Tracy Park, 10/11

April 10, 2007

It’s been a while since I updated, I know. Sadly, sometimes schoolwork has to take precedence. When we last saw the characters of Tracy Park, Jerrie was convalescing, Maude was still pretty sick, and Harold had gone to Tacoma, WA on business for Billy Peterkin. Arthur was off on the west coast, hoping to meet with highwaymen or something. Jerrie had just learned that Harold was suspected of stealing Mrs. Tracy’s diamond’s ten years previously — and hey, that’s what comes of not clearing him of suspicion properly in the first place — and in spite of the fact that she’s not quite well yet, she immediately got up and set out for the park house.

To make a long story slightly less long, Jerrie tells everyone she finds at the park house — including a bunch of the Tracys’ friends, because they’re in the middle of a card party — that the diamonds are hers, that they used to be her mother’s, that her mother was Gretchen, that her father is Arthur, and that she has proof of all of this. Mrs. Tracy is furious and embarassed, Maude is happy to find that Jerrie is her cousin, Tom is kind of sulky, and Frank is relieved that the story has finally come out.

Mrs. Tracy won’t believe Jerrie without seeing the proof, but everything’s in German, so they have Marian Raymond read Jerrie’s papers aloud. There’s Arthur and Gretchen’s marriage license, and Jerrie’s birth certificate, and some letters.

Arthur and Gretchen met in Wiesbaden when Gretchen was about 17, and after Gretchen’s mother died suddenly, they got married. For a while they were incredibly happy, but then Arthur’s mind started to go. He would go away for weeks or months at a time, having entirely forgotten that he had a wife at home. Finally he left for good and ended up in a mental hospital. After a few years, he got a little better and decided to go home to America. He remembered Gretchen then, and wrote to her asking her to meet up with him at Liverpool and go back to America with him. He also sent her a set of diamonds identical to the ones he bought for Mrs. Tracy. By this time, Jerrie had been born, but Arthur never knew he had a daughter. Gretchen was too sick to travel, and after a while she died, and her servant — the woman found dead in the Tramp House — tried to take Jerrie to her father in America, but, as we know, didn’t quite make it.

So everyone accepts that Jerrie is who she says she is, and then Tom walks her home. He’s pretty upset, because he knows that Frank hasn’t saved much in the years he’s been running Tracy Park. He drops Jerrie off and goes to see Ann Eliza.

Meanwhile, Arthur’s been having lots of fun in California. His wish to meet with highwaymen has already come true: his stagecoach was held up, but Arthur was prepared — he was armed, and he basically just jumped around like a maniac and shot at the robbers until they ran away. Everyone thinks he’s awesome, and even when he spends half his time complaining about phantom bad smells, no one cares because he’s spending lots of money.

That brings us up to date. The day after Jerrie’s revelation, Arthur gets a telegram from Tom that says, “Come immediately. There’s the devil to pay.” Arthur sends one back: “Pay him then, for I sha’n’t come.” When Jerrie sees this, she sends one of her own: “Come at once. I need you.” and gets a better response: “Coming on the wings of the wind.”

In Shannondale, most everyone — except Dolly Tracy — is happy for Jerrie, even Peterkin. Jerrie and Frank have a talk, and he gives her the things he’d hidden away, and apologizes. Included is the letter Frank never sent, and when Jerrie reads it, she discovers the whereabouts of Mrs. Tracy’s diamonds. She forgives Frank, because she’s glad she grew up the way she did with Harold and Mrs. Crawford, and she wouldn’t want to change that for anything. Frank says he plans to tell Arthur about his deception, and Maude, too, but Jerrie thinks that’s crazy.

Meanwhile, Maude realizes that Jerrie and Harold love each other, and that she made a mistake when she thought Harold loved her. She asked Jerrie to tell Harold when he comes home that Maude knows now that she made a stupid mistake. Maude is growing weaker, and Jerrie writes a letter to Harold begging him to come home before Maude dies. And also, incidentally, letting him know that she’s Arthur’s daughter.

Finally Arthur comes home. They’re not sure how to break the news to him, since his brain is kind of weak, and they don’t want to harm him. Jerrie tells him by herself, and he sort of collapses, but when he wakes up he’s fine, and very happy. After that things settle down a bit.

Maude’s been really sick for a long time, but soon it becomes clear that she’s actually dying. Maude asks that Harold, Fred, Dick and Billy be her pallbearers, and she asks Arthur to forgive her father. Arthur doesn’t know what he’s supposed to be forgiving Frank for, but he does. And then she dies. Harold makes it back just in time to be a pallbearer.

After the funeral, Harold and Jerrie walk home together. She tells him about Maude having made a mistake, and he explains to her what Maude meant by that. Then he asks her to marry him, and of course she says yes.

I think I’ve got about one installment’s-worth of material left to cover, or maybe one and then a short one to wrap things up.

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