siofra's role. You won't have to say much other than the fact that you’re proud of her. If they do ask anything about the accident itself, just tell them that all questions regarding the investigation will be handled by myself."

Mr. Harvey escorted Eamon back to the front of the crowd, where reporters raced to confront Eamon. They included Mr. Lawrence, the Telegram reporter, a reporter from the Toronto Mail and Empire, and a representative from the CKGW radio station.

"Mr. Conor. How is your daughter doing and how to you feel about her act of courage?"

"I am very surprised. I wasn't aware of what transpired until a few minutes ago. It appears that you people in the press receive information before anyone else. I suppose I would have known earlier, except for the fact that Siofra… um… that's my daughter, wasn't in any position to talk about the accident. She was badly burned and obviously in shock. I don't really know all the details, but apparently she got the middle doors of the vehicle open by pulling the release knob, which I know for a fact is quite high in tension. She showed great alertness and surprising strength as far as I can see."

Eamon was anxious and nervous, but the combination of surprise, and pride, allowed him to speak more fluently then he had expected.

"Have you talked to Mrs. Zahorchak?"

"No, I haven't had the pleasure, but I was informed that she recognized my daughter in the hospital."

"The conditions of the tracks were suspect Mr. Conor. The viaduct area was badly flooded. May I ask why your daughter was traveling on that route under those circumstances?"

Eamon hesitated, and Mr. Harvey interjected quickly.

"Excuse me Mr. Lawrence, but the safety issues of running on schedule were addressed by Mr. Newton of the Inspection and Safety Division. Any further comments regarding this issue will be answered by Mr. Newton. Any questions involving mechanical matters of the vehicles operations will be answered by Mr. Paterson, or Mr. Conor in the presence of Mr. Paterson. Considering the tragic results of this mishap, we must be one-hundred percent responsible in answering questions appropriately and accurately, and with full empathy towards the families of the victims."

"I understand Mr. Harvey but we'd still like an answer from Mr. Conor regarding his daughter being on the train."

Winston Harvey looked apprehensively at Eamon.

Eamon stammered for a moment, hunched his shoulders and almost apologetically spoke.

"Our family is very upset by the incident and is very concerned for Siofra and her friend Esther. We haven't had a chance to discuss the little trip the girls took on the streetcar... though I'm sure they had something  appropriate in mind. Certainly I would have not allowed them to go if I had any pre-warning or premonition."

Winston Harvey jumped in again and told Mr. Lawrence and the other reporters that Eamon was now required to head into the shop to continue his duties, as all cars were running as scheduled, except for the Bloor-Danforth Tripper.

Much relived, Eamon stepped out of the bees nest and headed to his locker room. Just as he was beginning to catch his breath, he heard an excited yell, "Mr. Conor. Mr. Conor!"

He looked over his shoulder, half thinking of speeding up his gait to avoid any further associations, and saw a squat but very pleasant looking middle-aged woman approach him.

In broken English, she spoke, "Sorry to bother Mr. Conor, know you going through lot now, but me introduce myself."

She stuck out her hand and informed Eamon, "Me Tatjana Czyz. Me Yaryna's sister. I came here meet you. Yaryna still in hospital, but do fine. Just want to meet father of girl who save sister’s life!"

A surprised Eamon smiled, and expressed his appreciation for her trouble.

"It was nice of you to come here to meet me."

Aware of his awkwardness, he transferred his social responsibility to Abigail, by saying, "I'm sure my wife Abigail would like to meet you."

"Be delighted meet her, and maybe Yaryna be up and give call from hospital."

"Abigail will actually be down there this morning. Maybe she will meet her then."

"That be wonderful! It nice meet you. You proud of your little girl, Mr. Conor."

"I am, Mrs. Czyz, thank you."

"Miss Czyz, Mr. Conor. I not lucky as sister, but maybe I patient and wait for a gentleman caller, some day, yes Mr. Conor?"

Eamon chuckled and shook her hand farewell.

Early that afternoon, Abigail visited Siofra and was almost overcome with Siofra's progress. There appeared to be no infection and she was going to be coming home in three or four days. Abigail did meet Yaryna Zahorchak along with her sister, and was smothered with tearful appreciation. Abigail found the women refreshingly down-to-earth and felt it would be an appropriate celebration to have them over for dinner as soon as Siofra was able to come home. Nearing the end of her visit, Nessa arrived and gave Siofra a warm, affectionate hug, which was certainly a comforting condition for Siofra's condition. Siofra was in good spirits, but still showed signs of post-trauma, and positive contact with familiar faces is always a very helpful procedure. Nessa had not known about Siofra's heroism, and when introduced to the Ukrainian sisters, they expounded to Nessa their indebtedness to Siofra, and Nessa felt proud to be affiliated with the dauntless act.

Before stepping on the street car, Abigail and her older daughter decided to stop off at Isadora's Coffee Shop. This was a favourite spot for women to gather. Being near the hospital, off-hour nurses congregated there and its reputation grew.

Isadora's was a wonderful addition to the Dundas West neighbourhood. It constituted the ideal stop- over on the way to Trinity Park. The café was full of character. The first thing that caught your eye while walking in or just passing by the café would be the porcelain doll heads gazing out the window corner of the shop.  Abigail initially found them peculiar but eventually came to embrace it as being part of the unique décor of the haven.

There was a long glossy wooden bar and a few tables on the back wall, while the best seats of the house overlooked Dundas Street at the front window. There was even an old bronze cash register right beside the sugar and cream counter.  The atmosphere was serene, with a touch of bustle, while providing a cozy comfort. For those nice hot summer days the café was equipped with an oval shaped patio-deck. With the emporium being open every day but Sunday, and every evening till nine-o'clock, people from various layers of society could be present at any given time.  The café had a small lunch menu, but the array of flavours was prodigious. The delectable breads were baked in store. Their famous espresso was fresh and vibrant. Nessa had become an exponent of Breve, an espresso with warmed light cream. This preference was also an announcement of her new-found sophistication. Along with the beverages Abigail sang her praises of the sweet cornbread made with pork cracklings. Nessa yearned for the caramel biscuits made with brown sugar and nutmeg.

They sat down to their delicacies and initially reviewed Nessa's progress in her current vocational program. She was confident, if not a little blasé about her work. She was inclined to show little enthusiasm, as being a student at Central Technical was a modest first step in her career aspirations as a fashion designer. Abigail was impressed with the new co-educational policy of the school and the prominence of the new instructors of the Domestic Science faculty. Whenever guest speakers appeared at the school, such as Teresa Billington-Greig, Abigail and Nessa found it to be a uniting force between them and it became the source of their growing understanding.  Billington-Greig was a British suffragette who created the Woman's Freedom League. She originally taught at a Roman Catholic School but her agnosticism made this an untenable part of her future. She was an organizer in Britain of the Equal Pay League and worked with Emmeline Pankhurst on the formation of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Her friendship with Pankhurst waned and she left the Women's Freedom League because it was becoming militant.

                 

Abigail and Nessa were both great admirers of Agnes Macphail, Ontario's first woman member of Parliament. She was a member of the Progressives, a party that embraced socialism. She was the unofficial leader of the Ginger Group, a wing of the Progressives who protested the Progressive party’s compromises with the then Prime Minister Mackenzie King. She was also a prohibitionist and a proponent of pensions for seniors, world disarmament, pacifism, and penal reform, with the intention of establishing a system which made the rehabilitation of offenders a priority.  First and foremost, she was a Suffragette. Nessa was advanced in her knowledge of political science and despite her career aspirations, also toyed with the idea of being a political activist. Outside of her Domestic Science program, she also took a humanities course, a prerequisite for graduation. This line of study proved fascinating to her, and she vigorously studied the writings of Annie Kenney, Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Dora Montefiore. She especially admired Montefiore's courage and humanity. Ten years previously, Montefiore was appalled at the mass starvation of children in Dublin Ireland, during the labour strike. Workers were forced to work long hours, pay was low and poverty was rife. Montefiore was involved in a plan to take children from Dublin to England so that they could be fed. The Church of England protested the movement and Montefiore and others were imprisoned and charged with kidnapping. The charges were later dropped.

Recently, Nessa had attended her first political meeting with her mother, and as stimulating as it was, it provided a source of confusion bordering on frustration. Firstly, she could not coordinate her time between her formal studies, and new interests. And secondly, she had issues with what appeared to be contradictions in the Suffragette movement.  She was critical of their support of the Great War, despite proclamations of pacifism. Also she questioned the partnership of religious fundamentalism and temperance with the progressive political movement. 

When these  feelings were expressed to her mother, Abigail responded.

"That is a good problem to have Nessa. You are young, and full of ideas, and have the energy to take on all these things. It is hard for me to say that you should just focus on your vocation, and concern yourself with politics later... as I am so very passionate about the causes of our comrades. You will soon be a working woman, assuming that is your wish. I am envious of that. We can do some committee work together and that should suffice for you for the time being. That is not to say I want to influence your ideas. You are a young woman who has opinions of her own, and they should be the ones that shape the future. I am a mother, who has a badly burned child, and a husband who suffers from melancholia. I am grateful for any support you can give me. Your strength is a blessing. Be patient with me."

"You are strong mother. I do not confide in you much. I should be a kinder daughter, but I guess deep down I have a fear of not being able to succeed in the way I want. I don't think I have ever said that to anyone before. I push people aside. I suppose that is because I fear involvement which will only confuse me. I want to be successful and well known in my field. It gives me comfort to have those aspirations."

"There is nothing wrong with that dear. You will learn many lessons along the way. Don't search too hard for answers, they will come in time. You will be perennially flooded with new questions."

"Speaking of questions, have you read any of Dora Montefiore's poetry? It's like nothing I've ever read. She doesn't write about brightly coloured flowers, misty meadows, swashbuckling heroes or romantic liaisons. She writes about beaten woman, starving children, bloodied soldiers, and corrupt barons. "

                             

            Let us vow beneath red stains of Autumn

            Never more shall child be starved or lone;

            Never more shall weary man or woman

            Seek for work and bread—and find a stone.

            Never more shall man enslave his brother

            With the gold from sweated workers got;

            Never more shall wealth lie stored and useless,

            While folk shiver, starve and rot.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/montefiore/1909/10/red_banners.htm     

 

"Yes, I have. You are right. She speaks directly and unabashedly."

"You might be surprised Mother. I actually attempted poetry myself. It is rather unlike me."

Abigail laughed and spoke, "You're getting more like your little sister."

Nessa smiled, but couldn't force herself to laugh. "I have a copy of it in my bag. Do you want to hear it?"

"I sure do, dear!"

Nessa opened her handbag, which was trimmed with small ivory beads and decorated with Tambour embroidery. The Point de Beauvais stitching was considered Art Nouveau, which gave Nessa a sense of great pride.

She unraveled the sheet of paper and before she began to read she explained, "It's about a woman who is in the business world, but is humiliated by men who laugh at her authority, and a husband who resents her career. I may make it into a small story, I haven't decided."

Desdemona leaves the shining office,

rushing to the taxi, that fittingly arrives

she firmly requests 566 Trafalgar Ave... right away

and the car rushes away

The meeting is brisk and critical

Desdemona is insulted

her authority in question

here conspirators dumb with arrogance

She uses blackmail to establish position

she pulls the purse strings

despite a lack of inheritance

she arrives home

her husband impatient in waiting

He bellows, she retaliates

he approaches with acrimony

a robust arm pierces the air

striking with a brutal force

she falls to the ground

promising to challenge again

Nessa read the passage sternly, which was fitting. Abigail paused, and then concluded briefly, saying, "Rather grim, Nessa. It fits into the category of new poetry. I certainly don't see it as an entity in itself. Clearly it is part of a bigger story."

"I guess you’re right. It was pretty spontaneous. It just came to me."

"Was there anything in particular that inspired it?"

"Two things actually. I'm always thinking of what I'll be up against when I become a professional woman... and a friend of mine, you haven't met him, Douglas Monteith, told me about an aunt of his who suffers from her husband’s abuse. It's really disturbing."

"Is he taking any action? Woman usually stand by and take abuse, totally fearful of the repercussions of taking it to higher authorities."

"Well, I know he's talked to his mother about it, I think he expects her to come to the aid of her sister. I don't think she's sure of how to deal with it. But one thing Douglas seems to be sure of, and that is the fact that his mother has courage and will definitely try her best. She's just nervous about Charlotte's safety."

"My committee is starting to do extensive work in this area, Nessa. In Britain there are many shelters for beaten woman already established. We are far behind, but we're starting to get donations. We also have group meetings, some of the members being previous victims who are now separated and are dealing with the trauma."

"I'll certainly let Douglas know. I imagine just having someone to talk to is a big step."

"Absolutely. The victimized women feel alone and helpless. And their husbands feel like they have an actual right to impose physical or verbal abuse for that matter. Marriages are often master and slave relationships. Occasionally the husband or abuser is mentally ill, but men don't admit to mental illness due to its stigma. By the way, how did you meet Douglas?"

"Oh… he's a personnel administrator at the school. He actually approached me one day on the street just outside Central. He knew I was taking the Domestic Science course, and knew I had aspirations in the fashion industry. He was looking for a gift for his mother and asked me some advice. So I told him that a hat would be a fitting gift, and is something that women often leave till last as far as their priorities go.  We ended up walking to Kohnstamm's and picked one out. His didn't think his mother was quite ready for a cloche, but we saw one in Cranberry wool that was well-brimmed on the front and side. It had a cranberry grow grain ribbon band that was woven in and out. It was modern but sophisticated. Apparently his mother loved it. We've been seeing each other every couple of days, and

we've gone for soda a few times. I'm not sure if he's nervous about seeing a student or not. He hasn't said so, but maybe he's a bit insecure about it."

ABIGAIL might ask about relationship.

"I don't see a problem dear, considering that he's an administrator. It not quite the same as if he was an instructor."

"I think your right, Mother. Do you think I should approach him about it? I am fond of him, and I don't want him to feel uncomfortable."

"By all means dear. I believe in being forthcoming about things and it confirms to him that you are a lady and want things to be appropriate and above board."

"I guess you're right. I'll probably be seeing him tomorrow. There's something else I want to ask you. Daddy seems be really upset right now. He doesn't talk to me much, but right now he doesn't even seem to be talking to you. Is he okay?"

"I guess I'm guilty of not trying harder to get him to talk to me. He's worried about Siofra naturally, as we all are, as well as the impending investigation. He doesn't really want to be a part of it, but it's inevitable. I hope Winston Harvey gives him some support. I think he's an honest man, but the powers that be may put pressure on him to build a smokescreen, especially if there is any negligence to expose. Things are probably going to be a bit volatile at work today. I hope he is able to manage things.”


Chapter 6

 

Abigail thought it was time to explain a little about what she had learned about Eamon's condition. His depression, though often displayed by withdrawal, was beginning to feature agitation. His tendency for passivity was now extending to an intense negativity. He was absorbed in his condition. Abigail was very concerned that the negativity, coupled with paranoia, was creating an exaggerated almost grandiose sense of victimization. If these thoughts overtook Eamon, he would begin to fail at executing rational decisions, and at the worst, become suicidal.  Abigail became a student of mental illness, not just through observation but through the writings of Melanie Klein, George H. Savage, Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham. She was determined to not allow Eamon's condition to be a burden to her. She was aware of the process linking thought to feelings to behavior. Depression was exacerbated by anxiety. Eamon's anxiety, which actually led to attacks, though mild up to this point, was produced by the counter-productivity of depression. Considering the number of years Eamon had been ill, she wasn't concerned which condition, melancholia or anxiety was treated first.

Eamon's high intake of alcohol during his college years was something he remained vague about, but it is clear he conformed to the celebration and rage of college festivity. The effects of alcohol were very attractive to Eamon, as they eased his social anxiety. Abigail concluded that Eamon more than likely generated more anxiety by putting himself in more responsible social situations, caused by more spontaneous decisions when under the influence of alcohol. His anxiety might have even been stirred by a fear of drunkenness itself. The cycle of cause and effect was complex to her, but one thing seemed certain, alcohol was a major detriment to an improvement in mental state.

She read from a study by Karl Abraham that an actual event or loss is not itself sufficient to bring the psychological disturbance involved in melancholy, unless it is severe trauma.  Did something happen to Eamon when he was a child? Abigail has found Eamon to be a closed book with regards to his childhood, so unless therapy turns these pages, they will only be theories, of little or no practical use. The only queries that have deemed further thought in Abigail's conclusions are the appearance of Eamon's father as a threatening figure, and Eamon's clear withdrawal from personal issues, talking comfort in mechanical science.

Abigail was eager to learn more about Eamon's childhood. She suspected that his father was astringent and authoritative, if not abusive and brought to Eamon a nervous silence. Abigail suspected that there were memories of him that caused him great emotional disturbance. She knew even less of his mother, who seemed to not have been present in his pubescent years. A better understanding of Eamon's relationship with her might be very enlightening.

Abigail gave Nessa a brief explanation of what she had learned in studying the writings of Melanie Klein. Naturally, she was excited at the prospect of a woman leading the way in psychiatry, leading into the twentieth century.

“Klein intensely reviewed what was called the "death instinct". She claims that all living organisms are thought to be driven towards an inorganic state. There appears to be a conflict between the sustaining principle and the termination principle.  When Klein studies the elements of hate, envy, and greed in mentally-ill children she draws a conclusion regarding the co-existence of both principles. Depression is formed by the predominance of the sustaining principle, and paranoid-schizophrenia is formed by the disintegrating principal. I am not sure what condition your father actually does have, so that is where things must start. Melancholia is too vague a term.”

“The term 'paranoid-schizoid position' means that the child feels disintegrated.  Children are anxious have not built up their own emotional defenses. They tend to see themselves both good and bad, and if the confusion is acute, they develop severe anxiety. “

“But in the ‘depressive’ state the young person has developed a clearer understanding of who they are but have a very fragmented view of their parents. A very strong disabling guilt can occur when there is a conflict of love and hate.”

http://www.melanie-klein-trust.org.uk/theory

Nessa asked her mother if she had read any of the works of the right brain, left brain theorists.

Abigail actually laughed, and spoke abruptly, "Mostly quacks!"

She then realized she might have humiliated Nessa. Nessa may have taken some articles applying to the topic as being legitimate.

"Not that there isn't the possibly of brain segments being specialized, but the patterns in humans are so inconsistent that it seems doubtful that there is a reliable theory.”

“Some philosophers believe that man at one time was so spiritually focused that his behavior was dictated by commands from a sub-conscious controlled by Gods. They claim that people who are considered mentally-ill today are similar to those ancient peoples.  In earlier times, people were controlled by what they believed were muses, whose messages were expressed through the arts. And I really do think that these thoughts are actually a result of an individual’s creativity. It is said that in the early Biblical passages there was no sign of contemplation, and that in later passages of the Old Testament, there was a growing sign of developing consciousness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_%28psychology%29

"And Mother, aren't epileptic patients treated under the assumption that there are two autonomous brains."

"Yes, I have heard the belief that trauma upsets the balance between the two hemispheres. One hemisphere will take control over another as a protective measure."

"Pretty hard to imagine, don't you think."

"Yes it is. Mental health experimentation is however starting to look at activating one part of the brain over another. Veronal is being used now to treat patients who are melancholy, anxious, and suffer from epilepsy.  So if they are effective, there must be some degree of legitimacy in these theories.”  (F)

Nessa put her head down and stared at the table-top, deep in thought, her mind teeming with revelations regarding romance, psychology, and creative writing. She suddenly snapped out of it, just as her mother suggested "Well, I guess we'd better get going. We'll have to get home and see how Father made out."

"Okay Mom. I've got some studying to do tonight. Mrs. Joachim wants me to finish my report on the "One-Hour Dress. I also plan on handing in my own pattern. A version based on the Mary Brooks Picken design, but more formal."

As they walked out of the cafe, Nessa showed Abigail a promotional piece in the copy of The Delineator that she had been carrying.

  "A smart, up-to-the-minute dress cut out, completely made, all ready to put on within an hour! You may receive a phone call at one o'clock inviting you to a little impromptu gathering of friends at three, and you can go, if you wish, wearing a dainty new frock make in the time you would ordinarily spend wondering what to wear. Such is the delight you can find in making your own clothes now that it is easily possible to make an attractive, becoming dress in an hour. “

“It is a new and simple plan by which the dress you select from the many designs in this book can actually be cut out, put together, and finished all complete in sixty minutes. And you can create other "One Hour Dresses" for yourself, because different combinations of colors and materials, different finishes and touches of decoration will enable you to have just the dress that appeals to your taste and have it quickly and at little cost." (F)

http://www.1920-30.com/publications/fashion/?hop=ryryry

"You'll have to show me your design when you’re done."

"I might be up late, I've got to revise the sleeves and shoulders, they require the body taper to be less defined."

"Well, if you are, be sure to show me first thing in the morning,"

They joined arms and waited for the Bathurst car.

Chapter 7

They arrived home, and as they entered the living, Abigail noticed that Eamon had a guest. Without getting up, Eamon introduced her to Frank Newton of the TPTC. 

Eamon explained, "We're reviewing the accident and summarizing my duties with respect to the car. We're also going over the training program itself, and establishing the level of inclusive knowledge I have regarding transportation technology."

"Yes Mrs. Conor, we are not going to leave a stone unturned."

"If it's all right Mr. Newton, I would prefer to sit in."

"Oh..well...that's contrary to normal procedure Mrs. Conor."

"Mr. Newton,  I must insist. I would like to give my husband all the moral support that is required, and my daughter was a victim in this tragic accident. As her mother, I must be kept enlightened on the negotiations and trading of information." 

Frank Newton was rather alarmed at her assertiveness and easily relented. "Considering the effect this has on your family, I respect your request. Oh...I almost forgot Mrs. Conor, I must congratulate you on the courage shown by your remarkable daughter."

"Oh, I don't think she did anything that the others weren't required to do. I'm just glad she is still with us, and that her friend Esther is doing well."

Eamon interjected. "I don't believe you heard the news Abigail. During the fire in the trolley, Siofra somehow unraveled herself from the pile of passengers, went to the middle doors, and managed to locate the the knob which released them to open. If it wasn't or her. all or most of the twenty-five survivors wouldn't have got out."

Abigail raised her hands to both sides of her head. Her mouth opened like that of a large fish, and she stood there stunned in a combination of disbelief and amazement.

She looked at Eamon, and then Mr. Newton. Where did this information come from?

Eamon was pausing before he spoke, then Mr. Newton interjected. 

"At the hospital, a lady by the name of Yarayna Zahorchak recognized Siofra from the street car. She reported the information to one of the nurses. She claimed that Siofra had saved her life and was  also responsible for saving many others."

Eamon stepped in, "Yes dear, and her sister, I believe her name was Tatjana or Tatyana, was at the car house to meet me and thank us for the courage shown by Siofra. As a matter of fact  Mrs. Zahorchak called about an hour ago to talk to you. I left her number by the phone.

"I must call her. I'll be back in a moment." spoke Abigail excitedly. 

She went to make the call, and the men continued their meeting.

[21270] 

Eamon was required to give Mr. Newton a summation, and offered to have it inscribed if necessary. He explained to Mr. Newton his basic understanding of street cars.

He began. "Our cars are electrically operated vehicles that collect their current from an overhead line system, using a trolley pole.  This device presses against the underside of the lowest wire of an overhead line system, which is the contact wire. The current collectors are electrically conductive and allow current to flow through to the train  and back to the feeder station through the steel wheels on one or both running rails."

He then  mentioned to Mr. Newton that he had done preliminary studies on alternative electrical power transmission schemes for trains including third rails, aesthetic power supplies, batteries and electromagnetic induction.

"To achieve good high-speed current collection", Eamon explained, "it is necessary to keep the contact wire angles within defined limits. This is usually achieved by supporting the contact wire from above by a second wire known as the messenger wire. This wire is allowed to follow the natural path of a wire strung between two points, which is called a catenary curve. This wire is attached to the contact wire at regular intervals by vertical wires known as droppers. The messenger wire is supported regularly at structures by a pulley. The whole system is then subjected to a mechanical tension. 

"What about conductivity", asked Frank Newton.

"An electrical circuit requires at least two conductors. Trolleys sometimes use the overhead line as one side of the circuit and the steel rails as the other side of the circuit."

"How stringent are regulations on wire oscillation?" 

"Catenary wires are kept at a mechanical tension because the pantograph (a parallel mechanical linkage) causes oscillations in the wire and the wave must travel faster than the train to avoid producing standing waves that would cause the wires to break. Tensioning the line makes waves travel faster." 

Abigail who was now present, and listening intently, asked Eamon a question to add what she thought was a necessary pertinence to the discussion.

"I think you've told me about the cars breaking system, but how is that assisted by the overhead system?"

"Most overhead systems include a brake to stop the wires from unraveling completely, should a wire break or tension be lost for any other reason.To allow maintenance to sections of the overhead line without having to turn off the entire system, the overhead line system is broken into electrically separated portions known as sections. Sections often correspond with tension lengths. The transition from section to section is known as a section break and is set up so that the cars parallel mechanical linkage is in continuous contact with the wire. I expect there to be a thorough inspection of at least three sections of the overhead system at the viaduct."

"What about the fact that there was flooding, and there are uninsulated wires in the overhead system?", inquired Newton. 

"I don't expect the clamps on the uninsulated wires to be a factor with the brake system. Unlike simple overhead wires, in which the uninsulated wire is attached by clamps to closely spaced crosswires, themselves supported by line poles, catenary systems use at least two wires. One wire, called the messenger wire, is hung at a specific tension in the shape of a mathematical catenary between line structures. A second wire is held in tension by the messenger wire, and is attached to it at frequent intervals b clamps and connecting wires. The second wire is straight and level, parallel to the rail tracks suspended over it as the roadway of a suspension bridge is over water."

"Explain more about what a catenary is, ..uh Eamon", uttered Abigail. She was about to call him dear, but quickly realized that this gathering was "official". and certain formalties should be exercised.

"The catenary is really fascinating. It is the ideal curve for an arch of uniform density and thickness, which supports only it's own weight.  When the centerline of an arch is made to follow the curve of an up-side-down catenary, the arch endures almost pure compression. No significant bending movement occurs inside the material. All catenary curves are similar to each other. If you take a parabola and roll it along a straight line, it traces out a catenary."

"Thats the same concept used for bridge building, isn't it? ", asked Abigail. "Yes...and did you know that square wheels can roll perfectly smoothly if the road has evenly spaced bumps in the shape of a series of catenary curves? The wheels can be any regular polygon save for a triangle, but the correct catenary must be used, corresponding correctly to the shape of the wheels."

"We use an upgraded catenary layout, correct?"

"Absolutely. The TPTC is using an equal resistance catenary, which is a cable strengthened according to the magnitude of the tension at each point. It's resistance to breaking is constant along it's length. The catenaries are also elastic at given points. which allows them to stretch, but constant velocity is not affected." 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catenary

Abigail became aware of one thing, with certainty. Eamon was in his element. As long as the investigation could be maintained on a technical level, Eamon would endure the process. As long as he wasn't centered out as being potentially negligent, his emotions would not be strained. 

The meeting terminated on good terms, and Frank Newton complimented Eamon on his expert analysis. 

"I am glad to have you on board Eamon. Things would be a lot more difficult without your professional savvy. We'll have to have another meeting tomorrow, probably first thing in the morning. Wally and Winston will take part, and we'll nail down our position. Then, likely the day after tomorrow, the chief executive and myself will meet with our lawyers." 

Eamon shook Frank's hand, as did Abigail, and he departed. Abigail walked up to Eamon, put her hand on his shoulder, and told him how proud she was of the way he handled himself, and also how he demonstrated his impressive knowledge of the overhead system.

"Things will work out just fine...and Siofra will be home in a few days. God bless us."

Eamon was initially not very secure about Abigails presence at the meeting, but it didn't take him long to realize that she could hold her own with Frank Newton, and virtually anybody for that matter, and was a very perceptive and cautious person to have as support in a trying situation. 

"Oh...I almost forgot Eamon, I invited Yaryna Zahorchak, her husband, and sister over for dinner Saturday. Yaryna sounded so sweet, and was so grateful for Siofra's courage. I'll talk to the Tillers this evening and see if they'd like to come. That might depend on how Esther is progressing. Yaryna also mentioned that we shouldn't be surprised if the mayor's office calls to present an award to Siofra for her valor. Wouldn't that be something."

"Under the circumstances I'm sure it will happen. We'll have a pretty famous daughter!"

(Approx. November 10, 1925)

Chapter 8

Siofra was finally scheduled to go back home. Her blisters had been treated and there was no sign of infection. The pain had largely subsided. Other than being greatly fatigued, Siofra was ready to return home and her spirits were high. Esther was disappointed that she would be left alone in the hospital, but Siofra assured her that it wouldn't be long, and they could resume there frolicking. 

Esther had some damaged nerve tissue and the infection, though successfully treated was slow in dissipating. She was a little more sensitive in her response to the incident and was slowly recovering from the shock. Being left alone without Siofra's support certainly didn't help, and was causing her great anxiety.

"Don't worry Esther, I come and visit everyday after school."

"Promise Siofra?"

"I promise Esther...and maybe I'll bring Kevin Stewart along."

"Don't you dare!", cried Esther.

Siofra laughed. Esther had had a school-girl crush on Kevin for most of the year and Siofra knew that Esther would probably love to have him visit, other than the fact that she might die from embarrassment. Esther was far too shy to give Kevin any indicators of her affection. Kevin was a short, athletically built young boy, with flowing blond hair, big blue eyes, and usually displayed a devilish grin that in all likelihood hid an inner shyness. 

When Siofra and Esther stood in the schoolyard Kevin and his buddies would often stand nearby and throw teasing glances at the girls, which caused them to giggle. Siofra would give Kevin a provoking glance whenever they passed in the hallway, as if to dare him to confront Esther. 

[22634]     

Her arrival home was to followed by a visit to the Mayor's office for an award presentation. She was to be presented the Citation of Valour, credited to her by the city, the TPTS and a citizen's group consisting of survivors of the accident. Siofra was naturally excited about being bestowed the honour. She was also looking forward to meeting the mayor, whose public reputation was entertained by his rags to riches story.  

Presentation of award

Thomas Forrester started his working life as an abattoir boy in Toronto, until he saved enough money to purchase his own slaughterhouse for fifty dollars. Earnings from that business allowed him to purchase property which became the source of his eventual wealth. He won and lost many elections for the position of alderman, but persevered until he became a member of Canada's federal government.  He ran independently, but joined the Unionists, a group who supported the idea of conscription during the Great War. This issue was very divisive, but he received support from his Toronto constituents. He became recognized for contributing expenditure to the new hydro system and was also an enthusiast for the beautification of the city. "Honest Tom" presented Siofra the award, in the square in front of city hall, and enunciated her honour accordingly.

"Dear citizens of Toronto, and in particular the families of survivors of the great Bloor-Viaduct tragedy. Siofra Conor is a remarkable fourteen-year-old girl. She is an accomplished student currently attending McMurrich Public School. Three weeks ago she was immersed in the blazing inferno of street car number 2226 of the Toronto Public Transportation Commission. I was not present, but have heard many first hand renditions of the apocalypse. The fire started abruptly and the passengers were hurled towards the center of the car, with no way to escape. Siofra was in that terrible maze of conflagrating riders. Siofra somehow pulled herself away and directed herself toward the middle doors. She seemed to instinctively search for some lever or knob to open the doors. It is questionable if she could even see before her.  Somehow she found the necessary knob and pulled it, with strength beyond her years and gender. The doors open and twenty-five people ran out, their bodies smoking on the spot. What a terrifying legend with will bestow upon our great city. Siofra has just been released from the hospital to be with us. The suffered severe second degree burns but has survived the ordeal with no serious scarring or infection. I also extend congratulation to Abigail and Eamon Conor. Abigail is an active member of the women's suffrage committee in Toronto and Eamon is an accomplished technician with the TPTC.

The husband of Yaryna Zahorchak, Valeriy spoke a few words on behalf of his family. He thanked Siofra for her remarkable act of courage, and was encouraged by the friendship of the Conor family. 

Winston Harvey then spoke to the large crowd. He introduced himself, and then orated. 

"The TPTC very sincerely regrets the dreadful calamity that took place near the Viaduct. At this moment there is an investigation into the matter and the TPTC will be honest and forthright with regards to providing all the appropriate information and taking full responsibility for its liabilities, if any...but we are not here to discuss or evaluate the misfortune. We are here to momentarily put aside the harrowing details and celebrate the heroism of Siofra Conor. She is an example to all of us. She has displayed innumerable humility and boundless resolution. On behalf of the Toronto Public Transportation Commission may God bless the Conor family, all the families of the fatal victims, and the souls of those who are departed."

The mayor, returned to the podium and announced, "And now ladies, gentlemen and children, Mrs. Abigail Conor and her daughter, our guest of honour, Siofra Conor."

There was a volumness rising crescendo. Abigail stood erect and proud. Siofra, clutched to her mother's side, smiled shyly.

Abigail spoke, "On behalf of husband Eamon and my remarkable daughter Siofra, I would thank you all for coming to show your support, and our prayers are with you all, and may God nurture the souls of all those tragically killed a few weeks ago. You are all so kind."

Siofra tugged at her mother and whispered something in her.

"Oh...excuse me...attention please. My daughter would like me add that her prayers are out for her dear friend Esther Tiller, who is now in the hospital recovering from severe second degree burns. Her mother and father , Elaine and Paul are here with us today."

[23268]   

Siofra, still sore from her injuries proudly wore the majestic silver medal wrapped around her neck with a purple ribbon. Before she was able to walk away numerous people from the audience began to lineup to meet the little heroine. She shook hands with some, and was hugged by others. The smiles and good wishes were mixed with tears of thanks, joy and sorrow. 

Back on Helena Avenue, the Conor family gathered with Elaine and Paul Tiller, and the Zahorchaks, including their son Petro, and Tatjana. Petro was a young man of twenty-one years who was attending the University of Toronto. He was the first of the Zahorchaks to attend university , and this fact was not lost on Yaryna. 

"We so proud of Petro. He learn to speak English good and study how us Ukrainian do good in Canada."

The nationalist movement in Ukrainia had inspired Petro to carry on it's ideals and values in Canada. The villages in the homeland had established reading clubs, drama and choir circles, and co-operative stores. Many of these practices were brought to the Canadian prairies, and co-existed with agricultural traditions. the railroad and industrial boom however, brought some Ukrainians to the cities. This not only offered labour positions, but furnished a potential for professional, entrepreneurial and teaching positions. There was certainly cultural conflict. The Ukrainian priesthood differed in philosophy from the established French-Canadian priesthood in Canada, as well as clashing with the new, more secular intelligentsia. There now was a simmering division between the Greek Orthodox sector of immigrants and the and the Ukrainian Labour Temple Association. 

Petro commented on his intentions as a young Ukrainian-Canadian.

"I am concentrating my studies on sociology and history. The political science writers of today are commenting on what is called the "push-pull" factor. This theory applies to many immigrants but I am concentrating on it as a Ukrainian immigrant. We are being pushed from our homeland because of the effects of the Russian Revolution, and are as well, being pulled into Canada because it offers us the cultural flexibility and resources to adapt our new nationalism. Unfortunately we are suffering, because there is a resulting class division. The Ukrainians who emigrated just before the turn of the century are feeling greatly obscured. We must work towards giving them more comfort, and establishing a respect for old traditions, without condemning the more progressive movements. There has been a trend for young Ukrainians to approach the newspaper industry as writers and editors. I have befriended many of these people. One young lady in particular, Uliana Burdasz is working for the Brama, and has been occasionally invited to submit articles to the Mail and Empire. The Suffragette movement has been of great interest to her and she is working hard to promote a new progressive Ukrainian woman, without disregard for the strong maternal role represented in folklore."

Abigail was immediately impressed and inspired by his interest in the role of immigrant women in Canadian society. 

"Petro, if I may call you Petro, I now consider you a comrade. I am a dear friend of Miriam McPhee who has also written in periodicals locally. She has been active in the temperance movement as well as enfranchisement. Although our committee at this time has no European immigrant members, we mainly consist  of women who have had connections with the Woman's Social and Political Union. Our movement has developed a popular reputation resulting from the publicity it has received from the support for Canadians in the Great War. I would rather we have gotten our message across as social revolutionaries, but we must take advantage off our new status and strengthen our position. We would certainly welcome new members and support from differing cultural identities. This would advertise the Suffragette movement as one of human rights and freedom rather than suffocating ideals."

"I am very glad to hear that position, Abigail", as he swung out his right arm in acknowledgement of a reciprocation. 

Abigail and Petro had meandered into this little discussion almost unawares. Abigail suddenly realized that they had probably isolated everyone else, except perhaps Nessa, which would explain the prolonged silence. She grinned slightly in recognition of this.

  Petro was accustomed to this topic being foreign to his parents and relatives. Despite their lack of participation, and lack of understanding in his particular direction of study, he appreciated the fact that his family recognized his commitment to the betterment of Ukrainians.  

  After serving a traditional Irish meal of coddle, consisting of sausages, streaky bacon, ham, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions and seasoning, she accompanied the repast with with  her favourite gooseberry fool, with elder flowers, arrowroot, custard and cream.  

The meal was centered with a large basket of warm Aran Spiosrai, a traditional spice bread. 

As honoured guests, the Zahorchaks brought along a delicacy of the homeland, stuffed field mushrooms with Bryndza. Bryndza is a white cheese made from sheep's milk. Bacon is added with the flavour of garlic and dill. Tatjana brought along a couple of bottles of home-made Rkatsiteli, a tart wine made from the acidic vinifera.

The Tillers had brought along an attractive centerpiece for the dining table, accented with bright and beautiful purple tulip gentian, and feathery sea lavender.

A prayer was offered for Esther, still recovering in the hospital. Siofra was heartbroken that Esther could not attend the ceremony and dinner, and was eagerly awaiting the chance to visit her again.

After the meal the woman joined one another in a small but cheerful room off the pantry. the gentlemen gathered in the study, and Siofra exuberantly jumped form room to room offering to assist in a role of assistant hostess. Begrudgingly she decided to sit with the ladies, and as expected, behaved herself by being silent. 

Petro, with appropriate diplomacy, inquired to Abigail, that he usually preferred a breath of fresh air after a meal, and asked permission to take Nessa out for a walk with him. She obliged and Nessa was more than happy with the opportunity to step outside with the charming and somewhat worldly young man. What was predominant with Petro was his intelligence and how it framed his face and mannerisms. When it is said that a man is intelligent looking, it could be argued that a look described as such was totally subjective and impossible to define...but somehow the label fit Petro. He was ordinary height, with moderate brown hair parted neatly, combed mostly to one side, and modest muttons, virtually denying their existence, Petro's response to the dying fad, and icy cold eyes that manged to avoid remoteness by their intensity. His smile was not really a smile but an expression of conceded satisfaction. 

When they got outside, Nessa thought for a moment which direction to go, and then decided that north to St.Clair along Bracondale and around the block following Bathurst would be interesting. They walked up Bracondale and Nessa briefly explained her father's role at the carhouse. She assumed that Petro would put two and two together and surmise that Eamon would in some way be involved in the negotiations, and did not bring the issue up. She was glad that Petro did not raise the topic, but he did make an observation.

"I like your parents very much. Your mother is an interesting blend of tradition and modernity. She is eloquent and outspoken. I don't know of any mother's of my university friends who take the suffragette stance, although there probably are many who are supportive but prefer to stay mum.  Your father is pleasant but is very quiet, but maybe it is just a shyness at having us over. After all, until today we were strangers."

"Well, yes, it is safe to say he is a shy man...but he doesn't really have much to say to any of us either. I have only began to talk to my mother about it recently...but he seems to suffer from melancholia. Mother has a physician friend, Miriam McPhee who has advised her regarding contemporary articles on the subject, and she is beginning to study the matter. I know people with extreme cases are sent to asylums for treatment, but I don't think father's illness is acute enough to warrant that...God help us! After all, he seems to function well at his job, and is actually is most comfortable when talking about street cars and their inner workings."

"Mmmm..." replied Petro. "It would probably help him to talk about it himself...it would be therapeutic."

"No doubt you are right, but i don't know if that will ever be. I guess mother is working up the will to discuss it with him. And she is a strong woman."

They continued their stroll and as they turned onto St. Clair Avenue, they took a glance to the west. There was the Christie Theatre, boasting it's showing of Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, the master of disguise, later referred to as The Man of a Thousand Faces  in the character role and Mary Philbin as Christine Dae. There was a section of four sets of  rail tracks, with some under repair. There was a United Cigar Store, billiards hall,  barber shop, home furnishings store, and florist. The gas station on the far corner advertised British American Gasoline, and beside it was a sign that warned drivers not to pass on these curves. The street was very wide, and two street cars were coming from the east and one from the west. The automobile traffic was very light. 

24876        

As they approached Bathurst a view opened before them, that almost left Petro breathless. he had never seen this incredible grounds before. It was the home of late Robert John Fleming. Mr. Fleming, a man of Irish ancestry, had become the director of the Toronto Railway Company twenty years before. He had previously been mayor of Toronto, but resigned to take on the duties of assessment commissioner. He was a staunch prohibitionist and was president of the Dominion Prohibitory Alliance. He became one of the cities business leaders, as director of the Toronto Board of Trade, member of the Toronto Harbour Commission. The current mayors support of hydro funding was partly influenced by Mr. Flemings management of the Toronto Niagara & Power Company, and the Electrical development Corporation. 

"Isn't it just spectacular, Petro? Mr. Fleming just recently passed away. He was a very energetic man, but I think his stamina could not match his level of activity"

"It is outstanding."

Petro marvelled at the huge front yard trimmed with pine trees. The porch wrapped around the house supported by six sets of tuscan pillars. A striking elm hugged the west side of the ediface, where the second floor was shaped with tall casement windows, offering a sunny refuse.The classic dwelling  boasted three chimneys and a large pantry to the rear. The property   roamed far behind rising to a small escarpment dotted with mixed forest and cedar groves.

"Certainly a memorial to an important man."

"I don't know if the family will remain in that gigantic house him there, but I suppose he is leaving them well cared for."

"I think we can safely say that is certain." stated Petro.

He looked north. The streets looked a bit muddy, and there wa evidence of much new construction.

Nessa commented, "Ten years ago that looked like a pasture. Since then, the new bank has been built and new tracks have been laid."

"Yes, Toronto is a growing city. It is place where careers will be built. I'm glad to be a part of it."

"You said you were concentrating on history and sociology. Where will that lead you?"

"Well, there are many halls to walk down, and many doors to open. I can stay at the university and become a teaching assistant, and hopefully that would follow with a professorship...but I would have to present a certain amount of publishable material. I'm not sure if my writing is up to snuff at this point, but I'm working at it. I could teach at the intermediate level, that that doesn't seem too inspiring. The newspaper business has a lot to offer, but it's not terribly profitable. I actually met George Newcombe Gordon, the Minister of Immigration and Colonization. We talked about a possible future for me in his department. It is  serious consideration." 

Nessa was impressed by his apparent ambition. She did a brief comparison in her mind of Petro, and her friend, but not yet love interest Douglas Monteith. Douglas was intense, emotional, and even a bit volatile. He had a romantic view of the world and preferred to talk about the world the way it should be, rather than the way it was. He did not appear to high aspirations, but he had reached a prominent teaching position with seemingly little effort. Petro on the other hand seemed more reserved, selected his words carefully and approached things in a good natured way. That was possibly because life in Toronto was so much better than what he had experienced back in the Ukraine. 

They soon arrived back on Helena Avenue. The street was lined with maple trees, and as one walked along the street one could see the laneway behind the long row of houses. Small, somewhat dilapidated garages ran like a crooked ribbon forming a miniature village behind the domiciles.

They walked into the house and Petro, initiated the acknowledgement of their amble.

"That was very pleasant, thank you Nessa, you are most gracious."

Nessa looked at him, pretending to be shy, and spoke softly, "I enjoyed it very much, and was most humbled  that you invited me."

"I hope that we have the opportunity to do it again."

Nessa wasn't sure, but that certainly resembled an invitation. So she carefully jumped at the opportunity.

"That would be lovely Petro, I hope we do to."

Chapter 9

They went there separate ways. Petro joined the men in the study. The were sipping on mulled brandy and discussing sports and politics, accompanied by the sound of a radio broadcast. Eamon had turned on the broadcast in response to Mr. Zahorchak's comment, that he had grown very keen on ice hockey. The popular sports in the Ukraine had been wrestling and football. He found hockey to be an intriging contrast. The Toronto Star's station CFCA had begun to broadcast hockey games from the Arena Gardens. The Toronto St. Pats hockey club, had become the cities' most popular sports entity.

The sound of Foster Hewitt could be heard describing the play...

"The puck is cleared down the ice by Joliet as the "Patties" make a line change. Roach roams behind the net to stop the puck, and drops it to Dye, who carries the puck up to the face-off circle. He slows, and then passes to a circling Jack Adams. Adams speeds down centre ice, and is poke-checked on a smart play by Boucher of the Canadiens. Boucher cuts down the right side and is met by McCaffrey who takes him into the boards with a resounding check. McCaffrey bounces off the check, but loses his balance. He takes a desperate swipe at the puck...and it crosses centre. Spence mamages to pick up the puck, just evading a hit by Pit Lepine. Spence throws the puck into the Canadiens zone, and it's a race for the puck between Adams and Leduc."

The St. Pats club had lost the championshiop final earlier that year to the surging Montreal Canadiens. It looked like a great season was about to unfold, but Toronto was struggling.

Paul Tiller almost annoyingly said," That Babe Dye, just can't seem to find the net. I think he should have his eyes tested. Cameron seems to be slowing down a bit too. Adams is the only darn guy doing anything. Bellefeuille can skate like the blazes, but nobody's feeding him the puck!"

Vakleriy cut in, "Yes...but Happy banging everybody. Pats make Canadiens look weak. Without Vezina...no chance."
 
Evidently Valeriy was correct, at least for this night. The Pats were having a losing season, but tonight were beating Montreal four to one half-way throught he match.

Paul Tiller welcomed Petro to the gathering and poured him a grogg. Eamon did not have much alcoholic beverage in the studies pantry, but he manged to conjure up a mulled beverage consisting of brandy, ginger beer, cloves, cinnamon and lime. 

Paul commented that he had never had anything of this description, and pointed out, "Very good, but a little rough around the edges."

Eamon looked at him questioningly.

Paul reported back to him, "Oh...sorry Eamon, my apologies, I am enjoying it very much. There's nothing wrong with  a drink that fights back a little!"

Valeriy was sipping his drink with gratification.

"Very good sir. Back home we make drink. Wine from Kherson with nutmeg and orange. It boiled. We drink on city holiday. the day of iron worker. I work at Ilyich."

Petro added, "Yes, in Mariupol, our city, we celebrated days for seamen, engineers and other workers. We had many seamen as we were on the Azov Sea. The Crimean Greeks, many who were seamen,  immigrated in the late seventeen-hundreds. We are their descendants."

Paul inquired further. "Who is running the Ukraine now?" 

Petro answered, "Symon Petliura, is the leader of the nationalist movement...but now we are a republic under Russia, after much bloodshed. Some of our soldiers fought for Russia, while other fought for the Austro-Hungarian alliance. This formed the Ukrainian Galician Army that fought against Lenin. Russina supporters  in Austria were treated harshly and placed in internment camps. One positive thing is that Moscow has encouraged a national renaissance in literature and the arts, under the auspices of the Ukrainization policy pursued by the national Communist leadership of Mykola Skrypnyk. We were becoming exhausted because of the outrageous quotas set by the Soviet. Therewas no grain left for our own workers. The Soviets coddled us by encouraging the Ukrainian culture and language. It was a time of revival, despite our poverty. The Bolsheviks were also committed to introducing universal health care, education and social-security benefits, as well as the right to work. Women's rights were actually increased through new laws aimed to wipe away centuries-old inequalities."

Eamon listened and broke in with a comment, "Sounds like an explosive situation. Almost as bad as we have here," he noted tongue-in-cheek.

Paul laughed, "You're right Eamon, we don't know who our government is from one day to the next."

"Yes...I have been keeping tabs on the situation", replied Petro. Your Liberals actually lost the election, and King lost his seat, but he still formed a government. The bribery scandal has caused quite an uproar. I wonder what King will do now.?"

"Well, he'll either ask for dissolution and call an election, or resign and let that Meighen character take over. I suspect he'll do the latter."

Eamon asked, "You don't like Meighen?"

"Are you serious? He talks out of both sides of his mouth. He tries to let on he supports the workers, but I think he's an elitist. He tried to pacify the Unionists for the sake of power, not policy. King is probably right in establishing the trade tariffs. I don't trust the man but he is protecting the value of our exports. Some people want wider markets, but we must keep our prices up to protect the worker and industry."

"I lean towards the Progressives. I don't think they'll ever form a government, but when they hold the balance of power, the government responds. There divided between unionists and free-traders. They end up running as independents, representing their constituents rather than the party, which actually is a good thing...but they only do well out west. I guess they'll become an afterthought some day.

"There will likely be another election pretty soon, so things will probably shift again. I'm inclined to think it will be another King minority. Meighen is the great orator, but King is the strategist. Personally, I refuse to vote for either of them."

As the gentlemen continued their dialogue the women were beginning to prepare for departure.

The women had gotten into a little politics themselves, naturally instigated by Abigail. She displayed a little of what the others might have called radicalism. She spoke out against the arrogance of government and made no bones about the fact that Canada was heading towards a society where no one would have access to a proper means of life, unless born into wealth. 

"Industrialism has led to a modern form of slavery", she suggested. The woman now in government, as few of them as there are, are setting an example and promoting a sense of social responsibility. The downtrodden and brutalized, at least now have a spokesperson."

The others had little to say other than a few supportive nods and their conversation switched to shopping excursions and the new fads of the day.

They discussed the possibility of arranging an excursion down to the inner-city shopping megalopolis of Eaton's.

Nessa was very interested, as she felt it was important to survey the latest fashions as they are displayed by the leading retailer in the city. Eaton's was keeping up with the new fashions appropriate for the working woman. She was taken by the designs of Chanel and Lanvin, the ultimate in glamour and style. The silhouette with its straight tubular column, with a dropped waist and no body curves was now in vogue, and the skirt was raised another two inches of the ground. Many women were undecided about the appropriate hemline so the indecisive hemline design was adapted.  

The flapper image was the new wave of the times, but many fashions conservatively adopted certain aspects of the new designs, without actually fashioning the new style. Many women were still prone to conservative dress. Hair was shorter and sleeker, the chest was somewhat deemphasized, make-up was applied more artistically, and limbs were more accentuated. The cigarette  holder was more of an image builder that utilitarian object.

High fashion had always been  for the richer women of society.  But because construction of the new shapeless dress was less complicated than earlier fashions, women were much more successful at home dressmaking a flapper influenced dress which was a straight shift.  It was easier to produce up to date plain flapper fashions quickly using  Butterick dress patterns.   

 The flapper fashion style flourished amid the middle classes negating differences between themselves and the truly rich, but continuing to highlight some differences with the unfortunately poor.  The  rich still continued to wear beautifully embellished silk garments for evening, but the masses reveled in their new found sophistication of very fashionable modern stylings.


30452

The ladies discussed a suitable time for their excursion downtown.

Abigail was not an avid shopper, but Nessa was always trying to modernize her mother, and enjoyed showing her new clothes and complimenting on how good she would look in them.

"Nessa wants to come along with us ladies, and she has no classes Friday afternoon. That way well avoid the Saturday commotion. The Christmas windows will be set up as well. Let hope its a beautiful day."

Chapter 10

Nessa and her mother had talked about a special gift for Siofra. Considering the ordeal she had been through, and the courage she had shown, something very special was certainly in order. They had not nailed down anything as yet, and seemed a bit challenged by the project. If Siofra was going to join them, which was yet to be determined, they would have to consider another day for the special task.

"Siofra, I don't know if you'd want to join us shopping or not. If Esther could join you, it would be much more fun for you, but I'm afraid it's unlikely that she'll be up and around by then."

"Oh...I don't mind at all, I want to do a little shopping myself."

"Oh...you've been saving up have you dear."

"Yep...I got almost enough to spend forty cents on everybody."

"My...you have been a thrifty little one haven't you." 

Abigail was a practical woman and was inclined to purchase much needed clothing as gifts for her loved ones. She pondered Eamon's wardrobe. As a technician, and living so close to work as well, he just threw on his leather jacket every morning, walked to work, and put on coveralls, He had little need for sport clothing, although he and Abigail did occassionally go the the Embassy room, their favourite dance hall, to dance. Though not terribly observant about men's apparel, Nessa did update her with comments regarding the clothes of the young men with whom she became acquainted at school. 

As far as young men were concerned, they preferred short suit jackets, the old long jackets on morning suits and tail coats being used merely for formal occasions. The jackets were extremely high waisted often worn with belts. Lapels on suit jackets were not very wide as they tended to be buttoned up high. This style of jacket seems to have been greatly influenced by the uniforms worn by the military during the First World War. Trousers were relatively narrow and straight, never tapererd and they were worn rather short so that a man's socks often showed. Trousers also began to be worn cuffed at the bottom at this time.

Recently the Oxford Bags had came into fashion, and along with that, the jacket style was modified to be better coordinated with this new look. The jackets started returning to normal length and lapels got wider and were often worn peaked. Baggier sleeves on shirts accompanied the new pant style. Men had a variety of sport clothes available to them, including sweaters and short trousers, commonly known as knickers. For formal occasions in the daytime, a morning suit was usually worn. For evening wear men now, in particular the younger set, preferred the short tuxedo to the tail coat, which was now seen as rather old-fashioned and snobby. Hats were a distinct statement of class, or ideology. Those of the upper class, or those wanting to appear so wore top hats or the homburg hat. Gentlemen like Petro, were were middle class, andd comfortable in it, prefered the trilby, a short brimmed type of fedora. Men like Eamon generally wore no hat at all, or a newsboy, modest and comfortable, very useful when playing golf as well. So Abigail had in the back of her mind to look for a pair of sand trousers and a chestnut-toned herringbone jacket and a fedora with a burnt orange grosgrain ribbon. Nessa suggested that burnt orange was the ideal tone to blend with the browns as it was of enough contrast to accent the outfit, but was not too gaudy, considering Eamon's relatively conservative tastes. A Harvard crimson would also be very nifty, they would have to see what was available at Eaton's. 


The school newspaper posted an article on its festive front page, rejoicing in the theme of a 1925 Christmas. 

The 1920s ushered in significant changes in Canadian life. They were years when most Canadians acquired their first radios and automobiles, and achieved the highest standard of living in the nation's history.

The celebration of the Christmas holiday in the 1920s has changed as well. A huge twelve foot tree introduces our resplendent lobby.  Our colossal tree  accompanied an impressive ceremony  last evening.

 Cotton ornaments, inexpensive and unbreakable,are at the peak of their popularity. New ornaments, however, of spectacular glass are

being imported from Germany. The popular image of Santa Claus, originally created by German-American cartoonist Thomas Nast, has been standardized  by advertisers this year.

The Gift of Time on November 12,  remarked in an editorial entitled New Sentiments of the Season, "Already the 'feel of Christmas' is in the air, and each day now will find it growing stronger. Even though it may not hold the joy for some of our older citizens that it held in the days of their youth, we are safe in saying that not one man or woman in our community would vote to abolish it. We like to think back to Christmas seasons gone by, and especially to compare the customs of celebrating it then with customs of the present day."

Time was when it was not considered good form for a young man to give his best girl articles of wearing apparel. It indicated that her people were neglecting to clothe her. His gift had to be an album, a toilet set or something along that line. Today Christmas giving is on a much more sensible basis, and gifts of service, gifts the recipient can get some good out of, are the most appreciated. Today, too, people buy more for the home than formerly. An odd chair, a new rug, dishes or silverware, labor-saving devices for the home and even new-fangled cooking utensils are favorite gifts now, instead of pictures and gew-gaws that did not possess comfort or lighten the household burdens. Give a woman something serviceable to wear or something she can use in her home and you are gladdening her heart. Give a man something for his auto, or something he can wear besides neckties, and you will win his thanks. Human nature hasn't changed, even if Christmas has. It is only in recent years that we have learned human nature craves something serviceable.

If the selection of something serviceable is too difficult a decision, or a gift of such does not apply to the recipient, a gift of cash may be an alternative. If you give any presents of cash at Christmas time you want the bills to be bright and fresh and crisp all dressed up for the occasion, as it were. 

   Beginning this week, large department stores have mounted displays of the most beautiful toys and sumptuous gifts in their windows and inside the store to give to those nearest and dearest. These beautiful shop windows are a favourite attraction for passers-by and always aroused vivid emotions and daydreams. 

Some proprietors, more daring than their competitors, have gone as far as to organize costly and very elaborate events to curry the favour of consumers. The spectacular Santa Claus Parade, sponsored by Eaton's of Canada, declaring itself the "Christmas Store", marches through the streets of Toronto next week, which marks too many the beginning of the Christmas season. Eaton's and it's neighbour Simpson's, also use an effective strategy, which is to suggest to customers that they do their catalogue shopping when it suits them.

Santa Claus and his elves have already set up a workshop in these large department stores as a response to the thousands of letters received by our beloved tykes. The celebration that Eaton's promoted was actually organized into two different events. 

A month before the parade itself itself, Eaton started to announce on the radio through "Santagrams" that Santa Claus was coming. Daily bulletins followed his progress from the North Pole to Toronto. 

The second part of the celebration was the arrival of Santa Claus and his parade through the main streets and some of the working class streets of Toronto.  The final stop before Eaton’s department store was at the city hall. On a platform especially decorated for the occasion, the company’s directors, including President John David Eaton, greeted the distinguished visitor with great pomp and ceremony. Climbing down his long ladder, Santa Claus entered the store to set up shop in "Toy Town" and meet his small fans every day until the "final opening day". 

The new "mail-order" way of shopping, turned consumers’ habits upside down. From now on they could buy their gifts in advance without having to wait for the frantic rush in the last days before Christmas. This new sales promotion tool also reached a completely different clientele in rural areas.

In these tiny communities, the arrival of Eaton's catalogue was a major event. More than clothing, furniture, or the latest in kitchen gadgetry, the catalogue offered such practical items as milking machines, in addition to just about every other contraption or new invention desirable. And, when rendered obsolete by the new season’s catalogue, it served another important use in the outdoor privy of most every rural home.

Eaton's and Simpson's department stores used this sales method to make massive inroads in retail sales, betting quite rightly on the loyalty of there customers. It is even being  said that the two retail store giants are carving out their own clientele, unique to each store. That is an essay for another day!...although it is safe to say that the Eaton family are considered by many to be landed aristocracy, and many are faithful to the families spartan lifestyle, despite their wealth, and their introduction to Canadians to the idea of cash sales and one fixed price. This was in contrast to the traditional bargain and barter method. Timothy Eaton displayed a sympathetic attitude towards his employees, having instituted evening closing at six o'clock and the summer Saturday afternoon holiday. He also vastly improved their working environment by creating light, airy workplaces.

At a time when Canada's population is predominantly rural, despite the growth of our great cities, often living in isolated settlements, the Eaton's catalogue provides a selection of goods that is not otherwise unavailable to many Canadians. It serves an important economic role, as it breaks local monopolies and allows all Canadians access to the prices and selection enjoyed in some of the larger cities. The catalogue offers everything from clothing to farming implements. Some Canadians even purchased their homes from the catalogue, with Eaton's delivering to them all the materials necessary to build a small prefabricated house. Today, a large number of Eaton's catalogue homes still exist throughout the country, primarily in the West. The catalogue had many other uses, ranging from its use as a learning tool by settlers learning to speak English, to its use as goalie pads during hockey games. Christmas dinner has become a lavish event and advertisements in newspapers are to publicizing their products to attract as many customers as possible. 

Shopkeepers are decorating the inside of their shops with holly garlands and dried flowers to create a holiday atmosphere. Some who were shrewder than others are going so far as to offer a free gift to all their customers: holly leaves or mistletoe balls. As the orders flood in, grocers hastened to increase the number of delivery vans to satisfy their customers’ needs. A large variety of food is offered on sale from now till the big day, including much fresh fruit: oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, figs and plums. There are also also cheeses imported from Europe and the United States, fruit pies, and for wealthier customers, and even Russian caviar or game from England. 

All kinds of already prepared or tinned food are also also available, like tomato or turtle soup, or different pâtés made from liver, duck, snipe and shrimp. Nor is there any lack of variety in the drinks on offer. Wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Sauternes, Champagne, Rhine wines, Port and Madeira were in good supply as well as fine liqueurs imported from France and of course porter and ale from the United Kingdom.

Everyone knows about the last-minute Christmas shopping rush.   "Consumer madness" is not only a feature of modern society but was well known at the end of the last century when a shift could be observed in the custom of giving presents. The trend toward Christmas presents and away from New Year’s gifts gradually began to take hold. Shopkeepers were clearly the first to benefit from this "consumer madness". Generally, around December the tenth, owners of department stores and grocers would begin their newspaper advertising campaigns. Since presents and food were bought customarily between December twenty-first and twenty-fourth, merchants stepped up their hard-sell strategy in the newspapers on those days to attract even more customers.  Now, much fuss over Christmas begins before we even bring in the month of December. 

Some families are putting out more effort by staying at home to make crèches in chocolate at Christmas time, of

 Santa Clauses, Christmas trees, angels, animals and other figures associated with this great feast of the Nativity. 

To the delight of the ladies, Elaine Tiller was ecstatic to announce that Esther would likely be released from hospital on the very day of their shopping excursion. Abigail, Elaine, Yaryna, Tatjana, Nessa and Siofra would spend the afternoon on Yonge Street and then go to the hospital late in the afternoon. They would then go out to dinner to celebrate. There was a lively discussion regarding the restaurant of choice. It was suggested that the ladies would enjoy experiencing a Ukrainian feast, but Tatjana was unenthused and offered the opinion that proper Ukrainian food would be best experienced with home cooking. Elaine suggested one of the Tea Rooms on Bloor Street, like the "Roslyn", but she wasn't sure if the menu was varied enough for what was a group of women with varied tastes. The final decision was based upon the realization that Esther was the "guest of honour". Elaine thought that was very considerate, and The Sunnyside Pavilion Restaurant immediately came to mind. So it was agreed.

Abigail, Elaine, Nessa and Siofra took the Bathurst trolley to Bloor and transferred to the Bloor-Danforth Tripper. Tatjana and Yaryna lived in the east end of the city, ironically near the stock yards, on Connaught Avenue. So it was arranged that they would meet at the busy corner of Bloor and Yonge Street. 

They met promptly at eleven o'clock and decided to stroll down Yonge Street. The day was very cool, but not as old as was normal for the time of year, and the bright sun made it seem even warmer. They strolled along for a few blocks and came upon William Davies's market.  As they entered they immediately saw Mr. Davies, standing very erect behind the long counter adorned wit his butcher frock, and waxed handlebar.  Behind him he displayed his overhead smoked  meats and tabled greens accompanied by a row of baskets fronting the counter with a vast selection of vegetables and fruit...onions, parsnips, sweet floridas, yellow turnips and cookers. A beautiful pork loin was stretched out in front of them, displaying boldly the sale price of twelve cents per pound. At the end of the long counter imported oysters were proudly displayed, suggesting the stores facility to cater to the gourmet or customer requiring a sophisticated appetizer. Elaine inquired about Christmas turkeys and Mr. Davies suggested she place and order and he would be glad to deliver a fresh bird in a few days before Christmas. Abigail had not made plans in that regard, and thought that it might be a great opportunity to get that one important item taken care of. Yaryna was planning on the traditional twelve-course meal, that consisted of meatless dishes, occasionally with fish.  Abigail also suggested they look over the necessary items for a grand dressing. 

Abigail asked Yaryna about the twelve-course celebration, and Yaryna enthusiastically described the festive meal. With her eyes shining as brightly as the Christmas star, she expounded on the celebration.

"It called Sviata Vecherya. It come early January. We put piece of hay on table to remind us of manger.  We begin when children see first star in eastern sky. Golden wheat called didukh, is most important food for us people. It "grandfather spirit".  Most important food Kutia. It our ritual food. Made with cooked golden wheat, special syrup, rendered honey, poppy seed, raisin, walnuts. It served first. At end we sing Shchedryk."

Siofra asked, "Do you have Santa Clause?"

Tatjana interjected. "Yes, Saint Nicholas called Svyatyi Mykolai. He bring gift for children, the feast before Sviata Vecherya. Middle of December.  Gifts under pillow. Us honour nativity scene, we call Shopka."

Yaryna answered with a description of Christmas eve. " We have Verteep night before  feast.  We go to scene of Jesus. Jesus in manger. Stranger offer gift. They are in our church. We look at beautiful candle."

Tatjana was shaking her head excitedly. "We have meatless feast.  Twelve course are twelve day of Sviata, ... twelve apostle. Eat pyrohys, ...potato dumplings...Kallach bread."

"Twelve courses, how do you manage it?" cried Elaine.

"We do together." answered Yaryna. We make Kutya, borshch, baked fish, osyletsi..."

"Osy...what? asked Abigail.

