"Very well, Sir Bingley. Congratulations on being a father," she congratulated him and they exchanged pleasantries to which Annabelle rolled her eyes, couldn't they just drop the polite formality.
Once they were done talking Donovan asked his wife, "Shall we leave?" to see her nod.
Walking closer towards the carriage, Annabelle turned towards Katie.
"Katherine, would you like to stay with us?" she asked suddenly, startling Katie.
"What? No, you don't have to worry about it. I am doing great at the mansion and I wouldn't want to impose on you."
"Rubbish!" Annabelle waved her hand.
"I mean it, Anna. I have got used to the life in the mansion," which was true. It had become a warm nest, "I'm waiting for the news about Ralph too."
"But you can do that while you're at our house. Donovan," she turned to her husband's help.
"Anna, is right. We have plenty of space in the house which you can make use of. We would be happy to have you anytime with us until you feel like staying," he said with a smile.
"Thank you for the generous words, Mr Bingley," she replied bowing her head in gratitude of his words.
Annabelle let out a sigh and hugged her dear friend, "If you ever feel like coming there remember that you're always welcome."
"I'll remember that," she said as they got into the carriage and waved as the carriage left.
She doubted if the carriage she had come in was still around. Instead she searched if there was a coach available to travel back to the mansion. After talking to a person about the coach she gathered that she had half an hour more before the coach arrived in the town.
As Katie waited, looking around she caught sight of a little boy being scolded by a woman at the back of a store. When the little boy said something with tears streaked eyes the woman shouted pushing the boy away to get inside the store and close the back door. The young boy banged the door but it never opened.
Sliding down the wall, she saw him break into tears. Furrowing her brows and without a thought she walked straight towards the back alley to sit down in front of the boy who had his head hidden behind his arms.
The boy looked up alarmed to see who it was with a sad and tearful expression.
"Is everything alright?" she asked with a kind voice.
"Yes, it's none of your concern," the boy retorted turning his head to the side and wiping his tears with the ragged sleeves.
Wow, for a person who was young and crying now he sure had good words to exchange, thought Katie. She knew life wasn't easy to most of them and this one looked like one. She didn't know how life in the town went by but the southern empire wasn't a paradise exactly, she had heard few things about the life in the town and it wasn't all good.
Wondering what to do she asked,
"Are you hungry?"
The question had caught the boy's attention as he looked at her with furrowed brows and saw him reluctantly nod his head and she smiled before getting up.
"Come on then," she said taking him to the little shop right in he corner of he town, "I am Katherine Welcher . What's your name?" she asked.
"Samuel," he answered and she pondered if he were an orphan.
When the food was placed on the table, the boy looked at her hesitantly. Sending him an encouraging smile the boy began eating like there was never going to be a tomorrow. In between when he stopped eating Katie asked curious,
"What is it? Isn't the food good?"
"It is more than good ma'am but...is it possible to pack the rest so that I could take it home to my sister," he asked pleadingly and it made her heart melt.
"Why don't you finish all of it while I go and ask them to pack the food separately, hmm?"
"Oh no! You've showed me enough kindness and I am grateful. I can't ask you for more," the boy said with his eyes wide but Katie waved him off to go talk to the head and pay the bill.
She sighed looking at the pocket watch which she usually carried around with her. The coach must have left by now and she had enough time again and therefore offered to carry the bags of food she had asked which was plenty enough to survive until the next morning.
The boy lived in a small covered alley that luckily had a roof above which prevented the rain and harsh sunlight. Earlier when the boy mentioned about his sister she had expected to see an older sibling but instead was greeted by a young girl who laid on an old mattress.
"This is my sister Fanny, she hasn't been keeping well past few days," he informed her and she went towards the bed, placing a hand on her forehead. She did have a slight temperature.
"Don't you have family or relatives Samuel apart from your sister?" she asked to which he shook his head.
They were orphans, the state they were in pained her. She knew it wasn't an uncommon thing but if a couple didn't want a child they should have seen to it than breed them like animals and leave them on their own.
"Let me tell you a trick on how to bring down the fever," she guided the boy taking the handkerchief from her coat and dipping it in the water. She taught him little things and helped in feeding his sister.
Time was quick to fly as she chatted with him and it was late in the evening when noticed it. Giving him the little amount of money she had, she handed it to him assuring him that he could repay her back in the future and there was no hurry along with her coat for the little girl.