I don’t know how I didn’t guess. Sarah is actually Gilbert Morse’s daughter. He and Rachel Adams had an affair, and Sarah is their love child. So that means that the story about Sarah’s father dying in India where he was served as a soldier is a lie. We don’t know the details of the affair, or how Sarah hid the pregnancy and managed to concoct that story of a dead husband. Yet, it is clear that some people are suspicious. Sarah thinks that her teacher treats her coldly for some reason, and Mrs Pugh has hinted that she never saw Rachel’s husband, so she has her doubts.
Bertha Pugh doesn’t treat Sarah right. She makes the girl work extra hard, and she always find fault in everything she does. Sarah feels miserable and misses her mother terribly. One particular episode is when Sarah is cleaning the picked-up eggs and uses hot water, so the eggs got coddled. Bertha Pugh gets so furious that she hits and even kicks her. It is in the middle of this run-in that Gilbert Morse appears, and even though the woman pretends there is nothing the matter, Gilbert can tell that Mrs Pugh is not the most merciful person on earth.
Seeing the way Bertha Pugh treats little Sarah fills Gilbert with worry. He knows that he has no reason to remove the girl from the house, but after much thinking, he comes up with something. Sarah is a clever girl who likes reading, and he tells his family that from now on Sarah will come to the house and get her education from the same tutor Alicia gets classes from. Blanche, his wife, and his children don’t approve of his decision, and Alicia becomes mutinous, but Gilbert has made that decision and won’t budge.
Very interesting. It seems that there has been animosity between Alicia and Sarah from the beginning. From what we have seen, Alicia is spoilt rotten, and she is quite nasty when she compares herself to Sarah, who is just a village girl for her. I wonder if the truth about Sarah will be discovered at some point. That will be interesting to read. And I have to add that I like Gilbert Morse, and I can believe that he seemed to have loved Rachel Adams. It is good of him to watch out for Sarah. After all, a man of his class might not have bothered.