March 11, 2006 at 8:14 pm #1874MiskatonicParticipant
It was April when the dress she wore began to tighten around the middle. A button popped off as she scrubbed the kitchen floor on her hands and knees. It was Cook who asked the question, after the other maids began to whisper.
?Are you with child, girl??
They told the butcher first. It was his son?s baby. The girl was sure of it. Twice against the brick wall near the servant?s entrance, and once in an alleyway halfway home from church. There had been no other.
It was a certainty that she would lose her position the moment her employers caught wind of the situation, but if the butcher?s son would marry her, there?d be little cause to worry. But the butcher?s son was already betrothed to a fishmonger?s daughter. And the scullery maid was lost.
The butcher and his son set the girl adrift with twelve pounds and a newspaper ad.
NURSE CHILD WANTED, OR TO ADOPT — The Advertiser, a Widow with a little family of her own, and moderate allowance from her late husband's friends, would be glad to accept the charge of a young child. Age no object. If sickly would receive a parent's care. Terms, Fifteen Shillings a month; or would adopt entirely if under two months for the small sum of Twelve pounds.
The money in her pocket was more than she had ever laid hands on at once in all her nineteen years. She couldn?t stay in Town, though. And the twelve pounds would perhaps be enough to sustain her through the pregnancy, and maybe beyond. But only her. There was no way she would be able to provide for the child, too, once it was born.
Cook had warned her of the Baby Farmers, though. Healthy children were neglected until such time as they became sick. Sickly children were neglected until such time as they wasted away. A sin of convenience for a young woman who already had one trespass under her belt and no wish to add another.
The girl felt she didn?t have the audacity of spirit to be so reckless with the life of her child. She would have to find an alternative place for it, once it was born. But first things first, she had to find an alternative place for herself.
A tenant farmer discovered her one morning, huddled beneath brush to keep warm. He took her back to his wife, who nursed the girl back to health. It was a miracle she?d managed to keep the baby, after all that she?d been through. The farmer and his wife had no children of their own. An accident in his youth had prevented them from creating the family that could have helped to sustain their tenancy beyond their own limited years and established roots upon the land where they now dwelt.
October came, and with it, the child. A little girl. The farmer and his wife tried to convince the maid to stay with them, be as their daughter and raise the child. But she would not. Convinced her child would thrive in the City if given the proper chances, the girl returned to London.
St Ann?s Orphanage in Whitechapel was one of few such facilities discreetly putting roofs over bastard children?s heads. The children of St Ann?s were not born without sin. They were born steeped in it. Their very existence was proof of the loose morals so rampant in society. The sisters of St Ann?s found it their duty to God to stamp out this sin, irredeemable as it was in souls so blackened before they had a chance to shine unto His glory.March 11, 2006 at 8:39 pm #2447LaynaParticipant
About time! Grand to see, m'dear. Too short, by far.March 12, 2006 at 6:00 am #2448MidgetParticipant
Why is it every one of your posts leaves me feeling empty inside?
Good stuff! More please.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.