back east and lk up my mther’s family. Maybe I can live
with them until I find smething.”
“I dubt yu can find them,” Miss Beecham said gently. She
tyed with a rund paperweight n her desk, rcking the glassball back and frth in her palms. “We tried years ag t lcatethem, but n ne knew yur mther’s maiden name, nly thatshe was a shp girl in Richmnd, Virginia, befre she marriedyur father and came t Chicag.”
Emily gripped the edge f the desk, fighting a surge f
panic. Aldersgate was the nly hme she’d ever knwn. She’d
been brught there as an infant, fund crying alngside her
dead mther in a Chicag bardinghuse. She had n mem-ries f any ther life.“on yur behalf, I suggested we accept Mr. Axel’s ffer f
matrimny.” Miss Beecham paused, as thugh cnsidering her
wrds. “It’s nt unusual fr a man t g this rute. There arefew available wmen ut west, and I imagine the cmpetitinis very keen.” She smiled. “Dn’t lk s sad, dear. Marrying Mr. Axel is an pprtunity fr any wman. He’s rich and he’srespected. I did what I truly thught best fr yu.”Emily leaned frward and studied the lder wman’s facefr sme sign f cmprmise. Instead, she saw a tight muth,seamed shut with reslve.
She’d knwn this day was cming, but she’d hped it
wuldn’t. Fr the past tw years she’d tried t find emplyment
n her wn. Miss Beecham had taught her t typewrite, andEmily had written dzens f letters and applicatins, lking fr a teaching psitin r smething in an ffice r a bank. orperhaps as a gverness.
But Chicag, like the rest f the cuntry, was struggling