Tenor rings of eight new bells inside iron frame stirred the rainy street. He looked through the branching fingers of Hawthorne protecting stained glass windows. St. Peter and St. Paul had its pulpit framed under a back open room: between the pews wide columns rose to broad arches joining a high ceiling. The Hungarian curate spoke quickly, fiercely, of his times in Montreal delivering sermons to crowds double the size of Appledore’s population. The congregation were warm, yet amused by his oddness and exasperated passion.
Reverend Trebitsch lodged at Gusborne Farm at the crossroads just outside the hamlet. Appledore was one street: a store; a post office; a pub; cottages; the houses and the church, medieval. They were modern houses: unfenced street-sized gardens, appearing larger than they were. Summer came in snap-shots: the breeze of a blue sky or sprouting flowers from hedgerows. Although, the light was quick gone. Bubbling buds of Red Valerian suffocated in dark rocks and the bright yellow petals of Evening Primrose went under sodden drizzle and underfoot.
He’d heard the village had a history of rebellion and in boredom prayed for it. He once walked by the union mill, wind shaker. On the Military Canal, the reeds slapped wind. The canal went to Seabrook and the North Sea: in the other direction, Hastings by the Channel. Each were twenty miles away with Appledore in the middle, buried. The bird-like Emperor Dragonfly flew over marsh pea and ugly thistle. White fronted geese squawked and he looked on the mute swan and kingfisher with enmity.
In July, Trebitsch made a quick trip to Hamburg and returned with Margarethe and their new son, Ignatius Emanuel. The villagers called her Margaret and they fussed over Ignatius. Trebitsch said they could call him John if it was easier. They were easy-going and did both. Mararet enjoyed Appledore’s slow sleepy pace.
“Midges, they call them! Midges!”
Trebitsch batted the insects. “Foul bastards!” The more he batted them the more they seemed to follow.
“The people here are stupid,” Trebitsch told her. “They ask the questions of a child. If I pray to God will he be listening? Does the Lord forgive our sins? These are the churchgoer’s questions. A theological conversation is unlikely, they are idiots. And there is nothing to do!”
Ignatius began to cry.
“Yes little one,” rubbing the infant’s chin and meeting his sleepy eyes, “you ARE taking next week’s sermon.”
Ignacz The Watch Thief is serialised five days a week. To donate go to patreon.com/andyluke and access four advance chapters, commentaries or bonus art.