Summary: Part III
The year is now 1859, sixteen years after the Kinnear-Montgomery murders. Grace has been a prisoner for all this time. In recent years, as a reward for good behavior, she has received special leave to spend her daytime hours working as a servant in the house of the Governor of the Provincial Penitentiary. Grace sometimes passes time while cleaning the Governor’s house thinking about everything the press wrote about her during her trial. She also wonders if her lawyer, Mr. Kenneth MacKenzie, ever actually believed her story.
Grace is sitting alone, waiting in the Governor’s wife’s parlor for a doctor to arrive. Grace has never sat in this room, and she thinks about a woman named Mrs. Alderman Parkinson, who once told her a lady must never sit down where a man has just been sitting. Though she did not say why, Grace recalls that a woman named Mary Whitney explained, “Because, you silly goose, it’s still warm from his bum.”
Grace notes that the Governor’s wife frequently host events, and most of the guests are young ladies wearing elaborate dresses. The dresses are constructed of such stiff material that Grace wonders how they could sit their “ladylike bums” down in the first place. Grace compares the ladies in their fancy dresses to the jellyfish she saw as a child in Ireland. Like the jellyfish, Grace concludes that these women are “mostly water.” These ladies, as well as other guests, come to the house for two weekly meetings. On Tuesdays, “reform-minded persons of both sexes” convene to discuss an array of social and political topics. On Thursdays, those with an interest in the occult arrive for a Spiritualist Circle, during which participants drink tea and converse with the dead. Grace suspects that the guests also come to see her, since she is a “celebrated murderess.” She imagines that when she leaves the room, the ladies must ask the Governor’s wife how she can stand having a murderer in her midst. She also imagines that the ladies compare her imprisonment to their own situations, claiming, “We are virtually prisoners ourselves, you know.”
Still sitting on the settee and waiting, Grace worries about her impending visit with a doctor. The Governor’s wife has told her the man just wants to take measurements of her head and that he won’t hurt her. But when the doctor arrives, Grace thinks she recognizes him from a previous experience. She screams and suffers a brief period of hysteria, after which her keepers drag her to the Penitentiary.
Back in her cell, Grace recalls her experience in the Lunatic Asylum, where she was sent years ago. She thinks about the mad women there as well as the women she believes were only pretending to be mad. Grace did not consider herself mad and suffered from ill treatment at the hands of the Asylum staff. In particular, she recalls Dr. Bannerling sexually assaulting her under the guise of examining her “cerebral configuration.”
Grace remains confined in her cell on restricted food rations for a couple days until there’s a knock at her door and a young man comes in and introduces himself as Dr. Simon Jordan. Grace wants to know what kind of doctor he is, but instead of answering, he quotes from the Book of Job. Grace plays dumb and pretends not to recognize the allusion. He gives Grace an apple and asks her what the apple makes her think of. She assumes he’s looking for a specific answer, and she does not want to oblige with the correct response.
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