The Final Passage

Phoebe felt has though she had been pushing for days. But she now knew that her child was coming soon. She was only barely aware of what was happening around her. She could feel Hal's arm around her and hear him helping her to breathe. She was aware of how much she was sweating and could feel the cool towels that he wiped her face and arms with. She was trying not to weep or cry out in pain but she couldn't help it.

The pain was now searing through her in rapid waves, like the sea churned up by a storm and crashing against the rocks. One wave would roll in and crash against the shore. Then the sea would ebb before the next one rolled in. Each time a wave swept in, she had to push down. But the baby didn't seem to move.

Vaguely, she could hear Mrs. Clancy's voice gently encouraging her and trying to sooth her. She knew that she needed to relax, but the pain was too intense. She had reached the point where she just wanted it over. She knew that everyone who needed to be there was there. And they were all praying as Hal helped her through each wave and the nurse and midwife continued to encourage her.

She could feel herself tiring, but she knew that she was not nearly as tired as her Mum had been when she was trying to push out Trelawney. And Hal was certainly more helpful than her father had been. In fairness however, no one in the village had ever thought to have childbirth classes for the fathers.

More than sitting by, Hal was now firmly grasping her and helping her to sit up with each contraction. They then breathed together as the contraction passed. She recalled the desperation in the room twelve years ago, as her mother had been weakened by each attempt. She remembered running through the night first to the doctor and then to her aunt and uncle's home. But in this room, there was no fear. There was no desperation. There was only love and desire.

Each person there desired that the child be born safely to release her from her pain. And they wanted to meet Maisie. She could sense them praying, asking God to release her child to the world. She knew that the intensity of those prayers was creating a protective shield around them, even those of Emmeline, who had only recently accepted God into her heart.

Then, echoing through her mind, she could hear her Mum's voice, clear as bell.

"We're here, Phoebe love," she said soothingly. "We're here. Our granddaughter is beautiful. She'll be with you soon."

"Yes, love," said Papa. "She's a gift straight from God in heaven. Your own little child of light."

In her mind's eye, she struggled to see them, as she knew Trelawney so often had. But that was not within her power. Still, she knew that they were beside her, just as Pastor Jason had promised. They would not leave her alone at this most special time of her life. She looked up and saw Trelawney quietly standing beneath Catherine's arm. She saw them. They were really and truly there.

"She's here Phoebe. But you don't have to do this alone," said her mother gently. "We are releasing her to you now. We have been watching over her, but now it's time for you to take her."

"Take her and love her," said Papa. "We'll always be by your side whenever you need us."

Through the haze of pain, she could hear Mrs. Clancy's voice.

"She's coming, Mrs. Morgan be ready for her," she shouted over the noise of something roaring.

Phoebe could feel the movement downwards within her and she knew that it was true. She was finally coming.

"One more push and we'll have her," said Mrs. Clancy. "Professor, hold her up more so that she can push harder! Phoebe you can do it! Just one more push!"

She felt Hal lift her to almost a sitting position and then mustering what strength she had left, she pushed. As she fell back, she knew that she had done it. She had felt the slippery bulk fall through into the hands of the waiting nurse.

Then she heard the loud crying of the child. All she could think of was the words of the doctor when Trelawney was born.

"With lungs like that we have a healthy baby! It's not the size that matters, it's the lungs," he had cried in relief when she had finally come.

"It's a girl!" said Mrs. Clancy triumphantly. "I told you it was a girl! Come here Professor and do your job."

Hal slipped his arm out from under her and Catherine took his place. She held her up so that she could see Hal cut the umbilical cord and then take the slippery, squalling infant from Mrs. Morgan who had wrapped her in a towel. And then came the moment she had been waiting for. Hal gently placed their newborn daughter in her arms.

She realized that she was crying, no longer from pain but from joy. She could see the perfect little girl through the tears. She looked around in disbelief. Hal had taken her in his arms again and was helping her to sit up. Everyone else in the room had tears in their eyes except Mrs. Clancy. She was too busy giving orders.

"Mark it down Mrs. Morgan," she said. "It's 10:45 pm on August 13. What's the name of the child?"

"Margaret Mary Everett," said Hal as he stared down at the little miracle in her arms.

