vineri, 27 decembrie 2013

New Addition To The Family

"Women may fall when there's no strength in men."

I was only 20 years old when I understood what beeing humiliated truly meant. But now, looking back to it, I understand that in a way, it was my fault. I was too young, too blind and I knew nothing of temptation and lust.
It was the beginning of winter and I was trying to enjoy a couple of non-working days with my children, taking delight in the fact that all four of them were hale and hearty. The house was clean and I just managed to lull the babies to sleep, so I went to bed earlier, hoping to catch up on some sleepless nights I had to spend caring for a young mother. Of course, sleep didn't come easy to me that night either.

Even Gregory was at home, fanning the flame in the parlour and recounting to his footman some insignificant happenings from the farm. For a few moments I felt like I was truly happy. And then, of course, I saw the housemaid beckoning me. I got dressed in a hurry and followed her into the kitchen from where she guided me to our servants' quarters.
The room was dark and poorly ventilated and the stifling air made me dizzy, so I had to grip to the kitchen maid's upper arm to prevent myself from fainting right away.
I heard her cry a moment before I saw her and I was taken aback, because that was the instant when I understood everything.
She was beautiful. By God, she was so beautiful she stood no chance, and I didn't comprehend that until it was too late. And my husband was a weak man...

Some midwife must I have been not to notice a woman living under my roof, trying to conceal her pregnancy from my eyes, while everyone around me was aware of it.
Right before my eyes was Maud, my devoted wet-nurse, the woman I took into my house and entrusted with the care of my children. Pregnant and ready to deliver a baby. My husband's baby. I wanted to weep and pity myself, for I must have been sightless not to notice what was happening right into my house.
I am ashamed to admit that the first thing that I wanted to do was leave her there and run upstairs, lock myself into my bedchamber and cry. But Gregory was upstairs and I was not yet prepared to see him.
It was the most difficult decision in my life, but I knew that I could never forgive myself if I left her there and something were to happen to her. I did my best, trying not to think about what this child meant for me and ignoring Maud's pleas. How could I blame her for my own recklessness?

I tried anything to save her, but I knew I would lose her by the sunrise. She bled to death one and a half hour after delivering a baby girl and I couldn't do anything to save her, beeing forced to watch the poor woman gradually wither away.

For a moment, I felt relieved, but then I looked at the little baby girl lying in my arms. In a way, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor baby, knowing what an orphan's life would probably be. She wouldn't stand a chance, especially now, during winter months.
"Poor, innocent soul ... Why are you supposed to pay the fiddler for someone else's sin?"

So I made the most frantic decision of my life. I swaddled the baby and took her upstairs, to my husband.
Needless to say, he didn't ask for many explanations. He did squawk and bawl at me for a couple of minutes, but began to sing a different tune when I placed the baby in a cradle in the nursery, next to our children.
"Her mother wanted her to be named Sarah, so I complied. She's healthy, but I'm sending her and our children at my parents' for a few of months. I'm sure they will agree and find a wet-nurse for them."
There was no way I was going to employ another woman under the age of 50 and bring her into my house.
Me and Gregory didn't talk to each other for the next two weeks.