"Pickled fish with white wine." informed Tatjana.

Yaryna continued abruptly, "...and holubtsi,cabbage stuffed buckwheat and rice...and vareyky...dough stuffed potato, onion, sauerkraut, prune sauce...kapusta with peas, beets, mushrooms, compote, olive bread and honey, nuts, poppy seed, raisin, apricot, and cinnamon."

Yaryna so almost busting out of her dress.Tatjana began to laugh, and that provided the rest of the bevy to join in. Yaryna, probably not aware of how comical she appeared, but she started to laugh innocently.

They continued their excursion and looking down a sidestreet to their left they noticed Shadowvale Park . From what they managed to see, it looked like most traditional parks, consisting of a cleared area, park benches, a fountain near the centre, a playground for children, and a sign announcing an upcoming event, which they could not make out from where they were. 

What struck them, however, was a section of fence coming from the far end of the park, and coming towards them at a slight angle, and terminating just before the entrance to the park. It's appearance drew them towards it, and as they approached this striking structure, the balustrade had ten large fence posts, with structural heads protruding, looking monarchial, and reminding Abigail of King George IV. The style was clearly Gothic revival, apparently attractive to all of them, but only studiously understood by Abigail. 

"This fence is truly amazing", spoke Abigail with awe. 

"It is clearly Gothic revival, but has a touch of Romanesque."

She pointed to the heads carved in great detail, and commented that this was a sign of traditional monarchial taste, and an example of authority, and likely a loyalty to the Church of England.  

"The more I look at it , I see this is really Regency architecture. It;s actually quite a mish-mash, it has me a bit confused."

King George was a sentamentalist and loved picturesque settings. He was not a religious man, and was against the emancipation of the Catholics. You can see the non-conformity and liberalism in the style. It is unpretentious, evenly proportioned, and adorned only with rosettes. The bases are brick covered with stucco which indicates an economical approach. The iron crestings on the top of the head posts indicate a connection to France.

"The gate doors are rather interesting to say the least. The stars and primitive crosses almost look astrological. George IV was known to have expressed his participation in events that happened much earlier in history. I could be reading far too much into this fence," she said, grinning to herself, "But it sure is interesting."

Tatjana stared at Abigail as if she was some kind of goddess, overwhelmed by her apparent knowledge. 

"How do you know all that, Abigail?", she questioned.

"I was schooled at the Branksome Hall, and they emphasized art and history. Our heritage was taken very seriously. I feel very fortunate to go to such a good school. My mother pushed for me and my brother to get good schooling, regardless of sacrifice."

It was finally time to look at the festive Christmas windows of the Eaton's store, and get down to some serious Christmas shopping. 

As soon as they reached Albert Street they could see the sparkling apertures, forming a long chain of quaint domestic scenes creating a miniature village, that one could almost walk into magically, as if no glass separated you from the imaginary wonderland. They crossed the street, where everything had almost come to a halt as pedestrians dodged the slow moving vehicles. At the far end of Albert street, on the north side, immediately across from the back of the city hall building, was a long row of mail-order vehicles, preparing for their next run of deliveries.

Timothy Eaton in 1869 opened his own store on Yonge Street, and introduced Canadians to the idea of cash sales and one fixed price, in contrast to the older credit, bargain and barter method. He displayed a sympathetic attitude towards his employees, having by the late 1880s instituted evening closing at 6 PM and the summer Saturday afternoon holiday. He also vastly improved their working environment by creating light, airy workplaces. 

Siofra stopped and looked at the new fashions in one of the windows.

"Look at those skirts! There so colourful ."

Initially she wasn't aware of what she was looking at. Nessa, of course, being well versed in fashion and fabric immediately came to her rescue. 

"This is a promotion for Rayon, it's a new fabric. Believe it or not it comes from natural cellulose. It drapes very well, and is easy to die. It is very popular for evening gowns. 

Rayon is a very versatile and can actually imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton and linen. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent, but they're not very good at keeping you warm. That makes them good in summer and for under garments.  You have to hand-wash Rayon very gently. Gee, I must sound like a commercial,"

Siofra replied, "Ya...you should go into radio."

Then Nessa noticed the giant poster in the window, and began to read.

" Having told you about color and line, I must next direct your attention to the importance of fabric in distinctive dress. It is on three things—color, line, and fabric—that dress harmony depends.

A prominent textile manufacturer said to me one time, repeating his statement twice, with emphasis, "Women must learn to appreciate textiles in order to use them properly."

In further conversation, I found that he held considerable sentiment regarding the using of fabrics for certain purposes. He seemed to know just how, where, and by whom velvet, charmeuse, voile, organdie, gingham, and all other fabrics should be worn.

We frequently err—miserably err—in our use of fabrics, and this is a pity. If we realized the important part that fabrics play in supplying our needs, in helping us to express individuality in dress, we would study them and respect them.

The textile industry is of great importance, being the third largest industry in the world. Hundreds and hundreds of people of artistic ability lend their energies toward making beautiful fabrics, and the woman who knows how much skill and effort are put into the creating of one yard of silk, of one yard of wool, or of a bit of lace cannot handle a piece of material without experiencing a certain amount of reverence and respect. When she has this feeling or attitude toward materials, she will almost intuitively know how to use them properly.

Fabric and its color may be said to control the lines and the purpose of a garment, for, as you will readily see, the design of a garment depends considerably on the weight of the fabric and its colors.

To illustrate my point, let us take a fluffy, airy fabric. Such fabric at once suggests a design of frills and puffs. Such a design, in turn, controls the garment lines, because frills and puffs in nowise conform to the silhouette of the figure. Also, if such fabric is of a light shade or a brilliant hue, it will bring to mind a garment for evening wear, as such colors appear best in artificial light If it is white, or of a dark or subdued shade, it may suggest a dress for morning or afternoon wear.

Again, lines that conform to the silhouette of one's figure are suggested by tailoring fabrics or materials, because the weight of such fabrics will not bear development in either full or pretentious styles, it being necessary to press them firm and flat to bring out their real beauty."  

The mannequin next to the poster displayed a dress honoring the 1925 fashion season. The dress was rayon, shapeless, and accented with a low black vinyl belt. The hemline was about four inches below the knee, and the neckline was plunging with a large crepe tie decorating the neck and plummeting below the belt-line. The pattern was floral on a light salmon fabric, with a light scattering of design on the upper half, and the print more clustered toward the skirt and trimmed with coral at the hemline. The sleeves were long, slightly bagged at the wrist and cuffed with Georgette crepe. The model was topped with a narrow-brimmed cloche accented by a flamboyant bow. The bow style was considered by some to be an indication of the wearers status. Flamboyancy was considered a beckoning call to men, while a tight-knotted modest bow was considered that of a contented, married woman.

Siofra commented immediately, saying "I can hardly wait till the day I can wear something like that."

Nessa replied, "Fashions change quickly, and by the time you're a young woman, the flapper may not be in vogue."

"Oh well...I look better in trousers and a tunic top anyways."

Elaine laughed and spoke, "My dear Siofra. You won't feel that way once you develop a figure...and you're well on your way." She was referring to the fact that although Siofra was only fourteen, she was already showing two modest but shapely bosoms. 

Adjacent to the rayon display stood the new Maytag wringer washer. Wringer washers were now beginning to sell to the wider public. This new version boasted the new vaned agitator.  There was no more washboarding or dragging. The Gyrafoam was born.

Being still the month of November, the ladies were not under undo pressure to make all their Christmas purchases. They looked at this shopping trip as more of a social event, and celebration of Esther's recovery. 

Tatjana did purchase a wallet for Petro and Nessa bought her father a modern dark-blue spread-collar shirt and a silk bow-tie of McNeills of Bara tartan. Siofra was busy buying treats for herself and Esther, including a couple of Kandy Kakes.

They arrived at the hospital a little after four-thirty, went to the fourth floor and was in a short time met with the Doctor, a young man, who must have been out of medical school for a short time.

"Hello, I am Dr. Onderdonk. Which one of you is Esther's mother?"

Elaine identified herself and calmly waited for an update on Esther's condition.

"We are very glad that she is able to go home with you Mrs. Tiller. The infection on her left thigh has subsided. There is some infected tissue but it is not spreading. She is well bandaged and dressed. We would like you to come in once a week to have things looked over and on each visit she will be cleaned and re-dressed. There is some affiliated weakness in the adjacent muscles and there is still a great deal of discomfort. I will supply you with pain-killers that Esther can take as needed. She will also be given crutches to ease the strain on her left leg. I would recommend for her to sit as much as possible with her leg elevated. Light exercise will be good for the recuperation of her leg, but let her do anything too strenuous. If she wants to bath make sure she bathes only in lukewarm water. Do you have any questions before Esther leaves the hospital?"

"We are getting into the cold weather Dr. Onderdonk, is there anything we have to consider regarding her going outside or what is appropriate apparel?"

"Nothing out of the ordinary . The burn will be covered and dressed so I'm sure Esther will be fine outside, but she will naturally prefer to wear certain fabrics which will not irritate her skin, and her skirts, dresses or slacks should be loose fitting."

"Fine Dr. Onderdonk. I don't think i have any more questions. You've covered everything so well. Would you be able to make home calls if I fear that the wound is swelling or is overly sore."

"Absolutely. Call my office and I, or my nurse, Miss Chikamatsu, she actually likes being called Umiko, will come and attend to Esther."

"Wow...that's a mouthful Dr. Onderdonk."

"Yes...Umiko is a wonderful nurse. Her family has been in Canada for three generations. They came over as labourers...but Umiko's father  was one of the first Japanese men to go to medical school in Ontario."

"What a small world." replied Abigail. I know of him. He has stood up to the procurers of discrimination, and has spoken out against the limiting policies of the right to vote in Canada."

"Yes, you're correct. He was a member of the Issei. His father came over when most of the immigrants were young men. The government was strictly limiting the number of Japanese immigrants. After the initial influx, a lot of woman came over so they could begin families. Most of the young immigrants were fishermen and farmers coming from small villages, but they were literate and education became a high priority for them. Most of them came top the west coast, but some came here as labourers, textile workers and merchants." 

"I'd like to meet her."

"I'm sure the opportunity will arise."

Esther entered the visiting room and was embraced warmly by her mother. Everyone else waited for them to separate before they took the opportunity to enfold. 

Elaine with both her arms on Esther's shoulders, told her that Dr. Onderdonk had filled her in on everything and reassured her that there was nothing to worry about. Esther was not the worrying kind. She saw the entire ordeal as something of an adventure and thought that bringing home crutches was something of a privilege. If her burns had of involved facial scarring, which was a concern initially, her feelings might have been different. She knew how fortunate she was.

Siofra and Esther began to talk excitedly about the Santa Clause parade happening the next day. Esther promised Siofra that she would be there to see Siofra on the Peter pan float, as Tinkerbell. She joked with her, implying that everyone at school might take advantage of the opportunity to label her as Tinkerbell, for the foreseeable future.

"Oh..they wouldn't dare!", cried Siofa.

"Oh...I don't know about that. At least it's better than Captain Hook."

"Ha...", chuckled Siofra. 

Elaine then informed Esther about there intention to go to the Sunnyside Pavilion Restaurant.

"Really", said Esther excitedly. "That is so great. I'll be able to have something I haven't had since I got in here."

Sunnyside Park was a favourite place for most children in the Toronto of 1925. 

 New wharves, breakwalls, parklands, and streets had been developed recently by the Harbour Commission. Land had also been reclaimed by dredging the bottom of Lake Ontario and creating a new shoreline.  spanned a 3-kilometer strip along the waterfront. The Harbour Commission also created a new beach and bathing pavilion which was to be the focal point of the park. The  Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion had swimming areas with diving platforms and flotation devices. Seven exciting amusement rides had also been added to the park. Although there was a lake bathing area and pavilion, it was not being patronized as well as expected due to a couple of cool summers. So a heated pool opened next to the beach area this very summer under the name "Sunnyside Outdoor Natatorium".  It was the largest outdoor pool in the world.It could hold two-thousand swimmers at once! 

The park promoted entertainment that ranged from Ballet Canadienne and Ukraine song & dance, through dancing bears & trained seals, escape artists & magicians, female impersonators, and fireworks, to circus acrobats, pole-sitters, high-wire acts, various vaudeville performers,  community sing-alongs, aerial displays including parachutists and wing walkers and the great novelty bands of the time. Contests held were held for babies, dancer, dish washing, red-haired, freckle-faced kids, dogs in doll's clothes, and beauty. The Harbour Commission was promoting it's first Miss Toronto Beauty Pageant, to be held the following summer. 






 

The menu made different suggestions to different people. Yaryna needed assistance with the menu in it's entirety, as she was basically unfamiliar with a menu that was predominantly Canadian cuisine. Tatjana adapted to the list somewhat, being interested in the seafood portion. Abigail zeroed in on the more nutritional portion of the menu, and Elaine, an enthusiast of Italian food, looked over the pasta selections. Esther inherited her fathers love of fried chicken and Siofra like many young people adored the traditional hamburger. They all ordered accordingly. Yaryna, deciding not to be adventurous, went with a pot roast, and Abigail decided upon turkey stuffed peppers. Esther ordered fried chicken with what sounded like a delectable cream gravy, and Siofra ordered Grandma's Meatball Style Hamburger. Esther was impressed with the selection of Mediterranean food and decided upon potato gnocchi. 

The dinner was a glorious event and the contented group after enjoying their desserts of hazelnut cake, banana pudding and English custard. They went home with promises to do it all again before the festive season came to an end. Plans were made for Elaine, Paul and Esther to meet Abigail and Eamon at the Folkerts Deli near the northwest corner of University and College at ten o'clock shortly after Siofra was to be dropped off at the warehouse where she was to get into her costume. 

Parade day was sunny and clear, but with a nippy breeze coming from the northwest. Abigail and Eamon dropped Siofra off at the storehouse, having to honor a promise to Siofra.

"I'll be waving, so make sure you wave back. I told Esther to sit on her daddy's shoulders so I'll see her."

"We'll make sure and don't forget, we'll be right in front of the entrance to the museum, and I'll wave my blue scarf to make sure you see us."

Siofra knew the museum entrance from her numerous trips taken there with her class.

Chapter 11


Siofra was so glad to have taken the initiative, before her accident, of signing up for participation in the great Christmas parade.  She was pointed to the correct dressing room and there she met her section leader. Siofra was  overjoyed to be assigned to the Peter Pan float. She would play a starring role as Tinkerbell. Her costume was very simple. She felt like a ballet dancer. She wore light green chiffon tights with a small, green tutu skirt. Her wings were made with lace and paper, her ballet-like slippers were of white satin, tassled in gold. Her hair was tied back tightly tailed with a bright yellow ribbon. She was instructed to sit on a beautiful powder blue mushroom. She was not given rigid instruction. She was merely required to stay seated on the mushroom and wave to the spectators, and occasionally get up and prance lightly around the mushroom, as magically as possible. Siofra was not particularly light on her feet, but was determined not to embarrass herself. Peter Pan was a young boy, a few years older than Siofra, wearing the traditional Peter Pan costume, who was required to sit on the window-sill of a large room, that was made to like like a section of a mansion, the imaginary remains of the building depicted by a dense mass of ivy that crawled endlessly over the float. Some floats were motorized, but this on was drawn by two chesnut brown draught horses with handsome white stars, strips and snips. 

The cold breeze made Siofra a little chilly. Her section leader offered her a a pair of woolens, but Siofra wanted to be a convincing Tinkerbell and she considered herself hardy, when it comes to the cold. So on went the show, as the parade wound it's way through the city. As the Peter Pan float approached Wellesley Avenue Siofra was waving almost frantically. She was overwhelmed at all the little faces and all the beckoning arms. She felt an obligation to satisfy all the  bemused children, propped up on the shoulders of their father's. Siofra was elated at how easily she found her mother. There she was with her arm raised high, signalling the the aid of her Cambridge blue scarf , her neck stretching to see above the crowd in front of her. To her right was Paul Tiller and Elaine, holding Esthers crutches. Esther was raised high on Paul's shoulders nervously anticipating Siofra's arrival, very concerned at missing her as the float moved along assuredly. 

She first saw the tip of the dormer on Peter Pan's domicile and then as she shifted her eyes to the right she saw the powder blue mushroom. Finally, the bright yellow ribbon in Tinkerbell's hair caught her eye and she immediately began to wave frenetically. Siofra stood up and began prancing around the mushroom  keeping her eyes directed to her inspired friend. Eamon's face actually took on a glow, as the elation of the moment occupied his heart.

The parade concluded as Santa Claus reached the main entrance of Eaton's Queen Street Store.  The crowd was massive. Santa stood high on his throne overlooking the gateway, which was adorned with an immense Christmas tree, which reached the third story of the emporium.  The tree was guarded by candy trimmed soldiers.  The audience was at least twenty rows thick at both the north and south sides. Fifty feet past the float, the crowd totally saturated the street and went back as far as Bay Street, a full half block to the west. The parade in it's twentieth year was the cities piece de resistance. 


The investigation was proceeding, but very slowly as far as far as Eamon was concerned. There had been various meetings between the cities' magistrates office, the Ontario attorney generals office, Winston Harvey and Frank Newton. Due to the severity of the case the TPTC took on two lawyers on top of their standard legal staff to work as an advisory council. Eamon had not heard a word from Frank Newton or his immediate supervisor, Wally Paterson. Eamon was inclined to be closed mouth about the whole matter, but his impatience got the best of him, as he went to Mr. Paterson and inquired about the progress of the case.

The reply, not to Eamon's surprise was,  "No one's talked to me up to this point. I'll certainly update you as soon as I hear anything."

Eamon was sure this was hogwash, but he decided just to carry on with his duties and keep his eyes and ears open. After a while, not having heard anything,  it occurred to him that maybe everything would just wash over.

Would that be possible...or was it just a pipe dream. It most certainly must be naive to consider the possibility...but the thought always hovered over him like a teasing ray of sunshine on an overcast and cold winter day. 

34634

EAMON MEETS HIS LAWYER

On a quiet Wednesday evening the call came. Wadanhyll Iasonas, the legal specialist hired by the TPTC contacted Eamon by telephone and made arrangements to meet him. They were to meet at the carhouse the following evening along with Frank Newton and Wally Paterson. Mr. Iasonas felt that he had been briefed very thoroughly and felt confident that the deceased driver of the streetcar, Alan Haggerty and the late driver of the truck, Mr. McCausland, were to be the focus of the investigation, rather than the liability of the TPTC regarding safety and maintenance. Of course, this could not be guaranteed and he warned that all bases must be covered. Firstly, the Bloor-Danforth subway had been shutdown the day before the accident, and had be re-opened the following day. Should it have been re-opened? At the meeting, Frank Newton insisted that if the streetcar had of been traveling at a safe speed, the accident would not have happened. The flagman, Jeffrey Piedmont, was at a loss for words regarding the fact that both drivers seemed oblivious to his signaling. The apparent negligence of Mr. Haggerty raised the question, was his carelessness a result of his own incompetence or was he poorly trained? This could become the crux of the case. The fact that the open switch was left open, was an issue, been it seemed logically that the speed of the streetcar was the overriding factor. 

The switchman, Garnett Rushby, had already made a public statement, which was made without authority of management, that he had closed the switch. After inspection of the switching device it was inconclusive of whether or not the switch was defective at the time of the accident. 

Another issue he discussed with Mr. Newton, was the fact that the controller had no previous warning or update on the status of the tracks at the viaduct. With this information, it seems likely that he would have been traveling much slower to prepare for the switchover. 

The other aspect of the case, separate from the accident itself was the entire process of the Peter Witt car. How was the purchase of these vehicles made, what process was taken, and why was there no way of escaping the vehicle, other than by the middle-door lever, which was also ill-designed? The design had been purchased by the Ottawa Rail Manufacturing Authority and the Roux of Montreal Manufacturing Company.

The design of the center door exit only system was questionable and the responsibility of the conductor was increased because of this. No one had talked to Mr. Gordon Buytaert, the head of operations for the TPTC up to this point, so clearly this part of the investigation had to be opened, which might create another huge issue, very affecting to the reputation of the organization. 

As these topics were discussed, the entire case seemed to get cloudier and cloudier. It became clear that the investigation would not necessarily hinge on the findings of the case, but on what particular issues were prioritized by the respective lawyers, and which team of lawyers was most perceptive in predicting the next move of their opponents. It was a chess game. 

Richard Quelch had preliminary meetings with Mr. Buytaert and Mr. Newton, but had yet to show his cards. It remained a question whether or not he would go lower down the line and talk to Eamon, Mr. Piedmont, Mr. Rushby or Mr. Paterson. The initial hearing was not to be held for about two months so there was lots of time for interviews and research, and unfortunately for Eamon and his associates, nail-biting. What made it even more stressful for Eamon, was the fact that the prosecutors were representing the public at large, as their hearts were obviously with the souls of the deceased and their poor suffering families. He knew that the TPTC was a responsible organization, and he feared for their reputation. Recently publicity made the TPTC out to be the "bad guys" and he knew that one way or another, they would have to pay. He wished he had the capacity to grow with the situation and establish a role as a compromising figure, joining the two forces into a solution forming team. He knew this was only wishful thinking.  

Abigail knew that this entire situation was putting Eamon into a more volatile emotional condition. He had not discussed the investigation with her, nor had he showed much enthusiasm for the upcoming festive season, other than mentioning that he had enjoyed seeing Siofra in the parade. It seemed that his soft spot was for Siofra. There was something about her free-spiritedness and resiliency that  conquered his heart. In some Abigail knew that Siofra would play an important role in keeping Eamon stable and coherent over the next few months. 

When he arrived home from the meeting, Abigail initiated a discussion, which she felt was out of necessity.

"Did you clear anything up at the meeting, dear?", she inquired.

"Not really", uttered Eamon sparingly. 

Abigail realized the conversation had quickly stalled, so she broke the silence.

"How did Mr. Iasonas seem."

"He was nice. He tried to be reassuring."

"Did he give any idea of what he thought the upcoming charges might be?"

"No, but he seems to think the focus will be on the driver, Alan Haggerty and the driver of the truck, Jerome McCausland. he seems to think the liability of the TPTC will be minimalized...but actually I think he's full of bologna. Maybe he was just trying to console us. I mean...someone has to pay."

Abigail was very pleasantly surprised that Eamon was speaking up, and actually taking a stand. 

Abigail wanted to continue the conversation and be supportive as well.

"I think that the safety issue of the streetcar itself should go higher up and involve Mr. Buytaert. I mean...if there was an issue with the unloading of the car, that goes right down to the design, not the maintenance."

Eamon was glad to hear her comment.

"That's smart of you Abbie, you could be right. Certainly the design was at fault. I think most involved saw the exiting system to be questionable, but no one thought it was critical enough to play a role in such a tragic accident. The TPTC might be called naive, but not negligent."

Abigail chuckled, and then stopped herself.

"I shouldn't be laughing dear, but I've never seen a corporation charged with naivety."

Eamon managed a smile. "I think the prosecutor will find a way of twisting into negligence on the part of someone. All we can do is be honest and show complete respect and reverence for those who have suffered. If we don't portray ourselves as  empathetic, we will get slaughtered."

"I know you're worried...but don't let it get you down. You are a good technician. Your work has never been questioned. If your honest you will be seen as a helpful part of the procedure. It is not your job to redesign the product. You fix what is broken, and report any foreseeable problems. You have done that."

Eamon still felt a degree of responsibility. He knew the release for the middle doors was too resistant. He did lubricate it, but he suspected that wasn't enough...but that was all he could do other than go to Mr. Newton and take a strong stance, in recommending a call-back on the cars. He could have at least tried.  He was doing his job, but a good man does more than that he thought. The loss of lives tormented him.




The honoring of Siofra's courage, the hospitalization of Siofra and Esther, the meeting and befriending the Zahorchaks, the accident investigation, as well as the accelerating activities of the holiday season, kept the Conor's busier and more occupied, physically and emotionally then they could ever remember. One thing that crossed Siofra's mind was the fact of the accident and her presence in it. Her parents had been so immersed in dealing with the aftermath that they never got around to discussing it with her. They were not particularly strict with her, but did demand she always let them know where she was going and when. Her mother often refrained from challenging her. She was more apt to discuss "living lessons" with her as an intellectual exercise, hoping she would practice the correct procedures over the long term. Eamon was more likely to remain completely mum, or blurt out an angry reaction to a particular shortcoming, depending on his mood. Siofra wondered if her trip on the Bloor-Danforth tripper would ever be questioned. She supposed that because of her suffering, the topic was immediately dropped. Would she ever be questioned for the purpose of the investigation? Maybe she'll be asked about visibility, or whether or not she saw the flagman herself, and how quickly. Surely if she saw him a certain distance before the turnaround, it would be assumed that the driver had as well. 

Her questioned was partly answered. Abigail approached her on a quiet Friday afternoon, as soon as she arrived home from school. It was a much anticipated day, as it was the final school day before Christmas vacation. Siofra was now off school until the fifth day of January. She didn't particularly mind school. She socialized easily, got along with teachers, and studies came easily. However the holidays meant lots of time for adventure and time to spend with friends, in particular Esther. Ever since the accident Esther and Siofra had inherited an almost undetachable bond. Not only that, Siofra felt a responsibility to carry things for Esther and help her with any physical challenges, resulting from the fact that she  was still requiring the use of crutches. Abigail felt that seeing as it was the beginning of a period of time for Siofra that was full of idle time, that she would confirm a few things.

"Siofra, let's sit in the kitchen and have a chat. I'll pour you a glass of milk and I'll make some tea."

"OK mom", replied Siofra, not expecting a conversation of any particular sort. it was not unusual for Abigail to generate a conversation with a degree of formality.

They both sat, Siofra immediately grabbing her glass and taking a gulp which consumed almost half the amount.

"We have never discussed something my dear. Naturally the accident was horrific and we are all so grateful that things did not come out worse for you...but you should not have been on that streetcar. Thank God you were, for the sake of so many. However you went out in the middle of the afternoon without telling us where you were going and what you were up to. We don't demand much from you. Sometimes you go away for a half an hour or so and we don't make an issue of it. This time you crossed Bathurst, visited a friend and then took her on a streetcar ride. I must ask you what provoked this?"

Siofra sat quietly, not knowing what to say. She actually was at a loss, because she legitimately did not know why it happened. it was just a spontaneous act, that did not proceed thought. 

She finally uttered, "I'm really sorry Mom. I just went outside and didn't really plan anything. I went to Esther's just to say hi for a few minutes. Then we went for a walk, and before you know it we jumped on the streetcar. I guess I got on the second car 'cause it was going to the viaduct which i had heard was all flooded. I wanted to see it. It was just something to do. I didn't really think I was going to get into trouble. I just wasn't thinking."

"It appears that you weren't... because the holidays are starting, you're going to have a lot of free time. I'm going to have to make some rules, and i expect you to follow them. They are really nothing new, but I want you to take them a little more seriously. If you leave our property for any reason you have to let me or father know. You must go where you're saying and we will let you know how much time we will allow you. If you are going to Esther's house you must stay on the Tiller's property unless Mrs. Tiller calls me and lets me know otherwise. This is not unfair, it is just being responsible, and relieves your father and I of a lot of worry. Understand?"

"That's no problem at all, Mom. I'll never leave again without telling you."

"That's fine dear. Don't get me wrong, I'm not angry, I'm just concerned and don't want anything out of sorts to happen again."

36668

The girls came downstairs, expecting to sit down to a quiet breakfast...but something caught their eye as soon as they reached the threshold. A majestic piece of furniture stood proudly in front of the Christmas tree. 

Nessa was immediately aware of what she was seeing. Siofra on the other hand, suspected it was something quite special, but was uncertain what is was.

Chapter 12

CHRISTMAS at the Conor's
Christmas at the Conor's was traditional, if not somewhat platitudinous. Abigail was an orthodox Christian, who believed in the spiritual celebration of the season, but went along with the festive and secular occasions as a matter of social harmony. Eamon looked forward to being the one to hand out the gifts on Christmas morning. This was an opportunity to play the role of head of the household, a role that appealed to him, but one which he had not nourished. His own father over-played the role, being authoritative and simplistically arrogant. During his youth, Eamon saw his father as a man of reputation and though he feared him, it accompanied respect. As he grew older he began to see his father as foolhardy, blustering and almost comical. Unfortunately, upon this realization, Eamon was not prepared to dethrone his father. He did not feel that his own life had the substance and stability to guide him through this new course. So now Eamon had the opportunity to celebrate family and exchange love and goodwill, which was in his heart, but was not something he outwardly revealed. Nessa saw Christmas as a time to flaunt good taste and sophistication. Her mannerisms of proper etiquette were actually a compliment to the slightly mundane style of her family. Siofra was without question the one who added to the Christmas season an inexhaustible energy, bordering on giddiness. She would prove to have the capacity to bring out the liveliness in her sister and parents, bring them closer together and actual show to them all the potential the family had to be a happy mosaic.

Christmas morning began with Siofra and Nessa awakening to stuffed stockings beside their pillows. Siofra excitedly went through her sock, not really giving herself a chance to appreciate each gift for it's own peculiaarity. She first found a perfume bead necklace, and then a package of koka buds, a popular milk chocolate treat.. Beside her stocking were two books wrapped in ribbon. they were a pair of Marjorie Dean novels, Marjorie Dean, College Freshman, and Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore. Marjorie Dean is an eponymous character, the protagonist of a series of books written by Pauline Lester. They were slightly more mature than what she had been reading, and this delighted her. Deeper in her sock was another selection of jewelry, a set of gold filled beauty pins.  

Nessa had a similar experience, finding fancy bar pin set with brilliants, a personally monographed W aterman fountain pen, a package of creamy Victory Toffee and a book entitled Instead of a Thorn, by Georgette Heyer. Her historical romance novels were inspired by Jane Austen and she became the literary story of the year.

The girls came downstairs, expecting to sit down to a quiet breakfast...but something caught their eye as soon as they reached the threshold. A majestic piece of furniture stood proudly in front of the Christmas tree.

Nessa was immediately aware of what she was seeing. Siofra on the other hand, suspected it was something quite special, but was uncertain what is was.

Nessa was mindful of Siofra's confusion, and smiled commodiously at her. 

"What is it Nessa?" she asked. 

"Can't you guess? It's what you always wanted."

Siofra ran up to it and as soon as she saw the implementation inside the top cover she knew it was a phonograph.

"Is this for me?", she cried hopefully.

Eamon walked a bit closer to the phonograph and explained.

"Well, not exactly. It's for everyone. I wanted the family to have one this year. I knew you wanted one as well of course, but I couldn't afford to get this, and then turn around and buy everyone gifts for themselves."

"I don't care about that, as long as I can use it. I'm going to have to start saving up for some records."

"As a matter of fact I bought a few records, a little bit of everything so each of us will have one to play that we like. I hope I made a good choice."

He handed a selection of records to Siofra and she began to browse through them. First was The Banks of Green Willow, a short orchestral impressionistic work by George Butterworth. He was a well-known English composer. Abigail had mentioned her interest in his music, as well as that of Gustav Holst and Vaughan Williams. The other were modern popular music. One of them was Nights When I am Lonely, by the Boswell Sisters. They were the rage and Nessa thought they were stylish and sophiosticated. Eamon had always liked swing bands, but was not inclined to listen to novelty bands who were square, in his opinion. Much to her father's satisfaction, Siofra had grown to like swing and even jazz, and thought about learning the saxophone. She had heard the  all-girl band Helen Lewis and Her All-Girl Jazz Syncopators.   Eamon was unable to find one of their records, but did purchase Manda, by Harold Lewis and His Windsor Hotel Orchestra, as well as Limehouse Blues, by the Melody Kings Dance Orchestra. Nessa jumped in first asking if she could hear Connie Boswell. Abigail stepped in, suggesting they sit down for breakfast , open presents and then they would have lots of time to listen to the recordings.

Eamon was very excited about the purchase of this unique phonograph. A year previously , under pressure from radio and the Autograph Records company, the Victor company switched from the old acoustical or mechanical method of recording sound to the new microphone-based electrical system developed by Western Electric. Victor called their version of the improved fidelity recording process "Orthophonic", and sold a line of new designs of phonographs to play these improved records, called "Orthophonic Victrolas". The large top-of-the-line "Credenza" models of Orthophonic Victrolas had a six foot long horn coiled inside the cabinet. Victor electric recordings began being issued in the spring of this very year. However, in order to manufacture a sufficient supply of the electric recordings to satisfy anticipated demand and to allow dealers to liquidate their stock of acoustic recordings, Victor and its rival, Columbia, agreed to keep secret from the public, until the end of 1925, the fact that the recordings using this new process offered a vast improvement over the older acoustical recordings. With a large advertising campaign, Victor introduced its Orthophonic records on "Victor Day", November 2, 1925.

It was perfect timing for the Christmas season.  It was likely motivated by ego, which occurs when a man is in a melancholy state. As the idea of an extravagant gift takes hold, it becomes almost an emotional panacea. It seemed appropriate as well as a celebratory gift honoring Siofra's survival and courage.  

The family retired to a tasty breakfast of scotch eggs, toast with lemon butter and a side plate of fruit salad, with a touch of chocolate sauce.  

They followed breakfast with an exchange of a few more gifts. Eamon was very thankful for his shirt and bow-tie, managing to comment on the fact that the navy-blue shirt and tie were very modern and appreciated the fact that he would be able to dress in style. Abigail gave Eamon a very dignified dark Oxford Grey double breasted Ulster Overcoat, belted, with an Italian twill lining. He was overwhelmed. Siofra supplemented this beautiful coat with a soft all-wool muffler, khaki hued with a cinnamon and smoke band,  which went perfectly with his coat.

Presents  

Abigail was humbled at receiving from Eamon, a Velveteen hand bag, with a silk tassel and silver plated frame. He also gave her a sterling silver wishbone brooch, which touched her for its sentiment. She gave him a sincere but cautious hug, which was an outburst coming from her.  

Siofra gave her  a crushed metal silver bon-bon dish with some Quaker old-fashioned chocolates, enough to fill it to the top and more. She would also be able to use it as a vanity  accessory. Nessa gave her a silk pile velvet sailor hat, with a medium-high crown, very popular with the Suffragettes. It was accessorized with a fancy feather and glycerined ostrich band. Abigail was not unaware of the keen style of this gift and expressed congratulations to Nessa for the appropriateness of the choice. 

Nessa was surprised at the libation of English cashmere hose from Siofra. 

"I'm so surprised at your excellent taste, thank you so much."

"Why would you be surprised?", Siofra asked.

"Oh...I didn't mean anything by it, i just didn't know you were that up on fashion.", she said kindly, being careful not to be offensive.

"You'd be surprised sister!"

They both laughed, as Siofra opened her offering from Nessa. It was a cozy pair of tobogganing mitts. 

"Nothing special," commented Nessa. "But they're warm and you really needed a pair."

Nessa was thankful, so thankful in fact that she gave Nessa a comforting hug. 

She held off on opening the gift from her mother, to prolong the excitement. She opened it frantically and was overwhelmed at the beauty of what she saw. It was a delightful frock of taffeta silk, with quaint ruffles on a full skirt, with elbow sleeves and vest. The tuck was adorned with pearl buttons and the collar was of cream lace tabs. It was finished off with a belt with a jaunty bow. 

She almost cried. Before Abigail could comment, Siofra was half way up the stairs, eager to try it on. While she was up stairs, Nessa opened her gift from Mother, that was in a large festive box. It was sheer elegance. She stared at the shiny Havana brown Dongola kid lace boots, with a dashing Louis kid covered heel, vanity plate and invisible eyelets.

"I have never seen anything so sheik, mother. You are so generous. I couldn't have asked for anything nicer."

She proceeded towards her mother and gave her a warm embrace. 

Then Siofra came downstairs looking engaging and feminine in her new habit. Despite how wonderfully she looked, and how perfectly it fit, there was a chuckle from the audience. 

"What's so funny?", a disappointed Siofra asked. 

"Oh, it's nothing", reassured her mother. "You looked as cute as a button, and even glamorous, dear. ..but your hair is a tussled mess. It's a little comical, that's all."

Siofra  could not help but to smile. 

"I'll have to go up and fix it. then I'll call Esther over and show it to her. I hope she can come."

"I'm sure she has to be with her family today dear. Maybe tomorrow."

The family Christmas dinner in this year of 1925, could be considered subdued by usual standards. Usually there were guest of some description. Nessa, the previous year, invited an overseas student, who had no family to spend the festive season with. The year before there was a massive storm in Toronto, and an associate of Eamon's on temporary staff at the TPTC, could not get back to his family for Christmas. A friend of Abigails', a member of one of the womens' leagues, was invited to Christmas dinner, a number of years back. Eamon's brother, shortly after his separation from his wife of six years, spent the holiday season with them. 

This year of course many factors led to the demise of the Christmas gathering as was the tradition. Outside of Abigail, all the members of the family faced well recognized challenges and the Christmas season crept up on them rather quickly, with little time for special. As the family gathered around the table, they all sensed in some way that this reticent holiday was meant to be, and very special in a modest way. 

Abigail asked Eamon to bring the Yuletide turkey to the table. He carried it in, noticing the weight to be substantial. It proved to be quite a stately centerpiece. 

"It's beautiful. i hate to have it carved!"

She looked at Eamon and passed him the carving knife. 

"I would like you to do the honours, dear, after grace."

"My pleasure dear."

Abigail, sat to the left of Eamon, at the table side, facing Eamon almost directly ahead, and looking into the kitchen over his right shoulder. 

"Dear Lord," she started. "We are delighted that our faith in you has given us peace and hope, through many trials and tribulations. We sit here with a bounty of blessings before us, knowing there are many families, many in this very city, who are doing without, or are dealing with tragedy this very day. We will never take this wonderful advantage for granted, and we promise to share our plentifulness. 

God bless our family...may this repast be a celebration of our love for you, Lord.

Amen

Chapter 13


CHRISTMAS DINNER BRIDGE

38468

NEXT- The investigation

The TPTC, and the people's representative were awaiting the results of the motions against the various parties. There were individual motions against three individuals, Jerome McCausland, of Murdoch's Fuels, Alan Haggerty of the TPTC and Garnet Rushby of the TPTC. The two drivers could be deemed to be distracted from attentive driving, inattentive, overly fatigued (according to regulations) and under the influence of narcotics or drugs. There were also motions against the TPTC under various criteria. Firstly there was a road condition motion, claiming the roads were unsafe for the tracks to be operating safely. There was a second motion against them for improper training and discipline, referring to the operator, Alan Haggerty. The third motion was for faults in structural integrity, emergency exit design (failure) and a high flammability factor, regarding the Peter Witt vehicle 2666. Murdoch's Fuels was cited with one charge of improper driver evaluation.

The awards could be paid on the basis of medical expenses, lost income, physical and psychological pain. There was a second administrative procedure and legal matter being handled strictly by the city for damage done to adjacent property, around the scene of the accident. 

The individual case against Mr. McCausland was dropped because there was no eye witness other than the flagman, who although suspicious of the driver, he had no way of verifying the speed he was driving, and his safety record was flawless. However, when the truck exploded, the gas that did not burn or erupt, poured into the sewers. So as was the case with the streetcar, a structural survey was performed, so ensure that Murdoch Fuels was using suitable equipment. Extreme caution had to be exercised after the explosion to avoid further explosions resulting from the residue. 

The conductor of the streetcar, Mr. Whit Shortt, who survived after being treated for severe burns and lacerations,  did substantiate that the driver had the streetcar going much too fast, approximately twenty miles per hour over the appropriate speed. Mr. Shortt noticed the flagman and assumed that Mr. Haggerty saw him, as his eyes appeared to be looking in the immediate direction. 

With the death of Mr. Haggerty and the obvious effects on his family, the charges were placed on the TPTC, primarily because of his ten previous safety infractions and a notified record of three correctional interviews. Garnet Rushby was not indicted as he had the track switch in the turnaround position, which was required for the safe co-ordination of the traffic. 

The judge decided on two final indictments. The structural integrity of the vehicle was left to another investigation. Although there were questions regarding the design of the Peter Witt car, it's impeccable safety record up to that time, which was a relatively short duration, and the complete co-operation of the manufacturer, it was decided that the evaluation of necessary safety device changes would be left up to the manufacturer and advisors.

Indictment one was against the TPTC for poor implementation of it's road safety policy. The entire system was down the day before due to flooding but the conditions appeared to have improved enough for the cars to run the following day. The judge ruled that the prosecutors could proceed with a motion of negligence against Frank Newton and Gordon Buytaert representing the TPTC. The second indictment was also against the TPTC for improper training and discipline, in allowing Alan Haggerty to operate the vehicle. 

When Eamon read the corporate memorandum he experienced very mixed feelings. He knew that the TPTC was going to take quite a financial hit, and would receive a lot of bad publicity. He was also aware of the inevitability of this conclusion and hoped that the victims received appropriate compensation, some of which he would receive himself for Siofra's injury. His technical skill might be utilized by the company in it's modifications of the trolley, which was a challenge but one that motivated him. 

The final decision would not likely take too long, and it was quite clear that the only question remaining was how much money would be allocated to the victims.


The Conor' phone rang and Siofra ran to it, expecting it to be one of her schoolmates. To her disappointment it was for Nessa.

"Good evening, Siofra, this is Petro Zahorchak, I would like to speak to Nessa, if she is in."

"Yes, she is upstairs. Please wait for just a second."

Siofra ran upstairs conscious of the fact that this was a personal call of some significance. Although Nessa was generally tight-lipped regarding her personal affairs, it seemed to Siofra that this was not a business call, but one involving courting. 

"Nessa, it's Petro Zahorchak on the phone."

"Petro Zahorchak?"

Nessa was very likely energized by the call, but it was not in her nature to run to the phone in a giddy state of excitement. She calmly walked to the phone and answered.

"Hello Petro...to what do I owe this call."

"I'm so glad I got you in Nessa. Did I get you a good time.?

"Oh...perfectly, I was just puttering about...I hadn't got down to my books as yet."

"Oh..well...that's good. I thought i would tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed our walk before Christmas, and I feel that I have been neglecting the opportunity to get in touch with you. You are very lovely and intelligent and forthright in conversation..."

He paused and before he was able to continue, Nessa broke in. 

"Thank you so much Petro, I enjoyed it thoroughly as well, and I found you very patient in putting up with my style of conversation. I consider it important to be proper at all times, which my dear mother insists upon, but i must have been slightly monotonous."

"Far from it Nessa...far from it. As a matter of fact I have chosen you to be my guest at the opening of a A Doll's House at the Royal Alexandra, if you would be so kind to accept my humble invitation. The opening is two Fridays from this coming. I assume you are familiar with it."

"Absolutely Petro! I graciously accept your invitation. I have not attended the Royal yet, it has been something I've wanted to do for a long while. I have found time to attend many concerts at the Massey have haven't experienced live theater. I have read Ibsen's play and there is not a play that I'd rather see."

"Well I'm so glad your able to come Nessa. It will be quite an event. If you don't mind, I will give you a call in the next few days and we can go for a coffee...maybe down to Mulligan's. Would that suit you."

"For sure Petro, I'd be delighted. I look forward to your call."

"Fine Nessa, looking forward to seeing you again. Good-bye."

39644

"Nessa's got a boyfriend!"

Nessa heard this brattish remark coming from the bottom of the stairs. She was impelled to wise-crack Siofra back, likely something in reference to the fact that she was somewhat of a Tomboy. However, she resigned herself, deciding not to take part in childish bickering. Nessa was growing up. 

"Petro and i went for a stroll, as you likely remember. and he enjoyed my company. He has invited me to the Royal Alexandra Theatre to see a new Rodgers and Hart musical called Dearest Enemy."

Suddenly the Siofra's tone changed and she became an admirer.

"You're going to the Royal? Oh, you're so lucky. Take me, take me."

Nessa laughed, "Don't be silly Siofra. I'm sure Petro only has a pair of tickets,  and he wouldn't want you along anyways. He's courting me."

"I wonder what it's like in there. None of my friends have been either. I bet it's like a grand opera house."

"I'm sure it is. It would be marvelous to get one of those balcony seats, at the side, overlooking the edge of the stage...but of course I'll be glad to sit anywhere."

Chapter 14

PETRO and NESSA go to MULLIGAN's

Petro contacted Nessa a few days later, and they planned on going to Mulligan's, a popular cafe at the bottom of bathurst. He was fortunate to be able to borrow his father's vehicle. It was a strange looking automobile. It was a Renault 40. Nessa told him to drive up to the curb and wait for her, rather than taking the laneway down the backstreet. When he pulled up, Nessa was ready and immediately hopped out the front door, from the accessory room that protruded from the living room. It was a small but handy addition to the home, having a pair of chairs and large windows, so two members of the family to sit, chat and look up the south side of Helena Ave., with a view to Bracondale. Nessa was struck by what she saw. The Renault was long and narrow with a high windshield with an open-air driver's compartment. Behind the front pair of seats was a glassed-in secondary compartment with it's own dual windshield. The running board was long and wide, and above the portable roof of the secondary compartment, was a steel rail. Nessa pondered it wondering if was just decoration, or was it possibly a rack fro travelling accessories. The car was a glistening burgundy and a had a unique combination of sportiness and elegance.

Petro got out of the car and greeted her, gently clutching her held out hand.

"This is quite a car, Petro. I've never seen anything quite like it."

"It's a 1922. My Father bought it off a man he works with at the coal company."

Oh, he works for a coal company. I didn't hear him mention it at our dinner party."

He graciously let Nessa in her side of the vehicle, then positioned himself, and the car pulled away.

"Yes. he works for Elias Rogers Coal and Wood. It's on the south side of Esplanade East at Berkeley.  It's quite a business. Rogers gets his coal from Pennsylvania, and has two huge sawing and splitting machines for his lumber products. Apparently he's got the largest coal sheds in Canada. It's a very reputable business, and I could start work there after I graduate. I would not mind being on the administrative side of things, and I could learn about exporting and importing...but I really don't think it's my cup of tea...I'm really more suited to educational administration."

"Whay kind of career is there in educational administration?"

"Well, Howard Ferguson is the new Premier, which I'm sure you're well aware, and is also the Education Minister. He is very high on private investment and natural resource development...but he created controversy with a bill that restricted the French language in the public school system. He was being criticized for being anti-Catholic and anti-Francophone, so he had to compromise in order to get enough support. I'm glad for that, I'm all for bilingualism."

"I kept my French option. I took my last course last year. I can read French quite well, but my speaking French is poor."

"Let me give you a try, Nessa. I'm looking forward to Dearest Enemy 'la semaine prochaine' ."

"Ummm...let's see... la semaine...de prochaine...ah...I got it. it's next week. Semaine refers to week and prochaine is a future tense."

"Congratulation, you have passed!"

Nessa giggled, quickly quieted herself and explained. "French is a very handy language in the fashion business."

"Gabrielle Chanel is changing the fashion business. She has a beautiful home in the Balsan where the hunting elite meet. It is rumored that they bring along mistresses and buy the decorated hats. She opened up a store in Paris about fifteen years ago.  She has come out with a very practical and simple line of sportswear. The War changed things because woman wanted durable, comfortable clothes. She opened the market for things like fannel blazers, straight linen skirts, sailor tops, long jersey sweaters and skirt-jackets. She actually used men's wera as a guideline for her designs."

"I've seen what you've described in some of the lastest movies. I saw Gloria Swanson in My American Wife a while ago, her clothes were quite vamp."

"Absolutely, Hollywood is America's showpiece for the latest French fashion. I'm working on a design based on her simple day dress-and-coat ensembles. I'm experimenting with various beading sdesigns. That is part of my graduation portfolio, as well as a more formal evening dress in jet-embroidered tulle."

"Pardon me?", Petro asked as he briefly looked her way.

"Oh...I guess you wouldn't have clue what that is. Well...it's a silk embroidery of bituminous black."

"I should have figured that out, I didn't think it had anything to do with airplanes."

Well, I suppose airplane designs could be embroidered on a dress, that would be sporting."

Petro chucked, then asked her about her prospective career.

"I haven't planned anything specifically, but I'm hoping I can jump right in to designing rather than tailoring. I'm also looking into articling with Harper's Bazaar. That would a dream come true. There's also Vogue and Delineator."

"Chanel has introduced a new line of perfumes as well. and it's an up and coming business. I've thought a bit about that as well. Chanel is a quite a woman. Her new line of Chanel Number 5 was shown for the first time May the fifth, May being the fifth month. She thought that would ensure the success of the line."

40676

This meeting was informal, Petro thinking they would have a short get together, in order to get to know each other a little better, before they went on their more prodigious engagement the following week.

It was early Saturday evening and a coffee at Mulligan's would be unspectacular but the environment was friendly, and it seemed that at Mulligan's everyone knew everyone else.

Mulligan's was the third unit in a strip of four row houses, with a modest entranceway, a single gothic dormer above with Tudor framing. The first sense that Nessa got was that of the relative masculinity of Mulligan's compared to that of Isadora's.  Mulligan's triple windows were trimmed with dark green and above the door was inscribed Mulliagan's, A Home Away From Home. Four bicycles were parked in front, the owners of the two-wheeled vehicles obviously being local, otherwise a bicycle would be unsuitable transportation in the month of January.  Normally a meeting place such as Mulligan's would have a large sign, hoisted from the outer wall peering over the sidewalk, in order to attract visitors. Bergin O'Keeffe however, was  an owner of little fanfare. He relied on word of mouth and the loyalty of friends. He did not even bother with a menu. Te condiments that were served with his coffees and teas were developed over the years from customer requests. Everyone sampling the wares of Mrs. O'Keeffe would feel that each one of them was prepared for themin mindo only.

The seemingly compatible pair were able to grab a table at the window, which looked out over the foot of Bathurst Street. In the distance was the coal yard, where Petro's father was employed.

"See that wooden tower, just past that row of three hydro poles. That's part of the conveyor for the coal at Father's plant."

"That's looks like a large yard. "

"It is. There's sixteen separate rail bays for boxcars to be loaded and shipped out by CP. Of course they can use the bays for local delivery. They've just got a new line of Dodge trucks. All the horses are retired."


The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was founded in 1919 in Kiev.

"Our church has about twelve eparchies in the Kiev area back home.  We didn't name a patriarch because we were working to try and unite all the Orthodox Churches. We have been very dissatisfied by the way the Vatican has treated us. The Russian orthodox Mission in Canada does not provide services in our native language. So the Canadian Greek Orthodox Church has been established. We know have a brotherhood and have just appointed our second Sobor. His name is Metropolitan John Theodorovych."

"Sobor?".

"Yes...the Sobor is our Bishop."

"I guess you know from Mother a little about our religion. My father's family practiced the gospel of the Church of Ireland, and my Mother's followed the doctrine of the Church of England.  So they both inherited the Anglican Communion."


"Are you going to Church tomorrow morning?"

"As a matter of fact I am. My mother believes that the unity of the family relies on worshiping together every Sunday.  I am not a follower of the Church like Mother, but I feel the least I can do  be supportive, regardless of belief, I think a day of worship for the family is important."

"Are you saying you don't really believe what the Church stands for?"

"No, it's really just a matter of the fact that I haven't really put a lot of thought into it...but we see what appear to be miracles all around us everyday, so worshiping a Creator is good for the soul, it seems to me."

"That's a healthy and logical outlook. Your Church and our Church basically both exist upon the Apostolic Succession. The Anglicans are sort of a compromise between Catholicism and the Reformed Protestants. You're full Communion is solidified with the Archbishop of Canterbury. According to your Church the apostolic faith is revealed totally in the Bible. We have a divine connection through our Pope, you don't have that access. Have you ever thought of Purgatory?"

"I've read about it, and it makes sense in the sense that if Heaven indeed exists, then Purgatory is a succession to it...but I must be honest in saying that it doesn't really matter to me."

"You're church doesn't recognize Purgatory...ours does...but it's an argument I have with our Church...but i do agree with the necessity of meritorious work."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh...I just mean that in our Church faith and work of good merit are compulsory for redemption, The Anglican Church implies it but actually only requires faith alone."

"I didn't know that. It seems to me helping  your fellow man should be an assumed duty regardless...although to come and think of it, I don't really spend much time serving the community. I help Mother occasionally with her woman's rights work, but i guess I could be argued as a bit hypocritical."

"I think we could all say that Nessa." 

"I respect Mother, but i find her hypocritical as well. The people who are creating war, supervising the Church, and educating our children are all people who are a part of the society which is keeping woman from progressing. She wants woman to vote, run for elected office, form guilds and publish more political works, but her support of the war and temperance align her with the men whose thinking comes from the dark ages."

"Spoken in the words of a true radical, my dear! You recognize the ambiguity of a new movement; that in order to be new it must change it's allegiances!" 

"...and although I support Mother's campaign, I have set for myself the role of making woman look modern, practical, chic, tasteful, sporting and of course, to some degree alluring."

"Do not under-estimate that province my designing one, a woman who looks important, is important."

"You are full of proverbs."

"You seem to inspire that side of me."

"In what way am I inspiring?"

"You are a girl of equivocation... golden tresses  and  bedroom eyes, which create a meandering river of liquid sugar, and a look of devilry that accompanies a direct mind, finished of with a touch of secrecy, which could be slyness, or volatility"

"Well...you have me evaluated down to a science, maybe I'll give you a try!"

"Fire away!"

" Let's see...ummm...this might take a minute, the poetry does not flow out of me like a stream of syrup..."

"Ah...you're warming up my poetess."

"A young man, but showing maturity, strong in face and deliberation, tranquil and coyly facetious, prophetic but tolerant...and almost suspiciously polite."

"You did it...excellent my little Delmira Agustini!"

Nessa laughed loudly, which was out of character but felt marvelous. 

"Your little sonnet actually taught me a little about myself, and raised a few questions as well."

"Am I right in assuming that you are pondering the suspiciously polite epithet?"

"Yes that is one curious note. Do you have an explanation...or am I putting you on the proverbial spot?"

"I think you are but I'll give it a go. Let me see...you are proper in your manner, but your  eyes are almost piercing and the subjective element to your speech shows signs of evasiveness."

"My dear Nessa, you have found me out. I am a charlatan!"


42008

It was quite apparent that Nessa and Petro were compatible. As he dropped her off, he looked right into her eyes as if asking the appropriate farewell etiquette. She looked into his unabashedly, and Petro compromisingly held her hand, lifted her arm to his chest and kissed her hand. 

Chapter 15

For Eamon, the weekend was highlighted by a golf match, at the Berry Grove Country Club, of a non-competitive nature, involving Raymond, and his business associate friend from the real estate sector, Archibald Palmcrest. The non-competitive aspect of the match was not to due with any features of their respective games, but was a result of Eamon's placidity.
Abigail spent Saturday with her friends from the Simcoe, as well as Miriam McPhee, a friend from Toronto, known through a womens' rights committee. Miriam was now a teacher and doctor of homeopathic medicine, but was semi-retired and spending her time writing for periodicals. Her articles proposed amending the British North America Act in declaring women "persons" under the law. She was currently in Berry Grove visiting her son, who had a summer residence in Shanty Bay. . Her mother, also a student of medicine, had been turned down initially for her practicing license, as women were not allowed to practice medicine. Miriam went to New York, where she armed herself with a medical degree, and came back to Toronto to exert her influence on the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Due to her determination, she succeeded in convincing the University of Toronto to admit women medical students. Her daughter was now such a student. She was also concerned about the horrible conditions in asylums, which contained patients suffering from tuberculosis as well as melancholia and madness. She was the first women doctor in Toronto to provide psychiatric advice, and this reputation greatly interested Abigail, who was dedicated to assisting her husband with his largely misunderstood disorder. However this was not a day for social-political discussion. 

AT THE THEATRE

Petro noted that the spectacular extravagantly beautiful building looked like an Edwardian jewel-box. Inside was an Italian marble lobby, Venetian mosaic floors, elaborately carved walnut and cherrywood stairs and railings, silk wallpapers, ornate, gilded plasterwork, and an enormous sounding-board mural Venus and Attendants Discover the Sleeping Adonis by the popular Canadian painter Frederick S. Challener. It was also North America's first air-conditioned theater, one of its first "fireproof" theaters and the first on the continent to employ cantilevered balconies, with no internal pillars to interfere with lines of sight. At first there were problems  in booking acts for its stage. The theater owners found themselves at odds with the powerful Theater Syndicate,  the New York-based organization, that not only exercised a near monopoly on touring theater in North America, but also had a financial interest in the rival Princess Theater, two blocks east of the Royal Alexandra. 

The local rivalry with the Princess Theater ended on the night of May 7, 1915, when a fire gutted that theater, leaving the Royal Alex as Toronto's only first-class, legitimate playhouse. By coincidence, on that same evening, the British liner Lusitania sank in the Irish Sea after being struck by a torpedo. One of those killed in the disaster was one of the syndicate partners, Charles Frohman. 

 


In the classic tale that began, Nora Helmer is a woman who behaves very childishly around her husband, who instructs and indulges her. Nora goes to her husband to help her friend attain a job with his bank, keeping the secret that she took out a loan from his bank previously to pay for his medical costs. She executed a forgery to complete this loan and has maintained a lie regarding the source of the money. The lawyer who administered the loan for her knows of her forgery, and this dark cloud hangs over her. 

Nora's husband named Torvald talks to her of honesty and integrity, and Nora's guilt builds, as well as the fear of persecution of her accomplices.

A family friend, Dr. Rank, announces his love for Nora, and that he is in the terminal stages of tuberculosis. The lawyer, who has been fired by Torvald tells Nora that he will protect her bond in order to facilitate blackmail on her husband. Nora's friend tries to convince the lawyer not to go ahead with is plans. 

Nora is despondent and considers suicide. It is shameful for a woman to disgrace her husband. 

The lawyer is approached by Nora's friend and she offers him true love, saying she married only for financial support. He decides with withdraw from his illegal action against Nora's husband. 

When her husbands finds out about her previous actions he berates Nora calling her a dishonest and immoral woman and telling her she is unfit to raise their children. He says that from now on their marriage will be only a matter of appearances. The lawyer has returned the incriminating papers, saying that he regrets his actions. Torvald exults that he is saved as he burns the papers. He takes back his harsh words to his wife and tells her that he forgives her. Nora realizes that her husband is not the strong and gallant man she thought he was, and that far from loving her, he only really loves himself. What has appeared to be his love for Nora is merely gratification at perceiving himself to be a wonderful husband. 

He explains that when a man has forgiven his wife it makes him love her all the more since it reminds him that she is totally dependent on him, like a child. He dismisses Nora's agonized choice made against her conscience for the sake of his health. He refers to it as a mere mistake that she made owing to her foolishness, one of her most endearing feminine traits.

Nora tells her husband that she is leaving him to live alone so she can find out who she is and what she believes and decide what to do with her life. She says she has been treated like a doll to play with, first by her father and then by him. Concerned for the family reputation, he insists that she fulfill her duty as a wife and mother, but Nora says that her first duties are to herself, and she cannot be a good mother or wife without learning to be more than a plaything. Understanding that her marriage was based on mutual fantasies, she announces her intention to commit suicide. 

Nora's husband is unable to comprehend Nora's point of view, since it so contradicts his own ideas about her mind.  As Nora lets herself out, leaving behind her wedding ring and keys, he remains utterly baffled by what has happened.

The play came to a dramatic ending, as the packed house filed out of the theater. Petro asked Nessa if she would like to go back to the Zahorchak home to pass away the rest of the evening. She accepted, and Petro drove them back to the small but expensively decorated semi-detached home on Connaught Avenue. 

Their conversation was evidence of their enthusiasm and fascination with the classic play they had just seen. 

Nessa commented on the brilliant and understated performance by Alla Nazimova. 

"Nora went through a maze of emotional detours, but seemed to find her way through with the ease of a fish through water."

"Yes, her performance was brilliant. it was if she was toying with us...giving us clues as to her thoughts but never clarifying them with clearly enunciated phrases or theatrical emotion."

"She played the role with a comic touch at the beginning. The art of deception was done with frivolity. We learned from the outset that she was a woman of trickery."

"Her husband chides her and she acts like some kind of pet dog. She seems to accept him as a master."

""Yes...his loyal pet."

"I think her succumbing behavior resulted from her insecurity and fear of being found out. It took a while for us to come to that conclusion."

"Leading a double life. How grand!"

"She shows a calmness with her struggles and risks. Do you think that made her more courageous or more foolish."

"I'd have to say more foolish, but in the perspective of the time in history, womens' foolishness was often a result of the feared consequences of their actions."

"Her husband was not really as devoted as she thought. She was living a lie, that was her own, and she induced herself into believing it. It would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic!"

"Once her criminal act of forgery reared it's ugly face in the eyes of the lawyer, she began to face her dilemma. She actually questioned her own morality. This was a test of her fortitude...and integrity."

"She certainly weakened at that point. It seemed that she couldn't evaluate the situation logically. Suicide seemed to be the only solution."

""And Nazimova was so good at this point of despair. Her body language expressed some kind of inevitability."

"I think that's why she was saved so easily. Her suicide was from desperation, not determination. She was looking to be saved."

"When she confronts her husbands anger, she pouts like a child and begins to pack, expecting him to relent. She showed a complete lack of understanding of him"

"She is actually quite selfish. She does not want to put forth the effort to save her family, and it appears that it would take too much emotional energy to try and understand her husband. Saying that it would be better for the children to be without her, was just a cop-out."

"The monologue when he shows his total contempt for her was so picturesque...calling her a frightened little singing-bird...saying he will protect her like a hunted dove from a hawk's claws. Telling her that she will find away to see his forgiveness, instead of stating his forgiveness, was ingenious emotional trickery."

"I don't even think she caught on. He was challenging her intelligence, which she proved was very limited."

"...and the way he substantiates his authority over her by describing it as a gift to her of concomitance and childhood."

43616

In the Zahorchak home, they sat amidst a clutter of eastern European furniture and wall decorations, as well as a few more modern furnishings including a combination buffet, made of quarter-cut oak, finished in fumed oak, with two huge china cabinets and an ornamented center door. Nessa had the privilege of seating herself in a unique William and Mary, scarlet and gold lacquered X-frame chair. 

"I've never seen anything quite like this."

Petro replied to Nessa's comment by explaining, "It's a copy. William and Mary furniture is originally from the late seventeenth century. It's known for it's embellishments and delicate ornamentation. Strangely the marquetry is often in ivory and coloured woods or metal inlay, frequently in arabesque patterns resembling seaweed and spiders’ webs. It's easy to spot in a furniture store, but also hard to find, unless you buy a copy like this one."

They sipped on Sauterne and the subject inevitably changed to more personal issues. 

"If you don't mind me asking Petro, we've been out with each other a couple of times now, and I do recall you mentioning a girl you know, who writes for the Brama."

"Oh yes, Uliana. I do not blame you for inquiring. You don't want to think of me as a man who would lead you on. We met at school and we often chat and have been for walks together, as well as frequenting a few cafes. We have occasionally shared our historical research. She is well versed in political philosophy. She has done some work in evaluating how the Ukrainian people can adapt the socialism of their history to the liberalism of Canadian society. I admire her for her dedication in promoting the further education of Ukrainians. I have never actually  escorted her to any social event. For some reason our friendship never developed in that way, although she is a fine looking young lady. You my dear are a strong-willed young lady, somewhat guarded, but not from insecurity...more of a protectiveness and almost a stubborness, in not letting anyone get in your way. I am convinced you will be successful in fashion design because you are very mechanical in your thinking. That may not sound like a compliment, but what I mean is that you design clothes with a clear style and functionality. You are not impeded by abstract concepts."

"That is very perceptive Petro...assuming you are correct." She said this with a one-sided grin that expressed satisfaction and inquisitivity. 

"I think I am just following the latest trends...but hopefully I am creative as well."

"Oh you are Nessa, your styles are bolder and show a strong kind of femininity."

"I hope you're right. that's exactly what I'm trying to accomplish. I am astonished at how well you understand me. I believe we are compatible."

"That is comforting Nessa. I hope we are compatible for more than just the fact that I am rather easy-going and for the lack of a better word, boring."

Nessa shook her head energetically, "Petro, don't say that. you are far from boring. Just because your not a hard-drinking athlete, doesn't mean your boring."

"Ha", Petro laughed. "A hard-drinking athlete I am not."

"By the way, have you ever been involved with sport."

"Not at all, but i am rather fascinated with hockey. It is a fast game, and quite bruising. I would like to learn to skate."

"I figure skate Petro, I would be glad to help you out, there's really nothing to it."

"That sounds wonderful. Maybe we can plan to go shopping and pick out a pair of skates for me."

"That would be fun. I haven't skated this winter I'm not sure why...although I am studying pretty hard...but I don't seem to have as much energy as I used to. I don't know why."

"Have you checked with a doctor. You're awfully young to be suffering from fatigue."

"Well...I wouldn't call it fatigue, I just notice at night by around eight or nine that i don't feel like going out to do things like I used to. I just go to bed early and curl up with a book."

"Any other symptoms of being sick?"

"I don't think so. I do have a slight cough, but I assume that's just a normal cold...most of us catch one thing or another over the winter."

"Do you have any chest pain, suffer night sweats or have you noticed any weight loss."

