The rack held women's and girls' dresses. Each of them made of satin or silk and not two of them of the same color or style. I shifted through, studying them. Were they samples to show the Chicago buyers? Had the dress that the mysterious woman worn been one of these creations?
Without having to go to the Haversham family, I knew someone who might hold the answer to those questions--Bridget
A low-cut green gown with white lace around the top and sleeves caught my attention. Bridget would look gorgeous in it, and it was something she could never afford. For that matter, I'd never be able to afford to buy it for her. It would cost more than I made in a year.
I pulled it from the rack, careful to touch only the hanger so I wouldn't add smudges from my hands. The skirt had a smudge or two on the bottom, but I bet Bridget could get them out. It would be worth a try.
I hung it aside and examined the other dresses on the rack. If I was going to abscond with the dress, I'd better find something with which to bribe Officer Connor. He had a wife and a daughter. I sorted until I found something that looked about the right sizes for them and hung them next to Bridget's dress. Then I looked at the other girls' dresses. Bridget had two little sisters, and the widow across the hall had one. They'd look lovely in these dresses, even if they could only wear them to mass. After all, Rathbone had no intention of coming to claim them. He'd already written everything off and a few dirty smudges on the hems shouldn't condemn such exquisite dresses to the scrap pile. It was a sin to waste such fine goods. Truly it was.
With the Haversham story, I could afford to take Bridget to the theater Saturday if I didn't get my shoe resoled. I could last a bit longer with the hole to see her on my arm in that dress. I'd have to buy her a green hair ribbon to wear with it.