sâmbătă, 26 octombrie 2013

A tale of a tub

“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”

"Come on, Alleken..."
"Not tonight, please."
"Please? It's been four months since you've given birth."
"I know Gregory, but I'm exhausted. I barely slept for a few hours in the last three days and I'm so tired I don't even have the energy to unclothe myself."
"You don't even have to take your dress off ... You could simply tuck up your skirts ... "
"Hands off, Gregory. Don't you dare tuch me tonight!"
"That's it! You managed to drive me crazy again, woman!"
The door closes with a heavy noise and here I am again, alone in my bedchamber, one more night. I could hear Gregory tramping along the hall and locking the door from his apartment. And, of course, all this bustle woke up the children ... 

Dear Mother,
I am sorry it took me so long to reply to your last letter, but those past few weeks of autumn proved to be quite challenging for me.
I was called to assist at numerous births all around the realm and I barely spent a few days at home. Fortunately for us, the children are in good health and the wet nurse adores them. Have I told you about the new wet nurse that I found last month? Of course not.
Four or five weeks ago, my breast milk suddenly dried up and, even if I knew from the very beginning that it would be almost impossible for me, as a first time mother, to breastfeed four babies, I found myself yearning for those moments that I used to spend with my children.
So, I had to find a wet nurse. Teacher told me about a young woman from a nearby village that gave birth not so long ago to a stillborn baby. She was also a widow and it was her first child, so it wasn't too hard to convince her to accept to live with us for a year or so. She's a simple woman, born and raised in a poor family, yet she came to love my children as her own and I couldn't ask for more, because she has been a great help those past weeks, especially with me beeing so busy almost all the time.
As I mentioned before, I became quite notorious in the past few years and people all over the realm come looking for my help. Of course, most of the time I assist women giving birth and cure children od colds, but, from time to time, there are also some interesting cases. Take today for example. I had to get out of bed long before sunrise, because a young girl, no older than 6 or 7, living in a building across the way, came to our door, asking me to help her mother. I got dressed as quick as I could and hurried to help the poor woman.
By the time I arrived at their house, the girl's mother had been in labour for at least ten hours and was nearly exahausted. I checked her and I came to the tragic conclusion that her unborn baby was no longer alive. I remember seeing cases like this one sometime during my first year with Teacher. Women, most of the time over the age of 35, would suffer from elevated blood pressure later in their pregnancy and, by the time their labour occurs, both mother and baby are in danger, because there are only two possible outcomes and both of them result in the unborn baby's death. All we can do is to try and save the mother.

So, 6 hours after my arrival, the woman gave birth to a stillborn son. I have to admit that, even if I knew that was the only way we could save her, my heart nearly broke when I saw her husband's and children's sad faces. How could I make those children understand that was the only way I could save their mother?
I remained there for another few hours, looking after the childwife and watching her husband chiseling a small wood casket for another son that he would lay in the ground.
Mother, do you recall all that tittle-tattle about the old Duke's daughter and her mother's lover? It happened before I was born, but I'm certain some old maids still like to discuss it over the fire, during long winter nights. How everyone whispered that the Duchess banished her daughter, because the young girl gave birth to a baby, and the baby's father was no less than her mother's young man? The Duchess' object of consternation, that innocent baby born in sin, died only a couple of months later, but no one but the young mother really seemed to care back then. Do you remember what happened with the Duchess' daughter? Everyone assumed her mother locked her in a convent, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Her mother forced her to marry a peasant that lived on their land and the young girl's name faded into obscurity in no time.
Would you believe me if I told you that this older, overwrought woman that I saved is the same as the young lady from more than 20 years ago? Of course you wouldn't be able to trust your own ears if I said something like that, so don't worry, I'm not going to tell you such a tale.
In lieu of such a tale of a tub, I'm telling you that I'm happy and that Gregory asked me to pass on to you his best wishes. I have a loving husband, a ripping home and my son and daughters are healthy, so what more could I ask for?
I'll finish now, as I'm running out of space and my candle is starting to flicker. It's late and small raindrops are beginning to batter into my window.

Your loving daughter, hopping to hear from you soon,
Alleken Marie

3 comentarii:

Ekho spunea...

Hmm, I'm getting a feeling this new wet nurse is going to become more than just that - in the eyes of Gregory anyway. (Just a feeling I have) As she must be vulnerable after losing her husband and child - and a typical man would take advantage of that.

Auteur des Rêves spunea...

Well, I have to admit, I haven't thought about that(not until you mentioned it), but now that you gave me this idea ... I kind of created a whole story for it >.> God, I feel sorry for Alleken XD
Thanks for reading (and giving me awsome story ideas ^^ )

Ekho spunea...

Glad to help :)

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