"I don't think so...but to come to think of it i have had chills when I'm in bed. I haven't thought anything of it though."

"I think you had better get checked out. The earlier the better."

"You actually think it could be serious?"

"I wouldn't be too concerned but you'd be better safe than sorry in case it's some kind of bacterial infection."

"Bacterial infection?"

"Yes, pleurisy, latent asymptomatic tuberculosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, Pott's disease,  systemic autoimmune disease, silicosis...if it is anything other than the dear old common cold or influenza, you would hope that it is a tuberculosis infection that is latent. A doctor just has to use his stethoscope to listen to your breathing. He can hear any unusual sounds in the lungs. If there is a real rough scratching sound, it would be pleurisy."

"Why would I hope that was a latent infection?"

"I stand corrected...you wouldn't hope for the infection, but if it's latent, you won't notice any more symptoms and only very few people get active tuberculosis from it. I really don't know why, you'll have to ask an expert on that."

"You're doing a pretty good job for someone who isn't an expert. As a matter of fact, you have succeeded in scaring the living daylight out of me."

"I'm really sorry Nessa, that's the last thing i meant to do...I just meant to be helpful. Tuberculosis was almost an epidemic back in the Ukraine, so I guess I tend to over-react."

"You've succeeded in  warning me sufficiently to get me to go and see a Doctor. That's a good thing. My mother knows a very good doctor, an associate of Miriam McPhee's, one of the first woman to graduate from medical school in Toronto, Jessica Pidgeon."

It was getting late. Petro escorted Nessa to the car, and drove her home taking Queen Street all the way to Bathurst. There were moments of silence, but they both felt comfortable even when in a state of laconism.

When they arrived to the little house on Helena Avenue, Petro walked Nessa to the door and before he bode farewell, he politely asked her to be given a special privilege.

"My dear Nessa, I feel we are getting to know each other very well, and my times with you are very special. I think of you night and day when we are not together. I would like very much to kiss you, if it does not offend you."

"I would like it very much. I do not know if it is appropriate for me to approve of such a thing, but I am growing very fond of you, and it would be nice for the two of us to express our feelings with a kiss."

Petro put his right hand on her shoulder, looked into her eyes for a moment and then pressed his lips against hers. He did not hold the kiss long, but long enough for them both to feel the enchantment of the moment."

Petro then withdrew his lips and simply said, "I will call Nessa, very soon, Goodnight." 

Chapter 16


The investigation into the tragic accident of car number 2666 was coming to a close. The results were expected to come the following day. Eamon was not sure how the results would be communicated to him. They would certainly be in the newspaper, and on the radio. He was going to work early in the morning, so in all likelihood he would get the news then. would here hear it by word of mouth, perhaps from Frank or Wally, or possibly there would be a memo. already typed up that would be posted near his work bench. 

Siofra was aware that the case had taken it's toll of her Father, and it effected her as well, as she was a major player in the incident, which she still had trouble believing and accepting. She decided to talk to him about. It would please her to get more information, and maybe it would help Eamon if he could talk about it as well. 

He was in his usual place by the radio, which had temporarily taken second billing to the new phonograph. There was a comedic play being broadcast, but it wasn't on very loud, and the talk was so fast that Siofra wondered how her Father could make anything out of it. Then she heard the all familiar banjo music, and knew it was the Clicquot Club Eskimos. They were a popular musical variety outfit featuring Harry Reser's banjo. It was sponsored by Clicquot Club ginger ale, the main rival to Canada Dry, the former being the preference in the Conor household. The banjo driven band was known as "sparkling" to accommodate it's sponsor without having to actually advertise the product. The live studio audience go to the see the musicians in Eskimo clothing accompanied by barking dogs. 

Esther could make out the announcer;

"Look out for the falling snow, for it’s all mixed up with a lot of ginger, sparkle, and pep, barking dogs and jingling bells, and there we have a crew of smiling Eskimos, none other than the Clicquot Club Eskimos tripping along to the tune of their own march, “Clicquot.”

Siofra stepped closer to her Father and instead of asking, she boldly stated, "Daddy, I must talk to you."

"What about Siofra?"

"I want to talk about the case. I know there's going to be a decision announced tomorrow. Isn't that right? Well, I want to know more about it. I want to know what's going to happen."

Eamon was a bit startled by her insistence but quickly recovered, realizing that he shouldn't be surprised at Siofra's resolution. 

"Why are you interested?"

"Father, don't you think that's kind of a dumb question. All those people were killed and I was right there in the street car!"

"Siofra, I will put aside the implication that I am dumb. You should chose your words more carefully. I do understand that the results of the investigation interest you."

Things are relatively simple at this point I think. The TPTC will be liable for whatever charges with which it is deemed guilty.  The judge has two main charges, called indictments.  The faults of the car itself were left for a task force to study. That means anything about the brakes, safety releases, catenary sytem, switches and so on are not going to be immediately dealt with. 

"Does that mean that nothing was your fault?"

"Well...I was never accused of anything but I was aware of some of the faults of the exiting system, and it bothers me. I feel I should have done more. I still can, but it feels too late because of all the families that have suffered."

"What are the charges then?"

The judge will decide on whether or not the company is guilty of letting the trains run in unsafe weather. Mr. Newton and Mr. Buytaert are in a bit of trouble regarding this. It would have been better to have shut the system down for another day or two. Also the company is being criticized for letting Mr. Haggerty drive the car. He did not have a good driving record and probably should have been suspended, retrained or something. Even though I work for the TPTC, I realize they have to face their responsibilities, and I do hope the families who need help, get it."

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"So do I. Just imagine how all those families feel. If the people who were killed just didn't go for a streetcar ride that day, they'd be alive."

"Life is full of what ifs, Siofra. You could go crazy thinking about how life would be different if it wasn't for this and that."

"...but our life is pretty good isn't it. We don't have to worry about anything really."

"That's a very good outlook. We must count our blessings."

"I think me being one of the people who lived through the accident is a sign of good luck for me."

"Yes...you could say that you've been given a special chance to make the most out of your life."

"Do you think so?...i guess you're right daddy. What do you think i should be?"

"Well dear, it doesn't really matter, as long as you're happy. Most girls just want to marry a good man and raise a family...but knowing your mother she might have other plans for you."

"I think I'll be a writer. As soon as I get the chance I want to write a book. I want for people to go to the bookstore and see  my name on a book in the front window."

"Wanting to write is fine, but you shouldn't do it for the fame you know."

"I guess not, but if your famous it means people are reading your book. Everyone knows Lucy Maude Montgomery. Her books are the best."

Eamon nodded his head reassuringly and Siofra commented further.

"I wonder what I'll write about?"

"You're a courageous girl, Siofra. You could write about a girl and her courage."

"I could! That's sort of like Anne of Green Gables. Anne is courageous and adventurous too. I could write about a girls' adventures and the trouble she gets into. Maybe she could live in a haunted house. All her friends would be afraid to visit her, so she gets lonely. So she starts talking to the ghosts. Maybe one of the ghosts could be a great grandfather's spirit and they actually become friends...and h tells her all kinds of secrets about the families' past and she isn't allowed to tell or the house will be doomed to evil spirits."
"Sounds like you've got your first book partly written. Put me down for a copy."

Siofra was delighted as the conversation with her father became uncharacteristically jocular. She clearly brought out her father's brighter side. 

"How do you get a book printed so you can sell it."

"I don't know a lot about it but you have to see a publisher. You write out your story and give to them and they decide whether or not it is good enough. If they really like it they will give you some money in advance. Some writers have to pay a certain amount to get the publisher to agree to printing a small number of copies. I believe it's difficult to get a book published, because they won't print it unless they are convinced that they can sell a lot of copies."

"My book would sell. I'm sure of it. I would make sure it had a really good cover. Nobody's going to buy a book if the cover doesn't have a really good picture."

"It's time for bed Siofra. Say goodnight to your mother. Sleep well."

He gave her a quick peck on the cheek and then headed for bed himself, expecting Abigail to follow, as she always does.

Chapter 17

It was a particularly stormy winter day.  The wind was howling and the snow was spinning in all directions like feathers in the wind. The walk to work seemed like an expedition. Eamon entered the main lobby about twenty minutes before his required time. He was usually early, but this particular morning he was restless and came to work in a rather anxious state. This morning he felt he would not be alone in this matter. Mr. Newton and Mr. Buytaert may be dreading this day, although it would be very possible that they already knew the results of the trial.

Penelope, the girl at the front desk, had only been with the TPTC for a few months. She was just out of high school and needed a job desperately, as family problems forced her to move out on her own. She was happy at the opportunity and was very pleasant and polite with the employees and the public visitors. Not to his surprise, Penelope greeted him with a cheery good morning and immediately informed him that the final report from the trial was forthcoming and that a brief summation had been printed out for employees. She asked him if he would like a copy.

"Yes. Very much."

"Her you are Mr. Conor. There is also reference to meeting at the bottom of the page."

"Thank you."

As Eamon had a few minutes to spare he walked to the common room, took a seat, and read over the report. It was very brief.

TRIAL SUMMATION

He began scanning...Summation of Trial ...

Province of Ontario, City of Toronto VS...

Toronto Public Transit Company

TPTC Employees 

The Toronto Public Transit Company is pleased to acknowledge the professional and just manner in which this investigation...

The Prosecution team listened to all sides of the incident, from first hand observers, as well as...

As a company we accept the position of the court. We deeply regret the accident and take full responsibility... 

We have been charged as negligent for running the trains in the City of Toronto on Saturday October the twenty-forth when various tracks, including the Prince Edward Viaduct section were covered up to five inches in water. We had been shutdown the day before but had made the decision to re-open...

...a vehicle driven at a careful speed would have no problem navigating the rails. We were possibly guilty of being too eager to satisfy our much appreciated patrons. 

We have also been charged as negligent in allowing the driver of car 2666, the late Mr. Haggerty, to drive the vehicle as his record indicated that he was due for a corrective interview ...

...that despite this, he had shown signs of improvement over the last three months.

...the injured parties and families of those killed in the tragedy have been compensated according to the evaluation of Judge...

There will also be a task force set up to study the safety aspects of the new Peter Witt vehicles. We are pleased to announce that from the St. Clair yards we have appointed Mr. Wally Patterson and Mr. Eamon Conor to the task force.

To answer any questions regarding the accident report or the task force, ...

...a meeting Tuesday February the sixteenth at three-thirty P.M.

Thank you for your service and God bless the families and souls of the victims of the accident of October the twenty-fourth 1925.

Regards 

Winston N. Harvey

Superintendent, Public Relations
Eamon was caught off guard. He had not been consulted regarding the task force. The only reason that came to mind for his appointment, was the result of his meeting with Wade Iasonas. He must have been impressed with Eamon when he had the meeting with him previously. The young lawyer must have reported his findings and impression onto Mr. Newton, who accordingly discussed the matter with Mr. Buytaert and Mr. Harvey. His initial reaction was not one of pride, satisfaction, compliance or even amenability.  He wanted to clean his hands of the entire situation. He thought that the termination of the case represented finality. He was unable to see the situation clearly. He should have seen the situation for what it potentially was...an opportunity to work with the most skilled technical staff and designers to improve the safety and operation of the streetcar currently in use. Eamon however was shrouded with negativity and an embellished version of what looked like to him like an evasive plot to cover-up some defect in the vehicle, or the procedure behind corporate management and planning. He even felt there was something he had concealed, which the task force would suddenly reveal and destroy him with. Was there a way he could diplomatically resign the position? Surely there would be someone else available. Possibly he thought he could conjure up some illness, or serious family dilemma that would excuse him. He was out of time currently. He would have to put in his day, go home, and ponder the situation more thoroughly. 

Chapter 18


Nessa had discussed her symptons with Abigail, and Abigail though calm, was surprised that Nessa's condition had been suppressed. 

"You absolutely must go and see Dr. Pidgeon. She is very knowledgeable and is up on the very latest treatment for infection, as well as homeopthic methods. I know that pleurisy results from previous infection, usually influenza, bronchitis, or pneumonia, and you haven't had any of those."

Abigail set up the appointment for Nessa, which was scheduled within days.

Abigail and Siofra insisted on going. Nessa thought far too much was being made out of the matter. it was merely a check-up. Abigail always looked forward to meeting Dr. Pidgeon and Siofra had heard so much about her, that her curiosity begged for her to tag along. 

"Nessa, you've brought along your Mother and little Siofra, who is not so little by the way, and is also a courageous young lady. I am so sorry Siofra that I wasn't able to attend the ceremony at the City Hall. You have been through such an ordeal...and I'm relieved that you have recovered from your terrible burns...and Abigail, it's been a while since you, and Miriam and I have got together, we must arrange something."

"I haven't talked to Miriam since last spring. I didn't even contact her over Christmas...totally disgraceful really. I was tied up with so many things, but that's not really an excuse"

"Well, it can be Abbie. My work has turned me into an exile. My business is expanding to the point that i must create a family practice team. I am beginning to look for young progressive interns who are also versed in homeopathy."

Nessa jumped in to reply, "It must take a lot of determination to carry out the homeopathic part of your practice. Mother has told me a lot about it, but i know there is a lot said about it that is not complimentary."

"That is understood before you begin, i have been called a quack...but that only makes me more determined. I do not discourage modern pharmaceutical procedures, but I like to see all sides...think holistically"

"I'm glad I'm getting to see you in particular Dr. Pidgeon. I know you an help me, although I don't know if it is a waste of time seeing me or not. I don't think I'm really sick."

"We will clarify that my dear. I have some very effective tests that will answer some questions. Apparently you're feeling fatigued."

47072

"Yes, it seems by around nine-o'clock I feel ready for bed. I just don't have the energy i just had."

"How's your breathing."

"Umm, well...I guess after I walk for awhile I start to  labor a little bit...I just assumed I was out of shape. They have a good gymnasium at Central Tech, but I never get around to using it."

"Any soreness or pain in the chest area?"

"No, I don't think so."

"Any coughing?"

"Sometimes I get a short coughing spell, but it goes away, and my throat isn't sore."

"Any release of phlegm?"

"No, never."

"Well then, your symptoms don't sound severe at all, but we'll check things out anyways."

Dr. Pidgeon took her stethoscope and surveyed Nessa's chest. She listen for any sounds out of the ordinary. She tapped the chest wall to check for a possible build up of fluids. She also checked for general tenderness in the area. 

"Your breathing seems a little labored. There is a very light grinding on the left lung. We will have to X-ray to confirm what kind of infection exists."

Nessa calmly asked what the possibilities were.

"We'll confirm that. It could be one of many viruses as opposed to something more severe like pleurisy. I am going to give you a PPD test for tuberculosis as well as a general physical. The PPD test is very simple and won't be discomforting. I will give you a intradermal injection of tuberculin in the forearm. The fluid will reach between two layers of dermis, and I will take a reading in approximately forty-eight hours. There should be an immune response if you are infected. If I find an immune reaction is does not necessarily mean you have active tuberculosis. You are a healthy person, so if we find tuberculosis bacteria, you will likely be able to fight off the infection. We will also give you a chest x-ray by injecting a contrast medium so we can see your lungs more clearly on the cassette."

The tests and physical were completed and Dr. Pidgeon made appointment for two days following, in order to give them the results of the tests.

"Occasionally I am delayed in reading the x-rays, so if there are any problems I will get in touch with you and re-schedule the appointment...but I don't expect any problems. And now, my little Siofra, seeing as your mother brought you along, how about a little check-up for you."

Siofra was not the type of child made nervous by anything not considered enjoyable, or potentially discomforting. She smiled, and almost looked excited at the prospect.

After Dr. Pidgeon inspected Siofra, she told her that when they come back for the results of Nessa's tests, she will have the results of her urine test. 

"What's the urine test for, Dr. Pidgeon."

"Siofra, it's the oldest test used in medicine. It actually tells us a lot. If it is the right colour, it means that you have the right amount of urobilin which is what is left over after the breakdown of what is called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body. We look for signs of dehydration, vitamins that are present in the bloodstream, any signs of blood in the urine, jaundice, melanoma, and turbidity. Turbidity is a bacterial infection, or high level of calcium. We also look for acidity which can give you kidney stones, but we likely won't be concerned with that with someone at your age. I hope you understand, I used some fancy words."

"Pretty well, I think, thank you".

"I know you've been getting treatment at the hospital, but I might as well have a quick look at your burns as well."

After looking at the receding scars, Dr. Pidgeon reaffirmed that they were clearing up and would be totally disappeared in a short while.

Abigail commented that they had just stopped putting cold cloths on the burns, as there was absolutely no discomfort anymore.

"I'm sorry that your friend Esther didn't fare as well as you. I hope she's not suffering too much."

Siofra reiterated that she still used crutches, although she could walk without them. 


Chapter 19

 

Eamon sat in his easy chair, not listening to the radio, not reading the paper, nor doing any other of his normal activities. He was staring into an abyss of worry that was not directed toward any particular thought or practice. He felt like he was tied to the chair with restraints on his wrists. For a moment he thought about the distance of joy. Life seemed to be series of sorrows. Competing thoughts were never processed but they banged against his head like strong hands on a drum. He was self-absorbed at his best, which was the most arduous task of all. He was beginning to cycle rapidly. Thoughts of death made him angry. 

"If you kill yourself, I'll kill myself." Almost funny. 

There is an awareness that he is drowning in melancholia, and that there is never a way out. The black hole is infinitely deep. As he reached the fastest spiraling of thoughts he thought of bolts of electricity and exploding in a blood-filled bed. Hysterical screaming and clutching and grabbing, and limbs falling off at the mere touch of a nurses hand. He was frightened at the thought that his own mind, though intelligent had no solution, because it was the problem, and irreversible problem. The subconscious mind teases you. It speaks.

"Until you listen to me, I will keep you from sleeping, writing, reading, working, watching....and I won't allow you to find a hole to crawl out of this mess. 

Joshua Wolf Shenk once said the problem is a "soundtrack of negative thoughts in your head, the volume rising or falling, but never going silent."

http://www.ralphmag.org/AO/depression1.html

Eamon heard Abigail coming in from outside. This pried open his head, as he tried to conquer thoughts to remove himself from the obligation of reality. Someone was bringing him lunch. She bore a red cross. Is it something that Christ carried on his back. But it is a small cross with a ribbon. There were no ribbons in Christ's day, were there? Christ doesn't always do what he is told. But the girl serving me does. She is impelled to rip my food away from me, because have to be controlled. Dessert will come though. The nurse is a meat eater. I am not. She doesn't understand why I don't. I feel the blood in my stomach. Who thinks I am not ready?. Ready for what? I am ready, but my readiness is spinning out of me and then back inside and never goes anywhere. I begin to recognize ridicule. It is easy. There is nothing left after ridicule, except more ridicule or death. I like that. It is easy. 

I feel hate quite openly. I am in a strange place that looks a little like London. I am pushing everybody. No fear. I was hit by someone's cane. People were watching. I kept walking and the man with the cane followed me. I did not like being noticed. I started to feel pain. I turned and pushed the man, not out of fear but from tears. A thousand faces closed in on me, there mouths opening and closing, with their teeth gnashing. I walked slowly and could not control my sadness. I found a place and the man with the cane was there. He stayed for a log time. Just standing there. There was a train yard. I was terrified. I will offer nothing so I will not lose. People offer things and lose. This makes them do silly things and they get more nervous. I will not be involved. If I'm not involved God will show me things that I can see. I will learn that I am the same as others. Should I do the same as others? I think I am dead, but others aren't because they are envious.

The cycling began to stop as Eamon absorbed his surroundings and prepared for the onslaught. 

"Eamon, you are home a wee bit early."

"Yes."

"Did they let you go home for a reason?"

"No."

"Are you feeling poorly."

"Yes."

"What is it."

"I could not do my work."

"Why couldn't you."

"I couldn't concentrate."

"Are you very tired."

"Yes. I couldn't sleep."

"Maybe you should be lying down."

"No. I can't sleep."

"Is there anything I can do,"

"No."

"Are you going to be all right for dinner."

"I don't believe I will eat."

"You're not hungry?"

"No."

"Did you have lunch?"

"No."

Abigail stood paralyzed with concern and confusion. She had nothing else to say. She left Eamon and walked into the kitchen to prepare dinner for Nessa and Siofra. She knew something had to be done, but she had no current plan, so she went ahead with the usual things. She knew Eamon needed professional treatment. It was late in the afternoon. Maybe she could call Miriam or Jessica, she thought. She decided to call Miriam. Even if Miriam couldn't help, just talking to someone would help her out. She was beginning to feel quite distraught, beyond that of her comfort zone.


She dialed the number and to her relief Miriam answered.   After sharing the usual greetings Abigail got right to the point. 

"Eamon is very sick, Miriam. He is despondent. He came home from work because he was unable to concentrate. He couldn't sleep last night and he doesn't feel like eating. I know that he has been sick for a long time. You remember I told you about some of his previous anxiety attacks. He hasn't had any of those the past eight or nine months, but he has been depressed and angry. Things have been very stressful at work because of the accident. I don't seem to be able to help him."

"He definitely belongs in the hospital. Have you talked to Jessica?"

"No. We saw her a few days ago. I brought in Nessa for a check-up, but I didn't discuss Eamon's mental health with her." 

"Do you think Eamon will co-operate if we make arrangements to take him to the hospital."

"I don't think he'll want to, but I think right now he's quite passive, so he'll likely come reluctantly."

"Well, you have enough on your plate, so I'll get in touch with Jessica, and I'll call you back. In the meantime, you see if you can prepare Eamon."

"That's really good of you Miriam. I'll wait for your call."

Abigail approached Eamon and found him more receptive than expected.

Miriam called and had arranged for her husband to pick them up and drive them to Western Hospital, where they could see a member of the medical staff, while they waited fro Jessica to arrive.

Abigail explained the situation to the girls, and they reassured her that they would be fine until her return.

Upon arrival, the reception desk informed Abigail that they had been notified of his planned arrival. He was placed in a ward, where we awaited attention.

The Doctor on staff introduced himself and explained that Dr. Pidgeon had a  better idea of his medical history, so he would be best to wait. 

"We will give you a  dosage of a Amytol. This will sedate you and hopefully relieve your worries."

Jessica arrived talked to Abigail, and then quickly proceeded to the patient. Eamon was relaxed, almost asleep. Jessica asked him how he was and he answered passively that he was fine. He confirmed that he understood why he was there and he agreed that he should have been admitted. After he answered a few more questions, it became apparent  that Eamon was best left to sleep and would be more fulfilled as a patient if he was engaged in a more thorough interview in the morning.

She left Eamon and reported her conclusion to her, recommending that he be transferred to the asylum on Queen Street. She assured Abigail that did not mean he would be an inpatient, unless absolutely necessary.

"We have many chronic patients there, and it would not necessarily be healthy for him in that environment, unless he was seriously ill...but he will get the best short-term care possible."

Chapter 20

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The huge building at number 999 Queen Street. Palacial was an understatement. The asylum opened about seventy-five years before Eamon's admittance. In front of it was a huge wall with lodges and a huge entrance gate. The portion of the wall between the lodges, looking out over Queen Street had many decorative details, including an iron fence on top of the wall. The entire hospital and park was surrounded on the other three sides, also by a very high brick fortification. The palisade was so attractive to architects and artists, that it was often augmented with new features such as stone capping. The patients themselves were used extensively as a source of labour.

The institution was used as an infirmary for tuberculosis patients as well as the mentally challenged. The were referred to as consumptives because of the wasting effects of the disease. As a historian wrote "More than a mere disease, it brooded in the subconscious of every doctor and nurse, as much as in the anxieties and terrors of the lay population, and impregnable and pitiless shadow" (Ryan, 127). Community sentiment demanded that tuberculosis sufferers keep their distance.  

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=pf_output.cfm&file_id=3907

As Eamon entered the intimidating hallways a strange comfort overtook him. The world as he was experiencing it was becoming a small room with swirling winds and swinging doors that led him into another cosmos of the same. He continued to be fooled by the voice of optimism and opportunity. This new macrocosm had a type of magnificence. It did not seem to lie to him. It was big and bold, and impressed upon him that promises made here would be kept. His hopes may not be raised but he will develop new certainties. The past might become dangerously absent he thought, but maybe that would be a good thing. 

He was not only to be met by the admissions supervisor and head doctor, Dr. Langdon-Gane but out of courtesy and loyalty would meet with Dr. Pidgeon and Dr. McPhee.

Dr. Langdon-Gane informed Eamon that he would undergo a diagnosis derived from a private interview with Dr. Langdon-Gane, and then undergo a second interview with the attendance of Abigail, as well as Dr. McPhee and Dr. Pidgeon as observers. 

He was escorted into a huge room with ceiling that seemingly expanded to the heavens. A huge oak desk, laden with papers, was accompanied by a throne-like library lounge that looked more comforting than austere. Next to the curule chair, in which he was about to sit, stood a huge Borghese armoire that accommodated cloaks, as well as some files, compartmentalized by shelving, seen through the swung-open mahogany doors.

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The initial interview was thorough and expeditious. Dr. Langdon-Gane asked questions directly and did not leave an impression of cordiality, but they somehow managed to impress Eamon that his style was functional and efficient. This actually helped Eamon to give succinct answers, taking on the characteristics of the questions imposed.   

The doctor thanked Eamon. "You have been very co-operative and as I now have things in relative perspective, we we will go into much more detail discussion with Mrs. Conor present."

Abigail was seated on a caquetoire, which looked more decorative than functional,  and the two doctors were seated on a shared fainting couch.

"Doctors Pidgeon and McPhee are here for observation and are not here in a formal capacity, but nonetheless I welcome them."

Abigail interjected. "Excuse me Dr. Langdon-Gane, but I highly respect these two ladies, and they are dear friends. I would ask you to allow them to interrogate if required, to facilitate their understanding. This is for my benefit as well as Eamon's."

Dr. Langdon-Gane felt that his expertise and specialization rendered him as the exclusive practitioner, and as a senior member of Toronto's medical team, he was prone to devaluing the role of woman doctors. 

"That is fine, Mrs. Conor, as long as my methodology is not sidetracked with inquiries not pertaining to my evaluation."

Abigail thought this answer was pompous, but she knew she was fortunate to even have her two associates welcomed to the session, so she reserved extensive comment.

The most informative part of the interview ensued when Dr. Langdon-Gane asked about the hearing of voices. If a patient admits to the hearing of voices this usually is considered a sign that melancholia and anxiety had transcended itself into psychosis. Eamon admitted to hearing voices in his head. When asked to describe the experience, he struggled with an answer, but did manage to enunciate it enough to confirm that he was not fabricating it. 

"I really do feel like I'm going crazy when I hear voices. I am aware of it, but I can't stop them. They threaten me."

"In what way", asked the doctor.

"They tell me that if I don't listen or obey, they will stop me from working, and sleeping and just about everything."

"It is thought, now, that many highly creative people and geniuses hear voices, and that these voices are the source of their creativity. Many inventors and geniuses of the past are now thought to have heard voices. Many people wonder exactly where these voices come from, what they say, and what they sound like. Where they come from is highly debatable, and few actually know. Spirits from the “other side” is also a prominent theory. There is no scientific way to say where they come from, since most people don’t even believe they exist. That is common. Most people who hear voices say they actually give instructions to the individual, but they usually aren’t psychotic as portrayed in movies, books and so on.  Sometimes they will “take care” of the individual, a sort of "proprietory sub-conscious, instructing you to behave a certain way." 

"How do they sound, Eamon? Can you describe that?"

  "Sometimes they sound like an echo in the back of the mind. They are sudden and unexpected. Sometimes they feel more like they're coming from somewhere else, but they seem to be harder to figure out, and are accompanied by strange sounds."

"Strange sounds?"

"Yes, sounds of a howling wind, when there is no wind, a bunch of animals barking, cooing, howling, whatever, and all kinds of strange laughs."

"Do you converse with these voices."

"I don't believe I ever have, but it's hard to say, because I start to believe I'm going crazy, and at that point I'm not sure what I'm doing. I just remembered that I sometimes...this sounds really strange, I  spell out replies in big block letters and then these letters exit my head."

"Do you think a lot about death."

"Well, sometimes I think the warnings are about death. Not being able to do anything is like being dead I guess. When the voices overtake me I think to myself that this is death...but when you hear voices how can you be dead? That's why it drives me crazy. I don't know where the voices are coming from. I'd like to know."

"Believe it or not Eamon, it is a positive that you can remember certain details. I clarifies a distinction between your subconscious and conscious mind. Have you ever been to a seance? 

"No I haven't. "

"Have you ever associated these voices with someone?"

"No...but I've thought about it."

"What were your thoughts."

"Sometimes I remember seeing a man when I hear the words, but I don't know who he is. He is big, with a gray suit and a big bow-tie and his mouth opens and shuts with gigantic teeth like an alligator or something. I know that sounds stupid...but it happens so fast."

"Yes...you'll find your visions are like a flash."

"Do you have strong religious thoughts."

"Not really. I was raised in a strict Anglican home, but as I grew up I resolved myself to a fairly open mind as far as religion is concerned."

"Have you ever contended that the voices were God."

"To be honest with you, it never occurred to me."

"Do you pray?"

"I have prayed. Not often...but I sometimes think if you pray God will answer...but I don't think he ever has."

"It is often thought that highly creative people like artists and writes, hear voices because their minds work so abstractly. How do you feel about that."

"I don't think I really believe that. I'm certainly not creative. I hardly ever read and I'm certainly not an artist."

"Yes. Your a technician aren't you? The mathematical side to you brain is the most dominant."

"I guess you could say that."

"When you think of yourself, what comes to mind. Don't think too hard. Just answer me with what comes to mind quickly."

Eamon thought for quite a while. "I really don't think of much. To come and think of it I think more about the past than the present. I think about college days and all the crazy things that went on. I get frustrated went I think about those days, but sometimes I laugh."

"Laugh about what?"

"Mostly my English class. I took it as a part of the necessary arts credits I needed for graduation, despite the fact that I had little or no interest in it. I had no clue as to why I was there. My professor talked simply and with a sharp tongue. We all knew where we stood with him, and that was refreshing. I remember wishing he taught all my courses. If he had have, maybe I would have stayed, instead of switching to vocational school...although I'm pretty thankful for the job i have now."

"Why do you think you remember him so well, or think of him, over all the other things you must have been experiencing. "

"I don't really know. Um...well...I was really unhappy and disillusioned, so I guess he sort of comes to mind because her made me laugh and talk about interesting things, and I enjoyed some of the fun I had with the others in that class. Sometimes he would join us at the school pub. He was one of us, but still gained our respect."

"So you experienced feeling good about life amidst all the disillusionment?"

"Yes...for sure."

"What were the sources of the worry and frustration."

"School seemed ridiculous, basically. Between the students and teachers there was really no one who gave me the impression that life after college would amount to anything. They gave me the impression I was going to spend my life drinking and working for no purpose other than making enough money to survive, and that if I lied and cheated enough, I could live at a  slightly higher level."

"Was there anything in particular you were told, or experienced that gave you this negativity."

Oh...lots of things. Some of my teachers told me that I wouldn't really need any of the stuff i was learning, but it was good for mental discipline. They told me that most things you learn are obsolete in a few years. I had a friend who used to be a part of the bull sessions we had, and he taught me a lot about the corruption in our government and how power centers around just a few at the top. I guess I knew it already, but he described in a way that really penetrated."

"Did this correspond with anything that you were being taught at home?"

"I was glad to be out of the house. My parents, especially my dad fed me a lot of religious nonsense that he claimed influenced everything he did...but I found out he was only spewing words."

"So you were quite confused, and you had trouble figuring things out for yourself. Is that correct."

"I guess you're right. I didn't know what was going on with my life.

"Excuse me", broke in Miriam McPhee. "I realize that i am presenting an Orthodox Anglican perspective, and quite possibly that isn't totally relevant to our discussion, but i think it would be a good idea for Eamon to think about what he said, when he referred to the 'religious nonsense' espoused by his mother and father. Religious thought can have a strong emotional impact, and it should be understood whether his opinion was based on the actual content of the words spoken to him or whether it was tempered by the source of the information. I sense he has issues with his father's imposing manner. This should be considered. "

"Did you understand the essence of what she said, Eamon?" 


"Yes, I think so. My father made me feel guilty about things, and made it sound like I was letting God down or something. Being called a sinner didn't really mean much to me. I didn't think my Father was any kind of angel, that's for sure. I guess I really didn't give religion a chance. I'm fine with Abigail's fellowship, and her Church.. They're kind, considerate people. When I used to get down, I tried to think about God, but I never had faith. Every damn time I turn around something else was messed up. Where the hell was God. Why was I her? I guess I feel the same way now. I don't see much of a point in life, I mean, I'm going to die anyways."

"God is a very authoritarian figure", added Jessica. "When people become disillusioned to the point of being melancholy they begin to confuse all the symbols of authority. Hate, dislike, love, idolatry, reverence...all those powerful emotions can be transferred from one figure to another. This should be discussed to clarify the source of various emotions."

"That's a Freudian approach Jessica. We'll certainly go into more detail on that, when we get into therapy. I'm going to ask you a very personal question Eamon. We've talked about death, but have you ever thought of ending your life?" Eamon thought for a minute. He was about to acknowledge suicidal thoughts and then changed his mind. "It's funny, now that I think about it. I think about death, and dying itself, but never about doing it. I just think my time will come. It's not a bad feeling really."

"Death is peaceful"

"Yes, I think so."
"What about the street car accident. Has that affected you. Those tragic deaths were not very peaceful."

"it has. I wish I could have done something. I should have. I could have told someone that the cars weren't safe. I guess I didn't because I didn't think it would make any difference."

"Your a Father. You're a good mechanic. You're a nice man. You can make a difference. For the world, but mostly for your family."

"All their lives seem to falling apart though."

"Not really. Nessa has some worries right now, Siofra is getting better, and your wife loves you very much as is helping to take care of things. A lot of men would be happy to be in your shoes."

"I doubt that."

"Eamon", Abigail said. "Life is not a matter of being lucky or fortunate, or poor or rich. it's about the miracle of life, and accepting your plight. Thankfulness allows you to appreciate everything that comes your way. You suffer because God knows you are strong. Suffering through God is good, suffering through yourself is not."

Dr. Langdon-Gane cut in, "I'm sorry Abigail, I might have worded things poorly, I shouldn't have used such a subjective word as "happy"."

"Do you have any issue with staying this evening. You appear to be responding to the medication, based on my observations. I would like to see how you sleep when institutionalized, and talk to you in the morning. At that point I believe it will be fine for you to go home under certain precautions and a suitable prescription. "

Eamon showed enough gumption to protest. "I think I would sleep better at home, and if necessary i could come back tomorrow, although I would prefer to go to work."

"I'm glad you feel that way Mr. Conor, but it would be very helpful if we were able to observe you until morning. I want to be able to help you, and this would be the best way."

Abigail supported Dr. Langdon-Gane, and assured Eamon that following procedure would be best.  Eamon was disappointed, half expecting Abigail to take a more anti-establishment stand, and go with his wishes. He sensed that possibly she was uncomfortable with his illness, which was a change from his previous observations. It was conceivable that she was stressed from all the family issues of the past few months, and Eamon being hospitalized might have represented a relief from him.

Abigail gave Eamon a more passionate kiss than usual, though restrained due to surrounding company and departed with her two colleagues. 

Chapter 21

       

Dr. Pidgeon prepared Nessa and her mother for the unfortunate news. Nessa had clear signs of pleurisy which was foreseen as a result of an active tuberculosis virus. 

Nessa came to see her Doctor with little concern for her health. The news was shocking.

"I know that tuberculosis is perceived as a deadly disease, but if the bacterial growth is kept at bay, you won't have to suffer. It is of the pulmonary type and that is why you have contracted pleurisy. You at this point have dry pleurisy. The fluid content between the two layers of membrane is still normal. If we keep it dry then you will not get an infected fluid in your lungs. You have no history of being acceptable to infection which usually means that it could have been triggered by a tumor, but there is no such indication. There is also no indication of gastronomical complications. She touched Nessa around the lung area and asked if she noticed any tenderness, and Nessa acknowledged there was a small bit of pain in certain areas. 

"I will start you on an antibiotic called Salvarsan. There is much research being done right now in the field of antibiotics, and I am hopeful that a new penicillin will be available to help eradicate tuberculosis.  You will remain an outpatient, which I'm sure is good news for you. I would recommend strapping when you go to bed at night. I will demonstrate the procedure. You will find it cumbersome, but in a short time, you won't even notice it. Hopefully it won't be a procedure we will have to continue for long.  Of course I must recommend rest and no over-exertion. Anti-inflammatory medication and pain-killers will hopefully never be necessary. This sounds rather technical, but the cause of the tuberculosis bacteria is the existence of a small aerobic bacillus. It is a slow dividing bacteria that can survive in a dry state and can withstand some disinfectants. Droplets from your pulmonary condition can infect others, but you are not expelling any. I am also going to administer BCG which stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guerin which is a vaccine. It is generally used in Europe, but is not widely used in the US. It is more commonly used in countries where infection rates are high. I happen to be one of the few Doctors practicing in Ontario who is experimenting with it , and I assure you there will be no danger in taking it. It will be beneficial because you are not being hospitalized, and your family can feel safe. However there is much research being done for a serum more effective against drug-resistant strains and severe pulmonary tuberculosis."

Nessa was temporarily very quiet, and Abigail stepped to inquire about Dr. Pidgeon's homeopathic method.

"Of course, that goes without saying. I utilize the preventionist approach, partly because it is supported by the medical establishment, and in certain aspects, does impede disease...but a permanent cure I believe lies in an understanding of the miasm of the disease. For tuberculosis to exist there has to be an almost peculiar morbid derangement of the vital force. Medication suppresses the disease but it can sometimes manifest itself deeper into the bodies organs. There is a latent, deep-seated, chronic ailment that must be identified and the inner disturbance of the vital force must be removed. Come with me to my back office and I will show you some of the herbal treatments that I can let you try. There is no evidence that the herbals will interact negatively against the pharmaceuticals, but I will keep an eye on you, and please report to me any side effects. Here is some Oregano. It should assist in fighting multi-drug resistant bacteria. Here is some extract of Hibiscus Sabdariffa, which works against bacteria."

She pulled out one final sample of Meadowsweet which fights inflammation, pain and bacterial growth.  

She filled out the necessary prescription for the antibiosis, Salvarsan,  and then, then wrote out the recommended doses of the herbals. There is some arsenical compund in this antibiosis, and it is risky, but I feel your condition is severe enough to warrant it in a very small dosage. It use to be called '606' . Dr. Fleming is experimenting with a pennicilium which is afer and easier to apply. Hopefully the availibility of such a drug is forthcoming. '606' is effective against syphyli and I have faith in its competence.

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Nessa thanked Dr. Pidgeon, but her manner did not indulge the credit that Dr. Pidgeon deserved. Nessa was too upset to devise a positive outlook at this point. Abigail gave Dr. Pidgeon a big hug, and expressed her indebtedness. 

As they left the premises, Nessa began to cry.

"I know its frightening Nessa, but we're in very good hands, and this is just a short period of difficulty and inconvenience. your courage will win out, I'm sure of it."

"I don't have any courage mother. How can I work at my designs. And what about Petro? We're just beginning to become fond of each other. What is he going to think of a girl who has pleurisy, a tuberculosis virus, and goes to bed in a body bandage. I'm an unholy mess!"

"You'll have to overcome this Nessa. You will have to concentrate on getting well. Just work at whatever pace God allows. If Petro cares for you, he'll be there for you. If he doesn't, I guess you'll find out."

"And what about you, Mother. You must be going insane. I have tuberculosis, Siofra was burned in a street car accident, and Father is going to end up in an asylum."

"Things have certainly been better dear. You will get better. Don't forget, your virus hasn't been proven to be active, so for know just concentrate on the pleurisy. Siofra is just about one-hundred percent better, and  Father, with our help will get better too. It's a test, I agree. Remember the Book of Job. 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."  In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.' "    

"I've lacked faith in prayer Mother, you know that."

"Yes, you have, you must practice faith. Their is always lingering doubt. If faith is not a part of your daily routine, diffidence will be the victor. Redeem yourself with faith, and I promise things will get better."

Nessa said nothing else. She could not see herself kneeling down with humility and asking God for assistance. She also knew that it was stubborn pride. She was Nessa Conor, a young lady of sophistication, intelligence and fortitude, who was now struggling for for self-respect and confidence. They arrived home and Nessa went upstairs looking for solace in solitude and dreams.

Abigail was to go Queen Street, talk to the doctor, and take Eamon home. They would stop off and see the busy Dr. Pidgeon for her anomalous assistance. 


"Thanks for coming Eamon. I know you've been very busy, first going to the hospital, then to see Dr. Langdon-Gane, now to see me. Your co-operation will reap benefits for you, I can assure you. I want you to realize that depression is the most common psychiatric illness, and has been largely ignored in terms of treatment. I will make sure that is not the case with you. Dr. Langdon-Gane was thorough and insightful. He is a professional and I want you to decide what help is most beneficial to you. I do not want to undermine him...but I will offer you a slightly different perspective, that you can consider. I would say that you are suffering from a depression that has two aspects. Your mood is variable. Usually you are feeling down. You prefer quiet, and socialize poorly. It is an effort to show enthusiasm, passion, general emotion. Occasionally you get episodes where you get angry, negative and critical. You  function reasonably well at work because you can involve yourself solely with mechanical issues. At home, things are difficult, because things happen more unpredictably and more sporadically. People like you do better when things are structured. Right now your life has very little structure.In your discussion with Dr. Langdon-Gane you often referred to the past, and I think looking into your past would be helpful. You may not have a hereditary chemical imbalance. You may be suffering from a melancholia that has grown over the years from disassociation. Fears and insecurities have severed your attachment to all the things that complete you emotionally. You must reattach yourself to these things.  I will focus on your anxieties and moods. I don't feel that other factors such as appetite loss, sleeping problems, disinterest, hallucinations, delusions, and suicide play a significant enough role in your personal complex to be studied at this time. This means that out of the three main contributing factors, physical illness, hormonal disorders, and psychological factors, psychological factors will be our focus. Excuse me I have covered a lot. Do you have any questions.?"

"No I think you have put a lot of thought into things and I would certainly like to learn to find a way to control my moods. Whatever you can do to help, I would appreciate it."

"I'm very pleased with your diagnosis Jessica, I think you have a good grasp of things. The relationship with his Mother and Father seems to be something of discomfort to him, and I think it would be good for him to face up to those emotions."

 
"As far as medication is concernedI have a remedy called natrum  muriaricum  . I have thought about it carefully and i feel it might be a good choice as a starting point. Patients who benefit from NM are generally reserved, responsible and  private people. They have fears and insecurities that they keep hidden. When helped they are generally critical and pessimistic. Past grievances cause significant anxiety. NM is made from common table salt, that is diluted. I provide it in elixir form. It is a polychrest for emotional distress. Also I am, as far as I know the only physician who can supply with an herb that is from the leaves of the  ginko biloba  tree, which traditionally are thought to be almost magical in their capacity to perform miracles. They actually work a bit like natrum mutriaticum. Both gingko biloba juices and leaves work to target damaged tissue, and repair it. Gingko also repairs damaged organs, and assists with the production of healthy red blood cells. This is a sort of round-a-bout way in treating depression, but if there is damaged tissue in the brain that is helping cause the depression, the gingko biloba can help. Gingko pretty much just helps keep you healthy, both mentally and physically, and when you're healthy, you're less likely to be depressed. I will try you on the NM tablet and gingko herbs, but I'll recommend small doses and keep an eye on whether or not they have any counteraction with the medication from Dr. Langdon-Gane.

I would like you, Eamon, to consider therapy and it is important that you have a healthy relationship with your therapist.

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Dr. Langdon-Gane will likely talk to you a few more times, before he decides on a therapist, or whether or not he will continue personally. If you prefer I would be more than willing to assist you. I am not a designated psychiatrist as you know but I have many patients who take my advice on personal and emotional matters and Abigail has always placed her trust in me. Make the decision that suits you best. I believe you are seeing Dr. Langdon-Gane later this week so we'll talk next week and see how you're progressing."



Chapter 22

The news of the accident had naturally traveled to Berry Grove and Margie had responded with a deluge of letters and phone calls. She was very upset at not being able to attend the award ceremony and kept promising Siofra that she would come down for a visit. Finally the arrangements had been made. At first, Abigail was not enthused at the prospect of visitors, considering the ongoing tumultuous winter. She felt bad not being able to offer Winona and Raymond accommodation. Winona manged to console Abigail with assurance that a very suitable arrangement had been made. A friend of Archibald's had a beautiful estate-like home in High Park and the Price's were welcomed there. Margie would stay with the Conor's, Margie and Siofra obviously wanting to share a room, and be together night and day. To neatly tie the weekend together the Tiller's had arranged a skating party at Riverdale Park. Esther was not sure about skating, but she would be going regardless, and the addition of Siofra and Margie would complete the trio. 

Raymond drove the Maxwell through some inclement weather, and Winona was swearing to the benefits of rail travel by the time they arrived in Toronto. Raymond had the vehicle glistening from it's winged hood ornament to the sparkling rims on the wood-spoked wheels. It was a showpiece, especially since the Maxwell would now be rare, as the Chrysler Co. had recently purchased the struggling operation. They arrived at Helena Ave. presenting themselves hurriedly, with the purpose of not making Abigail feel obligated to be hospitable.

Winona after the hugged-filled greeting announced "I'm so sorry that we can't stay longer, but Harold and Emmaline are expecting us, and we don't want to show up right at the dinner hour...but will come for a proper visit tomorrow."

"The girls have planned to go to a skating party tomorrow at Riverdale Park, we'd be glad to have you come along."

"What time has that been planned for?"

"We'll be heading out about ten and we're having a picnic lunch. We're bringing sandwiches and cocoa in thermos'. I think the Tiller's might be bringing some beef stew. I think there are a few barbeque pits available, but we didn't want to go to that trouble."

"I'll tell you what Abigail, we'll give you a call this evening to confirm our plans. It might work out better if we come when you get back from your marvelous excursion...but we'll see."

"Nessa appeared at the door looking quaintly elegant in a self-made dress with a bit of ornate Norman Hartnell embroidery. It was not uncommon for her to overdress, and she was more likely to do so than ever. It made her feel more upbeat, considering her current condition."

 

 

Due to the mystique of tuberculosis her infection was not made public to anyone except family. She was announced as suffering from an unidentified viral infection, and that she was expected to get better soon. That hopefully was the beginning and end of the conversation.

"We're very sorry your under the weather Nessa. Are you going to join the family on the skate tomorrow?"

"No, unfortunately I had better stay home and rest."

Winona and Raymond departed and the girls ran upstairs and caught up on things.

Later that evening Winona called and confirmed that they would come mid-afternoon and take the family out to dinner. Abigail put up a little resistance, embarrassed at their generosity but Winona reassured them that dining out was routine for the Price family.

The morning was bright for a winter's' day with cold gusts of wind which made the previously fallen snow blow in scattered circles. They all gathered their belongings and prepared to be picked up by the Tiller's who weren't sure if there was room in the car for seven, but they'd manage. They drove along a busy Bloor Street and parked the car just south of Danforth on River Street. The Don River was a remarkable path of ice from just south of Danforth, all the way to Dundas. It was at least three-hundred feet wide from bank to bank, and as soon as Siofra got within a clear view of the river, she saw columns of people, twenty to twenty-five rows thick and as far as she could see. 

"Holy mackerel, the place is packed."

"Yes dear," said her mother, "It's cold but comfortable, and the ice is as smooth as silk."

Siofra looked down the near side of the river and noticed very gradual banks, that were contoured for public accessibility and covered in new sod that was hibernating for the winter. On the far side she could see the much steeper banks rising to a fenced in area, which contained the southbound railroad tracks, and then another slope which rose to a section of rolling hills, spotted with maple groves, and a few large-lotted homes.

February 1926 

They put on their skates in one of the many respite sheds and stepped on the ice which was showing all the white residue from the scarring of hundreds of pairs of skates. Eamon was wearing a slightly worn double-breasted mackinaw with knickers and a Persian lamb cap. His skates were extra long Regal Featherweights, which allowed him great speed. He looked quite sporting, and felt reasonably stylish despite the occasional gentleman skating by in dogskin. They were purchased shortly after he had finished playing recreational hockey. When Siofra and Margie were putting on their skates, Margie presented Siofra with some leather supports.

"I bought a pair because I have weak ankles, and they weren't much so I bought you a pair too." Siofra was delighted and felt that with the supports maybe she could keep up with the others. She was proud of her acadian skates, but had not used them much the previous year. She looked like an ice angel in her "American Beauty" ripple slip-over sweater that was all-wool worsted and skirted in a checkerboard design. Her mother wore a velour coat, with a heavy double collar that was somewhat bulky for the occasion but she looked snappy in her Coney fur and satin hat. Her skates were well equipped for pirouettes  with their beveled runners. 

Esther wanted so badly to attempt to skate, so the girls assisted her in putting on her skates and took her aboard the glassy surface arm in arm, from both sides. Siofra and Margie gradually gained speed as they took notice of Esther's balance and this pleased Esther, despite the fact that her cohorts were a little careless, if not reckless. Esther also wanted to go quickly, as she was so proud of her beautiful new neck-wrap, which would follow her like a sheet in the wind, if she was to pick up speed.  

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With the size of the crowd and the potential distance Elaine had to set perimeters in order for the girls not to get lost in the maze, and also so she could keep at least a reasonable eye on them. Abigail knotted her arm in Eamon's and they skated a short oval around the ice, as Elaine sat on the embankment, adorned in her skates while Paul prepared the heating coals.

As the girls continued their antics a couple of boys, appearing to be about their age, blazed past them, successfully gaining their attention. They circled a number of times and continued to come up from the rear and suddenly swerve, one to their right, the other to their left. As this continued they became a little more rambunctious. A few mild collisions ensued, but before things got out of hand Siofra unhinged herself from her playmates and caught up to the boys.

"What the heck are you trying to do you two little runts."

They sped up, wheeled and came up behind Esther and Margie. The two cronies were a little more intimidated without Siofra who seemed fearless to them. 

As the boys approached them Siofra arrived just in time to actually bump one of the boys. This shocked and surprised them, as they stopped, dumbfounded. 

"Hey, watch it!", one of them yelled.

"You watch it, buster", exclaimed Siofra. "You've got no right  scaring them like that. Esther was in an accident and we're helping her around the ice. You could be in serious trouble."

The other lad interjected, "Ah...we didn't do nothin'. We're just havin' some fun."

"Well take you fun somewhere else."

"Are you from around here? We've never seen you before."

"None of your business!" Siofra sauced back.

"All, right, just askin'".

At that point Eamon and Abigail, as well as Elaine arrived on the scene.

"Is there a problem here?", questioned Abigail.

One of the boys, not giving the girls a chance to speak, uttered, "No Mam...no problem, we just accidentally bumped into them."

Siofra jumped in, "Thats not exactly true, they were teasing us. But everything's all right...they apologized."

"All right then, be a little more careful boys. I did notice you were whipping around pretty fast. The river is quite crowded so would better slow down. By the way Esther, how are you managing. "

"Really good, Mrs. Conor. I'm beginning to get my balance and my legs don't hurt."

Elaine put her arm on Esther, encouraged her, and told her to take it easy.

Elaine looked at the boys. "Did you two hear about the terrible streetcar accident that happened at the end of October, when all the people were killed."

The shorter of the two, with freckles, and disheveled carrot-red hair spoke quickly, "I sure did. My cousins house caught fire that day!"

"Well, you know all about it then. My daughter was badly burned when she was stuck in the streetcar... Siofra," she said, as she stepped closer to her, "helped get the people out."

"Are you the one who opened the doors and saved all the lives?"

"Yes," said Siofra swinging her head with exaggeration to display humility. "It was nothing."

Abigail mentioned to Eamon that they should go to the firepit to assist Paul, and give him a chance to do a few laps around the rink with Elaine.

The boys, now smitten with the girls, were naturally too embarrassed to approach them until their parents had left the scene. 

When they did, the freckled boy offered to take Esther around the rink.

"I'm a great skater, and I'm strong, you won't get hurt."

It is uncertain why young Rusty Crawford offered to skate with Esther. Perhaps because she was injured, he projected chivalry by escorting her  or perhaps it was the fact that he was small and colorful with his carmine hair, lentigos and bright blue eyes, which led him to find Esther's tall, angular frame and a sharply featured face, and her overall darkness, intriguing with her long black braids caressing her shoulders. 

Esther blushed, and said nothing, which seemed an acceptance to Rusty, which it was. He held her carefully and guided her in short circles.

The somewhat nondescript Eddie Freeman, though somewhat attractive because of his wavy blond hair and strong physique, took a hold of Margie and skated both Margie and Siofra around the ice surface. 

Naturally both girls found it within themselves to think about whether or not Eddie preferred one or the other. Petty jealousies were usually near the surface with adolescent girls, but they both thought almost in unison that it was beyond them. Eddie was brash, and a bit of a bully, so it could be that Margie appealed to him because of her playfulness, easy-going nature, and passivity. On the other hand, maybe he found Siofra's impetuousness an interesting  challenge.  

Esther called them for some lunch, and they quickly responded, especially eager for the hot cocoa awaiting them. The boys followed, and were offered a cup. Theycheerfully accepted. 

Elaine was impressed with the respect being shown her daughter and instigated a conversation with the boys, inquiring as to which school they attended and where they lived. 

Eddie informed them, "We both live on Hamilton street, just across from the jail."

"You live across from the jail? Don't you ever worry about men escaping?" asked Margie. 

Eddie bravely spoke, "Ah no, it does happen the odd time, but everyone who lives around there is used to it. And anyways, what are they gonna do, besides rob a bank or something."

Elaine asked, "Are you two boys starting high school."

"Rusty will be next year, I've started at Riverdale", he said proudly. 

The girls knew that they probably wouldn't see these two scalawags again, but at least they knew what street they lived on. It wasn't beyond Siofra's nature to attempt an excursion in that direction, but since the accident, she is leery of her reputation. 

That same afternoon the phone rang at the Conor residence. Nessa answered, and to her surprise, it was Petro. She likely shouldn't have been surprised, but in her state of mind, she was. She answered with hesitant politeness. 

"I'm so glad to have got you in Nessa. I've missed you terribly. I want to apologize  for not calling you. I do have an excuse, as feeble as it is. i am preparing my under-graduate thesis and I've been totally submerged in it. I must admit, I think of you every minute of every day, and it actually distracts me from my studies when I think of you. You are a dilemma my dear!"

Nessa laughed. The call had cheered her up.

"I will accept your excuse, as feeble a sit is!"

She was nervous at the prospect of him knowing about her illness, and she wasn't sure how to present the situation.

"As a matter of fact Petro, I have something important I want to tell you. My parents are out skating with the Tillers and the Price family, their friends from Berry Grove. We'll be going out for dinner later this afternoon. If you could possibly find a way to drop what you are doing, I'd like you to me my guest. If you can get here reasonably early, we could discuss things then."

"I'll be there with bells on! I'm almost out the door...oh, and by the way, it sounds awfully serious, is everything okay?"

Nessa was now on the spot, but she quickly designed a way to be evasive.

"I'll let you decide Mr. Zahorchak"

"Oh...being mysterious are you. Well, I'll have no choice but to come if I want to solve this chilling mystery. By...I love you."

Petro had wanted to say that many times before. So he snuck it in almost matter-of-factly, in order to facilitate passing on the amorous message

Nessa stood still holding the phone, not sure if she had heard it correctly. "Yes", she thought to herself, "it was as clear as day. He loves me."

The skaters arrived and at the same time, Petro was minutes away from meeting his destination as well. Siofra ran in the house, spotting Nessa sitting by the fire, reading the book she had received at Christmas.  

Siofra ran up to Nessa and planted an enthusiastic kiss on Nessa's cheek. Siofra was generally ebullient but was also unpredictable. Those who knew her sometimes suspected manipulation in her positive attention, but Nessa knew Siofra was sincere, despite the fact that it brought Nessa's illness to bring Siofra's fostering out. Siofra was excited, and wanted to gossip with Nessa about the boys her and her friends encountered, but it seemed more appropriate to do in private. How's the book Nessa. Do you think I'd like it? I've finished mine.

"It's a little mature, but who's to say what you can and can't read."

This was not a typical comment coming from her sometimes disdainful sister. She almost missed the more typical remark from her, looking forward to a rebuttal. 

Listen to this conversation between Stephen and Elizabeth, it's simply elegant. 

His hand tightened on hers. "You see,'Lisbeth, we - we can't end like this. I - that's not possible. But this is the only way I can see - to give our happiness a chance. And we must do that, Elizabeth. We must. I can't believe that this is the end of our lives together. I know it isn't. It's - an interlude. We'll look back on it someday, and smile, and wonder what was the matter with us. I suppose most married people go through a period of - dissension, only with us it's more acute, more dangerous. So whatever we do, Elizabeth, don't let us plunge in the dark. You don't know your own mind yet. A year from now it'll be different. You'll know - at least, I think so - one way or another."

http://www.georgette-heyer.com/books/thorn.html

"Oh, I must read that, hurry up and finish!"

55810

Nessa broke the news to her mother, so Petro's arrival wouldn't be too much of a surprise. Petro arrived, appareled with a Trone d' amour and was introduced to all the guests. Nessa had made herself up to disguise any look of fatigue or frailty. She looked quite attractive in a Georgette and gathered skirt, despite it being a more conservative outfit than was the norm. 

"Excuse us a few moments everyone, Petro and I must attend to something in the den, we will be back momentarily."

Nessa began to explain.

"Petro, I couldn't tell you this over the phone. I am very nervous about this. I am afraid of what you will think. I am sickly."

"Sickly, you look perfectly fine. I am assuming you took my recommendation and checked with a Doctor regarding your fatigue."

"Yes, I did. And I have an infection. It is the consumption, and pleurisy triggered by the bacteria.  I saw Doctor Pidgeon, my Mother's friend. She is a good doctor. I am hoping the disease does not become active. She can't do much, but the pleurisy can be treated. She gave me some natural medicines."

Nessa did not feel like going into any more detail. She was trying to be  blase hoping that her calm would transform into a bucolic response from Petro. It seemed to be a comfortable and reassuring session, and Nessa was relieved that it went so easily.

"You're a healthy young girl Nessa, and you'll get through this. I'll help you any way I can."

"I didn't think you'd want anything to do with me."

"We all go through difficult times. Maybe you'll be by my side someday when I need you."

Nessa had heard Petro's final words on the phone earlier. Now she had heard words that suggested a union of some longevity. She could not however return words of ardor. She didn't know why. Her feelings remained tightly wound and she could not unravel them. There was a confident security in her discretion and a release of emotion would open the doors of her sanctuary. 

Petro hugged her, resting his head against hers. He then announced that they should join the others. 

They moved to the den where the girls had gathered. Siofra was fiddling with the radio. 

Petro cajoled with the girls, and they shone in his attention. His affability with them gave everyone a sense of familiarity with him.

He spoke first to Siofra.

"So, you have a friend from Berry Grove visiting."

"Yes, Sir."

He then looked at Margie. 

"How does Toronto seem to you, Margie."

"It's wonderful, I would love to live here...and of course Siofra is my best friend."

She was tempted to share the incident with Eddie and Rusty, but her shyness prevailed. That was not the case with Siofra.

"We met two boys. They were teasing us, but we had to protect Esther. I think once they knew that I wasn't afraid, they began to like us."

She then looked over at Esther.

"and Rusty liked Esther!"

Esther, embarrassed, spoke, "He just felt sorry for me."

"Oh no," said Siofra, "You're actually quite elegant, I think you impressed him. He  thought I was a big mouth, which I am."

Petro laughed.

"Siofra, my little dear, you are what is known as uninhibited, with a touch of diplomacy of course."

Siofar added. "We know what street they live on,"

"They gave you that information. That is an invitation if I've ever heard one!"

"Don't be so crass Petro."

"This is 1925. Women are on the precipice of power!"

The girls all looked at each other, spelled by his charm.

"Didn't you hear the new song, I think it's called Feminine Men, Masculine Women."

He began to sing, improvisionally, as he didn't know the melody.

Hey Hey women are going mad, today 
Hey Hey fellers are just as bad, I'll say
Go anywhere, just stand and stare
You'll say they're bugs when you 
look at the clothes they wear
Masculine women, feminine men
which is the rooster which is the hen
It's hard to tell 'em apart today 
And SAY... 
Sister is busy learning to shave
Brother just loves his permanent wave
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
HEY HEY 
Girls were girls and boys were boys
when i was a tot, 
Now we don't know who is who or 
even what's what
Knickers and trousers baggy and wide, 
Nobody knows who's walking inside
Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

Masculine Women Feminine Men
Which is the rooster which is the hen
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
And SAY...
Auntie is smoking, rolling her own,
Uncle is always buying cologne 
It's hard to tell 'em apart today
HEY HEY
You go and give your girl a kiss in the hall

But instead you find you're kissing
her brother Paul 
Mama's got a sweater up to her chin,
Papa's got a girtle holding him in
Those Masculine Women Feminine Men

 Written by Edgar Leslie/James V. Monaco, and recorded by Merrit Brunies & His Friar's Inn Orchestra on Okeh 40593, 3/2/26

http://www.outhistory.org/wiki/Edgar_Leslie_and_James_V._Monaco:_%22Masculine_Women!_Feminine_Men!%22_1925

The girls giggled with gaiety. Nessa was trying to act appalled, unsuccessfully.  

"If Mother had of heard that!"

"She is empathetic towards women's suffrage, I'm sure she would applaud the song, as primitive as it is."

"You have a point."

Abigail came to the doorway and announced that it was time for everyone to get ready to head out for dinner. After a brief discussion, the decision on where to eat rested on Raymond. As as a lover of steak, he decided upon Gough's Restaurant,  which was on Bloor Street with a beautiful view of the Humber River valley. 

Gough's was rustic, with a varied menu, ideal for a family clientele. Raymond ordered a large carafe of house wine. He did a little arm twisting to convince Abigail and Eamon to have some, and they enjoyed a small glassful. They discussed everything from summer plans, to the expense of things, to the overcrowding streets, to the state of government.

Ray and Winona were of a Conservative thrust, Ray being the spokesperson, Winona appearing to agree with him, for the sake of conformity. Paul and Elaine were actually divided politically, but the division was challenging and stimulating from their vantage point. Elaine was what would call moderate, and Paul was radically in protest of conservatism and liberalism, both of which stood for nothing in his mind. "Let the workers unite" was his motto. Elaine was a brisk supporter of Prime Minister King, while Eamon, though not opposed to his policies was cynical about King's purpose.

"Meighan spoke the truth and spoke it clearly. King speaks with a forked tongue.  He put the strikers in Winnipeg in their place and backed Churchill with the militia. he is a man of principal, not political opportunism." Raymond spoke these words almost militantly. Winona apologized for him, asking everyone to not be alarmed by his politics.

"I'm just saying what I think dear. Maybe i get a little emotional, but my words can't hurt anyone."

Fortunately Paul was a civilized man. He was highly opposed to Rays opinions, but shared his position with reverence and paid no disrespect.

"Meighan is a monarchist. We have no room for monarchists. The Progressives and Unionists are trying to make Canada a better place for the working man, and Meighen is standing in their way."

"I believe King is a man who will carry Canada to a position of international respect and admiration. He listens to the Unionists and Progressives, and is a practical man. He made mistakes I admit, but i think he learned from them."

"Elaine, I do not want to be called a bully. I consider myself a gentleman, but we have practiced far too much patience with Mr. King. He mishandled the affairs of Quebec and disregarded the voter's decision when they supported the Conservatives. I distrust him as does Mr. Meighan. Parliament has a purpose. King seems to thinks it's a toy for his own use."

"King and Meighan don't work like Laurier and Borden did. They respected each other.", noted Winona, deciding to participate, though nominally.


"That's certainly true Winona. Did you all hear what Meighan said about King. He said the he was holding on to office like a lobster with lockjaw." Raymond observed everyones reaction as he passed on this anecdote. The reaction was subdued, but the faces did manage soft smiles. 

Paul assisted in the analysis of King's cling to power by adding, "King disregarded the Governor General's constitutional right to call an election, it's as simple as that. It's also a violation of responsible government."

"Those darn farmers, as hard as they do work, wanted free trade so badly that they supported King, more in spite of Meighan than anything else. That kind of makes democracy look bad if you ask me,"  mentioned Raymond.

Paul commented, "Well, Meighen rejected free trade because he was tied to business. That's who the Tories represent."

"We seem to be at loggerheads Paul, although I don't  disagree that the Conservatives are sympathetic to the business sector, thank God they are. Although, in some ways they follow the philosophy of Calvin Coolidge. Say less, do less and tax less. "

"Coolidge is a conservative lawyer, a chip off the old block eh?"

"You got it, Mr. Tiller!" 

"You haven't said much old chap", said Raymond", patting Eamon on the shoulder. "Are you a quiet Conservative or a loud Liberal?"

The adults all seemed to think that was funny as they laughed in unison. All eyes were on Eamon. 

