From Whitechapel 4

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My, my!

We have to grant that Alice is not the spineless weakling that Henry Mercier thinks. She has been cossetted by her family, which is logical if she has a family who looks after her. Yet, she has been brave to go to Whitechapel. I can imagine from the descriptions of Whitechapel that the place is beyond horrible, and I wouldn’t want to set foot there. Alice is determined to help and find her sister, so she has no problems to venture outside the shelter to try to find Emma, who she thinks knows where her sister can be. Things don’t go as they should when she lets a woman lead her to Emma’s address, but the woman hits her in the head to rob her, I imagine. Thankfully, Henry Mercier appears in the nick of time and helps her alongside Cora. When Alice comes round, she finds herself in a public house alone with Henry.. For the first time they talk, and Henry tells her that his hostile attitude comes from his presumption that she is a bored spoilt brat that only wants to find some entertainment or a way to catch a rich gentleman. I think Henry is quite unfair to Alice because he doesn’t know her, and if she is rich, as she rightly points out, it is not her fault. In the pub Alice tells her about her sister and the real reason why she is helping in the shelter.

Alice stays away from the shelter for a few days because the attack she suffered has left her shaken, and she needs some time to get her strength and determination back. Her father gives a party, and the usual guests are invited, among those there is her friend Lucasta, who is quite a free spirit or maybe it is her reaction to what she has been born to, and Patrick, who everybody thinks Alicia should marry. At the end of the party when she is bidding Patrick goodbye, there is a knock at the door and Henry appears. He is bashful for having intruded in the middle of the party and gives Alice an envelope. The man leaves before Alice could say anything, but Alice won’t let him escape, so she runs after him. They talk and at some point he kisses her and she responds to the kiss passionately, but the passion they share is brief as once again they are fighting about their very different attitudes to life. Henry still recriminates her for the luxurious life she leads, and I can understand Alice feeling wronged in his opinions. I don’t know if Henry is really this thick and his opinions are too black and white, or if he acts this way because he likes Alice too much and knows that he can’t have her. In any case, they part ways in the same note as they have been since the beginning. I wonder how things will work out for Alice and Henry from now on.

Back in the house she opens the envelope that Henry had given her, and there she finds the new address for Emma, who she intends to find. At home Alice finds out something different as well. As she is looking in her father’s studio, she finds a letter that comes from a lunatic asylum, and from her last words we know that this is something important and she realizes that she has been kept in the dark for too long. I can guess that Bea was sent to an asylum for some reason. Was she mentally unstable or maybe her parents decided that she needed to be sent there for some reason? Then Bea escaped from the asylum and since she couldn’t return home, she ended up in Calais, working as a prostitute, which is the only thing she could do to earn some money. I am really curious to know. I am sure it is Bea who was in the asylum, but I don’t know if there was a dark reason why she had to be sectioned. Did her parents lock her away to keep up appearances? As far as we know,  Alice’s father has never told her the truth, and when Bea went missing, she was discouraged to talk about her sister. Did her parents want to spare Alice’s feelings by not telling her the truth? Or were they hiding something bigger?

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