#36.5, Tues., Sept. 13, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. Poitiers at a noble villa

         I asked for Ana at the gate of the convent and I was given the name of a noble household where she was sent. Finding that place was easy. It’s a villa on the riverbank overlooking the city. It is the residence of an earl.

         Ana sees me coming and meets me in the stable. She looks like a splash of sunshine on a gray morning cloud.

         “So you find me wherever I hide.”

         “The nuns told me where you were, but nothing about why you came here.”

         “This place is known because the earl has had several wives who  died in childbirth but the baby boys always seemed to survive. I was asking about rescuing both mother and baby so they sent me here to shadow the midwife because the earl has a new wife due to give birth very soon.”

         “And how is this place for you? Do you have food and good sleeping quarters?”

         “Probably as fine as yours at a monastery that’s on the wane. I’m staying in servant’s quarters. So I think our beautiful moments together are only likely in the hayloft of this stable.”

         “Ligugè has a fine stable also you know, but probably not enough regard over there for women.”

         “This stable is quiet and secluded.”  And Ana goes on, “My sleeping mat in the servant’s quarters may not be better than a guest room at a monastery but at least sins are less original here. I’m assigned to the young midwife, so when you want to find me ask the servant at the gate for the midwife Colleen’s assistant.”

         “Colleen, that sounds Celtic.”


          “Yes, it’s Irish as is she. It means girl.”

         “Just girl; so her parents couldn’t think of a name?”

         “I thought that too. I’m not even sure if she’s a slave or a paid servant. The mother of the earl’s new wife gave Colleen to her daughter as a wedding gift, knowing of the gossip about this villa.”

         “Which is?”

          “That every wife of this earl dies in childbirth and when the child is born alive the blame is laid on the midwives, so when Lady Elise was first betrothed to the earl her mother searched the markets for an able helper, and thus gifted Colleen as the new midwife.”

         “Is Colleen a good teacher for you?”

         “I think it will be an opportunity to learn what I need to know.”

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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