Chapter 14 Summary
Isabel comes home from an errand one afternoon to find Becky and Ruth at work in the kitchen. Madam enters, looking sweaty and disheveled, and tells Isabel to serve her husband in his library. Tentatively, Becky points out that Master Lockton asked not to be disturbed. Madam brushes off this objection, saying that her husband dare not entertain the mayor without offering the man food or wine.
Madam loads a silver tea tray and makes Isabel carry it up to the library. Shouting through the door, Madam says that the mayor should have some refreshment. Master Lockton hesitates but eventually unlocks the door and asks Isabel to bring the food inside. Madam tries to enter, too, but Master Lockton stops her. Isabel carries the tray into the room and sets it down before the men. Then she takes her place against the wall to listen to a conversation between Master Lockton, the mayor, and another man.
The men have a map of the coastline laid out on the table, and they are all grumbling about the rebels and the war. In her corner, Isabel privately wishes that she could pull down Robinson Crusoe and read. She has frequently listened to Master Lockton and his friends complain about Congress and the rebels for hours on end, and she is sick of it.
But today’s conversation is different. The mayor tells Master Lockton that people are refusing to be bribed into supporting the King. The rebellion has grown too strong. Now the Tories must take action to weaken the rebellion. Listening in, Isabel immediately realizes that the mayor may say something incriminating. She holds perfectly still, willing the men not to notice that she is still there.
The mayor explains that a plan is in place to assassinate the rebel leader, General George Washington. Master Lockton balks at this, saying that killing is too strong an action. The mayor dismisses this objection. After all, the English Parliament will certainly issue an assassination order in hindsight if they learn that the traitor...
(The entire section is 524 words.)