“Charity don’t mean kinship,” he said. “With that hair, I’ll call you Rooster.”
“My name is Bridget.”
“Was. Rooster now.”
Rev. Jackdaw was, she spelled silently, M-E-A-N.
The back of his hand smacked her mouth. Pain shot through her top lip. “Quit licking. You a dog?”
She sucked at the hurt and tasted blood. She wanted to spell mean out loud, but that would make him hit again. She pressed her lips together and listened to the squeaking buggy, the rumble of the wheels, and the jingling of the horse’s traces. They passed a shopkeeper sweeping out a doorway, boys shooting marbles, and two old men rocking. For several blocks, she tried not to think about Rev. Jackdaw or where they were going.
The sight of a huge brick building just ahead caught her attention. The sign said, Martin Luther College. Its wide staircase stretched across the front and went a dozen or more steps high. Many buildings in New York were as large; it was the activity on the stairs that made her stare. She was in the West where Mum lived, and a group of young ladies mingled in long skirts and waists with leg-o-mutton sleeves. Was one of them Mum? They shuffled, some going up a step, some down, laughing, arranging and rearranging themselves in two rows by height. Unable to decide who was taller, they passed their hands back and forth over each other’s heads. At the foot of the stairs, an older woman waited for them with her tripod and camera.
“Squawks,” Rev. Jackdaw said. “Suffrages.”
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