TEARS OF THE FOOT GUARDS
RONDO - STAVE LXXI
S T A V E
“His name shall be George Millet Grace MacEachran,” Obedience had informed the priest.
“‘Grace’?” the priest had questioned as he stood in the front room; the Grishams would not venture to some dockside Roman parlour. “A family name?” The baptismal shell poised above the infant’s head.
“Yes, a family name.”
The Grishams undone, but didn’t show it. This Papist farce! Look at him, the wiry, little Irishman – tabs on an Orangutan. And Binah as godmother! Such an endorsement! They should just take the baby and raise it proper. But Obedience could not be overcome.
Say the Magick and Wash him of Madness, of Strife. Wash him of his father. Wash him of me.
Wee George now in her arms taking her milk, a sensation unmatched by any lover. Greedy little pig, like a clock striking every hour. He owned her and took. She found it, at first, irritating. Now, a Comfort. She no longer dreamed – at least for now. Infancy’s seduction. How long will it last? O’ – forever . . . Ain’t it a Drug! And she in some stupor. How would she be back on the Ration with multiple children tugging on her skirts? But she’s not. This, too, is Providence. Only she and the child. No Dalrymple. No Elliot. No Geordie – At least for now. That it always be so. Had she ever really loved before? Loved only to be Loved, but now would lay down her life. Wee George – big name for something so small.
He fell asleep and she placed him in a cradle. His hands curled to fists. A strange being, God, to reprieve her like this. Her ‘sins’ covered? Had she asked? She did not recall. No matter. She knew now the look she’d seen on Mary in the makeshift chapel. The time will come when she must sing again, and they’ll flock with ogling eyes and flattering tongues – that she be the good mother then . . .