The Chalet School series was originally written by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and is currently owned by Girls Gone By Publications. I make no money from this dabbling; it's just for fun and because this was too good to resist...
Helen Graves gently laid the baby in the distraught father's arms. "She needs you," she said gently. "Don't give up on her -- or yourself."
"I won't," he answered, his voice thick with unshed tears. "I promised her mother I wouldn't. But it's hard. So hard...she's all I have left."
Helen stood for a moment, regarding the man she'd come to know as a colleague and a friend, and the babe lying quietly in his arms. The babe was the image of her mother -- the person missing from this scene, taken by something well beyond anyone's control.
It had been a freak accident. They had been on their way here -- to the sanatorium -- so that the birth could be fully supervised. It had not been an easy pregnancy and the doctors wished to be sure both mother and baby were fine. Within sight of the gates to the san, what had seemed like a good idea turned into a living nightmare. One of the pine trees that lined one side of the road had toppled, brought down by the weight of snow. He had seen it falling towards him and did his best to miss it, but in the ice and snow, he had found the car skidding and spinning helplessly, and in a cruel twist of fate, it was the passenger side of the car that slammed into the tree.
So close to the san, help was not long in coming, but it was not fast enough. Not to save the babe's mother. She had died in his arms, even as the doctors had rushed to save the baby she carried. It had been a long week since then. At first, no-one rated the child's chances, but she was stubborn and strong willed, and she had clung to life and gained health that she was now ready to be borne home, by her father, who had not so much as left her side in that week.
"What will you call her?" Helen asked.
There was a long pause. The man looked down at the child in his arms. So small, so weak and yet so much like her mother. "Mary. Mary Helena," he finally answered, looking up for a moment. "After her mother."
Helen nodded. "It's a good name," she murmured softly. And with that she left the little family alone.
He heard her leave, but his attention was for the baby. "I promise you," he murmured softly, even knowing that the child was asleep and wouldn't hear him, "that one day, I will tell you all about your mother, and how I knew that I loved her from the first moment I met her, even though we were both kids, and I promise you -- as I promised her -- that I will love you as much as I can for as long as I'm able. I know it will be hard, but we're going to be all right." He dropped a tender kiss on her forehead. "We will be all right, Mary Helena Entwistle -- I promise."