1: The General's Greatcoat
Tonight, no matter what the voice said, Madeleine Lavoie would not listen to it, she would not sympathize with it and, most importantly, she would not obey it. She gripped her sheets in tight fists and promised herself tonight would be different. These affirmations had become the bedtime prayer she repeated every night, while her mother extinguished the gas lamps and her brother tied her hands and feet to her bedposts.
The restraints were for her own good. Maddy understood that well enough. How could she expect to survive in the world, if she ever managed to escape? She was the secret disgrace of her family. Her mother refused to bring her out into society, not for cruelty's sake, but to spare Maddy the humiliation of failing to attract a suitor, wealthy as the Lavoie family was. "Madeleine the Mute" was what people called her when they were being kind; they called her "Madeleine the Mad" when they were not. They were right.
To ward off her loneliness,