arge building. But it was not their home, nor even Mimi's large house in the country or the tall white one in the City. It was a huge squat block of gray stone,far too ugly, she knew, to be anyplace where Mama was. Tears filled her eyes."That's not Mimi's." For a little while, she and her brother John had been atMimi's home in the City. Mrs. Ward, Mama's friend from Paris, had taken them there, and at first Marie Anne's sad heart had lifted joyfully, thinking that shewas going to get to see her beloved grandmother. But then That Woman had whiskedthem away, taking them outside and to another house, where the Awful Man was. She had seen him before, but he was not the sort who spoke to children, and she wasn't sure who he was.Then That Woman had fed her something and tried to give John something, as well, but he was too sick. She had left them in a room, with John twisting and turning on his bed, sweating and shaking. It had scared Marie Anne to see him likethat; it had scared her to be there without any grown-up. But it was even scarier to be away from her big brother, traveling through the dark night with this stranger. Why had Mrs. Ward left them with That Woman? Why had she taken the baby,but not John and Marie Anne? Where was Mimi?She began to cry, although she did not want to in front of this odd, jitteryman whom she did not know at all. "I want Mimi," she said, her voice trembling."I want Nurse. I want Mama!""Later, later." His voice was impatient, and he barely waited for the carriage to stop before he unlatched the door and jumped down. He reached for her, butMarie Anne backed away, her heart thumping. The ugly building loomed outside, and she was certain she did not want to go there."No. No!" The word ended in a shriek as he wrapped one arm around her and dragged her out.She screamed and began to struggle. "Mama! Papa!"He carried her inexorably up the front stairs to the door and banged the heavy knocker. It was some minutes before the door was opened by a scowling servant,and some time more before a large, stern-looking woman swept into the entryway,a dressing gown wrapped around her and a nightcap on her head.The sight of her was enough to freeze Marie Anne's sobs in her throat. She stared at the woman, ice forming in the pit of her stomach. The woman was tall andheavyset, with none of the beauty and warmth that lived in Marie Anne's motherand grandmothers. This woman's eyes were pale and cold as metal, and her face was grim, dominated by a predatory beak of a nose. She looked at Marie Anne as though she knew every naughty thing the girl had ever done."I found her," the jittery man was saying. "She was on the side of the road,obviously abandoned. I didn't know where else to take her."His words were enough to jolt Marie Anne out of her fear, and she cried out indignantly, "That's a lie! I wasn't on the side of the road!"The woman clapped her hands together so loudly that both Marie Anne and the man jumped. "Enough!" Her voice cracked like a whip. "Don't presume to correct your betters, child. You will soon learn that here you speak only when spoken to,and you do not contradict an adult."Her tone made Marie Anne's heart thump inside her chest, but she squared hershoulders and thrust out her chin. She was not the sort to knuckle under withouta fight. She thought of the way her father would ruffle her hair and chuckle, calling her his tiger."But I wasn't by the side of the road," she insisted.The woman's eyes narrowed. "I can see that you are going to be stiff-necked.Redheads are always trouble.""I am sure she will settle down," the man said quickly, panic tingeing his voice. "Once she has been here awhile, she will be all right.""Don't worry, sir," the woman replied with a faintly sardonic smile. She looked at him as if she, too, knew what he was thinking, Marie Anne noticed. "We shall take her. I am not one to turn away a soul just because she is obviously in need of improvement. We shall straighten her out soon enough." The woman's eyes sparkled with anticipation.The man let out a sigh of relief and set Marie Anne down. "Thank you."