Boston, Massachusetts is directly due east of Rochester, New York. The intervening 300 miles is richly historic land that was originally deeded to the Algonquin Indians, only to be replaced by the Iroquois, followed by the Dutch, English and finally independence.
Independence is the basis for James Ferrell, as he pursues his legal
education, freeing him from the underlying despair of his southern
roots. There are fine institutions of higher learning in his home state,
but he could not pass up the opportunity to lose much of his regional
accent and begin his career north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
For Harv Pearson to request his involvement in the formation of his new magazine is a lucky break on an epic scale. Attorneysare quickly becoming as numerous as the stars above. Rochester orTallahassee, hither and yon, you can find one; practicing the art of writing the law, knowing existing law, finding a way around the
law. Any and every number of them is as qualified as this upstart
from Florida, but this first client comes from a place where people
take care of their own, not completely without logic or potential of
competence, yet bending over backwards to nurture and grow those
families you know. Sow a seed, water it and watch it increase in your
James and Abigail Ferrell are promising seedlings without
pretense, fully aware of how fortunate they are. And do not assume
that Abbey does not contribute to the overall plant. She has and
continues to work hard to support her husband in his loftier pursuits,
both monetary and motivational. She seems to stay abreast of
everything that James has in the hopper, like she is a fly on every wall
of every room that he occupies. If he, in her opinion, has a deviant
thought in matters of the law, she corrects him lovingly with faultless
knowledge. James has since stopped wondering on how she knows
things, she just knows.
“Has Beacon Hill copyrighted the name, Pearson-Eastman
Journal?” asks Abbey in typically pointed fashion.
“Well, no, we have been swamped with the addition of Herbert
Love to the limited partnership. It’s not like merely adding a name to
a document you know,” he dares to clarify.
____160 Gwendolyn Hoff
“If they do not have patent rights to their name, the first issue is
fair game for plagiarism, or even worse, another magazine stealing
their format ideas.”
“Yes,” he concedes, “I see your point. Sometimes even the senior
partners lose track of details, seeing that we have over a one hundred
clients that I am aware of. Not the least of them is J.P. Morgan’s
scheme to freeze John D. Rockefeller out of the steel business.”
“I guess that makes George Eastman chopped liver?”
“No, but he is a silent partner. Judith is the Eastman in the lead.”
“Perhaps when we gain the right to vote, we’ll get some respect,”
Abbeys states emphatically.
“Well, I respect you, honey bunch.” Oops.
“You can take your honey bunch and put it in the cellar with the
old potatoes. When men have the nerve to respect women outside
the walls of the home, then and only then will God be glorified and
true equality exist.”
“I must leave Hon . . . uh, Abbey. The office is expecting me.”
“Coward. I hope Susan B. Anthony is waiting in the lobby—that
would fix your wagon!”
“I heard she is in a sanatorium, old and crazy I suspect.”
He should have kept going.
“You best stop at the diner on your way home.”
“And you will find your bed things on the sofa. It will give you time to ponder women’s suffrage.”
This time he moves through the door without clever commentary,
one phrase late in ceasing.