Julia's Garden

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This scene was included in the revised version of Lost Soul and has been updated to reflect the changes.

Submitted: January 20, 2015

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Submitted: January 20, 2015

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One morning, I left our kitchen after imparting instructions on cooking duck to our main cook, Natalie. The meat is not very common, even to our wealthy household, and I hoped the exotic food would please Gregory and ensure some tranquility for me and my daughter.

“Mistress Juliana, the baby is being quite cantankerous today. No matter what I try, she just will not stay quiet,” Emma said, meeting me in the hallway leading to my bedroom and my daughter’s nursery.

Marie’s wet nurse looked exhausted. Dark rings circled both eyes and she had not been hit. “I believe she is just tired of this stuffy air,” I said as Marie continued crying. “Get some rest, Emma. I shall take Marie outside with me for a while.”

“Mistress Julia, you really should not . . . Master Gregory will not . . .”

“Marie needs her mother and some fresh air,” I replied as I gathered my skirts with one hand and stepped past her into the nursery. “Mama’s here, Marie. Shh, it is all right,” I cooed as I reached her crib.

Marie quieted as I spoke. She turned her head and stared at me with large blue eyes, sparkling from tears even as she reached up a tiny hand to grab mine. I smiled and picked her up, wrapping a blanket loosely around her.

My daughter laid her head on my shoulder as I turned and walked out of the nursery and down the hallway to the door. I think some time in the gardens would do both of us some good. “Mistress Julia, I must implore ye to think of what your husband has told you. He does not think you should spend so much time with the baby. Please . . .” The wet nurse begged as she followed me.

I turned towards her. “You are exhausted, Emma. I shall have time with my child. You need some sleep. I will worry about my husband later.” Emma sighed. I stepped outside and followed the path into the gardens.

I inhaled the heady scent of lilies, irises, carnations, and roses as I carried my daughter deeper into my little walled-off paradise. She glanced curiously at the yellows, pinks, and violets of the various flowers but did not seem drawn to any of them in particular.

As we turned a corner, my favorite stone bench come into view. I loved this spot. Stone walls covered with ivy blocked the line of sight of the house, and several rose bushes surrounded the bench. Across from the bench was a small pool of clear water.

As I sat down, Marie perked up and smiled. I turned her around in my arms and she instantly reached out towards the red petals of the nearest rose. Her fingertips touched the silky smoothness and she chortled.

She stretched to reach a second bush with white flowers on it. I smiled as I smoothed my hand over her short black hair. She glanced back at me a moment. A smile broke over her face and lit her beautiful blue eyes as she grabbed my finger and cooed.

“Do you like those pretty flowers, Marie?” I asked softly. “They are called roses.” Marie tilted her head and made more cooing noises before turning her attention back to the red roses.

 I shook my head in happy bewilderment. I really did not know what fascinated her about those roses. She seemed to like only the red and white ones. We had one bush of pink roses and she paid not the slightest attention to it. I gazed at the little pond and listened to Marie’s contented babbling. This was our refuge.

A sudden sharp cry made me turn back to my daughter. Her tiny hand was partially wrapped around the stem of a red rose. “Nay, Marie! Do not touch that part!” I scolded as I pulled her hand away. She whimpered, and a tiny drop of blood dripped down her thumb. The blood was as crimson as the flower she had pricked her finger on.

I pressed the corner of her blanket against the small wound as I whispered reassuring things to her. What had possessed her to touch that part of the flower? I supposed I should have foreseen that possibility, but she never had done it before, and we had enjoyed this fragrant little nook many times.

Before I could ponder the oddity any longer, I heard a sharp, demanding voice. “Juliana, are ye out with that fool-born urchin? Where is my dinner?”

Marie’s wail pieced the air. I winced. Gregory was home.


© Copyright 2020 TheresaVan18. All rights reserved.

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