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As she started into town, she looked to the east and could see snow clouds starting to form, and she knew the temperature had dropped considerably since she had left the house. As the wind blew its cold air, making her face numb, she traveled slowly and was pleased that she had worn the special woolen pants Caroline had made for her under her dress.
Thomas had suggested earlier that she take a carriage; however, she declined, thinking she could arrive faster without it.
Patting Jester�s cream coat, she could not help but think of the fundraiser, Mr. Lancaster, and what the hospital�s real intentions were. She thought it disgraceful, asking for money to fund a library when there were so many needy people that require medical attention. It angered her, and she knew by the sincere look that Dr. Aldermen had given her that he agreed with her wholeheartedly.
Victoria knew that her father would have felt the same, but for all intended purposes and for her family�s sake, she did not speak ill of it. The only positive information that she had acquired throughout the evening was that she could use her name to work the system, to get what she wanted, and some how she would find a way.
Turning onto the last stretch before town, she saw a figure of a man walking along side the road. She automatically thought that it was strange for someone to be walking at such an early hour in such terrible conditions. Feeling that something may be wrong, when she saw him stager and fall, she urged Jester to pick up his pace. As they trotted, she knew there was a good possibility he was a local fellow who had drank too much and simply lost his way.
As she came up along side of him, he was struggling to pull himself up. Victoria could not help but notice the agony on his face when asked if she could help. He was extremely weak and unable to speak. As Victoria watched the blood drain from his face, he drew in what she was thought was his final breath, and fell to the ground.
Victoria steadied Jester, and dismounted as quickly as she could. Bending down, she checked to see if he, indeed, was still breathing and was relived when she saw his breath lifting like smoke into the cold. He did not smell of alcohol, and she wondered what could actually be wrong with him.