Joan and Ulysses took the stairs while Sophie used the antique brass cage elevator to get to the ground floor. Voices coming down the hall from the kitchen and the breakfast room guided them in their search for the two people who knew the most about Brooklyn -- Harrison and Elizabeth Carter. They found the Carters sitting at the table in the breakfast room with Dr. Rachel Carson. Elizabeth was just finishing pouring from the glossy brown antique teapot that Joan was positive held at least a gallon. From the crumbs scattered across the matching platter and the absence of cookies, Joan guessed Dr. Carson had been here at least an hour. It wasn't time for her bi-weekly check of the growth of the specially bred plants in Quarry Hall's greenhouse, or Carter's response to the latest tonic made from those plants, so Joan guessed this was either a special occasion, good news, or just a social call.
No matter how much a part of the family at Quarry Hall Dr. Carson and her daughter had become, Joan wasn't about to bring up Brooklyn's activities and questions about her past in front of them. She and Sophie exchanged a glance of agreement, and settled in to be sociable. Ulysses' ears perked up just as Joan crossed the hall from the kitchen with another platter of cookies. She looked down to the servants' entrance to see Charli Carson approaching, paying more attention to the half-grown chocolate Lab scrabbling on the tile floor than where she was going. Despite the slowly growing worry pressure, Joan grinned at the sight of the dog, who seemed to be in a perpetual clumsy stage. The difference between him and the wolf that had accompanied Charli in the wildlife preserve where she used to live couldn't be bigger, but Joan thought Frankie suited the girl perfectly.