Chains

by

Laurie Halse Anderson

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Lady Seymour Character Analysis

Lady Seymour is Master Lockton’s elderly and extremely wealthy aunt. According to Becky, Madam and Master Lockton are only pleasant to Lady Seymour to her face because they want her money and her land when she dies. And in private, Madam clearly detests Lady Seymour, though Lockton seems to take a milder and more generous view of his aunt. Part of the women’s hatred of each other stems from the fact that unlike Madam, Lady Seymour is kind to household staff, whether those people are paid or enslaved, and she also doesn’t think it’s right to buy and sell children. So, in Isabel’s interactions with Lady Seymour, the lady refuses to call Isabel Sal, the name Madam gave her, and instead calls Isabel by her given name. When Isabel visits Lady Seymour’s house, Lady Seymour also makes sure Isabel eats nourishing food, and she never speaks cruelly to Isabel. She even saves Isabel from the stocks and nurses Isabel back to health in her own home. However, Isabel’s relationship with Lady Seymour becomes somewhat complicated when Isabel rescues the lady and some of Lady Seymour’s prized possessions from a devastating fire, sacrificing Ruth’s doll in the process. Following this, Lady Seymour becomes very ill—and in this state, she shares with Isabel that she attempted to purchase Isabel and Ruth from Madam to work in her own house, thereby saving them from Madam’s abuse. It’s clear to Isabel that Lady Seymour expects this revelation to be a comfort to Isabel, but it’s not—Isabel instead wonders why Lady Seymour never thought to free her instead. Still, on the night that Isabel plans to run away from the Locktons, she decides to stoke Lady Seymour’s fire. Lady Seymour, who’s close to death at this point, allows Isabel to take money for her journey and tells her to run.

Lady Seymour Quotes in Chains

The Chains quotes below are all either spoken by Lady Seymour or refer to Lady Seymour. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Atheneum Books for Young Readers edition of Chains published in 2010.
Chapter 9 Quotes

“What is your name, girl?” she asked me.

“Isabel, ma’am,” I said. “Isabel Finch.”

“Ridiculous name,” Madam said. She opened her fan and waved it in front of her face. “You are called Sal Lockton now. It’s more suitable.”

I forced myself to breathe in slow and regular instead of telling her that my name was not her affair. “Yes, ma’am.”

Related Characters: Lady Seymour (speaker), Isabel (speaker), Madam Lockton (speaker), Miss Mary Finch
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

“She is not suffering her particular ailment, is she?” Madam asked, her voice cutting like a blade.

“No, ma’am,” I lied again. “She helped carry out the ashes this morning, and it tired her.”

Madam glared a moment longer.

Lady Seymour stepped in front of Madam. “The heat affects small children more than most. Make sure your sister drinks some water before any more chores.”

Related Characters: Madam Lockton (speaker), Isabel (speaker), Lady Seymour (speaker), Ruth
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

All I had lost in the confusion was Ruth’s doll. All I had lost was everything.

My bees a’swarmed back into my brainpan. They hummed loud so I need not ponder on the baby doll. The burned-over district looked like the inside of me. It was hard to tell where one stopped and the other started.

Related Characters: Isabel (speaker), Ruth, Lady Seymour
Related Symbols: Ruth’s Dolls
Page Number: 197-98
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

“Please, ma’am,” I tried again. “How did you know?”

Her gaze returned to the logs in the hearth. “Take care how you go, Isabel. Many people think it is a fine and Christian thing to help the prisoners. I do not think my niece is one of them.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I whispered.

Related Characters: Isabel (speaker), Lady Seymour (speaker), Curzon, Madam Lockton
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 40 Quotes

It would have eased her mind if I thanked her for wanting to buy me away from Madam. I tried to be grateful but could not. A body does not like being bought and sold like a basket of eggs, even if the person who cracks the shells is kind.

“Isabel?”

She awaited some word from me. I did not know how to explain myself. It was like talking to her maid, Angelika, who was so much like me and at the same time so much different. We two had no string of words that could tie us together.

Related Characters: Isabel (speaker), Lady Seymour, Madam Lockton, The Dutch Maid/Angelika
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Chains LitChart as a printable PDF.
Chains PDF

