Chapter 37 Summary

By the time Lady Seymour is healthy again, it is almost Christmas. Isabel returns to the kitchen, where she has to keep the stove hot so that the soldiers’ wives can bake the enormous number of holiday cakes and pastries which Madam demands.

One day, two of the soldiers’ wives get into an argument over whose turn it is to make the cold walk to the pump for water. The walk to the pump leads right past the prison, so Isabel offers to make the daily trip herself. The women clearly think it odd that an overworked slave would offer to take on extra work, but they grant their permission anyway.

The following morning, Isabel runs quickly to the prison. There an unfamiliar guard informs her that guests are no longer allowed to go into the cells. He tells her that she may deliver food directly to the prisoners through the outer windows.

At the window of Curzon’s cell, Isabel speaks to the big soldier who almost stole her food the first day. He says that the sergeant is dead. Curzon is very sick, and Isabel suspects that the other prisoners have been taking his share of the rations. She demands that they give him a blanket and make sure that he eats. When they agree, she hands over some food, warning, “If he dies, you’ll not see me again.”

The big soldier tells Isabel to go to a nearby boarding house and tell his superior officer, Captain Morse, that the men in the prison are sick. The captain has the power to send a doctor to the prison if he hears what is going on. For Curzon’s sake, Isabel delivers this message immediately.

Captain Morse seems grateful for Isabel's message. Pressing her advantage, she begs him to help Curzon however he can. He promises to do so, saying that Curzon is “a true soldier” who fought bravely at Fort Washington. Before Isabel leaves, Captain Morse asks her name. She tells him to call her Sal. She cannot stand the idea of naming herself after the Locktons, so she claims that she has no surname at all.

All day after that, Isabel worries. If she goes to the prison every day, she will be in danger of being found out by the Locktons. If she does not, Curzon will be in danger because the other men will take his food and blankets for themselves. Her mental turmoil causes her to vomit, but in the days that follow, she keeps visiting the prison anyway.

One night not long after that, Isabel finds herself so cold that she cannot sleep. She gets out Common Sense and reads the first line. She finds the fancy language difficiult, but the ideas are not too bad.