He brushed back her hair and whispered, "Thank you."

She looked up to answer but found that her heart was too full to speak. Hal looked into her eyes and let her know that he understood. Everyone else was crowding around to see her. Emmeline had put her arm around Trelawney who seemed to be whispering something that she couldn't make out. Emmeline was nodding as she spoke. Catherine was smiling through her own tears and Tom looked stunned. But once again, Mrs. Clancy took charge.

"Okay, Phoebe," she said. "You'll need to give her up for a bit. Mrs. Morgan needs to clean her up and weigh her. I have to deal with the afterbirth and then we'll get you and the bed cleaned up. Once that's done, you can hold her for as long as you want."

Phoebe looked at her reproachfully and the midwife's face softened.

"For the rest of your life in fact," she added gently.

Phoebe reluctantly passed her daughter back to Hal who brought her back to Mrs. Morgan. She looked around confused. For the first time she noticed that the room was dark except for the lantern and spotlights. Next she was aware of the thunder, lightning, and heavy wind. The rain was lashing the windows. It seemed as if things were exploding outside.

"Did the power go out?" she asked. "It sounds all hell has broken loose out there."

"The power went out about three hours ago, dear," said Catherine smiling. "I guess that you were too distracted to notice. And the storm has been going on longer, that's why we had to close all the windows and it's so hot in here."

Phoebe knew that she had been sweating profusely, but she had expected that. Hal was also soaked from holding her. Everyone else in the room looked damp as well. Emmeline smiled at her.

"Do you remember what your Papa said to your Mum after Trelawney was born?" she asked.

Phoebe shook her head, still a little stunned by her own experience.

"There now, Meg, was that so difficult?" she answered her own question, amused. "Of course, it hadn't been nearly as difficult for him as it was for her."

Phoebe gave her a reproachful look and Trelawney rolled her eyes.

"7 pounds, 6 ounces," said Mrs. Morgan. "A nice healthy weight."

"Oh, Phoebe she's lovely," breathed Trelawney. "Just as I always knew that she would be. Our little angel has come home to us, our little Maisie."

"And she did it in much shorter time than you did, love," said Emmeline.

"Must you always bring that up?" replied Trelawney. But there was no real annoyance in her voice. She was too happy to be bothered by a little teasing from her favorite cousin.

Phoebe looked at Tom sitting off to the side. He was quietly sitting with his hands folded as if in prayer. He noticed that she was looking at him and returned her gaze. He smiled gently at her.

"Thank you for being here," she said softly.

"I feel honored," he replied. "It's not everyday that you get to witness a miracle."

"No, it's not," said Hal, holding her closer.

She could feel Mrs. Clancy doing the last of her duties. She was hopeful that it would be over soon. Now that she had held her daughter in her arms, she couldn't wait to get her back.

"I'm done with my business with the baby," said Mrs. Morgan. "Professor, I need you to help me fill out the paperwork for the state."

Hal kissed her head and left her side. Trelawney took his place. She climbed up on the bed and curled up beside her and kissed her hand.

"She's just the sweetest thing," she said quietly. "She's so alert, looking around at everything. I think that's because she is looking for her Mum. She's wanting you already."

Phoebe smiled down at the little girl. When things had seemed like they would never end, she had reminded her that Maisie really did want to come out and meet her. Her little one had just wished to spend a few more moments close to her heart. From the earliest weeks, Trelawney had known Maisie and Maisie had known Trelawney. In the end it was Trelawney who made sure that the world would be safe for her daughter.

"Who will hold the baby until Mrs. Clancy is done?" asked Mrs. Morgan, breaking into her thoughts.

"Catherine, will you hold her?" asked Phoebe, turning to her mother-in-law, the woman who had been her strength for all these months. Catherine had shared her dream of this moment since the earliest days of her marriage. It was the night before the blessing that she had promised her that her first daughter would be named Margaret.

"Of course, dear," she said and took her newest grandchild in her arms. Her face, still glowing with perspiration, was suffused with a quiet joy. Although she appeared to be calm, her hands were trembling. She had not held her own children so close to their births.

Phoebe watched as she sat down, cradled her, and kissed her head. She knew that these were moments that she had not been able to share with her other grandchildren. It was part of the way things were done in America. Despite her own eagerness to hold the child, she knew how much this meant to her. She could not imagine living through these last two days without her. Trelawney stood up and wandered over to Catherine so that she could sit beside her and gaze at her niece in awe.

