Part 1, Chapter 9

  • No one answers when Dicey knocks, so the kids decide to wait for someone to come home.
  • As they do, James wonders about the house—this isn't nice enough to be a place where a rich lady lives. Sammy wants to know where Momma is, and Dicey tells her siblings that Momma was probably so overwhelmed that she just got lost out there in the big world. In a manner of speaking, at least.
  • After sitting on the front steps for a while, a middle aged woman walks past. She walks by a couple more times before finally shouting at the children, asking what they're doing there.
  • Dicey explains who they are and that they're looking for their Aunt Cilla, which calms the woman down. Turns out, Aunt Cilla died a few months back, and this lady is her daughter, their Cousin Eunice. She lives alone in the house.
  • Eunice invites them inside and offers the children food.When she finds out that they've traveled there alone, she pities the poor little motherless things. They're just like her. Or kind of, anyway. Eunice calls her spiritual advisor, Father Joseph, to come to the house, and she sends Dicey out to buy some food for the children for dinner.
  • Dicey decides it's best not to lie to Eunice, since maybe she can help them. Plus, she's really the only hope they have at this point.
  • Back at the house, Father Joseph and Eunice discuss what to do with the children. Eunice agrees that the kids can stay until they're able to track down some info about their parents—but this can only be temporary because Eunice has vague "plans" for the future.
  • Father Joseph suggests that the younger kids go to a church summer school, and Dicey can stay home and help take care of the house while Eunice works. This sounds fine to her.
  • Dicey also gets another key piece of information: She has a grandmother named Abigail Tillerman who lives in Crisfield, Maryland. Dicey files that info away for safe keeping.
  • Things turn a little judgmental when Father Joseph starts asking them what religion they are and what, exactly, is the deal with their parents. They weren't married were they? Do all the kids even have the same dad? Dicey is pretty offended—Momma was a lot of things, but she certainly wasn't some trollop parading around town with a bunch of men on her arm.
  • Father Joseph explains that the police will come by the next day to talk to Dicey. She's reluctant, but what choice does she really have? Besides, if Cousin Eunice says they can stay with her, then they won't be split up and put into foster homes, right?
  • For now, anyway, Dicey just needs to go along and see where things head. But just in case they sour, she lulls herself to sleep thinking about Crisfield.

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