The next morning, Cousin Eunice wakes Dicey up to let her know she's leaving for 6:30 a.m. mass and then work right after that. Father Joseph will be by to register the younger kids for school, and maybe Dicey can do some grocery shopping and clean the living room and make something for dinner. Would she, please?
Of course. Dicey is eager to be on her best behavior for Cousin Eunice—she is being very nice to them, after all.
Dicey makes food, cleans up, grocery shops, and explores the house. James doesn't think it's really big enough for four kids, but where else do they have to go?
Father Joseph stops by with some donated clothes (though there are no jeans or sneakers or underwear in the bag) and walks James, Maybeth, and Sammy to the church summer school.
He comes back with a policeman, who asks Dicey for more information about her mother. When Dicey asks how long it will take them to find her, the police officer tells her he can't really say. Could be weeks, years—but at least they'll know a whole lot quicker if she's dead. Nice.
Does Dicey have any idea of why her mother would have left? Well, things had just gotten bad. She lost her job, they were going to be evicted—times were definitely tough.
Father Joseph walks the younger kids back from school and Dicey peppers them with questions about their day.
James had fun learning stuff (because he's the brain); Sammy played with blocks and sand and raced other boys; Maybeth just kind of stood by the teacher the whole time.
At 5:40 p.m., Cousin Eunice comes home. She looks tired and Dicey offers to make her tea. Eunice has a very stressful job as a junior foreman at a lingerie factory and it would be nice if dinner were ready when she got home. Also, did Dicey get to that cleaning she mentioned? Good.
Dicey does have to mention that the kids need some clothes—play clothes, to be exact—since Father Joseph only brought dress clothes.
Eunice agrees, though she has no clue how much children's clothes cost.
Dicey feels badly, and thinks maybe she can work or something.
Oh, no—Eunice will take care of it. By the way, some of the ladies she worked with mentioned what a saint she was for taking in these poor motherless creatures; anyone else would have turned them over to social services. Thanks for the reminder, Eunice.
Cousin Eunice leaves for the rest of the evening to go to her religious instruction classes, but maybe the kids can watch some television while she's out—if they're careful not to break anything while they're sitting there. Okay?
In case you hadn't noticed, Eunice may be nice for letting the kids stay, but she's clearly a little put out by their presence, too.