It’s cold, the leaves have changed color, and I don’t have proper clothes. I huddle over my spinning wheel at the hearth, next to the cauldron where dinner boils. Mrs. Wilson has a tall spinning wheel. I sit in a straight-backed chair in front of it and turn the wheel with my right hand while I pull the wool fiber towards me as it winds onto the bobbin. Pulling and turning. Turning and pulling. Spinning doesn’t take much attention and my mind wanders. I don’t think of Calcutta. I wonder how Catriona is doing at her new position at Crieff Hydropathical Establishment. I hope the Wilson lads do well at school. Mrs. Wilson and I don’t climb the hillock because it rains most afternoons. Some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed, but most days I spin.
One day, perhaps a month later, Mrs. Wilson interrupts my spinning to tell me I have a letter.
“Shall I open it?” Mrs. Wilson looks concerned.
“If you like,” I say. I don’t really care.
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