Settling Into Place

October 29, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

“Margaret.” I said.

The three girls looked at me as though I had lost my mind.

“Margaret is engaged to the editor of the paper.” I clarified.

“How do you know that?” Penelope asked.

“How could you not know it? It’s been the talk of the manor since we arrived for the term.” I replied.

Sarah nodded her support while Edith appeared to be as out of the loop as Penelope. Odd that Sarah and I would be in on gossip they had both missed. I almost felt ashamed.

“If anyone knows or can find out where that press is, it’s Margaret.” I said.

“Will she help us?” Edith asked.

“Yes.” Sarah replied before I could.

I looked at her quizzically. She shrugged.

“She was the first person here who didn’t try to beat me down.” She said.

“Are we sure we want to ignore this?” Edith said holding up the paper again.

“Are you having second thoughts?” I asked.

“If we are right, ignoring it is the best thing to do but if we are wrong, what can we do to protect ourselves short of what they expected us to do?” Edith asked.

“We could take it to the Dean.” Penelope suggested.

“Wouldn’t that start the same process taking it to the sheriff would?” I asked.

“No, but it could easily get beyond our ability to control still.” Edith said.

“What about the Carrington’s?” I asked.

“No, I don’t trust them.” Sarah said.

It was the first time she had said it since we had gathered but we all knew her feelings toward them were not positive. I wanted to ask why but the timing was not right even though I am certain everyone in the room shared my curiosity. I had complete faith in them during my previous term at Primrose but when I consider my current feelings I find that even my own trust in them is not the absolute it once was. Perhaps it is Sarah’s cautiousness rubbing off on me or perhaps I too sense something is not quite right with them. Still, I look forward to exploring it with Sarah in the future.

“What about Mr. Birchwood?” Edith asked.

“What about him?” Penelope asked.

“He can be discreet and he would certainly be interested in putting a stop to something like this?” Edith replied.

“True he did help us before, but how do you know he won’t go straight to the Dean or the sheriff himself with it.” I asked.

“He won’t because I’ll explain our concerns to him.” Edith said.

“Is there some reason your request would matter to him more than doing what he thinks is right?” Sarah asked.

“I was his assistant during the summer. We have a good relationship and there is understanding between us.” Edith said.

“Then it’s settled. Sarah will find the printing press through Margaret and Edith will arrange to secure the person or persons responsible for our love note through Mr. Birchwood.” I said.

“And the two of you can start writing a few articles for our soon to be periodical.” Sarah said looking at Penelope and I.

We groaned simultaneously to Sarah’s twinkling smile. I tried to sound like I was in charge and making the decisions but with one simple sentence and smile she put me back in place and made it clear that she would always be our leader whether we wanted to acknowledge it or not.

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