Chapter 40 Summary
The rebels soon win another battle. This greatly annoys Colonel Hawkins, the British officer who is living in the Locktons’ library. Now that the Patriots have prisoners of their own, the British begin treating the rebel prisoners better. However, fires are still prohibited in the prison cells. This means that Curzon and his fellow prisoners still have to eat their meat raw.
Isabel keeps running food to Curzon and his cellmates when she can. On the morning of Master Lockton’s departure for London, she gets up extra early and drops a few bits of burnt bread and meat on Curzon’s windowsill. As she runs away, the fat guard calls out to her, asking what she brought today. He tells her that he will look after Curzon if she brings him some cake once in a while.
In passing, the fat guard mentions that the prison is hiring slaves to clean vomit and feces out of the cells. Payment for this awful task goes to the slaves’ masters. Isabel promises to tell the Locktons about the opportunity, but privately she thinks that it would not work out. Madam likes to keep Isabel close.
Sarah soon gives birth to a baby boy, whom she names George. People think that she is naming him for the English king, but she points out that the name also belongs to the general of the Patriot troops. Sarah came to New York to support her husband in fighting against the Patriots, but the rebels are doing better than anyone ever imagined. Perhaps when the war is over, her family will stay where they are. “A name like George is a good one on either side of the ocean,” she says.
One day, Lady Seymour quietly apologizes for failing to protect Isabel from the Locktons' mistreatment. The lady confesses that she once tried to buy Isabel, but that Madam refused to hear of it. Isabel is unable to muster the thankfulness that Lady Seymour seems to expect for this. Privately, Isabel thinks:
A body does not like being bought and sold like a basket of eggs, even if the person who cracks the shells is kind.
Meanwhile, the British officers worry about the Patriots’ progress in the war. Colonel Hawkins grows mean and surly, and he frequently storms out of the house to spend time at his army’s headquarters. On these occasions, Isabel sometimes gets a few moments to herself. Then she sits down in front of the fire and reads more of Common Sense.