Disclaimer: Probable Language Discrepancies. There are in this chapter words in the Huron language. I have tried to do research to find words and phrases in Huron but it is difficult since apparently only very few people speak it now.
Lunette' s Huron name is hopefully correct, but if not then I apologize.
"Enough!" he roared. "Make her stop right now!"
The midwife looked at him reproachfully.
"Now Mr. Collins, if you hadn't eaten much of anything nor slept in two days you'd be crying too!"
He turned and left the room hastily, hands over his ears.
It had clearly been the worst two days in his life. Not only did he have to make arrangements for the funeral of his dear wife…but he also had to hear this child…his child scream bloody murder all day and night! His head felt like it was in pieces. What was wrong with her?
The midwife had tried in vain to feed her with a bottle, spoon and finally in desperation her own fingers…dipping it into the milk and putting it in the child's mouth. This worked for an instant but for long. They tried everything… milk, tea, sugary water… nothing worked! This child was stubborn!
He himself had tried…had taken her in his arms and held her and tried to feed her. She would not have it. When he held her… she stiffened her entire body in fear and closed her eyes to him. Closed her eyes, yes... but opened her mouth!
He was surprised to hear the amount of noise that came out of this tiny body.
Finally the midwife came into the room where he was… child in her arms… and said gravely… "We must do something. She hasn't kept a drop down for two days… if this keeps up... she will not live to see tomorrow".
For one quick second he felt a strong feeling course though his body. Relief… happiness? Disgraceful!
He was ashamed and hurried to make amends… pushing those thoughts to the back of his mind.
"What can we do?" he asked quietly… but he already knew the answer.
"She needs a wet nurse," the midwife said softly… "Just as I told you two days ago."
He sighed to himself. Could this really get any worse?
She had mentioned a wet nurse to him…the only one available in their small village. He had not agreed…she was not English, not white… she was Indian. She was a Huron and a French one at that!
He listened to the wailing of the child who was his… looked at her face, which was red and swollen from all the crying she had done. Good God… she didn't even look like him!
Another thought rushed into his mind… burning him like a hot spear through his heart.
"Could she be another's?" he wondered. That would explain why he felt nothing… no connection when he looked at her.
But as soon as that thought came he knew it was untrue. There was no way…no one. And besides the child did not look like Beatrice either…
He realized with a start…the child looked like his mother in law… Beatrice's mother… with the sad quiet reproachful eyes. He had dreamt of those eyes both nights since his wife had passed and had woken up each time… cold even though the nights were hot.
Those dark accusing eyes were the ones he saw now in his daughter and suddenly he could look no more.
"Send for the woman", he said finally.
"Thank God," said the midwife.
A couple hours later the midwife ushered in the woman to see him. He turned reluctantly to look at her and was surprised. She was not what he had expected.
She was probably around Beatrice's age, shorter though and her eyes were dark brown and sad. He remembered now how the midwife had said that this woman's own child had been stillborn only two weeks before. She had come with the midwife from the reservation in Lower Canada and spoke only French and Huron… no English at all.
The child's wailing started up anew, breaking into his thoughts. The midwife took the Indian women's arm and led her into the bedroom where the child was. He followed behind anxiously… was he doing the right thing? But then again… this woman did not seem to be a savage.
Her name was Yaundeeshaw Utehke which meant Moon Woman. In French she was called Lunette.
She really was not sure that she was ready to do this… the pain of her own loss still sharp and stinging in her own heart. But the midwife had told her how this child would die and she could not let another child die if she could help it. The Great Spirit would want her to help.
The two women walked up to where the child lay and looked down at her. The child feeling the weight of their stares looked back up at them and stopped crying in mid wail.
Lunette looked down at the child and felt a warmth creep into her body. It was not unlike the warmth you feel when you come into a warm house from outside where it is freezing.
Strangely enough, though it was not from the outside as one would expect. It started deep in her core and radiated outwards.
She sat on the edge of the bed, the baby's eyes never leaving hers. She knelt closer and began speaking softly in Huron. This seemed to calm the child and she reached out and held the finger of the woman above her.
Lunette took the child in her arms and held her close. She smiled to herself… the warmth now reaching all through her body even to the fingertips.
The child felt so at peace now. There were so many things she did not understand. Not too long ago she was at peace too, warm and encircled, in a dark place. It was quiet, all she heard were soft rhythmic sounds. Sometimes another sound was heard or felt but it was soft as well. Then suddenly everything had changed. It was so loud and bright! She was cold and felt no warmth when she was held. She sensed fear and that made her afraid too.
She was hungry… very hungry but there were other needs that had to be met before hunger.
Then this woman had come with the quiet voice and serene eyes. When she touched her, the baby felt the warmth…the same warmth that she had felt before. When the woman spoke it was the same soft sounds too…they were familiar somehow. And when she held her the child felt surrounded by warmth…safe, finally safe. And she was hungry!
A/N Thanks to BlackCatFrodo for proofreading for me!