Chapter 24 Summary
Isabel's cheek burns. This sensation fills up her whole body, even her eyes and hair. She sees her poppa, but he turns into another man, a stranger who looks worried. She sees her momma, who then transforms into a gray-haired woman Isabel has never seen before. This woman stays a while, singing songs and feeding Isabel a horrible tea. Isabel tries to ask about Ruth. She tries to say she is sorry for letting Madam sell Ruth away, but the words jumble in her mouth.
At one point, Curzon appears and orders Isabel to stop being so lazy. His face floats over her, but it does not change into the face of any long-dead relative. For some reason, Isabel feels reassured by this. But the next thing she knows, he is no longer there.
Isabel wakes up in a small but cheerful room. She is in a bed more comfortable than she has ever imagined. She tries to stand up, but she is too weak and dizzy. The door opens and Lady Seymour’s maid, Angelika, enters the room. When she sees Isabel awake, Angelika gasps and runs out.
In a few minutes, Lady Seymour enters the room and explains that Isabel has been lying in a fever for six days, ever since the branding. With a dark expression, the lady explains that she did not know what was happening between Isabel and Madam until after the judge’s sentence was complete. At that point, all Lady Seymour could do was ensure that Isabel was nursed back to health.
From Lady Seymour’s words and actions, it is clear that she is upset not only by the harsh punishment Isabel received for running away, but also by the abrupt sale of little Ruth. “I find the buying and selling of children most repugnant,” Lady Seymour says. This is little comfort to Isabel, whose grief is renewed at the reminder that Ruth is gone.
Isabel hopes that she will get to stay with Lady Seymour from now on. Unfortunately, Madam wants her slave back, and nobody else has the power to interfere with Madam's property. Isabel is allowed to take a hot bath and eat a large meal, but as soon as she finishes eating, Lady Seymour appears and says that it is time to leave. Together, the two of them walk to the Locktons’ house. When they arrive, Lady Seymour knocks on the front door, and Isabel runs around back.