Consequences - Chapter 27
CHAPTER 27 – Mary’s Journal
I am having my ten days of ‘lying in’ here at Mary Ann’s house. I spend some time passing notes to her, and occasionally visiting with her next door; talking with her about our experiences. She was very sorry to hear that our baby had died and was amazed that I was not more upset about it. I told her that I wasn’t ready to be a parent, so that it was for the best.
Mary Ann’s twins (as I had to think of them) did well. I could tell which was mine, because she was slightly larger than the other baby. Fredrick came home the next day and he was very pleased to see the two healthy babies and Mary Ann who was nearly recovered from her ordeal. They decided to name them Ellen and Mary Ann. They were put in the nursery with the wet nurse and their hired nursery nurse. Mary Ann and Fredrick only saw them for half an hour in the evening, when the nurses brought them in, and Mary Ann felt it was better for me not to see their happiness, so I usually don’t get a chance to get a glimpse of my daughter. I must admit to the odd twinge of regret. But even so I firmly believed that we had made the best decision under the circumstances.
I don't really feel like writing in my diary. I tried to rewrite one of my poems, but had to give up.
We are home now, and life is almost back to normal, but Charles is not himself. He says he feels the lack of our child most sorely. He feels we have been guilty of a great sin – not only putting our daughter into another’s bed – like a cuckoo, but setting up a web of lies that will surround us for the rest of our lives. He says we must go to Mary Ann and her husband Fredrick and tell them the truth and bring our daughter home. Part of me can see his point of view, but another part of me thinks that having found the solution to our problem, to unravel it now would not help anyone and would make us more enemies than friends. I don’t feel like I can pray to God for help in this matter, because, like Charles, I feel that we have done a sinful thing.
We went for a walk in the Malvern Hills this morning. I have fully recovered physically from my confinement and enjoyed the exercise. It was nice to be amongst such pleasant scenery on a warm autumn day; Sweet September, very mild, very still.
Then in the afternoon, because I have been so full of tears and unhappiness lately, Charles said we must do something to make me smile again. We went on the long promised visit to Chamberlain’s China Factory. It was a wonderful place and the choice was enormous, but in the end we bought an Armorial Plate. It is 16 inches by 14 inches and in the centre there is a red hand painted figure of a lion encircled with a belt with the motto Vincet Veritas which I think means Truth Conquers Everything. (What a motto for us to have in our house of lies.) The rim is decorated with maroon and cream coloured reserve decorated with floral designs. It will take place of honour on our sideboard, and will look well with our new velvet curtains.
Charles’ Diary - continued
Thursday at Grainger’s bookshop ordered Lamartine's memoirs; added a page or two to Lindsay’s letter. Visit to Mary. She is doing well, but somewhat weepy.
No letters. At Grainger’s, ordered ordnance maps of Wiltshire & Worcestershire; finished a very long letter to Lindsay which I have been working on for some days, wrote to Father.
Saturday, busy day at office; attended market, had to discharge Evan Jones, with sorrow for drunkenness; Visited Mary in afternoon. She is well & moving around, visiting next door with Mary Ann. She doesn’t see much of our baby as Mary Ann feels it would be too emotional for her to see their babies considering our loss.
Sunday, a letter from Mr. Needham, requesting me to call on Miss N. to see how all were, which I did before breakfast; Richard Wilson came down with a letter Aunt had received. Letter from Father regarding our arrangements when baby arrive: he of course doesn’t know baby has already arrived and departed.
Monday morning; letter from CG asking how we are getting on. If only I could tell him. Quick visit to see Mary over lunch. Worked late at office.
Harry over in evening; wrote to Father on his ‘most excellent scheme’ regarding the baby; felt much annoyed by it, for to appear to oppose his wish would make him 'ill' to give way to it would be humouring wrong and impossible; it is unjust & unkind of Father; I hate this web of lies; also wrote to CG.
A letter from Uncle Clephan to say he goes to London on Saturday & returns by way of B'ham & hopes to meet me there; wrote back to say I was unable to do so. Letter also from my great-Uncle Mr. Ino Mayfield of Hagley about Henry & inquiring after many old Mayfields & with ‘Miss Powell’s’ kind regard’. Jones called in evening. Mary will be coming home tomorrow.
Brought Mary home but the house feels so empty. We both feel that what we have done is sinful. How can we right this wrong? Walked alone about town by moonlight in evening.
Mr. Needham returned; I went to the Square to report proceedings during his absence. Tried to make Mary see what we have done is wrong. I want to confess all to Fredrick & get our baby back, but Mary pleads with me not to do so. She spends much of each day in tears & I don’t know how to help her.
Saturday very busy at office; Mary coping with making meals & small bits of cleaning but she is very depressed.
Yesterday took Mary to Chamberlain's China Factory, hoping to cheer her up. We bought a charger, which we will place in prominence on our sideboard. But she was still very unhappy & so am I. Why don’t we just admit that we want to change what can still be changed, regardless of how the world might view us. Took the train and then went for walk in Malvern Hills - pleasant scenery, warm autumn day.
I walked round by the Hop Market to see the opening of the Fair this morning; great quantity of Hops coming in; this is also a large cheese & toy fair. Met Charles Cale at work where he is now foreman. I asked what his daughter Laura is now doing. I had heard she wished to be a nursemaid. He said she was an under nursemaid, in training. As they live in Lowesmore it would be convenient if we could get Laura to work for us, if as I am now thinking, we do bring baby Mary home.
Up soon after 6, breakfast by 7 & down to office; walk through the chill, cold morning air; novel. I have made my decision. I have not consulted Mary. I will make an appointment to see Mr. Fredrick Boyce tomorrow.