Chapter LIII

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"Nicolette!" Mother yelled as we arrived home. "Nicolette!"

"Yes Mrs. Stewart," Nicolette hurried down the stairs.

"Pack your things and get out of this house!" My mother shouted like a mad woman.

"Mother wait," I got in the middle of it.

"I never want to see you anywhere near my family again!"

"Mrs. Stewart please," Nicolette had tears in her eyes.

"This is your fault Nicolette! If Joan had been properly looked after her fever would have been dealt with! It was a fever for God's sake! How could you let her die!" Mother lunged at Nicolette to hit her but I stepped in between them.

"I swear I did everything I could, I tried to..." Nicolette cried so much she could barely talk.

"I will not hear one more word from you! Out! Out of my house!" My mother said ready to choke Nicolette to her demise.

"Please go Nicolette, I will make sure you are looked after I promise." I hurried her knowing this was not my mother's normal behavior and the staff was put to humbleness around my mother for the first time.

In her white bed laid Joan, my little sister had been dead for two days and my mother stared from the door at her then rushed off into her bedchamber and I walked in to see Joan laid asleep blue and frigid so I covered her with her blanket up to the neck as if I could somehow make her warm again. Alas, I fixed the little white bonnet on her head and put a couple of flowers that were by her bed on top of her so that her body might not smell rotten, the chills it gave me to touch it, the heavy weight of such a small little thing as I dressed her in the prettiest outfit we had for her.

And after arranging Joan I tried to console and persuade mother to go see Joan, "mother may I come in?"

"No stay away!" Mother yelled from inside her locked room.

"Mother come see Joan, please."

"No! She is not here anymore!"

"Mama..."

"Go away Alice, leave me in peace, I need to sleep!"

"Alright, if you need anything call me," I said but she did not respond.

"Milady? What happens now?" Edna asked looking to me for some direction of what to do with Joan and mother.

"Tell Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Trudor to arrange the funeral and you Edna guard this door, guard mother and nothing else please."

"Yes Milady," she stood by the door and I rang Mrs. Trudor to give Edna a chair to sit while she guarded the door.

The day of the Joan's funeral was upon us, the tragedy was sent to the papers under the obituary and small letters written by me were sent to the few families we were close with to be in attendance. Edna helped me into a black dress, a black veil, shoes and gloves although I had looked forward to celebrating Spring I was forced once more into the blackness which never left me alone for long.

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