Effie started and refocused on the room. How long had she stared into space this time? “We’ll color your hair. Find the page again.” She had to keep busy, keep her mind from always skipping off. “What do we do first?”
“Do you want me to teach you to read so you can read the recipes?”
“Rev. Jackdaw said he didn’t want me distracted from my work when I asked him to teach me to read the Bible. Said it was best if he read to me and explained what the words meant.”
“Grandma Teegan taught me. Uncle Rowan helped, too.”
“Men are scared of wives learning too much. They want wives to stay teeny-tiny so they can stay big.” She shrugged. “At first, not reading seemed like trading something big for something small, being his wife. But Ma can’t read. And I owe Rev. Jackdaw.” Everything had a price. Mae sold herself for the promise of a dress, and Effie felt she’d sold herself too. Was it just to escape ever having to see Jury again? Away from New Ulm, he’d always remember her as she was now. But there was no going back, and dreaming about it hurt. Her life was this lodge and this child staring at her.
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