What does the narrator learn from her visit to Miss Clark in A Mother in Mannville?
Before the narrator leaves the cottage, she drops off her cabin key and some money for her electric bill to Miss Clark. During the short visit, she asks Miss Clark if she will summon Jerry so that they (the narrator and Jerry) can say their farewells.
Miss Clark answers that she doesn't know where Jerry has gone. She further states that he seems to be unwell and did not eat his dinner at noon. Some of the boys purportedly saw Jerry go over the hill into the laurel woods. Miss Clark opines that Jerry also did not show up to fire up the boiler; this tardiness is uncharacteristic of him.
The narrator is relieved that Jerry isn't there as she thinks it would have been an emotionally difficult farewell for them both if he had been. She confesses to Miss Clark that she would have asked about Jerry's mother and how the boy came to be at the orphanage if she had had the time. However, she leaves some money for Miss Clark to purchase some presents for Jerry for Christmas and his birthday. She reasons that cash would be better as she would not then run the risk of duplicating presents Jerry's mother has already bought him on previous occasions.
It is with surprise and shock that the narrator soon learns from Miss Clark that Jerry does not have a mother, or at least one he has kept in contact with.