The Secrets We Keep

July 15, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

The nightmares have returned. The story about lynching in the newspaper was undoubtedly the culprit, but knowing from where they come is little comfort. Every night it is the same. The rolling clouds in the sky, the thunder in the distance drawing nearer. The wind blowing through the field of lavender and at the field’s end, the tree stands still, untouched by the wind. The girl who leads us, I know her name now, she is Sarah Waters and there is a coldness about her. Penelope swings lifeless from a branch and we are angry, but I think we are even angry at her. It is so odd and so real and yet it make no sense.

I dread the nights and I tire of sleeping. Ironic, is it not?

Father has been extremely irritable as well. Ever since that day last week when mother and I went to visit him at his work, he has been short of temper and long on lectures. If mother knows what matters are bothering him, she has excelled in fooling me. I find myself curious as to what matters could be so secret in father’s life that he will not share them with his wife.

Perhaps it is just business. The strike settlement out of Colorado is rumored to have created a ruckus throughout the labor unions. Especially those in “nationally critical” jobs who have been denied their right to strike without any concessions. The newspaper said the nation is on the verge of an unprecedented labor revolt. Of course most realize we are only a few short months from a new President and there exists hope that the change soon to come will be to the benefit of all.

Speaking of labor, father secured me a temporary job delivering newspapers. It was less than ideal but the laundry houses were fully employed and not much else is willing to hire women. The newspaper job is actually supposed to be for a boy, but father arranged for everyone to assume I am one. I am not sure I can pass for long, but there are not many weeks left before I must return to Primrose in any case.

I wear a gray cap which hides my long hair, which I pull up on top of my head. The short pants are actually easier for bicycling than my skirts and the shirt and jacket are practically a necessity to hide my more feminine assets. If only it was a few degrees cooler, all would be perfect.

Fortunately, the job only requires a few hours a day and it starts early enough in the mornings that I feel as though I have my whole day to do whatever I wish. It is almost like vacation.

The money is not bad either, I make a dollar a day. It is too bad I cannot manage a job like this one while at school. As it is I think Mrs. Carrington has been suspicious about me working. Strictly speaking it is against the rules for young ladies to have jobs while attending school, but we all have to do what we have to do.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, I will follow the bell wether, lets hope that he knows where he is going.
Warm hugs,