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“Mrs. Macnair!” says the hotelier smoothly. “Do you require assistance?”

“I want to know what my daughter is doing here with these–people.”

“Mother!” says Proserpina.

“I thought I’d ride the train out early and take you shopping for summer clothes,” says Mrs. Macnair. “Now I find you not only out of school, but in disreputable company!”

“This is important!” says Proserpina. “My teacher–”

Her mother’s grip on her shoulder is sudden and tight. “That’s enough, young lady.”

“Proserpina?” says Elijah.

Proserpina has frozen, face white, just a fourteen-year-old girl remembering: this is the woman who broke my arm.