By Sally Madison
Coming home from holiday shopping, Mary was startled when the horse reared up, rocking the carriage. Mary heard a scream nearly at the same time. From her carriage window, she could see people scurry to the center of the road. “James, what’s going on?”
“A child has been hurt by an oncoming carriage, sorry, I couldn’t hold the horse, my lady,” James replied.
Exiting the carriage, Mary hurried to help the child, who was bleeding and was in an unnatural position with no sign of life. Mary felt under his jaw for a pulse, then covered the head wound with her handkerchief. “James, get my lap blanket from the carriage, quickly!” she barked. “Does anyone know this child? Has he any family.” The onlookers stood gawking, not responding. Upon James’ return, she laid the blanket out beside the child, and ordered two onlookers, “You and you, gently pick up the child and lay him on the blanket. Now, gently lay him on the seat of my carriage,” she ordered. Rushing ahead of the helpers, she jumped in the carriage and shoved the holiday packages to the floor of the carriage, so the men could lay the child down. “Should anyone inquire about the child, tell them he was taken to the Lord-Mayor’s house,” she shouted, as she and the carriage left for home.
Mary ran up the front steps and crashed through the front doors, threw her cloak and bonnet carelessly on the side chair and initiated a whirlwind of activity. People poked out their heads from various rooms, wanting to know what the big ruckus was. “Charles! She yelled, “go to the carriage and help James!” Charles, the butler, startled and confused, ran out the door. “Penny! Start a fire in the yellow room, NOW!” Penny, the chambermaid, scurried off to the bedroom, her skirt flying behind. “Maude! Bring warm water, soap and rags!” Maude turned tail and ran to the kitchen. “Richard!”
Richard, emerging from the study, saw the two men carrying the unconscious child into the house. “Mary, what’s happened? I have a council meeting going.”
“Take the child to the yellow room next to my bedroom, James, and as soon as you can, go fetch Dr. Brown, wherever he is. Tell him we have a severely injured child and bring him, quickly! Charles, serve brandy, or tea and cookies to the council members and let them know the Lord-Mayor is detained. Richard! come with me!”
Mary and Richard began administering first aid. Mary cleaned the child’s wounds, Richard removed some of the ragged clothing and wiped is grimy face. “How old do you suppose he is?” Mary whispered.
“About 8 or 9, looks about right,” responded Richard. Mary looked around the room that was to have been the nursery for her children that never came. Finally, a child… a child was in her nursery. Her eyes welled with tears.