Edith? I could only repeat her name, for it did not register in my brain. Edith? Edith was home, in bed; I had just waltzed around her room, getting ready for this night. What about Edith?
Shes illvery, very ill. Dr. Acland has gone, too. Come we cant tarry. Prince Leopold, help me!
I did not understand what he meant, but somehow Leo was pushing megently, yet forciblytoward William, who was hurrying back across the market square. Then I was in front of the Corn Exchange, being lifted into the carriageI heard my brother-in-law yell to his driver to hurry, there was no time to wasteand somehow I found the presence of mind to lean out of the carriage window and look, one more time, at Leo as the horses pulled away. I realized, too late, that I was still wrapped in his jacket; it smelled like moonlight, like warm breezes, faded jasmine. My own scent, I realized; it had mixed and lingered with his. I smelled myself upon his coat.
Leo was standing at the curb, just under a streetlamp; the light shone down upon him, making his hair a golden halo but obscuring his face so I could not see his eyes. He raised his arm in farewell, opened his mouth as if to speak.
We rounded the street corner before I could hear what he said, but I was sure that it was just one word Alice.
Excerpted from Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin Copyright © 2010 by Melanie Benjamin. Excerpted by permission of Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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