Olaus Roemer, a Danish astronomer, had determined the speed of light almost two hundred years prior to these events by determining how the difference in the interval between successive eclipses of Jupiter’s moons (by Jupiter itself) varied depending on whether the earth was moving towards Jupiter or away from it. One hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second: it is astonishing how gossip in a small town travels so close to that maximum speed. Not long after the sunrise that followed the girls’ stay with the Ferguses, tongues were wagging all over Bannack about their predicament, at least among the womenfolk. Likewise the Ferguses learned that the wayward parents had returned home. Mrs. Fergus provided the girls with a hearty breakfast, and Jane helped her clean up afterwards. She furtively wrapped some scraps of food in a napkin as she did, which Mrs. Fergus pretended to not notice.
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