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Chapter 4

First of May 1895

Louisa Devon sat bolt upright in bed, her hands clutched her stomach in fear, a small tear trickled down her right eye. Pain hit her like bullets, hitting and hitting its target constantly.

In desperation, she smoothed down her lace white nightgown to keep her safe and protected. The sky outside had turned a pinky red colour which signalled day's end.

Louisa was expecting her first child, an heir for the estate and wealth that would come with it in the future. The servants in the household all debated on whether there was one baby or two, the baby would be a boy or a girl, if twins, two boys or two girls, maybe even one of each. Who knew? The truth was, God worked in mysterious ways.

She was starting to feel nausea take hold of her small, fragile body. Deep down, she found the courage to speak out, "Help! I need help!"

Running footsteps greeted her with due course as Mrs Laxley, the main housekeeper arrived carrying a white apron and some blankets, "I'm here miss."

Louisa felt faint, "Oh Mrs Laxley, it hurts so!"

"Don't worry miss, I've had four little ones myself. It's time for the baby to come and in good time too!"

"Charles..." moaned Louisa, "I want him here!"

"Your husband is in the study," replied Mrs Laxley, "He's not too far away, I promise."

Louisa screamed again, tears started to pour from her eyelids. All she wanted was for the whole procedure to be over and done with.

"Listen miss, you need to try and stay relaxed. I know that giving birth is painful but you need take deep breaths, plenty of them." reassured Louisa.

The pushing took hold of Louisa's body, the pain of the whole process felt somewhat damaging for her thoughts and fragile skin. As a child, her health hadn't been brilliant but growing up fast and marrying into a well-respected family meant better care and attention for her, things that not all of her family could give her.

After what felt to Louisa a nightmare that she hadn't quite woken up from, she heard a small cry from under the covers. Pushing them back, she gasped in joy.

A beautiful baby with delicate skin was staring at her, wailing and taking in breaths. Louisa burst into happy tears as Mrs Laxley wrapped the baby up into a protective blanket.

"A beautiful baby boy!" smiled Mrs Laxley, "An heir!"

Louisa took hold of the small bundle in the blanket and held it close to her body, her hands trembled as two more servants arrived to see what all the commotion was.

Smiles were exchanged back and forth between the various servants as the new mother cradled her newborn son but someone wasn't there with her.

"Husband, I want to see my husband." demanded Louisa.

"Of course miss," replied one of the servants as she left the room quickly.

"Dear me Mrs Laxley! What should I call him?" asked Louisa, "I have no idea and I do not want to offend the household by calling him anything too unsuitable."

Mrs Laxley stared at the baby's head, "You must talk with your husband about that miss, my ideas might not please him!"

Louisa numbly nodded, "Well, I hope he has a few good ideas for a name!"

The female servant returned, "Miss, your husband."

Louisa looked up towards the face of her husband, Charles Devon. Descended from wealthy landowners, his family had lived in the same country house for over one hundred years.

"Mrs Laxley, would you give us a moment?" asked Charles.

"Of course sir." said Mrs Laxley as she left the room with the other servants.

Slowly, Charles sat next to his wife and gently touched the baby's head. His other hand rested around her shoulder providing a warm sense of security for Louisa. His eyes gazed romantically first towards his wife and then towards the baby.

"A son Charles," whispered Louisa, "An heir to the estate."

Charles smiled with joy as he took his baby son into his arms. At the sight of different people, the baby snuggled up peacefully under the blanket.

"He's beautiful," replied Charles, "So beautiful."

"He has a small mop of brown hair, the same shade as yours husband," gushed Louisa, "Something that I did dream about a few months prior."

Charles blushed a little at the cheeks, "So, a mirror image of me?"

Louisa said nothing, just moved close to her husband and kissed him on the lips. A kiss of love and a kiss of life. Charles returned his wife's affections as they drifted into their own little world, away from the walls of the house and into a world of happiness and love. Witnessed no evil, just doves and flowers.

After a long while, Charles gazed passionately at his wife and newborn son, "We are a family at last."

Louisa gazed back at him, "Yes, and hopefully, the family will grow even more!"

At this statement, the baby woke up and wailed making his parents laugh.

"I don't think he wants that Louisa." concluded Charles.

Louisa giggled, "I agree husband."

Slowly but surely, the baby's hand touched his father's hand making Louisa smile, "Daddy's boy."

"And for that, we must call him after a dear old friend of mine from back in my childhood." smiled Charles.

"Oh Charles, who may that person be?" asked Louisa.

"He was called Edmund, Edmund William." said Charles as he smiled at the two people he loved the most in the world.

"Edmund it shall be!" smiled Louisa as she and Charles sealed their talk with a kiss.

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