Picking my way through the letters that make up this book, and understanding what Lucinda was agonizing about was no easy task. The language and morals of the day kept me hanging until about midway through the book when I finally was clear about what was the issue.
Lucinda was raised by a relative through her formative years after her mother died. As a young lady, she met Melvin Brown, who apparently made promises of marriage that he had no real intention of keeping. Lucinda was naive, and believed him. This naivete led to Lucinda compromising herself.
When she tried to discuss this with Melvin Brown, she was met by hasty and rash assurances that he failed once more to live up to.
Despondent and suicidal, a pregnant and forlorn Lucinda made her way to her father and stepmother's primitive cabin and was temporarily taken in.
In an agonizingly embarrassing letter, we learn of the visit to the family from the Town officials, who need to determine who is responsible for Lucinda's situation so he may be held accountable for any cost, rather than the Town. Lucinda herself is unable to discuss this and takes to her bed.