March the 28th, 1873

She was to stay in bed for quite a long time, the second man informed her.

Isabel had later learned that she had had a high fever for quite a while, and had be unconscious for almost eight days. The second man (who hadn't been told to leave) was James Saint-Claire's physician, and had come calling as soon as one of his richest patients had demanded it.

I hope he's a good enough doctor; I don't want to be stuck here forever, Isabel thought.

Saint-Claire informed Isabel (after the physician examined her) that she would stay there for as long as she needed care, and that he had found several small businesses shut down from bankruptcy. It would take some time to find every one of the owners, but a few had run out of town with what little money they had before they could be taken to the poor houses. Many employees were left without jobs.

There was a group of swindlers on the loose. The man who sent her here must have known that, which is why he sent her to this exact time. Her "mother and grandfather" would be hard to track.
Everything's taken care of. All you have to do is follow the plan.
Isabel sighed. So much for making it up as she went along. Perhaps it all really was planned out.

Isabel thanked James Saint-Claire, who simply said that he was "perfectly happy to help someone who was in need of his services. No thanks are in order."

"I would be grateful anyway." A female voice called from the door.

"I thought I said that I would tell you everything later, darling!" Saint-Claire exclaimed.

The lady in finery, Isabel learned, was Saint-Claire's wife. Her name was Grace.

"That does not mean that I cannot come back into the room-"

"Sir, I would like to discuss the girl's condition." the physician interrupted, much to Grace's irritation.

Saint-Claire sighed. "Alright, I will speak with you outside."

Once they were gone, the lady approached her cautiously.

"I suppose I'm a bit of a nuisence." Isabel said.

"No, no, of course not." Grace assured her calmly. "We're glad to take care of you."

"But You only met me because I was caught in the rain and your husband is a Good Samaritan." Isabel protested.

"Good Samaritan." Grace repeated. "Did your mother teach you Bible stories?"

Oops. "Yes, she often told us such stories. It's never a hindrance to help others, she said to us. You never know who you might run into."

"That is true." Grace smoothed the hair from Isabel's face. "Now, sleep. The physician said you must rest as often as possible."

Isabel really liked Grace already.

"But what will you do with me when I'm well?" she asked as the thought came to her.

"Well. . ." Grace paused, uncertain. "I'm sure I don't know."

It was at that moment that Saint-Claire and the physician came back into the room.

"I shall call twice a week to check on her, and will want my pay accordingly on every fourth visit. Are we agreed?"

Saint-Claire nodded. "We are agreed. Thank you, doctor."

"You are welcome. Ma'am; young lady." The physician nodded to Grace and Isabel in turn, then left.

"Well," Saint-Claire said once the three of them were alone. "it seems as though we have a new boarder in our house."

The End

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