Chapter 6 Summary
The boy, Curzon, tells Isabel to follow him, but he moves so quickly she cannot keep up. Eventually she calls out, begging him to stop, and he accuses her of being slow and stupid. She tells him that he is being rude. However, when she catches her breath, she realizes that she is being foolish. Without his help, she will never get back to the Locktons’ house and to Ruth. Isabel hates apologizing, but she does so anyway.
Curzon stops at a shop and comes out with some rolls and butter. He takes Isabel to a little courtyard and invites her to sit down. When he offers her a roll, she says that she has no money to pay for it. He explains that he got the food for free, so she accepts it. She has not eaten much since leaving Rhode Island, and she ends up eating both rolls herself.
When Isabel finishes eating, Curzon asks why she lied about laughing at Madam down at the docks. Isabel explains that she and Ruth are sisters. After a moment’s hesitation, Isabel adds, “She needs watching over.”
Next Curzon asks Isabel if she feels loyal to Master Lockton. She does not know what he means, so he explains:
He’s going to feed you and your sister, give you a place to sleep. He can order you sold, beat, or hung, if the mood takes him. That could make a person feel a kind of loyalty.
Isabel thinks this over, and eventually she admits that yes, she feels loyal to the Locktons—at least until she finds the lawyer who can confirm her story that she and Ruth are free. She hates the idea of having loyalty to people who own her, but she feels that she will be safest if she does what they order her to do.
Curzon disagrees. He explains that the Patriots—the American rebels—currently hold power in New York and that Master Lockton wants to change that. The rebels will help anyone who gives them information about the loyalists’ plans. A slave girl in Isabel’s position is in an ideal position to hear such information:
You are a slave, not a person. They’ll say things in front of you…‘Cause you don’t count to them. It happens all the time to me.
Isabel recoils at the idea of becoming a spy. She explains to Curzon that she does not care about politics. She only cares about taking care of her sister. Besides, Madam has already hit Isabel once. Isabel is scared.