We all ate our salmagundi in silence for a few minutes, until Father took a drink from his glass of ale and smiled at my brother and me. “I saw Dr. Lerned today, children. He is quite excited about what is happening this week,” he said, with a deliberate air of mystery.
“You mean Aunt Pris—er, the baby coming?” I asked.
“No, this is someone much more famous than your baby sister or brother is likely to be, Clara. And, yes, your stepmother did used to be your aunt Priscilla, but now she is your mama. Please try to remember.”
“Yes, sir. I shall try,” I promised sullenly, fixing my eyes on my food and finally starting to eat.
“What was Dr. Lerned so excited about?” Joss asked.
“The Nation’s Guest,” Father replied. “He arrives in New Hampshire today.”
“How can a nation have a guest?” I scoffed. “What a silly idea!”
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