"I'm being forced to take sides I see. Well, I'm no politician but I guess I am in the middle. Our government should help people enough so that they don't suffer like they do back in Ireland. That takes money. The Liberals have devised some good posterity programs so I guess they're okay."

"Somewhat non-committal but well spoken my friend," spoke Paul.

Then Petro commented, "I have not presented my case. That is primarily because I don't have one. I tend to study the educational reforms of our provincial government and up till now they have been all talk, with little action. Fortunately our schooling is of a very high quality. The Tories seem hostile  to labour and immigrants, and are not interested in providing social relief. I guess yo all know that premier Ferguson opposed federal government plans for an old age pension."

"We've had enough politics, my goodness," answered Winona. "The poor children." 

The remainder of the dinner was entertained with more intimate discussion, most dramatically that of the girls' experience in being burned and hospitalized. 

The meals were delicious, the men ordering steaks and roast beef, the women preferring the roast. Elaine was the individual. she chose chicken and dumplings.

"The chicken was nutty sweet, and the dumplings savory...just right!"

The girls of course were yearning for dessert. The selection was easy. the mysterious Alladin's Lamp. It was a gigantic sundae containing whipped cream, strawberries, pineapple, three flaavours of ice cream, cherries and broken fudge biscuits.

The girls were comical, as Esther, being tall, looked down on her treat and gently scooped tiny dollops of whipped cream onto her spoon. The rather short Siofra, being dwarfed by the dessert, virtually looked up at her monstrosity and took large spoonfuls of ice cream from the sides.

Now having yet to discuss their plans, Elaine insisted that they go back to the Tillers and listen to a radio show, which she had heard the following week and had found hilarious, as well as being appropriate for all. 

 57694

Settling in at the Tillers, Elaine offered a choice of ginger ale, port, tea, coffee. Each person was also given a large piece of home-made banana cake.

The group had gathered around the radio, and looked like a bunch of children sitting around a campfire.

Chuckling to herself Elaine told the group that she had listened last week, and she followed by briefly explaining the story. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Stubble were in bed and Gertrude, that's Mrs. Stubbles name, told her husband Elmer that he shouldn't go to bed angry. He said that he wasn't angry. She told him that his friend had called him a fathead, and that it upset him. Elmer kept denying that he was upset. As he continued to deny it, he got angrier and angrier, and got louder and louder. It was histerical!"

Soon the announcer broke over the airwaves.


"Well sir, it’s late afternoon as we enter the small house half-way up in the next block now, and here in the kitchen we find Mrs. Elmer Stubble and her son, Mr. Homer Stubble. This latter individual has just entered from out of doors and at the moment is lightly tossing his cap underneath the sink. Listen: 

GERT: All right; go pick that up. 
HOMER: I plan to leave again pretty soon. 
GERT: Go pick it up. Call that civilized? —a monstrous big high school boy throwin’ his hat on the floor like a pigpen? We got hooks. 
HOMER: Yeah, but hooks is all the way off in the front-room hall an’ you hate to have people tramp over your rugs so I should think--- 
GERT: You know I don’t mean the front room hall hooks. Your hat can hang on the hooks in the cellarway. 
HOMER: Yes’n a guy’s liable to miss his step an’ fall down the stairs. Sixty-nine fatal accidents of the nature occurred in Cleveland, Ohio, during the month of---. 
GERT: Oh, scoot. Argue, argue, argue. 
HOMER: [moving off] Certainly been a fine day outside. 
GERT: Hasn’t it though? 
HOMER: [moving off] Around noon it was just plane hot. 
GERT: Uh-huh. Mr. Gumpox came through the alley an’ I noticed he had his coat folded up an’ layin’ beside him on the seat of the garbage wagon. 
HOMER: [off a way] Mom, I don’t see any hook. They’re all full of overalls an’ aprons an’ junk. 
GERT: You’ll find a place if ya look. There’s squillions of nails there. Hey, what’s your fathers an’ Mr. Drummond doin’ so much talkin’ about? 
HOMER: Where are they? 
GERT: Garbage box. Just more’n wavin’ their arms around. 
HOMER: [returning] They weren’t there when I come past just now. 
GERT: Prob’ly walked home together an’ stopped by the garbage box to finish their talk. 
HOMER: [almost up] If they’re talkin’ about baseball they never will finish. 
GERT: [giggles] 
HOMER: What they doin’? 
GERT: [giggles] Glarin’ at each other an’ makin’ signs an’ doublin’ their fists all up. See out the window? 
HOMER: [chuckles] Uh-huh. 
GERT: Looks like they’re almost yellin’. 
HOMER: Let’s raise the window and listen. 
GERT: Naw. 
HOMER: They’re talkin’ baseball all right. I could tell hands tied behind me--- 
GERT: Why do they get so excited? 
HOMER: [chuckles] I don’t know. 
GERT: Person’d think one had stole the other one’s pocketbook or bumped into his automobile or something. 
HOMER: Yeah. 
GERT: Baseball’s just a game ain’t it? 

This audio entertainment was new to most of them. Petro was accustomed to the occasional radio drama, Abigail generally listened to the latest news and literary readings, Eamon to sporting events and the girls to musical selections. The Price family had owned a radio for three years and it had become a primary source of entertainment. They were the only ones other than the Tiller's who were up on the latest situational comedies. The movies of the day generally portrayed the good-life, the latest in automobiles, champagne, elegant fashion with an exploitative approach to human relationships. The radio comedies were prepared to look at the working class family, and laugh at the everyday foibles of its members. This made the radio a much less controversial medium and one suitable for the entire family. Mothers worried about what their children might see at the picture show, but at home they could keep track of what they were listening to, and a family serial might be a healthy source of conversation over the dinner table. 

Nessa was very tired and requested that Petro would drive her home. He was more than catering, and he escorted her to the car. 

As they drove to Helena Ave. Petro enlightened Nessa as to his observations. 

"You seem dispirited tonight, my dear."

"I thought it didn't show," she said. 

"You were a wall flower this evening...but i understand. You haven't had much time to deal with your diagnosis. You seemed quite positive earlier when you told me about it."

"That was partly to deceive you. Although this afternoon I wasn't feeling badly. Now I am tired and every bone in my body feels like its being squeezed by giant claws."

"I'm so sorry to hear that. I guess the only cure for that is rest. You've probably been told that a couple of hundred times."

"Yes, but it's true. I have to get used to going to bed by nine o'clock. Otherwise I won't be able to continue with my studies. I'm an awful wreck of a girl."

"Now that isn't even good conversation my sweet."

"Sorry to drag you down Petro. I'll snap out of it, it's the least i can do for you."

"Don't do it for me. Do it for yourself. You'll do fine if you think of the best possible outcome for your illness. I guess i sound like a quack, but I believe it's true."

Nessa moved close to Petro, in order to express her affection, as well as to reassure herself. She was feeling isolated and Petro's understanding and kindness made her insularity less remote. 

After the radio programme, Siofra and her friends went into the Tiller's back yard for a little recreation. It was typically dark for the time of winter evening but the night was clear, and the stars cast a shimmering glow on the snow and the lights from the rear porch cast a haze over the immediate area. It didn't take them long to construct  a large mound of snow. They followed by tunneling into it and hollowing  out the center. It was certainly a tiny cavity but it was just right as they snuggled together like puppy dogs. The warmth from their bodies and the small aperture made for a very toasty habitat.

"I wish I could stay for a month Siofra. I'm so happy here."

"I love you being here too Margie...but things aren't really going that well. My Daddy is having problems and Nessa is sick. My Mommy is just getting over what happened to Esther and me, and now she has other worries. Nessa has pleurisy but I'm not supposed to tell. I'm just supposed to say she is sick. Promise you won't tell."

They both crossed arms with her and made an oath to always keep their secrets.  

Then Margie asked what was wrong with her father.

"He gets sad and doesn't talk. I don't know what causes that. The accident didn't help and now there's Nessa. Mommy told me once that he wasn't very happy as a boy. I don't know any more than that...but I wish he was more happy so we could tell jokes and stuff."  

Margie put down her head, and began a prayer.

"Dear Lord, Siofra is my best friend and I want you to make her sister and Father better. Please make Mr. Conor laugh again and help cure Nessa's pluerisy. I will pray for them every night. Amen."

Siofra hugged her, and held her firmly. Little droplets formed around Margie's eyes. Siofra stubbornly refused to display the symptoms of grief or worry, but the cracks in her heart were repaired with Margie's affection.  

             

Chapter 23


Esther asked Siofra to tell one her her ghosts stories. It was surely the perfect place and time for one. Cuddled up in a dark cavern of snow, with the sounds of a sharp whistling wind always sent a bit of a chill up their spines. One of Siofra's stories would certainly add to the suspense. Siofra sometimes wrote her own stories of eerie adventure. They were not always totally original as she intertwined her imagination with stories she had read from Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood, and Myla Jo Closser.

I will try to remember one. The parts I forget, I guess I'll have to make up. 

She sat for a moment looking straight ahead. As she thought about her tale silently, she turned and found both her friends staring right into her eyes. 

"You guys are scaring me!"

"That's where all horror stories start, in the recesses of your eyes." storied Esther.

"You are weird", exclaimed Siofra. 

She paused again and then told her cronies to prepare for a frightening experience.

Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil. Their company knows that there is something radically amiss. These spooked house advertise that they are evil. Willy nilly, they seem to communicate an atmosphere of secret and wicked thoughts which makes those in their immediate neighbourhood shrink from them as from a thing diseased.

And there is  the aroma of evil deeds committed under a particular roof, long after the actual doers have passed away, that makes the gooseflesh come and the hair rise. The victim of evil passes on his possessions to the heart of the innocent watcher, and he becomes suddenly conscious of tingling nerves, creeping skin, and a chilling of the blood. He is terror-stricken without apparent cause.

The house I am particularly speaking of does not manifest anything in it's external appearance, which in turn bear out the tales of the horror that were said to reign within. It was neither lonely nor unkempt. It stood, crowded into a corner of the square, and looked exactly like the houses on either side of it. It had the same number of windows as its neighbours; the same balcony overlooking the gardens; the same white steps leading up to the heavy black front door; and, in the rear, there was the same narrow strip of green, with neat box borders, running up to the wall that divided it from the backs of the adjoining houses. Apparently, too, the number of chimney pots on the roof was the same.

Siofra read on, the girls tense with fear, but feeling reassured by each others proximity. 

And yet this house in the square, that seemed precisely similar to its fifty ugly neighbours, was as a matter of fact entirely different--horribly different.

...there came a second's pause. Then the first one, the lighter of the two, obviously the pursued one, ran with uncertain footsteps into the little room which Shorty and his aunt had just left. The heavier one followed. There was a sound of scuffling, gasping, and smothered screaming; and then out on to the landing came the step--of a single person pounding the floor with heavy boots. 

A dead silence followed for the space of half a minute, and then was heard a rushing sound through the air. It was followed by a dull, crashing thud in the depths of the house below--on the stone floor of the hall.

Utter silence reigned after. Nothing moved. The flame of the candle was steady. The air had been undisturbed by any movement whatsoever. Soaking with terror, Aunt Julia, without waiting for her companion, began fumbling her way downstairs; she was crying gently to herself, and when Shorty put his arm round her and half carried her he felt that she was trembling like a leaf. 

In the hall they saw nothing, but the whole way down the stairs they were conscious that someone followed them; step by step; when they went faster IT was left behind, and when they went more slowly IT caught them up. 

With trembling hands Shorty opened the front door, and they walked out into the moonlight and drew a deep breath of the cool night air blowing in from the sea.

When Siofra had completed her tale she admitted that it was one that she had read recently, and had tried to recollect it as best she could. Her pals were still quiet, frozen with consternation, and could not immediately reply. 

Finally Margie responded by saying," Siofra, that was unbelievable!"

Esther replied by saying "Actually it was believable, that's what made it so scary!"

Margie managed to laugh. "You're right Esther. Siofra made it feel like we were right there, in the house. For a minute I had the feeling of being trapped and actually felt like I was going to die."

"You should definitely be a writer Siofra."

"Well, as I said, it was not my story. It was written by somebody else."

"Yes, but you only remembered some of it, and made up the rest."

"I guess so. Next time I'll write my own and keep them in my vanity bag."

The girls heard a call from the porch. Elaine was calling them to come back to the house, as the guests were preparing to leave. 

As they bolted to the rear deck, Elaine shouted, warning them that they could easily slip and get injured. She extended both arms and the girls ran into them as if a fence and fell to the ground rolling and spinning on the icy surface, giggling as they performed.

"Mommy can i go home with Siofra and Margie. Margie has to go home tomorrow. It would be really fun."

"You've overlooked one thing my dear. You haven't been invited."

Esther quickly offered her idea to Siofra who immediately ran to her Mother with the request."

"Nessa went home very tired and your father is not feeling all that well. It might be a bit too much for them. And I am rather tired myself."

"Oh Mommy, we'll play in my room and we won't be any trouble at all. We won't ask you for anything. Margie's staying anyways, one more won't hurt"

Abigail did see her point, and pondered her response. 

Elaine, not being sure if it was appropriate for her to side with the girls, said to Abigail. "Tell you what Abbie. As Siofra said, you're having Margie over anyways, so you could use a hand regardless. I will go back with you this evening for an hour or so and make sure the girls are comfortable. And as well, I'll go back over in the morning and help you with breakfast. I really insist. Your hands are full and I can help you out."

Winona heard the conversation and felt rather guilty at leaving Abigail with the girls.

"I feel bad Abigail. Here I am gallivanting over to our friends beautiful High Park home, being treated like royalty, and you're left taking care of the girls."

"It's totally fine Winona. It's your vacation. Enjoy yourself. Margie came down to be with Siofra. I shouldn't have sounded so negative about having Margie over. I'm just a little tired. I'll have a good night's sleep and tomorrow morning I'll be as bright as a rooster."

Everyone departed. Back at the Conor's. Elaine and Abigail helped the girls prepare the bedroom. as Siofra's bed was barely wide enough for two, they decided that in order for them all to sleep together they would have to make some kind of sleeping conglomeration out of blankets and pillows. Abigail and Elaine gathered every spare blanket and pillow they could find. A few blankets, a quilt and an eiderdown, served as the mattress and a few lighter blankets served to cover them. 

Petro had left shortly before and Nessa felt well enough to visit the girls. Nessa asked them what they were going to do, knowing that they might be up to something mischievous. 

Siofra informed her that they were going to stay up all night. The others tee-heed while Nessa looked at Siofra accusingly. Her look was out of responsibility, knowing that if she was in Siofra's shoes she would do exactly the same thing. 

"What are you going to do all night", she inquired. 

Margie explained to Nessa that Siofra was the best ghost story teller in the world, and that she would entertain them all evening.

"I think you'll have to have a little more than that on your agenda my little dears!"

"We'll think of something", Siofra answered quickly, in defense of an idea that had actually just crossed her mind. 

"I imagine you'll fall asleep before long girls, otherwise your faces will fall in the cereal in the morning."

Esther wanted so badly to ask Nessa about her pleurisy, but knew the promise she had made.

"I'm sorry your sickly Nessa, it must be very difficult."

Nessa, totally unaware that Esther knew of her actual illness, replied by referring to Esther's burns.

"I'm not going through anything as bad as what you went through. You must be in anguish having to get around with so much pain and discomfort."

"I'll be okay. It is hard, but it's getting better each day, and it makes it easier knowing that I'll get completely better, other than the scars that is."

Margie wanted to see the scars, so Esther quickly pulled up her flannelette chemise and displayed her impressions. Her left thigh was covered with a large oval shaped burn, discolored with tones of pink, a darker red, brown and some grayish outlines. It was repelling, but Esther's friends overcame the associated emotion and looked a little longer, so as to not make Esther feel freakish. 

"Shouldn't you have bandages on them," asked Nessa.

"All they would do now is protect the wound if I banged it against something, but there is no danger of bleeding so it will heel okay without them. The salve I have helps the pain and swelling a little bit." 

"You're a brave little one Esther. I guess you learned your lesson. Never follow Siofra on one of her adventures. She runs around like a chicken without it's head!"

What she said was only spoke half-jokingly but everyone laughed regardless. Nessa kissed them all goodnight and told them if they were good she would make her special pancakes for them.

Siofra was quite certain that Nessa had changed. She was quieter and seemingly a little more attentive. This for some reason was because of her illness. Her not being well knocked her down a few pegs she thought to herself. What a cruel thought, but true?

The girls her know to entertain themselves. As their tiredness crept up on them, it made them more restless, which in turn made them more aimlessly exuberant. Siofra then presented to her cronies the idea that had crossed her mind earlier. In Siofra's room, a small window faced north, looking across the street to the large two-story home, which unfortunately impaired the view. Just outside the window was the porch roof which slanted in a reasonably sharp incline down towards the concrete steps introducing the front entranceway. 

"You know what we could do. We could make a little bed outside on the roof. We could could see how long they could stay out there. Maybe we could see who could stay out the longest."

"Are you crazy Siofra. We'd freeze to death. And I would certainly never stay out  after you two came in!"

"It would be fun. If we got too cold, we'd just come in."

"Well," said Margie, "If Esther's game, I'm game."

Then Esther explained that they'd have to use all the blankets.

"They might be damp after we bring them in. How could we explain that to your Mother?"

Siofra had a solution, offering the idea that in the morning they could offer to fold everything up and put them away. No one would know, and if the blankets were slightly damp, they'd probably dry in the closet before anyone found out.

"The worst that can happen is that I get yelled at anyways. It wouldn't be the first time."

Siofra's mates were quite impressed with Siofra's nerve.

Esther mentioned that it would be funny if they all got colds.

"I can hear your mother saying 'what were you girls up to last night'".

It was slightly below freezing. Not what you would call frigid. A damp breeze was blowing in from the south-west that made the seasonal temperature seem a tad colder than it actually was. Siofra managed to open the window without any assistance. First, Siofra wanted as much of the snow removed from the roof as possible. There was nothing in particularly suitable for the job, but the girls managed to remove the snow with a couple of book-ends.

Siofra had recently had a few dresses professionally cleaned and the film wrap that was used to protect them was still enveloping the garments. She used those coverings to put down on the shingle to avoid the dampness encroaching upon the bedding.  At that point the girls had nothing to do but grab the blankets and quietly climb unto the gable. The three of them bundled together made a surprisingly tepid lodging. They sat and giggled and after the initial excitement it was again time for Siofra to enhance the late evening with a spooky tale. The breeze and sounds of the city created a perfect backdrop for one of Siofra's dramatizations. They stayed out for what must have been three hours, before they became uncomfortably chilled. Their delicate bodies were still warm, but a clamminess and cool sweat covered their skin like dew on the morning grass. 

They decided to return to the room and rearrange everything to avoid any possible hysterics in the morning. They settled in to their original setting and fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. The morning was uneventful. Elaine Tiller came over to help with breakfast as planned and Nessa made her pancakes as promised. Ironically it was based on the girls behaving. No one at this point knew otherwise!

Chapter 24

The pancakes were a smash hit indeed. Esther was so impressed by their fluffiness and the perfectly sweet apples inside. The cinnamon gave them that savory mellow flavour. 

Nessa mentioned that she improvised on the recipe.

"I actually used a little less white sugar and added a touch of brown. I also added a touch of rendered fat juices  and about three-quarters of a cup of buttermilk. I learned that it works better if you half-bake half-bake the apples  before putting them in the batter. Of course without Jameson's pure maple syrup, they just wouldn't be the same."

The Jameson's were friends of their longtime friends, the Fitzpatrick's. They move to Quebec five years previous, and purchased a small farm in the Eastern townships. In early summer, the Conors could expect the Fitzpatricks to drop by with a dozen or so bottles from the Jameson farm.

Margie did not consider the fact that  Margie, being from Berry Grove, and Siofra, had been well versed in some of the details of maple syrup making. se asked about the process, and Abigail gladly gave her a detailed description. 


"I met the Jameson's once since they moved to Quebec. They told me all about the sugaring parties. They start at the beginning of the spring thaw. They first bore holes in the trunks of the maples, usually more than one hole per large tree, and insert home-made wooden spouts into the holes, and then hung a wooden bucket from the protruding end of each spout to collect the sap. The buckets are usually made by cutting circular segments from a large tree-trunk and then hollowing out each section's core from one end. Sap slowly fills the buckets and members of the sugaring party periodically returned to retrieve the sap that had accumulated. Then it's transferred to big barrels often mounted on sledges or wagons pulled by draft animals. The sap-collection buckets are returned  to the spouts mounted on the trees, and the process was repeated for as long as the flow of sap remained "sweet". The weather conditions during the thaw are critical in determining the length of the "sugaring" season. As the weather continues to warm, the sap begins to change in taste making it unpalatable. You've probably heard of the sugar shack. That's where the sap is boiled down to maple syrup."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup

Esther asked if syrup is made only from maple tress. 

"Yes, Esther, as a matter of fact it's made from either sugar maples, red maples or black maples. Sometimes it's made from silver maples, but the syrup is not a sweet."

Siofra, after hearing her mother's repeated rendition of the process, became suddenly more enthusiastic.

"Wouldn't it be great to go to a sugaring party? Do you think the Jameson's would let us come?"

"It would certainly be fun, dear. But it's also hard work. We'd be expected to pull our weight."

"That's okay. Can you ask?"

"Well dear, things are a little difficult at the moment, and the sugaring season is coming upon us, so I rather doubt that it would be possible."

Nessa interjected and pointed out that her illness should not effect their decision.

"If the possibility does arise, don't let me hold you back. I can certainly take care of things here."

"Hold on here!", exclaimed Abigail, "We haven't even been invited, and we're making plans!"

Everyone laughed at Abigail's seeming alarm, and she assured everyone that enthusiasm towards the event was a good thing. 

Winona and Raymond arrived shortly before the dinner hour, Winona insisting they arrive at that time to ensure her the time to help out with the meal. Margie asked her mother to confirm the time that they had to leave. Her mother explained it was  a long drive on a winter's day, keeping in mind that the weather could become inclement. It would be necessary to leave shortly after dinner. 

"Don't we have anytime after we eat?" Margie asked sadly.

"Well I suppose your father and I can give you an hour or so, but we don't want to over-welcome our stay."

The ladies prepared a simple but tasty lunch of potato soup, ham and cheese sandwiches and a fruit salad. 

While the lunch was prepared Eamon and Raymond discussed the results of the investigation into the street car accident. Raymond was very interested being a lawyer. 

Eamon explained that the TPTC took most of the responsibility for the accident, admitting to negligence in driver training and making a mistake by commencing with the street car service before it was safe. 

The judge required that a task force was to prepare a detailed report on the design and functionality of the Peter Witt vehicle. To my surprise I was appointed to that force. I unfortunately missed the initial meeting, so I suppose I must get briefed on what transpired. I am a bit uncomfortable with my required position.

"Why would that be may I ask."

"Well, I guess I have too much emotional attachment to the incident, and I fear somehow that the conclusion of the study may find fault in me not reporting certain suspicions."

"Suspicions?"

"Yes. I knew that the center door release was not easily operated and that the windows were too firmly latched when totally secured. There should have been three easy exits from the car."

"You never reported your suspicions?"

"No. I should have. That's the problem."

"You have a team of workers. It wasn't solely your responsibility."

"That doesn't justify my silence."

"Did your supervisor ever inspect the car himself?"

"No. He looked at it when it was introduced. Naturally he was curious about the new design...but he is man who prefers to sit in office and shuffle papers. I'm not sure that I blame him."

"There was a little sarcasm in your voice, I think maybe you do hold him a little responsible."

"If the report makes any accusations regarding mine or Franks responsibilities, it could become a war between as. A sort of "you or me" scenario. I don't like that."

"I don't think your the type of guy to be accusing, unless you were absolutely within your rights. If you don't mind me being personal Eamon, I realize that you have difficulty with your emotions. I couldn't help but to notice when you visited us last year...but your not alone, and you're actually quite eloquent. You have displayed your intelligence to me a number of times and it is a part of your nature to be within yourself. Try to see it as a part of who are, rather than letting yourself getting tied down with worry. It is important through this process to be communicative, and not to let yourself appear defensive.  If you do, those under pressure will attempt to use you as a scapegoat. So be the first to speak up, and appear to be in control of the situation, regardless of your insecurities. We all have them. we just have to learn to show enough confidence to bring out the best in others. I must apologize for not being in contact with you over the period of the investigation. I could have helped, or at least been supportive. My legal experience includes dealing with 'perceived responsibility' versus 'obligation', versus 'contract responsibility', versus 'assumed responsibility'. They are are divided by a very fine line and understanding the difference can make a big difference in corporate matters between employees, and between employers and employees. It doesn't appear that the provincial court will invoke any new charges, nor does there appear to be any forthcoming appeals, but the TPTC itself could decide to take actions that would make them appear more sympathetic to the public, and more safety conscious. If the TPTC questions you with regards to 'assumed responsibility', they could make things difficult, but I doubt they have a case. If they questioned you regarding 'perceived responsibility' they could make thinks a bit nasty, but they wouldn't have a leg to stand on legally. The problem is, the expression of suspicion towards you in any way, makes working there very problematic, and I think you would have great difficulty in holding up in that environment. How are your relationships with your associates and management?"

"I don't see a problem that I can put my finger on. I was not a friend of the driver Alan Hagerty. Some people in the company were, and even though befriending an fellow employee is a totally acceptable thing, because of his driving record, it was looked upon as poor judgement to be a friend of his. I barely knew him myself. Gordon Buytaert, the operations head, is a very responsible, no-nonsense man who has not talked to me many times, but has come down to the maintenance area on occasion and discussed the new Peter Witt vehicle...but we never went into enough detail for there to be any legal consequences, at least as far as I can see. He was the one responsible for the decision to run the trains on that Saturday. I am course totally separated from that issue. That will obviously arise if any civil cases come up. Winston Harvey is strictly a PR man, and we have barely crossed paths. Wally Paterson is my immediate boss, and he is great to work for. He is quite easy-going and puts a lot of trust in his workers. He assumes that if a problem arises, he will be approached. I have always gone to him whenever problems occur, but for some reason my suspicions with the new street car had not been passed on to him. I honestly don't know if i intended to do so or not. I suppose because of his easy-going nature I just didn't act with any urgency...but I should have."

"I noticed you used the word 'assumed' when you mentioned his expectation that you would come to him if a problem arose. In your discussions with the task force, be careful to never use the word assumed, or obligated because that leads to possible allegations. Do you understand that?"

"Yes, I get your point, but I don't want to be evasive or irresponsible regarding the truth."

"You can do your job to the best of your ability. Being a responsible man, one could say that you are obligated to do your best, but that is only in the actual performance of your duties, not in the perceived judgment of others towards your performance." 

"I see your point. Thanks."

"I want you to be in touch with me often, and I want you to update me on how things progress. I don't have to be signed on as your attorney, unless of course through the task force investigation you are charged by the company, but I think professional advice from this point on would be advisable. And if any questions come up regarding your duties it would be good for you to forward that information, because even one critical point, if worded a certain way, could be used against you if not defended. I don't mean to worry you more, I just want to give you support. If things get more complicated than you expect, you will feel that you can't take on the company by yourself. I'm here as a professional and a friend."

"I really do appreciate it. I didn't see some of the possible pitfalls that you mentioned. I guess that does worry me a bit...but I have to face facts."

"That's right, you are in a vulnerable position, as are many others in the company, you just have to protect yourself. People will be less inclined to go after you if you don't appear vulnerable. They tend to go after the weak link."

"May I ask who 'we' is. Who would go after me."

"Hopefully no one. If Mr. Newton or Mr. Buytaert are up against the wall in a civil suit, they might try to deflect the attention away from themselves and on to you or Mr. Paterson. I don't know them well enough to predict such an act, but at least you appear to have good relations with them. If want to sign me on as your lawyer, that would give me legal prerogative to talk to the lawyer who represented the company.  l presume you know who that is."

"Yes. It is Wade Iasonas. He actually told me after we talked that he was impressed with my understanding of the streetcar itself and the entire operating system."

"That's great. If you decide to use me, send me his contact information."

Chapter 25

63432   

GIRLS FINAL HOUR

The girls had to fill their final hour. What to do! They had to involve themselves with an activity that required little preparation. They ran off to Siofra's room and with encouragement from the hostess decided to do an impromptu performance. A family drama with each girl pretending to be a movie star of their choice was woven before their eyes. Siofra, being her original self, decided to play the male role, choosing the Latin lover Rudolph Valentino. Margie, certainly in character, played the precocious Clara Bow, and Esther decided to be the queen of melodrama, Norma Talmadge.

Esther began by putting her head down, touching the base of her lap, and proceeded to rub her hands through her hair in frustration. 

"I know he loves me. I know it. But why does he have to be so cruel to me?"

Margie, standing by leaning back with both her hands on her hips.

"Oh, Lena, you're so brittle. He just looks at another woman and you break in two!"

"But my best friend, you! He could flirt with anyone but he had to choose you!"

"I'm sorry Lena, but you know me. I don't have the brains you have. I have to let my curves do the talking. I don't mean anything by it. Francisco just has a roving eye. If you love him, you have to take that as a part of the package. He's not the kind of guy you bring home to meet Mom and Dad."
Siofra pretends to walk in unexpectedly. "My two sweet things. What are my little troublemakers up to today."

"We were talking about you, you two-timer."

"Ah...the love triangle! Much too much made out of nothing."

"Lena is my dearest friend. I apologized for being the air-headed little vamp that I am. Now it's your turn to apologize."

"My dear Margo, whenever you act like a little vixen, you excuse yourself by claiming to be a mindless little tramp. That is surely the easy way out, but I'm not buying it."

"I'm not selling, either,  you despicable character. I think I should leave the room and let you and Lena sort things out."

"There is nothing to sort out. Lena is my girl, plain and simple."

"Lena, honey, tell him that it is not that simple."

Lena, gaining a little gumption, looked at Francisco. "Please Francisco, all I want is to be made to feel special. You're always telling me how much you love me, but those words are beginning to sound hollow. Whenever we're around other people the last person you seem interested in is me. I'm not just someone to own. i have feelings and needs."

"Feelings and needs? You're not a little child Lena, you're a woman of the world. Intelligent, well-travelled and resourceful. I don't need to hold your hand."

"Oh Francisco, you talk about me as if I'm some old twice-divorced frump. I want romance and excitement."

"I thought you wanted a family. That's what your always telling me." 

"I do. Thats' later. Once I have children I want my life to center around them. Now is the time for us my dear."

"That sounds reasonable. Who do you suggest father these wonderful children."

"Are you being serious, terribly cruel, or obscenely funny?"

"A bit of all three, i suppose."

Margo had had enough. "I was going to leave you two alone to talk things over, but I wouldn't leave my best friend alone in a room with this monster for anything. I ask you to remove yourself from this room now, you spurious fiend."

The girls could no longer contain themselves and broke out laughing. 

"Spurious, where the heck did you find that word?"

"It was in a book i was reading and I asked Mommy what she meant, and she told me it meant phony or deceitful. I was saving it for the right moment. I never used it as Margie, but Margo had us for it!"

They continued to giggle, all holding their stomachs in glee. 

It was time for everyone to depart. Siofra gave Margie a big hug and held her affectionately. "I'll miss you so much. I hope it isn't long before I see you next. Maybe we'll come up to Berry Grove soon...okay Mommy?"

"We'd love to dear, but your father is very busy at work and we have to take care of your sister too. And don't forget, you haven't been out of the hospital long either. I don't want you over exerting yourself, I think your doing too much already."

Siofra could not debate her mother's comments so replied by saying nothing and forming a serene and sad smile.  

These continuously arranged gatherings were a healthy thing for the Conor's. It was therapeutic for them to be amusing themselves and having amiable relationships with various friends. The family within itself was slowly beginning to break down under the constant attack of crisis after crisis. Fortunately, Abigail had, despite her somewhat puritanical nature, a progressive side, and understood that the survival of the family was not solely reliable upon doctors, other professionals, religious faith and the legal establishment. There had to be something cognitive within the family; some understanding and realization that the human mind has to be flexible enough to turn chaos and difficulty into a positive challenge that can overturn suffering. Eamon was either suffering from mental illness with a foundation of hereditary melancholia, or some inexplainable situational illness that could be diverted through change if life-style, mode of thinking or familial situation. Nessa was clearly dealing with a medical issue and must be treated from all possible sides. Siofra was a godsend. A free spirit. Abigail thought that she might have the most to lose, because the strength and support she needed from her family was waning. Abigail had to prioritize things, but she wasn't sure how. She knew she had to put the children first, but was that fair to Eamon?  For all she knew, Eamon's mental health was the catalyst fro harmonious growth within the family. 

Chapter 26

RELIGIOUS DISCUSSION

Petro had a pleasant surprise for the Conor's. Even though he was relatively new to the family, he was concerned for their well-being and a strong sense of urgency towards their care. He felt that they needed a short vacation. After hearing the discussion about the Jameson's sugar farm, he thought about it, and decided that they should have the opportunity to relax and to reflect on their difficulties. Hopefully an adventure such as this would shed a more positive light on things.

So he got a hold of the Fitzgerald's. He introduced himself and explained the situation. He asked if the Fitzgerald's would be in a position to contact the Jameson's, and inquire as to the chance of the Conor's being a part of the sugaring season and whether or not there was any accommodation available. The Fitzgeralds felt that it was a kind gesture for Petro to want to help them and her more than happy to assist him. They contacted the Jameson's and had good news to bear.  Angus Fitzgerald called Petro back a week later and was happy to inform him that the Jameson's had a small lodge with plenty of room for the family. They would be free to assist the operation in any way desired, but were under no obligation to fulfill an official assignment during the tapping.

Petro not only brought good news to the Conor family regarding the visit to Quebec, but had some information regarding a special theological seminar at the university, that might be of some interest to members of the family. He knew that Abigail had a special interest in theology and its relationship to women's sociology. He was also of the belief that the others in many ways needed a practical spiritual foundation in order to deal with the fact that they were a family in crisis.

The family was elated at hearing the news about the possible visit to the eastern townships. Eamon was quietly enthused, but knew it might be difficult to get off work, considering his usual duties and now his task force involvement. He promised to check that out as soon as possible. Nessa was not sure if she was up to it. Petro asked her if it would make any difference if he came along, with the permission of Nessa's parents of course. That certainly made the situation completely different for Nessa, and Abigail said she would discuss it with Petro, and would allow the arrangement under certain circumstances. The seminar brought a strong reaction from Abigail, who knew of the speaker, Penelope Sinclair, a middle-aged woman, active in the Liberal Party of Canada and very militant in the battle for woman's suffrage. Abigail was not as radical by nature as Penelope, but began to get more frustrated over time, and thought that a certain level of agitation may be necessary. She also convinced Siofra to come. She perceived Siofra as bright, and thought it would benefit her to listen to a woman of courage and dedication to speak about things that were so vital for Siofra's future.

Penelope's speech was centered around the role of religion in the evolution of woman's rights. Convocation hall was packed and the girls were glad they got there early as they were able to get four seats on the left aisle about ten rows from the front.

Siofra was spellbound by the hall. It was a huge domed rotunda. It was inspired by the new translations of neoclassical revival and the Greek revival in architecture. There were huge columns, the buildings entablature and its domed roof.  There was a great emphasis put on its principles of proportion, symmetry, geometry and uniformity of parts. The circular forms represented universality. The columns were both Doric (the massive fluted shaft) and Ionic (the capital). The dome is copper, and some day in the future it will begin to show oxidation, and turn a typical green. Inside the effect of the oculus is mesmerizing as it lets in large amounts of natural light at the hall's center. 

"I've never seen anything like this." Sofra commented in awe.

"It is the pride of the city, Siofa.", replied Petro.  "The architects put together the great traditions of history by utilizing the latest developments in architectural technology".

"How many people are here?", she asked.

"Well. the hall holds over seventeen hundred people when its full."

Penelope was introduced by university President Robert Falconer. Mr. Falconer himself attended divinity school for the Free Church of Scotland, but never served as a cleric. He greatly expanded the degree programs and was a campaigner for greater international relations between English speaking nations. He was outspoken in his caution of American dominance over these relationships. He referred to  Miss Sinclair, as an "eloquent advocate for woman's rights, a socially conscious liberal thinker of great humanity, and a determined and exhaustive worker for women in technocratic matters."

She began;

"After a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that their is a lot of different dynamics when it comes to religion and religion practice. First and foremost religion exists  because people since the beginning of mankind have been searching for the truth. Many questions are asked.  How did we get here? Why are we here? Why are we mortal? Why do we sin? What is our future?We even struggle for a definition of truth, besides the clarification of it.So we draw hypothesis, and try to prove or disprove them. Secondly, religion is seen by some as more than a search for the truth, but an approach to defining a just and desired world.  Religion therefore can generate hope, and of course hope creates positivism. Thirdly, religion can serve as a healer. Through prayer and the belief of an awesome God, who by the way can have many labels and appearances, one can heal the spirit and to some the body. Fourthly, religion can be used as an agent for change. This can be a dangerous practice because it depends on ideology, which intertwines with culture and power struggles ensue. Religion becomes politics. I don't have to list the many conflicts featuring in violence and torture, resulting from the social stratification based on ideological evaluation. Fifth and not least is religion as a sociology. This is the approach and use of religion that must be recognized and developed. This doesn't have to take place in universities. It can take place in the home when a parent reads to a child. It can take place in an elementary school when children are instructed in social studies. Instead of inductively taking a religion, whether Catholicism, Calvinism, Hinduism, even Agnosticism and Unitarianism, we should be deductive, taking our larger societies and studying how our lives economically, environmentally, micro and macro sociologically, sometimes force us into a religious evolution. This could be described as a realistic or functionalist approach." 

"Unitarian Universalism claims to have at the centre of it's philosophy, a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. It's followers  do not share a creed, rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the belief that an individual's theology is a result of that search and not obedience to an authoritative requirement. Unitarian Universalists draw on many different theological sources and have a wide range of beliefs and practices. This emphasizes the worth and dignity of individuals. The universalists are exactly that, a world community. This can be the foundation of studying another religious philosophy. I have discussed with fellow Anglicans, the importance of  disposing  antiquated practices and formalities." 

"Ancient religious philosophies, aren't necessarily antiquated. Confucious proposed that human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation. A main idea of Confucianism is the cultivation of virtue and the development of moral perfection. Confucianism holds that one should give up one's life, if necessary, either passively or actively, for the sake of upholding the cardinal moral values of ren and yi.Humanity is core in Confucianism, and humanity is seen as the main source of logic." 

"Mandaeans, mostly found in the middle-east, have no fixed doctrines, but they did not let their lack of scientific substantiation, discourage them from seeing religious through the cosmos. Humans are seen as an energy field with knowledge and an afterlife. The cosmos is created by an archetypal man. Dualism is represented thought he recognition of a cosmic mother and father. Celestial bodies form a left and right alignment, in the same gravitational field. Humans have a re-birth as a spiritual being transformed from matter. Only high-priests supposedly understand dualism, which moves Mandaeans from a spiritual philosophy to a political force of corruption."

200 

"The New Thought Movement that began in the United states late in the last century is a spiritual cause that emphasizes metaphysical beliefs. It consists of a loosely allied group of religious denominations, secular membership organizations, authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power.[1] It promotes the ideas that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, all sickness originates in the mind, and 'right thinking' has a healing effect.[2][3]"

 "Modern day adherents of New Thought believe that their interpretation of God or infinite intelligence is supreme, universal and everlasting. Divinity lies within each person and all people are spiritual beings. The highest spiritual principle is loving one another unconditionally . Our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living".[2][3] This school can be found under the names Religious Science, Unity Church and the Church of Divine Science." 

"I am glad, despite the conflicts with the Anglican church that there is some notable growth in the establishment of a liberal Anglo-Catholicism, representing the Anglican communion. The term Liberal Catholic refers to people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm liberal Christian perspectives while maintaining the traditions culturally associated with Anglo-Catholicism. Liberalism in this context refers to both a theological as well as a social entity. This creates a familiarity to political socialism, and therefore possible social reform." 

The speaker talked for another thirty-five to forty minutes and her words were embraced by Abigail. Nessa enjoyed the intellectual diversion, but was not reacting with any passion. The speaker impressed Petro, and made him feel that the new North American society with which he was a part, was modern and progressive.


Her final portion of her engagement was spoken accordingly: 

"Christianity is a religion with many extremes, many renditions, and many faces. The basic premise is the same for most sects, and that is the premise that the Holy Bible of Gideon states the foundation of our religious culture. There are many aspects of life addressed directly or indirectly such as homosexuality, murder, adultery, slavery, and the place of women. How far and how literally one decides to take these pages can create a whole different meaning of Christianity to one person in comparison to another. The predominance of Christian beliefs in Canada has clearly shaped the evolution of the Suffragette movement. The Bible, is however confusing, and can support both sides of the argument." 

"Thirty years ago, Elizabeth Cady Stanton published the first edition of "The Woman's Bible," in an attempt to explain and clarify scriptural references pertaining to women on the basis that these were often used as a rationale to deny women particular rights and privileges. The work was undertaken by a committee and involved delving into both Old and New Testaments for references to women. They were actually cut out, and pasted onto the blank pages in a book. Commentaries were then added. When read honestly, the Bible condones slavery and unconditional obedience. Any honest reading of the bible will show that it allowed slavery and even commanded slaves to "be obedient to their masters". Woman are placed in a subservient role to men.  "...and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee..." is from Genesis III and is the first direct order of this subservience.This is to be understood as a direct statement to women from god.  The New Testament also classifies women in this way.  Esther 1:20-22 says, "...all the wives shall give to their husband's honor, both to great and small.... he sent letters into all the provinces, that every man should bear rule in his own house"   In this story, the Queen does not heed her husband, him, which is shocking as disobedience to a male is considered a grave situation. She is the first woman in the bible who 'dares' disobey her husband. She is to be punishes as an example of disobedience." 

"In America it took until 1865 to abolish slavery. Over time, not only have different statements from the bible been interpreted numerous ways, some have been dismissed entirely. Eventually, this came to be the general consensus with women, but not without a fight. The Bible is seen as the ultimate authority with little question.  "The Catholic Encyclopedia" is a relatively current publication which is used to support anti-suffragettes.  There is significant input from bishop's who use it as a support mechanism for there posture in the religious and social order. It states that men are granted their power by god, and beneath man is woman, who are women are only given 'glory' in their subordinate position through man. The general Christian ideal set forth by this encyclopedia is basically hierarchial."  


"The suffragists have not bothered to use religious sources to maintain their position, to the same extent as it's opposition. Woman were actually frightened by the implied threats of Biblical doctrine. We have now grown our movement to the point that we are no longer scared, but 'challenged' by religious authority. It is now at least possible to be an active member of the Christian Church and support the suffragette movement. This of course is not saying it is an easy road."


"I commend the anti-suffrage spokespersons calling us radicals who promote parity of the sexes. This publicizes our stand.  On the issue of equality in the political arena, the Catholic Encyclopedia declares that this tendency is not compatible with the word of God, the master. Man's position is strengthened by both an implied legal and divine law. 
It is also implied that women's duties, motherhood and wifely in nature, directly counteract the role of men if they are put in competition. For the woman, they are to maintain the household, submit themselves fully to the will of their husbands, bear children, and too raise them in Christ and tradition. While not all Christians condemn the movement,  religion certainly plays a large part in attempting to keep women in their subordinate roles. What is ironic is that most anti-suffrage writings are authored by men, who have a natural bias . They have a hierarchial position to protect." 

"There are common arguments in the anti-suffrage camp.  First, is the issue that mans superior physical strength gives him rights as a protector and resolver of conflict. Man is also seen as more intelligent. That is only because the natural roles we have played up to now have allowed men to spend time with experimentation and philosophy.  Many use a false glorification of women, which is actually an insult, by toying with religious implication, stating that Christianity makes us a faithful companion, a true friend, honest and thoughtful and a creative counselor. It submits that somehow our intentions are most sublime."  

"Also it is seen universally that breaking social norms is an evil act. That is the farthest from the truth. Breaking social norm is a natural, progressive form of behavior based on an intelligent and creative understanding of human evolution. It is based upon the realization that the acts of mankind themselves, create new conditions that cannot be defined in any natural order. Therefore historical understanding can be used as an agent for change, not just a study to explain the status quo and its rationale." 

"I go to the Anglican Church for a few reasons. It is the foundation of my upbringing and is still a source of fellowship. As an active member I can institute change. I do not fear repercussion because God has blessed me in spirit and faith. He created me as an equal to all others, so my fight can only be seen as an act of faith."  

END OF SPEECH AT CONVOCATION HALL


Chapter 27

SHOCK MACHINE


The engagement with Petro, Abigail and the girls was somewhat typical. Eamon was not generally a part of family activities, to the extent he had been previously, although he at times was sporadic in his participation because of his moodiness. At this particular time, Eamon was in reasonable spirits, somewhat of a surprise to others, especially Abigail. He was largely himself, quiet and somewhat moody, but when he spoke, it seemed to be with a confidence not seen previously. He was actually going into a more paranoic stage, but the accompanying anxiety seemed to incorporate a type of energy. He was putting more mental energy into his emotional crisis and was keeping his new creative thoughts to himself. He had heard much about the electric shock machine. He located one in a pawn shop on Dovercourt Ave., purchased it, and decided to hide it in the shed out behind the house. Actually, he thought to himself, if someone did spot it, they probably wouldn't know what it was. It was quite elegant in its mahogany case. On it's front was a removable brass winding handle with a working lock and key. One end features  a brass terminal and a control button to increase or decrease shock power, other end has the other brass terminal. Inside the box lid are mounted the pair of shock handles and their connected leads. The rest of box is occupied by the magnets and winding mechanism. It was in good shape except for a rather precarious cord drive belt, which looked liked it needed some strengthening. Eamon wasn't sure about all the so called medical uses of this device, taken seriously when the unit was manufactured. He had to know a little more about voltage and application before he began any experimentation on himself. He knew that if he was found out, he would probably be declared mad.

Eamon had started a stage in his life when he was reverting back to his college days. He took on a studiousness. With his mental condition being "official" under the auspices of professionals, he was becoming a little stubborn. Although he took his medications as prescribed, he began to feel that self-diagnosis and possibly self-treatment would be a positive next step. Maybe a part of it was that he didn't want a woman telling him what to do. That was the reality of the situation, but it did bother him that it was a trait reminiscent of his father. He was glad to be researching; going through reference books at the library and bringing home magazines like Scientific American Mind. When Mr. Iasonas had complimented him on his expertise, although it was in technical matters, it did give him a bit of previously lost confidence. It remained to be seen whether or not he would use his new motivation to constructively work on improving his condition, or use it to become some kind of "mad scientist". He was actually, at times, laughing to himself. He enjoyed the idea of keeping his research secret, although there was no definite indication that he was fooling Abigail. She had observed him reading the magazines. it was strange that she had not asked him about it. It occurred to him that she thought he was going mad, and was hesitant to approach him about it. He thought to himself..."No, she is a very deliberate person. She will go through Dr. Pidgeon, and do things in a professional manner. I am just letting my imagination run away with me. I guess I am going crazy."

Then he laughed to himself. "Going crazy is the only way to remain sane."

March 1926

The family was ambiguous regarding its coming holiday. Despite the dynamic experience and combination of restfulness and activity, the members of the Conor family were finding it difficult to adjust to the sudden change in their lives following months of challenges. 

They even found it difficult to prepare for the journey. What to pack?  The late fall, early winter of the eastern townships, could be bitter in the evening, with the cold westerlies blowing over the lake plain. It could also be balmy and beautiful, with the bright sun rising from the east and shining overhead leaving a sparkle over the land of lakes. Abigail even managed to comfort everyone, with an almost poetic description of sitting in their lodge, overlooking the rustic mountains with a warm fire casting flickering shadows over them. 

Siofra, naturally, was the least in doubt, regarding the potential of their respite. She might have even under-rated the value of her time, bringing along a few books so she could escape into the worlds of her fictional heroines. Little did she know she would not need them. Her time would be full of industrious work, and ebullient activities day and night. She was disappointed at not being able to bring along a friend, but she was assured that the Jameson's, quite a litter amongst themselves would provide her with plenty of amusement. The trip might have been via an automobile that Petro offered to rent, but it was decided that the more familiar mode of long distance travel, the railroad, would be more suitable. It was late winter, and the roads at times could be very treachurous considering the possibility of large melts along the way. So the would take the Canadian National. This involved taking the old grand Trunk route. The Grand Trunk was Canada's original railway, with a head office that was situated in London, England. maybe that was omen, as the company became less and less in touch with its function and purpose as it tried to grow. They were unable to pay their bills to the Canadian government while trying to expand in western Canada and southern New England. So the government took over their assets and liabilities, and formed an amalgamation, the Canadian National Railway. The journey took them through Port Hope, Brockville, Belleville, Kingston and Cornwall, finally entering the province of Quebec.  Soon they arrived at the metropolis of Montreal, the francophone partner of Toronto, it's anglophone counterpart. 

The Conors then took the branch line to Iberville. This quaint village is near the birthplace of the legendary Bat Masterson, a piece of history unknown to all except Nessa, who passed it on. Siofra had heard much of him but couldn't ascertain the exact reason for his fame. Nessa explained that he was essentially a lawman, but as was the case in the American west, lawmen of authority became the law, hence could make autonomous decisions without much opposition. He was also a newspaperman, and a deputy of the future president, Theodore Roosevelt, in New York City, the center of urban crime in the early nine-teen hundreds, centered around the infamous Five Points district. 

It was grand occasion when the Conor's were met at the Bedford station by the Jameson family.

Chapter 28

Margaret and Duncan Thompson, a vibrant couple in their late forties, met them along with their oldest son Sean, a young man destined to remain on the farm. To remain in the family business was for him, a result of two factors. Firstly, he was raised there and knew of no other way to live. Secondly, he took no interest in anything else and had had no outside ambitions. He was fun-loving however, and soon would be an integral part of the misadventures of Siofra on Jameson's freehold. Sean ruffled Siofra's hair and introduced himself by saying, "Welcome to Bedford my little tatterdemalion."

Siofra found that rather pleasing. Her new title imposed by Sean was no less due to her apparel of jeans, a simple striped cotton shirt and a polka dot kerchief. There was enough snow on the ground, and the almost sudden influx of late afternoon frigid air, warned everyone that south-eastern Quebec was assuredly in the grips of winter. A large sleigh was drawn by two gargantuan horses. The sleigh was a very large bob-runner, obviously handy both for carting goods to and fro, as well as a great number of people at one time. This made particular sense to the family when they soon found out that the Jameson clan included Sean, his three sisters and three brothers and his grandmother Partridge. 

The draft horses were Clydesdales, whom Duncan proudly mentioned were Shires. He continued to describe them, with obvious affection. "They are very active. They don't like to stand and do nothing. They're very high steppers and if you notice when they step, their forelegs are planted right under their shoulders, right down to the fetlock joint."

Noticing the questioning looks, he brushed one of the horses legs and then explained, "Here it it is, right between the canon bone and the pastern.  And then, pointing to the feet, he showed how close they were together, with the points of the hocks turned inwards. You don't want then sickled. Notice the big nostrils, the intelligent eyes, and the well arched long neck. All things to look for. No superfluous tissue on these fellas!"

They were roans, scattered with white hairs, one black, one chestnut. They had the preferred markings of four white socks to the knees and hocks and well-defined blazes. 

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JAMESONS FARM

The journey to the Jameson sugar farm was wonderful. Siofra had never seen such a wilderness. Yes, she had been to other rural places that were tranquil and scenic. She saw the towering softwoods, and the scattering of silver and red maple, and groves of berry tress. She saw a river in the distance, as she had seen before, trickling its way through a friendly meadow. The background was different than anything that she had seen before. Far in the distance she saw the mountains, which to the local inhabitants,  were not mountains. They were giant mounds, the ebb and flow of infinite fields, just like ocean breakers hesitant to awaken. 

These ascents were the home of the timber rattler, the crying coyote, the busy woodchuck, colorful ruffed grouse, the wise great horned owl, the secretive moose, moody wolves, and the hibernating black bear. They were untouchable lands, that were now becoming a home for a new breed of individual, the tourist. The sugar shack was becoming a novelty and point of interest for the visitor. And the beautiful ridges and hummocks were now a destination for the very first nordic skiiers.

The final mile was, except for the fact that it was March, the perfect scene for a Courier and Ives Christmas card. The road wound dreamily from side to side, each home nestled in almost the same place in each bend, partly hidden by a thicket of cedars. The snow was falling gently, each flake the size of a silver ball hanging from a holiday tree, and the Clydesdales were adorned with a set of bells, that jingled merrily in unison with the hoof-beats. The sun was half-hidden behind the peak of a palisade and the stars danced in symmetry through the moonlit haze.

They arrived at the farm. A large sign, looking as if made  of  tired oak, was embossed with forest green trim, and large olive-yellow letters pronouncing  "Jameson's Sugarwood Valley". Petro and the Conor's were actually unaware of how quiet they themselves were. They were in a constant state of mesmerization, as if talking would taint the equanimity, and would impede the process of absorbing the magic of the surroundings. Before them stood the dominion. It was a large two story regency cottage with a twisting turret on one side and a large wrap-around porch holding the living quarters in its tight embrace. The door was monumental, with a large pediment and a pair of fenestras. The carved windows were ornamented with jalousies and the trim was in a happy lemon, creating a zestful caprice. 

The sleigh pulled up to the steps to the side of the house, which escorted one to a large side door, which clearly entered upon a small anteroom which was utilized as a storage room for scarves, gloves, snowshoes, boots and other implements of the wintertide. 

Siofra watched as four young people ran up to the sled,  ranging from, in her eyes, minuscule to petite, to  scanty to downright trifling. Remembering the fact that there were going to a bunch more, she was hoping for a bit more variety. She would soon learn however, that the meager physical characteristics of these children would be more than made up for with immeasurable spirit and capacious humour. They all went directly for Siofra, not appropriately waiting in single file to be introduced by their father individually. A short bespeckled boy, with a bright chubby face, put his small but wide foot on the runner and stuck out his hand. 

"Hi, I'm Richard. Not Richard!" His former pronunciation was in a Quebec dialect. Apparently he wanted to be a part of his cultural surroundings despite his Irish ancestry.

The other three stood back, eager to announce themselves as well, but feeling that they should be more resigned. 

A girl, donning the same red hair and freckles that characterized Richard, stood erect and spoke. "Good afternoon everyone, I am Agnes. I am ten, and I want to go to college in Quebec City and be a language teacher. And I might add that Richard [spoken in a sarcastic Quebecois] is my twin brother. He always fails to mention it. I think he is embarrassed, but I think it makes us special.  She smiled and very soldier-like moved to one side, making room for the next member of the family. "Welcome everyone to Jameson's Sugarwood Valley. I am Alan and I am eleven. At this point in my life I am not sure what I want to be, but I would like to be a person who makes life better for those who are less fortunate." He was the most seraphous of the children, a might pudgy, and theatrically endearing. 

The Conor's looked at each other, considering a chuckle, but not sure if Alan would take it the right way. So they all smiled and nodded their heads. 

The last Jameson, the last of the currently present group that is, stood a bit more casually, and was covered in some kind of dark suet. 

"Excuse my appearance, I failed to get ready after doing my chores. My name is Eric and I want to stay on the farm and help my father and Sean. I am a hard worker despite the fact that I am frail in guise." 

Indeed he was. He was very thin and pale, and his jet black hair made his color even more ashen. His spoken word was very direct and confident which gave him a strength he otherwise would not appear to have.

"Please excuse me while I clean up. I will come back and meet everyone. Thank you all so much for coming." 

Margaret Jameson, spoke next, informing everyone of the remainder of the children.

"My two oldest girls are in the house helping to prepare a modest feast. Mary is fourteen, and is home for a short while, as she is having a break in her semester. She is going to Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's Private School in Westmount. Without demeaning the others, you might call her our visionary."

"Martha is a year younger and is a rather sporting young thing. She is the socialite and I am glad she many brothers to help protect her from an invasion of suitors."

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 Once again, the Conor's not knowing the family well, were not sure how to respond to their comments. At that point, the Jameson 

children all began to laugh, which sent a clear signal that indeed Margaret had a jocular side, and was teasing Martha, outside of her presence, that she was a boy catcher. 

They disembarked and began to remove there outerwear. As they were seated in the huge living room, Margaret went to the kitchen to bring in Martha and Mary for an introduction. As they seated themselves, before them stood a fireplace that was almost intimidating. The base at which it stood must have been at least fifteen feet, a large mass of  river stone concrete. The burner itself was made of fieldstone, displaying a variety of colour, including a burnished tone, caused by the copper deposits of the region. The chimney rose as the hearth narrowed, and reached to the second level into an open ceiling. At the moment the fire was not much more then a bed of coals, but the room was toasty, to the point that a few windows had to be opened to keep it comfortable. The final introductions were made and it was announced that dinner would be ready shortly.

Abigail was a bit embarrassed and tried to accommodate her feelings. 

"I didn't really want you to go to any trouble at all. Petro made the arrangements, and everything happened so quickly that I really didn't get a chance to figure out how things were organized. I was told that we would have our own quarters, so I assumed that we would take care of our meals."

"Don't worry my dear Abigail.", replied Margaret. Things are rather informal around here. When we're sugaring we don't know from one minute to the next what were doing. We prepare big meals every night for our rather large coterie, so extra people around the table is nothing to us. Maybe we'll make it easy for you by having you for dinner every evening, as we would like to be with you to celebrate our thanks for the food a plenty as well as your visit. The other meals you can attune to yourselves, if you prefer, but your more then 

welcome anytime. Sometimes I'll be bringing food out to the sugar shack.  After dinner we'll show you the guest cabins. I'm sure you'll find them cozy."

Sean took Siofra to the window and in the partial darkness you could make out the cabins, resting on the side of a hill.

"There, you see Siofra, that's where you'll be staying. It's a short walk. You might prefer to snowshoe. If your not used to trudging around in the snow, your legs get pretty tired.  Snowshoes take away most of the effort. Although, the snow has been reduced somewhat by the warm weather we had last week, and the path to the cottages has been pretty well worn...but when we get sugaring we'll be hitting deep snow. Are you looking forward to it?

"You'd better believe it. Are we going to start tomorrow?"

"Oh for sure. We've already started. It's a work in progress. I'll take you out in the morning and we'll check the pails for sap. We've got a pretty long run so there is lots to move to the shed. Fortunately we just got a new tractor last year. It's one of those Fordsons."

Suddenly, a very quiet Eamon, perked up. 

"You have a Fordson?"

"Yes, it's not brand new though. It's a 1917 Model F."

Duncan interjected. 

"Yes, Sean loves riding it around. I have to keep reminding him it's not a toy. Although I must admit, it's fun watching him pull the kids around with it on their toboggan. We just got a plowing attachment for it, it's made things a lot easier for us."

Eamon then demonstrated his wealth of knowledge. 

"You've got one from the original year of production. It's a twenty-horse four cylinder and uses vaporized oil doesn't it."

Duncan smiled and nodded his head, looking impressed. 

"Yes, it's got the three-speed transmission...but it doesn't have brakes. You have to gear it down."

"Yes.", said Eamon. "It's got a worm gear. The transmitted direction only goes one way, from the worm to the gear. There's a lot of friction. You have to depress the clutch."

"Yes, you're right Eamon.  I'm not mechanically inclined, so I asked a lot of questions. I was told that the only problem to be concerned about was how light it is. This can cause wheel slippage, and sometimes the propensity to wheel over backwards. By the way, do you know where the worm drive is Eamon?"

"As a matter of fact it's right under the seat."

"That's right, old chap. If your on it for a while you begin to get a very warm rear end!" 
"I guess that's a good thing, on a cold winter day."

They both chuckled, as questioned the owner more. 

"I have heard of the rear end flipping over because of too much resistance on the drawbar. The transmission gets too much torque."

"Really? I knew about a bit of a weight distribution problem, but I had never heard that."

"Oh, sorry Duncan, I didn't mean to be a carrier of bad news. If you haven't run into problems. I assume you're likely a careful operator. And I gather your work isn't of the heaviest nature."

"No. You're absolutely right. We haven't used it for much more than light plowing and some recreational use. The field clearing was done a long time it was a concern of ours. Thank God!" 

A call was heard from the kitchen, as Mary decided to be a bit dramatic and yell "Dinner" from the kitchen.

Chapter 29

Margaret had a position planned for each guest. The table was oval, ideally shaped to maximize space for such a large group.

Abigail, I would like you to sit at the far end here, to the left. Eamon, please have this seat next to Abigail, right at the end. Petro please have this spot right in the centre, and Nessa, please sit directly across from him. You're lucky, you get the best view from that chair. Duncan will take his regular seat at the opposite end, and I will sit next to him closest to the kitchen. Now everyone else, it's time for musical chairs. Pick a place wherever you want."

Siofra was glad to find herself standing almost next to Sean as he chose a position. She grabbed the chair next to him, just as he grabbed it, and slid it out for her courteously. She was surprised at her slight case of nervousness, and wasn't completely sure why she was experiencing volatility. 

"I added two leafs, it's been a while since we've added five to table...and I wanted to get all the dishes on the table at once so everybody can dig in and help themselves to second portions. I don't want any formality around here. In our family, if you're too polite, you starve!"

As promised all the selections were placed on the table, and each one was passed around, the first three in a counter-clockwise direction, the other three in reverse. The typical Quebec repast featured chicken and sliders, tourtiere reveillon, poutine, baked beans, tomcod chowder and a nicoise style salad.

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Abigail was blown away by the fare. 

"This is remarkable Margaret. I would never have dreamed of having such a wonderful meal. I'm surprised that you are able to make entrees with so many varied ingredients. You are not that accessible to a food supply are you.?"

Margaret explained. "We'll hope to have hydro-electricity in the future, there is a transformer in Iberville now...and I have heard about the new monitor-top models. They are the ones with operating system on the top. Apparently they are much better than the old wood cold box models with the motor inside. My sister in Montreal has one of those. She bought it in, uh...I think 1922, for 714 dollars. Can you believe that! That's almost twice as much as a Model T! But...she's made of money, and likes all the new contraptions. Of course they have electricity in their home. We go to the market in Morgan's Creek. They have it once a month and we take the wagon and get as much in bulk as we can. We have a big ice house, and a cold storage cellar as well. I'll show you the ice house when we do a tour of the grounds. We'll do that after dinner."

The family was given a tour of the property, only seeing a glimpse of the massive two-hundred acres of land owned by the Jameson's. They were then taken to their cabins. Petro was given his own, a small cottage, rising from a strong stone foundation, changing to log half-way up the walls with a group of three very small mullioned windows facing to the west. The door was a bright red. This was typical in Quebec, as it was a French-Canadian tradition to use bright colors on trim to contrast the usually dull tones of stone and stucco. He entered his new abode and observed a small wooden counter, a massive Crown Huron stove and at the far end, under another inconsequential window, a large bed with a very puffed up mattress, and a billowing coverlet. A very inviting and welcoming bed, Petro thought to himself. 

Duncan mentioned that they were still using the elevated cistern in their water closets. "Slightly antiquated, but operating perfectly." he remarked.

The quarters for the Conor's was similar in design with two large beds to accommodate them , an Acme B stove and a Quebec heater next to the beds to ensure enough heat in the large shanty. Between the two cottages was a wood pile that ran from front to back and continued a good fifty feet and then formed a 'T' as if framing the two lodges. 

The first day was an introduction to the sugaring operation. Nessa went along, but wasn't sure of her stamina. The Jameson's were informed that she was ill, nothing else, and they understood, and made her feel comfortable not to participate if she wished. 

They went by horse-drawn sled and began at the far end of the maple tree chain. It took them a good twenty minutes to get to there initial destination. The tapping holes had previously been bored by hand. The trees were tapped at a good height, from four to five feet above the ground. The holes are about one to two inches deep. 

Duncan explained that you don't want the holes too big. 

"No more than a half inch," he warned. "We use carved wood spiles. It is a huge task to make them, but fortunately there was a pile of them in the shed when we bought the place. Whoever made them even carved a hook on the end for the pails. You couldn't do that with softwood. They would never last."

"Depending on the diameter of the tree there can be up to four taps per tree. This is the time of year we just start to check out the buckets. We had a brief warm spell which got the sap running, but it's probably slowed down a bit with the chillier weather. In another week or so we might have to start collecting sap daily."

They went from tree to tree, many buckets not showing much content. A few of the larger trees did eject some sap. 

"We have to get the sap evaporated fairly quickly for good quality syrup. Once the flow really starts going, we can't keep up, and some of the sap has to sit, but it's not a big problem as long as we keep it chilled.

They continued to collect sap and after covering a number of acres, it was time to rest and partake in some hot chocolate and biscuits. Margaret met them on the trail along with Martha, who was the only one who had stayed back at the house.

"Well, it's good to see you all, I hope you've been having a good time and are staying warm."

Siofra was very enthusiastic. "It's great out here, but I haven't seen any animals, only a few birds."

Martha laughed, "There out here alright, but they're hiding. You'll never see a bear. if you're lucky you might see a deer, but usually all you get to see is there droppings or there markings."

"There markings?", asked Siofra. 

