quickly averted her gaze, feigning interest in the fringes of her reticule,
as if she had not noticed any tears.Mariah bit the inside of her lip to control its trembling. She staredout the side window, despite knowing it would make her ill. She barely
saw the passing countryside as events of the last month whirled through
her mind. She winced, but the life-rending scenes neither altered nordisappeared.
“Long journey ahead, Miss Mariah,” Dixon said. “Why not try
to sleep? The miles shall pass more quickly.”
Mariah forced a smile, nodded, and obediently closed her eyes. She
doubted she would sleep, but at least with her eyes closed she wouldnot see the pity on the face of her last ally in the world.
They traveled for two days, stopping at various coaching inns
to change horses, stretch limbs, and take hurried meals. Late in the
second day, Mariah fell into exhausted sleep at last, only to be jostled
awake when the hired post-chaise careened, sending her slamming
into its side.“What happened?” she asked, righting herself.
Dixon straightened her hat atop blond hair threaded with silver. “I
believe the driver swerved to avoid a lamb.” She surveyed the pasturebeyond the window. “We are definitely in sheep country.”
Mariah rubbed her offended shoulder and looked out the win-
dows on either side of the post-chaise. They were following a gentle,sparkling river on one side, and on the other, a rolling meadow dotted
with white-faced sheep and nearly grown lambs. The river curved
before them, and they crossed it on a stone bridge, passing a pair of red-brick mills on its bank. They entered a village of blond-stone cot-
tages, with an inn, apothecary shop, stonemason’s, and steepled parish
church clustered around a triangular green.“Is this Whitmore?” Mariah asked.
“I hope so.” Dixon sighed. “My bones have had more than enough