April 2, 1896 - Penelope Sumter's Diary


Damn it! I closed my eyes and sighed before turning to face Edith. She was looking smug when I turned. I felt like a gazelle trapped by a cheetah.

“I am sure you are aware I’ve been trying to get you alone for the better part of week.”

“So, I have noticed. What do you want from me?”

“We have a matter to discuss.”

“So discuss it.”

“I am aware of your late night escapes.”

I almost laughed. If she intended to blackmail me over invented visits to my imaginary suitor, I would certainly have the final laugh and word on the matter.

“You must not believe every rumor you hear, Edith. Some are falser than your smile.”

“I saw you with my own eyes, don’t try and deny it, You and Elizabeth both slipped out the window.”

I had nearly forgotten about that incident.

“What do you want then?”

“What makes you assume I want anything?”

“If you did not we would not be talking.”

“Quite true.”

“I will not wait all the day.”

“You will wait as long as I tell you.”

“No, if you think you have some weight over me you are greatly mistaken. Take your knowledge to whomever you wish. I will face their consequences if I must.”

I started to walk away. I had the impression she had not but her word for proof and while that might be enough she seemed unwilling to go so far.

“Are you not worried for your friend Elizabeth?”

“What makes you think she is my friend?”

“Are you claiming she’s not?”

“I am claiming she is capable of facing her own consequences.”

“But you are not?”

“What are you talking about?”

“It is your corruption leading Elizabeth astray.”

“That is your opinion. I happen to think Elizabeth is more than capable of thinking for herself.”

“Silly me for thinking you cared about anyone other than yourself. Go on then, I’ll let Mrs. Carrington expel you both.”

“She will not expel on your word alone. You have no proof of your claim and if you did I think you would have already told her.”

“You are wrong. I have a young man named Stanley who can corroborate where the two of you went and how long you were there.”

“I do not know a Stanley.”

“He knows you and Elizabeth. Quite in fact, Elizabeth has gone there to see him since as well.”

“There are boys all over Brown who know us both by sight. It proves nothing.”

“I also know you and all your roommates allowed Jonathon to sneak her in to bed Sunday night. Would you rather drag them all down with you?”

I sighed in frustration.

“What do you want, Edith?” I hissed.

She smiled and flowers wilted. I could feel anger boiling up inside me. I imagined myself slapping her face.

“I want you to accept responsibility for your negative influence. I want you to submit yourself to punishment and I want you to thank me for handling it between us.”

I could not help myself. I laughed. I laughed so hard it brought tears to me eyes. This wretched girl thought I would submit myself to her?

“Laugh as you will. The choice is yours and make no mistake, I have the resolve to see this through either way you choose.”

Her composure was impressive but her eyes gave away her insecurity. They darted from place to place. She was as nervous as she hoped she had made me. I was about to walk away and call her bluff but then a thought struck me.

If I did allow Edith to believe she had won I could perhaps turn the tables and hold her mistake dangling over her for the rest of our time together at Primrose. Surely such leverage would be worth the worst she could manage?

I closed my eyes for a moment to compose myself. My performance was stage worthy I do believe.

“You win. You have to promise you will never tell another soul though. This gets settled between us and us alone.”

She nodded.

“We have an agreement then. I will make arrangements for privacy and let you know when and where.”

She walked away even smugger than when she had entered. How I loathe her!

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