"Everyone knew that Kathleen was pregnant and that she died of the child. You'd have to be an idiot not to have figured that out, what with the girl's hasty home-coming and incarceration in the house. But the thing you do in a case like that is to go along with the idea that the child is the offspring of the grandparents. Everyone agrees to this fiction, and the only people who'd breathe a word of the actual facts to the illegitimate child are those who are so malicious to begin with that they are easily dismissed as liars. As in truth they are. For the beneficent lie tells the truth about the child, which is "you belong in this community", whereas the malicious truth-tellers use fact to convey a lie, which is "you don't belong". This is an imperfect system but it's the prevailing one. As as the years go by the facts get eroded and scattered by time, until there are more people who don't know than people who do."
Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall On Your Knees (London: Vintage Books, 1997): 165-6.