I'd driven a couple of miles, my heart pounding with guilt until I was about to burst. Finally, I couldn't keep my feelings in any longer. "We should've done something."
Aunt Hannah's quiet, even voice sent me into a fit of anger. "You know what about. About poor Gabe being dragged on the ground."
"What should we have done?"
"I don't know."
"Would those men would have stopped if we'd asked them to? Maybe we could have told them they were not behaving like good Christians. Would that have worked?"
The muscles in my forehead tightened. "No."
Aunt Hannah gave me a sideways look. "Shoot them. That's your friend Max's solution, isn't it? You see how his life is ruined because of it. He will always be running from the law."
I stared straight ahead, knowing she was right but not ready to say so.
"We might have killed one of them. But there were two more. What do you think would have happened next?"
Her eyes fastened on me, demanding an answer.
I gave in. "They'd probably shoot us."
"If we were lucky. If we were not, they might have beaten us, had their way with us, and then shot us. Or they might have taken us to the law and had us hanged. Or they might have done all of those things. Getting shot doesn't mean you will die."
The harsh, low tone of her voice broke through my anger, but the injustice of Gabe's treatment wouldn't let go of me. "But they're going to kill Gabe."
"Unlikely. He is worth too much to them alive." She paused. "Cordelia, as hard as it is to understand, what they were doing is legal. Anything we might have done to stop them would be against the law."
"Well, then, the law's wrong."
"Yes, it is. The best thing we can do for everyone is to change the law."
"We can't do that. Women don't have any say in anything. We can't vote."
"I'm working with women who are trying to change that: women like Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We are trying to get an amendment to the Constitution."
"Men would have to vote for it, and they never will."
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