Nate continues investigating.
Annie is also some bit of investigating herself. The accounts they get are contradictory. First, almost everybody agrees that Florence couldn’t have killed Joshua, and they also think that Joshua was a flirt. Then there are different accounts about Joshua’s personality. Nate talks to his wife, his foreman Franklin Griggs, another typesetter Orrie Childers, and Seth Timmons. Mrs Rashers still claims that Florence killed her husband, who according to her was a good, honest man, because he had decided to fire her as he was tired of her hounding. This clashes with Griggs’ and Seth’s testimonies who can’t believe Florence could have killed Joshua, and they also contradict Mrs Rashers as they think that Joshua intended to give Florence a promotion as she was the best worker he had. Then Orrie Childers, who Nate thinks is a dangerous woman, states that Florence hated Joshua, so she doesn’t believe that the allegations that Florence was in love with him are right. Since everybody believes in Florence’s innocence, and I don’t think she is guilty either, but then why isn’t she speaking to tell the truth? Seth is inclined to think that if she were to plead guilty, then she would be protecting someone, but who? I have no idea. We know that the night of the murder she had argued with her husband as he wasn’t pleased with her having to go out to work again, and he stormed out of the house without eating his dinner. Could Florence be protecting her husband? Or maybe she thinks he killed Joshua, and that is why he isn’t trying to defend herself?
Annie has also done some investigating, and talked to Iris Bailor and Lizzie Richmond, her boss. Iris tells her that Joshua was a despicable businessman who played foul with his competitors, putting many of them out of business. She also claims that he deceived his workers, who only got food and board for months and when they demanded a living salary, he dismissed them.
Mrs Richmond is not so crude in her opinions about Joshua Rashers as she is a good friend of Mrs Rasher’s. She agrees that Joshua was ambitious, competitive, and could be quite cruel. We learn from Mrs Richmond that Joshua and Catherine Rashers met when he started working for her father’s printing company. They married when Catherine was only sixteen, and then when her father died, Joshua set up his own company with Catherine’s inheritance, taking some of the important customers from the printing house he was working for at the moment. Catherine was unhappy for years as she was unable to get pregnant, and then she unexpectedly got pregnant and had two children in two consecutive years. I don’t know why, but I have the hunch that Joshua’s death is linked to his personal life. I haven’t worked out the details, but I am suspicious about Catherine getting pregnant after years. Are the children Joshua’s, or did she take a lover when she realised that it was Joshua’s problem they couldn’t have children? If this is true, that doesn’t explain why Joshua was killed. Could his wife have murdered him if he found out the truth and intended to disown the children? No idea.
I love the moments between Nate and Annie now that they are engaged. They still have their worries because once again they fail to talk to each other. Beatrice, Kathleen, and Esther want to talk about the wedding plans, and when they mention the dress, the church or the hundreds of guests they think they will have; they also repeat all that to Nate when he drops by the house but Annie is busy. They both want an intimate wedding, but now they wonder if the other wants a big wedding, and they muse they are ready to compromise for love.
As for Seth and Laura, we learn that he stopped calling on her when he declined going with her to some event as he was already working in the printing company. When she did not contact him again, he thought that she didn’t want to have anything to do with him. It is our preconceptions that often prevent us from having what we wish. Both Seth and Laura have drawn their own conclusions about each other’s absences instead of swallowing their pride and talking to each other. I am convinced that life would be easier and happier if we people could talk to each other sincerely.