Question the eighth is from an anonymous reader who asks:
What exactly happened to Rose Red's foster dad?
Again, if you haven’t read Veiled Rose, SPOILER ALERT!!! Don’t ruin the book for yourself!
Well, I don’t think anything specifically happened to Mousehand the gardener, per se. He was very old when we met him initially during Leo’s first summer at Hill House. He died five years later.
I suspect a lot of it had to do with the hard lifestyle he and Rose Red lived on the mountain. He obviously worked very hard in Hill House’s gardens and walked a long trek from home to work and back again every day. They were isolated, far from any care from the village. When he fell ill, he couldn’t send Rose Red to the apothecary for medicines . . . the poor girl can’t even beg for food, much less anything so specialized! And I think Mousehand knew that which is why he very quietly settled down on his bed and died without a fuss.
Only after telling her again the story of how he found her, however. I do think he wanted to be certain that her last memory of him was that specific memory of that specific conversation. No one knows how much old Mousehand knew of her past . . . if he was aware of Beana's identity . . . anything! But he was a smart man. He saw through Leo very quickly, not only through all the insecurities and pride, but also down to the possibilities that a character like Leo’s might possess. If he was able to do that, he was able to put a few guesses together about Rose Red.
I was very sad to write of Mousehand’s death when it happened. He was a good man, and he loved Rose Red for who she was, without question. I can see why the Prince of Farthestshore led him to find Rose Red:
“A wood thrush, and at that hour, singing as though his heart would break for pure joy of singin’! And I saw him, sittin’ all proud and mighty like a little prince in the throne of my grandest, reddest rosebush, not two steps from Swan Bridge . . . So I made my way to the bush, and that’s when I found you.”