Detroit, Michigan October 1903
Elsie Quinn smiled to herself. Thaddeus would kill her if he knew she had come to the poor side of town. Her guardian and brother couldn't do anything about it now though, not with him Heaven alone knew where in the Atlantic Ocean; presumably the bottom of it. An elderly and toothless woman's foul shout at Elsie shook her away from her thoughts. The woman yelled at her that she had no business in their side of town. Elsie knew that she didn't look as if she belonged here. Her well cut plum colored dress in the latest fashion, matching hat, and black overcoat, made her stand out in the crowd of dirty, penniless, immigrants. Elsie's mission for today was to carry out her former employers dying wish, and she would do so gladly. Elsie had been the governess, and later housekeeper, for Mrs. Daniels from the age of nineteen. The wealthy Mrs. Daniels had adopted some orphans from the poor side of town. She had left her money to Elsie, in whom she had found a kindred spirit, for the purpose of doing the same. Elsie had confided in the motherly Mrs. Daniels that she had long wished to do so, but she had never thought of Mrs. Daniels leaving most of her money and possessions, house included, to her. However this had happened, and so Elsie was here today to choose the recipients of her dream from a low-income orphanage, called Detroit's Asylum for Girls. Original.
As she walked to the orphanage, Elsie noticed a girl, around eleven, sitting across the street on the narrow boardwalk. It looked like she might be crying. She had long, wavy, blonde hair that came down to her waist, and was wearing a thick, black, plaid dress that signaled her as an immigrant, probably from somewhere like Sweden or Switzerland. After a moments thought, Elsie crossed the street and laid a hand on the child's shoulder. The girl looked up at her. Her cheeks were tear-stained, and her eyes red from crying. She pulled away from Elsie, eying her wearily. "What's wrong?" Elsie asked, trying to sooth her.
"Papa died." was the girl's response, accented as it was with a Swiss accent.
Elsie grabbed the child away from an oncoming vendor's cart before her bare feet were crushed by the weight of melons, and led her into an empty alley.
"I'm sorry to hear that. Do you have a home?"
The girl began to cry again as she shook her head. Elsie rubbed her back quietly as she waited for the tears to subside. Once her tears were under control, Elsie asked, "Do you have any relatives here?"
Elsie nodded, deciding to take the plunge.
"Then you must listen carefully. My name is Elsie Quinn. What's yours?"
"Well, Nadia, I'm looking for three girls to come and live with me, to be like my daughters, and I wondered if you would like to be one of those girls."
Elsie nodded, waiting.
Nadia nodded, the corners of her mouth lifting slightly.
Elsie beamed. "Good." Elsie took hold of Nadia's hand. "How old are you?"
"That's fine. Now, we have one more stop to make before we go home. We need to go to Detroit's Asylum for Girls. We're going to get two sisters from there, and they'll be like your sisters, and my daughters, like you. Come on."
Two blocks down, they stopped in front of an old gray building that had long lost any of its former glory. Elsie walked up the steps with Nadia trailing behind.
"Can I help you?" A tired-looking maid answered the door.
"I'm here to adopt two girls."
"Come in. Wait here, I'll see if the matron can see you."
Elsie stepped through the door with Nadia suddenly on her heels.
A few minutes later the maid reappeared and ushered them into the matron's office.
The matron glanced at them and offered them a seat. "We don't trade children." She said, her tone flat and blunt.
Elsie bristled. "Nadia is staying with me. I only want two more girls as siblings for her."
The matron glanced at Elsie as if she wasn't all there. "Very well. What are your requirements?"
"Two well-behaved sisters between 13 and 7."
The matron slid from her chair with a sigh, and, consulting a number of files, chose two and laid them on her desk in front of Elsie. "Charity and Lirit duBlaine, ages 13 and 9."
Elsie scanned both files silently before addressing the matron. "May I see them?"
The matron pursed her lips, and nodded toward the maid. "Bring them here." She ordered.
The maid hurried away, and the matron began listing the girls' pros and cons in a boring monotone.
A few minutes later, the maid came in, herding two girls in front of her.
Both were tall. The elder of the two, Charity, could be described as gawky. She had straight, brown hair that brushed her shoulders and wore gold-rimmed glasses that, Elsie noticed, disguised beautiful blue-brown eyes.
The younger, Lirit, had light blue eyes and naturally curly blonde hair. She smiled a little too widely and her eyes sparkled with mischief.
And Elsie loved the unfortunate duo at once.
As she looked at the three girls, Elsie could feel a family coming together.
It's impractical, I know. Could you tell me what you thought anyway?