Tom came over to inspect her and said with a catch in his voice, "My goddaughter is beautiful, just like her mother."

Phoebe knew that he was much too moved to say anything more. As her connections with the universal consciousness began to return, she could sense that as much as he loved her and the child, it was a bittersweet moment for him. It was the passing of his own daughter that had made it possible. She noticed him looking over at Trelawney. She knew that he was able to see in her so much of his deceased son. She began to sense that his feelings for them were beginning to surpass the boundaries of surrogate grandfather to the infant.

When she was finished, Mrs. Clancy called Emmeline over to help her clean up. Phoebe was now anxious to be done. Emmeline helped her get up, wash herself, and change while Mrs. Morgan returned and helped Mrs. Clancy change out the sheets for clean ones. In the end, she felt much better, even if she did have to wait a little longer to hold her baby again.

While she waited, she noticed Trelawney was off to the side sitting next to Catherine. She was clutching her doll and looking at her little niece. She also looked very sleepy. It was as if she had finished her own great labor and was finally able to rest. When it was ready, she returned to the bed and once again took her child in her arms. It was a moment like the one twelve years ago, when she had taken Trelawney into her arms for the first time.

Her little girl looked up at her with bright blue eyes filled with wonder and trust. There was also a sense of recognition. Little Maisie knew who her Mum was. They had made a long journey together, nine months in all. But now they were beginning a new one, one that would last a lifetime.

Hal returned and sat on the bed beside her. He put his arm around her and looked down at the tiny little girl. He softly stroked her freshly brushed hair and kissed her head. Then he looked down at little Maisie and did the same. Now that she was here, Phoebe felt the anxiety that had plagued her for the past year slip away. Deep down, in the farthest depths of her soul, she knew that they were all safe. It was midnight and the rumbling in the heavens ceased. The night had fallen quiet.

Once again, Trelawney came over to the bedside and looked at the three of them. She smiled with the first hint of genuine happiness that she had seen in her since she had come to America nineteen months ago. Perhaps now the melancholy that had gripped her little soul for so long would lose its hold. As much as she loved Catherine and was grateful for her loving care of her sister, she wanted her back at home. She looked up at her and let her know that this was what she wanted. Trelawney nodded in assent. It was time for her to return home.

"It's done, Phoebe," she said with a quiet joy, and then quoted from Robert Browning's poem "Pippa's Song:"

"Lark's on the wing;

Snail's on the thorn;

God's in his heaven!

All's right with the world."

Hal was too busy gazing at his newborn daughter to realize it, but Trelawney and Maisie exchanged a single glance of recognition and then both looked at her. The three of them shared a special bond such as she and Trelawney had shared with Mum. They would now love and protect each other.

"I know," said Phoebe softly.

Trelawney returned to Catherine, curled up with her doll, and fell asleep. Catherine began to stroke the long blonde curls, which had become tangled after the last two long days. Who knew how long it would take to untangle them? Perhaps now she would permit them to cut off a few inches to make it easier to manage. She smiled back at Phoebe and nodded. Phoebe snuggled in closer to her husband. For now at least, she and Catherine each had their own little girls to care for.

Seeing that the storm had quieted, Tom and Emmeline said that they would go downstairs to wait for Rob. They couldn't contact him but he would certainly know that the child was there. Everyone had said that she would be born on August 13. It was now August 14.

The First Visitors

It was midnight before the rain, lightening, and wind abated so that Sylvia and Rob could safely walk down the street to Phoebe's. The storm dissipated, rather than moved on. It was most odd, but both were too eager to get down to the house to really think about it. They knew that the baby must have been born by now. The street was filled with debris, as well as the yard. It took them a bit longer to get down the block than usual.

"Well that's why we lost power," said Rob, pointing at the enormous tree limb that had knocked out the power and phone lines in front of Hal's house, on the same side as Fowlers house.

"Will we be able to get around them to get in?" asked Sylvia nervously.

"If we go around the other side and enter through the neighbor's yard we should be all right," he replied, pointing to the left.

