It was no wonder Sarah and Beth would always call it “the magic day”. Minutes later Jenny had appeared, and then the enchantment began. Not only did Miss Allbright solve the problem of the puppies, and insist on paying Joe so extravagantly, but by the time Sarah had poured the tea even Jenny’s headstrong pride had been engulfed in a sea of flattery and enticements. Emily’s wish had come true, and although Joe mourned another daughter going into service, his worries about Jenny’s life in the factory disappeared on the day the Farrington’s brougham arrived to bear her away.
Beth was suffering these past months, however, over having lost both her sisters. Or could it be over the impending birth of a new member of the family? Sometimes the little girl would be obstinate, the next tearful and worried.
Ben had been affected by Jenny’s absence as well, shirking his duties. Worst of all, Joe seemed increasingly nervous and withdrawn.
Sarah sighed. This was meant to be such an exciting time for them all, full of joyful anticipation. But, of course, the nightmare of his first wife’s death in childbirth must haunt Joe. She must be patient, Sarah told herself. It would all be different once the baby was born.
With that thought, Sarah lurched as something seemed to grip her like a stab of white heat grabbing at her back and circling her body like a vice!
Beth saw the fear and pain in Sarah’s eyes as she helped her to the bed. But just as she felt panic rising, something else seemed to take hold of the little girl. It was if strength had been poured into her, and she spoke with extraordinary calm.
“Don’t worry, Sarah, everything will be all right. Let me get you some water, and then I’ll run for Mrs Bond.” With motherly tenderness Beth smoothed back the locks of hair plastered against Sarah’s sweating forehead. “I’ll be back soon!”
“Bless you, sweet child. Do you know,” Sarah whispered, “I’ve never seen it before, but just at this moment you are the spit of your mother. She would be so proud of you. As for your dad, you’ll always be his special little girl, no matter how old you get.” She took a breath as the pain mounted again. “I love you like you were my own. Never forget that, no matter what happens.”