Annie is really clever.
When Laura was attacked, the girl’s reaction made her think she wasn’t telling the whole truth, and she was right. Now we know that Laura fears that the man who attacked her could be Seth Timmons. Apparently, Seth was one of the students in her year when she was studying to get her teaching licence, but he stayed one year more because he joined the course later. We know that something happened with Seth when she got her first teaching position in autumn, and there was an altercation with one of Laura’s students. Is Seth in love with Laura and that is why he apparently keeps following her? When Laura and Nate go out together, she mentions him as a Union soldier, and what strikes Nate as strange that Laura clarifies that he is definitely not a friend.
Another matter is Laura’s friend Hattie. Laura goes to visit her, eager to see her friend. We know that Laura and Hattie became good friends when they both studied to get their teaching licences. The young women talked about saving up for a couple of years, and then they would both go to university, Hattie to become a doctor and Laura a lawyer. Yet, Laura realises things have changed. First, Hattie’s boarding house leaves a lot to be desired, but Laura thinks that without a job Hattie can’t afford anything better. Hattie also looks a bit haggard, and for a moment Laura thinks her friend might be sick. Then Hattie explains that what has happened to her is that she has fallen in love with the school’s vice headmaster, Andrew. She tells Laura that they are getting married in just a few months. Laura reacts angrily, feeling betrayed as she and Hattie had agreed to forget men as their plans were more important. When Hattie bursts into loud sobs, Laura softens, but days later she still feels let down by her friend.
I have the suspicion that Hattie is pregnant and that is why she had to leave her position at the school, and not just because Andrew was her superior. That is the logical explanation to the hurried wedding, and her evasive answers when Laura asks her about her plans to pursue her career after the wedding. I hope that Andrew is true to Hattie and marries her for real, because if he turns out to be a rake, she is going to have it hard.