Alicia and Sarah meet, but their encounter doesn’t go well for them. Sarah tells Alicia about Leo de Vere taking over the company and Guy supporting it. Alicia thinks that what Sarah is trying to do is to drive a wedge between her and her son, so she takes umbrage and leaves in a huff.
The novel then moves back in time as Sarah reminisces her life and relationship with Gilbert Morse and the Baileys. The memories start when Sarah was nine years old. Little Sarah lived with her mother alone since her father, who was a soldier, died in India. Her mother, Rachel, works for Gilbert Morse, or rather his wife, as a seamstress. Gilbert has been married twice, and Rachel first worked for Rose Morse, who I imagine is Alicia’s mother, and when she died, Gilbert remarried, and his wife, Blanche Morse, is Leo de Vere’s mother. We know that Rachel found Rose Morse easier that the present Mrs Morse.
As Sarah and her best friend are on their way back from school, Sarah tells her that her mother is sick, and when she gets home, she finds her mother in bed. She hasn’t moved all day, and then when Sarah tells her mother that she should call the doctor, Rachel says that she should tell Gilbert Morse, who she describes as a decent, nice man. When Mrs Stickman, her friend’s mother, appears, the woman tells Sarah to call the doctor. Little Sarah runs to the doctor’s, but when she knocks at the door, she is told that he is out. So remembering what her mother told her, she runs to find Mr Morse, who appears in his motor car. Sarah is apprehensive, but eventually tells him. Gilbert Morse knows where the doctor is, so he takes Sarah to find him. Yet, when the doctor gets to Sarah’s house, it is too late. Her mother is dead.
Then Gilbert makes arrangements for Sarah to live with Amos Pugh and his wife. Amos runs his state, and his wife, Bertha, is a dragon of a woman. The woman has always scorned her husband because he has failed to get his own farm, and she also blames him for not giving her the children she wanted. Now when Amos tells her that Gilbert Morse wants him to take in Sarah, Bertha blows a gasket. Yet, when Gilbert appears with Sarah, the woman is appeased when Gilbert tells her that he will pay for Sarah’s upkeep.
I like to learn more about the history of these characters. I am afraid that little Sarah won’t have it easy with Bertha Pugh. I am curious to know how Sarah gets from poverty to becoming the owner of the state.