I know I left you with Edwina about to open the guest house door to the minister. And that’s a cruel place to leave you, but… hey, that’s the risk you take. I felt like skipping ahead a page, okay?

The rest of this mess can be read here.

Mr. Baecker and I continue to take awkward walks through the town on his evenings off, which fortunately only occur a few times each week. One evening, as we pick our way along the dirt road, trying not to step in horse droppings, or worse, I think I see Maddie ahead of us, holding a gentleman’s arm. A glimpse of dark hair and the echo of a throaty laugh. She disappears into a saloon before I can be sure.

How could I be sure, having known her for such a short time? A train journey, that’s all.

Mr. Baecker begins to tell me things on our walks. He talks about his mother, and a breaded chicken she used to make. He tells me about the massive caverns inside the mine, punctuated by columns and ricocheting with noise. His stories are interesting but I begin to see — though this is a presumptuous thought for a girl with no family and no education — that Mr. Baecker is not a brilliant thinker.

Edwina, the real Edwina, would call it a good thing. “A nice, stable man who will let you go about your business.” I can practically hear her voice. Maybe Maddie would say the same.

These are my advisors. One dead and one imagined on a street corner. I could use something real.

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