One week exactly after visiting the newspaper, we woke up to old Bean the jailer knocking on Kitty's door. He can't read, the poor man, but he'd learned that the Gazette had printed our story and he'd been promised a quarter by Kitty if he bought the newspaper and brought it to the house for us to see.
Local Woman Needs Anyone With a Pen and A Bleeding Heart!!
I winced and sank deeper into the sofa.
I shook my head back and forth, very slowly, feeling the tears gathering. A tight panic began squeezing at my insides. "No, you two can read it first, and if it's as bad as I think it will be, I'm...I'll just pass. I am not sure I have the stomach for it."
And so Teresa and Kitty read John Dimson's article in silence. I put my hands over my face and only once glanced up when I thought I heard Kitty sucking on her teeth. At that moment I noticed Teresa shake her head ever so slightly. They finished. They sat there.
My heart hammered. I wasn't able to speak. I wanted desperately to know. I wanted desperately not to know. I wanted most of all to go to sleep and forget the whole matter. But how could I possibly forget the fact that I was going to the gallows in a matter of days?
"Well that young man deserves a good sharp boot right smack in his back side."
"I'd agree completely," Teresa said. She sounded rather weary, even though it was still early in the morning.
"But then," Kitty went on," I could tell right away. The moment I laid eyes on him last week. His whole demeanor. That reporter is well-named. Dimson. DIM-witted Son of a..."
"Oh KITTY!" Teresa covered her ears and shook her head vigorously as if to rid herself of the vulgar outburst.
"Well, sorry for that, Sister, I do apologize, but that man wrote the least sympathetic piece of dirty laundry I've ever read, and hung it out for all to see. And not only does it hurt our cause, but the story isn't even accurate. I am sure that I told him we'd collected 27 letters, not 17. I know for a fact because I had the stack in my hand for Pete's sake."
Teresa inhaled. "It makes no difference really. If he'd written 27, or 207, in that awful story, it would matter not one bit!"
"Heavens, don't take it so hard," Kitty said, sitting beside me and squeezing me in a tight embrace. "It doesn't matter what the silly paper writes. I will go door to door, starting this afternoon!"
"And I will go with you," Teresa said, placing a hand on my arm.
I sat there sniffling. I wanted to say, "I'd just as soon you don't. I would just as soon you accepted the inevitable and gave up. I would just as soon you had never tried." But none of that came out of my mouth. I had so little energy to speak. What did it matter, what I said? What did anything matter now?