roadway and wondered what it would be like to simply driftaway to a place where she was the only one who had controlover her life.
Ellie snorted, tugged her cape tighter, and trudged forward.
She had just taken a couple of sidesteps to avoid a deep ridgein the roadway when a raccoon darted out of the woods right
in front of her. Startled, she swirled about, tripped over her
own skirts, and toppled into the brush, snagging her cape ona low branch in the process.
Thankfully, she found the wherewithal to grab on to a small
sapling to keep from pitching forward and landing flat on her
face. Swaying a bit, she gasped for air and wondered if her
heart would burst before it stopped pounding in her ears.
When she finally caught her breath, she glanced down and
saw that she had landed smack in the middle of a patch of
blackberries. Relief that the thorns on the brambles had notpierced through her cape and skirts was short-lived, however,once she got back to her feet to see what damage she had doneto her garments.
Her gloves, which had kept her hands from being scraped,
were sticky with tree sap, and the mends she had made justthe other day had torn open again, which meant the gloves
were now destined for the trash pit. To make matters worse,there was a wide tear in her cape, just above the hem, and shegroaned out loud. She could mend that tear easily enough, butthe blackberry stains on her cape and her gray skirts wouldbe almost impossible to remove.
Ellie yanked off her gloves and stuffed them into her pocket
before easing back to the roadway. “I needed to ruin my cape
my work gown
my gloves? Now? When I’m due atMr. Smith’s? I look like a . . . a ragamuffin!”Chest heaving, she swiped at her tears and stomped both