Richard sarcastically blurted, "You don't know about deer markings? They rub against trees and you can see the marks. If they rub with their hind legs they leave a scent too. They do it to let other deer know that they're around....pretty smart eh?"

Mary added, "We have a lot of deer too. They don't have a lot of predators outside of the wolves, but we don't seem to have as many wolves as we used to."

71960

"Do you ever have deer meat?"

"We sure do," added Alan. "We have it a lot. You can sample some if you want."

Siofra thought for a moment. "Ooh...I don't know."

Margaret assured her that it was tasty. 

"I usually pot roast. It gets a little gamey if I cook it too long, so I use fairly low heat and I add lemon juice and celery to keep the flavour pleasant."

By mid-afternoon they had collected all the available sap and remained at the sugar shack. The sap was boiled on a flat metal surface. On the bottom of the large flat pan, the tin was bent into a series of flues and which allowed the boiling time to be much quicker. The sap then went to the finishing pan for final evaporation.

Duncan added, "We will likely get a more up to date three stage evaporator, and start to run our sap through lines connected to each tree. Up till now we have been small producers and haven't invested a lot of time and effort into the business."

Duncan was a fortunate man who inherited a large sum of money from his father who worked for the Molson Bank in Montreal, which had just recently merged with the Bank of Montreal. Duncan was now a commercial banking associate and spent stretches of time in Montreal from one to two weeks, and then would come back to the farm for extended stretches. He anticipated a future directorship which would allow him to spend more time at home

The visit to the Jameson farm could not be described as one single experience for the Conors. Each individual pursued the opportunity in a different way. As the days wore on, Abigail took on two main activities. First she kept an eye on Nessa, not in terms of her relationship with Petro, but in terms of her level of fatigue, and general overall health, as well as her spirit. Nessa was proving to be resolute. She never complained and joined Petro in the sugar shack whenever possible, and joined her mother, Margaret, and the older girls, in the kitchen at other times. It could be said the the recess was beneficial to both Nessa and Abigail, although Nessa had the added burden of concern for her studies, and having to catch up when they got back to Toronto. Siofra thrived in the new environment, developing friendships with each member of the Jameson family, and being particularly fond of  Martha and Sean, despite Richard being constantly by her side and attempting to disport her. He was much to young and immature, although she appreciated his attention. She was not one to be provoked by harassment of any kind. 

Eamon was quiet, but seemed slightly more relaxed than usual. He was intimidated by the dynamics of the large family and found it difficult to be sociable. He often stayed in the cottage, read magazines and went for walks, in which be brought along his pipe. His habit of pipe smoking proved to be a uniting force between Duncan and himself. Duncan also smoked a pipe and his brother was a partner in a pipe making company in Quebec City. 

Eamon and Duncan go for ride
Late one afternoon, after playing a game of chess, Duncan suggested they go for a drive so he could show him the boundary roads around his property, and some of the plans he had to develop it commercially. 

They went to one of the barns and Duncan slid open the huge door, and in open view was a Ford Model T Roadster pick-up. 

"We`ll take this Eamon."

Eamon was impressed. "  I must say, you`re full of surprises. This is a beaut." 

He walked up to it and started to inspect it closely.

"I like the flair board box."

Duncan informed him, "Yes, it came with the original, but when it came time for me to by it, there was no box, no naturally I got a good price. Sean made the new box. He`s pretty handy."

Eamon replied. "They've only just started manufacturing these in big numbers. I have heard about some problems with them. Has it reliable for you?"

"No problems to speak of. Well..I shouldn't say that exactly. The hood opening mechanism seems to jam occasionally, but the tailgate adjusts properly, which I've found really handy." 

Duncan took Eamon around the property. Eamon was impressed with the magnitude of Duncan's small dominion. The access roads were barely worn paths, and Duncan mentioned the fact that one of his first priorities was to improve these trails. 

"The demand for road improvement, because of the huge improvement in vehicles, has been overwhelming. The requisition for road workers has really opened up employment for the work force around here. Some people are actually criticizing colleges and universities for taking our young men when we need them as workers. Ridiculous actually, but understandable. "

"You have your own workforce, Duncan," replied Eamon.  

"Yes. I certainly do. Sean seems to be content on the farm and possibly Eric as well. Adam is more geared towards academics. Actually, the farm was a purchase I made, partly for investment and partly as a hobby farm, in semi-retirement. I didn't actually intend, nor did I predict, that they would become engulfed in their new culture. I suspected, I suppose naively, that they would become business persons...sort of...you know...chips off the old blocks to sort of speak."

Eamon perceptively commented, "Well Duncan, I think the change from the big city to this very grand farm would be kind of enveloping in a way. There would be initially a romantic response to it and maybe a feeling of freedom. The wide open countryside does make when feel unrestricted...but possibly as they get older that effect will wear off a bit. They are bound to find new interests and socially, a lot of people they meet will be from Montreal, so they will be naturally drawn to it over time."

"That's very likely my wise friend. It is a fresh new experience for them. They invite their friends from Montreal occasionally, and the farm is presented kind of like a new toy. They are "showing it off" I guess you would say."

"No doubt. And it is worthy of showing off. I am envious."

They arrived back at the guest cottage and Eamon pulled out his pipe as they embarked.

"Oh, you partake in pipe smoking. How grand! I enjoy a smoke once and a while myself. How about if I quickly go back to the house, grab my pipe and come back here, and we can go for a short stroll. I have a few things I am rather curious about, that I would like to question, if you don't mind."

Eamon suspected that Duncan would have been briefly informed of the accident, and following situation, and would have some obvious inquiries. He knew a conversation regarding this was inevitable. Eamon was not sure how open he was to being candid. he would soon find out.

Duncan was back quickly, and they started their walk heading toward a path that started behind the garage. This is the best walkway, Eamon. It is the only logging road section on our property."

"I have some wonderful black cavendish. Would you like to try some. I highly recommend it. It is a mild smoke, but the flavour is rich, and it smokes so evenly. It's Savenelli.  They purport it to have caramel and honey edgings."

Eamon felt obliged. So Duncan gave him a handful and he began to pack his pipe.  

"That's a nice pipe Eamon. It looks like a Bent Dublin."

Eamon answered. "Actually I don't know for sure. I just went to the pipe shop, went through them and picked this one out because I liked the looks of it and it felt right in my mouth."

"The best two reasons to by a pipe! Can I have a quick look at it before you light up."

"Sure.", said Eamon passing it over. 

Duncan looked it over and then lit a match to illuminate the branding on the underside.

"Oh...it's a James Upshall. Very good quality. I've only been smoking for a few years, but i think I would like to start collecting pipes as a hobby. They have a lot of historical connections to them. There are a surprising number of manufacturers. It would make sense just to start with British Empire makers. Upshall, Rigsby, Arthur, Hammer, Peterson. As a matter of fact my brother Tehn is in business with another gentlemen. They're  making pipes. It's a bit of a struggle right now, as they're competing against a lot of established manufacturers. And they are finding it expensive importing the briar. They are looking into making them with a by-product. Corncob of course is very poor quality, but by brother is looking for a way to treat the surface with something to make it better endure the heat. Calabash and clay are too labour intensive for a small company like Tehn's. They are working with some kind of modification of the nylon and wood flour pipe.They're also trying to promote the Liverpool pipe, because of it's smooth, long smoke, and the bent pot pipe, for outdoor smokers."

"Have you ever smoked a churchwarden?"

"No I haven't. I would love to get my hands on one. As you know, they were once fashionable for women. And I guess they still are in some circles."

He passed Eamon's pipe back to him, and pulled out his Peterson.  

"Mine's a Peterson. I believe the design is called an 'apple'. The bowl is very wide and a bit shallow...easy to pack."

Eamon was not completely disinterested in Duncan's tutorial on pipes but he did find him a little prattling in his conversation, and possibly a bit immodest in detail. Eamon was somewhat envious though, as he wished he was confident enough to have the propensity to be full of himself.

"I don't know if you want to talk about it Eamon, but I was given a bit of a summary of what happened regarding the tragic accident. I am so glad that Siofra has healed well. He updated me somewhat on the legal findings. What exactly has transpired regarding your role in the matter."

Eamon took a deep breath, and then hesitated.

"I won't go into the details of the accident. it is enough to know there were many fatalities and that the Toronto Public Transit Commission  was found legally responsible."

He proceeded to give Duncan a brief synopsis of the accident, and then went on with his role in the post procedure. 

"I have been assigned to the task force which is to do a report on the original design of the Peter Witt car, and proposals for changes. I don't think I'm supposed to talk about it, as new design recommendations could leak out, and cause legal repercussions...I guess."

"Because of Siofra's part in the accident, and Nessa's illness, I requested a brief respite before tackling my new tasks as a member of the task force. They of course are starting without me. I don't think I'm needed all that much. I'm not the only technician involved. Although...I am deemed an expert, and the lawyer's apparently were impressed with my briefings before the trial." 

"It was probably very wise to take time before you got involved. The stress of these kind of matters can creep up on you. You can never be too careful. Men often think they are impervious to pressure, and before you know it, they break down, and start seeking medication, just so they can sleep. My dear father passed away a few yeas ago. Much too young. A leading banker to be sure, but he worked exhaustively, sometimes making too many sacrifices."

"I'm sorry Duncan, I wasn't aware he had passed away. I heard he was with The Molson Bank."

"Yes. It might be said that the merger killed him. He was in the minority. He did not want the merger. He felt the Molson Bank had a special relationship with its investors, and felt that the Bank of Montreal was overly ambitious...to the point that it overlooked smaller investors, who had a strong foundation and growth potential in very specialized markets." 

"Do you have your own attorney, Eamon?"

"Actually I do. I went through the original proceedings without one, but of course I wasn't charged specifically. The company was represented by Wade Iasonas. Since I was assigned to the task force, I took on a barrister from Berry Grove, a friend of mine, Raymond Price."

"That was wise my friend. A case like that tends to take on a lot of potential civil charges. There hasn't been any yet?"

"No. Of course when I get back things might be different."

"Your fortunate in one way, Eamon, Your working for a large corporation, that I understand is partially financed by the municipal government. That protects you significantly, maybe even substantially."  

"I think we'd better join the rest of them. I can see that no one's in the cottage. Abigail must be with Margaret. Maybe the kids went somewhere."

"If you could do me a favour Duncan, if you see Abigail at the house, just tell her that I'm tired and I am resting in the cottage."

"I will do. Talk to you a little later...probably won't see you until morning though, so if you need anything, just let us know. We're not far!"

"Thanks, I appreciate it."

Chapter 30


Eamon's attack in the cottage

Eamon was relieved to be back in the cottage. He was alone. He lied down and the thought occurred to him to bolt the door and never leave. He thought to himself, "Wouldn't it be great to just lie here, no sleeping, no eating, just lie here and exist without really existing. He kept thinking to himself, "The path of least resistance...the path of least resistance. What did this mean, " he thought to himself. Suddenly he began to invent in his mind a path less than the path of least resistance. "How could that be?", he thought to himself. Then he thought to himself, "If I just lay here in my existence I might fall into that path. Is it death I'm looking for? No, I don't think so...something else. What?  I think it means that even when I find the least resistance I still have something else to expel. Energy? Yes. that sounds right."
Then Eamon saw a large web in front of his eyes. A spider-like web evolving into a maze of overhead wires. The catenary. The extension wires. A pantograph. The bow collector. Then Eamon found himself at the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital. He saw person after person being carried in and passing by me like bodies from a war torn village. It occurred to him that he was going to be the only one alive. He was going to be the one responsible for the end of the human race. He thought to himself, "I have never been able to fit, so everyone will be punished for not accommodating me. That seems fair. I am being spared."

Eamon started to become hysterical. He heard "You must assimilate. You must assimilate. You must assimilate."

He asked himself, "Is someone telling him this?  Or am I hearing his own voice?" 

Then he envisioned the massive web again. People, and many young children were caught in the web and being strangled as it expanded, contracted and twisted.

Eamon then felt a brief sense of relief. Then, in the hospital he was approached by men, but not doctors. Policemen and detectives. They were talking amongst themselves about my ability to decimate the human race. 

One man said, "Are there any guidelines for his type of behavior?" A young woman walked up to me and studied me from hand to foot. She looked at the row of serious looking men and spoke. "He belongs here. He must stay her. We have to find out if he is in any way responsible for all the people with the strange marks all over their contorted and mutilated bodies." 
Hysterics changed to delirium. One Amytol after another was skipping down my throat. He felt himself being carried down a very narrow, long hall that when on infinitely. His father was looking over him. He had a sly grin. What did this mean. If there had have been laughter, Eamon might have thought that his father's manipulation was finally strangling him to death. But the sly grin just stayed there like an imprint. It superimposed on his own face. Then it superimposed on a screen of chords and wires and flames. 

Eamon was conscious of being in the psychiatric ward, but was unable to think in any lucid way. The only thought that was clear in his mind was the difference between good and evil. Then strangely he saw faces that exchanged portrait with interchanging flashes of light. One face would be his father, then Prime Minister King, then Arthur Meighen, then Winston Harvey, then Wally Patterson. A face would be closing in on that evolving figure, and it would be spinning from countenance to countenance. Small pieces of paper began to flutter around in the air and then gently landed by his feet. He picked them up one by one and they would all read either "G" or "E". Then Eamon saw someone sitting a way down the hall, quietly, in a chair, looking up, and out a window, placed a way above her head. He walked rigidly towards her, and when he was close to her he patted her shoulder. She jerked around and said "Don't touch me!". Then Eamon envisioned himself falling down and crawling desperately back to the crowd of doctors and policemen. 

He cried, "That woman is angry. I just put my hand on her shoulder. I chose her, but she was angry!"

Eamon thought to himself that maybe that woman was Satan. "But Satan isn't a woman", he thought. 

One of the doctors told him that the lady was very sick and that I shouldn't have gone near her. Eamon was angry and told them that all he did was choose her. Eamon suddenly took on the persona of a scientist, which might a metaphor of madness. He suddenly froze as the woman came toward him. She proceeded to circle me in a clockwise tightening spiral and then headed off. It made him very nervous when she was in back of him. He was afraid she might stick a knife in his back. His reaction was, "That's it? Circle me a few times then head off?" I was disappointed. Then she headed back to where she started, paused for a few seconds and then did the same routine. This time she circled me two to three times, brushed my left shoulder and stood in front of me with her hands slowly reaching up. It was as though she was unveiling a crown. Her hands rose to the level of my throat and then nestled it in her hands. She looked at me lusciously and he was suddenly very aroused. Eamon's mind suddenly repeated, "Sex and death, sex and death, sex and death." She clutched a bit harder but with some kind of strange devious passion.  

Some of the doctors were laughing. One of them said, "Isn't that cute. She's hugging you."

Another replied, "Yes, and she's going to destroy him in doing it."

They began to laugh again, and another one said, "The only way to go!"

The only reaction Eamon's psychotically induced character could have was to be confused and questioning of what to do next. The staff and police were observing, and didn't appear to be doing anything, other then accepting their roles as entertained spectators. 

In this state of confusion, Eamon became aware of the two buttons on his brain. He thought, "If I push the lower button it will drop a curtain and allow me to kill Satan privately."

Satan was spiraling around the room, holding her (she still appeared as female) hands in a clasping position. Her spiraling created a cool breeze that relaxed me, and caused the curtain to sway. As the sate of arousal became a distant memory anger overtook him. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. He was suddenly full of rage and hatred at this strange animal presence that exuded from her. He decided to remove the evil from her. The curtain changed into a giant sponge with hundreds of little claws. The ghost-like figure that was once a woman, who I strangely desired, gradually disappeared into the copious phylum. He felt within her. It felt good, but quickly changed to horror. He was in a state of hyperventilation. 

One of the doctors came up to him and told him that someone was here to see him. Eamon's mother approached, held him and consoled him. Then she asked me something very strange. "Would you come home and clean up your father's room. I can't face up to the task."

He didn't think he would be allowed to go, and that was just as well. "Why should I have to do it.", he asked himself. But as it turned out the hallway that was long and endless, carried him on a conveyor of spinning conduits and he was literally thrown into a room. He saw hangers thrown about the room and blood, staining the carpet and splattered on the walls.  
One of the things that bothered me was it looked like a murder scene. A scene of hostile torture. He took on the role of detective, rather than caretaker and began to study the evidence. "Who would do this and leave so much evidence?", he thought. The body was not important. What was important is the impact of the grisly scene. The existence of murder. The existence of suicide. The fact that one can feel and see this kind of abhorrence. Most of all Eamon's careening mind was absorbing guilt. If Eamon was not in the state he was, and was casually sitting at home, considering the situation, he might suddenly turn the guilt to anger, full of the resentment of the emotional imposition. 

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The wires and cords above him were dripping red. Pieces of torn flesh hung from them. Strange insects were ravenously devouring the flesh. The arachnids would eat so much, and then fall, bloated into his mouth. 
I must assume that my brain was consuming as many calories as a full-grown man would consume for his entire body. This was even when I was piecing together a giant puzzle of electrical connections. World class juicers were gathering like bees to a hive. They submitted the fact that none of his work was original. So it was suggested that he parlay small portions of his work at a time, to allow a better understanding.


"Am I suitable to be discharged?", he asked himself.  Before he was discharged from the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital he appeared in front of a panel of psychiatrists to determine if he was suitable to be discharged. There was a classic exchange between one of the psychiatrists and him. He could sense a The caseworkers had agreed that I was suffering from psychoneurosis. The psychiatrist was getting exasperated and started to yell that he was insane.  They started looking at me as if i was an alien and then I heard words I had never heard before. Strange words that suggested that I was sometimes so euphoric that maybe I thought I was God. They also implied that sometimes i was so melancholy that I would likely take my own life. Then one doctor asked me, "Mr. Conor, how do you define modesty?" Without hesitation Eamon replied, "Modesty is the ability to do what one says one can do". He then asked, "How do you define grandiosity?" I replied, "Grandiosity is the inability to do what one says one can do". "What the heck were they doing...trying to help me self-diagnose", he thought. . When he attempted to do this he descended into a pit of unimaginable evil. Out of nowhere, he experienced a level of evil and perversity that defies the imagination. It was on a par with having the top of my head cut off with a hacksaw and having someone pour in a bucket of raw sewage. 

Eamon, still in a psychotic trance began to inherit a transparent intellectuality, as he imagined himself touching the upper button on his brain. There is hereditary. There is environment. There is input-spirituality. His own invention. Another Thomas Edison...or Henry Ford. "Was it  uncontrollable spirituality that led me to melt down and need help? Negative spirituality caused me to descend into evil. One thing is clear. Nothing in my genetic makeup correlates with the evil I experience, and nothing in the environment correlates with the evil. So where did it originate?"
Eamon finally arose from the bed and looked into the nearby mirror, and saw what appeared  to be a hideous face staring at him. It so traumatized him so much that he shaved off his moustache. 

He heard some voices. This was not created by his abstract observance. It was probably Abigail and Nessa, and maybe Petro. And maybe Siofra, and a few others. He panicked. He walked speedily to the door. He opened and looked outside. He could see them coming. Had they spotted him? There was a side door, but he had never seen it used.. He tried it. it was jammed, but with a swift kick it popped open. He remembered to grab his coat and gloves, and then he careened like a cat out the door, and took a previously untraveled route behind the cabin, which was the quickest route to the woods, where he wouldn't be spotted. He found boundless energy. He felt almost like a deer, dodging branches and hurtling over seedlings and bushes. He hit the occasional mound of ice-capped snow and felt the pain shooting up his legs when his ankle was forced to twist as his feet slid into the ruts. The next part of the hastening walk took him up a steep incline. He felt the paroxysm in his knees as he tried to tackle the ascent without slowing. Finally he reached a small break in the covert, and sat himself down on a small bed of needles and frozen leaves. They wouldn't find him here.

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He lied down, the cold air moving up his chest, through an opening at his stomach, where both his undershirt and sweater had dislodged from the security of his belt. His back, was covered in a sweat that seemed both chilling and calescent. The prickliness in his hair seemed to seep through his skull, and his eyes looked up at the starlit sky, each star strobing from dullness to blinding brightness. The scattering of snow was a whiteness that blanketed his vision, while the darkness was like a licorice like snake crawling over his face. It was a relatively noiseless night, but each sound to him was disquieting and threatening. Even a small din to him was a clamoring tease. He could not escape. Every living contrivance new him, and was absorbed by his madness. Familiarity was not knowledge, but an annexation and subversive plot. Eamon began to crawl, slaloming around trees and brushing aside saplings, some just beginning to appear. A part of him was hysterical, but their was another part, a saner part, that was laughing at this almost comical act. He was strangely aware of the fact that in his state, which he did not completely understand, that he could transform himself into whatever he chose to be. As he crawled he felt at ease and apperceived a certain litheness. This new control gave him a new found fearlessness. 

He managed to make his way a good distance by traversing the hill, and came upon a small opening. There was a clearing where the snow had been removed, by what appeared to be a mechanical device. An a pile of large stones were scattered over a small area, of what might have been a collapsed hearth. He could not see well, but was able to detect what appeared to be footprints, leaving the area in two or three different directions. He went closer the the rocks, possibly expecting warmth from them, but that was not the case. He sat for a while, trying to create in his mind some kind of formulation or description of what this new world he was in was. His spinning thoughts were envisioning a gathering of wolves, or an animal of that description, and a scene of chaos and ferocity. He lowered his head and outstretched his arms, suddenly searching for his legs, which were suddenly ineffectual. 

There was a scuffling, and then a few utterances. The voices within him were taunting and confounding. He raised his hand to his head trying to put out the fire of delirium. The voices continued to articulate despite the silence that had evolved in his capitulum. There seemed to be a darkening around him.  The corner of his eye caught an abrupt movement. He looked up. A person. Two people.

"Dad".

"Dad".

Then there was a hand gently placed on his shoulder.

"Dad."

"Dad. Are you okay?"

"Dad. Please, answer me."

Eamon kept hearing this voice and seeing this face that did not threaten him.    

"Mr. Conor. It's me, Sean, and your daughter, Siofra."

He began to seize the moment. He tried to stand up, but his legs still seemed to feel separated from the rest of him.

Then Siofra sat down beside him, and her arm reached fully around his neck. 

Finally, Eamon uttered, "Siofra."

"Where exactly am I, and why are you here.?"

She looked at him. 

"You don't know where you are father?"

He thought for a moment and things began to clear in his mind. 

"I went for a walk. But I don't know where I am. I thought I was ..."

He was about to try and explain that he felt like some kind of animal or living thing with different sensitivities. He could not explain, or would not explain. 

"There's a hill in behind the cabins, quite a large one, and it is very steep, but if you traverse it, you can go for miles. This is a place where Seana and his friends sometimes come and have a fire. It's over a mile from our cottages. You've come quite a ways."

"Oh, yes. I remember the steep hill now. And deciding to turn up at an angle. then i saw this opening."

"But why are you here? Why did you leave the others?"

"I was with Mr. Jameson...went for a walk...had a smoke."

"He went back to the house. I guess Petro and Mother were there. I just felt like being alone in the cabin. Then I heard Abigail and a few others coming. I ran. I don't know why."

He pause. there was silence as Siofra looked long and hard into his eyes. 

"Why are you here. Were you looking for me?"

"No father. We didn't know you were gone. We've been gone awhile ourselves. Actually when Sean and I were feeding the horses, we didn't expect to be away long. We went for a walk and ended up here. No one knows we're gone either. I think maybe we've worried them down there. We'd better get back."

"Why did you run when Mother was coming?"

"I don't know. I panicked. I couldn't face them. Maybe if Mother had have been alone I could have stayed. I'm not sure. I wasn't thinking. I don't know how to say it, but I'm sort of going crazy. My mind starts imagining all kinds of things and it's like i have to run away from myself. How do you do that?"

"Dad. Mother told me a bit about your problem. I don't really understand it. But I know you went to the doctor. And I know he gave you medicine. Maybe it wasn't fair that you came. It's hard for you."

"Mother thought it would be good to get away. I don't think it matters where I am when i feel like this...but I know I feel a little better talking to you."

"I'm glad I can help Dad."

Siofra was feeling empathetic towards her father. She knew he need consoling. She wanted to say how much she cared for him, and that she loved him. It was awkward. She could not find a way to tell him. Maybe he knows, she thought. He must know. Of course he knows. I know he loves me, and he has never told me. Her eyes were beginning to well. 

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Sean spoke. "I know I should leave you two alone...but I want to be here to help. I want to be sure that Mr. Conor is okay."

"I want you here Sean. I must admit I'm a bit afraid. It's better you're here."

"What are you afraid of, Siofra."

"I'm not really sure. Everything seems strange. How we got here, and how we found father. It's like somethings happening that we don't understand."

To Siofra's relief, Eamon spoke, "There's nothing mysterious going on. I don't even know where I am. You two went for a walk, and we met. That's all."

"I'm not so sure it's that simple," retorted Siofra. 

Sean, not sure whether or not he should be forthright under the circumstances replied. "Siofra. I think it's you that's mysterious. Your Father seems to think it's just a coincidence."

Siofra, attempting to add to a possible element of levity, answered by saying,"Father is feeling strangely. He has been having difficulty. Maybe it runs in the family." She hugged her Father a little tighter. Then Sean sat down beside her and embraced her as well. 

"What am I going to do with you two?"

Then there was silence and they all took pleasure in just  being close. 

Then Sean took the time to explain to Eamon that Siofra had talked to him a little about his emotional problems, as well as the accident and Nessa being ill. 

"I don't want you to worry Mr. Conor. If you don't want me to say anything to anyone I won't...and don't be upset with Siofra. I think it was important for her to have someone to talk to. She's a very mature young lady, but she's only turning fifteen."

Eamon replied. "I could never be angry with Siofra. She's probably the most courageous and determined member of our family. Abigail and I are truly blessed."

Siofra had never heard this before. He had been angry at Siofra many times. So what did he mean? Then she realized that his anger was only his inner distress coming out. And who better to scold then a bratty little daughter! 

"Do you think you're ready to come back Father?"

"Oh...I think so. We'll walk together, and by the time we get back I think I'll be better."

So the three of them ventured back and arrived at the Jameson home shortly after the dinner hour. 


Chapter 31

Eamon was feeling somewhat better but decided to go back to the cabin. Siofra and Sean entered the house knowing that their reception would be one of deep inquiry. 

Almost immediately Margaret saw them and lamented, "We'll...well...well...where have you two been. We've been very worried. Why did you leave for so long without telling us anything? And where is Mr. Conor?"

"Totally my fault. I'm sorry. Siofra and I were feeding the horses, which I think I told you. And then we went for what was supposed to be a short walk, and I decided to show Siofra the fire-pit. I lost my sense of time."

Then Siofra butted in, "And guess what happened. We met father. We sat for a bit and talked. He went back to the cottage."

Abigail was there as well and hadn't had a chance to speak, and being reserved, wasn't inclined to get into any personal issues in front of the Jameson's. She did mention that she had just checked the cottage, and no one was there.

"Well, he's back now, and he's fine, Mother. He told me that after he was with Mr. Jameson, that he wasn't feeling well, and went for a walk."

Probably showing less annoyance then she would otherwise, she spoke, "Well you two are just fine, just fine. Here we are having a pleasant afternoon, and my daughter and husband are out gallivanting around in the woods."

"I think I'll head back and check on Eamon."

Margaret pointed out that in waiting for Siofra, Eamon and Sean dinner had been overlooked for the time being. 

"Seeing as none of us have eaten, we might as well all eat here."

"That is very nice of you Margaret, but I have a feeling that Eamon is not feeling well. I'll put together a meal for him back at the cabin. We'll be just fine. We'll talk to you a little later. Thanks again. And sorry my little girl took your son away for so long. She can do that to people!"

Petro spent a quiet evening with Nessa in his cabin, sending her back to the family cottage at an appropriate time. Petro was not particularly bothered by being with Nessa under the watchful eye of Abigail. He respected Abigail as well as Nessa and had no intention of stepping out of line. He was patient, and also somewhat sympathetic of the families situation, and felt what might be called a solicitous obligation to the family.

Siofra went out again, which was her way of allowing her Mother and Father some privacy. She looked up Sean again. They were certainly becoming confidants. This time they went to the sugar shack and cleaned the filtering pans. Not Siofra's idea of a good time, but with Sean, it seemed so.

Abigail despite Eamon being her partner, was not totally comfortable in confronting this recent crisis. They loved each other, respected each other, and were faithful to one another. But total confidence was not their nature. Abigail was succinct, like to deal with the facts, and took action without a lot of discussion or deliberation. This moment with Eamon would take a little more delicacy than was her preference. She  would do her best. 
After what was not much more than a snack. Abigail sat down next to Eamon. How to start? 

"Eamon," she asked, "Could you help me out a bit and describe what took place today?"

Eamon, to her surprised look at her right in the eye. This was unlike his usual diffidence. 

"I don't know what to say. Duncan and I checked out the property and then came back and went for a walk and a smoke. We talked about the usual things. Business generally."

"Did you talk about the accident, and your role with the company?" She felt she was grasping at straws, but concluded that something affiliated with the legal repercussions of the accident, could have triggered something. 

"Yes, we went over that. I mentioned the task force, and how things went with Wade Iasonas."

"Did you talk about the rest of the family at all?"

"No. I had no reason to. It's really none of his business anyways."

Abigail wasn't sure if that was just an unfounded angry retort or a strongly felt attitude. It alarmed her.

"I don't want you to feel protective about this Eamon. People are sometimes willing to listen. Making your personal life other peoples business can be therapeutic. But of course, it's up to you."

"Do you think Duncan knows about your condition?" 

"I doubt it. I told him I needed a rest. Then he told me some things about stress in business, and how his father was affected. he recommended i prioritize things so that i don't get overstressed. that's about it."

"And by the way. Why do you call it "my condition."

"Well, Eamon. That's what it is. I'm not one-hundred percent sure that it's an illness."

"I appreciate you being diplomatic, but I'm going crazy my dear. I think I'm mad. I have stopped having any control over my actions. I here voices. I imagine I'm things other what I am. I feel threatened by things that aren't even there. When you were coming to the cottage earlier, I ran. I couldn't face anybody.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even remember that until now."

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"I'm really sorry we came on this vacation Eamon. I should have kept you home and kept closer contact to Dr. Pidgeon. I think possibly I was motivated by own desires. I wanted to get away, and I rationalized it by treating it as a therapeutic experience for the entire family."

Eamon, speaking quietly, said, "Siofra and Nessa have enjoyed it. And you get along with Margaret nicely. It's better that my problems don't interfere with what the rest of you do."

"I appreciate that Eamon...but the appropriate treatment for you now is the most important think. We want you better, and you want to keep your job. You're very good at what you do. And your respected in your field. We must do more psycho-therapy. I think you can get better if you delve into things in more detail. I'm sorry i haven't been better at talking about things with you."

"You're fine, Abigail. You are fine just the way you are. You do things deliberately, and very literally. You took immediate medical action with me. That is the way you do things, and it's most helpful. You don't dilly-dally. You have good relationships with a lot of professional people, and you know how to seek help."

"I hope you're just not saying that to be nice. I think sometimes I'm a little dispassionate."

"Far from it dear. Far from it."

Then there was silence. They sat, side by side, Abigail leaning into Eamon, but uncomfortably, as he was stiff and inanimate. 

Finally, Abigail uttered, "You need sleep. I'll prepare the bed, and make some tea."

The Jameson's were curious about how things were going, but stayed to themselves, allowing the Conor's their privacy. 

Sean and Siofra finished cleaning the materials in the sugar shack and decide it was still early enough to go for a sleigh ride, which was Siofra's request. She enjoyed being with Sean, who was confident and slightly fresh.

His brashness was refreshing and Sean maintained it because Siofra was surprisingly impudent in return. To her disappointment three others joined them for the ride, but she realized that was something unavoidable, and she at least had had her turn at being alone with him for a significant portion of the day.

Martha, Mary and Alan, came running out as Sean approached the house. It was as if they had expected him to be sliding by. As it turned out they had been dressed for the outdoors already. They had been in the outer pantry  re-organizing some of the new food from the market. Siofra noted, that despite the fact that they all seemed like very normal children, and quite fun-loving, they also seemed to be always at work, and never showed annoyance at the fact. She thought back at the many times she complained about being given tasks at home, when she really wasn't up to much anyways. "I guess I'm a spoiled brat," she thought to herself. 

The sleigh swam over the snow, which was now creating a smooth, fast surface for it to glide upon. The bright sun earlier in the day, had coated the snow with a slushy veneer, but it now it was sparkling from the moonlight and the ground was topped with a white dust.

Mary suggested they sing. Siofra did not know the song, and was surprised at the fact they they were singing it in French. She found it impossible to sing along, so she decided to make percussive sounds that intimated drum beats. 

Dans les prisons de Nantes, 
L'y atun prisonnier, ô gai, faluron, falurete L'Y atun prisonnier,
Que personn' ne va voire,

... que la fill(e) du geôlier ...
Que personn' ne va voire...

Un jour luui porte a boire ... et aussi à manger...
Oh dit(es) moi doc, la bell ce que l'on dit de moi...
Par ici le bruit cour'e que demaqin vous mourrez... 

Puisqu'il faut que je meure... déliez-moi les pieds...
Quand il eut le pieds libes... à la mer s'est jeté...
Dès la première plonge... la mer a traversé...
Quand il fut sur ces côtes... il s'est mis a chanter...
Que Dieu béniss(s) les filles... surtout celle du geôlier...
Si je retourne à Nantes... oui, je l'épouserai...

After they sang it numerous times, Martha informed Siofra that it was a Acadian song, a very popular old ballad.

"It's called 'Dans les prisons de Londres'. It was sung by the voyageurs long ago. It's the story  of a young prisoner who, when he is condemned to die, is befriended by his jailor's daughter and set free on the night before he is scheduled to be hung.  He leaps into the sea and swims to safety, and sings his praises of the jailor's daughter and vows to marry her should he ever return that way again."

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This was a joyous occasion for Siofra, and she, if not previously, was now infected with the dynamics of a large family.

"How wonderful it would be top have all these brothers and sisters," she thought to herself. 

They went back to the house and had some wassail, which Margaret had prepared. Siofra was amazed at the brightness of the flavour. Margaret had made it from very zesty cinnamon and home fresh apple cider. 

"This is great, Mrs. Jameson. Thank you."

"You're very welcome Siofra. That's nice of you. My children have forgotten how to thank me."

Adam immediately responded, "Oh Mother, don't be silly. You know we thank you."

"Silly, am I? A nice thing to say in front of guests."

Then Richard laughed. "Oh, Siofra knows that are parents are silly. Yours are silly aren't they."

Siofra smiled and was torn between simply agreeing, which would make things much simpler, or by explaining that her parents, one being very much motivated by various agendas, and another, who had recently become rather sullen, were anything but silly. Of course she did act bemused, and rather wittily said, "Yes, they appear silly to all of us, but when we grow up, I'm sure we'll realize that they are not."

Sean applauded. "Well done, Siofra. You have managed to agree with us without making a mockery of our dear Mother and Father."

"Sean, you are showing off to our guest, which is not the first time."

Mr. Jameson pointed out, tongue in cheek, that they were just trying to display apparent maturity. "Trying to open a discussion about the silliness of parents demands much research, proof and evidence. If we are to make issue of it, you had all be prepared for the debate."

Mary, the scholarly one, replied, "I am afraid I must be the devil's advocate. I do not feel that my brothers and sisters are quite ready for a conversation in behavourial-sociology."

Agnes, looked to Mary. "What.?"

"Behavoiral-sociology. People can be studied not just as individuals, bit as parts of social clusters, formed from many different things, like religion, political beliefs, age, ranking of education, marital status, and so on. A person might behave a certain way as a member of a Church, and may show different behavourial characteristics as a member of a family. Parents, if they are regarded as silly by their children, are seen that way because the parents feel that parenting requires certain skills and standards. These skills and standards are not always, according to their children, parallel to their characteristics as individuals. Also, children are socially conscious of being children, and have their own rules of appropriate behavior. This creates a situation of established conflict. The act that we can sit here and talk about it, is a good sign for our family. I have to say that Mothers' and Fathers' personalities do not seem to be opposed to those necessary for good parenting...but who am I say?...but of course I've turned out wonderfully well, so I guess the proof is in the pudding!"

Both Mary's parents laughed quite boisterously. "I think that says it all. How can we possibly elaborate further!"

"As a matter of fact, Siofra, maybe Nessa and Petro would like to join us. Your Mother and Father are welcome of course, but I believe it is their preference this evening to rest, and have some time alone. Would you mind running down and passing on the invitation."

Siofra, without saying anything, got up and quickly ran to the smaller of the two cottages. She knocked, and Petro answered.

"Yes. Who is it."

"It's me. Siofra. We're at the house having a hot cider drink, and Mrs. Jameson invited you to come."

"Oh, that's nice. How about you Nessa? Are you up to it?"

"Actually I had better get back to our cabin. Mother and Father probably want to get to bed soon, and I don't want to be late and interrupt them. You are free to go though Petro., Go and enjoy yourself. I'll get my rest so we can have a fun day tomorrow."

"If you are sure dear. I do not think I'll be long though. I don't want to be up late either...and the Jameson's get up quite early, so I'd like to be up around the same time."

"That''s fine, but don't forget that this is a holiday for us, we're totally within our rights to sleep in a bit. I think maybe I will."

"Sure Nessa, I won't awaken you in the morning. You can come over anytime. Of course, if I' not here, it likely means I'm helping out somewhere. Have a really sound sleep Nessa. See you in the morning."

Nessa followed him out the door, and before she turned towards the family cottage Petro gave her a gentle hug. Siofra and Petro then headed to the farmhouse. 

The evening was wearing on, but before it was time for everyone to retire they fitted in a game of Old Maid. It was a favourite of the families' and Siofra assured them that she knew the rules. Petro had heard of it, but had never played it, and was was more than happy to sit and observe. 

"You can be my partner, Petro, and you will learn as we go."

"I would be honoured Siofra."

"Is it okay if I teach him as we go. I play a lot with my friend Esther."

Duncan assured her that it would be fine. Siofra wallowed in her role of importance. He also informed them that he would add a Joker to the deck, as the Old Maid card. 

"And we're playing colours. It seems to be more fun that way."

Sean was the dealer, and distributed all the cards to the players. Siofra showed Petro that they discard all their pairs and place them face up. The game continued as each player took turns offering their hand to the player on the left. 

"And Petro, each time we offer our hand, we can re-shuffle."

Siofra received a 8-of-spades. She showed Petro the hand.

"See Petro, we already have an 8-of-clubs. So that's a pair. If we had an 8-of-hearts, that wouldn't do, because the colours have to match."

"Very well explained Siofra. I've got the hang of it!"

Margaret during the game mentioned she had an old set of Parker Brothers pictorial Old Maid cards.

"We used to play with them all the time, but they are getting quite worn, so I'm keeping them for posterity. My mother bought them in...1885 I think. it was a new game then."

Richard then, in his usual colourful style informed Siofra that there is a version of old Maid, called jackass. Jacks are used as the odd cards.

"And there is Scabby Queen too. When the loser is left with the lone Queen, the deck is reshuffled and the loser cuts the deck. The card on the bottom is removed. If the card is red the players is whacked  on the back of the hand with the deck. If it's black then he has the entire deck scrapped across his knuckles.  You go by the number of the card. if it is a four, then you get it done to you four times. An ace, eleven times. The Queen, twenty-one times."

"Twenty-one times!", exclaimed Siofra.

Margaret informed her that if the children play the game the rules are modified.

"That is absolutely brutal. I would not allow that rule to be carried out. I encourage them to make substitute rules, that allow for amusement."

Richard added, "Yes, like dumping cold water over their head twenty-one times. Or making them eat  twenty-one rotten apples."

Chapter 32

The rest of the week went uneventfully. Eamon was taking his medication as prescribed by Dr. Pidgeon, and he was somewaht stabilized from his previous condition of what could be called a pre-psychotic hallucinatory phase. He was reasonably comfortable in group situations where the rest of his family was present. His family was, likely unaware to him, a surrogate personality. If the members of his family were reasonably active and free-speaking, he could resolve his feelings through their actions. It is also of note that the children in general  were often seen as reflections of their father. The Mother was perceived as very functional and affectionate, and this would give the children security and a sense of worth, but the Father could,  by being stringent, a force which causes a certain level of withdrawal from his offspring. In the case of abuse, the case is more acute. In the case of Eamon, he could be said to be passive-aggressive, and abusive by demeanor more than actions. The affect on Nessa and Siofra, although not prevalent at this point, could develop into a sense of a weakening foundation. Children fathered by men like Eamon often become very concerned that there is nothing to hold up their lives, metaphorically, that the walls around them are caving in. They naturally look to their Mother for signs of assurance and encouragement.  In the case of the Conors, it might be fortunate that their household is more maternal than some. Abigail professes not only to be a housewife and Mother, but an individual who is trying to help carve out a new society for women tin which to take a broader role. Siofra and Nessa will likely initiate the intention to bond with a male who exercises boundless energy and confidence. Petro is not profoundly outgoing, but is keenly aware of peoples feelings, and has a knack for comforting them. He is considerate, and romantic. Nessa, a young ambitious girl, has been somewhat dispirited by her illness, and a man of Petros patience is very appealing. Siofra, who will be turning fifteen in May, has developed very close relationships with Esther and Margie. She enjoys the attention she occasionally gets from boys. She has certainly become well aware that boys are now showing a more creative and extrinsic approach to gaining her recognition. She is by no means chubby, but she is what can be described as well filled out, and is beginning to show a mature figure, including a buxomness. She is aware that the young lads may be noticing this, and her girlfriends have commented on their envy. 

On the final day of their stay, Siofra was very sad at the thought of leaving. She was growing fond of Sean, Eric, Martha and Mary. She found the both Sean and Eric full of boundless energy, and very compromising with their time. Martha and Mary both seemed exceptionally mature and worldly. Mary spoke eloquently, but was not a snobbish person. She could talk on a very academic level, but when they went on the sleigh-ride, she was the first to lead the sing song. She thought that Mary was very exotic. Mary was tall, had beautiful flowing golden blond hair, falling on her shoulders in waves of shining tresses. She was slightly pale, but her cheeks looked they had just been pinched by someones chilly hand. Her legs were long and slender and she moved with a wiggle that suggested either that she was a member of a chorus line, or had developed a suggestive approach to promenading. Siofra had the desire to hug her and rub her cheeks against hers. 

Martha was very robust but had an inner kind of sweetness. She was not as tall as Mary, but was very shapely for her age, showing small breasts very proudly, and had a noticeably large behind that wiggled when she walked, which was usually briskly. Her hair was a paler blonde than Marys, and very wavy as seemed to accentuate the curves of her expressive face. 

Siofra wished that she had spent more time with the girls, and suggested that they do something together for the final nights stay. there was conversation of a winter camp-out. Margaret was not convinced that it was a good idea. The girls had done it many times. They were experienced, and knew how to keep a tent warm in the cold weather. She however did not want to be responsible for Siofra catching a cold. It was decided that Mary, Martha and Siofra would spend the night in Marys room. Martha was quite giggly about the idea, but Mary naturally was more restrained. She took it upon herself to plan what they would do with the few hours they had. 

The girls went upstairs into what was the largest bedroom Siofra had ever seen. The ceiling were very high, and in the middle of the room was a fixture, that was more like a chandelier. The ceiling was covered in copper tuscan bronze tiles. The flemish curtains were dramatic and bold in scarlet red and gold. And to Siofras delight was a canopy bed that must have come out of a Hollywood movie set. It was actually Victorian in design, with intricately carved wooden frames and posts. There was ruffled and pleated draping, as well as a billowing upholstered head board.  The overhang was a solid swath of golden-tassled scalloping.

Only a real princess would sleep in this bed!

The girls prepared for a jovial evening aboard the gigantic bed. There would be ample room for the three of them. Agnes had a small room separate from Mary and Martha. There had been much issue with the way the sleeping would be arranged, but the two oldest girls felt that they were studious young ladies who needed a bit of privacy, away from the childish games that there 'little' sister tended to play. Agnes was quite hurt initially, but she pursued her ties with her twin brother, and took solace in being an independent 'tom-boy'. Agnes did want to partake in the girls plans. So it was decided that Agnes could lay on the bed with them, but when it came time to sleep, she could go back to her room, or make a bed for herself on the floor. So Agnes, showing much ingenuity made a substantial pile of blankets, gathered many pillows, and with the help of a couple of tree branches made a tent formation with an extra blanket.

"There", she said. "I'm camping out in my sisters' room."

They all changed into their evening wear, and began to chat, Mary's adventure at boarding school, being the main topic of conversation. Mary referred to the fact that the most exciting part of her going to her private school, was the occasional dance that took place at the nearby Selwyn School, a boy's school in Westmount. At the most recent dance, she was asked to cavort  by a rather smallish young man, dressed in a slightly over-sized pants and blazer. He looked somewhat comical, and she was concerned that involving herself with this young man might lead to teasing, or perhaps even humiliation. However, he was very polite, and had a pleasant smile, and she was too polite to resist. It was very warm in the auditorium, so just before they began, he took off his blazer placing it over a chair. It was against code to not wear your blazer at these occasions but due to the climate of the large room, the chaperons seemed unconcerned. Then things got very interesting.

Mary continued. "He then introduced as Marc Lamoureaux, and I introduced myself, only as Mary, though. I was being a little defensive I guess. As we danced, things got unbearably hot. He was wearing what seemed like a fairly thin shirt, a bit silky at that. We began to actually stick together with the sweat. I was worried we would have trouble getting unglued. I finally had the nerve to mention this predicament to him, and he replied in a rather interesting way. He said something like, 'Mary, If I may be allowed to say, if I was to be permanently adhered to another girl, you would be my first choice.' I was not sure how to react. Did a sense a bit of sarcasm in his voice? I thought not. he sounded so sincere and pleasant. He smiled at me, and his mouth ran from ear to ear, and his big eyes, lingered in a glance into mine."

Siofra commented. "That sounds so romantic!"

"After the dance, Marc promised me that i would be his first dance the next time an event was held. When I went back to my friends, Francine and Emile, they were quite impressed with my new beaux. I told them that he was not exactly tall dark and handsome. They suggested that I see him as adorably cute. I suppose they were right."

That is such a nice story. It reminds me a little bit about a boy I met when I went skating not long ago.

There was momentarily silence, and then Siofra suggested she read to the other two.

Mary thought that was a great idea, and handed her a copy of 'Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm''.

Siofra responded with enthusiasm. 

"I've always wanted to read this. I'm actually surprised I haven't...but I guess I'm too bust reading my Anne books, that i haven't had time. And I got some Marjorie Dean books for Christmas that I haven't even started. Not only that, but my friend Esther lent me a book, called...um...Jo...of the Chalet School. yes...that's it."

Mary reacted with enthusiasm.

"Oh, Siofra, you will love it. I read the first one called The School at the Chalet. A girl named Jo goes to Austria to boarding school and her sister is the headmistress. Jo is thirteen, she makes lots of friends , becomes editor of the school magazine, learns to ski, and discovers what her future career is likely to be. The first book is the first term, and the second book is the Christmas term. I don't know how many times I cried! Jo almost drowned when there was a terrible flood."

"Don't start giving it away, Mary"

"Sorry Siofra, I forgot. You'll probably read it soon. Now, where was I. Oh...yes...Jo's sister, marries a doctor, who is the head of a tuberculosis sanitarium."

Siofa was suddenly upset, but hid her feeling as best she could. 

"She understood the possible worst complications of her sister's illness. She knew that Nessa was fortunate not to be in one of those 'sanitariums'. She was also aware that her father could be placed in one, as people with melancholia often were. She was so happy that her mother guided them into the care of Dr. Pidgeon, which could help avoid the humiliation of them being placed in the same place together. This possibility had not even been mentioned. It was in the back of everyone's mind siofra supposed, but it would never be discussed. They were all in a quiet, cautious fear.

"Siofra, are you all right?"

She was caught being a bit sullen with her head looking downward into her lap. 

"Oh, fine, Just daydreaming. I do that a lot. Ha...excuse me."

Mary and Martha looked at each other, then smiled, and encouraged Siofra to get on with the book.

Before Siofra got started however. Martha asked Siofra if she had seen the movie. 

"No, I haven't, it's quite old isn't it?"

"Well, it''s been out for ten years or so...but I saw it with Mother about five years ago, in Montreal.

"It was so funny. Rebecca has a whole bunch of brothers and sisters. They were poor and her mother sends her to Riverboro to live with her aunts...they are spinsters. Miranda was really cruel, but Jane was an old softy. She really livened things up, the same way that Anne Shirley did when she moved in with Marilla Cuthbert. Mary Pickford played Rebecca of course and you could not take your eyes off her. I don not know how she did some of her stunts. I do remember sometime fairly early in the movie when Rebecca arrives in Riverboro she is met by the town's brat, Minnie Smellie. Rebecca shows that she is not going to take anything from her, and jabs the point of her umbrella into her solar plexus! There is a famous close-up, that they made posters of, where her eyebrows raise and her mouth pulls down in a pout. She sizes up Minnie and her friends, and then takes a look at herself, realizing that her hat, umbrella and shoes are a source of scorn. Then she put her head a way up in the air in defiance. No one could show emotion like Mary Pickford. Rebecca is really amazing, she goes door-to-door selling soap for the needy, she stages her own circus, and recites a poem about Minne on Visitor's Day, in front of her class and teachers. It's one of my favourite Mary Pickford movies, although I guess 'Through the back Door' was my favourite." 

http://silent-volume.blogspot.com/2011/01/rebecca-of-sunnybrook-farm-1917.html 


They were all nestled in, Martha having change into her slipover. Mary into her shirring lace nightgown and Siofra in her plain white flannelettes.  

Siofra felt a very special kind of warmth and as she began to read , both girls cuddled up to her. 

"The old stagecoach was rumbling the dusty road that runs from Maplewood to Riverboro. The day was as warm as midsummer, though it was only the middle of May, and Mr. Jeremiah Cobb was favoring the horses, as much as possible, yet never losing sight of the fact that he carried the mail. The hills were many, and the reins lay loosely, in his hands as he lolled back in  his seat and extended one foot and leg luxuriously over the dashboard. His brimmed hat of warm felt, was well pulled over his eyes, a he revolved a quid of tobacco in his left cheek. There was one passenger in the couch,-a small dark haired person in a glossy buff calico dress. She was so slender and so stiffly starched that she slid from space to space on the leather cushions, though she braced herself against the middle seat,  with her feet, and extended her cotton-gloved hands on each side, in order to maintain some sort of balance. Whenever the wheels sank farther than usual, into a rut or jolted suddenly over a stone, she bounded involuntarily into the air, came down again, pushed back her funny little straw hat, and picked up or settled more firmly a small pink sunshade which seemed to be her chief responsibility,-unless we except a bead purse, into which she looked whenever the condition of the roads would permit, finding great apparent satisfaction in that its precious contents neither disappeared nor grew less. Mr. Cobb guessed nothing of these harassing details of travel, his business being to carry people to their destinations, not, necessarily, to make them comfortable on the way. Indeed he had forgotten the very existence of this one little unnoteworthy little passenger. 

When he was about to leave the post-office in Maplewood, that morning, a woman had alighted from a wagon, and coming up to him, inquired whether this were the Riverboro stage, and if he were Mr. Cobb. Being answered in the affirmative, she nodded to a child who was eagerly waiting for the answer and ran towards her as if she feared to be a moment too late. The child might have been ten or eleven years old perhaps, but whatever the number of her summers, she had an air of being small for her age. Her mother helped her into the stage coach, deposited a bundle and bouquet of lilacs beside her, superintended the "roping on" behind of an old hair trunk, and finally paid the fare, counting out the silver with great care. 

"I want you to take her to my sisters' in Riverboro," she said. "Do you know Mirandy and Jane Sawyer? They live in the brick house. 

Lord bless your soul, he knew 'em as well as if he'd made 'em.

"Well, she's going there, and they're expecting her. Will you keep an eye on her please? If she can get out anywhere and get with folks...

http://books.google.com/books?id=NnSNfMsyUP0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=rebecca+of+sunnybrook+farm&hl=en&ei=0xidTeDOD4e3tweWwty0Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct

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Siofra eyes were struggling to stay open. The words began to slur as read. She was dropping off to sleep and she suddenly jerked awake. She had that strange feeling that often occurs when you vellicate from near sleep. For a brief second, she did not know where she was and a strange fright overtook her. Then she turned to her left and saw the recently languished face of Martha. The book had fallen from her hands, and closed itself. She finally pieced things together. Martha looked angelic, laying on her side, her head almost buried in the pillow, a beautiful stream of blonde hair curved around her cheek. Siofra dug herself deeper into the covers and nestled up to Martha. She put her arm around her neck and started gently stroking her alluring hair. Martha's slipover had slid almost up to her waist and Siofra observed her tender thigh. She slid her hand and wrist under her leg feeling the warmth and softness. She kissed her knee against Martha's side and felt a sensation that could be only described as titillating. She gently placed her cold feet against Martha's. Martha eased herself, her left arm laying across Siofra' shoulder and more of her weight pressing against Siofra's arm. Siofra was in a place she never wanted to leave. 

Chapter 33

The day that the Conor's were to prepare for home was chilly and drizzling. The word to Abigail, was 'nasty'. 

Duncan assured them that another days stay was not a problem.

"There's no point in travelling when you cannot enjoy the trip, nor ensure safety."

Abigail was insistent. 

"That is very kind of you, Duncan, you have been wonderful hosts...but there is so much for us to do. Siofra has missed enough school, Eamon has a lot to attend to, with his task force and all, and Nessa must see her doctor the day after tomorrow."

She did not mention that Eamon was not doing very well at all, and might need some medical attention, although it appeared that the prospect of going home had revived him somewhat. The Jameson's intended to wish him well, without dwelling on things beyond that. Margaret was concerned however, having been slightly briefed by Abigail the previous day. Abigail and Margaret weere to develop a regular correspondence to keep up with things, including the latest in the womens' suffrage movement, Nessa and Eamon's problems aside. 

Everything was packed and the weather did not permit them to go to Bedford as they had come, by sleigh. So they took the roadster. That meant that most of the good-byes had to be pronounced at the house. Duncan thought that it would be the most gentile to have Abigail and Nessa in the cab, and Petro, Eamon and Siofra in the back of the truck. They were given blankets to keep them as dry as possible. At the last moment, Martha and Mary insisted on joining Siofra in the back. Sean added himself to the mob. At that point Duncan had to tell his remaining sons that there was absolutely no room left for more passengers.

Richard was the first to say farewell. 

"It was really nice having you here, Mr. and Mrs. Conor. I hope you come again."

Then he shook Petro's hand, "Have a good trip home Sir."

Lastly, he shook Siofra's hand, and said, "It was a lot of fun having you Siofra. Maybe we'll come to Toronto sometime and see you."

Eric was less formal and spoke simply. "It was great to have you all. Please come again."

Alan was typically philosophical. "It is always fun meeting people from a different part of this huge country of ours. I hope you enjoyed your experience, seeing how the other half lives. We enjoyed entertaining you. I hope we succeeded."

Petro decided to attend to his words, realizing that they were intending a response. 

"I really enjoyed the sugaring, and you should be proud of this beautiful home. You were perfect hosts. Thank you."

He noticed Agnes standing there looking bemused, so he decide to make her feel a bit more comfortable. She was cute in her oversized green parka, bright red pigtails and freckled face. So Petro gave her a little hug, and said. "And we will not forget you, little sport. You are quite the little pepper."

She blushed and simply said, "Bye." 

The five Jameson's waited at the train station with the Petro and the Conors. The conversations were mostly superfluous, except for the buoyant exchange of words between Siofra and her two new friends. They discussed plans, that were quite possibly untenable but the hope that they would meet again, either in Toronto or back on the farm, inspired them. 

Petro and Nessa essentially sat off by themselves discussing the next steps in Nessa's care and the fact that she seemed to survive the holiday without feeling acutely ill. 

Margaret, Duncan, Abigail and Eamon exchanged gratitudes, and the subject was primarily focused on Duncan's future plans on the farm. Discussions of other things, may have been perceived as problematic. 

The train arrived at ten-fifty late in the morning, and if things went as scheduled they would arrive home early in the evening. 

Siofra gave Martha and Mary emphatic hugs, and Sean initiated one towards her as well.

"Take care, sport. Stay out of trouble, eh!"

Siofra formed a gentle smile, "The same to you, Sean."

Margaret, looking at Abigail, requested, "Would you be kind enough to call me when you arrive back home. It would be much to my ease if I knew you arrived safely."

"I will surely do that Margaret. thank you so much again for your warm hospitality. It was wonderful." 

The other farewells were friendly handshakes, and as the train pulled away, Siofra continued to wave until the train disappeared into the horizon.  

It was a strangely quiet trip. The Conor`s were in a bizarre way emotionally exhausted from their vacation. If you asked any one of them, besides Siofra perhaps, if they had a good time, they would have difficulty in answering. Nessa did relax, and she did enjoy meeting the Jameson`s. She thought to herself, "They were intelligent and enlightening, and their world was vast, dynamic and ever-changing. Meeting and actually living with a family that was not bonded by the agencies of suffocation, was a positive experience. And being away with Petro, although the opportunity for privacy was greatly restricted, was a forward step in their relationship, and a proving ground in helping her foresee any possible problems with Petro`s assimilation into the family."

Abigail was undoubtedly mixed in her feelings. She was bounded by the restraints of being a Mother amidst the illness`of her husband and oldest daughter. The emerging problem however, was the fact that she was so absorbed with assisting them that Siofra was allowed to fly from the roost. Siofra was essentially permitted to do what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it, and with whomever she desired.

"Siofra," she thought, "Might be inclined to think that she was trusted, far beyond her years. This is a message that I do not want to send."

But she seemed almost resigned to it at times, simply because of her own limitations.

Of course Eamon, was likely in his own way unchanged by the experience at the Jameson farm, because no matter where he was, doing whatever he was doing, had an idiosyncratic separation between his perception of who he was, and who he actually was. As well he had a paranoid perspective of what others thought of him, so his ability to adapt to new situations, was always tempered by this chronic condition. His last confrontation with a psychotic experience , did show a creativity, that might be actualized, partly by his conscience. This would indicate a hopeful opportunity to survive through a newly created abstract reality. For Petro, it is possible that he was there out of a sense of duty, and otherwise would have been much more suited to being home and concentrating on his studies. But he was stolid and calm, and it appeared that neither Nessa, nor her family were a burden. They were almost a phenomenon that just passed him in the night, like a balmy breeze during the birth of spring. The only aspect of Siofra`s experience that might have been enlightening to her developing self-perception was her confusing sensitivity towards certain aspects of sexuality. It occurred to her that Margie or Esther might leave from this respite with an infatuation with one of the Jameson boys. Her strongest feeling of bondship was, however, a very profound  predilection towards Martha. When she thought of her a sentimental softness took over her heart, and sent her mind into a lucid but fanciful contingency. 

Chapter 34

The Conor household, besides being primarily involved with its' health concerns, was livened by the preparation for the soon coming summer months.  To Siofra, it was hopeful that the increase of activity which corresponded to the change in seasons would include a rise in the spirit of the family. Abigail organized the gardening procedures, in particular the shallow stretch of terrace that lined the front of the house. 

She was very fond of pale purple Coneflower. It is a  echinacea, and a member of the aster family. 

She explained to Siofra that she liked it for it's sturdy stems, beautiful lance-shaped leaves and the pale pink colour of it's flowers, that have rich golden-brown centers. 

"They attract bees, and a wonderful array of butterflies," she said excitedly.

She was also, in all probability, the only one to grow Northern Spicebush in her garden. It is a scrub that can grow quite high.

"They can be used to make tea, which can be quite therapeutic. There are bright clusters of light yellow flowers that form a forsythia. They also show bright red berries, which follow the flowers, and they have quite an essence. They are even resistant to disease and insects...great for the garden!"

Siofra asked, "Forsythia?"

"Sorry, dear. that means a dense shrub with a grayish brown bark. The leaves are trifoliate, which mean they bloom in threes, and have really beautiful green leaflets. To be forsythia the plant has to be able to produce lactose, which is milk sugar."

"Are you doing the lilacs again Mother."

"I will be planting a few more, maybe even a couple out front, but of course we have the bushes along the back fence, which will need a little pruning. If I do put them out front, I will put in the re-blooming kind. they are available now."

"I'm so dumb Mother. How could I forget that they aren't replanted every year. I know they come out every spring! Can i pick out a flower of my own for the front too?"

"Sure, dear, we can pick something out. What is your favourite colour flower?"

"Oh...let me think, I would say...um...I saw a flower once that was white but it had pink stripes on the white leaves. What is that called."

"Let me think, Siofra. Uh...likely Carmellias. That could be Peonies, Finlandias, and there are Nagasakis which are a marbled pink and white. They are pretty too. The peony is a bit fuller, that is probably what you would like. We will go to Stensson's and have a look. Maybe tomorrow. And and I'd like to see what they have this year for herbs."

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Siofra liked going out with her mother. Once and a while Eamon would join them, but that would likely be if they went to the market. That was essentially the only household matter that Eamon cared much for, other than the occasional need for home repair. Abigail though quite frugal and purposeful, did make the outing fun, and usually allowed Siofra a modest treat. When Siofra and her Mother were alone, it was now more common for them discuss personal matters. Normally, especially at this time of year, Siofra's studies would be the most likely topic. Now, however, Nessa and Eamon were a going concern, and Siofra was quite inquisitive regarding their condition. Nessa said very little, so it became Abigail's duty to keep Siofra informed. For some reason, Siofra was not comfortable enough asking Nessa herself. Nessa's apparent superior attitude, had groomed Siofra's approach to her, and now that Nessa was actually becoming more open, Siofra had not adapted to the new situation as yet. 

A more dramatic change had taken place between Siofra and her Father. Since the incident at the Jameson's farm, the two of them had many more in depth conversations, and Siofra was actually developing confidence as a daughter who was playing a supportive role for her Father.

Siofra was now dealing with the issue of confidentiality. Her Father was confiding in her, and she sometimes thought she should be keeping her mother updated on things, but she was not sure if that was appropriate. Did her Father take trust in Siofra's confidence? This had never actually been clarified. She thought to herself that this was something she had to straighten out with him. She was not even sure how much her Mother knew about Eamon's emotional breakdown at the Jameson's. 

On a overcast morning, a slight chill still in the air, and a bit unseasonal, Abigail was busy in the pantry. It was only three more weeks before the end of school, and Siofra was counting down the weekends. Eamon was resting in the family parlour, reading a copy of Forest and Stream. He was scanning an article about the success of the migratory bird act that the United states and Canada had charted. He was very fond of hunting, but had not gone on a hunting trip over the last three years. A part of the reason was that an associate of his at TPTC, and a hunting partner, had transferred to Cleveland, Ohio. He was thinking of inviting up his brother Robert, who was an avid hunter. Eamon of course, being in the state he was, found himself very enthused one day, and completely indifferent the next.  His instability made it a great challenge for him to remain focused for any great length of time, and most of his positive enegy was spent at work, or at task force meetings. 

"Hi Father, what are you reading about?"

"Nothing really. Just some stuff about bird migration. There is a lot being proposed to protect wetlands. When you get a few grades further in school, you will probably learn a bit about wetlands. They are really the breeding grounds and feeding zones for wildlife. Wetlands are the most diverse areas." 

"What exactly are wetlands, Father.?"

"Well, think about it for a second. What does the name suggest."

"Well, I guess they are wet lands."

"Dead on. There is three different types. Can you name them Siofra."

"Um...lands that are really wet. Let me think. Um...swamps?"

"Very good, yes. Can you guess any more."

Siofra thought for a minute. 

"Oh...I know...umm...umm...marshes!"

"Ah...very good. One more."

Siofra sat on the arm of the large upholstered chair Eamon was sitting on, and closed her eyes, hoping that would enlighten her. 

"I guess I give up."

"Bogs, dear."

"Oh darn...I've heard of them. By the way Father, do you know the difference between them.?"

"Ooh...that's a toughy, I've been out of school for a while. Let me see....swamps...are basically flooded forests. Sometimes they are seasonal only. I believe that they are usually at the lower reaches of rivers or lakes... the vegetation is often woody. Marshes are flooded grasslands. They, if I am correct, are not usually seasonal and they have rushes, reeds, sedges...and bogs are large deposit of deadplant material and the water is very acidic."

"I love the frog sounds from marshes Father."

"Yes, it can be almost deafening in spring."

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Chapter 35 

The task force was progressing at a snail's pace, and that could be considered a good thing as far as Eamon was concerned. Politics and an inefficient attention to unimportant detail led to an apparent non-adherence to the issues that were most relevant. Eamon id not, up to this point anyways, have to deal with the accident and the most direct questions that could potentially be targeted his way. The one disadvantage to him was the fact that the committee could be dillydallying for a great length of time. Naturally, the sooner he could get on with maintaining the current train stock, the better. The committee was citing misinformation on the part of the manufacturers which seemed to mask the responsibility of the safety division of the TPTC. Eamon thought that this was somewhat, if not definitely evasive, but of course, to the advantage of TPTC management. The tragic deaths of twenty-five innocent people, as far as the committee was concerned, was a distant memory. The indication that Eamon would not be suspect, did not seem to make him feel any better. He knew that future responsibilities would be involved with facing the same issues and problems, and there would be know way of escaping that. He would still be confronted by his demons, and there would be no way of escaping.

