Molly’s Story

Molly Foley illustration


Thanks to Mrs. Sommerville’s good references, you apprentice with a seamstress.

Stitching dresses is boring, thankless work. Sometimes, your fingers feel so clumsy and tired, you can barely hold the needle. Your dream of returning home has never seemed so far away. At night, you work out which way is northeast, so you can sleep facing Ireland.

Still, you continue on, doggedly determined to save enough money for the voyage. Until the day a woman enters and freezes on hearing your accent. “Never mind,” she says, “I’ll go elsewhere.”

Beside you, your friend Ruth keeps her head down. She gets it even worse than you. You keep silent, but your heart pounds. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. If that’s what they think, they can make their own dresses!

You do need a job, though. Checking notices, you find two: Mr. Flynn needs an apprentice shoemaker; he’s a good Irishman. Or maybe you should go into domestic service again — with the Doctor this time. He’s a good sort, too: kind and generous.

Which one will it be?