Porcelain (Part 36)

“Damn this place!  What have I done so wrong to anyone here to be treated like this?”  Isaac walked on past Wyatt, raising up his hands repeatedly toward the sky as he lamented whatever it was that had set him off.  Wyatt followed him with his eyes, wondering when it was going to come, which it did eleven minutes later.  Having finally circled in toward his father, Isaac stood over him, blocking out the sun which had felt rather good on Wyatt’s face.

“I’ll be needing money father.  Get your satchel.”

Wyatt peering upward at Isaac, who’s face was pinched from the strain of having to ask for assistance, abrupt and rude as that request may have been.

“What is it?  What has happened?”

“Father, I need money, so go and get your satchel.”

“I said I would follow your direction, but that most certainly does not extend to you producing orders in regard to what I may do with my money.  Now, what has happened?”

Isaac threw his hands up in apparent exasperation and stalked off, muttering to himself.  Wyatt returned to enjoying the sun on his face but was interrupted five minutes later by the return of his son.

“Very well, I shall tell you, but I will not have any of your condescension about what happened, or what I should have done differently if only I was as smart as you.  You understand me?”

Wyatt just crossed his arms in reply.

“Apparently, my last payment was not received or recorded,” Isaac continued, “which I find impossible to believe as I sent it through just as I had the others, which were all received in good order.  It has certainly been long enough for the funds to have made their way here.  So, I cannot get access to my estate unless I produce that money.”

Wyatt remained with his arms crossed.

“And I don’t have it.  As you are well aware, I have been channeling what money I did have toward this move, which has left me little.  I thought this was all worked out so we could come over and I would assume ownership of my estate as I had planned.”

More silence and crossed arms from Wyatt brought the blood rushing to Isaac’s face.

“So I need money father,” he shouted, “so go and get your damn satchel!”

Wyatt moved then, pulling the battered black case out from between two large trunks, and setting it down as his feet.

“How much then?”

The amount Isaac stated was large enough that Wyatt suspected his son may not have made several of the payments for which he was responsible in regard to the purchase of the estate.  He also knew that giving up such a large amount was going to severely deplete the small amount of money he still had in reserve.  Reluctantly, he counted out the funds to Isaac, who turned and stormed off after a very perfunctory thank-you.  An hour later, with the sun just starting to slip behind the tops of the western tree line, all seemed to be in order as Isaac stepped out from the small business where he had been finalizing his purchase.  There was a satisfied smile on his face as he strode across the roadway to a livery company, emerging from there ten minutes later.   Once all the belongings were loaded up again Isaac walked over to the business office and returned with Lydia and Ambrose.  As he helped them up into the smaller of the two wagons Wyatt overhead Lydia expressing how proud she was of her husband, after which Isaac shot him a withering and warning look.  Clearly, Lydia had somehow been kept ignorant of the fact that Isaac had not properly paid for their estate, and just as clearly Wyatt was not supposed to mention that or his loan to his son.  An interesting tool to have at his disposal was what Wyatt thought of that arrangement, keeping quiet as he lifted Claudia into the other wagon.


middle german house courtesy wikipedia.org

middle german house courtesy wikipedia.org


The estate which Isaac had chosen turned out to be rather nice Wyatt thought as they approached, secluded but not in a haunting or isolating kind of a way.  Tucked around a curve in the rutted trail they had traveled in on, the front of the estate was framed by two towering oak trees that spread their heavy limbs over the path that was cleared into the property.  It was evident that this area had formerly been very well tended, although it was now overgrown with wildflowers and tall, thin grass.  The edges of the path were lined with cornflower and chamomile which had been somewhat overtaken by weeds.  In the distance, about one half mile down the path, stood both the larger, main house and the cabin.  The house was two stories tall, with a thatched roof and exterior framing, several entrances being visible in the middle of the structure along with a low, white-washed brick wall.  The cabin was made of logs and seemed fairly new, and although it was much smaller than the house, Wyatt felt it would be sufficient for he and Claudia to live in.  After everything was unloaded and the unpacking had begun, Wyatt was surprised, and silently pleased, to hear Isaac announce that he intended to start seeking work the following morning.  Perhaps his repayment was going to come sooner than expected, although Wyatt figured it was more about his son’s wounded pride and desire to be rid of the debt.  Wyatt did not plan on making any immediate fuss about who may or may not be the master of the estate, although he was pleased to have a trump card in reserve.  He also knew that Isaac would consider it a priority to be able to claim himself as such without any worry about what his father might say.  Early the next morning, even before Wyatt was up to smoke his pipe, Isaac strode off into the darkness, headed toward town.  Later that afternoon, as Wyatt and Claudia sat silently in the  house, waiting on Lydia to serve dinner, Isaac rush into the main living area with a smile and a shout.

“It’s done!  It took me all day, and much walking, but I have secured a position in the town.  I knew I could do it!”  Isaac picked Ambrose up and twirled him around several times before setting the boy back in his seat.  After giving her husband a hug and a small kiss on the cheek, Lydia asked the question.

“Where at Isaac?  Where will you be working?”

“You’ll never guess.  Would you like to try?”