Before Eamon's next appointment with Dr. Pidgeon, Abigail confronted him with an issue that surprised him.

She spoke clearly and firmly. "Dear, we should discuss your appointment with Dr. Pidgeon on Friday. We have gone together up until now, and I have been very happy  to support you...but I think it is time that you take stock of things, and consider your own responsibilities. I realize that you look upon my help positively, and there has never been any insinuation that I am an intervening wife. It could be possible however that you would be more open and forthcoming to Dr. Pidgeon with me absent. I don't want you to feel obligated to say things that are non-confrontational or non-committal. Your condition is serious, and I personally think you are making slow progress, if any. You are more detached then ever. At times, you are very active and sociable, I have noticed that, but it only comes in unpredictable stages. Between those moments of self-assurance you are very low, lower than I've ever seen you before. I feel that Dr. Pidgeon might even feel better if you are with her alone when you discuss things. I am actually surprised she has not recommended it already. Maybe because she is a friend, she does not want to offend me. I do not not know. How do you feel about it?"

Eamon sat, not looking at Abigail. He thought for a moment, the feelings he had at that moment were apathetic. Did it matter whether she was there or not? He did not feel his melancholia could be helped with medicine or therapy, so what did it matter. The only thing that occurred to him, was the fact that he would have a problem even getting motivated to attend the appointment, without Abigail making it an event of sorts. She had enthusiasm, he did not. 

"I don't know dear."

"That does not help me Eamon.  I need some feedback."

"I'd rather you come."

"Is there any reason for that?"

"Not really. I'd just rather you come."

"Are you nervous there, with Dr. Pidgeon."

"A little."

"Don't you think you could delve into things better without me. After all, our relationship is a part of your psyche, one way or another." 

"Our relationship has no bearing on anything."

"What!", she said almost angrily.

"No dear, what i mean is...we have a good relationship. My problem is nothing to do with you, or anybody else. I just seem to be depressed most of the time." 

"I think it might be a little more than that. You are sometimes delusional. That can be psychosis, and there also personality questions. Certain personality types have problems in modern society. Dr. Pidgeon recognizes that you do well under certain conditions. that gives us hope. When there are conditions which make you happier, then we have to figure out a way to create those situations more frequently, either by changing certain circumstances, or altering you with medication. Dr. Pidgeon wants to find the right balance. It' is very important that the appointments go well and are constructive, because...I know we do not talk about this...there is always a possibility of hospitalization...and I know you do not want that...and neither do I. If I thought it would be helpful, I would support it, but I am skeptical. People either do not come out of the psychiatric hospital and get sent to asylums, or they come out in worse condition. I think the solution does lie in therapy and that might include family therapy. Dr. Pidgeon is one of the first proponents of family therapy. We can even perform a kind of family therapy informally. You, me and the girls, can sit in a room and openly discuss matters that concern us...but if we do get into that, I think, at least initially, Dr. Pidgeon should supervise. "

"You want the girls to be dragged into it."

"They would not be dragged into it. It would make them feel better to talk to you about things. That way they will not feel distance from you, and they will better understand you. Do not forget, your problems effect them greatly. Your melancholia could lead to emotional problems for Siofra. I know you do not want that to happen...and it would even burden you more. So we want it to be a family effort...working together...it could even bring us together more. That may sound idealistic, but I believe it."

"You seem to understand everything. I should be grateful."

"You are not?"

"Oh...yes, I am, I guess I just have not realized the extent of your understanding. I am a bit overwhelmed, that is all."

Abigail finally smiled. "Do not be too overwhelmed by me. I might let you down once a while."

Abigail and Eamon went to the appointment together, and presented their question to Dr. Pidgeon. 

Dr. Pidgeon, apologized for the confusion. 

"I should have been more communicative regarding the issue of confidence. I began the procedure in the state of mind that I was helping a friend, and did not practise the usual formality. I certainly think that it was helpful having Abigail along for the initial appointments. But, yes...it might be a good idea to carry on with Eamon alone. It will definitely give me more insight into what motivates him, and in particular, what are his paramount triggers. Eamon, you might ask what I mean by triggers. They are the external forces that create in you the thoughts and feelings that might generate your psychosis. It is important to recognize the initial thoughts, because if they are recognized, you might be able to change them  before they become feelings. Your triggers could be such things as the stress brought on by your job at the TPTC, a particular relationship that is one of abuse or conflict, and that can a current one, or one from the past. Other triggers can be guilt, fear, hatred, a sense of foreboding, a frustration at being helpless and so on. If we can nail these down, it will be a very good start."

Dr. Pidgeon talked briefly to Abigail, then Abigail told Eamon that she would wait in the lobby, while he was interviewed. 

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Before they got into personal issues Dr. Pidgeon asked him about his medication. He told her that the Amytol was helpful. He explained that it helped him sleep and his tendency to become frantic when overworked seemed to have subsided somewhat. But he said that he was still very sad, felt helpless, and found that his inner anger sometimes made him hold things in. He was not really sure whether or not the Ginko or natrium were helping him.

After a short conversation, Dr. Pidgeon, who was very perceptive, found that Eamon was willing to discuss his feelings.

"Mr. Conor, I suggested the Natrum because you fit the description of someone who was reserved and responsible, yet quiet...and seemed to have feelings of grief, anger, fear or misfortune. You tend to appreciate that others who care for you understand your emotions, but you tend to not be receptive to assistance to the extent that I think you should. Your depression and your anxiety must be evaluated further to better understand the cause and effect relationship between the two. Your insomnia, which is not acute, but is noteworthy, seems to be primed by past grievances. I must ask you one question, and I want you to think about it carefully. Do you have any sense of how you feel over the experience of four seasons? Does the winter tend to depress you? Does the summer sun make you feel very tired? Does inclement weather have any effect on your level of dexterity or pain experience?"

Eamon sat for a few minutes, thinking very hard to come up with an answer.

"Sorry Dr. Pidgeon. I cannot really come up with anything  very definite. I do tend to prefer the winter. I don not know why. In the summer i tend to be dragged down, if that makes any sense. I seem to feel a bit better when it rains or snows, but it does not make any sense to me. Hot sunny days make me want to stay inside. people like to go out, and go to the beach and things, but I do not."

"Do you have a favourite season?"

"Oh...I guess I like the fall. It is cool and very comfortable to be outside. I feel more energy in the fall...at least I think so."

"That is very interesting. It is not a pattern typical of people with melancholia. I am tending to think that your reactions to climate are more emotionally related, buy memory and experience, than buy any physiological factors. Because of that, I am not sure whether or not to continue on the aids which I have recommended. You can keep taking the Amytol, but I think I will try you on Staphysagria instead of the Natrum. This has been known to help with suppressed emotions. I am aware of the fact that you do not stand up for yourself in certain situations, and I would like to help you with that. It will help you sleep and there should not be any side effects, except possibly headaches to begin with, but they should subside quickly. Hopefully, if you are more comfortable dealing with your emotions, between the two of us we can get closer to the source of your melancholia. At this point, I want you to think of your melancholia as something you have created yourself, buy not having the tools to deal with shock, abuse, disrespect, and heavy responsibility. This may sound like an insult to you, but actually it only means that at a young age you had an overload of triggers that you were not mature enough to deal with. I think that through cognitive awareness you can help yourself immensely.  This is a twofold approach, because it not only helps you with the base problems, it also gives you confidence and the awareness that you yourself can be your own best diagnostician.

I seem to be doing all the talking, don't I Mr. Conor?  I do have one more item to discuss however. I was studying some recent articles, and what I derived from one of them was quite interesting, and may be beneficial to you.  Answer a question for me Mr. Conor. Do you ever find yourself in opposition. If so, explain it to me."

"Opposition?" Eamon questioned. 

"Yes...sorry, that might be a confusing term. What I mean is, do you have two main ideas, or two main emotions, which both dictate your actions, that are in opposition to one another?"

"Mmm...let us see. I can actually think of many I thinkl. Anger and non-anger. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Love and hate...well maybe not hate. Ummm...frustration and understanding, I mean sometimes I cannot figure something out, and other times i have a complete knowledge and understanding of something."

"That is good. Very good. I think you should look further into the second one you mentioned. Dissatisfaction and satisfaction. They may be the primary feelings that dominate all others, even if you are not aware of it. When you are satisfied, you basically accept things, without rancor, of life as it is, men as they are...you even might accept injustice because it is commonplace. However you have a dissatisfaction which never accepts anything just because it is commonplace. You fight things with all your strength. How would you describe your level of satisfaction."

Eamon was beginning to look a bit deeper inside than was the norm. He was becoming somewhat stimulated at the thought provoking exercise.

"I suppose I have a low level of satisfaction. I do think that my family is a good one. My wife is kind and helpful. She does not always express herself openly with me, but maybe it is because I am hard to talk to...I do not know for sure. My daughter are always nice to me...well, not always, but I guess they are justified to get mad at me once and a while."

"That is very important. You have positive feelings about your family. How about your career?"

"I like my career. I am interested in trains, automobiles, streetcars, machines...I like to figure out how things work...and I think I am pretty good at fixing things. I do not always like my job though. There is a lot of silly little things I have to do. I do not get to do interesting things very often. Most of the work is simple.  Of course that is because I do a lot of maintenance and basically no building re-designing."

"That is a good foundation though. You've said two important things already. What things should you improve upon based on what you have just said?"

"Let me think...", he paused unsure of what to say.

"Let me help you...you said something about your family and yourself..."

"Oh...yes...I said I was probably hard to talk to. I guess I should try to be easier to talk to."

"Exactly Eamon. What about your job?"

"Well...I would like it if there was more interesting things to do."

"Fine...that gives you something to work on until our next visit. Think about a way you can become easier to talk to...and secondly, think of a way you could make your job more interesting. Do you have any ideas before you leave?"

"Umm...if I was not as moody my family might want to talk to me more."

"Great. So think about ways that you can act, behave, and present yourself to make yourself more accessible. And your job?..."

"I cannot really think of anything. I could actually change jobs, but my company does not design vehicles, it only buys them from manufacturers. Other than that I would have to think hard about a way to improve things."

"Fine then Mr. Conor, there's two more things to look at. Is there another company that would take you on in a higher level production position, and is there anything you can go to management about to change your job description where you are now?"

Eamon thanked Dr. Pidgeon for her assistance. She explained to him that she would order some Staphysagria and she would notify him when it came in. 

"And by the way Mr. Conor, I assume that Mrs. Conor will ask you about the appointment and what was discussed. I recommend, although I do not want to appear too obtrusive, that you openly talk to her about the two perspectives which we discuss. That would be a good beginning to the process."

"I will try to do that, Dr. Pidgeon. Thank you."

Chapter 36


JAZZ NIGHT

It was Friday night, an evening where Siofra could stretch her life to something that was better suited to her idealized reality. What to do? She phoned Esther, who was eagerly awaiting her call and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk down to Bloor. Siofra used this tactic many times. Before she asked her Mother if she could attend to one of her ventures, she would set it up with a mate beforehand, therefore making a refusal on behalf of her Mother, a little less likely; appealing to her Mother's view that Siofra was becoming a young lady with rights, privileges and some independence.

Esther asked her Mother who was suspect, knowing that Siofra often stretched the boundaries of her permissions. 

"I want you to be home no later than nine-thirty, and I want you to call when you at eight-thirty to tell me exactly where you are, that that you are ready to start heading home. Is Siofra still on the phone? I think it would be best to confirm things with Abigail."

This of course did not conform to Siofra's plan, making things look a little less predetermined. Esther could not think quick enough to deter what was unfolding, and Elaine got to the phone, asking Siofra to speak to her Mother.

"Hi, Abbey. i just thought I'd confirm the girls' plans. they want to walk to Bloor apparently."

She told her the guidelines she had given Esther, and Abigail thought they were appropriate, and was actually glad Elaine had taken the measures, as she herself tended to be lax in that regard. She wanted to impose discipline but something always seemed to act against that step, almost as if her activism towards womens' rights was acting as a resistant force in her imposing limitations on her daughters. 

"I did not hear anything about your plans Siofra. You were going to tell me I hope."

"Oh...of course Mother. I just wanted to talk to Esther first. I actually was not sure if Mrs. Tiller was going to be okay with it. We will be good Mother, and like Mrs. Tiller said, we will call at eight thirty."

Abigail made sure that Siofra had enough change for the trolley, assuming that the girls' would not make enough time for themselves to walk back in time to arrive by nine-thirty. 

The girls had ridden on the trolley a number of times since the accident. Mrs. Conor had told Siofra, once she was confident that there was no serious trauma remaining in Siofra's mental condition, that riding on the trolley would be just like getting on a bike after a bad fall. Leaving the ride too long after the accident might make it more difficult to face up to it. It was actually unlikely that Siofra had any issues regarding riding on the street car, but Abigail was being cautious. For Esther it was a different story. Without Siofra's help, she might not have been able to get back on the car. Esther was a somewhat fragile girl, who was generally treated with kid gloves by both her parents, and was often teased at school for her shyness. Her friendship with Siofra however, gained the respect of others and allowed her to be closer to the kind of girl that she really wanted to be. Her feelings for Siofra bordered on worship. 

ssible problems with Petro`s assimilation into the family."


It was a few minutes passed seven and the girls  walked with eagerness, turned the corn er of the street which was lined with automobiles, an unbroken ribbon of steel following the curb for blocks and blocks. Then the sound, not quite like anything they had ever heard, encompassed them. They walked a bit faster, and then came to a sudden stop. They then knew that if they were going to hear this fomenting sound at the volume wit which it was celebrated, they would have to devise a a plan. They looked first and saw the rusty silver framed ticket-booth. No one was inside. It looked as if it had never accommodated anyone. Then they saw the small poster, sitting behind a smudged glass enclosure. "Hear the new sound of jazz...only as performed by the Toronto Jazz Babies".


"Ha...", laughed Esther. "What's a jazz baby."

"I'm not sure why they are called that, but it sounds funny. I like it. Sometimes guys call girls, 'baby', maybe it's a all-girl band."

"Hey...that's smart Siofra, I think you are right."

Siofra then replied, "If we look suspicious, we'll never get in. We have to just walk fast and with confidence, and I bet no one will even stop us."

The lobby of "The Promenade Room" was very small, and as Siofra looked around she began to figure things out. It looked very much like a lobby of a movie palace. "That explains the ticket booth, she thought." It was a movie house that had been turned into some kind of dance hall. She leaned against Esther, and whispered, "We should just just walk along that side wall over there, in behind that group of people, and then grab a table at the back. There's a few empty tables over there, and I don't even think anyone will notice."

They quickly sat down, hoping no one would approach them to enquire about their presence. They looked across to the stage, which was really more of just a small raised platform. It was very crowded with nine musicians, and a tall statuesque young woman, was standing off to the side. She had long wavy red hair, and it was brilliantly set off by an elegant yellow sequined dress. Her look was finished off with a pair of very chic white gloves, and in one hand was the microphone, clasped with great gentility. The song currently being played was one of the 'hot' numbers, which gave the orchestra a chance to show off it's virtuosity. The young vocalist, was obviously awaiting her turn to sing one of the romantic ballad numbers.

The band excelled at the hot numbers. As a matter of fact, they were very poor readers and had a great deal of trouble playing waltzes, polkas and tangos, that were a necessary part of there repertoire. Otherwise they would never be hired. Siofra looked at the group and started observing the instrument that made up the band.

"Look Esther. They have a pianist, trumpet player...no, two trumpet players, a drummer of course. a clarinet player, a banjo player, a trombonist, a sax player and a drummer...and

Before she finished Esther yelled, "...and look there's a tuba player. I didn't know that they had tuba players in jazz bands."

"I didn't know that either. If you really listen you can hear him playing."

Then things went very quiet and one of the gentleman stepped forward and began to play, all alone. It was a lilting, smooth sound that went from note to note in an effortless style. The performer stood very erect, both elbows raised high, seemingly pointing to the audience, his full moustache trimming the mouthpiece of his cornet, and his hair was dark, glistening and combed severely back.

When the song was completed he announced that the song was "Jazz Me Blues", and that the next song would be "Fidgety Feet". "Fidgety Feet" was amply titled, as it bounced, and scattered notes in an inexhaustible frenzy. The cornetist was once again featured, leaping octaves like a deer running through the woods.

The band was thankful for the opportunity to play at this modest club. They had acquired a gig, in Montreal, which went well for a brief time, but shortly after they had played there, there were contractual problems, and they found themselves having to escape in the middle of the night, in order to avoid possible physical retaliation buy the 'not so' reputable owner. Their instruments had been looked up by the proprietor, to ensure that they would not escape. They managed to break in to the office, with the help of some young local hooligans, and disengage their property. They had in the meantime been offered the unique opportunity to perform on the University of Toronto campus, not only as a commercial venture, but as a part of the university's desire to be open-minded in providing it's students with modern repertoires, illustrating the most up-to-date developments in popular music. That appearance was very successful, and the young cornetist Brickel Breckenbauer, known as 'Brick' was becoming the talk of the campus. The owner of "The Promenade Room" had heard the group and offered them and open ended contract. The orchestra was delighted. They had no future bookings, and were working very hard to establish themselves, in order to make some initial recordings. 



Their employment was partly aided by the new "Charleston" dance craze. If they could play hot numbers with a Charleston beat, they could be very successful. It actually restricted them as the two-step gave them little room for improvisation, the jazz performers modus operandi. But, steady work was hard to come by, and the musicians were pleased to commit to their obligations.
The girls were pleasantly surprised that no one bothered them. As long as they did not attempt to order drink, I suppose they were viewed as spectators like anyone else.

As a matter of fact, Siofra noticed someone at a table next to the stage who did not look much older than herself. She was so tempted to inquire as to who she was, but she did not quite have the mettle. Following one of the songs, Siofra notice that one of the clarinet players got up from his chair and walked to the edge of the platform. The young girl walked over and he whispered something in her ear. His comment was followed by a visual outburst of laughter.

"She must be the clarinetists sister," Siofra said to Ester. "She is too young to be her girlfriend, and too old to be his daughter...at least i think so."
Then to Siofra and Esther's surprise and excitement the young girl came over to their table. She approached them with a beaming smile.

"Hi. Excuse me, I just thought I would come over and say hello. I'm Matilda Nguyen. My brother plays in the band. Do you have a brother in the band?"

Siofra, nervously, but still with enthusiasm answered. "No, actually we do not." She thought quickly not wanting to appear if she should not be in the room.

"Uh...my father knows the owner. We just wanted to hear the band for a few minutes."

"Oh...come up and sit with us. We're up next to the stage."

Siofra thought that she and Esther were digging themselves into a bit of a hole, and that her lie, as little and white as it might be, had made things even worse. 

Esther was quite sure that they would not be going to join the others, but suddenly Siofra got up and followed young Miss Nguyen. She was somewhat startled, but tried to act as calm and sophisticated as possible. 

When they got to the table and sat down, Matilda introduced them to a man and woman, young, but significantly older than the girls. They were friends of two of the other instrumentalists and made the girls feel quite welcome.

Siofra was preparing herself to answer questions, that might pertain to knowing the owner. She did not even know his name, so the tension clearly escalated. At that point the attractive vocalist came to center stage and began to sing a lilting ballad. Her singing became the topic of conversation, and Siofa's anxiety was reduced somewhat. 

Mildred turned to Esther, who was next to her at the table and told her the singer was Roberta Raines.

"She comes from the University. She heard the band a few weeks ago and asked if she could sing with them while they were in the city. So they worked on a few songs, and listen to them! You would think that they had been together for years."

Roberta Raines purred the melody, half closing her eyes, and caressed the microphone while slowly scanning the entranced audience. 

Your eyes of blue, you're kisses too, 

I never knew what they could do,

I can't believe that you're in love with me, 

You're telling everyone that I know, 

I'm on your mind each place you go, 

They can't believe you're in love with me...

After the song was completed some members of the crowd stood up to enthusiastically applaud the performance. Then Miss Raines, instead of moving off to the side, where she had previously stood, jumped directly off the stage and sat next to Matilda at the table. Siofra and Esther sat with their hearts beating like the bass drum they had just been hearing. 

"Well, I hope everyone enjoyed the song. We only manged one rehearsal, but I think we managed it." She grabbed a refreshment, that had been awaiting her, and looked directly at Esther, and then Siofra.

"It looks like you have some friends, Matilda."

Then Matilda, slightly embarrassed, told Miss Raines that she had just met them, and she had not at this point, even got their names.

Siofra was starting to feel more comfortable and easily jumped in to introduce herself and Esther, neglecting to mention that they were there as friends of the owner. 

"So you two like our kind of music?"

Siofra mentioned that she had just got a few dance band records along with their new phonograph and was in the process of deciding which instrument to decide upon as her specialty, seeing as she might have the opportunity to join the junior orchestra at school. 

"If I want to play in a dance band too, I'll have to pick an instrument like trumpet, clarinet or saxophone."

"You can play anything you want Siofra. It is now fashionable for girls to play any instrument, even drums. The Ziegfeld Follies has an orchestra called the "Ingenues- Band Beautiful" and its all girls."

"Really!" cried Siofra excitedly. "Is there a recording of it?"

"I believe there is a recording of  'Melody Lane'. I am not sure where to locate it."

"Did you take singing lessons, you are really good."

"Yes. I'm taking vocal at the university. I am also doing classical training. I plan on going into music education, so I want to be well diversified."

"You can take music at university!"

"Yes...of course, I go to the Royal Conservatory, and there program is a part of the university course. The Conservatory helps me prepare for degree examinations. The man who runs the Conservatory is also the director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Welsman. Last year the Canadian Academy of Music joined the Conservatory as well. It's very demanding though, to graduate I must dedicate myself fully to practicing. It is certainly not all fun, doing arpeggios and scales."

Siofra was still excited.  "Imagine dedicating your life to music. But gee...I do not know if i have any talent at all."

"Well dear, I do not mean to be discouraging, but most Conservatory musicians started at a very young age, and are quite prodigious by your age...but it is not too late. I highly recommend piano instruction, because by learning piano you learn chords, intervals, variations on themes and harmony and then you can develop your ear to be much more tonally sensitive...but enough about that, this little gathering is more about the popular side of music!"

At this point of the evening Siofra realized that Esther and herself had been more than fortunate to experience what they had, and had better considering getting home, before they got into any more mischief. So Siofra told the group at the table that they must be on their way, before it got too late. She acted nonchalantly, acting as if this occasion was nothing special and casually said, "Well..will will see you all again. It has been very nice to meet you."

Matilda informed them that she will be at the dance hall until the end of the following week, and inquired if she would be seeing them again. So Siofra, thinking quickly, answered, "Well, we certainly plan on coming back. We would love to hear Miss Raines again, but I cannot be sure."

Matilda asked if anyone at the table had a pencil and piece of paper with which to write her phone number. The other young lady at the table produced both and Matilda wrote, "Call Matilda at CH-4-8498."

188

It was nine-twenty, the girls had not called at eight-thirty and they would never get home by nine-thirty. It appeared that Siofra and Esther had totally deferred to the rules they were given...but in reality, they actually had forgotten...something there Mothers would surely not believe. They had taken their seats in the club and had been totally entranced in the music and the newly experienced social scene. Time had gone by without a thought of their responsibilities.

Esther was the first to acknowledge the situation.

"I know we are going to be in trouble regardless...but at least we should call  now. Maybe they will not be as mad as if we showed up late without them knowing anything."

"I guess you are right, Esther. What should we tell them...we'd better think of something really good."

"We cannot tell them we were in a dance hall listening to a band, that is for sure."

Siofra thought for a minute. She knew they were in hot water. 

"Esther, I think being honest, at least partly, might be the best thing. If we make something up, they will not believe it."

"Tell them where we were!"

"Yes...but we can make it sound good. The fact that we met Miss Raines helps us. We can say that we were walking by the dance hall, and we heard the music. We heard a girl singing, and we really liked it. So we went in to take a peek. Then we can say that we were standing there, and there was an empty table a few feet away so we sat down, just for a minute. Then we were sitting there and a girl came up to our table and invited us to her table. We can say that we could not because we were not allowed to stay. But she convinced us. So we went to their table and were introduced to Miss Raines...and we can tell our Mothers that she went to the Royal Conservatory and she told us all about piano lessons, singing lessons and all the things you have to do if you want to study music at the university. We would not be stretching the truth very much, and if we could say that we were really fascinated by what she was telling us that time flew by, and that we were very sorry.... and if they ever thought we were making it up, we have Matilda's phone number. I think that sounds pretty good, don't you?"

"That's really smart Siofra. I think maybe it will work. It's the only chance we have anyways. 


Chapter 37     

The atmosphere at the normally prosaic home on Helena Street was ridden with a very dense fog of anger. Eamon's nature was normally such that if he was disappointed with Siofra, he would be curt, and then silent. The situation would generally blow over at that point. Abigail would be philosophical and analytical, and had the ability to turn a situation demanding discipline into a positive and constructive one. This time was different. Eamon was currently in a mental state that he was not sharing with his family. Although he appeared to be communicating slightly better than previously, he was actully becoming rebellious. He was thinking of ways to escape the prison of his illness, and many of them her unorhodox and inappropriate, such as experimenting with electric shock. Abigail who appeared calm on the outside, was gradually becoming discouraged at the overall family predicament and her self-assurance was waning. She started to realize that being a doting mother and loving and supporting wife was a part of her dutiful nature, but was becoming less of an inclination for her emotional needs. She was beginning to involve herself more in her activities with the womens' league.

Abigail and Eamon came down hard on Siofra, explaining to her that her behavior was totally selfish, lacking consideration for the others in her family who were already beset with challenges. Rules were impose upon her that relinquished her freedom to a great extent, unless of course she disregarded them. Certainly on the side of fairnes, Abigail was aware of the dominating personality of her daughter and corresponded with Elaine Tiller regarding this matter. She knew that Esther was responsible for her own actions, but she wanted to soften the blow somewhat by impressing upon Elaine the fact the Esther would not have gotten into this predicament without Siofra's mischievious tendencies. Strict curfews were imposed upon Esther, but after the fact, her friendship with Siofra was not undermined.

For Siofra this was not a cut and dry situation. Being obediant and responsive was not easily accepted. Just as the family situation had made Abigail feel that she needed external amusements as a therapeutic aid,  Siofa felt that extending her independence was more important than always having the approval of her loved ones. She at least did come to the realization that it was unfair to impose her behavior on her friends. She would have to be more independent in planning her personal adventures.

There was an apprehensive silence in the Conor household. All four Conors were sensing a transition in the stae of the family. On the one hand the family had pulled together fairly well under the strain it had suffererd, but now there was a new force, which was pulling everyone away from one another. The question was, was this force created by a conscious dissension or just an erosion of empathy due to hardship. More than likely it was a combination of the two.

The Conor family was about to be presented with news that would help them flourish again. Nessa had been seeing Dr. Pidgeon on a frequent basis, trying to remedy the pleurisy which could spread into an acute and possibly fatal disease. Little progress had been made.

Dr. Pidgeon was pleased that there were no side effects from the Staphysagria. It tends to suppress emotion, and can in some cases lead to depression. In Nessa's case, although she had no obvious emotional disorders, personal circumstances could lead to a depression that could be worsened by the situation. Nessa was possibly more subdued, but certainly not depressed. The uneasiness in her stomach might have been brought on by the antibiosis but Dr. Pidgeon felt that continuing it at the same dosage would be safe measure. 

"Nessa, I will look into the possibility of removing the fluid from the pleural space. I am not sure if it will be necessary, but I will discuss it with a specialist.  I just want to make sure that there is no chance of the growth of microbacteria into other organs. The tuberculosis starin of bacteria divides very slowly and stains very faintly when a test is monitored, so it is very difficult to detect. Be absolutely sure you let me know if you have any chest pain, blood in your saliva, fever, night chills, appetite loss, pallor or fatigue. I know you originally came in based on noticeable fatigue. How is the state of that now."

"Well...I guess I might say it is slightly worse. I am sleeping ten to twelve hours a day, and sometimes napping in the afternoon as well. I did feel a bit better when we were in Quebec. I do not know why. I am glad that the semester ended at school, becuase I was getting to the point where I was finding my studies too demanding for my level of energy. When September comes around, I do not know what to do."

"That is unfortunate, and I must admit this type of condition generally drags on for a while. I have had patients who have slowly recovered, generally not getting back to full heath for over five years. Rest and thorough hygeine are very helpful, and I can see that you are exercising both of those faithfully. I will see you in a couple of months time, but if you feel any symptoms worsen, please call me."

"Thank you Dr. Pidgeon, I will try and have a restful summer."

Despite Nessa's caution, a month after her appointment with Dr. Pidgeon, she was struck down with pneumonia. It was very difficult to diagnose. Nessa was beginning to get a cough, and after a short time, when she coughed, she began getting stabbing chest pains. At this point, she knew she was very ill.

Dr. Pidgeon had her sent directly to the Toronto Western Hospital where tests were done. Dr. Pidgeon told her that the pleurisy and pneumonia were not necessarily related.

"The pneumonia could be viral, caused by a completely different bacteria. I am very excited that X-rays can now be diffracted by crystals, which will give us a good look at your lungs."

The report came from Dr. Pidgeon after the X-Rays had been surveyed. There was an abscess in her lung. Dr. Pidgeon was of the opinion that the ascess would probably not get better through medication, so she booked Nessa for a procedure which involved draining her lung. 

Dr. Pidgeon expalined the procedure to Nessa and Abigail.

"When the bacteria invades the cells lining the airways, the immune system responds to the infection, but this can cause even more lung damage. The attack of white blood cells can cause more leakage. Basically this effects the oxygen saturation of the blood. 

"What caused it, Dr. Pidgeon, that is what I want to know!"

"Yes...I am sure you are frustrated, because you have been taking care of yourself. But we do not understand the immune system very well. It has weakened, and you are more susceptible to infection. The abscess is interesting and unusual. Abscesses are often caused by parasites. They can be swallowed, or brought in through the skin. This causes cellular destruction. Parasitic pneumonia is treated like all others, so we will not let it worry us too much."


Chapter 38

Nessa was resting one evening, reading some articles regarding the new fashions of the season. The waistlines on womens' dresses were dropping. It was not startling to be seen with the hemline above your knees. New hosiery was transparent, for a more natural look. Popular fabrics were now satin, chiffon, tulles, organzas, and silk. The designer Madeleine Vionnet was boasting her new creation, called a 'bias cut', where fabric was cut across the grain to give it a draping effect. She also originated a pointed hemliine adorned with silk tassels. Hats were worn at an angle to give the new women a more dramatic and confident look, and the Eton crop was the lastest hair style, that was even more bold and boyish than the original bob.

Reading about the lastest in fashion took Nessa away from her current trials. It excited her and convinced her more than ever that it was her calling. It gave her a surge of energy, though not physically applicable, that inspired her and made her think positively, rather than hopelessly about her future. She thought about being a designer and celebrating her success with a man who could both be by her side, and contemporay in his outlook, willing to share his life with a woman of career.

The one-hour dress was called as such because it took only one hour to manufacture. It was designed by the Womens' Fashion Institute and was made to put on and take off faster and easier. Beige was a very popular colour, but the current popularity of the Russian Ballet, triggered an enthusiasm towards bolder colours like red and orange.

Instead of letting her illness drag her down and interfere with her studies, she allowed her enthusiasm for decorating the 'new woman' to make her more resilient. Her recognition amongst her classmates and instructors was still ascending and she was more confident than ever in her future as one of Toronto's young Madeleine Vionnet's.


THE PROPOSAL

Nessa noticed an ebbulance in Petro, not that it was unusual, but it seemed particularly resolute. As they left Isadora's cafe, Petro pointed to a walkway that meandered through the park. They strolled until they got to a small cluster of tress, one of them a gigantic and proud weeping willow, which formed a protective roof over them. Nessa talked to Petro about her planned career and expressed gratitude for his comradship and empathy which was paramont in helping her keep her strength, so she could continue her work. She began to discourse on her latest ideas and started talking to Petro about her somewhat idealistic desire to be some sort of confidente to someone of royalty.

"Did you about Rose Bertin?"

"I'm sorry Nessa", said Petro grinning, "I've been a little too busy to keep up on my study of the world of fashion. As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure if I knot my tie properly."

"Ahhh...tee...tee," uttered Nessa. "Marie Antoinette wanted to be the fashion plate of France. When she arrived in France from Austria she took in Rose to be her designer and milliner. They spent hours and hours together, and Marie Antoinette loved Rose's designs. French women began to pouf their hair with pads and pomade and wore oversized luxurious gowns. Bertin used and exaggerated the leading modes of the day, and created poufs for Marie Antoinette with heights up to three feet." Nessa elevated her hand high above her head in an exaggerative manner. 

"The pouf fashion reached such extremes that it became a period trademark, along with decorating the hair with ornaments and objects which actually showcased current events. Working with the Queen's royal hairdresser, Bertin created a coiffure that became the rage all over Europe! Hair would be accessorized, stylized, cut into defining scenes, and modeled into shapes and objects, some regarding recent gossip, nativities, and even naval vessels. Believe it or not she even did a coiffure called the inoculation pouf that she wore to publicize her success in persuading the King to be vaccinated against smallpox."

"She sounds absolutely mad, doesn't she."

"Oh, just idiosyncratic...and certainly vain. She was also a lover of dolls, and Rose made her some porcelain dolls as large as actual people. They were called Pandoras."

"Oh yes, the famous box!"

"Petro, you are confusing the court of Louis XVI with Greek mythology!"

"Excuse my ignorance, my dear, I will stick to the political renderings of the French Revolution. More my cup of tea...or should I say snifter of Napoleon Brandy."

Nessa, finding the opportunity to match his wittiness, spoke,"Speaking of politics, Rose Bertin became known as the Minister of Fashion by her detractors. She clothed the Queen until her detronement. She actually became an influence within the court.  Her large, ostentatious gowns ensured that their wearer occupied at least three times as much space as her male counterpart, thus making the female figure an imposing, not passive, presence. France was clearly the center of the fashion industry, and from then on, dresses made in Paris were sent to London, Venice, Vienna, Saint Peterburg, and Constantinople. I think it was kind of unfortunate that the frequent meetings between the queen and her couturière were met, however, with hostility from the lower classes... given Bertin's high prices I suppose, her gowns and headdresses could easily cost twenty times what a skilled worker of the time earned in a year! If I am not incorrect, she actually provided the former Queen with a mourning outfit following the execution of the King. "


Petro took a hold of Nessa, standing directly in front of her, and placing one arm upon her shoulder. He then took her hand and held on to it holding it as if proporting to pray. Then he told her to keep her hand extended, as he released his hold on her.

"My dear Nessa. Your fluent expose of houte couture was very informative, and entertaining but it has also, although I certainly am not at all annoyed, been responsible for the delay of some words of great importance, coming from my humle and anxious lips. Our friendshiop has been one of comfort and respect. We have gotten to know each other very well, and have discussed many things openly without conflict or rancour. When there has been contention, it has been embraced with humour and tolerance. You have, up until now, have not been very involved in my politics, which is very important to me. But strangely, whenever I think of you, nothing else seems to matter. You bring to me a peacefullness and acceptance that gives me the strength to carry on with a more confident perspective than I have ever had before. And it is clear to me that without you, my life will never be complete. I want to dedicate my life to you and share everything, good and bad, with you...although with you I do not see how anyting could be bad. Nessa, would you accept the unselfish offering of my hand...as your loving husband for always...I promise you faithfulness and uncompromising love. All I ask of you is patience and the ability to forgive if I ever act foolishly, for I am fallible."

Nessa stood in utter silence. She could not say a word. She embraced him bringing them very much together as one. She felt small tears forming around the trim of her eyes. Finally she took her arms from him, and held one of his hand. She looked down and saw that he had slipped on the most beautiful ring she had ever seen.

Finally, she said "Petro, you have made me the happiest girl in the world."


Chapter 39

 The wedding preparations were gaining momentum and Eamon was pleased that this familial propulsion was not creating more expections upon him. It was girls' thing. He would only have to pay the bill. The extra surge of activity did seem to be having an effect upon him however. He was not sure exactly what was happening, but he was feeling like his head was separated from the rest of his body, was spinning rapidly, and he had to catch it every once in a while or he would spiral off into some other universe. Surely this was madness. He had not proceded yet with the planned experiments with the electric shock machine. Now was the time. not because there was anything about his condition that required it, but the way he currently felt, he did not care one way or the other what the side effects would be. So we wandered back to the tool shed. Abigail was home, but it was never his habit to inform her of his whereabouts, unless he was leaving the proximitey of the home. If he did not say anything, it meant that he was in the basement, attic, or the back shed. He found the machine exactly where he had left it, stored behind one if his less-used rusty old toolboxes. It greeted him with its shiny mahogany case, almost crying out to f his bench and took a seat on a wooden stool. He took out the shock handles and checked the leads. The key was already in the locking handle starter. He sat momentarily, trying to remember everything he had read about the proper control of voltage. The articles he had reda were encouraging regarding electric shock and it's ability to stop reaccuring attacks of a psychotic nature, manic delirium, or catatonia. This treatment was certainly controversial, and was not prescribed for shizophrenia, not unless a doctor thought it a final option.  Eamon's machine sent what were called sine-wacve currents. Not having planned this experiment carefully, Eamon had no access to an anasthetic or muscle relaxant, so he administered four large doses of whiskey. He was also aware of the difference between a unilateral and bilateral shock. He decided upon the bilateral, which placed the electrodes on the same side of his head. This was supposed to have less cognitive effect, and was safer with regards to possible memory loss. Eamon was also not sure of his seizure threshold. Even specialists however, used trial and error, so Eamon was going to start with short burst and continue with longer ones. He intended on progressing until he had a mild sieizure. Eamon had also read that the  electrical stimulus is about eight-hundred milliamps and has up to about two-hundred watts. The flow should be from one to six seconds. Eamon decided upon a short burst, about two seconds, at five-hundred milliamps. 


He was now prepared to start. Eamon had the handle in his grasp. The key was turned. He pumped the handle. It did not take long. There was surge of electricity. There was a quick silence. Suddenly he felt his entire body shake like he was experiencing a tremorous earthquake. As he kept his eyes shut he thought he heard a loud we-eee-eee-eee. He could see a crackling blue light, and with each flash a great jolt drubbed him until he thought his bones would break, and the sap would fly out of him like a split plant. The timer stopped the machine. He spit out the rubber tube he had put between his teeth. He was not unconscious. He had a few more body movements, that seemed like reflex responses from the previous jolts.  his heartbeat had slowed. 

He was in a state of confusion of which he was likely unaware. He was complete despondancy. He started to slip from his sitting position, and tried to straighten himself. Then then stumbled against an adjacent desk and slipped to the floor. He lied there for an unknown amount of time, his mind seemingly attached to his lungs as each breath seemed connected to his thoughts. His vision was now clear but his mind did not register his whereabouts.

Over an hour had gone by, and Abigail was now aware of his longer than usual absence and began to look for him. She checked all areas of the house, and followed by calling his name from the back door. She received no answer and assumed he had gone a short distance. Unusual, but not alarming. He has a key to the shop at the TPTC and sometimes goes the few short blocks to bring home a tool or manual. He usually tells her first, but not always. 

Suddenly everything seemed to volumize. Eamon could hear every sound in the tiny shed. He seemed to think he could hear the sound of ant legs, scattering over the cracked cement floor. This hit him like a fog horn on a quiet night. It shook him and motivated him to get to his feet and explore visually. It was coming back. He looked over the cluttered area around him and then looked at the machine. He had done it. He was now under his own care. His own unique form of treatment. He was now Eamon, the mad-scientist. He was now able to think about what he had done, and consider his next step. Another jolt? Another treatment? Or should he just wait and see if anything has resulted from his first dose? That seemed logical, and safe. 

He exited the shed and walked towards the rear entrance of the house. Would Abigail suspect anything. He had no idea how long he had been, and he had not even put any thought to how he would response to an interrogation. So he quickly and quietly scooted upstairs and went to the bedroom to compose himself, as well as have a look in the miorror to see if he had turned into a Mr. Hyde. He looked at his reflection and was fixated on his eyes. He saw large shining eys that seemed to be creating their own light. He shook himself to alter his trance-like state, and became more cognitive of his complete self. Yes, he looked normal. a little ruffled, but that was not unusual after a daty puttering around the house. Abigail had now heard him and came up the stairs.

"Eamon, dear, are you up here." there was no immediate reply.

"Eamon. Eamon!"

Finally he was prepared to respond.

"Yes, dear, I'm here. just in the washroom. i'll be right out."

"Iv'e been looking all over for you. have you been inside all the time.?"

"Oh, no dear, I've been in the shed doing some experiments with some transformers."

"I called you and you didn't answer."

"Really, oh...I guess I did not hear you. I must apologize, I did not realize I had been out there so long."

"Well Eamon, at least you have not missed dinner."

Eamon then laughed. "You would have tracked me down before i was ever allowed to miss one of your meals!"

"Yes...I guess you are right," exclaimed Abigail, slightly amused.   

Eamon had recovered enough to be conscious of his act, and now began to assess his after effects, if any. He was not aware of any memory loss, as he seemed to be completely cognizant of his recent past, teh upcoming wedding, the accident, and his ongoing responsibilities at the TPTC. It did not occur to him to consider any question regarding his more distant past, but time would be sure to tell. 

At the dinner table, Eamon was self-conscious, and preoccupied with not leaving any signs that he had tampered with himself, in such a risky way. Despite this fact, he was somewhat more talkative, and seemed aware of his uncharacteristic spontaneity. He continued to talk, for some unknown reason about the meal to be served at the reception, and the approach they would take regarding alcoholic beverages. 

Abigail was very clear on the matter. "We much not promote drinking at the wedding. I think it goes against the theme of the marrigae itself. If someone absolutely insists on having a drink, they are free to go to the Maple Leaf Ballroom, as it will be licensed."

Eamon replied, "I do not really like the idea of our guests having to spring for a drink when I am the host."

"I was of the impression that you were very much in favour of keeping the cost down, dear."

"Yes, I am, but I want our guests to enjoy themselves, and I do not want to embarrass Nessa and Petro."

"I do not think there is much we can do."

Nessa, sarcastically joined in. "Hello. I am here. And it is my wedding. You are talking as if I am in the other room."

"Oh, by all means, Nessa, tell us what you would like.", Eamon co-operatively answered back.

"Well, there is only one solution, and I think it is definitely the amswer. There should be one bottle permitted per table, of wine. That can not possibly be that expensive."

Abigail thought for a moment. "Well, I suppose one bottle of wine per table would be too extravagant. Let me see, how many tables will there be. I guess we do not know for sure until we receive the RSVP's, but based on the invitations there should be about ten or eleven tables and four or five per table."

"Right", replied Eamon, "So that would probably run us no more than twelve, thirteen dollars. I do not even think it is an issue!"

Abigail was almost startled at Eamons objectivity and enthusiasm. If there was any doubt about this decision, Eamon's avidity made her feel that rejecting the proposal would show a lack of disposition.

Eamon continued, "I do not know a lot about wine, I do not know what kind to order, other than the fact that it must be a styl;e that would be palatable to most."

Nessa than remebered, "Now that I think of it, the Zahorchak's know their wines very well, and I think Petro's Uncle, actually makes it. I should check with him."

"By all means Nessa, that would be great. His uncle might even supply us with it. Although I have heard that winre of the homemade variety often tastes like vinegar."

After dinner, Nessa gave Petro a call and dicscussed it briefly with him.

Petro was apologetic for not mentioning it earlier. He was not planning on his Uncle supplying the wine, but did know of some imported Ukrainian wine, Traminer, that was very inexpensive, as well as being very popular in the Toronto Ukrainian community. He also referred to Lvivske Beer that he could supply in a low alcohol style.

"Traminer should not be too sweet or too dry and its a nice white wine for the summer, and even has a rose aroma, and a touch of pink in its colour. 

"It would great on each table. A can get a hold of as much beer as would be required, if your parents agree to it. I know the guest from our side would really like it. My parents would be insulted to have to accept anything for it. It would be considered their offering. It is a tradition in the Ukraine, that the grooms parents cover the celebratory beverages."

That is terrific Petro. I let Dad know. I might have to convince Mother about the beer, but it sounds like she does not have a choice anyways!"

"I would say that is a correct conclusion."

Nessa, instead of bringing this issue up as something to be discussed, essentially told her parents that the Zahorchaks would be supplying wine and beer, and that there would be no alternative. It was done. Abigail was upset, and asked, "Who's wedding is this, anyways?"

Nessa knew where her Mother was coming from, and respected her feeling, but tried to bring compromise the affair. "Mother, I know that you do not want the reception to turn into a soiree, but the Zahorchak's abhor drunkedness, and Petro feels very good about doing things this way. He has a few friends from the University coming, and they will be enjoying a few drinks together i am sure. I think it is best Mother. Sorry to be difficult about it."

Abigail was quiet, and pensive. "I think some of my friends from the womens group will be disappointed. I will mention it to them before they come. I hope they do not abstain from coming because of this."

"I do not think they will Mother. They respect you very much, and should understand the role Petro's family will play in the wedding. We can put them all at one table if possible, and not serve to them to avoid awkwardness. Petro would be glad to call them with a personal invitation as well if you think it would help."

"No that is fine.", said Abigail rather flatly. "We do not need to make it a big issue."

Nessa was very unhappy that her Mother was annoyed. She did not expect any conflict to arise from arranging the wedding. When she went up to her room shortly after, Abigail was suddenly upset at not having spoken more supportively. She decided to go upstairs and mend the point of contention, not wanting Nessa to go to sleep with worry.

She entered Nessa's room, and Nessa was already asleep. Abigail hesitated, knowing that Nessa's rest was imperative, but her guilt was strong. She sat carefully on the bedside , and stroked Nessa's hair.

"Dear.", she uttered. "Dear."

Nessa's eyes opened and she looked quite alertly at her Mother.

"Sorry to wake, you, dear, but I just had to talk to you."

"It all right Mother, i was barely asleep. What is it, is something wrong?"

"Well, not really, except that I feel I acted badly this evening. I have strong feelings, you know that. But sometimes I impose them on others. It tends to make me viewed as selfish at times...and I am uncomfortable in that role, especially with my own children. I want you to know that whatever you and Petro dedcide is fine with me. I do not want to interfere, although undoubtedly you will hear my opinion, that is my unshakeable way...but not cooperating reagarding the issue we discussed tonight, shows a lack of trust for Petro's wonderful family. I do trust them, and I think highly of Yaryna, and Petro of course. I would like to know Mr. Zahorchak beter, but I am sure in time that will happen. So I want you to go to sleep with an unfettered mind and only happiness in your heart. That is what i wanted to say."

"That is so very nice of you Mother. I love you"  She kissed her on the cheek, and Abigail held her shoulder in order to hold Nessa agianst her a little longer. This was comparatively an outpouring of affection.

Chapter 40


Before going to bed, Abigail checked with Eamon, and thought that it would be a good time to check with their plans regarding family therapy. Eamon seemed fairly responsive. It was definitely the time to speak to him. Abigail herself sometimes needed motivation, as trying to get things out of him was like trying to get blood from a stone. Eamon was still in the den.

"Dear," spoke Abigail. "Do you think you would be ready for a family session, like we talked about. I could let Dr. Pidgeon know tomorrow. I am sorry to bother you with it this late, but it has been on my mind."

"Oh yes...that session thing. Sure...why not."

"You seem a little matter-of-fact about it dear."

"Oh...no...it is a good idea. My mind was just on other things. But I do not want Dr. Pidgeon supervising, as you said. There is no reason for it. And anyways, everyone might be more relaxed without her. It is my ownn family after all...we should be able to sit down and have a good heart to heart."

Abigail was not convinced his attitude was appropriate, but she was not going to push the issue if he was prepared to go ahead. She could always arrange for Eamon and her to report to Dr. Pidgeon after the fact. 

Eamon woke the following morning with a bit of a start and felt very disoriented. He looked around the room, and tried to decipher his whereabouts. He began to clear his mind but the nightmare he had continued to taunt him. It was like a scen from Metropolis. Banging machines, loud spinning wheels, hundreds of people scattered around the grey and black prison-like surroundings, and the powerful up and down movement of giant pistons. He felt himself in this maze and a craziness took over him. He began to laugh in a menacing howl, and jumped off the bed. He began to skitter around the room and started banging his fists against the wall.  Suddenly he transformed into a whimpering mass, lying on the bed, submerging himself tightly in a wrap of covers.


The following day she phoned Dr. Pidgeon, told her that they would try to get into things that very evening and arrangements were made for an appointment later in the week.

Abigail talked to the girls briefly, explaining to them what was transpiring. Nessa was very willing to cooperate, although she was slightly nervous. Siofra was quite approving and her reaction was somewhat more reposed.

Abigail knew that she was going to be the one to chair the gathering, speaking to everyone as a group in order to facilitate a sense of purpose and tolerance.

"Siofra, you seem to be the one most eager to express some feelings so we will begin with you. It might be a little more difficult than you think, because you are going to get into intimate feelings. I am not exactly sure how you should start, so I suppose it would be best just to let you open up with whatever feelings you have. We will not get into the specifics of your Father's illness, rather we will just talk about how we relate to him and how we think we could improve things. This could potentially make us all feel better and help us feel more comfortable in social situations as a family. Siofra...do you have any thoughts at the moment?"

"Well, since knowing that Dad is sick I have tried to talk to him more...and sometimes we do, but other times he just seems to be too quiet and I do not feel like talking to him. I worry about what other people think, so I never say anything to anybody. I think people would think it was a lot worse than it really is."

"That is good dear. Do you get feelings about your  Dad that make you feel that he is not a good Dad?  Are you angry at him?"

"I know he is a good Dad. It would be better if he was nicer more often. We do not do much togather, but I know he works hard and has a lot to do."

"Eamon, how do you feel about the way Siofra responds to you...and also, do you feel that you are passing on the feelings that you truly have inside. Emotional honesty is so important."

Eamon was surprised at his own willingless to respond. "I must admit that I do not treat anyone in this family as well as they deserve. I try not to show anger, but I do realize that I isolate myself. Actually, it seems that Siofra is making an extra attempt to talk to me. She has been very good lately."

After the discussion went on for a little while the summation seemed to be quite simple, and that was the fact that the family felt that they were all holding back and keeping their feelings inside, in fear of some kind of dissent. One specific point that was expressed by both Nessa and Siofra, was that they felt uncomfortable having friends over, in fear of Eamon having some kind of attack, or at least the possibility of him acting strangely. This hurt Eamon, and he was apologetic.

Nessa also claimed, "Daddy, when Petro proposed to me, I was very happy...but also ambiguous...I am nervous about him marrying into our family. I think at times that we might be too volatile to handle a wedding and new member into the family." 

"I want you all to know that I will not be an embarrassment to you, and from now on if I am having any difficulty for any particular reason, I will let you know ... and I will talk about it with you. Being more open will surely make things easier for me." In actuality, Eamon was sincere, but also unsure regarding his capacity to carry on this promise. He had just given himself electric shock treatments, which was not a rational practice. He realized that if there was a chance of any more risky acts, things could only get worse.


Petro and Nessa plan Wedding

Petro and Nessa thought long and hard about the location of their wedding. Nessa herself do not feel impelled to follow any denominational procedure. She new that her Mother would prefer some sort of Communion exercise, and this likely required an Anglican diocese or possibly a church fron a Ukrainian orthodox church. These options were investigated, and Petro felt that the final choice should be up to Nessa. The final decision was based more on the atmosphere of the building itself than any doctrinal factor. The Church of St. Paul's on Bloor Street was a large parish of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Diocese of Toronto. It was one of historical flagship low church parishes of the diocese. The main church had been rebuilt only thirteen years before. It's mission was to "transform the world through the power and grace of Jesus Christ."

Nessa and Petro arranged a brief tour of the magnificant church, before meeting Father Smith. They were virtually in awe of the wood and truss ceilings, stained glass and stonework. The gigantic size of the assembly area was reminiscent of older churches that had these areas, which were referred to as basilicas.  

The vaulted ceiling was met at the sides by lower chambers and wide arcaded passages. The atrium was small but grandly decorated.  The most impressive part of the church, which was almost startling to Nessa, were the large windows with high pointed arched vaults, ornamented with stone tracery and filled with stained glass illustrating stories from the Bible and the lives of the Saints. 

Petro, being a historical student, informed Nessa that the profound architecture was based upon the flowering movement in architecture, which started on the basis of Christian Humanism which began a way back in the twelfth century. The appearance of reaching for the sky, symbolized an expression of of religious aspiration.

"A lot of symbolism," Petro continued, "Was originally to create expression for those who could not read or write, which back in the twelfth century was not uncommon. Churches were the first place peoples from all walks of life could meet together in a comfortable place. The nineteenth century also saw the rebuilding of mediaeval churches and their alleged restoration to mediaeval purity."

The facade of St. Paul's was a very ornate part of the exterior with the processional doors, three in number, which is the tradition, and was richly decorated with sculpture and marble. Above the prossessional doors were three massive windows reaching almost as high as the peaks of the twin towers framing the facade. The towers had their origin in the tradition of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. They were adopted as corner turrets and were exited and entered during the procession of the way of the Cross.  

Nessa felt somewhat ignorant, not really understanding all the details of the church, and how its architecture actually realted specifically to ceremony. Petro showed her specific devices such as columns, pilasters, arcading, cornices, moldings,  finials, and tracery, as well as more finery such as mosaic, inlays, marble friezes and statuettes. The theme of the Church started outside the church, on the west front, with the portrayal of Christ the Judge above the lintel of the main door. This tells the followers that in Biblical terms the just rewards for their sinful nature is death, and that only through Jesus can forgiveness and redemption be gained.

Petro showed some of the representations inside the Church, the Stations of the Cross and the Crucifix, which were suspended from the chancel archat at the entrance of the quire. 

"There are so many messages in the detail,"  exclaimed Petro. He pointed to a small pelican carved inside a fenial.

"See that pelican. It was thought to have pecked it's breast to feed it's young on the blood, representing the love of Christ for the Church."

Then he showed her the altar which showed scultured reredos.

"A reredos? What is that?"

"Oh, it's just the screen, right there, behind the altar. You can see that it depicts iconography. It looks to be made of ivory and stone. The guilded images are beautifully done. They are so detailed, they almost look like tapestries. It looks a bit like Holbein's 'The Ambassadors'."

Nessa, at least glad that she had heard of 'The Ambassadors', asked Petro to remind her of it's meaning.

"I do not remember it very well, but the scientific intruments represent both celestial and terrestrila curiosity. The floor mosaic is based on the design from Westminster Abbey. There is some oriental symbolisn as well. One figure is secular and the other is clerical. The symbols on the table include one that depicts the Virgin which is believed to be symbolic of a unification of capitalism and the Church. I think that religious strife is depicted. See the broken string on the Lute, next the Lutheran hymnbook."

"That's is amazing detail for such a small piece of art. How could you detect all that in it."

"When I went to the Ukrainian Orhodox Church, the education I received was exhaustive,  and my tutors did not let me get away with not being totally versed in all symbolic gestures. After a while, you think a certain way and it becomes easy to think through imagery."

He laughed lightly, and then added, "As a matter of fact, it gets to the point where it becomess difficult to think literally!"

100069

MEETING FATHER SMITH

 

Petro and Nessa arrived a the Parrish and met Father Joshua Smith. Nessa and Petro were resolved to the Anglican ceremony, and had a grasp of the Communion, but also wanted to be somewhat innivative. It remained to be seen whether or not Rector Smith would be flexible. This would have a significant bearing on whether or not they would proceed with their plans at St. Paul's.

After a short introduction, Father Smith described the ceremony. While you are entering the hall, you have a choice of hymn, psalm, anthem, or instrumental chorus. We can discuss your choice once we have the entire procedure arranged.

I have a copy of the address to the congregation. If you have any issues with the wording, I will gladly discuss them. I have selected the traditional liturgy, a historical version, which is a bit wordy, but I feel adds a nice touch, and blends appropriately with the tradition of this particular Church. I will read it to you, as it immeasurably helpful to hear my tone and affect. It will help you feel the resonance of the occasion, which cannot be undertestimated.

 

"Dearly beloved:  We have  come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony.  The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

 

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.  Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

Into this holy union Petro Oleksandr Zahorchak and Nessa Blaithin  Conor now come to be joined.  If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, speak now; or else for ever hold your peace.

Petro was very impressed.

"I like the reference to Cana, and the partial emphasis on marriage as a social institution. It speaks very reverently of marraige. How do feel about it Nessa?"

"It is lovely, it almost sounds like you yourself speaking Petro. But if it is all right, I will look over the copy in case i come up with anything that I might feel should be added."

"That is why we have the printed copy, Miss Conor. We want you to go over all the details carefully for this very sacred day."

Then Father  asked, "Would you like me to insert the portion where i ask if either of you have a reason why you should not be married. This is not compulsory."

"No." replied Petro. "It seems a little redundant."

"The declaration of consent is straight forward, and you can make any slight adjustments in the wording if you wish. Of course I will ask the witnesses, the body of the service, for the upholding."

 

I will lead in a prayer of mercy, and I am very flexible in regard to this particular insertion.  I will let you hear my enunciation.                                        

"Let us pray.

O gracious and everliving God, you have created us male and female in your image:  Look mercifully upon this man and this woman who come to you seeking your blessing, and assist them with your  grace, that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep the promises and vows they make through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity  of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen."

On my printed copy I have a list of recommended passages from the Holy Bible. I would like you to go over those, or if you would like, choose one of your own. You not likely come across any resistance from me. How can I refuse any reading which is directly from the Book of our Lord!"

Chapter 41


FAMILY WEDDING PREPARATION/WARDROBE

Nessa read the description of the dress which she decided was the ultimate in choice. It was structured yet airy, and offered an organza over satin A-line silhouette accented with jeweled beading at the softly curved strapless neckline and Empire waistline. The satin trim paired with a functional corset back and chapel length train creating a figure flattering look. There is a wonderful, well balanced, embroidery design that meanders and scrolls over the wedding gown from bodice to skirt. Also, the rose design is repeated in a symmetrical manner on the upper bodice of the wedding gown.  The design focuses on a central rose, and makes a play of scale with smaller and larger trailing leaves. This gives contrast between the ethereal light stitches adding intricacy, and the rich weight of heavier embroidery design work. The roses appear to have been worked in a raised satin stitch.


The dinner jacket look, made popular by the Duke of Windsor, influenced Petro's choice of wardrobe. British trends were on the leading edge of popular choices for Canadians. This movement in fashion accentuated comfort and panache. 

One of the first innovations championed by the Prince was an alternative to its standard black shade.  Midnight blue – a deep, blackish blue – was an appropriately muted hue for formal attire yet appeared darker and richer than black under artificial light because it did not have the latter’s tendency to give off a greenish cast or show up dust.  The revival of this Regency-era fashion was originally limited to select English aristocrats and dandies at first but the color’s popularity grew steadily over the twenties. Petro was impressed with this look and was hopeful he could sport this colour of jacket without it being overly expensive. He managed to purchased a topcoat from a men's store offering jackets that were virtually new, but worn once or twice for previous weddings. It was in the new style, the front being shorter to accommodate higher trousers which could feature either two narrow braids, or one broader braid. He did not bother with the expense of shirt bosoms or a waistcoat, but he did decide upon a cumberbund with a  bow tie of matching pique. The jacket featured a link-closure buttonhole fastened by a coat-link. The broader breast pocket featured a formal pocket sqaure.


The mother of the bride had taken great care to pick out her dress. She decided to have a touch of white, in honour of the bride. Too much white was considered inappropriate, so she was careful to use modest accents, which were her long gloves and narrow flung collar, using a tone of cream as opposed to snowy white.  The rest of the dress was in a light green with paintbrush inflections in yellow, this was decided upon in order to co-ordinate with Siofra who was wearing the dress she had received at Christmas. Siofra wanted badly to get a new dress for the occasion, but as it was, she had not worn it yet and it went so perfect with the occassion. And Siofra was growing quickly, and in a short time, it may well not be a proper fit. So her taffeta frock with ruffles and classical cream lace with a textured combination of a pale tones of yellow and green, was the ideal apparel.  What made her appearance even more important, was the fact that she had been elected maid-of-honour. It was not generally practiced, the giving of this position to sister, but nor was it totally uncommon. Nessa had a number of friends at school, but none of them were might be called a soul-mate. She did have a good friend when the family lived in the central east end of the city, but they had unexplainably lost touch. It was important that Siofra had an important role to play in the ceremony, and it was thought that possibly she was older than the traditional flower-girl. The flower-girl seemed better suited to Petro's cousin, nine-year old Anastasiya. So Siofra was honored with being the premier player of the  ceremony. Abigail helped Siofra with some of the more mature duties of the lead bridesmaid, such as arranging the dress and veil. Nessa was very busy naturally, so any dress designing was from a time perspective, out of the question. But as affordability was an issue, it became necessary to design a pair of dresses, inexpensively, for the two bridesmaids, that would appropriately coincide with Siofra's. So she got to work quickly and designed two dresses, in a resplendent yellow, collared in cream lace, bordered in a summery green. 
  
Eamon did purchase a new suit for the occasion. He had some sporting wear, but nothing appropriate for a wedding. So he decided upon a versatile suit of light grey, with moderately bold pinstripes. His shirt was of the pin-collar design and his tie was one of the new slip-stitch variety which snapped back into its original shape after being tied into a four-in-one knot.   It was in the classic Munster tartan, which displayed an attractive disposition of greens. 


          WEDDING                                                                                                                       

It was a June day, that spoke to the spirit of holy bliss. The sun was bright and streaming it's rays like the strings of a harp, illuminating particular objects as if they had come from the heavens. The gathering was large. As well as the Price's from Berry Grove, including Margie, there was a multitude of family from the Zahorchak clan. The Tiller's were there, along with Dr. Pidgeon, who was not yet married, a number of families representing members of the Women's League, and Wally Paterson and his wife. The Fitzgeralds were present including their nine-year old daughter. Petro took the liberty of inviting a couple of friends from the university. His best man, David Butler was a friend who had worked with him on a pre-graduate thesis. He seemed to take things very lightly, and during any meeting of the wedding party, he seemed to be ready with a quick joke, usually making fun of the seemingly prissy roles played by the female members of the ceremony. He manged to stay within the perimeters of taste, but Nessa was surprised that a gentleman like David would be Petro's best friend. Perhaps Petro seized the opportunity of friendship with David, as people often do, to present another side of their nature that has been repressed either through discipline or just simply a prediposition of restraint. 

Susan Cruikshank was very distressed at not being able to attend the wedding with Robert. Between business commitments and a wedding of his brother's daughter, it was impossible for them to come from Dayton, and fit the event in.

Siofra was also disappointed that the Jameson's could not come. Of course they were not close family friends. The visit to Quebec had been their first time to meet their acquaintance. But it seemed to Siofra that during the time in Quebec they had all grown very close, and had even had time to learn of some of the more personal difficulties the Conor's were experiencing. 

"Imagine the wedding with Mary, Martha, Agnes, Sean, Richard, Eric and Alan," she thought to herself. And then she wondered if Margie and Esther would like them. Then the thought came to that maybe it would be too much competition for Sean's heart. 

"I am being silly again," she said to herself. 

 

The size of the wedding was not actually planned, but it had blossomed like a spring flower, and nothing could seem to stop it. Certainly Yaryna Zahorchak was not about to keep any of her relatives from the celebration. The Ukrainians were very serious about the committment of matrimony, but after the sacredity of the ceremony, the event turned into a festival.

It seemed mere seconds for the bride to walk down the aisle, with her father beside her. Siofra had trouble walking as slowly as the Bride and her father, but manged to restrain her eagerness, holding the train with slightly more tautness than was necessary.

As Siofra stood watching, she held the bride's bouquet proudy and was beaming with a sense of great esteem.

The words were spoken in an almost musical deep voice, as Petro uttered, " In the Name of God, I, Petro Oleksandr Zahorchak, take you, Nessa Blaithin Conor , to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.  This is my solemn vow." 

Then they loosened their hands, and Nessa, facing Petro, takes his right hand, and speaks, solemnly and almost inaudibly, "In the Name of God, I, Nessa Blaithin Conor, take you, Petro Okeksandr Zahorchak, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.  This is my solemn vow.

They loosen their hands.

The ring is presented and the Father asks God's blessing on the ring, which was transfered into Petro's hands by those of his Best Man, Stevenson James, also of the University, and reads,  "Bless,  O Lord, this ring  to be a sign of the vows  by which this man and this woman have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

Petro places the ring on Nessa's delicate finger and speaks, "Nessa Blaithin Conor, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Then Father Smith joins the right hands of Nessa and Petro, and pronounces, "Now that Petro Oleksandr and Nessa Blaithin have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

As the word husband and wife were spoken Siofra could barely contain herself. Sitting beside her were both Esther and Margie. They held hands and were on the verge and standing up and cheering. Mrs. Tiller, next to Esther, placed her hand firmly on Esther's should, as if restraining them.

