CHAPTER 14 - Down But Not Out
Mrs. Adams then asked if she can take Beatrice back to the village but Madam and her brother prevailed from her not to such an act they say can really destabilize the girl.Moreover when Beatrice was asked, she said she would rather stay where she was. Madam however said that as soon as Beatrice put to bed, Mrs. Adams would be sent for, they all agree that the baby should be weaned after three months and enable Beatrice to go back to school and then Mrs. Adams can then take the baby to the village to nurse.
When Beatrice and her mother were alone in little room that Madam has asked Mrs. Adams to put in for the night, Mrs. Adams turned to her daughter and said ‘maybe you are wondering at my silence, Beatrice raised up her hand, the mother continued ‘I’m although you have terribly disappointed me, disgraced the family and the members of your dear father who wanted the best for you ‘fresh tears of shame rolled up in Beatrice eyes, she sobbed uncontrollably but her mother not looking at her went on more to herself than to the crying girl ‘I don’t need to condemn you, the act itself has already been committed, and I now abandoned you? noo, you are still my daughter although you have really hurt me by your shameless action but I want you to know that we are in this together, at this word, Beatrice went and knelt in front of her mother sobbing. “Mother forgive, forgive me give me a sound chance I promise I will make it’. Her mother put a hand on her shoulder shaking her head in pity both for herself and the girl kneeling before her, she said “you have drag us both into the mud but are you really to stand, to shake the mud of and move ahead, I know you can still make It if you want to.
“I went to mother, I want to ‘sobbed Beatrice get up, said Mrs. Adams ‘go and sleep’ I will be leaving for the village in the morning but make sure you write to keep me know how things are faring with you. Beatrice stood up thanking fro mother for trusting her and so she went to the room she stand with Monsurat and another girl but she could not sleep.
Lying down on her bed, Beatrice’s mind flashed back to that day in the dormitory when she accepted Bambi had in friendship. She again saw in her mind the little spider that has united her and Bambi laboring it reach it home high up in the ceiling she saw its futile attempts several times until a false move created by the way and the direction for the wind that suddenly blew in through the open French window draw it near the wall-gecko which has been waiting partially for such a false move.
Beatrice signed deeply as she compared himself with the little unfortunate spider that has been quickly snapped by the wall gecko but there and then, she made up her mind that the similarity was going to and although an ill wind and has blowned her like the spider into this unfortunate situation but she made up her mind not to be devouredby this nasty expense s the wall gecho devoured the little spider she swore silently to herself ‘this is not going to be the end of the road for me, I refuse to be a drop out, I am determined to reach the top, I am definitely going to make it, with this resolution came a deep and peaceful sleep she had not known in some months past.
In the morning, Uncle Johns came to take his sister to the motor park on route to the village. Mrs. Adams promised madam that she would always came to Lagos fortnight to check Beatrice while Uncle John promised to see them every weekend.
Beatrice was grateful for their moral support at this trying period in her life and promised to make it up for them.
With little time the madam has given her and the pocket money from Uncle John. Beatrice enrolled herself into an extra moral classes not for from Madam’s shop.Even though some of the students made jest of her protruding stomach, she did not allow this to bother her as she went about her studies without bathing an eyelid at their stares and orglings she was determined that come what may that she was going to make it academically. There were time when madam as hard as she was would call Beatrice an warn her that she was driving herself too much but the determined girl always tries to allw the older woman’s fear that she was okay.
Some months after, the baby was born without any complication, for this mama was very grateful because she has been apprehensive of the way Beatrice has been tasking herself sometimes reading far into the night giving herself little or nor rest at all.
Mrs. Adams was quickly sent for, the baby was named on the eight days ‘Tope’ and this time around Mrs. Adams prevailed upon mama and uncle John to take Beatrice with her to the village for proper mother care.
The villagers soon heard that Beatrice was back among them with a new born baby girl, they troop to Mrs. Adams home to great Beatrice some out of curiousity and some out of genuine friendship because a new born baby is always a welcome addition in their midst, the ladies does not ask much question other than the name of the baby and how Beatrice was feeling as a mother and her general welfare’s while the former wanted to know about the father and when Beatrice got married and so on but Mrs. Adams who was a no nonsense woman did not give them the satisfaction and they soon withdraw leaving only the genuine and concerned villagers to the visit.
So when four months later, Beatrice left to village again leaving only the baby behind none of them dare ask Mrs. Adams any question although most of them were almost bursting with curiosity to know what was happening. Some dancing ones among them ventured as far as to ask Mrs. Adams question such as ‘I heard that Beatrice has gone back to the city’ to this, the mother of the girl would make a dipped reply ‘yes’.
‘And left ‘faith-hope’ behind the voice would add. To this Mrs. Adams would just stare at the person with a look that speaks as ‘and so what is your business about her’ such people would soon got the message and awkwardly he or she would say ‘this city people self’ and take his or her leave to cover up.
Three months after Beatrice left for the village Uncle John went to visit her. Since the baby was born his worry and anxiety has greatly increased as he was no faced with the problem in of finding an alternative accommodation for Beatrice, he know that finding another school for Beatrice would present no problem but where would the girl live, his wife was hell bent o not having Beatrice back in her home and John Oju was not so confident of sending the girl back to the school. Not knowing what to do, he decided to wait to hear what Beatrice would say and see her reaction.
He was however happy when on getting to the village he met Helen a cousin of their who was a nursing sister in one of the government hospitals in Abeokuta. She was on leave and has decided to come to the village to spend a day or two with Mrs. Adams.
