Jane and Aunt Irene went back with dad through the dreaming night, to the Queen's hospital. Someone else got out of the car beside them in the snow - a black limousine Jane recognized. Grandmother's face, distorted by passion and hate, accosted Dad.

"If you kill my daughter, lightning will strike you... you'll taste fire and brimstone." she cursed.

"Whoever told you to come here?" Jane thought. But Grandmother saved her her wonder.

"I thank you..." her gratitude was venomous "for telling me my daughter is dying, Irene Fraser." she spat after them.

"Mother isn't dying." Jane corrected her. "This is a birth, not a death."

"Victoria, don't speak of things you do not know about."

"I know more than you think!" Jane cried.

They sat in the little white waiting room. It is agony to sit for a long time in silence with people you hate. Jane stared at the bare white room that nobody had ever loved... that had contained so much suffering, so much hope and futility. There was nothing to relieve the emptiness and hostility - bare walls, white curtains, cold metal chairs. Jane didn't know how late it was, and she was so cold. The window looked out into nothing but a confining brick wall, and it was barred. It made Jane feel like a caged animal. The tiniest sounds stood out in the silence... the ticking of a clock from somewhere... the nurses pushing their carts to and fro. Jane wished she could help the nurses do something for mother. If she could work - then the terror would not be so unbearable. She knew she would not be allowed to, however - one of the nurses had frowned at the presence of a teenager on the premises, but said nothing. Jane thanked her stars that she was tall for her age. She hated the idleness of waiting.

Somebody woke her... Jane didn't know she had fallen asleep in her chair.

"We can go in to see Mother." Dad's voice, sounding twenty years younger, was whispering in her ear. "She is quite well... and of course you must get acquainted with your new little sister."

Grandmother and Aunt Irene and the nurse hung around Mother's bed, but Jane saw only Mother with a miniature edition of herself lying beside her on her pillow. The baby had mother's golden hair and blue eyes, and dainty, rosebud features.

"Robin Rose Noelle." mother introduced them.

"A robin, and a rose-in-December, for our family's Christmas gift! Oh, mother, what magic you managed!" Jane cried happily.