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A Tale of Elizabeth Harmon: The Birth

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Part 2

I held onto Nicholas as Mrs. Harvey and Lily rushed around, preparing for the new baby. He didn’t squirm in my arms, but calmly played with my locket. It had been given to me eleven years ago by my father just before the fire that killed all of them. I hadn’t taken it off since he put it on me.

Nicholas was a very adorable child: all green eyes, black curls, and dimples. He looked just like Charles and had Meg’s sweet temperament. I rocked him slowly as I paced in the hallway, waiting for my call to go and help Meg. As I passed Charles’ study I saw him nervously pacing back and forth. I walked in calmly and stood in the middle of the room, gently rocking Nicholas back and forth. I stood there for a few minutes until Charles finally noticed I was there. He asked me worriedly, “Is everything okay, Liz?”

I smiled at him reassuringly and said, “Nothing’s wrong Charles. This could last for a few hours longer.”

Charles resumed pacing and again, “My poor Meg. She’s never been good with pain. And what will she be going through when all this is over? The endless worry about our children, you and Andrew, me, herself? Maybe we shouldn’t, Elizabeth…?”

“No Charles,” I interrupted, “Meg needs to know what’s going on. She deserves to know the danger she and her children are in.”

Charles looked pained at the idea of worrying Meg but he knew I was right. Suddenly the door to Meg’s room and we all heard Meg scream in pain. Charles winced and looked alarmed and Nicholas buried his head in my dress. Suddenly Lily, one of the ladies who was helping with the birth, yelled, “Elizabeth it’s time!”

I quickly handed Nicholas over to Charles but he clung to my dress. I pried his little dimpled hands off and ran down the hall to Meg’s room. Inside it was and steamy and incredibly hot. Immediately I was perspiring through my thin cotton dress. Mrs. Harvey, Lily’s mother, quickly shut the door behind me and ran to Meg’s bedside. I paused right in front of the closed door and took in the scene before me, especially Meg’s tired but determined face.
§§§

The baby’s weak cries filled the room as Mrs. Harvey held the squirming child. I pushed back Meg’s sweaty brown hair and wiped the sweat off her forehead. She was bright red all over except her hands which was pale from squeezing the towels we had placed for her to hold onto.

“Good job Meg.” I said happily. She looked so tired but so happy. Her brown eyes were closing but softly she said, “What…What is Elizabeth?”

Before I could ask, Lily said excitedly, “Congratulations Meg, you have a little girl!”

Meg smiled up at me blissfully and whispered, “Katherine.”

Then her eyes closed and she was fast asleep. I cleaned up the soiled linens around her and handed them to Mrs. Harvey, who dealt with them. Then I tucked in Meg and helped Mrs. Harvey clean up. Lily came back carrying a freshly cleaned and swaddled baby girl. She had a tuft of brown hair peering out from underneath the blanket. Lily handed me the baby and I marveled at her tiny size. She was so perfect.

“Hello little Katherine. “I cooed as I gently held her little hand. Lily and Mrs. Harvey were cleaning up and talking softly amongst themselves. As I held her, I heard some of their conversation.

“Meg and Charles have a beautiful baby girl. She’s really quite something.. “Mrs. Harvey said. Lily nodded, “Yes she’s a pretty little child and her name, it fits her well. I’m jut surprised that she wasn’t named Margaret after her mother.”

They weren’t aware that I was listening until I softly said, without looking up from Katherine, “That was our mother’s name.”

Mrs. Harvey looked at me pityingly and Lily looked away embarrassed. To get rid of the awkward atmosphere, I asked, “Has anyone told Charles that he has a daughter?”

Ms. Harvey said, and her tone was full of disapproval, “I did, but he wishes to speak with you.”

She pursed her lips as if she wanted to say more but couldn’t. I ignored her look and said, “I guess I shall just have to go and speak with him now.”

I handed Lily Katherine and took off my dirty apron. I looked in the reflecting glass and saw I was a mess. I tried to tidy my wild hair and wipe off some of the dirt and sweat. Then I took back the baby and went quietly outside. I walked to Charles’ study and paused in the doorway. He saw me instantly and said, “Elizabeth, what’s happened. Is everything okay?”

Just then he saw the bundle in my arms and his eyes widened. Softly he whispered, “Is this…This is…?”

I leaned in toward him and said, “Charles, meet your daughter Katherine.”

He sucked in a breath and for a second I thought I saw tears in his eyes, but then Katherine was in his arms and he was marveling at her beauty. I looked around for Nicholas and felt his little arms around my legs. I looked down and saw him smiling at me. I picked him up and said, “Nicholas, meet your baby sister Katherine.”

He leaned toward Katherine and smiled at her. Charles looked at me inquisitively and asked, “Katherine? No middle name?”

I shook my head and said, “No, Meg just said Katherine.”

Charles smiled and said, “Then I guess it’s up to me. Let’s see little Katherine, “-he held her up and seemed to peer at her little face and Nicholas laughed-”We shall call you Kitty because when you cry, you sound just like a newborn kitten. And as for her middle name, we’ll call you Katherine Elizabeth for your grandmother and dear aunt.”

I blushed and backed up a little, “No, she should be called Anne after her mother. Kitty wont want to be like me. She’ll get into too much trouble.”

Charles shook his head and said, “Meg will like Elizabeth just fine. Her name’s Katherine Elizabeth.”

Nicholas leaned foreword to see Kitty and I stepped closer. Just then Mrs. Harvey and Lily stepped in the study. Self-consciously I stepped away and busied myself with Nicholas. Mrs. Harvey saw my bright red face and from the way she was looking at us, I could she disproved deeply. I tried to hide my face as she said, “Meg is fast asleep. It is time we returned to our families. Keep her and the baby well-rested and fed. that’s what’s best for them, especially Meg.”

Charles nodded. She continued, “Let us know if there are any problems. We care about Meg deeply and would hate for anything negative to happen to her.”

Her words were like a slap to the face and I felt my cheeks go hot and my temper flared at the insinuations she was making.

“Thank you for your help, Mrs. Harvey. You too Mrs. Dale. Without you, we would have been lost.”

Mrs. Harvey pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes, but said nothing. They left and I took Katherine form her father. I watched them leave and once they were gone I looked at little Katherine’s sleepy face and said, “What kind of world have you been born into?”





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