I Was Once A Mother, Too

"Miss Lovett, would you keep my baby if I died?"

Miss Barker's question surprised me. Why would she ask such a thing?

Y'see, we both at one point were married to sweet men, but my poor Albert passed and her dear Benjamin was shipped off to some prison, so as far as our hearts told us we were husbandless.

She didn't like being called "Mrs." because it reminded her of her loving Benjamin, and being called "Lucy" reminds her of how her Benjamin called her "the world's most beautiful Lucy Lulu."

Why don't I mind being called Miss when my sign says Mrs.? Well, if customers know I'm a Mrs. but don't see a Mr., they'll feel sorry for poor widow Lovett and toss in a few extra pennies

My answer came out after a second of regaining control of me tears "I don't think I could do that, Miss Barker."

"Why not Miss Lovett?"

"Well, y'see Miss Barker, you aren't the only woman in England who lost everything. I had a family before, I was once a mother, too. I had me own little boy, Johnny was his name. It was the three of us, Albert and Nellie and little Johnny Lovett. Me dear Albert would say 'Oh, Nellie, love. How would I ever live without you, or your marvelous cooking?' I loved me Albert. And Johnny, little Johnny. I swear he made the world a better place. He always loved to play with me hair. Pin it up, bunch it up, and such. One day he put it up and I kept it that way. Haven't changed my hair since.

"Johnny could've been the Queen's hairdresser. Poor boy, always played in the street, he did. One day a carriage comes out of nowhere and me Johnny screams. By the time I get there, there are bluish marks on his tummy where the horses stepped on him and his wrist was broken from a wheel that ran it over."

"I'm sorry, Miss Lovett."

By now, tears is streaming down my face and I have this lump in me throat. "Thank you, Miss Barker, but it's a little late for that," I bury my face in my hands and mourn over the dead. Stop it, Nell!, I tell me, What's dead is dead! But me heart says, Johnny shouldn't have died! He must be an exception!

"Well, I'm asking you to hide Benjamin's razors and if you find it in your heart, my dear baby."

She poisoned herself. Arsenic, from the apothicary down the street. I tried to stop her, but she didn't listen to me.

Last time I heard of her, she escaped Beddlum, screaming "My dear Johanna! Trapped in Turpin's grasp! Have you no pitty? Witch! Witch! Devil's wife! Witch!"

Scared out of me wits, I grabbed a bottle of gin and threw it at the poor lunitic.

And thirteen years later, I met a broken man, and learned he was her husband.