Sylvia knew that he was just as anxious as she was about the new baby. After all, it was his grandchild. After they had picked through the debris, they knocked on the door. Tom and Emmeline answered immediately. They looked damp and tousled. Just like at Rob's house, the inside was hot and muggy.

"She's here," said Tom wearily, before they even had the chance to ask. "Little Margaret Mary Everett made her appearance at 10:45 pm."

"How big?" Sylvia asked.

"7 pounds, 6 ounces," he replied. "Why don't you come in and see for yourselves?"

Sylvia and Rob followed him up the stairs. She noticed that Fifi was sitting beside Elspeth near the stairs, but was too excited to see the baby to ask about it. At the top of the stairs, they could see the master bedroom lit by a lantern and a couple of spotlights. And there, right on the bed, sitting up and holding her newborn daughter cradled in her arms was Phoebe.

Sylvia noted the clear blue aura. Her cousin was at peace. Hal was seated beside her with his arm protectively around his wife and newborn child. His aura was also a clear blue. Though unlike she had seen between Phoebe and Trelawney, the auras were not merged. Nonetheless, they both looked extremely happy.

Emmeline and Tom moved aside so that they could see the little girl. She was wide-awake and seemed to be surveying her new surroundings. Phoebe looked up and gave them a beautiful smile.

"Isn't she lovely?" she asked in a tone of voice that mingled awe and disbelief.

Sylvia smiled and nodded. She had been present when her sister Christabel had given birth to her two children. With both it had been the same. The birth of any child was a miracle. This child might be a child of light, but she had come into the world the same way as any other.

"Weren't you afraid when the lights went out?" asked Rob.

"Phoebe didn't even know that the lights went out," answered Trelawney sleepily from the side where she was sitting with Catherine. "She was so busy pushing that she didn't notice. And Mr. Williams lit the lantern and the spotlights so quickly that it was even difficult for us to notice as well."

Suddenly Phoebe realized something.

"Sylvia," she said. "What are you doing here?"

Sylvia and Emmeline exchanged a glance.

"Well," she said. "I was in the neighborhood, you might say, and I decided to drop in to see the little nipper make her appearance in the world."

"I thought that you were in Japan," she said, looking a little dazed.

"Oh, I was done with my business there," she replied. "I'm off to Toronto in a few days. It worked out conveniently that I was passing through at the right time."

Phoebe accepted her explanation and looked down at the baby again. Hal moved over and put his arm around her more closely. They sat together admiring their little miracle. Rob moved closer for a better look. He reached his finger forward and the little one grasped it. His face lit up in a smile of delight.

Sylvia noticed that Trelawney was clinging to Catherine and her doll at the same time. She looked very sleepy, but also very happy. Her aura was once again a deep violet. No doubt she had been working very hard as well tonight. But something else had changed in her affect. She appeared to be more at peace. When she was more awake, she would have to ask her about it.

With a tip of the head, Emmeline indicated that she wanted to speak to her and Tom in the hallway. As always, Emmeline had to take charge of everything. But Sylvia had a question first.

"Why is Fifi here?" she asked, when they had reached the bottom of the steps.

"To make a long story, short," Emmeline replied. "Trelawney insisted that Francine and Mrs. Fowler come over here for their own safety. But more important, what is this about Liam gone missing?"

"Aren't you afraid that Trelawney will hear our conversation?" she asked, indicating that she knew about the girl's newly emerged powers of perception.

"Oh, I doubt that very much," said Emmeline. "Aside from the fact that she is half asleep, she is completely focused on Maisie. Now what about Liam?"

"He's still missing," replied Sylvia. "Sometime this afternoon he went out with Topher and Mike. Rob and I weren't around, but Waldo was. He told us that they went off to find the unicorn."

Suddenly, Tom burst out in annoyance.

"All right you two!" he said. "This is not about guessing what the dog said. This is actual information. Answer this question once and for all. Do you talk to animals?"

Sylvia and Emmeline exchanged an amused glance.

"Yes, we do," replied Emmeline. "And so do Phoebe and Trelawney. It goes along with tapping into the universal consciousness."

Before Tom could ask any more questions, Sylvia interrupted.

"You know Waldo is as good at eavesdropping and tattling as our Elspeth," she said. "You'll need to remember that in the future."

