Controlling or Controlled?

September 30, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

It was dark out when I returned to the laundry house. I was walking in the shadows across the street when I saw her exit. He must have been in the shadows as well because I never saw him until he stepped out into the streetlight in front of her. I did not recognize him at first but his voice was unmistakable, Jonathon.

“You should not be here.” He said to her.

“I’ll be where I like and its no business of yours.” Sarah replied.

She would have walked right past him but her grabbed her arm.

“I am not your enemy but it is dangerous in these parts. I will walk you back.” He said.

She shoved his hand off her.

“I’m not afraid of empty streets and dark corners. I am not in need of your misplaced chivalry.” She said.

“Are you always this stubborn and rude or is it me that brings it out in you?” He asked.

“Take your pick, I don’t care what you think. Now, if you are quite through with your brutish display, I am running late.”

He looked exasperated.

“At least go along the back if you will not allow me to escort you. There are me coming this way, dangerous men.”

“How do I know you are not one of them?”

“I never said I wasn’t.”

His coat fluttered open for a moment whether it was deliberate or not I could not see.

“It takes more than that to frighten me.”

“Then you are a fool, Sarah.”

“I’ve been accused of worse. Who are you?”

“Maybe a friend, if you’ll let me.”

“That’s not an answer. My father told me any man afraid to give his name is either without honor or afraid of losing it.”

“Wise man.”

“Yes, he was.”

“You should go now, they’ll be here soon.”

“Since you won’t tell me who you are, you can at least tell me who they are.”

“No, I can’t. You need to leave now.”

“What if I decide to stay?”

“I can’t protect you.”

“I didn’t ask for your protection.”

“Doesn’t alter the circumstances or the fact you’ll need it.”

“You think much of yourself no name.”

“I’m only thinking of you.”

“Lucky for you, I am late for dinner and not particularly interested in your clandestine meetings.”

“Lucky for us both I think.”

“Goodnight stranger.”

“Be careful and stick to the back road.”

Sarah nodded at him and then turned her back to him and walked away into the darkness. I waited, quietly in the shadows afraid if I moved I would call attention to myself. I hoped he would move on soon but he stood still and puffed on a cigarette. I began to consider approaching him and asking what was going on but then I heard horses.

There were a half dozen of them. The man on the lead came into the light and I recognized him. He had came to Carrington Manor only a few weeks ago.

“Evening, Mr. Goulding.” He said.

“Your late, Billy.” Jonathon replied.

Jonathon climbed up on his own horse that I hadn’t seen before. He flicked his cigarette onto the ground.

“Was it her?” Billy asked.

“Yes, it was her.” Jonathon replied.

They rode off out of my sight and hearing. I stood still and silent trying to understand what was going on but the more I tried to understand the less it made sense. Jonathon could not be mixed up with those thugs, could he?

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