Friday, July 15, 2011

Chapter 29

Angus lifted Catherine from the deck of "the Belle" onto the dock. They walked slowly across the dock, with Catherine occasionally stopping to rest. Another pause was to take a deep breath while she admired the manor house. In the strangest sense, this was home. Once inside the house, he took her to the upstairs bed chamber. The room was large and sunny with a splendid view of the river. Next to the bed was a wooden baby cradle.
"This is one of the reasons for my delay," he said pointing to the cradle.
"What else?" She asked.
"I did not trust the duke."
"By now he is gone from this country and we shall never hear of it again."
Angus placed her carpet bag on the bed, then turned around to assist her in removing her cloak.
"There is no need to ever speak of this experience. Everyone thinks that you were visiting your sister in Augusta. Aye, I did not entertain our friends in ye absence." The duke was correct in his assessment of Angus.
She struggled with her dress; it was unpressed and too tight around the breast and stomach. She had the appearance of an aging peasant woman with straggly hair and downtrodden expression. "I will give you Cassie for your personal maid to look after you," he said kindly. "She is good with the coiffures and can also sew."
Despite the haggard Catherine, Angus also suffered. His suffering was visible in the deep wrinkles across his brow and the pained expression in his eyes. As for Catherine, she would soon return to her pretend world. But the affair drained her emotionally and she was physically weary. She spent the last two months of the pregnancy confined her to bed. It was spring and the crops were being planted. Angus was absent much of the time from the house. It was a silent, hollowed experience of being left to herself, except that her maid, Cassie, was always with her. When her time, a mid-wife from one of the slave cabins delivered a baby boy. Duncan saw the familiar red hair and green eyes of his own father. "This is Roderick McDonald!" Duncan said proudly.
"I think that we shall name him Roderick Angus," Catherine said.
"Then Roderick Angus it tis!" Duncan said gleefully.
Angus smiled and kissed Catherine on the forehead. No one could ever question but what this child was a McDonald.

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