The traditional Zahorchak's, were seen in nothing particularly noteworthy, Yaryna in an almost matronly grey wool dress, and her husband in a brown wool suit, which appeared a little heavy for the warm summer weather, and a not-so-stylish Homburg hat which was taken off during the ceremony. Yaryna was so overcome, that she held both of her hands to her mouth, as if in  state of disbelief or shock.

Father Smith verbalized the blessing of the marriage as the onlookers raised themselves from there seats.

 

"O God, you have so consecrated the covenant of marriage that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church:  Send therefore your blessing upon these your servants, that they may so love, honor, and cherish each other in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and peace; through Jesus Christ our  Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen."


RECEPTION

The reception would follow in a couple of hours. There had been a bit of a precarious run of plans for the reception, before things were finallized. Originally Nessa had suggested the idea of the celebration at the Casa Loma, which had previously been the private home of Sir Henry Pellat. Since 1923, after Sir Henry's financial problems, he was forced into foreclosure. Now the castle was a popular nightspot, featuring an orchestra, led by Glen Gray, called the Orange Blossoms. This plan was soon dropped, as it was far beyond Eamon's affordability, and they began to look for a less expensive hall. The idea of having a small reception at the Zahorchak home was discussed. Yaryna was somewhat unrealistic in her planning, at first offering the family home but on the other hand expecting all of her relatives to be present at the fete. The Conor home was even smaller than the Zahorchak's. It would not do. The Old Mill, which was Toronto's first sawmill, opened as the Old Mill Teagarden twelve years earlier and was potentially a beautiful spot for the reception. However, it was expensive as well, and was not as close to the Church as the families would have liked. But, what did ensue, was almost a miracle. Nessa had been seeing Dr. Pidgeon frequently. She was still very tired and was becoming depressed, despite the big day that was forthcomimg. Her depression was obviously a result of the fact that she was not feeling the way a bride should feel, for a future bride. Her thoughts began to transgress, to a state of slight paranoia. She began to feel that Petro was marrying her out of sympathy, more of a paternal sense than a romantic one. She was suddenly buoyed by news of her reception. Dr. Pidgeon spent much time in the circle of friends that not only included Abigail, but Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Dr. Vivian Laughlin, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy, Dr. Edna Guest, Miriam McPhee. They occasionally had week-long meetings at the Hanlan's Hotel on Centre island. It was a place the womens' club could breath fresh air, re-cooperate from daily stresses, practice various exercises in the open air, and prepare nutritious meals. The management at the hotel had an almost reverence for the group, both the owner's wife, oldest daughter, and sister being very supportive of their movement. As it turned out Dr. Pidgeon had spoken to them and they offered the gallery room in the hotel for a bargain price as well as suggesting they could prepare the outdoor Japanese Gardens, weather permitting.  When this news came to Abigail, she excitedly passed on the news, and admittedly, became more enthusiastic then she had been.

What a grand place for a wedding celebration!

HANLAN'S Hotel

The visit from Robert and Susan was now arranged. The Chrysler was on it's way. Abigail for one the the very few times, experienced a rather adamant Eamon. The cheque, although admittedly meant No place could be a better site for the celebration than Hanlan Park. The throng of celebrants upon arriving first saw the magnificant Carousel. They were enthralled with the dramatic overhanging turkish roof, the cupola, the candy-twist styling and the lighted diamonds.

Off to the left they observed the massive Hippodrome Pavilion. Closer to them, and off to the right was the Circle Swing. 

Patrons enjoy the late afternoon sun near the Doty "Hippodrome" pavilion. Note the ferry in the background.  It had six 8-passenger gondolas suspended from a central tower. The cars swung out as the ride turned. Running alongside these exciting structures was the park's miniature steam train. The narrow-gauge railway track ran throughout the park, following along the tree-lined boardwalk, illuminated with stringed light bulbs. Visible through a grove of trees was the Figure 8 Coaster. Rising above it was the sigh that read "Hanlan's Point: The Coney Island of Canada". 

The miniature train approached a switch as it continued its run along the lagoon boardwalk on a this beautiful summer day. It then ran over the trestle near the main midway. The "Grand Scenic Railway" then looped around, crossing the trestle a second time and then re-routing itself to take passengers past the "Magic Baking Powder" sign to the Stadium. 

Siofra had been here once before, but only for an afternoon. She was quick to remind everyone of her favourite ride, the "Hurgle Gurgle".  It was actually a dryslide, featuring a tower that sported a long staircase leading to a covered top landing. The big s-curve took its riders down to the entrance of the main ticket office and the boarding area for the "Mayflower" ferry.  Next to the ticket office the entrance to the "Tours of the World" mini-exposition. 

After the main reception was held at the hotel, if time permitted, the patrons had the opportunity to go to the Maple Leaf Dance Hall, which was adjacent to the Japanese Garden.  The dance hall also boasted a theatre and restaurant. The dance hall's main floor was on the second level and was accessed via an exterior lattice-covered stairway. The top landing was covered by an open-board packed canopy. Inside, was a grand, slat-floored expanse with pendant lighting and a large mirror ball. 

Rising above the dance hall was the star attraction, "The Racer". This grand amusement was a single track affair. It was so large that it virtually spanned the entire point, and it's skeletal structure was visible well above the tree line. 

Chapter 42

 

OZONE MACHINEon stubbornly continued to research the more rnative approach to mental illness, in particular mechanization and equipment, and its evolution in medical science. He came upon some information regarding a fascinationg new form of treatment, and made some phone calls, in search of such a device. He then visited a particular pawn shop that claimed to have such an implement. It was an ozone machine. Actually, it had been used  for many years in treatment, as far back as 1885 according to the proprietor. 

The pawnbroker had a piece of documentation with it that included an article describing the administration of ozone for treatment of tuberculosis. This excited him greatly, realizing that his questionable venture could reap benefits for Nessa as well as himself.
During the first world war, Doctors by then were familiar with ozone's anti bacterial properties, and with a few other medical resources available to them it could be applied topically to infected wounds. It was discovered that ozone not only remedied infection, but also had positive effects on blood flow as well as anti inflammatory properties. 
With regards to the debate of the merits of ozone therapy, some marketers of ozone generators make promotional claims that ozone is a miraculous cure for all disease including cancer as well as tuberculosis. Some have opposed this claim, saying it is unfounded, having called into question the credibility of ozone therapy, and have given many people false hope.
Other claims explain that the injection into tissue  surrounding bone and joints simply promotes the body's own mechanisms for healing lesions through modest inflammation along with providing tissue with oxygen.
The fact that ozone therapy is reported to ozonate the blood to kill viruses and bacteria shows a potential area for scientific research. Ozone is also argued to be effective against viral respiratory infections with secondary bacterial infection that produces nasal discharge, exacerbates the cough, and may lead to  pneumonia or pleurisy. 
Ozone is also an experimental treatment for pulmonary hemorrhaging.  In most cases ozone reverses the bronchitis or fibrosis, and through a homeopathic mechanism, the other contributory factors of hemophilia. 
Ozone is also recommended for acute and chronic bacterial diseases that do not respond well to the new antibiotics. 

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/230355/christianitys_role_in_the_battle_against.html?cat=4

Regarding melancholia, the symptoms are vast and specific to each individual, just as the causes and treatments can be. Many have tried ozone therapy, which administers concentrated amounts of ozone and oxygen into the body's fluids and systems. Purportedly, the process helps to boost immunity, vitality and overall brain health.  

As far as treatment for depression is concerned ozone treatment is essentially oxygen treament. The ozone is merely concentrated oxygen. An output of oxygen can create healthier chemical levels in the brain. Hormones are also thought to be positively affected.  According to the information that Eamon read in the Journal of Mental Science ozone may be mixed with water and taken by mouth or introduced into a body cavity. Ozone can be bubbled through water for about fifteen minutes. Then all you have to do is drink the water. The life of ozone is very short, so consumption should be almost immediate.  Ozone can also be supplanted in vegetable oil, in India they haved used sesame oil for years, and can actually be refrigerated for a period of time. Some doctors have actually experimented with mixing ozone with extracted blood and then injected back into a vein or muscle. Ozone-enriched water or vegetable oil has also been applied to the skin to treat wounds, burns, infections and insect bites. This piece of information made him think again of Siofra's burns. He was not sure how to apply the ozone, but in one periodical he studied that ozone bagging is a technique in which the body (except for the head) is submerged for up to two hours in a bag containing ozone. What is called ozone insufflation involves blowing ozone gas into body orifices such as the ear, or colon. Could this bagging technique work? Or should he just do the simpler method. That would be to enclose himself into a small, almost airtight compartment, and just turn on the machine, and let nature take its course. 

He was of the belief that the method of going into a body orifice, which was like an enema, was probably most effective. It is an excellent way of receiving ozone for any type of systemic illness. A small plastic tube is passed up the anus, and ozone is given for about five minutes. It is totally painless quick and easy procedure and extremely effective. Ozone can also be given in ears by putting stethoscope in the ears and connecting lower end of the stethoscope to the Ozone generator.

One thing that excited him about this procedure was that it sounded very safe. If he applied it to himself first, had good results, and no side effects, he could in all likelihood let his secret be known and provide Nessa and Siofra with this treatment. The thought itself, of having success with the ozone machine, brought great delight and hopefullness to him. 

The side effects from his electric shocks were minimal, but possibly more severe than he was cognizant of. His mood swings were less often, but when they occurred , they were actually more dramatic. His nightmares continued, and his concentration was sporadic. He was noticeably less depressed but his anxiety at times was acute. The acute anxiety was parcelled with a manic  based type of behavior. When in this manic state, as is usually the case with other sufferers, he feels confident and motivated. But this also leads to a level of confidence that leads to recklessness and poor decision making. The end result can be catastrophic and ends up leading to a more severe depression.  

So it was interesting to observe to what degree Eamon practiced caution in his newest venture. Although not totally comfortable with his knowledge of application, Eamon proceeded to build a cubicle inside his work shed, using scrap lumber and lining it with tar paper. He put a small oscillating vent on the top of it, so when it was in use the air currents caused by his breathing, and the influence of the ozone waves, would be enough to open the small panelettes. 

He was wondering whether it was the appropriate time to give Nessa the information on ozone technology. He was certainly much to inhibited to discuss the methods of application, but he did have in his possession an excert from an article, which if presented to her, would certainly be a convincing arguement. It read, 

“The accompanying tabulation statement of the results of the first twenty-one cases treated by ozone at the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital “England” cannot be regarded as anything but satisfactory from every standpoint, be it humanitarian, scientific or economic. The cases were, for the most part, those of cavities and sinuses in the femur and tibia. It is the great experience of those who have seen a great deal of war surgery that such cases obstinately resist treatment and are apt to remain unhealed for months and years ... I have failed in only one case ... the properties of ozone which have a wonderful healing effect are ... an increased flow of blood to the affected part ... as a germicide it destroys all hostile micro-organic growth ... as the French chemist Hennocque has shown it has great powers in the formation of oxyhaemoglin ... at present our knowledge of the effects of ozone is but small, but later I hope to bring before the medical public further satisfactory facts with reference to its working and results”[25]

^ Stoker, George. "The Surgical Uses of Ozone" (PDF). Lancet II, Oct. 21, 1916, page 712


Eamon's project went on unnoticed, and he managed to give himself doses of this strange new compound whenever it was convenient for him to do so. He experimented with the technique, usually giving himself fifteen minutes of therapy, every two or three days. He noticed no effect, but he knew that this type of treatment would be gradual in it's corollary. Since the completion of his closet, he included one more treatment of shock therapy, using the same method as previously. His side effects from the previous shock were subsiding slightly, and a second regimen would likely bring them back. This was a danger Eamon seemed to disregard. Either he did not recognize the reaction, which seems unlikely, or he was reckless in his application. The manic state he sometimes found himself in, probably encouraged this carelessness. 

It is surprising that his inconsistency of mood was not causing issues at work. However, his generally manic elevation seemed to succeed in making him productive. It is very likely that he was observed as being somewhat different in temperament as before, but it is not unusual for men to be passive in their approach to fellow workers, or even friends, when emotional concerns are involved. It was certain though, that Eamon was heading for a re-evaluation sooner, than later. 

Chapter 43


News had come from his brother south of the border. Eamon's brother-in-law, Robert, had called and was offering to drive up a vehicle for the Conor family to inherit. Eamon, being somewhat more buoyant, was more committed to the idea as previously. Eamon was also less sensitive to the perceived 'superior' attitude of Robert Cruikshank, to which it could be argued did not exist at all. Robert was confident, and did border on boastful at times, but he was considerate, and never a braggart. It was still Eamon's dream to own a Superior K, but he was resigned to the likelihood of owning a Model T or more practical and affordable automobile. It finally came down to the realization that he would get a fair, if not exceptional deal from Robert, so he listened intently to what he had to offer. Robert had sold the Nash 41, the vehicle he had previously mentioned as being available. Now he had three deals to confront Eamon with. He was well aware of the standard steps he would be taking. First, talking to Eamon about the cars themselves, and then talking about the financial details with Abigail. The choices were a Nash, similar to the one offered before, but an improved edition, a Model T. and a Chrysler 6. The Model T was a four-cylinder with the traditional shiny black. It was dressed up a bit with cowl lights.

"It's a really clean engine, Eamon, and runs really well. You know I would not recommend anything unless it did."

Robert went on to describe the Nash, which was a six-cylinder and a little larger. It was very roomy with plush black seats, but no rumble. Then came the Chrysler. Eamon's ears were flooded with the description of a vehicle that could only be explicated as grand. The Chrysler Six Sedan was in a three shade livery of light brown, dark brown and black. The big engine ran silky smooth according to it's enthusiast. He remembered 

"It's the best in it's class, has little vibration and reacts so spontaneously...you will would absolutely love it. It is the least sluggish engine of it's type, no doubt. This is the car I have owned for the past year, but I am going to something sportier."

"I read something about Chrysler bringing in hydraulic brakes, Robert."

"Ah, yes...you are on top of things Eamon. Chrysler has decided against mechanical brakes with cables or linkages that are in customary mid-sized cars. They have put in progressive, hydraulically operated drum brakes on all four wheels. They do not pull to one side like the old ones...far less adjustment needed."

"What about the instrument panel?"

"It is a glazed panel, Eamon, not the individual circular ones with glass covers."

"Boy...sounds like a beauty. Frankly, I cannot picture myself owning such a car. People would think I won the Irish Sweepstakes. I am sure it would be out of our price range."

"Well Eamon, it might not be as bad as you think. This is not the luxury model, despite it's features, and brand new there are only about eighteen-hundred to two-thousand more than the Model-T. Naturally I will shave a lot off of it because I have owned it for a year, although there is very little mileage on it. I have no interest payments on it, so it is clear. We can work out a plan for you that you can handle. Susan and I really want you to have it."

Eamon knew that Robert was speaking sincerely. Susan would want to help them. He did not talk to his slightly older sister very often. When Eamon went through his troubled period in his early twenties, Susan had met Robert who was vacationing in Toronto at the time. It could be described as the proverbial whirlwind romance, and it was not long until Susan went to Ohio with her new husband. Eamon and Susan seemed to loose touch at this point. Eamon's lack of effort in maintaining correspondence with her was seen as some kind of apathy to Susan, a combination of predictable brotherly behavior, as well as his introverted nature. Susan did call Toronto frequently, and did develop a very positive relationship with Abigail. There conversation was always about their families, Abigail keeping Susan up to date on Siofra and Nessa and Susan letting her no how their son Theodore, who was now twenty-six, was progressing. There discourse did not venture beyond, as their outlooks were quite in contrary, Abigail being political, outspoken, compassionate, and liberal in her thinking while Susan was passive, accepting, and conservative in manner and philosophy.  

It was apparent that Abigail saw in Susan, a connection to Eamon that was potentially not blocked by the interceding characteristics of Eamon's personality. It was an avenue of reference that she had not taken advantage of up to this time. Now, she thought to herself, was the time to take the next step. With the prospect of Robert and Susan coming to Toronto with a new vehicle, it would be a great opportunity for Abigail to 
develop some confidence with Susan and gain some better insight into Eamon's problems. The ultimate would be to both gain insight and for her to attain some new tools with which to better approach the problem. Was that expecting too much? She would find out. Eamon was so enthusiastic about the Chrysler, that he virtually accepted a deal with Robert without discussing it with Abigail. Robert did understand the nuances of the situation however, and asked to talk to Abigail as well. He was diplomatic in that he did not specify that he wanted to talk to her to discuss the economics of the matter, but of course, that was his intention.

"I do not want you to get in over your head, Abby, but I honestly feel that the extra amount required for the Chrysler would be well spent. It should give you years of relatively trouble free performance, and I think that automobiles have progressed to the point that owning a vehicle could be described as a reasonable step. I explained to Eamon that the Chrysler is only about eighteen-hundred dollars more than the Ford. Excuse me for referring to it as 'only', I realize that Eamon works hard for his money. I have got myself a new vehicle which I am actually making payments on, which is a new prospect for me. Otherwise I could be more generous...but I think payments over a couple of years could be worked out. Of course I will not charge you any interest. Twenty-four payments of one-hundred and twenty dollars would essentially cover things. A down payment would likely make things a lot easier for you though."

"I can assure you that we cannot handle one-hundred and twenty a month. I will have to think about the down payment. It will take a little consideration. I do feel that the car would be great for the family, and I think it would lift Eamon's spirits immensely. I know you are well aware of Eamon's occasional difficulties, but things have worsened, and I am a little less sure of his job security. I assume that Susan has talked to you regarding some of our phone conversations."

"Yes, she has Abby. I am very sorry that things are difficult, but I did not realize that his job security was in question. I hope you do not mind me imposing this vehicle purchase on you at this time. I was meaning to be helpful and nothing else."

"Oh dear, do not feel that you have misplaced your intentions. You have always shown yourself to be totally considerate of us, and we appreciate it so much. I really think you two coming up would be marvelous, and I so badly want to spend some time with Susan."

"Tell you what Abby. Consider the deal done. You give me whatever down payment you can and will work out things from there. I do not want you to miss out on this opportunity."

"Are you sure Robert. I do not want you to be financially put out in any way. I do not want to feel as if I owe you more than a can pay you back."

"Absolutely not. The way I look at it, money that is owed, is money that I cannot spend!"

"That is true isn't it Robert."

"I still have a few business agreements to settle with some clients before I know exactly when we can come up. Is there any times that are better for you than others? We do not want to come when, you are overly busy, and of course, when we are there, we want to be able to spend as much time as possible with you."

"I do not think it actually matters. We have appointments but they are not overly frequent and they are only brief interludes in our otherwise simple days. The important thing is that we work out some time off for Eamon. We did have a brief vacation in Quebec in the spring, but otherwise, I believe he still has some time owing. He has been busy on the new trolleys and is also on the task force, and I think he is overworked. How about if we call you when things get worked out. It should only take a couple of days to get things figured out, is that okay?"

"That is perfect Abigail. It should take me at the most two weeks to get things settled at this end."

"That is wonderful. If Susan is not busy, would I be able to talk to her?"

"Absolutely. Just hold the line, and I will go and get her. It has been wonderful talking to you, and I am really looking forward to seeing you, Eamon, Siofra, Nessa and her new husband."

Susan was not much for doing things around the house. She kept it neat and clean, but was certainly not much for ornamentation. Nor was she much for gardening or outdoor decorating. Her time was spent quite leisurely. She loved reading romantic novels and listening to the new radio serials.

She was enthralled by the dime store novels, particularly what was known as the Love Story Library.  The contents of this library were stories previously published in the Street & Smith serial of the New York Weekly or the earlier Eagle Series. The authors were many, ranging from Ira Reade Allen, Gertrude Fleming, Emma Garrison Jones, Charlotte Brame, to Effie Adelaide Rowlands, Lurana Sheldon, and Charlotte Stanley. 

Charlotte Brames's stories appeared in popular weekly publications such as Bow Bells, the London Reader, and the Family Herald.  Her fiction was invariably set in English country houses. Against this milieu, she reworked the theme of love in all of its multifarious aspects—old love, young love, jealousy, suspicion, misalliance, and improvident marriage. High morals such as honour, a sense of duty, and self-sacrifice are lauded as the greatest of virtues. The books also contain strong descriptive passages, some of which are drawn from her associations with Leicestershire. Her literary endeavours, in a male-dominated field, her works of charity, and her personal stamina and resilience, in the face of family tragedy and ill health, represent a triumph of adversity.[1] Emma Garrison Jones went to Washington, D. C. in the early 1860's, and while there met and married Nicholas W. Jones.. She was writing voluminously about this time for Peterson's Magazine, The New York Ledger, and the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Then her writings were entertained in the popular Family Story Viper. It became a challenge at this time to untangle the mysteries of pseudonyms. Authors like Jones used names such as E. G. Walraven. This allowed more flexibility in terms of writing for competitors magazines and journals. These romantic novels though considered beneath the more sophisticated reader, were often written quite well and were respected as a market for younger readers, but not as regarded for adult readers. An excerpt from Susan's favourite Jones novel, A Reckless Promise, reads:

"But the girl, standing in the low French window, with the sunlight on her fair face and golden hair, made a charming little mouth, and shrugged her graceful shoulders.

"Breakfast, indeed! I've had mine ages ago," she said, "long before you thought of getting out of bed, you darling old lazybones. I'm off for a gallop after the hounds now; there's to be a meet on Chatterton Common at ten, and I wouldn't miss being there for the universe. But you'll be taking yourself off to the courthouse before I get back, so I want to hear, in plain English, if I'm to be allowed to go to the Throckmorton ball?"

 "Certainly not," answered Mrs. Crawford sharply, giving her husband no chance to speak, "certainly not. Mrs. Throckmorton hasn't invited you, to begin with, and, besides, children of your age would do better in the nursery than at balls."

107,110

Susan and Abigail had a conventional chat, and Susan had been updated not long ago on the progress that Siofra and Nessa were making. Abigail though certainly not uncaring, did get somewhat exhausted with explaining the girls' medical details. Susan actually received more information from her husband, based on the brief chats he had with Abigail.  Abigail did wonder why it was always Robert who answered the phone whenever she called. then it occurred to her that he was likely expecting business calls on his home line. Susan likely chatted with her friends in the morning after Robert went to work. Susan did get a little gabby, and as usual she talked a little about her book club and her amateurish attempts at writing, something uncoordinated, a unique cross between poetry and prose. 

"I like writing about young woman and all their experiences when they go to Cincinnati for the first time."

Abigail had heard it before. As a matter of fact  that was almost always the theme of the books she read. It was also, for that matter, a popular theme in movies of the day, one of which Susan had recently seen. Then Susan surprised hear by a little by asking her if she had seen Sparrows, a new Mary Pickford film.

"Actually not," answered Abigail. "Like just about everyone, I do appreciate her work, but I do not seem to find the time."

"It is absolutely remarkable my dear sister," which she liked to call her sister-in-law. "It is a stark and religious movie. It is actually a bit creepy. At first i thought I might leave the theater! A bunch of orphans are forced to work for a very bad man, in the swamps of Germany.  It was crudely referred to as a baby farm. The man threatens to throw one of the children into the bog so molly, that's the girl Mary Pickford plays, takes the kids through alligator infested waters to safety. It is a bit like a Grimms' fairy tale. I must admit i cried my eyes out."

"It does sound quite touching, maybe I will make an effort to see it. It sounds quite Gothic." 


      

"That's a very good way to describe it, Abigail. Gothic...mmm. what exactly is Gothic. I do not mean that I do not have any idea what you mean by Gothic, I'm just not exactly sure entails it and what doesn't."

"That is a good question Susan. I suppose it goes back to northern Europe and the Roman Empire in the second century. The actual Goths were a race that occupied Germany, Spain and Italy. They were considered barbarians.Then in the eighteenth century Gothic art and culture was related to Romanticism and led to a revival of the ancient culture. In literature it was a combination of horror and romance. The author Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto, which I think is considered the benchmark for the Gothic style."

"Oh yes...that famous story about Isabella who hides out in cave to be protected from Manfred, the Lord of the castle."

"That is right. It was kind of a story of terror and melodrama. Sort of Shakespearian in a way."

"I once heard an expert on Gothic writing say that it captured the joys of extreme emotion, the thrills of fearlessness, and an awe of the sublime and atmospheric."

"You are really an expert yourself Abigail. I had no idea."

"I am not really, it just happens that one of my friends is a great follower of the writings of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Matthew Lewis and John Moore, so I have been a part of many conversations regarding Gothic writing. I have not had much of a chance myself to read this kind of thing as I spend most of my time reading periodicals and non-fiction accounts of women who struggle with various forms of discrimination."

"When I think of the stories that are considered Gothic, of course I think of Edgar Allen Poe. There are so many symbols such as the ruins of medieval buildings as well as ghosts, haunted houses, a kind of eerie darkness, decaying remains of burial grounds, people who are mad and excessive, vampires, werewolves, dragons, fallen angels, many devilish creations...gee, I had better stop, I am beginning to get chills up my spine!"

Abigail laughed out of courtesy and in the back of her mind contemplated the conversations she would be having when Robert and Susan were staying with them. Abigail's pause brought on an awareness in Susan, who did tend to be paranoid, or at least a bit uncomfortable with what she thought might be her visible ignorance, that Abigail might want the conversation terminated.  She did not have any interest actually, in Abigail's endeavors, but she was somewhat envious of her female modernism. 

"I am so looking forward to our visit, and I know that Robert will be able to nail down the exact time very soon. I am so happy that we will be able to bring you an automobile. I have always wanted to do something special for Eamon, and finally something can be done for him. He has been a good brother."  

Abigail was not sure exactly what part Susan played in this transaction. Was it possible that she was the force behind it, and Robert was only acting out of family obligation? Going by his his attitude this did not appear to be the case, but maybe he was a good at masquerading. I guess it does not really matter, she thought. People do what people do, and as soon as you try and figure out motivation and purpose, you only confuse yourself.

She also felt disappointed in herself by her reaction to Susan's final statement, "He has been such a good brother."

  Although she loved Eamon, she did not think of him as a good brother, nor a good husband or father for that matter. Suddenly these thoughts overwhelmed her and the possibility of her declining love for him surfaced.

After the telephone conversation was terminated she walked to the pantry, and sat on her cushion covered stool. This was a strange place to sit, considering the larger rooms in the house and the more comfortable seatings, but it was favorite. It had pleasant smells. The minty essence of rosemary, the zesty flutter of mincemeat and the fragrance of fresh cornbread all encompassed her. She could also see out over her modest little garden of orange primula, fiddlewood, baby gem and emerald gaiety. 

She collected her thoughts, and tried to bring about relief. "I must love Eamon. Of course I do. He has been good about his illness. He is cooperating. He loves his daughters. He has not been a husband to exult in. He has not doted on his daughters, nor smothered me affection. But he has tried very hard to do his best at work. He has a good reputation. Things will get better. They must. He was proud of Nessa's betrothal. Yes. Things are fine. But I must talk to him about something."

She encountered Eamon and fairly abruptly brought up the topic of the car.

"Eamon, I think we have let things slide. Robert and Susan are coming up soon with the Chrysler. It is a ridiculously expensive automobile. I know you want it. And your sister wants it for you. But Robert explained that with a down payment, we can work out payment to finishing paying for it. I do not like this. I let him talk me into it. It was not like me to listen and just nod like a puppet. This is silly. We do not need a car, or if we do, we should be very happy with a Ford."

Eamon looked at her as if she was bordering on crazy.

"What is the big deal. I am working. We can work something out. They want us to have it. He has paid for it, and has another car. it is no sweat off his back."

"I can not believe what I am hearing. We are using them. They are putting themselves out, and you are just being selfishly accepting."

"Look dear, they offered. We never suggested anything. Sure, I have talked to Robert about getting a car. You have to...but we never asked them for one. They are in a position to help, and they are helping. I do not mind at all. And just think about having a car. You will be able to get around so much quicker and easier."

It appeared that Eamon was in a mood of slight aggression, as if her questioning was an affront. Abigail did not approve of this side of him but recognized that she confronted him without warning, and that Eamon was usually not well prepared for meaningful discussions unless he was pre-warned. Abigail decided to let things simmer, and simply said to him, "We will discuss it later."

Chapter 44

As things had been happening to the Conor's that could be described as debilitating emotionally, something finally happened that could be construed as liberating. The task force at the TPTC was being brought forward, in the presence of Mayor Forrester, Winston Harvey and Gordon Buytaert, as well as some guests that made the gathering a festive one, as well as an official one. Previous executives from the Toronto Railway Company, Metroplitan Street Railway of Toronto, Toronto & York Radial Company and the Toronto Suburban Railway were invited. Some had retired at the point of amalgamation, others currently work for Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, while one gentleman currently retired from the TPTC as recently as last year, being replaced by James Lofquist as planning engineer. Mr. Harvey spoke profoundly, and in the opinion of Eamon, almost too verbosely to be taken seriously. 

"As my position requires of me, I am to uphold the truth in all corporate matters, and as well, I must deliver the truth in a way that the industrious potential of my qualified employees is not undermined. It has been a  difficult and challenging time for the TPTC and I am steadfastly proud of the continuous diligence, honesty and innovativeness of the task force which was put to work on a project of immeasurable importance. The final result is one which makes me feel humbled, as I could not in my most optimistic dreams, foresee the positive conclusions and initiatives that are now planned to unfold."

Eamon did not know if these words were as amusing to others as they were to him. He looked around the room and most of his cohorts appeared to be on the verge of dormancy. But what followed was a surprise to the members of the task force. They were called one by one to the front and were even briefly biographied by Mr. Harvey. As Eamon was not the first to be introduced he was beginning to prepare for what he saw as potential humiliation. He observed the introduction of Wadanhyll Iosonas. 

"Mr. Iosonas, taken on as our lead legal representative, known affectionally as Wade to all of us in the committee, took on the probing responsibility of talking to all those involved indirectly or directly with the accident, and proved to have the gift of bringing out the candidacy in our men... and women," as he looked over to acknowledge the one lady member of the committee, Lucy Kelly, a public relations specialist.

"He was productive in really making it easier to define our role, and responsibilities and how they relate to transport safety regulations, and civil responsibilities. We realize that our position takes us far beyond responsibility and  legal obligation, but also what can be described as civic duty and being flexible to adapt to situations requiring a compromising capacity."

After the remaining few words he shook the hand of "Wade" and also passed on to him a large white envelope wrapped in a red ribbon. "Some kind of small reward of appreciation. Probably just a certificate of merit. 

A half an hour or so later, Eamon was called to the podium.

"I would now like to call upon, and introduce you to Mr. Eamon Conor, our most experienced and skilled maintenance and safety technician."

Eamon was not dressed as nattily as some of the others, but did manage to have on a Royal Oxford shirt, with a varsity collar, in a very pale blue shade, and twill gray trousers. He walked to the front of the room, and was surprised that his apprehension was waning. Mr. Harvey continued. 

"This young man, who was twenty-one years the junior of Winston Harvey has served the TPTC with dedication and expertise. He is a man of few words, but when when he does speak, he speaks with compassion, experience and courage. What I mean by courage, is that during some of our meetings he did not speak in a simplistic favour for the position of our corporation. He was stricken by the tragedy of the accident, and felt a sincere obligation to rectify the situation, and seemed to take on a sense of personal guilt as well. He re-evaluated the design of the Peter Witt cars and reported design flaws that he felt were significant to the investigation. His perspective was unique and vital indeed. I congratulate him personally and on behalf of the company executives."

There was a brief silence, and then a light applause. Eamon shook Mr. Harvey's hand lightly, thanked him and walked away, going back to his position in the room. He also received the white envelope and though curious, was not overly so, and like the rest of the recipients, he waited until the ceremony was terminated. 

After the ceremony, a few of the younger men decided to go out for a few beer to celebrate, and to Eamon's surprise, the somewhat boisterous Gerald McKinney patted Eamon on the back and spoke, "Hey old buddy, why don't you join us, we're just going down to Lister's. We were going to sit in the backyard and have a few, and listen to a little ball on the radio."

Eamon without having time to consider the invitation, immediately responded with a nervous, "Sure...okay...".

"You can hop in my car. Come on..."

It was a short drive to Lister Smythe's on Palmerston Avenue, down Cristie to Davenport Rd., overlooking Hillcrest park, down to Dupont Rd. and then eastward along Dupont, four blocks. The south side of Dupont was bustling with the opening of a number of new auto repair shops. Eamon envied these men young men, hopeful, opening their own businesses, and getting to work on the latest models of automobile. Gerald commented as a matter of fact, on the last of these enterprises, just before going south on Palmerston. "

"See that place Eamon, Russell's Service...it's run by Schaemus Russell. You remember David Russell from the Danforth carhouse. He retired last year and his son started up the service center. David loves hanging out there, I think he always wanted his own place. I think he helps out a bit too. He knows his engines."

They arrived at the Smythe's, Lister welcomed him and as Eamon joined them in the back yard he was stricken by the number of persons present.

"I can see you are surprised Conor. I invited some guys from work who were not on the committee. This is not an official TPTC meeting," he spoke with a  smirk. "Can I get you a beer, Eamon."

"Oh..sure, thank you."

Lister brought him a mildly cool beverage, Eamon thanked him and before walking towards the group already sitting, asked if could use the telephone. 

"By all means, I'll show you the way."

As Eamon was shown to the telephone, he almost felt like he was on a museum tour. The rooms were small and they were full of furniture, including cane chairs, a gateleg table, a chess table, and a huge Pembroke table in the smallish dining area. The walls were covered with tapestries and small clusters of vintage photographs. This struck Eamon, not because it was actually unique, but because it was in stark contrast to his own home. Abigail took care of furnishings and decorating, and liked things to be stark and functional. He could here Abigail saying, "Oh...it's quite pleasant, but it would be so hard to clean."

Abigail did not do much housework. Not because she was lazy, but because it was not all that necessary. She maintained an organized pantry and did a little dusting, with a little help from her daughters. Gardening was a different story. It was not even work, it was almost a divine calling. 

Eamon called Abigail to inform her that after the ceremony Lister had invited him over to his home, and that he would not be long.

"How was the ceremony?" she asked.

Eamon described the event economically. "It was fine...a bit embarrassing though. Winston Harvey talked a bit about each member of the committee...including me. Then he invited us up to the front and they gave us an envelope wrapped in a red ribbon. A bit overdone in my opinion. After all, we did not really accomplish anything...but he made it sound like we had changed the world."

Abigail was a bit upset. Eamon had given her the impression that it was just another meeting, not a celebration of the work of the task force. 

"Were there any guests there Eamon?"

"I did not really look, but yes, I guess there were. There were a few wives there I think, and some of the employees who were not on the committee."

"You should have had me come along, Eamon.Sometimes I feel left out of your affairs at work."

It was true that she felt left out, but in reality she was not overly disappointed at missing the occasion. It was more a matter of principle. Eamon should have shown enough respect to ask her. 

"Yes dear, I guess I would have if I had known that it was a kind of meeting to recognize us. This get together at Lister's is just some guys. They are listening to the ball game and having a few beer."

"What was in the envelope? Some kind of certificate? Something we can frame."

"As a matter of fact, I have not opened it."

"Well, would you please, I'd like to know what is in it!" 

Eamon began to open it, sliding off the ribbon. He was not expecting anything that would arouse him in any way. 

He first noticed a certificate, with a gold seal, that was entitled a "Testimonial of Recognition". 

Eamon began to explain, "It' is what i thought. It is a document, called "Testimonial of Revcognition". It says, "This honorary endorsement is to recognize that Eamon Stewart Conor has served on the "Assessment of Safety, Planning, and Public Service Committee" and...", suddenly he stopped reading the award, and lifted a smaller piece of paper from the tri-fold of the document."

Eamon looked at it, and then looked agin.

"Hello Eamon. Are you there?"

"Uh...oh...yes...I'm here. I just found something else. It is a cheque. For eight-hundred and fifty dollars. It is filled out to me."

"Eight-hundred-and-fifty dollars!"

"That's what it says."

"My Lord, Eamon, they must have given all the committee members a cash reward for there service."

"I guess so, we did put in some extra time, without pay. I guess they felt obligated."

"Maybe it was more than obligation dear. Maybe they genuinely felt that you served the company in a way worthy of some extra recognition."

"I guess."

"Eight-hundred-and fifty dollars. What to do with it!"

"It might help with the car."

"Eamon! You're right. It is kind of amazing. I was kind of critical about getting the Chrysler. Now some money has come. Someone heard us!"

Eamon said nothing and then Abigail continued. 

"I don't want to get into this now, but we should still talk about which car to get before Robert and Susan come. If we got the Ford we would have lot's of money over for saving and schooling for the girls."

Eamon did not like being in the position of preferring the Chrysler, as it would make it sound like he did not care about the girls' further education.

"Yes...I guess we will talk about it when I get home."

"Fine dear, I'll see you when you get back."

Eamon sat himself next to a group of others who were seated on the inside of the patio, leaning against the beige stucco wall of the housed exterior. This group was closest to the radio and the game was on quite loud. 

"It's the Yankees and Senators. Three, three, bottom of the sixth. Ruth has struck out twice. Gehrig just slammed a two-run homer."

Eamon looked at Tom Anstey, the young man next to him and replied.

"Are you a Yankee fan?"

"Not really. I kinda like the Browns. I guess I prefer the underdog. Actually I'm more into the Leafs. I like international League ball. And the new stadium. Wow. It's great...have you been?"

"No, I must admit I haven't."

"It's really bringing out the best in them. They're in first palce, three-and-a-half games up on the Jersey City Skeeters. Did you know that Babe Dye is playing for the Leafs along with the Big Train?"

"No I didn't. Two hockey players on one ball club. I wonder if they need a goalie?", spoke Eamon trying to be amusing.

Tom laughed, "Ya...a goalie wouldn't be too bad a shortstop eh?"  

"You got one of those paper's tied with a ribbon eh?" 

"Ya."

"Not much for what you guy's had to do."

Eamon at that point was aware that Tom did not know that the reward included eight-hundred-and-fifty dollars. He wondered if he should tell. Maybe other employees would not appreciate knowing about it. He decided just to nod. 

Eamon partook in two beers, and decided that that should be his limit. He thanked Lister for the hospitality.

"How you getting home?"

"Oh...I guess I'll ride on the good old TPTC."

"Wait a second, I'll check to see if anybody is going your way."

"Don't go to any trouble Lister."

"It's no problem Eamon, I'll just be a minute."

He came back in a matter of minutes and announced to Eamon, "Gerry Murdoch would be more than happy to drop you off, but he's not leaving for a bit. Why don't you hang around, and get a ride from him."

"I really appreciate that Lister, but I have some pressing things back home. I don't mind taking the steetcar. Really."

"Well, all right. Sorry to see you go so soon. Take care of yourself. See you at work."

"Thanks again Lister."

Eamon did not have pressing issues at home. But he felt uncomfortable being away for more than a short time. As he walked to the trolley stop at Dupont Rd., he thought about whether or not he was a jellyfish. After some thought he concluded he was not, which made him somewhat content. He was just the sort who did not like to displease others. He preferred just to go along with things. It made people accept him more readily. When he did want to do something which might cause disapproval, he made sure it was done in secret. No one had suspected his experimentation with shock treatment and ozone therapy up to this point. For the entire family, as was any moneys coming to them via any particular individual, was primarily meant for Eamon's personal choice. This point was made clearly by Eamon, so it became simply a matter of setting the specific portion of the cheque that would go towards the vehicle. 

Chapter 45

 

Robert initiated the call, and announced to Abigail that he had arranged his business plans to enable him to take off ten days.

Abigail informed him that Eamon had received a bonus, and that approximately five-hundred dollars would be available to help with the payment. She was somewhat disappointed but did not let on to Robert that she was not totally pleased with what had transpired. It was not like her to be in confidence with anyone except her best women friends.

"Eamon was quite surprised, and so was I for that matter."

"Well Abigail, we will see you on the thirty-first. I am really looking forward to it. If you could pass me over to Eamon, I will congratulate him, and then if you would like, I will let you talk to Susan."

"Young chap, I hear congratulations are in order!. I know you were facing great challenges at work, and I think it is marvelous that you were given such a significant bonus. Believe me, it does not happen that often. I so glad things worked out this way. You are going to love the Chrysler. You will be the talk of the street."

Eamon was not one to be concerned with status, but the thought of prestige was not exactly distasteful.

"Well, there are a few other vehicles on our street. the young chap down the street has an Oldmobile 30-B, it's a '24. And the family a few houses down has a T, I think it's a '22. The owner of the cigar store on St. Clair, he lives just east of us, Jann Lieffrig,  has a TT truck. he uses it for business."

"Oh...you know a tobacconist. How far is St. Clair?"

"It is just a few block north... ten minute walk."

"We we will have to drive there. And park right in front! I will treat you to a La Flor Dominicana!"

This one another example of Robert acting a bit like a gascon, but it was quite innocent, and actually in the spirit of kindness.

"Speaking of cars, Robert, have you ever seen a Gardner?"

"Definitely heard of them, but never taken one for a spin."

"A fellow at work just bought one. A '23. It is the first five bearing four-cylinder engine, and it is forty-three BPH. The crankshaft and flywheel are dynamically balanced."

"I am afraid you are now getting a little out of my limited range of expertise, my friend."

Eamon was now immersed in the topic, and was not ready to curtail the theme of conversation. 

"The engine has a Willys-Knight sleeve. it improves the lubrication."

Robert, was interested, and it is difficult to know for sure whether he inquired out of politeness or curiosity. 

"How does it do that?"

"Oh...uh...the valve is connected to the carb throttle. The oil pump delivers more oil to the bearing...under pressure...as the load increases. The car looks pretty sharp. It has nickel trim on the rad shell."

"Is it a closed car?"

"Yes..it's coupe."

"I'm glad the Chrysler is a coupe. That seems to be what everybody wants now." 

Robert paused. "

'Are you referring to the car I'm bringing up for you, Eamon?"

"Of course Robert, why?"

"It's not a coupe Eamon. Remember I told you...it's a B-70 Sedan."

Eamon thought for a moment. He could not think of what made him think the car was a coupe. His personal preference for a sporty model might have revised his memory. Then he remembered that Archie Palmerston had a four-cylinder Chrysler coupe. And he much admired it. That could explain things.

He had paused for a little longer then he realized. Robert inquired, "Eamon?"

"Oh...sorry, I was just thinking for a moment. It was not your mistake. I do remember thinking that the sedan would be roomy, a great family car. This was not actually true, but he had to think of something quickly, that would ease Robert's embarrassment. And I was referring back to a friends car, a 4-coupe, it must have been on my mind.''

"I hope you are okay with it. I certainly do not want you to be disappointed."

''The last thing I will be is disappointed, I assure you!" 

Chapter 46


The Cruikshank journey began along route 24 until they reached Toledo at the end of their second day. They stayed at the very picturesque Pomeroy House, which featured traditional English fare, Susan and Robert not having any difficulty in choosing Beef Wellington as their entree. Made with cognac and lightly sauteed mushrooms. According to Susan, it was heavenly!

They followed old route number two through southern Ontario until they reached London. It surprised them with it's atmosphere of history, as well as it's size. They anticipated that Toronto was the only city of predominant size. In contrast they stayed at a refreshingly new motor in, many of which were sprouting up amidst all the autoroutes. They did experience many detours along the way, as it was a major period of straightening, resurfacing and asphalting. Robert joked with Susan that all the rough road coverings would age the car many years before Eamon even got a chance to drive it. 

"It turns out," remarked Robert, "That we probably could not have even got this far in the Ford. It was the Chrysler or nothing!"

The weather was quite nice all the way to Canada's largest city, but the day they arrived was dramatized by torrential rainfall. Old route number two, especially as it caressed the shoreline of Lake Ontario, looked is if it might be submerged. The Cruikshanks arrived however, after having to stop a few times as visibility had become non-existent. 

"Poor Eamon is going to see his new vehicle in numerous shades of brown, many more than the two he ordered!", commented Robert breezily. 

 The time of the arrival of the Cruikshanks was a time of some emotional upheaval for the Conor's. The wedding was followed by a difficult time, although that could be a matter of perspective. Petro and Nessa were not totally prepared for married life at the time of their marriage, as their careers and living arrangements were still somewhat afloat. But Petro was a confident young man, and at worst would be able to get a job at his father's plant, which would be temporary as career aspirations were targeted. Nessa was not getting any stronger, and she was primarily just concerned with finishing her term. beyond that, career and a family, seemed like dreams lost in the horizon. She needed Petro's consolance and outside of Eamon, she preferred privacy for the complications of family. It was decided that they would take ephemeral lodging at the Zoharchak's which was a larger home than the Conor's and offered them a room, not large, but ample, a part of a small wing that jutted off the main part of the one-and-a-half story home in Toronto's older east end. Most of the homes in the neighbourhood were actually very small, most semi-detached. The Zahorchak home was on a corner plot, a large pie-shaped property, and the house was older, built before the major development took place. Abigail was very upset at the sudden loss of her oldest daughter. She was trying to impose upon herself the belief that Nessa and Petro were simply making the most practical decision. It was difficult for her however to rid herself of the opinion that Eamon's strangeness, was somehow a factor in Nessa's decision. She brought some alleviation in Siofra's attitude. Siofra, perhaps typical of being juvenile, was excited at the prospect of having a big house to visit, whenever it fancied her. At a moments notice, Siofra could  think to herself, "I am going to visit Nessa and Petro." 

As it turned out the situation was made more celebratory, when Petro insisted that the Cruikshanks come to the Zahorchak's for dinner. It was a relief for Abigail, as she was somewhat strained with ideas regarding being hospitable for the duration of the visit. As it turned out, Robert had planned many outings, as well as leaving things somewhat up in the air. Through an associate, who worked for the Bank of Toronto on Church Street, Robert arranged for the use of a vehicle, so he would not have Eamon put in an obligatory position regarding the use of the Chrysler. 

The arrival of the Chrysler certainly did give the Conor's something to be excited about, and it certainly seemed to unite them in gaiety. Before Robert was able to pick up the borrowed vehicle, Eamon insisted that they take the new prize, glad that it fit five easily, up Bathurst Street to Eglinton Avenue. They proceeded along the extremely muddy course until they arrived at Keelesdale. They looked across and down over the Black Creek Valley, as two women and a young child waited for them to pass before they crossed the road, apparently looking to take a pathway down to the grassy meadow interdispered with strips of white elm, some very large, some being over two-hundred years old.* (start) The young girl, thin, almost gaunt, waved enthusiastically at the car full of persons. 

Siofra yelled, "Pull over, pull over!

Abigail spoke. "We might as well take a breather, and take in some fresh air. Maybe we could sit over by the trees", as she pointed to the tree-trimmed meadow. 

The car pulled over, and the group began to embark, Abigail and Siofra grabbing the vacuum flasks filled with cider. Cider was a popular drink  with the Conor's, as well as being widely appreciated, although the young adult set was more than likely to have it fermented. 

Siofra ran up to the young lass and immediately spoke, "Hello, what is your name?"

Without shyness, she spoke, "Orenda".

"I've never heard that name before," commented Siofra.

"It means I have magic powers."

"You do?" asked Siofra animately. 

Orenda's mother explained, "Yes, it is a native name meaning having magic powers. We are descendents of a native family from Manitaba. 

Abigail was very interested in this information as some of her associates from Manitoba were working with Aboriginal women to establish certain rights in the province. The Dominion Election Act of 1920 recognized that every eligible Canadian over twenty-one could vote in federal elections. Unfortunately this did not include native Canadians, Hindus, or Asians. 

"What tribe are you associated with," she inquired. 

The middle-aged lady resplendent in shimmering, long black hair, not atypical of Natives, chuckled before she spoke. "It's quite a mouthful. They are the Waywayseecappo First Nation. We do not actually know, nor can we prove our descendency, but I believe it goes back to the middle eighteenth century, a long time before the treaty. It is believed that a tribeswoman met a gentleman from the Northwest Company. This was before the British took over the territory. There are records showing the name Yindi and his name being Thierry Depaul."

"Oh yes, I know of the tribe, they are on the plateau, not far from the border with Saskatchewan."

http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/32/womenwonthevote.shtml
"You are certainly well informed!"
Grinning humbly, she explained, "Oh well, it so happens that I am a friend of Dr. Mary Crawford, and we have discussed many matters that must be taken up with the provincial government to ensure that women play a stronger role in making political and social decisions. We have attempted to amend the Dominion Election Act. I am a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, as well as the Political Equity League. Excuse me, I should not sound so boastful, but our organizations must be self-promoting, or we do not get heard."
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I know that the Premier, Mr. Roblin, butted heads with Nellie McClung. He remarked that most women are disinterested in the vote. That created quite a protest."
"Oh, how right you are. I remember his comments, something in the tune of 
“the mother that is worthy of the name and of the good affection of a good man has a hundred fold more influence in shaping public opinion around her dinner table than she would have in the market place, hurling her eloquent phrases to the multitude.”
"I admire prairie women. They work side-by-side with the men in the back-breaking task of establishing a homestead. They are quite assertive, and join up with the farm co-operatives. They are very strong willed...less conservative than their eastern sisters."
"Yes, there was progress made a littler quicker out there, that is for sure. They finally have their franchise, but apparently they still do not have it in Quebec."   
"Your right, that is the last province left. It seems that formalities and old customs are holding them back." 
Michelle Jaffray, somewhat embarrassed, apologized for continuing the conversation without allowing herself the opportunity to introduce her colleague.
"I'm so sorry," she spoke as she looked at her friend, and then turned to Abigail.  
"I have been so busy talking I failed to introduce you. This is my neighbour Paula Ketcheson."
"So happy to meet you Paula. As a matter of fact I have not introduced myself formerly either. I am Abigail Conor."
She turned and introduced the rest of the party. "My husband Eamon, his sister Susan and her husband Robert. They are visiting us for a short time. They have just arrived from Cincinnati.".

Siofra eagerly interrupted the conversation and asked her mother if Orenda and her could run off into the park. Abigail pointed to a particular location, well in view of everyone, indicating that they stay in that area. The girls scampered  off to gambol, as the adults paused, considering what to do with their unplanned break from their drive. Without anyone breaking the silence with a design, they just followed the two gingery girls. The Conor's had not visited the west end to this extent for quite a long time and they took notice of the development that had taken place. 

The Eastman Kodak Company had built its massive plant in 1913, and the sprawl ensued shortly after. The executive class of the company were able to enjoy the benefits of the Lambton Golf Club which was only six years older than its neighbour. The workers moved to homes before municipal services were even available. Small developers built infill homes using stock from former cottages and smaller, older detached homes. It was a great opportunity to live in Toronto with affordability, especially for new immigrants and first time home buyers. 
The Conor's, their guests, and Orenda's mother, and Paula, took a seat in an open area of heath. Abigail reminded Michelle that in introducing her friend, she had actually overlooked herself.  Michelle chuckled realizing that she had, because they had become entailed in the etymology of Orenda's name and had overlooked her.  She familiarized herself as Michelle Jaffray, married to a civil engineer, whose parents emigrated from Scotland. They began to talk  about Toronto and it's perceived difference between it and some American cities, that were more familiar to The Cruikshanks. Robert informed them that Cincinnati had a somewhat surprising history.
"When people think of major cities they think of Detroit and Chicago, but Cincinnati was actually the official gateway to the west. It was the inland boomtown of it's time in the early eighteen-hundreds. It has a surprising number of examples of classical architecture, apparently comparable to New York, Vienna and Munich. It's a very American city, with very few immigrants, although that is beginning to change now."
 I think Cincinnati and Toronto are about the same age as far as urban growth are concerned. I think your public transportation system started about the same time didn't it?", he asked as he looked over at Abigail and Eamon.
Abigail was quick to inform him, realizing that after she had spoken, that it was a topic that might have allowed Eamon to speak with some authority. 
"The horse-drawn street cars started around 1860. The Toronto Railway Company started in 1891 I believe, and they introduced the first electric car shortly after. They used the initial cars for quite a while, and the system was actually quite dated, until the TPTC took over five years ago."
  
"That's about the same time period as Cincinnati. A part of the demand for public transportation was because of  Proctor and Gamble . They started making Ivory Soap...in 1879 I think. They became a huge employer. And believe me, I appreciate it, I get a lot of clients from their management."

Susan felt a little out of place in the conversation. Firstly, she found that Michelle and Abigail were keen on discussing issues related to political history, a far cry from her preferred topics, ...fashion...the latest movies...popular literature...and the First Lady. The First Lady of the United States, Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, had caught American society by storm. She was given much credit for the President's popularity.
He was often chided for his shyness, and she offset this with her gaiety and friendliness. This gave Americans a role model, from the viewpoint of women with prestige, as opposed to Canadians, who were ruled by the mysterious bachelor, William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was private, cold and tactless. He did not even have a hostess to add warmth and celebration to his public obligations. He was reputed to have held seances and looked to spiritual sources for inspiration and even companionship. Mr. King howeve was a dogmatic politician who was a master of manipulating Parlaiment, and was committed to protecting the rights of the underprivileged.
As the conversation continued, Paula quietly aberrated off to join the young girls. She was more suited to frolicking like a lass then partaking in semi-formal conference. She sat down next to the youngsters. Her broad smile and warm glow discouraged any sense that she was imposing on the girls. They went on with their communion, willingly allowing their new addition to listen in. Siofra had been quite talkative, telling Orenda about her most current readings, as well as many details of the accident. She deluged that many of the characters in the books that she read, taught her how to deal with her turmoil.  This was slightly exaggerated, as she had not really applied any characters to her situation. However, as is often the case, when one brings up an idea in an improvised conversation, one sometimes becomes reflective upon the new realization, and becomes surprisingly enlightened. She had been recently pouring herself into literature, and with Orenda's enthused interest the topic expanded. Siofra's latest endeavors were adventurous and spirited as always, but her latest eruditions were somewhat more mysterious, if not occultish. In "The Romance of the Forest", a classic gothic tale, by Anne Radcliffe, Siofra told Orenda about the main character,  Adeline, who experiences many alarming situations and hair-breadth escapes. Siofra was surely above her head reading this novel, unaware of the contexts of hedonism and morality, but being very intuitive she grasped the many metaphors produced by the novel's landscape. The many horrifying symbols were present, a ruined abbey, trap doors, a dark mysterious forest, mice, owls, bats and even persuing creditors. Despite the entertainment value of this newly experienced genre, Siofra was most affected by the heroism of Adeline. 
Not only is she courageous, but she rises above the jealousies and pettiness of others to make sound, reasonable decisions. Her romance with the forthright and genuine Peter, is at first met with indifference, but she soon finds that he is interested in her well being and safety.
Paula, who has joined in by this point, offers a comment. 
"It is quite commendable that you read that great Radcliffe novel. It is quite stormy and romantic. The depiction of the Adeline character is quite unique for it's time. She was very strong and independent."
Orenda was quite captivated by the wordly Siofra, and was a loss for words, as she looked up into the eyes of a taller Siofra, with a questioning and awestruck gaze. Orenda, only a year younger, was confirming to herself that she was merely a child. It became clear to her that knowing Siofra would open doors to a new kind of maturity.
"I have never read any books that," she announced. I'm not even sure if my mother would allow me to read such things."
"I'm sure she would be okay with it, Orenda. You learn so much from books. I have learned from reading the new books about the supernatural, that these strange powers that come from many different places, can be transferred to new people or places, once they have been exposed. "
"You mean you believe in haunted houses?," Orenda questioned. Did you know that the White House in Washington D.C. is haunted? The ghost of Andrew Jackson has been reported to be in his bedroom with guests, and Abigail Adams has been seen walking the halls with something in her arms. Most recently, Calvin Coolidge's wife has claimed to have see Abraham Lincoln standing at the window in the oval office."
"And I just remembered," added Siofra. "I read something in a book about true ghost stories. It was about a Church in England. My mother knows the name but I forget. After it was built strange things began to happen. Things began to move around, there were strange smells, unexplained footsteps, very cold sections in the building, and the sound of galloping horses.  The Rector had four daughters and they saw what they thought was the ghost of a nun. It was twilight, and as they approached it, they attempted to talk to it, but it disappeared. The organist also saw several strange things."
"Apparitions," assisited Paula. 
"That's right, apperitions."
"And there was a legend about a phantom coach with two headless horsemen."
"That reminds me of Sleepy Hollow," noted Paula.
Orenda proudly shouted,"Sleepy Hollow...yes...I know about that! Ichabod Crane was the tall skinny man. He was in love with a girl, but she was courted by another. When he left her home, he was very sad. Then he saw someone and realized that it was the headless horseman, who was the ghost of a man who was buried in a nearby Church yard, and every night he went looking for his head, that was shot off in a battle. I remember that Ichabod Crane even saw the head on the saddle."
"Yes," replied Siofra. "And when Ichabod Crane disappeared no one knew what happened, but they thought something supernatural had happened. A plowboy said that he heard Ichabod Crane's voice singing a psalm. And the strangest thing of all, I just remembered, was the pumpkin."
"The pumpkin," asked Orenda.
"Yes, remember, when they were looking for Ichabod Crane they found his saddle trampled by a horse, his hat, and next to it was a shattered pumpkin."
Feeling the need to explain, Paula added, "That's right, Siofra. The pumpkin was symbolic. It could have been a mere coincidence, the goblin could have been carrying the pumpkin, which Icabod Crane thought was his head, or the head could have been transformed to a pumpkin. I remember whenever the pumpkin was mentioned, the rival to the girl Ichabod Crane loved, laughed heartily."
114728
"That reminds me. The old Christie Theatre is haunted. Everyone goes there still, and I've never seen anything happen. But I think that if there are ghosts, they're not likely to make an appearance when the place is crowded. They probably skulk around in the middle of the night. The rumors about the place started over ten years ago, and things seem to have died down. I'd still like to check it out though."
"What do yo mean, check it out?", asked a startled Orenda.
"I'd like to go in the middle of the night. It would be fun."
"Who would you go with?"
"By myself of course. It would be scarier that way."
"How would you get in in the middle of the night?"
"I'm not sure, maybe it's not locked." 
An amazed Orenda shook her head, "I would never be able to do that. But maybe I could if I was with you. You're brave."
Siofra enjoyed the notoriety and chuckled quietly, holding back more
demonstrative laughter in fear of embarrassing her new friend. 
Before there was an opportunity to dwell on the adventure, Abigail approached them, with the information that it was now time to carry on with their tour. Before they settled in the Chrysler, Abigail offered the ensemble a ride.
"It would be a real squeeze," she explained, "But we're more than happy to take you wherever you are going."
"We really appreciate it, Abigail, but we're fine and it's a beautiful day. Our place is just down Bicknell Ave. We're on Rotherham and Paula is on Bicknell, just south of us. Not a long walk at all."
Abigail acknowledged their common interests and exchanged phone numbers with Michelle. Orenda was pleased, knowing she had a way to get in touch with Siofra.
They continued there drive, the discussion now regarding the plans of the two families over the next three or four days. Abigail reminded Eamon that they had not actually determined when they would be going to the Zahorchak's for dinner. Robert mentioned that the following day was best for them, according to some of the other plans they had made. Susan apologized for that fact, knowing that a days notice would likely be inappropriate. Abigail was not sure either, but promised she would call as soon as they got back, and she would do her best to accommodate them.
On their way back, they headed down Keele Street, which offered them a southerly route back to St. Clair Ave. Before turning on to Rogers Road, Abigail suggested they turn west in order to have a better look at the Black Creek. So they followed Rogers and soon found themselves at Weston Rd., which they were compelled to follow northward in order to get a better look at the valley. The last part of their journey along Eglinton, suggested that they were at the outer extremities of the city, but heading northward on Weston Rd., a busier citified environment appeared. There were reasonably new hydro poles aligning both sides of the street, three vehicles, all older models were parked on the side of the road, with no apparent access to a building or walkway. The rail line was very evident running to the right, parallel to the street. There was a well spaced succession of small homes, almost kissing the side of the road. As the terrain was descending in the distance, there was a significant view, as the driver and passengers looked almost to the horizon, taking note of larger homes and buildings, and what appeared to be a major "y" intersection.
This  marked where Rogers Road snaked back to the east, hugging the river valley as if warning it that if it  behaved it would be squeezed out of existence. Before approaching the intersection, there was a vast clearing and a breathtaking view of the dale confronted them. No on spoke initially. 
The Cruikshanks appreciated the scenery, but were not inclined to express their quixotic side, unless the rare moment occurred when they were asked about there courting days. Abagail was somewhat awed by he spectacular panorama, and felt obliged to inquire about Siofra's response. Siofra herself was inspired, but did not speak as she was too engaged in gathering a description that would warrant a sonnet.
     It seemed like acres and acres of wilderness. The white pine,oak and elm  trees were surprisingly majestic, daring to be displaced. In the contrasting foreground outcroppings of greyish clay appeared surrounded by thick patches of grass sprinkled with buttercups. Siofra had been practising her bird identification, and thought she had spotted a kingfisher, but was not sure. A large puddle near them was either a small pond that had yet been undermined by recent development, or was simply a large mud-plashet
that grown from the seasonal rains collecting in a clay-based pocket. Water-bugs danced above the surface, and Siofra was considering
jumping out to check for tadpoles. Siofra then lost her concentration on what was before her and began searching for alliterations. The was only one she could think of quickly, as she suddenly spoke with enthusiasm, "Mud,muck and moss!".
"What was that?," asked Abigail.
"I was just thinking of how I would describe the scenery for an allegory."
Susan was impressed with Siofra's fertile mind.
"You're quite the blossoming person of letters, my dear."
Siofra smiled, and before she had the opportunity to boast of her literary accomplishments, Abiga proudly interjected.
"'She is a well read young lady, and has been praised in school for her unusually mature attempts at story story writing. It is getting to the point where it is difficult to stimulate her. She has recently hinted at interest in the writings of mystery and horror. This concerns me somewhat. I don't think her young mind is quite ready for such an undertaking. As a matter of fact, there are many readings in this genre that I consider unfit for anyone. I surmise that the journals of such writers as Benson,  Blackwood, Lee, and Lovecraft have a negative effect emotionally or in some cases perceptively. 

Benson and Lee were essentially immoral, Blackwood was too much in support of Rosicrucianism and Budhism, and Lovecraft was extremely macabre. 

Susan looked to Abigail across the interior of the vehicle to the front passenger seat, and sarcastically remarked, "You do not expect us to know what Roshicrusism, or whatever you said is!"

Abagail was a little embarassed. "I am sorry Susan, one of the speakers from the Women's League mentioned it in a recent oratory. It just refers to the existence of a German medieval society of philosophers. These mystic-philosopher-doctors claimed to have the power to create a universal reformation of man, partly through alchemy.  They claim that the Christian Father was born in 1378, lived one-hundred and six years and formed a small group of disciples that practised Rosicrucianism because if his inability to influence Europe. They influenced the early Freemasons."

"My God," spoke Susan alarmingly.

"I can see how that warped idea could be used in literature to create a pretty disturbing tale."

"Yes, and it supports the perpetual view of women as a substandard species who have no basis in the conception of man or the formation of his ideologies."

Eamon, quiet up until now, not uncommonly of course, decided to take the opportunity to be caustic.

"Ah ha....now we see her hidden agenda rearing it's ugly head!" 

Abigail was not surprised by this outburst. Although it was somewhat unexpected, she knew the source of it. Eamon generally had racing thoughts, which created confusion and a lack of clarity. Although he had a lot to offer in terms of opinion and perspective he found it difficult to relax his mind in order to communicate effectively. His remark was therefore a result of a collage of thoughts being processed into one, which typically creates a comment that lacks subtlety.

So Abigail responded. "You are partly right, Eamon, except that it not really hidden...only temporarily shaded by our daily lives and the sometimes confusing back and forth between tradition and innovation."

Robert laughed. "You two are something else. Most people talk about the weather...not the sociology of gender!"

Eamon, taking his eye temporarily off the road, spoke assuredly. 

"You are right Robert, and you are on vacation...a time for relaxation. We should not be attempting to entertain you with social philosophy!"

Abigail then attested to the fact that it was time they went directly home and confirmed the arrangements for dinner with the Zahorchaks.

Upon arriving at the Conor's, Robert reminded Eamon that he had yet to comment on the new vehicle.

"Sorry Robert. I was enjoying driving it so much, I guess I was lulled by it's comfort. It sure starts smooth. The first few times I turned the key, I was not sure if the car had started. The suspension is great, and I noticed the smooth transition on hills. I hardly had to accelerate either. I notice we still have three-quarters of a tank, I did not think the mileage would be that good. I never thought much about it before, but with gas at fifteen cents a gallon, it's something to think about."

"You are right Eamon, we are getting the short end of the stick. Down in Texas, they are still paying around ten. It was actually sixteen when I filled up at the border."

An afternoon at the Zahorchak's was to take place the following day. Apparently Petro had given Yaryna the notion that the Conor's and their guests would arrange for a visit that day, so Abigail's concern about the arrangement as being an inconvenience was unfounded.

