|The Journey to Happiness
Author: ScarletCourt PM
How do Sybil and Tom get from a failed elopement to Lord Grantham's blessing and eventually married in Dublin? Interweaves with the scenes we see in S2E07 and S2E08 and eventually the C/S. Warning: Spoilers for S3! Runner-up in the January 2013 Highclere Awards in the Progress - Multi-Chapter category.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Sybil C. & T. Branson - Chapters: 44 - Words: 180,047 - Reviews: 384 - Favs: 76 - Follows: 103 - Updated: 09-06-12 - Published: 12-23-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7666512
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Thank you for all the reviews, etc., for the last chapter. All of it is greatly appreciated. Thanks also to those reviewing for the first time. I hope you choose to continue to review.
With this chapter, we've finally hit the 100,000 word mark. Never thought when I started writing this story on Thursday, Nov 10, 2011 that I would have written and published this many words. Thanks for all of your encouragement!
I want to especially thank my wonderful betas: Tripp3235, mswainwright and _livingfree (on Twitter) (currently in absentia due to schooling). Without these wonderful people, who listen to me gripe and have the patience to slog through chapter after chapter despite their busy lives, the quality of every aspect of this story would be much poorer indeed! :)
Disclaimer: Not mine. All Downton Abbey characters belong to Julian Fellowes and ITV. I'm just playing with them.
The next afternoon, Tuesday, May 13th, Sybil and Mrs. Branson first stopped at the bank to withdraw money and stopped at the furniture dealers to check on the status and was informed that the bed would actually be ready to be delivered on Friday, so Sybil paid out the remainder of the bed. Then they proceeded to go food shopping before going to the mercers and picked up the curtains, bed linens and other bedding items on the way home while Mrs. Branson waited outside with the food purchases.
When Sybil came out with a delivery boy laden with parcels from the mercers, she said, "I thought this would be worth the tuppence I'm paying him to carry it for us. I had also paid for the linens to be washed so that they could go right on the bed from here. Let me take one of the food baskets from you." They started walking toward home.
"Good idea," said Mrs. Branson. "You must be happy about the bed being ready early."
"I think Tom might be happier than me," said Sybil with a smile. "This means that he can move in on Friday rather than next Monday. He told me the other day when we were leaving church that Aileen doesn't even wait until she thinks that Tom is asleep to argue with Ciaran now and while he doesn't want to interfere, he'd rather be out of there sooner."
Mrs. Branson shook her head. "Aileen is a lovely girl, but she doesn't have an easy time of it when she's with child. I think she's also a little jealous of Tom and you. When she was young, her Ma spoiled her and her sister, waiting on them hand and foot. She always spoke of doing better for herself and getting ahead in life, but when her Da got hurt about fifteen years ago now, she had to quit school and start working. She resents how Tom is doing something with his life and how he's having to bunk with them because you're staying with me."
"I'm sorry that we're being a burden to the family," said Sybil, feeling guilty.
"Think no more of it," said Mrs. Branson, looking at Sybil. "I know that Tom's given them some money while he's staying there and I sent Marni to look after all their washing while Tom's with them, so I wouldn't worry about it. Aileen's just being fractious. Besides, Tom'll be out of their hair by Friday."
"All right then."
"So, are you excited about your interview tomorrow?" asked Mrs. Branson.
"Very," said Sybil with a smile. "I think it's very nice that all my interests are culminating in this position. I'm still a little nervous about taking the bus and tram to St Mary's, but I was thinking of taking an earlier bus and getting to the area early and wait around rather than being late."
"Didn't Tom take you to St. Mary's on the buses and trams on Saturday?" asked Mrs. Branson, a little confused.
"We did go, but that was the first time I'd ever been on a bus or a tram," Sybil confessed.
"Try sitting by the driver and asking him to tell you where to get off to catch the next one," said Mrs. Branson. "How many transfers do you have to do?"
"Two, one at King and Church to catch the thirty-four tram, and the other at Cuffe and Wexford to catch the eighteen bus to St Mary's."
"Let me try and draw a map for you tonight," said Mrs. Branson. "It should help and it's a good idea to go early and wait than be delayed and be late."
"And try to get a good night's sleep," said Mrs. Branson. "It will go a long way to help with the ride there and the interview."
Sybil nodded at Mrs. Branson's suggestion as they arrived at the front stoop.
After Sybil paid the delivery boy for his work in the flat, Mrs. Branson said, "Boy, did you want a cookie and some milk?"
"Yes, please. Ma'am," said the boy with a smile.
"Sit down at the table and and I'll bring some to you."
The boy nodded as he walked toward the table. "Thank you, Ma'am."
"I'll get my apron and start work on dinner," said Sybil, heading into the room she shared with Cathleen.