Helen’s mother and their own father has been brothers and sisters and when Helen’s mother married the Abeokuta man, she has left home for her husband’s place but when she died a few years later, Helen who was then a young girl then has been brought to Mrs. Adams until her father remarried and has to come to take back his little girl home but Helen ha never forgo them Mrs. Adams kindness to her.
Uncle John Oju bears out his mind to Helen holding nothing from her, he told her Beatrice has come to be in this predicament and his fear of having to put her bars into the banding house she so much resented. Helen said that accommodating Beatrice with no problem to her if the girl agrees to live with her. She also promised that as soon as she get home, she would start to look for a good girls’ school not far from her home for Beatrice but first they must first have to find out if the girl agrees to the idea.
Mrs. Adams who has been listening to her brother and her young cousin deserving the fair of her daughter put in and said that although Beatrice has been very stupid in her notion, she was still none the less her first child “and you do not kill a child because she is bad,with a dog is Beatrice outside, it runs home knowing there is a school, this is Beatrice home and how she would stay, she can continue her education if she so desire.
Uncle John flared up “I look here sister, nobody is arousing, you of neglecting your daughter but what we are saying is that the girl has to get the best education she can get, there is only a mode in school in this village and I want Beatrice in a good school.
Uncle, Helen cuts in ‘let’s ask Beatrice for her opinion, I know Aunt would not object to that Beatrice who has been standing by the door for sometime listening to their argument came and knelt down in front of her mother ‘please mum she said ‘let me go with Aunt Helen, I promise and to stop out of turn over again, I promise mother please trust me this once and she started to see.
That put prayed to any further argument from Mrs. Adams who resigned herself to whatever they suggested since the girl has decided to go with them. it was agreed that Beatrice should still stay for some weak with her mother because the schools are on holidays but that she should stop breast feeding the baby mean while Helen then recommended some drugs for both mother and child which Uncle John went to buy in time nearest town for them.
Helen promised to look for a good private secondary school, for Beatrice as soon as she got home and suggested that Beatrice would have to come to Abeokuta two weeks before resumption date to sit for her exams and familiarity herself with the new environment.
Uncle John gave Helen some money to assist her in search and promised to get in touch new and then to now heat progress she was making. He left the village a happier meantime he came; it was as if Helen has lifted a baby burden off his shoulder. He felt lighter and for it’s first time in many months, he felt he could not breath easier. Helen redness make good her promise and got Beatrice evolved in success model college, an and coming private school designed for boys and girls.
Uncle Johns supported her all the way, he bought Beatrice school uniforms, books and paid her school fees as soon as the college resumes, he also made it a point of duty to visit her every last Saturday of the month unless he was out of town on business.
This time around, Beatrice did not allow anything to distract attention, her friendship with everybody starts and ends in school, her mother was ‘once beaten twice shy’.
Because from the onset, she showed herself to be dedicated and serious minded she worn the approval of all her teachers, her juniors find her a great help in solving their academic problem, the only fault her class mates found in her was that she had no friend nor confident, all was her friend and no enemy, to them she was a least always coming and going alone.
Her Aunt, Helen, although a bit worried about her was proud that she has learned her lesson and was new determined to face her backs squinty. The lady when she wakes up in the middle of the night would be surprised to still see the light burning in Beatrice’s room, she would call out ‘Beatrice when are you going to sleep? The girl would then reply “Just this last bit Aunt in the morning she would be the first to wake up, this get Aunt Helen worried that she has to report it to uncle John and Mrs. Adams when they come visiting.
Both Mrs. Adams and Uncle John appealed to Beatrice to take things a bit easy because of her health but to this, the girl replied ‘sir be would rest when the time comes but right now, she has to make up for the year she has lost.
Mrs. Adams has trustfully stop bringing the baby with he on her visits because she could sense that the presence of the baby always makes Beatrice uncomfortable. since that academic year rolled away and it was time for the promotional exams.
Beatrice made top grades in all her subject and was promoted to SS2, it was in this class that she cleared her GCE paper to the admiration of Aunt Helen who has purchase the form for her despite uncle John’s protest that they should not rush her.
While everybody was congratulating her on her performance, Beatrice felt she has not done anything worthy of commendation instead she was more determined to put in more efforts. When Beatrice notice that her mother ha stopped bringing the baby wrong now has began to babble and walk, on her visits she challenged her and asked why but Mrs. Adams was envious in her reply.
Beatrice appealed to her mother ‘please another, always bring the baby with you because merely looking at her gives me the incentive that all hope is not lost and that I can still make it;, since than Mrs. Adams never failed to being the child along and whenever it was holiday, the twins would come along too to spend a day or two with their sister and Aunt Helen on such visits the twins would encourage their sister to come to the village but she always refuse saying that the time is not ripe enough to warrant such visit.
By the time the result of the senior secondary school certificate examination was out, Beatrice has already received the result of the joint admission matriculation Board with a high mark far above the cut off mark to read medicine.
This time her uncle was so excited that he decided to love her on tour of Nigeria she however insisted that she would take heron his week holiday. Aunt Aisha vehemently objected to the arrangement telling her husband that his first foot down by saying that since his wife objected to his including Beatrice in their plan to travel to Ghana can visit to some family friends who has invited them over fro two weeks, she and their children would have to go alone and he would join them later for the remaining one week as Beatrice discuss this one week treat and nobody can deprive her of it, the woman seeing that her children actively supported their father has reluctantly agreed.