Lady Seymour Character Timeline in Chains

The timeline below shows where the character Lady Seymour appears in Chains. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...protect themselves. But what will never change is that Madam wants lemon cakes with tea. Lady Clarissa Seymour is coming this afternoon; she’s Lockton’s rich old aunt. The Locktons treat her like a... (full context)
Chapter 9
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...she doesn’t hear the first time Becky says that Madam wants Isabel in the parlor. Lady Seymour wants to see Isabel. Isabel quickly washes, puts on a clean apron, and follows Becky... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...looks like she’s been crying, but she stays silent. Isabel curtseys to Madam and to Lady Seymour , and she gives her name when Lady Seymour asks. Madam deems Isabel a “ridiculous”... (full context)
Chapter 10
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Eventually, Lady Seymour and the men leave. Becky, Isabel, and Ruth eat the guests’ leftovers, and since Ruth... (full context)
Chapter 12
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Becky sends Isabel to fetch Lady Seymour , who lives just north of Trinity Church. Isabel locates the house and walks around... (full context)
Chapter 19
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Isabel and Ruth follow Madam and Lady Seymour to look at the docked British ships. Madam is thrilled, but the rebels in the... (full context)
Chapter 24
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...where she is. She tries to stand, but the room spins. The door opens, and Lady Seymour ’s maid enters and leaves again. A moment later, Lady Seymour enters and offers Isabel... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Lady Seymour says that while Isabel’s reaction to the news about Ruth was “unfortunate,” it was also... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Angelika, Lady Seymour ’s maid, draws Isabel a hot bath that smells lovely. They don’t understand each other,... (full context)
Chapter 30
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Three mornings later, Isabel carries a note to the Locktons. It’s from Lady Seymour —she needs Isabel’s help, since her Dutch servants left and she has a dozen Hessians... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Isabel gathers an apron and Ruth’s doll, and then dawdles on the way to Lady Seymour ’s house. She’s heard that Hessians breathe fire and are always covered in blood, so... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
The work at Lady Seymour ’s is exhausting, simply because there are so many people to care for. But Lady... (full context)
Chapter 31
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...as day. The house next door is on fire, and the flames blow right at Lady Seymour ’s house. Isabel puts her shoes on, grabs Ruth’s doll, and heads down the stairs,... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...with fire and soot. Isabel knows they need to move or die, so she drags Lady Seymour away from the fire. Finally, they collapse at the edge of a graveyard. Isabel comes... (full context)
Chapter 32
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...humming loudly so she doesn’t have to think about the doll. The left side of Lady Seymour ’s body no longer works, so Lockton insists she recover in the Locktons’ bedroom. One... (full context)
Chapter 33
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...care for them. She collects some seeds from the flowers. As the weather gets colder, Lady Seymour ’s health improves. In private, Madam grumbles about this—she can’t wait for Lady Seymour to... (full context)
Chapter 34
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...eyebrows made of mouse fur over her eyebrows. She then sends Isabel to help seat Lady Seymour at the lavish dining table before the other guests arrive. (full context)
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...it’s obvious he’s overworked. Madam’s tall hairdo looks ready to fall at any moment, and Lady Seymour looks like “an elegant spider.” Isabel watches the servers dish up tongue and pour wine... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...man hopes a plague will kill the prisoners; another suggests they shoot them all first. Lady Seymour suggests they take care of the prisoners, since the Patriots also hold British prisoners. One... (full context)
Chapter 35
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Isabel’s chance to sneak to the prison comes three days later, when Madam and Lady Seymour leave to visit a friend—and in their absence, the soldiers’ wives leave to visit their... (full context)
Chapter 36
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Lady Seymour comes down with a fever after the visit to Madam’s friend, so Madam calls the... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Lady Seymour reads as many newspapers as possible, and Isabel reads what she can when Lady Seymour... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
The next afternoon, Lady Seymour gives Isabel an errand list. Since the lady hasn’t eaten, Isabel suggests she eat a... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Isabel takes the list to the stationer’s shop Lady Seymour specified so she can purchase the lady’s books. The shopkeeper is busy studying a pamphlet... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
The young man behind the counter accepts Isabel’s list and says he’s happy Lady Seymour is feeling better. As he wraps the books, he asks if Isabel knew Curzon; Curzon... (full context)
Chapter 37
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
As Lady Seymour ’s health improves, Isabel no longer spends her days in the lady’s warm chamber. Christmas... (full context)
Chapter 38
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
On Christmas morning, Lady Seymour gives Isabel a new pair of shoes that fits her properly. Madam gives the soldiers’... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
Isabel’s heart stops as Madam says that Lady Seymour insists she’s sending Isabel to the prison, and that it’s good work. But Madam then... (full context)
Chapter 40
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
...George move to a house for mothers and babies associated with the army. Isabel tells Lady Seymour about the new baby and offers to see if Sarah will bring George to visit,... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
As Isabel goes to put a log on the fire, Lady Seymour asks Isabel to sit so they can talk. This is very improper, but Isabel sits.... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
...for headquarters. Then, since Madam is guaranteed to be playing cards for some time and Lady Seymour is asleep, Isabel reads Common Sense by the fire. She understands that Paine is arguing... (full context)
Chapter 41
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
After dinner, Lady Seymour suffers a fit. In the morning, the doctor comes and says there’s nothing to do... (full context)
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...just make Isabel restless and cause her mind to fill with angry bees. She blames Lady Seymour ’s confession for the way she’s feeling. Did the lady never think to free Isabel?... (full context)
Chapter 42
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
The doctor visits Lady Seymour twice daily. The lady’s mind is still sharp, though she can barely move her body.... (full context)
Chapter 44
Freedom Theme Icon
The Personal and the Political Theme Icon
Identity, Memory, and Family Theme Icon
...Isabel is about to leave out the front door, she realizes that nobody has fed Lady Seymour ’s fire for a while. She’s old and might be cold, and it’ll only take... (full context)
Freedom Theme Icon
Slavery and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Isabel fishes the coin purse out of the larger purse, and then realizes Lady Seymour is awake and watching. Isabel apologizes and says Madam is going to sell her. She... (full context)