"Well, anyway," said Emmeline. "Do we know where they went?"

"There's no way of knowing," shrugged Sylvia. "No phones, no lights. They must have figured something out. The boys told him that Johnny was in town. That probably set him off. I wouldn't want to be Johnny if he finds him."

"Is this the thing that you didn't want me to know about earlier?" asked Tom. "That you and Liam were here and presumably the 'unicorn' is somewhere unguarded?"

"Yes," she said. "But they don't have to know about it upstairs, that Liam is here that is. I wouldn't want to allow any hint of upset to spoil their happiness right now."

"Except for Trelawney," said Emmeline. "She knows, but has been canny enough not to say anything. This has been a wonderful night for Phoebe and we want nothing to break the spell for her. That will come soon enough when the nappies start piling up and the other kids are making demands."

"Yes, except for her. Oh, and Emmeline, I can see that nothing has changed. You have always been such a romantic about children, you were," agreed Sylvia. "But you and I are going to have to have a chat about the little one. If she's not careful, she could end up in some big trouble from knowing more than is good for her to know."

"Well, in her case we can't do anything about the knowing. But we will have a word with her about acting on what she knows," Emmeline sighed. "That's the least of our worries right now. We need to find Liam and the lads."

"What about Bernice and Prudence? Are they safe?" asked Tom.

"No concerns there," Sylvia assured him. "Last night before the lights went out, Bernice called to say that they were staying out of town until the storm blew through. Considering how late it is they probably are staying somewhere overnight. With the phones out here, there's no way for them to contact us, but I wouldn't worry."

"Neither would I. I know how cautious my wife is," said Tom. "But I just wanted to make sure. I guess that the long and the short of it is that we really can't know anything about anything outside the house because until the phone lines are working again. And who knows how long that will take to fix? I'm guessing that tree limbs are down left and right."

"Yes," said Sylvia. "And that's a pity. It may be a while before anyone can call young Hal and let him know that his little sister is here. I know that he was quite anxious."

"We can work on that tomorrow or better put later today," replied Tom. "I am sure that we can make arrangements with somebody in town who has power."

Mrs. Morgan came downstairs.

"We really need to think about getting some of you folks out of the house and the rest to bed," she said. "The Professor and Mrs. Everett need some time alone with their new daughter. I will be staying up with them to help Phoebe and Maisie get started nursing, but there's no reason for anyone else to stay up."

"What do Rob and Catherine have to say?" asked Emmeline.

"They are taking Trelawney home, she's nearly asleep anyway," she replied. "Mrs. Fowler and her daughter are soundly sleeping in Prudence's room. They know that the baby was born, but we decided that it would be too confusing for Phoebe if they came in to see her. Mrs. Clancy is asleep in the boys' room, so there's another bed in there. I'm planning on sitting up in the nursery to give them some privacy. When Mrs. Everett needs me, the Professor can come and get me."

"I'll stay," said Emmeline. "You'll need someone to take care of the cooking and other household needs. I've done all that before here, so I know my way around the place. Tom and Sylvia, you should go back with Rob. That way we can all sleep in beds. We'll need the rest for tomorrow."

"But what about . . ." began Tom.

"That's why we'll need our rest," she said firmly. "He can take care of himself and the lads too no doubt."

"You're right," sighed Sylvia. "There's nothing more to be done tonight. The sooner we're all out of here, the less chance there is that Phoebe will figure it out for herself. We want nothing to ruin her joy."

"Trust me," said Emmeline. "Everything will work out just fine in the end."

What Trelawney Knew

After they were at last settled in bed and Catherine had left them alone, Sylvia heard a voice call out in the dark.

"Syl, are you still awake?" asked Trelawney quietly.

"Yes, love," she replied. "But shouldn't you be asleep?"

"Yes, Sylvia," she said obediently. "But I must tell you about Liam."

"What do you know about Liam?" asked Sylvia cautiously.

"I know that he flew in with you on your plane," she said. "And I know that he went out with my two gallant knights to slay the unicorn."

"How did you know that?" she asked.

"I knew when Rob came to the door with Tessa," she replied. "Tessa told me everything."

"First Elspeth, and now Tessa," said Sylvia with annoyance. "You have nothing but spies all around us. But Liam didn't go missing until after you had Tessa."