Chapter 47

The Zahorchak's having a large number for dinner was so customary that the occasion was seen as pedestrian. The huge dining room table, sprawled throughout the room, at one end, a few feet away from the buffet, near the small cluttered kitchen and at the other over looking the quiet street through a narrow but tall Victorian single-hung sash window. It was suitable for up to fourteen. Yaryna would always cook a plentiful assortment of entrees, always able to use the leftovers for soups, stews and casseroles. She would often take these reinvested courses to neighbours who appreciated the tasty European cuisine.

It was still a strange experience for the Conor's to be going to visit the Zahorchak's knowing they would be greeted by Nessa when they arrived. It was exciting actually, but the only one to openly express the sentiment was Siofra. As was often the case with young people undergoing the same experience, the opportunity to visit  Nessa gave her a sense of having a second home. It gave her a vision a her future, a realization that she will some day have a new home, shared with different people, a new set of rules, independence and a bizarre feeling of foreboding... a fear and awe of the unknown, balanced with her reverence of adventure.

Nessa and Petro were joyfully joined. Petro was up to this point the ideal husband for Nessa. Nessa was affected by her illness, and her upbringing that was confused in message. This led to a slight moodiness. Her solitude was an opportunity to collect her thoughts. When she was more sociable it was to either exercise her intellect in conversation or extend her social position. With Petro, he allowed her times alone and also had the knack of being by her side and being attentive at just the right time. He displayed a cool confidence, dry humour, and extended an assurance to Nessa that everything would work out fine. All it took was a combination of patience and harmonious deliberation. He always claimed that his approach to life was influenced by the bucolic traditions of his families history. He once said to Nessa, "If you accomplish one task per day successfully, you will be well ahead of most others."

Nessa was uncertain of her condition, but was still latent. This of course was of the single most importance, as it meant that she did not have to be concerned with infecting others. This would have meant the treatment of sanitoria. She no longer was tying herself down, but she was now taking a hydrocodone, which worked as a pain killer and sedative. She still lacked energy, but had become accepting of the reality of fatigue. She planned on finishing her certification, but was not as sure of her career destination as she previously had. Researching fashion and composing articles for the latest periodicals seemed a more realistic goal than being a designer, which involved travel and a high level of public exposure. This depressed her, but not as much as if she was a single, professional woman about town. The new outlook on her career seemed commensurate with her marriage and slight domesticity. Petro was very helpful in this regard, as he was well aware of her initial goals, and did not want her to fall into what might be considered a life of travail. His plans to be active politically, as well as his intention to buy a home for his new bride as soon as his savings allowed, involved considering her future as well, keeping in mind her preference to be within proximity of the fashion centre of the city. This was a consideration not common to many a husband, and was not left unnoticed by Abigail. 

The invitees arrived to a demonstrative greeting. They entered and were politely offered chairs in the small but comfortable family room. Siofra shared a chair with Esther, who to Siofra's delight was allowed to accompany her. It was an impressive Farthingale-type chair, obviously brought in from the den for this occasion. The guests were offered a choice of tea, strawberry juice, Nemiroff, port or Kvas. Esther was inclined to chose strawberry juice but went along with Siofra's choice of tea loaded with sugar, which impressed her with it's maturity and dignity. Before entering the home, Siofra observed what appeared to be a very narrow but deep backlot, but it was hidden from view because of the tightly spaced old homes an the tall hedges lining the properties. Once inside she observed that the house seemed exiguous of windows, which added to the mystery of the elusive yard.

The opportunity to go outside finally availed itself.

Esther, while walking with Esther along the north side

of the yard, following the guidance of the fence, an

unusual one, which though of a simple wooden design,

took on the looks of a palisade. Siofra observed that

the yard did remind her of the one on Helena Avenue.

It gave her the feeling of being squeezed in, as if there

was a world outside that called for her, implying

mischief and misadventure.In contrast, the seclusion

demanded creativity, and an awareness that the opportunity

was there to adapt to privacy.

They got to the back of the yard and sat down under an

oak tree that looked as if it's only right to standing

was it's bold bravery.

"I've got something to show you, Esther," explained Siofra.

Esther sensed something quite special, with a bit of ambiguity

thrown in. 

She began to take something out of left sweater pocket.

"I've never shown anyone anything like this before."

She held it on her lap as if it was sacred.

"My mother has lots of papers and books from her association,"

Siofra began to explain. 

"She doesn't know that I sometimes look through them. It surprised

me to find out about some of the things they talk about

at her Womens' League. There is a book by Marie Stopes.

I started looking through it an came upon some things she said

about men and women. Does your mother ever talk to you about

sex?"

"Sex?" she answered, as if not hearing the question.

"Yes. Has she ever explained anything to you."

"Of course not. I mean, she has told me about how young girls 

should behave. But sex...that will never be mentioned in

my home."

"This lady Marie Stopes sure talks about it. I copied a

little piece out of the book I want you to read. I dare think

what would happen if my mother got a hold of this!"

She passed the small piece of paper over to Esther, in part wanting

to read it to Esther herself, but sensing the delicacy of the

excerpt declined.

Esther opened the folded slip and began to browse it.


   Many men imagine that the turgid condition of an erection is due

 to the local accumulation of sperms, and that these can only be

 naturally got rid of by an ejaculation. This is entirely wrong.

The mutually best regulation of intercourse in marriage is to have

 three or four days of repeated unions, followed by about ten days

 without any unions at all, unless some strong external stimulus has

 stirred a mutual desire.


...when the woman is what is physiologically called tumescent... local

 parts are flushed by the internal blood-supply and to some extent are

 turgid like those of the man, while a secretion of mucus lubricates

 the opening of the vagina.


Esther was indeed startled. In the presence of anyone else she would

have embarrassed to the point of running away, and never returning.

"I can't believe people even write stuff like this," she commented.

"Do you actually understand this Siofra. I mean, I sort of do, but it's

 confusing too."

"I must admit I'm not totally sure what it means either Esther. It talks

 about what a married man and women are supposed to do but I am not sure about some of words."

She grabbed the slip from Esther and pointed to a particular word.

"Like this one," she suggested, "Turgid. We'll have to figure out what that means."

"And this one," as she pointed to another. 

"Tumescent. I have no idea."

"That can be a project of ours Siofra. We can look up those words, and

figure this thing out, but you can keep the paper, I sure couldn't

keep it in my house. You'd better be careful too, Siofra. You'd better

have a good place to hide it."

Siofra agreed, but following the discussion she had her reservations.

Maybe the whole thing was silly. Maybe this little part from a book meant

nothing. Maybe she only took it out of the book and recorded it 

because it was naughty. Other than enjoying the devilment, was there

really any purpose? She knew at this point that Esther was at least

intrigued, so it must be that they go ahead and complete the questions to their little finding.


By marriage, the personal identity of the woman is lost. Her person is completely sunk in that of her husband, and he acquires an absolute mastery over her person and effects. Hence her complete disability to contract legal obligations; and except in the event of separation by divorce, or other causes, a married woman in the United Kingdom cannot engage in trade.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_suffrage_in_the_United_Kingdom Leone Levi, ided it was time to go back into the houseInternational Commercial Law, 1863[2]


The girls decided to go back into the house. This decision might have been merely instinctive, as a part of their social training, which included not ignoring your hosts for too long. It was possible also that one or the other of the two was unconsciously immersed in some sort of degeneration, that somehow if they stayed together in the yard too much longer that their habits might begin to involve a dilemma or perhaps a kind of accusation.

So in a state of almost relief they entered the house.

The first encounter was initiated by Petro. 
"Where have you two trouble-makers been?"

Esther looked at Siofra wondering if her reaction was the same. She thought to herself, "Does Petro know something about us?". 
Siofra caught Esther's glance, and knew what she was thinking, but she was also aware that Petro was just ribbing.

"Your sister wants to spend a bit of time with you before you go."

The girls approached Nessa, and Siofra apologized for being outside for such a while. 
'Oh, I understand completely. I know what it's like to be at these affairs when your so young." 

Then Nessa giggled to herself, as she realized she was not quite ready to include herself in the adult category.

Nessa walked the pair over to the dining room, where they sat down at the elongated table, which as they sat down, gave them a feeling of being dwarfed.

Nessa expressed he regret at not keeping up with Siofra's latest escapes, whether it be new friends at school, the latest in books, and on a more personal level, how things were at home. Siofra wanted to talk about some of these things, but was a little insecure about their proximity to the family room and the other guests. So she asked Nessa if she could see the upstairs. They proceeded to the access by way of the kitchen, which  was elaborately odorous, a result of the coalescing of horseradish root, corinander, ground black mustard, a breathing bottle of port, and some Halvah cookies, that had just been taken out of the oven.

"I find Petro's mother to be rather exotic in her cooking, but to them it is just an everyday ting. Hopefully I can measure up to her standards when Petro and I get our own place."

"Mother says women don't have to cook, Nessa,"

'You got me there Siofra, but i must admit that right now it appears that Petro will be much busier than I, so I will have to take care of things at home, at least to large extent."
They ascended to the second floor and half way down the hall. was a beautiful leadlight casement window, overlooking a tarred flat roof, which though unattractive, was adorned with an array of potted flowers.
Immediately across the hall, was the newlyweds room. It was certainly not large, which is not surprising when you realize that Petro's parents were not willing to give up the master room. Nessa was much happier with this arrangement, as Yaryna needed a lot of room for her collectibles, spinning wheel, yarns and fabrics. These items had to be squeezed into one end of the master, in order to accommdate Petro and Nessa. 
All three sat down on the luxurious bed, supported by a large barley-twist oak head and foot piece. 
"This is really nice." Then, observing the bright yellow walls, which complimented the analogous colouring in the bed coverings, Siofra added, "Isn't yellow your favourite colour?"
"Your right Siofra. Petro had the walls painted for me. He thought it would cheer me up."
"Yo're not sad are you?"
"Oh, no," said Nessa as she smiled gracefully.
"I'm very happy, but is difficult not feeling well. My plans for the future are kind of confused right now...but i have Petro."
"And me!" commented Siofra.
Nessa laughed. 
"I'll always have you, won't I Siofra, my dear little sister." As she spoke these tender words she leaned to her side and embraced Siofra firmly.

Siofra had never felt closer to Nessa. She never wanted to pull away from her. Nessa took her arms away but still held Siofra closely, with her hands still on her shoulder and looked into her eyes with compassion. Siofra could see the beading of tears around Nessa's eyes. Siofra then broke down.
She was uncomfortable in doing so. Through all her trials she had been strong. She knew her mother was worried, and knew her father was ill. She had to be strong. Now, alone with her sister and best friend, it felt like she was a dam, that could not hold on any longer. Many emotions overtook her, but the one that enveloped her was the fate of her sister.

"You're not well at all, Nessa. You're really sick aren't you. Are you going to die?"

Neesa took this poignant inquisition calmly. Before speaking to Siofra she gave Esther a soothing glance, understanding that Esther must be quite alarmed if not uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry dear sister. I don't want you suffering on my account. I can't say positively that I am going to be fine...but the disease is not spreading and I am breathing better. More and more people are being treated for pleurisy and are getting better. They rested my lungs and that appears to have helped. They don't know the cause of the disease, but it is quite of some kind of microbacteria. The doctor told me that about one person out of ten who have my condition get worse, so that gives me reason to be confident.
It is always best for everyone to be open about things. If you have any questions at all, just ask me. It will be much harder for you if you don't know things, and it makes me feel better talking about it too."

Siofra felt better already and was stimulated by the new force of communication with her sister. It felt a little strange confiding in her, but was wonderful. Her mind began to race, as she concocted a whirlwind of things to say to Nessa. Nessa could see that Siofra was in a state of anxious desirousness. 

"What is it Siofra, what is it you want to ask me."

"I have something to ask you Nessa. It's kind of silly. Esther and I were talking about it."

 Then she looked over at Esther guiltily, realizing that she should not have gotten Esther involved.
"I just wondered about...what I mean is...you are married now. There are things you need to know when your married. Did mother talk to you about those things? I don't know anything about it. I can't ever see myself married, ever."

"It must have been quite a talk you two had." spoke Nessa in a slight tease, but respectfully.

"Actually, we did talk about things quite a while ago. You realize of course that your mother does not think quite like most other woman. You are very lucky to have the mother you do. She believes that woman should be free to speak up and be heard, and that they should be comfortable in expressing themselves openly. So if you want to talk to her, she will be more than willing to. I'm sure she will approach you about it when she feels it is time, but in the meantime you can ask her anything you want. She is not the type of mother to punish you for bringing up things that are very personal. As a matter of fact, between you and me, you can ask me anything for that matter, I guess that's what big sisters are for."

Siofa was thinking about that little piece of paper, that seemed to ble growing larger in her pocket every minute. She was not sure if she would be comfortable in showing it to Nessa, definitely not, What to do? It finally came to her.

"I was looking through some of mother's books. I was just curious. Then I came across something. It was about how a woman and a man should feel about doing things you know...but I did't really understand it. I guess it really does't matter anyway. It's silly."

"Well tell you what. If you're not feeling ready about asking your mother, you write the part down that you read and show it to me. How's that?" 

Siofra was feeling that piece of paper get bigger and bigger. Somehow, she wasn't ready to admit to having it with her. It was too embarrassing.

"That's good of you. I'll let you know if I need your help. I kind of wish that I had never seen it. I don't really think I have to know anything about that stuff anyway."

Nessa smiled, partly because she was amused, partly because a smile is a result and confused bemusement.

Chapter 48

The family gathering certainly was a challenge of cultural intervals, but this created a nervous excitement, that resulted in stimulating conversation. However, many topics were tossed around the room, and as each motif was introduced, it seemed that a new one was 
aired. So a series of unresolved references ensued, making for even greater appetites. 

Yaryna did not exercise extravagance with the feast, but rather adopted her culinary instincts keeping in mind the presence of her American guests. She did not know how to cook in basic Canadian terms, but the essentials of eastern European preparation were adopted as a part of Candian cooking, along with oriental, Italian, English and western European. A simple but very tasty repast, she thought, would be Gutsul. 

Robert was the first to show the utmost enthusiasm when this huge ceramic bowl was centered on the table. The savoury aroma, of roasted pork, onions, tomatoes, and fresh parsley filled the room. The hungry guests initially thought it was a stew, but when Valeriy Zahorchak began to serve, this mixture of meat and vegetable was found to be placed over a bed of large thin potato dumplings. 

Robert commented, "I have never seen anything like it. Two meals in one!" The meal was consumed quickly and contrarily, without much communion. 

At the juncture of the visit, the farewells took an extended amount of time, as each member of the gathering took it upon themselves to become acquainted with the future plans of each individual. The final inquisition being the plans of Robert and Susan, which up to that point had not been made clear. As it was concluded, The Cruikshank's decided that they would take advantage of the opportunity to see more of Ontario. Abigail had mentioned to them that Manitoulin Island might make for an interesting excursion. She knew of a group of artists and writers who had previously stayed at the Manitowaning Lodge. Susan was not convinced of it's suitability, but Robert assured her that some boating would be attractive, and that a long stay would not be necessary if she found the accommodation less than comfortable. Abigail also informed them that the road up the peninsula could be difficult to navigate, and there was the option of busing from Owen Sound. This was under the assumption that the Cruikshanks could borrow the car newly anointed to Eamon until they returned to Toronto, and then they would continue on via train, which was their original plan. Eamon upon realizing that Abigail had volunteered 
the vehicle, was in consternation, asking himself whether she had done so inadvertently or had simply assumed that it was fine with him.
Upon further deliberation, Eamon concluded that Abigail has simply been inconsiderate and proceeded to express his displeasure with passive manipulation. 
  "It was nice to offer the car, Abbie, but I don't think Robert wants to inconvenience anymore, especially considering that we need it for various things."
Abigail was startled. Robert and Susan were embarrassed. Abigail did not want to take issue with Eamon under these circumstances, so she diplomatically apologized for the fact that she was unaware of any immediate needs for the vehicle. Eamon being defensive, wanted to prove his point, so he referred to a visit to Berry Grove, which he felt had been long overdo. Abigail knew that this had never been discussed, and was also aware that it was unlikely that Eamon would ever make such plans. She paused in a stunned silence and Eamon
allowed the conversation to shift to other matters, in order to take consolation in his victory, as hollow as it was. 

Robert and Susan in response, feeling obligated to moderate the situation, whispered to one another for a moment.
"We've discussed staying in Ann Arbor for two or three days. W'ed like to tour the University...and it fits into our schedule, as it allows us to get home by the middle of the week."

The following day Richard and Susan bid their farewells and promised to keep in touch, leaving with no apparent chagrin or disappointment. They actually did stay in Toronto a few days longer, viewing the Casa Loma and listening to the new sounds of a large orchestra that played dance music with an accentuating swing style. 

Chapter 49

Bridge to Cincinnati

From "the plastic age"

Disillusionment followed disillusionment, each one painful and dispiriting in itself, but they came at long enough intervals for him to find a great deal of pleasure in between.

What was he going to do? Life stretched ahead of him for one year like a smooth, flowered plain—and then the abyss. He felt prepared to do nothing at all, and he was not swept by an overpowering desire to do anything in particular. 


Eamon seemed to be going about things with an impersonal deliberation. This was not necessarily out of the ordinary, and because of this, no one in the family suspected that he was planning a metamorphosis. Eamon however was attacking his personally imposed treatments with degree of fervor. It was apparent to him that it could not be continued much longer in secrecy. The treatments were helping him. To what degree they were having a placebo effect of course is difficult to say. He was noticing a feeling of more energy and a certain less stiffness in his  arms and legs. This supports his belief that the ozone machine was at least having some results. The shock therapy was more difficult to assess, although it might be suggested that Eamon was finding work a little less trying, and certainly the day to day obligations of being a father and husband seemed less agitating. One issue that occupied his mind was the fact that Abigail had connected him with a doctor who would be familiar with the treatments that he was performing. It would likely be of great service to him, especially with regards to safety, to confide with Abigail and Dr. Pidgeon. He had just read an article about the side effects of ozone therapy, and although up until now he had not suffered from them he was concerned. It was simply a matter of controlling the oxygen intake. Too much oxygen would create respiratory problems. Dr. Pidgeon would be able to supervise. Not only that, Nessa could be treated as well. It surprised him, actually, that the concept had not been introduced to Nessa already.

Unbeknownst to Eamon, Nessa's experimentation in treatment had taken some new direction. Nessa was in  a query. She had an infection which if activated could lead to a life that could only be described as one of horror. Sufferers of tuberculosis were placed in sanitoriums, for the sole purpose of being kept away from those who could be infected. Treatment was secondary, if not non-existent. To lead a fulfilling life at this point, woud demand courage.

With that courage went the necessity of a philisophical authority. Some kind of optimism had to be derived through

the knowledge of new and creative treatment, as well as spiritual growth that encompassed wellness.

She was suffering mild chest pain, occasional night sweats, some weight loss, fatigue an a complexion that could be

described as pallid. It was not generally considered necessary to treat latent sickmess aggressively, but Nessa was growing

more and more determined to avoid a worsening condition. Petro was very much a partner in researching treatment and

consulting with experts including Dr. Pidgeon. Dr. Pidgeon was actively persuing regimens that were to help strengthen

an immune system that would be an force against virus, fungi, and bacteria. 

It is classified in Chinese medicine as warm in nature, sweet and slightly bitter in taste, and nontoxic. The dose in decoction for clinical use is 5-10 g. It can be ground to powder for swallowing directly or taking mixed with water: the dose in that case is usually is 1-3 grams.[2] In the Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica, 1596 A.D.) it is stated: "On account of the fact that sanqi is a herb belonging to the blood phase of the yang ming and jue yin meridians, it can treat all diseases of the blood." Notoginseng is a herb that has been used in China quite extensively since the end of the 19th century.[3] It has acquired a very favorable reputation for treatment of blood disorders, including blood stasis, bleeding, and blood deficiency. 

Nessa was informed of the Chinese remedies, including ladybell, winter day, Chuan Bei, crysanthemum, donkey hide gelatin,

and sanqi. She was currently experimenting with Chuan Bei and ladybell in the tradition of eastern medicine. The Chaun Bei is a

bulb which is ground into a powder, which makes a syrup that fights infection, and ladybell is a root that helps dispel the infection.

Chinese medicine, which is based on the presumption that illness is cause by the obstruction of the flow of energy to particular

areas of the body. Nessa even enquired about acupuncture, talking to Dr.Pidgeon about it a number of times. The Doctor did know a Chinese practitioner. She explained, "Acupunture is certainly consistent with Chinese beliefs. I am familiar with the concept of the

flow of qi through what are called meridians. The lungs area part of the Yin, and to stimulate the energy flow, reflective  and extraordinary points are located. I am somewhat concerned about the probability of infection from the needles.

There is no medical premise for this practice, although that is based on our scientific approach which looks at symptoms and focuses on the infected area, wheras Chinese medicine looks at the entire body operation, and how strength  from one part of the body can actually be redirected to the weaker area.I will admit it clearly has it's merits. The treatments that I have inherited are prescriptions

that I feel cannot be harmful in any way, and are in some way helpful in the psychological aspects of treatment."

Valeriy and Yaryna were not as resistant to the theories introduced by Dr. Pidgeon, as one might expect, considering the apparent contrast between the Orthodoc Church of Ukrainia and the ancient Shang Dynasty of China. The Ukrainians had a traditional faith in folk medicine, which evolved around the legendary, almost mythical plant, the kalyna. This tall, rose and cranberry high-bush was used medicinally through it's flowers, bark and berries. Teas from the bark were used to prevent hemorrhages, as well as being diuretic.  The flowers were infused for the treatment of viral infections and tuberculosis of the lungs. The berries met many demands including nervous anxiety, hypertonic illness, hardening arteries and spasms of the blood vessels. 



 Eamon was obliviouly stubborn. He was believing what he wanted to believe, but was failing miserably to look at reality. The danger of his experiments was inarguable.
His creative fling with the mechanical aspect of these enterprises effected inspiration in him, but this disguised his growing madness. 


    Ever since their Quebec holiday, there was a growing attachment between Siofra and her father. It was generally unspoken, but they would sometimes sit in the family room, each involved in their own labour. Eamon would be listening to the radio...a sports broadcast or a mystery drama. Siofra would usually be reading, but was often distracted by the radio. This did not bother her, for the book in front of her soon became a prop, to infer that she was indeed reading. She listened intently to the radio drama, wishing to ask her father to turn it up a little, but not wanting to give away her secret. One evening, the radio sat quiet and Eamon entered the family room. He stopped before his chair, and looked around in query. He noticed Siofra is her usual place, reading, the book he could not identify. he observed another book awaiting his curiosity. 
"Nothing on the radio till eight...can I see that book, Siofra."
"Sure Dad, but you won't like it.", she spoke as she passed it to him. 
"Why, not?" he replied in question, without raising his modulation on the last word.
"It's one of those weird books I read.", she described proudly.
"I'll have a quick look at it, and decide how weird it is."
This managed a short chuckle from Siofra followed by a subtle smirk from her father.
He sat down and began browsing through the compendium...a series of short stories by H. P. Lovecraft. He settled at the beginning, and began to read The Outsider, the story of a man who was isolated in a castle and finally decided to break free into light and human contact.  He decides to climb the ruined staircase of the high castle tower that seems to be his only hope for an escape. At the place where the stairs terminate into crumbled ruin, the narrator begins a long, slow climb up the tower wall, until he eventually finds a trapdoor in the ceiling, which he pushes up and climbs through. Amazingly, he finds himself not at the great height he anticipated, but at ground level in another world. Eamon becomes engrossed and reads on. The narrator finds a social gathering and proceeds to witness a ghoulish monster. In his shock and surprise, he loses his balance and touches the creature. Horrified, he runs from the building back to his castle, where he tries unsuccessfully to crawl back through the grate into his old world. Cast out of his old existence, the narrator now rides with the "mocking and friendly demons on the night wind,"
After this somewhat shocking review, Eamon without thought turned the radio on, to the sound of a program that had advance well into the plot.
"Did you read some of it, Dad?" asked Siofra.
He managed to raise his head. "Yes. The first story. Interesting." 
"The Outsider! The best one. That monster was really scary. Made the man wish he had never left his castle. When he went back to the castle he couldn't get back in and was sent away with the evil spirits. He stretched out his fingers and felt glass as cold as ice. Do you know what that means Dad.?
" I don't really know. I guess I haven't thought about it much. I guess the man learned that his own castle was the best place to be. He shouldn't have ventured into a world that wasn't his own."
Siofra sat momentarily, unsure of whether or not to embarrass her father with a somewhat more thorough and accurate appraisal. Her expression gave her away.
"I'm sure you have a better explanation my daughter.", he commented with a hint of sarcasm. 
"Well Dad, what do you think the glass indicates."
"Glass is clear, so I suppose it means he can see into the evil world or something."
"The glass is a mirror!." she said empahatically. He was the monster!  

Chapter 50

The Rape

Siofra  went to many daytime screenings at the local theatre, where she was virtually the only critic who showed up. Occasionally, there was a half dozen or so, sometimes even a dozen. Going on a Friday evening however, seemed common. After sitting through several movies her attention began to focus on the variety of individuals leaving the theater. She noticed the old gentlemen, hunched over like storm battered oak trees, sympathizing with their loneliness. Then she looked at the small groups of young people, scooting out of the theater. There was usually one of the group, during the showing, laughing at the jokes, and giggling at the antics. They were lonely too, isolated in the coteries prison of triviality. Siofra basked in her solitude. It gave her the opportunity to be saturated in her imagination. 

She decided to take adventure into the world of fear. She had recently forgotten about the conversation with Paula and Orenda, regarding the rumors and legends of the old Christie theater and its occupation by ghosts and spirits. The recent showing of The Phantom of the Opera, certainly rekindled these consternations. The face of Erik, frequently passed before her eyes, or jumped out at her from around the corner of an old building. Back in 1912, the theater was showing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Coincidentally, or strangely, the lead character was played by James Cruz. The projectionist at the time was Jimmy Cruise. When he showed the film, a disquieting thing happened. James Cruz's Dr. Jekyll would secretly lock himself in his laboratory and administer a phial of formula to himself. When he slumped to his chair, with his head in his chest, the film would suddenly flutter and pause. Before Jimmy had a chance to adjust the projector the movie would suddenly run customarily. Every time during the film that Dr. Jekyll rendered the formula, the same occurrence would take place. Some patrons thought that Jimmy was trying to hoodwink them. He tried to convince them he wasn't, so the other possibility was that the supplier of the film was doctoring it to perform accordingly, thus creating publicity. Just as the commotion began to simmer down a re-occurrence took place. Four years later the Christie Theater was showing The Crimson Stain Mystery. In this serial, Dr. Burton Montrose, a scientist, has developed a formula which he believes will make ordinary people into geniuses. He experiments on several subjects and, to his horror, finds that it instead creates wicked criminals, who terrorize New York City. When  Dr. Montrose gives his patients their dose of formula , we see them transform and at this moment, the film flutters and pauses. As before it adjusts itself and carries on as usual. This startled Jimmy, but the audience generally thought it was a gimmick to regain some lost business. The controversy grew, and the legend remained with the old theater. 

Siofra decided it was time to test her courage. She would go to the showplace when it was uninhabited and see if she could confront the deamons. 
The day was a dozen shades of gray, turning the world into a living daguerreotype. A few others, a bit above her in age, walked hunched over, attacked by the brave weather. 

She walked past the facade and then gingerly walked down the narrow laneway on the east side of the building. Half way down she approached the battered triple door. It had a lock on the end of the left-hand door, partnered with a horseshoe shaped tarnished brass handle. On the center door there was a single-mount T-handle. Each of the doors was connected to the adjacent one with two rickety hinges. She shook the doors from both handles and the doors did not budge. She tried the center handle again, and brandished it with all her strength. The top hinge snapped. The door was very loose now so she shook even harder. The second hinge slipped out of it's bracket. She pushed very hard and the door was able to separate from its neighboring one, enough for to to sliver through. 
The theater was almost dark when she went in, lit only by the ghost light on the stage. The single bulb on top of its pole glowed like an eerie beacon, leaving the edges and corners in deep gloom. She felt a charge in the air.

She could faintly make out painted scenery flats leaning against the wall in stacks, crowding the corner. They were the only traces of the quantom days of vaudeville. 

Some say ghost lights started way back in Shakespeare's time, when theater companies left candles on the stage to ward off the ghosts of performances past. Some say they light the theater for the friendly ghosts who live there.
All she knew is that for her this place was haunted.

She walked down the aisle to the stage. 

When she climbed the three steps up, the ghost light cast a huge, hulking shadow of her on the back wall.

So when she heard steps, she thought her shadow had come to life. Her shadow must be following her, a giant bodyguard hovering over each step.  

Suddenly a powerful hand suffocated her, and a massive arm tucked through her legs and began to drag her behind the curtain.  

Siofra was brave. She didn't even attempt to scream. She was living her dream. A role of an innocent victim about to be torn from life by a vicious monster. She would be hailed as the next Lillian Gish.  She tried to see it that way -- the way  hundreds of adoring fans would see her for years...but her dream was being taken to a state of purgatorial madness.


She was now on  sinister and sacred ground. Here was the place where she was sure her life would end. Here was the place where she was going to lose a part of herself. 
She tried to look up into the fly space, almost expecting to see herself  up there among the lights, watching.

She felt disoriented, but her body was alert, trembling from fear so powerful it made her knees lock. The ghost light and the looming shadows made her feel like she was in one of those  German expressionist films she saw, like  "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." A nightmare on celluloid. She felt herself on the edge of the stage, the sharp mahogany trim digging viciously into the back of her knees. She thought about courage and about escape. A thud expressed the pain of the back of her head hitting the forestage.  She remained on the edge of the stage almost unconscious. Somehow she was alert enough to attempt to lighten her heart. A hero would arrive. No one did. The bottom of her dress suddenly blanketed her face and between her legs she felt a strange combination of icy cold and nervous sweat. A pain, nothing like she had ever felt, encompassed every shred of her delicate body. She shrieked a scream seemingly beyond the limits of her little throat. It was so cacophonous that it startled the mad and sinister perpetrator. He jumped and ran, and seemed to be out of the building before the clamorous scream could reach anyone's ears.

She fainted part way from trying to extricate herself from her position. Her violated  little figure fell to the floor, She lay, sideways, her legs scissored, both her arms reaching above her head, as if she fell, her fingertips clutching to the edge of a steep cliff. 

Her return to consciousness was very gradual. In a state of exhaustive shock, her legs had regained the ability to lift her battered frame...but she didn't move. Her eyes stared at the blackness of the ceiling. She was so empty that she could not conceive of a destination, or a pair of arms to console her. She thought she was dead. 

She was found by Mr. Quincy Lunceford. He was sweeping the litter spewed floor when he came across her. He hurriedly knelt down and raised her head.

"Little girl, are you okay? Are you hurt? What happened?"

Siofra stared. She uttered something unintelligible...a mere susurration. 

"Little girl?"

"mmmmo..."

"What happened?", he asked, knowing there was no likelihood of an answer. 

"Did you say you were okay?"

The girl he saw was motionless and reminded him more of an animal caught in some kind of invisible trap than a human being.  

"You look badly hurt. Can I help you?" Mr. Lunceford once again asked a question that would be unanswered. He seemed to be going through motions of assistance that were triggered by some subconscious desire to help when he was actually helpless.

He then started to become closer to something resembling hysterics.

He observed something that startled him and it caught his throat like the edge of a razor sharp knife. A row of three or four ribbons of blood serrated her dress just above the hemline, their terminus emphatically marked by a large blot of the daunting substance. 

"Who the hell did this to you!" he began to scream.

Siofra somehow managed to essay her name.

He heard "See...o...f...ra".

He nervously began to scan her body looking for something that could explain this travesty. 

He feared something that he couldn't face. He cautiously, almost as if committing a crime himself, lifted portions of her dress to look for the source of her apparent wound. When he saw the small rivulets of fresh blood issuing down her leg, that further down had formed a jelly-like pool of cruor, he gradually followed it to it's source. The dress slowly fell from his hands as he almost fainted in a state of horror. He righted himself and slowly lifted her slightly by the shoulders, as tears began to fall from his eyes.

"May God keep you alive. I will go and get help my precious soul."

He went to the nearest phone and requested an ambulance, much more succinctly than he expected from himself under the circumstances.

"Yes...please, please...send an ambulance. There is a little girl here at the Christie Theatre on St. Clair just west of Bracondale Ave., on the south side. She is barely conscious and appears to be badly beaten. I fear she possibly has been...", his breath was caught short, he swayed slightly with dizziness and completed his words,"...vi...olated. She has a lot of blood on her dress...I don't think she'll be alive long. Please hurry...hurry!" 

"Help will be here soon. What's your name."

Her previous utterance had apparently exhausted her. 

"C...." was attempted. 

There was a long pause and Mr. Lunceford broke in before she attempted to speak more. He feared he had  pressured her too much. 

"Don't answer, just relax. Take it easy. You're going to be okay." He feared not. 

The ambulance arrived. It was a new rescue wagon, sparkling with fresh white surfacing, green trimmed, wooden spoked and identified with crosses of red. The attendants placed her on a stretcher and immediately checked her breathing and pulse. They checked her breathing passages, and surveyed her body quickly for visible wounds. Then they carried her to the street and gently placed her in the ambulance. 

She was rushed to the hospital, aided by a source of oxygen. Quickly she was attended to in the emergency room. It was her good fortune that the doctor was not besieged with other patients at the time. Mr. Lunceford had managed to passage on the hospital vehicle and provided as much information as possible, which was also reported to police, who came to the hospital once it was reported to them that a girl had arrived at the hospital with suspicious wounds. 

The medical team went to work immediately, in an attempt to confirm the cause of Siofra's distress. The Doctor on duty in emergency Dr. Blunt, looked over the entire body to assess the scope of injuries. There was no indication of any trauma caused by a hard blow from any kind of instrument, or a large fist, for that matter. There were no marks on the throat and no bite marks. Strangely there was slight bruising of the right hand. Dr. Blunt had no way of knowing that the bruising was from her attempt at opening the large side doors, the heavy metal handle being squeezed so tightly, that it was curious why she was so intent on breaking in. The Doctor continued to survey the body, finding abrasions on the back of the knees and bruising on the inside of her legs, on her upper thighs, particularly on the left leg. 

"It is clear someone has attacked her, the Doctor informed his adherents. Those bruises could only have been caused by someone reaching in between her legs."

Her mouth was bruised as well, and swelling badly. 

"I would guess, whoever this was, that they were trying to stop her from yelling. He seemed to have been very erratic. I do not think this was something that was planned. He was probably there, at the Theatre, and the girl, just happened to appear...but I wonder what inspired him to this horrifying thing?"

One of the nurses mentioned to the Doctor that she heard that the extent of the bruise does not necessarily define the force of pressure put upon the victim.

"Yes. You are correct. But the bruises are long and the tissue is quite evenly damaged. I suspect a strong man...but of course I could be wrong. One thing we do not have to assess the dates of the bruising. This accident happened this evening. That gentlemen who reported the accident was nearly there to see it happen!"

There were also various counter-pressure bruises which were caused by her restraint against the surface of the callous surface of the stage. 

The Doctor then asked his associate nurse, whom he respected greatly, about skin lesions, that seemed strange.

"The skin around here, and over here," as he pointed to areas of the leg below both knees, "Look raw. The skin is very thin. Burns?"

"Yes, it definitely looks like it," said the nurse. They look like healed burn, though. I do not think they are related to the current injuries. And look here. the back of her hands. It looks like burn here as well."

The Doctor then began to do a quick scan to look for other indications of scarring, although it would not likely change what was presently critical. 

"Yes. There is some more scarring her on her temple...barely noticeable."

The more horrific part of the analysis followed. Finger pad bruises were found near and on both sides of the area of her genitalia. The bleeding had almost stopped but there was still percolation, and none of the blood had dried. This area of her delicate embodiment of femininity was to be thoroughly cleaned before any evaluation of the source of the bleeding could be confirmed. 

One of the nursing associates had had previous experience with dealing with damaged genitalia. She was aware that it was possible to be raped and have the inner workings of the female vagina damaged to the point where conception of a child is not possible. From a medical stand-point, if the vagina is scarred or damaged due to forcible intense intercourse, then it might make it difficult for a woman to conceive a child. The fertile egg might not be able to attach to the uterine wall properly.   

Dr. Blunt discussed it with her and spoke to the fact that more than likely there would simply be scarring, it would heal, and Siofra would be able to carry on in a normal capacity. 

While these initial procedures were taking place the attendants were trying to get the necessary information from Siofra, to determine her identity.

The Doctor then looked at his nurse inquisitively. "This young lady has been burned fairly badly over many parts of the body. I am curious. Do you think she was a part of the big trolley car fire?"

"That is an interesting possibility...although there has been a large number of fires this year. These burns look like they are maybe six, seven, eight months old...if I had to guess, and that is around the right time."*

Siofra was unable to write, as her state of shock paralyzed her...otherwise, they could have identified her easily. 

"The Lunceford gentleman said that she uttered what sounded like 'Seeofera'," mentioned the Doctor. Yes, that is it! Siofra. A very traditional Irish name, not common, but yes, I have heard of it."

Suddenly the nurse held her hands to her face.

"What is it Casillia!" spoke Dr. Blunt with reserved alarm.

"Of course. Siofra Conor. Remember her? She was in that trolley car fire. She is the girl who found a way to open the doors so all those people could get out. She was honoured at the city hall by the Mayor. It must be her!"

The Doctor scratched his head while staring long and hard at the barely conscious little girl. "This is really strange. A young teenage girl, at least I think she is a teenager..."

"She is Doctor. I remember hearing in the news that she was fourteen."

"...she is on a trolley car that is in an explosion, figures out a way to escape the holocaust, saves many lives, suffers severe burns, and then a half a year later gets attacked in a movie theatre."

"Well", said the nurse.  "Now we can contact the family. I can manage it Dr. Blunt. It should not be hard now to find out how to contact them. As a matter of fact, she will be in the medical records because of her burns."

"You do not mind Casillia."

She found the necessary information and made the phone call.

"Mrs. Conor. Casillia Dotter, calling from Western Hospital."

Those words were enough to put Abigail into a state of immediate shock. She had been worried for the past five or six hours about the whereabouts of Siofra, and Siofra's past credentials made her a candidate for heartache. "Western Hospital! Is it my daughter! How is she!"

"Mrs. Conor, she is conscious but has been badly traumatized. She was at the Christie Theatre, not far from you. It was closed but for some reason she entered it, and in so doing was a attacked by someone. We have very little information, but some of it is of a very delicate nature. Dr. Blunt, the attending physician will be glad to fill you in, and I am sure will be finding out more, even as we talk."

Abigail composed herself, enough to ask, "Traumatized? Is she talking? Has she told you anything? Is she injured?"

"It is best Dr. Blunt fills you in Mrs. Conor. She does have bruising, adhesions, some bleeding."

Abigail was not meek nor squeemish. She asked directly, "Buy any chance did this person, maybe a man, attempt to force himself on her?"

Nurse Dotter diplomatically expressed the situation. "You are courageous to ask that question Mrs. Conor. Yes...I am afraid that there is evidence that he did attempt an act of violation...but we do not know the extent of his attempt. We pray that it was a failed attempt." 

Abigail thanked her for the information and quickly hung up. She immediately informed Eamon, with very little detail, other than saying that Siofra had been in an accident. She did not want to waste time explaining things to him, when they could be focusing on getting to the hospital as quickly as possible. She decided under the circumstances that it would be best for someone less emotionally involved to take them, and decided upon asking Elaine Tiller. She explained the situation, and Elaine acknowledged that she was glad to help, and was pleased that Abigail recognized her as a friend who would there for her family in crisis. While Eamon and Abigail awaited the Tiller vehicle, Abigail called Nessa to break the news. 

Speaking rapidly and frantically, Abigail spoke, "Nessa , my dear. What more can happen. Poor...dear...Siofra, she has been brutalized by someone. She was found at the Christie Theatre almost unconscious, beaten by some man. She is at Western Hospital. Elaine Tiller is picking us up. We must get down there immediately. Sorry, we have no time to pick you up. If Petro can not take you, do not worry...but of course, we would love to see you there."

"Is she going to be all right. Do you know anything?"

"Not really, but it sounds like she was attacked quite brutally...and I must tell you...after all my dear...she is your beloved sister...there is evidence that this man might have tried to take advantage of her. The Doctor is not sure yet."

"Raped! Raped!"

"Nessa. Please do not say that. It might not be true." 

Chapter 51
 In a short time there was a large gathering at the hospital, with lots of hugs and kisses, but no one quite sure what to say. Nessa and Petro did arrive shortly after the Conors. Yaryna wanted to come as well, but Petro reminded her that it was best to remain a family only scenario. Yaryna realized that Petro was likely right, and apologized for interfering. Petro gave her hug and told her that no apology was required, and that he would inform Abigail of her love and support when he arrived. Esther was not given any information in depth, only that Siofra had been injured. It was appropriately decided that the details might be too much for her.   

 Dr. Blunt did not have any information for them that would readily thwart the onslaught of fears. After a few hours, it was decided that it was best for everyone to go home for a proper nights sleep, and that Abigail would stay with Siofra.

  By morning Siofra was still in some shock but was beginning to communicate. Many tests were performed, and to the surprise of the medical staff, no bones were broken, and as far as physical injuries were concerned, she appeared only to be suffering from the pain of bad bruising.  Dr. Blunt was expecting the arrival of a Doctor specializing in trauma, because it was very clear that the point of contention with Siofra's hope for recovery was the shock from the attack, the anguish of possible violation, along with the trauma she had also suffered previously from the explosion.

After explaining Siofra's projected condition to Abigail, Dr. Blunt was very impressed with her. Despite her obvious distress she was inquisitive and lucid.  

" I realize you have called a specialist, and I certainly respect that, but I would like a family friend and physician, Dr. Pidgeon to attend to my daughter. Could I please make that call."

"I do not see a problem with that, but I would like her here in conjunction with Dr. Kahike."

Abigail was not sure if this would work out properly, but she was not in a condition to debate, so she accepted the conditions passively, untrue to her character. Abigail contacted Dr. Pidgeon at home and was fortunate that she was able to come promptly. 

Dr. Pidgeon and Dr. Kahike were compatible in there approach to the crisis, and were quite amicable. Dr. Kahike took on the responsibilities of specialist, and Dr. Pidgeon stood by, extricating all of his commentary and drawing certain conclusions. When it came time to discuss things with Abigail, it was insisted that Dr. Pidgeon report to her. This annoyed Dr. Blunt and Dr. Kahike, but they diplomatically expressed that this was not in accordance with procedure. Dr. Pidgeon honoured Dr. Kahike's role, but did not give in to his request for consultation. Dr. Pidgeon did promise to deliver his perspective as well as hers. Seeing as it was such a delicate situation, Dr. Pidgeon was permitted to carry on in the role Abigail was comfortable with. 

Dr. Pidgeon, comforted Abigail and began. "People who go through these types of extremely traumatic experiences often have certain symptoms and problems afterward. How severe these symptoms are depends on the person, the type of trauma involved, and the emotional support they receive from others. There are so many symptoms and reactions. They can be so wide and varied. Even after apparent recovery she can have new experiences, physical and mental. We must keep an eye on these triggers. Siofra will likely be totally unaware of what is causing these various feelings. With the experience I have had with trauma, I have seen the victims act self-destructively or disruptively. I do not mean to paint such a bad picture, but Siofra has been through what appears to be acute trauma, and she is going to suffer to some degree. I suspect she will have panic attacks, especially because of the violent nature of the attack on her. And I must tell you, it has been observed that emotional characteristics can be hereditary, and Eamon has suffered from melancholia. Her period of recuperation could be mostly shown through dreams, insomnia, and nervousness, and less through actual behavior, but we will not know this until we start to observe her. We do not know at this point how well she remembers the details. Sometimes remembering the incident clearly can be a good thing, because the recovery can be faster. Otherwise she will have experiences that will remind her of the incident sub-consciously. From how well I know Siofra, I cannot say for sure if I anticipate a normal response. Young girls of her age would normally become despondent, preoccupied, distant... basically numb emotionally. This is a survival tactic, that allows them to avoid confrontation with their emotions. Siofra is outgoing and very confident and self-assured, so she may not change as much as expected initially. At least with her, we will be able to recognize the symptoms very easily, because the constrast will be so visible."

"I must ask you Jessica, what about her being raped, or possibly being raped?"

"Yes, my dear, I was going to get to that. I cannot give you an official diagnosis. If you do not mind, I must be direct in my explanation. The injuries associated with her genital area, and her vagina, show attempted penetration. It is unlikely like completion was achieved. So the physical aspect of it is that she will likely recover physically, but emotionally, it may be perceived by her to be a rape, whether it was one technically or not. Are you comfortable with that explanation?"

"Yes. Thank you so much for being straight forward."

"I will continue to see Siofra. It will take a while to assess the damage to her emotionally. Initially I expect her to be very agitated and confused, or more like I have just explained. There is an anger, from feeling violated, that can be shown through aggressiveness, or passiveness. There is usually an associated inner fear that the feelings she has will never go away. It really comes down to her ability to recognize the triggers I mentioned. I suspect that she will show the ability to recognize them, with my help, and your's of course. We must try to keep her from falling into emotional numbness. Passive reactions tend to create habits that are difficult to break. If we keep her self-involved emotionally, she can learn about her feelings on a conscious level and learn to deal with the unexpected."

"We want her to be as much like herself as we can, certainly in terms of her creativity and well balanced sense of reality.."

"That is putting it simply, and, I believe, accurately, Abigail."

"We will know very soon if there is anything severe like amnesia or blocks. If there are these signs, they will be fully derived from emotional factors, which gives us a good start at evaluation."

"She did not seem to be bothered at all by the fire."

"No she did not, but this second situation could trigger feelings that she has that were not exposed before. That is the power of traumatic effect."

"You do not think witnessing the behavior of her father, especially over the past year, could have any effect do you?"

"I am more concerned with the hereditary aspects which means that certain emotional factors could play a part in her inability to work through the process. Eamon's behavior within itself should not be a factor, but of course his current capacity to deal with the crisis will play a significant role in Siofra's ability to mend emotionally. The two crises clearly outweigh the experience with Eamon. Of course Abigail, I am not aware of every aspect of the relationship between Eamon and Siofra, so I could be underestimating the effect."

"So you have some ideas about treatment?"

"Yes...I do, but I will be honest with you and admit there will be experimentation. But do not fear that. I have read much from Dr. Charcot who has studied Freud and sees pros and cons in his conclusions. Basically, the field of trauma has been put under the category of Hysteria. But the question is whether or not they are really the same. I will use some of the detection procedures for Hysteria, but I am also going to be prepared to draw conclusions that will help recognize the difference. Another gentleman, Dr. Lacan states that things that are are normally recognized as "real" are changed into something that is not objective, something that causes great anxiety. I have not come to grips with this yet, but I think it has strong potential as a tool of understanding."

"Are you going to talk to Siofra about the incident right away?"

"Yes...but cautiously. This usually helps the healing process, but there may be all kinds of symbols that she will recognize as things that we are not aware of at all. What I want to do is to illuminate the incident in her mind, without distorting it, but also in a way not to induce more trauma."

"That sounds very difficult Jessica."

"Yes, it is. But we are dealing with an intelligent, emotionally stable, and creative individual. If I work as a Doctor, but also work from my heart, we can help her."

"I do not know if I could get through this without out you Jessica."

Chapter 52


After three days Siofra was stable and her wounds were cleaned and treated. She arrived home with her mother, who had stayed at the hospital for the entirety. Abigail could hear the gradual change in Siofra's voice. At first she barely talked at all. Whenever her Mother did anything for her, she simply muttered 'Thank you'. Those were the only words Abigail heard for four days. 

Finally one morning, Abigail came into her room and saw her sitting up on her bed, with her head clutched tightly in her hands.

"Siofra, my dear. Are you all right? What can I do for you."

"Nothing Mother. Nightmares."

The sound of 'Mother' brought a steadier beat to her heart. 

"I do not know if you are ready to talk about them, but I am here to listen."

"Lots of shadows. I feel like I am dying. But I do not know what I am afraid of. It's like before. When I was little. Monsters under my bed. Beds begin to slide around in my room. There is one person. I am not sure who he is. I began to cry. He tried to hold me. I shook. He kisses my forehead. At first I feel better. I learn that if I trust him I will be safe. Whatever I have to do to live. But I am torn between fear and trust. I hurt all over even when he is quiet and kind. I ask myself why do I feel the way I do. I think maybe it is because no one I know is there. I have no mind. No thoughts. No memories."

Then she began to cry, louder, than louder. Then she began to scream.

Abigail was terrified. She felt a very uncomfortable fear, as if Siofra was some kind of uncontrollable monster; someone who should still be in the hospital. She did not know whether or not to hug her. Maybe it would make her more hysterical. So she just stood there and watched. The screaming stopped and Siofra suddenly stared at her mother long and hard. Abigail sensed that Siofra was looking inside of her, looking for some strength that could save her from something. Then there was silence. 

After a long minute, Siofra spoke. "Do not worry Mother. I am all right. It is just the nightmare."

Abigail, still nervous, thought better of clutching her the way she wanted to, so she gently placed herself on the bed next to Siofra, hoping that just her nearness would be consoling. It was. Siofra put her hand gently on her Mother's lap and a shadow of a smile crossed her face. They sat sat quietly for a long duration, enjoying the tranquility. 

Siofra's improvement then began to accelerate. She began to read, which Dr. Pidgeon highly recommended because it was a way of exercising the brain in a way that thoughts were easily transferred from cognitive thinking to emotional responses without threatening impositions. 

Siofra was comforted in her Mother's love and support, but as far as talking about the details of the attack, and her immediate feelings, she found that Dr. Pidgeon was more accessible. This was not unusual under the circumstances. Siofra, like most victims, felt humiliated, and felt less of herself.  She sensed shame. Responding to that sense of shame from someone like Dr. Pidgeon was less oppressing, as the reaction would be less impacting. 

Dr. Pidgeon was innovative in that she looked at things other than the new procedures of cognitive therapy, that was actually very similar to the therapy for melancholia. She was of the understanding that relaxation was imperative in the process of regaining emotional perspective, and problem solving tools. The fact that Siofra was a reader, did indicate that she had a self awareness of mental mitigation. Dr. Pidgeon also experimented with hypnosis. She was hoping that it could relieve Siofra of her fears, feeling of helplessness, anxiety and social isolation. It might also help Siofra understand the social context of the assault, although Dr. Pidgeon  was not sure of the extent of guilt Siofra might feel, or whether or not she would look at the implications of the attack, as she was much younger than the average victim. 
Dr. Pidgeon even applied therapy that involved the disciplines of existentialism and humanism. Those terms in themselves were somewhat intimidating to clients and in Siofra's case, her mother, but as concepts she tried to apply them in her approach. It would be seen as some as quackery. 
Existentialist therapy can teach people to face the anxieties of life head-on and to embrace aloneness, which is a major symptom of abuse. Patients are taught that they can make their own choices and take responsibility for them. This would be good in Siofra's case because she can re-adapt her identity to secure her sense of well-being. Simply, it is to invest in courage. This would lead to her ability to find true meaning in her life. It also helps in other areas, notably not to fear death, which is a feeling that is increased when one has a  near death experience. This school of thought is controversial because of it's theory of coincidental existence. It implies that the individual is not special, but merely a coincidence, with no destiny or fate. The individual creates their own path. This of course reeks of atheism. Dr. Pidgeon instead of seeing it as a life philosophy, sees it as a tool of perspective, helping to repairing damage, and re-create personal energy. 
Perceptively, and it could be said strangely, Dr. Pidgeon took note of studies of peak awareness, realizing that emotional trauma can in some cases heighten awareness, and can create an environment for enlightenment. She felt that Siofra was a unique case, where this theory could possibly be applied. Siofra, from this horrifying experience, could be seeing the world around her in a different light. Dr. Pidgeon thought to herself, could Siofra adjust with a broader view of life, with her own role in society seen as more relevant, minus the cynicism that would normally be part of her psyche?

A bold course of treatment, was about to transpire that was a combination of Dr. Pidgeon's thorough study of progressive mental care, and Abigail's emphasis on correctness and results rather than any sentimentality or overly dominant affect.

The province of Quebec a few years earlier had been shaken by the true life tale of young Aurore Andois. She was a young girl caught amidst a whirlpool of madness and brutality. A careworker and neighbour, Marie-Louise who visited Aurore's home daily, was taking care of Aurore's sickly mother. Her responsibilities however were taken over with an intense desire to take control of the Andois' vulnerable position. She made sure that Mrs. Andois death would come sooner than later, thereby allowing her a romantic partnership with Mr. Andois. After a brief stay with her Aunt, Aurore comes back to the Andois home, to a situation which has not improved. Marie-Louis finds the new situation unbearable. She is extremely jealous of her new husbands love for his daughter and begins to torture her. Aurore's declining health and strained appearance, finally led to a neighbour reporting the situation to the police. Aurore was too sickly to recover, and died. 

What Dr. Pidgeon was primarily interested in, for Siofra's sake, was the intellectual fulfillment that Siofra would experience by reading this malevolent story. She would be absorbed in the tale for certain, and in turn would react emotionally to the drama. There would be a continuing relationship between her thoughts and emotions, her thoughts preferably composing new feelings, that would be projected onto the canvas of Aurore's allegory. 

After explaining her concept to Abigail, she was not surprised at her openness to the idea, but was admittedly astonished at her immediate acceptance and as well, her additional views on the benefits of the practice. Abigail not only understood Dr. Pidgeon's theories of Siofra's cognitive responses, but also looked at the more literal aspects of the memoir. After reading the short composition she thought that Siofra would be able to imbibe the way the characters inter-related, in particular the unquestioned role of the father as the head of the household, the subservient role of  Marie-Louis, and the unfortunate consequences of Aurore not speaking up, when she could see that Marie-Louise was planning to let her mother die. 

The treatment was difficult to assess, but it was successful in establishing a response from Siofra that was processed by her evaluation of Aurore as someone separate from herself, but attached through Siofra's instinctive compassion. This is exactly what Dr. Pidgeon was hoping. 

BRIDGE: Siofra rape to Eamon suicide.

 On a bitterly cold winter day in February, the winds whistle transformed into a turbine-like roar. The windows on the north side of the house rattled in fear of destruction. Abigail, and a traumatized but stable Siofa, were visiting Nessa. Eamon was glad to be alone. Since Siofra's attack, he was feeling very isolated. Abigail was clearly taking the lead as far as Siofra's treatment as concerned. Eamon was merely a spectator. Siofra's heightened awaremess of her father's condition was now buried under the blanket of care that was needed to comfort Siofra and Nessa. Eamon had two things on his mind. Firstly, he thought it necessary to check the backyard, for any potential damage that the current weather may have had on the fencing, shed, arbours and saplings. Secondly, he thought it was an ideal time to 
go to the shed and induce some treatment. There were a few things to do before he ventured to the shed. He composed a small frame of second-hand two-by-fours to support a young mountain ash, pounded a few nails in a fence rail, attaching it to a rather poorly secured post, and gathered twigs from windblown trees and debris from the section of hawthorn hedge growing on the west side of the yard.

Then he walked almost briskly and with impatience, towards the shed. The small edifice was trembling, and one small pane of glass had slipped enough to allow for the slightly subsiding but still very strong wind to create a commotion within. Everything seemed intact. It was always customary for Eamon to address the ozone treatment first. He hooked himself up anally and proceeded to absorb the processed oxygen. He repeated the procedure three times. He felt slightly refreshed, but his slightly heightened mood elevated his thoughts into a creative haze of doom. 


He didn't think he would be allowed to go, and that was just as well. "Why should I have to do it.", he asked himself. The hallway before him was long and endless, and carried him on a conveyor of spinning conduits and he was literally thrown into a room. He saw hangers thrown about the room and blood, staining the carpet and splattered on the walls.  
It looked like a murder scene. A scene of hostile torture. He studied the evidence before him. "Who would do this and leave so much evidence?", he thought. The body was not important. What was important is the impact of the grisly scene. The existence of murder. The existence of suicide. The fact that one can feel and see this kind of abhorrence. Most of all Eamon's careening mind was absorbing guilt. If Eamon was not in the state he was, and was casually sitting at home, considering the situation, he might suddenly turn the guilt to anger, full of the resentment of the emotional imposition.

 It was a bitterly cold night in late February when the Nu Deltas took the freshmen for their "walk." They drove in automobiles fifteen miles into the country and then left the freshmen to walk back. It was four o'clock in the morning when the miserable freshmen reached the campus, half frozen, unutterably weary, but thankful that the end of the initiation was at hand.

Next to the ozone machine, sat the electric shock mechanism. Eamon gazed at it, then reached for it. As he reached, it seemed to get smaller and move further away. Then he lunged as if chasing it. His hands collided with the handles and the sting ran right up both of his arms. He was briefly startled, but the brief moment of pain seemed to motivate him. He hurriedly placed the cups on his head. He took the machine over to a small side table situated by the cot. He lied down, slightly on his side so he could pump the handle mechanism. Eamon was totally unaware of his own threshold of the current.
The four-hundred and fifty volts zapped the brain's fourteen volt system. He let go after about five seconds. Then again. The third time was difficult as he was numbed. The fourth time he paused before letting go. His hand seemed glued to the control. It finally dropped, slipping off the edge of the side table. Eamon lay motionless. He jerked momentarily. Then again. Then nothing.
 
November 11, 1928. Yonge Street at Dundas Street. Mr. Humphrey welcoming all mourners and visitors. A simple ceremony. Difficult to perceive it as a celebration of life. Abigail was torn between assiduity, confused contempt, duty, and modest guilt. Nessa was emotionless, but her apparent incuriousness indicated a certain bewilderment. Siofra was effusive and inquisitive. She carried out this style of deportment in a natural innocense that seemed strangely appropriate. No one in the immediate family spoke at the service, understandable under the circumstances. Petro felt responsible for the family, and felt it was his duty to say a few words. He only knew
Eamon as a quiet, passive, strangely secretive man. His curiosity was aroused by the details of his death as he pondered the disquisitive nature of Eamon's self-induced passing.

"He was not a man to be idolized, nor did he wish to be. He tried to live by the example of those he respected, and thus was respected. He was loved and did love, but I must say it was done without ardor. It is no doubt something his dear family must live with, something which many families experience. That is the sense that as individuals, there is a certain vacuousness, a wish that more sentiment and expressiveness had of been forwarded...but what is...is." 

Wally Paterson also took part on behalf of the TPTC. The gathering included the Zahorchaks, a few of Abigail's friends, the Tillers and Miriam McPhee. Wally uttered words that could be perceived as inconclusive, but they were respectful and befitting.

"Eamon participated in all company activities with a sense of commitment. He had an almost silent smile for everyone and was never
hesitant to compliment his fellow workers for a job well done. All of us at the plant knew that Eamon was disposed with an indescribable brand of genius. We almost think that if he had of been given more of a free reign, he might have invented something ground-breaking for the industry. Everything came very easy to him, and it is extremely unfortunate that he had to endure the investigation following the accident."
The procession took the relatively extended journey east to Mount Pleasant Road and the five mile trip north to the cemetary. This special non-denominational resting place, was selected as the family respite by Abigail. It was two-hundred acres of graceful beauty with miles of walking paths, humble, as well as pompous statues, nostalgic fountains, botanical gardens and rare and a topiary of distinct trees and shrubs.



Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
     Hath had elsewhere its setting,
          And cometh from afar:
     Not in entire forgetfulness,
     And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
     From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
     Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
     He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
     Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
     And by the vision splendid
     Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

 




EPILOGUE


Sequel to Agony flew off the shelves in 1936. It was a candid and personal retrospective on family life in the 1920's. The protagonist was an auto-biographical character whose courage and perseverance inspired a young population who needed to be convinced that suffering and tragic circumstances were a test of fortitude and the path to finding inner happiness. The newly established Globe and Mail, in an edition that celebrated it's annexation of the Mail and Empire, enclosed a supplement on young enterprising Canadians. Three paragraphs were dedicated to young author Gagnelle Conore.
Young Gangnelle Conore, 26,  of Toronto, currently lives with her mate, social activist Esther Tiller, in the Annex. She has worked extensively with William Hall Clawson and John Daniel Robins and previous to her new bestselling novel "Sequel to Agony", has published many poems including "Reprocessing the Mind". This poem was indeed startling, but succeeded in its message by using vivid images written in a cognitive style...

Young Gangnelle Conore, 26,  of Toronto, currently lives with her mate, social activist Esther Tiller, in the Annex. She has worked extensively with William Hall Clawson and John Daniel Robins and previous to her new bestselling novel "Sequel to Agony", has published many poems including "Reprocessing the Mind". This poem was indeed startling, but succeeded in its message by using vivid images written in a cognitive style...

It opened in front of me,
the circles spiraling  as if announcing a new season and a new time,
The cyclonic gargoyles laughed and sneered.
but my shoulders created a river for these behemoths to travel,
the currents carrying their outstretched hands to the land of Phobos....

Conore offers a unique combination of genres within her writings. She names her influences as H. P. Lovecaft and Edgar Allan Poe, for there lucid introduction the transference of mortal souls into multi-faceted figures of monstrosity and mythology. To her, Poe questions death in the essence, Lovecraft questions death in it's entirety. She follows with her reference to Sinclair Lewis who is not only a leader of social commentary but a brilliant stortyteller. The themes of his novels "Main Street" and "Arrowsmith" are especially meaningful to her as they discuss the issues of women as meaningful role players in the bourgeoisie and the role of progressive doctors in a restrictive medical system. Her father died tragically as a result of mental illness, and her sister is struggling with the severity of pleurisy. Her mother, Abigail Conor,  currently married to former Liberal-Unionist John Michael Freeholme, was one of the women responsible for the establishment of women's suffrage in Ontario. Conore has been applauded, but at times ridiculed for her unquestioning validity of  homosexuality. Her character, the tortured journalist, Chelsea Stewart, is described as being in a state of carnal confusion. She becomes aware, as the story develops however, that she is not as confused as those of her social circle, and takes comfort in her apparent licentiousness. Her clarity in this description does not extend beyond the works of D.H. Lawrence or Radclyffe Hall, although it's romanticism seems to take it to a more comforting level for those who are open to a toleration of this interpretation of sexuality. 

And she expressed her feelings with a mere sigh: "Lovely." She shook ecstatically, but something caused her resistance. Was it a fear of this terribly physical intimacy, and it's peculiar haste?  Chelsea feels a sharp euphoria, though it did not overcome her, and she lay with her ends inert on her lover's anticipating body. Her next move was uncertain, and she suddenly felt ridiculous. But her sense of forsaking crisis was exciting and she realized the divinity of her love. The Gods have a sinister sense of humour she thought as her buttocks began to pulsate. Miriam's cold and somewhat derisive queer female mind distinguished itself. She laid still. Her impulse was to scream in hysterics and throw Chelsea, swirling in the air into an anguished position on the furry rug, awaiting her evocative body. She thought Chelsea  as clumsy, certainly imperfect, and ending this passionate yet awkward experience with dramatic effect would seem fitting. 

A passage that combines political insight and strong  visualization is certainly a unique combination of literary skills, reminiscent of no one in particular except possibly Fitzgerald, but his civics was somewhat more vague.

       John Potts always arrived with a car full of girls. His flashy car, bourgeois politics and deceptive liberalism were all perfectly in balance. His friends were often different in name, but were somehow homogenous...very few Alice's or Rosemary's, usually Ruth or Jenn. He often added a Juanita or Olga to create worldliness,  and always introduced one of them to me as the daughter of a self-made man of property. I enjoyed his coming, but the reason was not wholly one of integrity. To John I was 'the in thing', a fad, a new toy he had found under his Christmas tree. I was being shown off because I was a girl from the other side of the tracks who represented an evolution of women from the pioneers of the jazz age. A reincarnated flapper. Maybe I should have been insulted...but I wasn't. I was intrigued and humored. 
     I was usually in spirit to receive him. But this day I was caught in a whirlpool, a strange combination of spiraling anger and a fear of entering a black hole of reticence. Maybe I was just tired of pettiness and purposeless exultation. John's youthfulness seemed silly and 
his offering of merriment seemed threatening. My ability to distinguish between desire and disinterest had been paled. My only clear wish was to disrobe, wrap myself in a eiderdown, sit in a cozy chair, and allow a balmy breeze to whisper through my hair. 


     Conore's reputation as a spokeswoman was enhanced by her article protesting the flagrant legalization of compulsory sterilization in Germany (including castration), as well as the elimination of epileptics, schizophrenics and so-called degenerates. 
     Conore is a promising young writer and in a brief interview impressed upon us her humility and wit.



"I am pleased with the response to Sequel to Agony, but am still not sure about it's title, as it is not a sequel, and not agonizing in message...but I suppose this is a result of my ambiguity. Being my first novel, it is rather haphazard in all its compilations of
classic influences and I intend to improve upon that in my second novel. It will be a better novel in terms of engagement and will also make use of pre-Urban Ontario, almost as a third character, as I hopefully expand upon the culturalist writings of Susanna Moodie and her Gothic colorings. 









122,160

Remaining themes:

Siofra: Survivor, relationship to Esther/

Nessa: distress

Abigail:  Assists everyone one but is somewhat distant emotionally, has affair