As Sybil got off the last bus at St Mary's, she only had another ten minutes before the interview. The tram had been delayed upline and Sybil spent nearly thirty minutes waiting for one to come, much to her chagrin. She quickly crossed the street to the hospital and upon entering the doors, looked for the stairs to take her to the third floor.
When she got up there, she went to the reception area and told them that she was there for her interview at ten. After a short wait, she was taken to a small office where a woman in her late twenties or early thirties with brown hair sat behind a desk.
"Miss Sybil Crawley to see you Dr. Byrne," said the nurse who showed her to this office.
Sybil was surprised to find a woman being the Dr. Byrne with whom she had been corresponding. She had wondered at first why the doctor had used only her initials but didn't dwell on it.
Dr. Byrne got up from behind the desk and extended her hand to Sybil. "Good Morning, Miss Crawley. I'm Dr. Sarah Byrne. I will be the lead physician at the clinic."
Taking Dr. Byrne's hand, Sybil shook it. "How do you do?"
After they both sat down, Dr. Byrne said, "You must be surprised to find a woman doctor behind the clinic."
"I am," said Sybil with a smile. "But it would have no adverse effect on my interest in the position."
"Good, good," said the doctor, looking at the papers in front of her. "I've had a number of applicants suddenly decide that the position is not for them after they find out I'm a woman, which is why I didn't use my full name on the ad in the first place."
"I understand," said Sybil.
"Let me first tell you a bit about the clinic," said Dr. Byrne with her fingers interlaced in front of her. "As I mentioned in my letter inviting you to this interview, the clinic is being built and operated from an endowment from the Duke of Langford. The reason the Duke chose to focus on women's issues is due to the untimely passing of his second wife from childbirth three years ago. She had the best care from a team of physicians, but due to the unsanitary conditions she succumbed to puerperal fever. This clinic is to be her memorial."
"I see," said Sybil, nervously fidgeting with the handle of her pocketbook.
"The clinic will be treating women's complaints on an outpatient basis either by appointment or on a first come, first serve basis," said Dr. Byrne. "We will also be performing minor surgeries such as cervical cerclage where necessary in the mornings. The main role of the nurse will be to take and record their vital signs and take notes on any conditions the patient shares with us at the beginning of a visit and answering any questions regarding medication and treatment at the end as well as booking their next appointment, if necessary.
"For surgeries, the duties of the operating room nurse would be to prepare the room, the surgical implements and the patient for surgery and for monitoring the patient after surgery until they are discharged. If they aren't monitoring the patient, they would be overseeing the clean up of the surgery. On occasion they may be required to clean up the room after surgery. I was wondering if you could tell me what procedures you're familiar with?"
Sybil smiled. "I can clean and bind wounds, monitor patient status, check vital signs, and administer oral and injected medications prescribed by the doctors. I have also assisted in some surgeries, but not many."
"Excellent," said Dr. Byrne, returning her smile. I will be asking you to show me your ability to perform a number of those procedures after the oral portion of the interview." Looking down at Sybil's application letter, Dr. Byrne continued. "Now according to your letter, you had auxiliary nursing training in York and you worked in Yorkshire during the war."
"Yes, I trained at the course offered at the nursing college in York," said Sybil. "I worked strictly at the Grantham Village Hospital from September 1916 to June 1917 and mainly at the Convalescent Hospital at Downton Abbey from June 1917 until the end of the war."
"Very well," said Dr. Byrne. "The position I am looking for you to fill is that of the junior nurse. The clinic is open from seven o'clock in the morning until five o'clock in the afternoon Mondays to Saturdays. The salary is £35 a year and you're expected to take one of two shifts. There's an early shift that starts at six o'clock in the morning, and ends at three o'clock in the afternoon. The late shift starts at nine o'clock and ends at six o'clock in the evening. Both shifts have with an hour in between for breaks and lunch and you have one weekend off entirely every month. Do you have a preference?"
"I believe that I should prefer the early shift." She and Tom had discussed that if she were offered different times that she would pick the earlier one in order for them to have time together at the end of the day.
"Very well," said Dr. Byrne, making a note. "May I see your references please?"
Sybil handed her a copy of Doctor Clarkson's reference. "I only have one as the same physician ran both facilities."
After looking it over, Dr. Byrne handed it back to Sybil. "Very good." Dr. Byrne then rose from her chair. "Shall we visit the patient wing for the practical portion of your interview?"
"Of course," said Sybil, rising out of her chair and following Dr. Byrne.
As they walked down the corridors of hospital, Sybil asked, "Would the clinic be treating all women's issues?"
Dr. Byrne looked back at Sybil. "Yes, indeed."
"What of birth control?"
"That is not something we have considered treating at this time," said Dr. Byrne. "However, we may revisit the decision in the future. Here we are. You did bring your nurses cap and apron, yes?"
"Yes, I did," said Sybil as she walked into a small room.
