Postcards from Three Pines: A Rule Against Murder
Honoré Gamache. Somehow the void had coughed him up as well. And his son.
“It was just before the war. We all knew Hitler had to be stopped. Canada would join with Britain, that was a given. But then this Gamache started giving speeches against the war. He said Canada should stay out of it. Said no good ever came of violence. He was very articulate. Educated.”
She sounded surprised, as though a beluga had graduated from Laval University.
“Dangerous.” She appealed to her husband. “Am I wrong?”
“He believed what he was saying,” said Mr. Finney.
“That only makes him more dangerous. He convinced a lot of others. Soon there were protests in the streets against going to war.”
“What happened?” asked Sandra. She looked up. The ceiling was smooth. Swept clean by the Manoir staff without comment. Not a cookie left. Sandra couldn’t help but feel sad for Bean and all that work. But Bean didn’t seem bothered. In fact, Bean was riveted to the story.
“Canada delayed entering the war.”
“Only by a week,” said Finney.
“Long enough. It was humiliating. Britain in there, Germany brutalizing Europe. It was wrong.”
“It was wrong,” agreed Finney sadly.
“It was that Gamache’s fault. And even when war was declared he convinced a lot of Quebecers to be conscientious objectors. Conscientious.”
She loaded the word with loathing. “There was no conscience involved, only cowardice.”
Her voice lifted, turning the sentence into a weapon and the last word a bayonet. And across the room, the human target.
“He went to Europe himself,” said Finney.
“With the Red Cross. Never in the front lines. He never risked his own life.”
“There were a lot of heroes in the ambulance corps,” said Finney.
“But not Honoré Gamache,” said Irene Finney.
Clara waited for Finney to contradict her. She looked over at Peter, some jam on his ill- shaven cheek, eyes down. Thomas and Sandra and Marianna, eyes aglow. Like hyenas falling on prey. And Bean? The child sat on the tiny chair, feet planted firmly, gripping Myths Every Child Should Know.
Clara stood up, taking the tablecloth with her. Peter looked embarrassed. Causing a scene was so much worse than causing pain. Her hands trembled as she grabbed at the cloth and jerked it free. Her eyes were watering, with rage. But she could see the satisfaction in Mrs. Morrow’s
As Clara stumbled from the room, past Gamache himself, and out of the squeaking screen doors, the words followed her into the wilderness.
“Honoré Gamache was a coward.”