"Mr. Everett called Emmeline looking for him," she replied. "I knew what that meant."

"Trelawney Rose," said Sylvia severely now. "One of these days you'll discover that listening in on phone conversations will never do."

"Like you don't!" she said with a "humph." "But I was not spying or listening in on anyone. Liam called out to me. I heard him. He was in the yard with Topher, Mike, Johnny, and the unicorn. He wanted to be my gallant knight and kill the unicorn."

"When was this?" asked Sylvia slowly.

"When Phoebe was trying to push Maisie out," she answered. "He saw the light in the window. He knew that a child of light was born. And he couldn't do it. He couldn't kill the unicorn. But he wanted to."

"What did he ask you for?"

"He asked me to help him not kill him," she said. "He wanted me to help to save his soul."

"Did he kill the unicorn?" asked Sylvia.

"No," replied Trelawney. "I prayed and I prayed. The unicorn wanted to kill him and Topher. But someone else killed him first. The unicorn is truly dead. But my Liam is all right."

"Do you know who killed him?" asked Sylvia slowly.

"No," replied the girl. "It is not allowed. But he is gone. I told Emmeline but she didn't believe me. But I never lie. The unicorn is dead and Maisie is born. The storm is over. The light has won. Auntie was wrong."

Sylvia felt the little girl cuddle up to her. She contemplated what she had been just been told. There were still many gaps to be filled in. But she knew that her brother was safe and in the end had turned back to God. Just like Emmeline, Trelawney's goodness had broken down the barrier between him and God.

She put her arm around the child who snuggled closer. She knew that she wanted desperately to be with her Phoebe, but she also understood that Maisie now came first. Yet this little girl needed a mother too. She needed her own mother. Whatever would be done with the child in the future would take careful planning. But now she was tired. Trelawney's breathing had fallen into the even rhythm of sleep. Emmeline was right. They would all need a good night's rest to face the day tomorrow.

Epilogue

Catherine felt happier than she had been at the time of any of her other grandchildren's births, in those cases, they had waited at home for the news and then came down several days later, after the child had come home. Bernice had been in charge of the house and had only grudgingly let them spend a few days with the new baby. But she also knew that this moment had not happened for any of them. It was a custom from a world that still lived in an earlier age that had made it possible.

The atmosphere in the house had been tense during those visits. Since all the children had been born during the school year, Hal went right back to work. Without him around to advocate for them, they had never been really comfortable. It had only been weeks later when they had come back while the Williams were not around they really felt that they could get to know their grandchildren.

But tonight, she had watched as Maisie had entered the world and her son cut the umbilical cord. Then she wept with everyone else as Phoebe held her daughter for the first time, given to her by her husband. But the final moment of joy for her came when Phoebe gave her the privilege of holding her newest grandchild, only several minutes old, until she was able to take her. Looking at the little red creature, newly cleaned, and looking around at her new world, she was reminded of her own three sons.

None of them had looked so alert, even though it was a couple of hours after birth that she had finally seen them. Nor did they stare up at her knowingly with bright blue eyes full of curiosity and wonder. It almost made her feel as though she knew that she was her Grammy. Of course she had spent nearly every day with Phoebe and they had talked so much together that Catherine wondered if perhaps she didn't know her voice as well as Hal's. She probably knew Trelawney's as well.

She was a bit surprised that Trelawney had not asked to hold her, but it occurred to her that, sensitive as the child was, she knew how much it meant to her to hold the newborn. She had happily settled for sitting by her side and peeking at the little bundle with her own combination of love and curiosity. When Phoebe was ready, Emmeline helped her back into bed and once she was comfortably settled, Catherine had returned her.

Since that time, Phoebe had not relinquished the child into anyone else's arms, but who could blame her? This was the child that she had dreamed of for over a year and then she had nurtured close to her heart for nine months. It was perfectly natural that, despite her own weariness, she would not want to let go of her again.

Trelawney was still seated curled up beside her, nearly asleep now in her arms. Once the child was born, she had suddenly relaxed. No doubt Rob was going to have to carry her back up to the house. Mrs. Clancy had gone to bed and Mrs. Morgan had gone downstairs to discuss getting everyone out of the house that wasn't needed anymore. They had plenty of beds for everyone up at their house.

