This time chapter thirteen follows straight on from the end of chapter two, instead of being days later. Rushton is demanding an explanation to why Elspeth was so fast with the horses. Her response, is that her father kept horses (which is a lie) but Rushton seems to find it acceptable and sends her to eat her ‘midmeal’ and afterwards he will have thought of a new task for her. While she is eating lunch, Matthew and Dameon comes and talks to her. Elspeth though she wants the company, thinks that it ‘dangerous’ for them to mingle. Matthew though has other ideas, and tells her that she is ‘thinking like an Orphan, we are all Misfits now. What more could they do?’ Which is right, what else could they really do? Unless they killed them, or made them like Selmar.
It is obvious that Matthew and Dameon know a lot more about Obernewtyn than Elspeth (and us), which makes me wonder how long they’ve been here, or if they have just learnt more in a similar amount of time. They mention ‘Larkin’ who is an older Misfit and has been here ‘since they built the place’, but they explain that there are only 3 permanent guardians, the others come and go. There are no other old Misfits, which makes them think that they are all sent back to Councilfarms when they get too old, I wonder how old, and why. Elspeth gets a tad jealous about Matthew and Dameon’s close relationship, I guess she hasn’t had friends for years, or maybe ever.
Matthew hates Ariel, and I could not be surprised. But what is interesting is that Matthew’s hatred affects Dameon, who says that ‘hate always burns’, how strange would it be to feel other’s emotions? But the three of them agree that Obernewtyn is full of secrets and things go on behind the scenes that no one really knows about, so much so they can all ‘feel it’. Dameon says that maybe ‘somethings are better left unknown’. Which is true, to a degree, because it is better to be naive than to live in fear, but being naive has its dangers too. Matthew adds, ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, which he picked up from Larkin who said it was an Oldtime saying, which makes me laugh at the little mentions of things we have/do/say and what they appear like to someone who has no experience of them. I wonder how much more they will learn about ‘us’.
Lunch ends and Rushton comes over to Elspeth to tell her what she is to do next, but first he almost ‘warns her’ that she seems to have made friends quite quickly, and as an Orphan she should know caution more than everyone else. I don’t know what to make of him, he seems angry at her, for something she hasn’t really done. But Elspeth now has to milk a cow and Rushton makes a crude little comment about whether her father had a cow as well as horses, to which Elspeth said nothing. Rushton takes her to meet Louis, an old wrinkled man, who is going to teach her how to milk a cow. He gives her long winded instructions, as if she was simple minded.
He tells Elspeth that this is real milk not the watery stuff they sell in towns (that could be said of milk these-days which has been changed so much from what came out of the cow, or maybe it should be a goat, or camel, or soybean). He also reveals that he is also known as Larkin, who Matthew mentioned only moments ago. I love how casually Elspeth mentions that she talked to the cows about Larkin, just like it is so normal (which it is for her) but it would so interesting to be able to talk to animals and find out what they know and think. Larkin is an interesting man, who seems to know more about what is going on than anyone else, and he doesn’t buy the Herder and Council’s ‘crap’ (so to speak) and hasn’t been sucked into their propaganda and brainwashing. He sees the world as it really is, so I think his insights will be interesting.
What is interesting is that Larkin knows Selmar, and reveals that when she arrived she was a ‘normal Misfit’ and actually was ‘the hope of Obernewtyn’ (whatever that means) but obviously something has happened here, that has changed her. Rushton returns with more snide comments, and Elspeth tells him that ‘people like him are the worst, because she is doing her job, why does he have to make rude comments’ which is true. But he doesn’t seem to care what one Misfit thinks. Elspeth returns to the house, thinking about Maruman and what he is doing if he is not with Enoch.