When Dr. Byrne exited the room, she said, "If you wish to put both on here, I will take you to the patient I want you to check vitals on. You can leave your personal effects here. No one will disturb them. I will wait outside for you."
"Of course. Please give me a minute," said Sybil, putting her pocketbook down and starting to take her gloves off.
When she was done, Sybil walked out of the room to find Dr. Byrne waiting outside with a stethoscope and a box. After handing Sybil the stethoscope and the box, she said, "In this room, is a patient named Seamus McCarthy. Using this stethoscope and the sphygmomanometer in this box, please approach him and take his vital signs while I watch from the window."
Sybil entered the room and Mr. McCarthy was a older gentleman who appeared to be resting. When Sybil approached, Mr. McCarthy opened his eyes suspiciously. After placing the box on the table next to the bed, Sybil said quietly, "Mr. McCarthy. I'm Nurse Crawley. I'm here to take your vital signs. May I take your wrist to take your pulse?"
Mr. McCarthy nodded and Sybil gently took his wrist and felt for the pulse. Looking at the clock on the wall, Sybil counted the pulse beats over a period of ten seconds. Once she was done, she placed his arm back down on the bed. "Thank you," said Sybil, smiling at Mr. McCarthy. Taking the blood pressure cuff from the box, Sybil said, "Now I'm going to take your blood pressure with this cuff. I will be wrapping it around your bare arm and it will be squeezing your arm while I listen with this stethoscope here. May I?"
Mr. McCarthy nodded again. Sybil proceeded to slip the gown off his arm and and apply the cuff. Placing the stethoscope inside his elbow, she pumped up the cuff to a precise pressure and then released the pressure bit by bit until she was done. "Thank you," said Sybil, taking the cuff off, replacing it in the box and putting the gown back on Mr. McCarthy. "How have you been feeling since someone checked you last?"
"Better, but still tired," said Mr. McCarthy hoarsely. "Can I get some water, please?"
"Let me check your chart first," said Sybil looking at the chart at the foot of the bed. Seeing no indications of warnings against water for this patient, Sybil said, "I'll make sure you get some. Thank you."
When Sybil met Dr. Byrne outside, she said, "Can someone please get some water for Mr. McCarthy? He asked for some. His pulse is seventy-eight beats per minute. His blood pressure is one hundred and thirty over seventy. He did not appear to have a fever." Dr. Byrne took the box and the stethoscope from Sybil.
"Very impressive," said Dr. Byrne, walking down the corridor. Seeing a nurse walk toward them, Dr. Byrne handed the nurse the box and the stethoscope. "Nurse, can you get Mr. McCarthy some water, please."
When they approached another patient room with a clipboard on the wall, Dr. Byrne said, "Now I want you to read this patient chart and tell me what medications he needs and if he took his previous dose at seven o'clock in the morning, when will he need to take his next dose?"
Taking the chart from the wall, Sybil studied it. "Mr. O'Neill took his last dose at half past seven and will need his next dose of two tablets of Aspirin at half past one this afternoon at which time he will also need another dose of cream of magnesia at the same time to counteract the acidity in aspirin."
"Excellent," said Dr. Byrne with a smile. "Let us return to my office after you've changed out of your apron and cap."
As they re-entered Dr. Byrne's office, Sybil asked, "If I may be so bold as to ask, how did you come to lead the clinic?"
"I was the physician on call, when the Duchess of Langford was in labour and I was with her the first twelve hours before the lead doctor came in," said Dr. Byrne, sitting down behind the desk. "I requested that he disinfect his hands before helping the Duchess, but he refused. After the child was born, she died six days later. When the Duke discovered my request, he asked me to lead a clinic and to place it where it would do the most good."
"So can I presume that sanitation and disinfection will be of top priority at the clinic?" asked Sybil, sitting down.
"You presume correctly," said Dr. Byrne, looking at the file in front of her. "Am I correct in my presumption that you are from Yorkshire?"
"Yes. My family is from Yorkshire."
"I see and what brings you to Dublin?"
"I'm to be married in June and my fiancé is from Dublin," said Sybil. "There won't be a problem with my being married, will there?"
"No, unlike many positions, there is no marriage bar at the Langford Clinic," said Dr. Byrne. "I won't allow one as I'm planning to marry in the next year or two. My fiancé is currently working in British East Africa and expects to return once the Colony of Kenya has been established. However, you are expected to work the hours you are assigned unless you are ill."
"Of course. I'm glad to hear it," said Sybil relieved that she didn't lose the job before she got it.
"From everything I've seen, I think you'll make a fine addition to the Langford Clinic," said Dr. Byrne. "We are expecting to open on the ninth of September. We will be sending out a package to you regarding the course at the beginning of July. Will we be able to reach you at the address on your letter?"
