Recap of Part 2
After visiting Ella, Lucy stops to talk to Jake and retrieve her mother’s comb. Then Aunt May shows up and accuses her of lying and sneaking off to meet Jake.
Lucy continues with what happens next:
I looked at Jake. I wanted to ask him for Ma’s comb, but I was afraid Aunt May would throw it away. I’d have to come back. This time I would sneak. I needed that keepsake from my mother, and Aunt May wasn’t going to keep me from having it.
She nudged my shoulder and ordered, “Move.”
I gritted my teeth. I was not an animal, but I would obey, at least for now.
We hurried down the street toward home, Aunt May scolding me all the way. “If you want a comfortable home, you’ll have to do better than a stable boy with no property of his own. Being seen with him will dim your chances of making a marriage to a man of means. Keep your distance. I didn’t take you under my roof to have you disgrace yourself like your mother disgraced our family.”
There it was. Ma had disgraced our family by falling for a fur trader passing through and ending up unmarried and carrying his child. When he had disappeared, Grandfather had hastened to find her a husband. That’s how she ended up married to Pa.
When we got to Aunt May’s, I stopped at the garden and gathered greens for our evening meal. Beef had been simmering in a pot for some hours. I added potatoes and onions and went about mixing dough for biscuits. All the while, I was thinking about sneaking out tonight and meeting Jake. I wanted Ma’s comb.
Supper over, Molly, our Irish housekeeper, cleared the dishes and cleaned the kitchen before going home. I went to my room on the second floor and looked out the window. Getting out of the house without being seen wouldn’t be easy. I had to pass by my aunt and uncle’s bedroom to get to the stairway. But the house was well-built. There were no creaky steps. I simply must wait until they were asleep. But that would be after ten o’clock.
I left my door open and settled in the window seat, a tray on my lap to hold pen and paper, using the time to write to Aunt Hannah. It was nine thirty when I heard the murmur of their voices as they came up the stairs. Aunt May looked in.
“Why aren’t you in bed? You are supposed to be helping me with refreshments for the church tea tomorrow.”
“I’ll be turning in soon. I’m finishing a letter.”
“Who are you writing too? Not that dreadful sister of yours, traipsing around the country in boy’s clothes.”
“No, I’m not writing to Delia. And she’s in New York City now with Aunt Gertrude.”
“Humph. I can’t imagine how Gertrude can show her face in society with Minerva’s bastard in her house.”
“I think they don’t tell people about Delia’s beginnings.” I pressed my lips together to keep from telling her what I really thought.
“So who is the letter to?”
“Well that’s a waste of time. She won’t arrive in New York for close to three weeks.”
“I know, but I want to tell her how my sisters are doing. Fill her in on our lives without her. She’ll want to know. I hope my letter is in her hands not long after she arrives.” Shaking her head, Aunt May continued to her room. I heard the door close. I left mine open. I didn’t want the turn of the knob or the closing of it to make a noise when I left.