She looked over at Hal and Phoebe who appeared to be in a world of their own, so absorbed were they in their little girl. Mrs. Morgan was right. They did need time alone to enjoy her. All too soon, the other children would return home and the other relatives and friends would be over to admire her. Fortunately, in a few weeks school would start and they would have long days home alone together.

Mrs. Morgan was going to stay a few days to help Phoebe start nursing. In fact, she would stay up with them as long as they needed tonight. She planned to do her crocheting in the comfortable rocking chair in the nursery. The baby would certainly be hungry before morning. Looking at the clock, she could see that it was already 1 am.

Mrs. Morgan came quietly into the room to tell them that Sylvia and Tom would be returning with them to their house. Emmeline would stay to help with the cooking and housework. She and Rob got up and said their goodbyes to Hal, Phoebe, and little Maisie. As Trelawney kissed Hal goodbye, Catherine heard her whisper in his ear.

"Well done!"

He smiled back at her and patted her on the back. Then she gave Phoebe a hug and kiss, and looked down at Maisie in wonder. Finally, before leaving, the little girl took one last, longing look at her new niece and, after Catherine returned the doll to her, she allowed Rob to pick her up. She was asleep by the time they reached the bottom of the stairs. Tom offered to carry her back, but Rob didn't want to disturb her. He said that she was light as a feather. Then with Tom and Sylvia, and Elspeth at their heels, they walked carefully back up the street to their house.

As they walked back, they explained to her that Liam had come in with Sylvia. He had lost track of Cholmondeley and was determined to guard Trelawney and Phoebe on this end. Before the storm he had gone out with Mike and Topher to search for him. Apparently Cousin John, having tipped him off as to Liam's intent to guard him and keep him away from the girls, was with him. He had probably also told him that everyone knew what had happened to Trelawney.

"Why didn't you tell me before?" she asked.

"We didn't want anything to disturb Phoebe's happiness," explained Sylvia. "Emmeline knows that he is out there, but no one else in the house does. Remember that she is capable of concealing her thoughts."

"Do you think that they are safe?" asked Catherine.

"If they weren't, Trelawney would not be sleeping so peacefully," she replied. "Nor would she have voluntarily left the house. Whatever was going to happen with regard to that has happened. We will just have to wait to get the news in the morning."

Catherine nodded. She hoped that the two boys were safe, however she felt a high degree of certainty that they were. If anything had happened to them, then Trelawney surely would have known. Something had occurred that had allowed her to fall asleep so peacefully. But looking around at the moment she was just amazed by the condition of the street.

Sylvia and Rob were shining their flashlights all around so that they could see a bit of the devastation. It was going to take days to clean up the mess. The house was dark of course when they got home. Sylvia called out hopefully for Liam, but there was no answer. She didn't have the wherewithal to ask how she thought that he could get into the house without a key. Then for some odd reason, after Rob had put Trelawney in bed, he and Tom made a thorough search of the house. Once again, she was too tired to ask why.

She tucked the little girl in as she always did. She didn't even bother with a nightgown. In a final motherly gesture, she smoothed back the tangled curls and kissed her forehead. As she made her way out of her bedroom, she heard Trelawney call out.

"Mama Kate! Please don't leave me alone in the dark."

She was bone weary, but prepared to sit down in the rocking chair when Sylvia stopped her.

"Is it all right, love," she asked Trelawney, "If your cousin Syl sleeps with you? Your Mama Kate is very tired."

"Yes, Sylvia," she replied quietly and moved over.

Sylvia lay down beside her, still fully dressed herself, and picked up her left hand. She was holding her doll in her right. Catherine knew that she was safe, but she couldn't quite make out why she still wanted company. Perhaps she would need to get used to sleeping alone. She went to her own room where she found Rob already in bed. He was looking at her curiously.

"Well, Catherine," he said. "It's been almost fifty years, but she's finally here."

"Who?" she asked, momentarily confused.

"Why Margaret Everett of course!" he said with a smile.

Catherine smiled to herself. Yes, Margaret Everett was now with them. And she wouldn't be Maggie for her own mother, or Meg for Phoebe's mother. She would be Maisie, her own unique name. Catherine suspected that she would be a very unique child.

The End