Wrinkling her nose, Lydia replied. “I hardly think so.  I know nothing of this place, so how am I supposed to guess?”

Wyatt smiled at the sarcasm in her voice, but it did not seem to deter Isaac, who continued to beam as he answered her question.

“I will be working at Wagner, Apel & Laube,” he stated proudly while taking a deep breath before finishing with, “a local Porzellanmanufaktur!”

… to be continued

Porcelain (Part 35)

They walked along together for about ten minutes before ducking into a worn-down wooden building with a faded sign out front advertising rooms for rent.  Surprisingly, this did not turn out to be the lodging house that Isaac had chosen to rest at for the night, and they continued on for fifteen more minutes, admiring the scenery along the way.  Then Wyatt spotted what he was certain was the correct place.  One story tall and made of broken and crumbling brick, the irregularly shaped building peeked out from behind a thick wall of beech and poplar trees.  Run-down and hidden, Wyatt thought to himself, a perfect place from his son’s point of view.  After entering and being informed that the, “American family that just arrived,” had not secured an additional room for anyone else in their traveling group, Wyatt paid for his own room and he and Claudia retired for the night.

Waking early the next morning and slipping out to take a walk and smoke his pipe, he ran into Isaac sitting under one of the large trees that surrounded the building.  Starting to veer away from his son to avoid further confrontation, the younger man instead looked up and waved his father over.  Once Wyatt was within a few feet of the tree Isaac abruptly stood up.

The two men stared at each other for long minutes, ones that were quiet except for the cooing of some rock pigeons that were clustered together on the rooftop of a nearby storage shed.  Ultimately nothing was said between them and Wyatt stepped off to resume smoking his pipe.  By that evening though, they had managed to start talking again.  Wyatt, admitting that he knew little of the geography of Europe, had inquired about how long they still had to travel.

“About six hundred kilometers.”

Wyatt gave his best attempt at converting that to a distance that made sense to him.

“Maybe three hundred miles?”

Isaac only shook his head.

“Well, tell me then.  I have no talent for figuring those kind of things out.”

“Three seventy.”

“Hmmm, a long way then for sure.  What are our travel arrangements?”

Isaac took his time responding, finally putting down the newspaper he was reading and looking at this father.

“So, you do wish to continue on with us then?”

Wyatt only blinked back in response.

“If you do, then you will be following my guidance going forward.  And I mean that completely.  You will do as I say or you and that miserable girl can stay here and find you own way about, or back across the ocean, whatever you choose.”

Realizing that he was now being offered a dare of his own, certainly as a well-thought out plan from the scheming mind of Lydia, Wyatt also knew that he was just as unlikely to call the bluff as his son had been.

“Very well, I understand that we have perhaps taken too many pains to aggravate each other.  Claudia and I shall follow along with you and I will follow your guidance.  Leave the girl alone though.  She has done little to you and yet still knows you despise her.  Leave her in peace.”

Rising up, Isaac replied in a mocking manner.  “I do despise her father.  We leave tomorrow by carriage; Lydia, Ambrose and I.  Our, and your, possessions will follow in the wagon, as will you and the girl.   Eight a.m. father, and not a second later.”

“Yes, very well.”

As the horses stepped off the next morning Wyatt struck up a conversation with the driver of the large wagon after getting Claudia tucked in as comfortably as possible among the chests and cases that accompanied them.  Finding out their route did little to aid him in determining where, or even in what direction they might be going, and the driver’s English was poor enough to limit attempts at trying to figure out more.  Place names such as Neuhaus am Rennweg, Probstzella and Creunitz meant nothing to Wyatt and he felt lost during most of the journey, doing his best to keep track of of their direction of travel.  When they finally pulled into Lippelsdorf, he figured that they had traveled mostly South and perhaps a little to the east during their lengthy, but rather enjoyable, twelve day journey.  Traveling in the much heavier wagon, they had fallen well behind Isaac and his family within the first few hours, and the remainder of the time passed slowly although the scenery was enough to keep Wyatt and Claudia’s attention.  The driver also proved to know many good places to rest and eat on their route, and although not much else was said between them, he and Wyatt struck up a silent friendship along the way.  After helping them unload the wagon the driver gave Wyatt a short, friendly hug and then jumped up into the driver’s seat to immediately start the return journey.  Sitting down on one of the cases, Wyatt took some time look around as Claudia ran in circles around the large pile of belongings.

The town was obviously small but neatly kept, with well-manicured bushes surrounding the few homes he could see from his position on the side of the road.  There were several people walking about, one pushing a wheelbarrow and a small family working together in a garden area of their property.  A tall man, dressed in a wrinkled black suit walked right past Wyatt, and although he stared at the collection of luggage and Claudia, did not offer a greeting.  The most striking scene though was the vast forest that rose up around the town, seeming to wrap it in a blanket of pine trees.  Although Wyatt had seen the rise of these metamorphic-rock mountains as they passed along the narrow road bringing them into Lippelsdorf, it was another thing entirely to see the tall peaks from inside the embrace of the surrounding forest.  Wyatt would have been content to sit and admire them for much more time; however, the piercing voice of his son cut into his reverie.

… to be continued