"Yes, and no," said Sybil. "The address you have is my future mother-in-law's home. While I will eventually get the package, I would prefer not to impose. I will write to send you my new address once I am in my new home."
"Of course," said Dr. Byrne with a smile.
"Is there anything else?" asked Sybil.
"Yes, you ought to know that I received my medical degree from York Medical School," said Dr. Byrne.
"Indeed," said Sybil, a little surprised. "So you are familiar with Yorkshire?"
"Very much so and I met Dr. Clarkson, who wrote your letter of recommendation, at a symposium in my last year of medical school," said Dr. Byrne. "To have gotten such a glowing recommendation from him indicates exemplary work. May I ask if you are related to the late Dr. Reginald Crawley?"
Sybil was taken aback by Dr. Byrne's familiarity with the Yorkshire medical community, but managed to say, "Yes, as a matter of fact, he's my cousin's father."
"So you must be one of the daughters of the Earl of Grantham," said Dr. Byrne without malice.
"How?" asked Sybil, who was flabbergasted that this doctor could deduce so much.
"Your accent," said Dr. Byrne. "Being familiar with Yorkshire accents during my time at medical school told me that you weren't just any Yorkshire girl and Crawley is not a common surname. I just finally deduced it during the interview."
"Will it be a problem?" asked Sybil, wondering if Dr. Byrne had something against the English peerage.
"No, not at all," said Dr. Byrne with a smile to reassure her. "If you can do your work well, I wouldn't care if you were the Queen or the daughter of a farm hand. Though I did notice that you don't use your title in your correspondence."
"No," admitted Sybil. "In fact, due to the situation here in Ireland, my fiancé and I decided to let it be known only within his immediate family and I would ask you to keep my secret. Once we're married, I will be using my married name."
"I quite understand," said Dr. Byrne. "You can be sure of my discretion."
"How do you know Dr. Crawley?" asked Sybil, wanting to know more about this doctor who knew Cousin Matthew's father.
"He was a guest lecturer for a month at York Medical School in my first year and I was assigned as his assistant, so I got to know him rather well," said Dr. Byrne, looking at Sybil. "We used to correspond until his death the year before I graduated."
"I will have to write home to tell them about your connection to Dr. Crawley," said Sybil.
"Please give my regards to Mrs. Crawley and Mr. Crawley and welcome to the Langford Clinic," said Dr. Byrne, holding out her hand for Sybil to shake.
"I will. Thank you," said Sybil with a smile, shaking Dr. Byrne's hand. She then left Dr. Byrne's office. Wait until Tom hears about this.
After Sybil entered the Branson home a little after lunch, Mrs. Branson looked up from her work. "I was wondering if you had gotten lost?"
"There was a tram accident upline from where I get on at King and Church and it delayed the trams coming and going," said Sybil, taking off her gloves and starting to take off her hat.
"Did you get to your interview on time?" asked Mrs. Branson.
"With ten minutes to spare," said Sybil with a sigh. She placed her hat with the gloves on the table.
"And how did it go?" asked Mrs. Branson.
"I got the job," said Sybil with a smile that reached her eyes. "I'll be one of the new junior nurses at the Langford Clinic, starting the ninth of September."
"That's wonderful news!" said Mrs. Branson. "Congratulations."
"Thank you," said Sybil, sitting down across the table from Mrs. Branson. "Would you believe that the doctor leading the clinic is a woman?"
"I suppose a woman doctor leading a women's clinic isn't too far fetched," said Mrs. Branson.
"What's more incredible is that she did her medical training in Yorkshire and knew my cousin's father," said Sybil.
"That's rather coincidental," said Mrs. Branson, her tone neutral.
"Yes, and she deduced that I'm one of the daughters of the Earl of Grantham," said Sybil with an unsure look on her face. "But she indicated it had no bearing on my work."
"That's good to know," said Mrs. Branson. "But the question is will she give you away?"
"I asked her to keep the secret and she ensured me of her discretion," said Sybil. "However, for someone who signs their official correspondence, Dr. S. Byrne, I would expect that she would have no problem doing so."
"I suspect you have a point," said Mrs. Branson relieved that Sybil's supervisor would not give her away.
"Would you mind if we stopped at the flat on your shopping trip today?" asked Sybil. "I want to take some of the bedding over today, some tomorrow and some Friday."
"Why don't you have a bite to eat first?" said Mrs. Branson, who didn't want Sybil to starve. "There's a pot warming on the stove and then we'll go do just that."
"Thank you," said Sybil, taking her hat and gloves from the table. She then went to change before getting a bite to eat.
A/N2: So Sybil got the job at the clinic. Did you like Dr. Byrne? Next up is a letter from Mary and the delivery of the bed.
As always, please feel free to point out any typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes no matter how hard you or your betas look, these things get missed. As always, I'd love to hear what you think of this chapter good or bad, so please do review. :)