Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday Sample, February 22, 2014

Welcome back to Saturday Samples! In this portion of a scene from my forthcoming novel, Gone for a Soldier, Julia visits her daughter-in-law and new grandson.

When Julia had finished her town business at the Hilbrands store on Friday, she began to pull herself up into the buggy for the return trip home, but something stopped her, and she put her foot back on the ground.

She looked in the buggy. Her egg basket, now heaped with parcels, lay on the floor of the vehicle. Had she forgotten some task, an item she was to buy or sell? No. Had she neglected to ask for the mail? The envelope addressed to her in Rod's firm hand that seemed to burn a hole in her pocket belied that notion.

Her grandchild. Oh lordy, she had forgotten to pay a visit to Mary and the baby!

Taking herself in hand, she walked around the block to the Hilbrands' home and let the knocker fall on the brass plate. Ida bade her enter, and she soon knocked on Mary's door.

She found the girl in her bed, in tears, her bodice open, and the baby lying across her limbs squalling in counterpoint to his mother.

"Ah, Mary girl! What's this?" She picked up Roddy and put a finger into his mouth. "Shush, sweet boy. Shush," she crooned.

"I am a failure," Mary wailed. "I cannot feed him." She covered her face. "Mama rents a wet nurse."

"There, there." Julia tried to sooth both mother and son.

Mary put her hands across her bosom and gasped out, "I've tried so hard. Mama says they are too small, which prevents the milk from coming."

"Nonsense," Julia said. "I am small, and have not lacked milk for my youn'uns." She bounced Roddy as she commenced walking about the room. "You are anxious. That is causing the stoppage." She returned to the side of the bed. "Have you been up? Hasn't it been two weeks now since he came along?"

Mary shook her head. "I am to stay quiet until I cease passing blood."

Knowledge certainly has advanced since Civil War times. We don't stay abed for weeks after child birth anymore, nor do we think size matters in milk production.

What do you do when you encounter a lack of knowledge where you may be able to educate? Has anyone tried to rid you of a notion that time has passed by? How did you react?

I hope you enjoyed this short bit from Gone for a Soldier, my forthcoming novel set during the American Civil War. Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments, so if anything in the sample compels you to speak up, rest assured that I eventually read what you write and will reply, if needed. Questions? I'm open to them, too.

Please come back next Saturday for another sample. Thank you!

Marsha Ward is the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her latest book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association aka ANWA.


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  2. I love reading these samples...and I look forward to reading the entire novel! I am also intrigued by how certain "notions" recirculate through history, depending on what new information the latest "studies" come up with. It makes me grateful for the constancy of truth in the gospel. hugs~


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