At dawn, I stirred and turned to see the top of a head covered in velvet black hair next to me. The rest of the body was covered in a blanket. All I heard when I got out of bed was Daphne’s deep breathing. She and Mrs. Douglas must have stayed up half the night planning our move to town. I never heard her come to bed.
Donning my clothes, I washed my face and hands, which didn’t even get a rise from the mummified figure in the bed. I smiled as I gently closed the door to our bedroom and trooped down the stairs to breakfast.
Walking into the dining room, I saw Anna and Mrs. Douglas talking over cups of coffee at the table. Mrs. Douglas looked up at me, smiled and asked, “Is Daphne up yet?”
I responded, “No ma’am. She’s resting peacefully. When did y’all break up yar conflab?”
Mrs. Douglas grinned and said, “Well, it was well past midnight. We had a lot to think about.”
I smiled and returned, “There isn’t any two people in tha world that can plan like y’all can.”
I poured a cup of coffee from a pot on the buffet and sat down at the table. Anna motioned toward the door, and one of the servant ladies appeared with a plate-full of vittles. They watched me as I enjoyed the wonderful food.
Looking up at the two ladies, I stated, “I would like to help as much as I can to take any mental and physical strain off Daphne. Y’all just tell me what to do.”
Anna responded, “Tha whole household wants to help. They’re looking forward to a new baby in tha family. So I dunno if ya will have to do any heavy moving, but ya will need to drive wagons and carriages down to y’all’s cottage.”
I almost choked on a spoonful of eggs that I had put in my mouth. I looked at Anna and asked, “Wagons and carriages?”
Anna and Mrs. Douglas laughed. Mrs. Douglas commented, “Well, maybe not carriages, but there will be a few wagons.”
I was just about to respond to her reply when Daphne came into the room. Her eyes were puffy. Her hair hadn’t been combed out, yet, and she looked really weary.
I got up immediately and went to her. She slid into my arms, but she didn’t have enough strength to give me a rib crushing hug. I sat her down at the dining room table. She crossed her arms on the table and rested her head on her arms. Then she moaned. Everyone jumped to their feet and huddled around her.
I looked at the women for guidance, but they didn’t seem too troubled.
Finally, Mrs. Douglas asked, “Morning sickness?”
Daphne rasped, “Uh huh.”
Mrs. Douglas looked at me and pontificated, “First one is always tha worst.”
I let out a deep breath that I didn’t know I had been holding and looked at my precious wife and said, “Do ya want to go to tha parlor and lay on one of tha couches?”
Daphne dreamily replied, “Uh huh.”
I gently moved to her side and picked her up out of the chair. She smiled, put her arms around my neck and buried her head in my shoulder as we walked to the parlor.
On the way to the parlor there was a veritable bustle of activity. By the time we enter the room, there were coverlets on the couch, a few fluffed pillows at one end, a pitcher of water on a small table at one end of the couch and a chair next to the couch for me.
I gingerly laid Daphne on the couch and Anna covered her with a light blanket. Mrs. Douglas and the servant ladies were standing at the back of the couch looking down on Daphne.
Daphne didn’t say a word, but quickly drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face.