Vernon was pacing like a caged Lion up and down the front room of the Polmounters .Normally he hid his tension and the nervous temperament that was really his by industry .If he wasn’t extracting tin from the mine,then he was in his garden or making something.He was a man who did things,fixed things,got things done.Now,in this dark time of his life,he could do nothing as upstairs in the Polmounter’s bedroom ,Morwena was struggling to give Birth to a child ,their child.She hadn’t told him ,she had kept it all to herself.On the one hand,he found this secrecy hard to bear,but on the other,he felt a sense of hoping that a child would make there marriage complete.
As was always the way,the, man was kept well out of the way.Whenever he could,he asked about how things were going ,but was given the same old response:”‘Tis a long job Vernon when a maid is .’having a child,twill be ages yet boy,I’ll make he anther cup f tea.”But Vernon didn’t want another cup of tea,he just wanted for everything to be better,and for Morwena to be alright.It all seemed to be going on for such a long period of time.Really,Vernon was totally in the dark as regards his wife’s condition and what with getting over pneumonia,and the stresses of that along with the mine ,he hadn’t noticed her .He had thought that she looked tired,but then again ,he was tired too.Life was hard,everyone knew it,and just got on with it as it were.They were working folk,they were born and bred to it.It was the same for their parents,and their parents before,and it would always be like that.Vernon wasn’t much for reading,in fact,he struggled with it,but he knew that Morwena read ,and he knew that she was a staunch supporter from f the woman’s movement.Right now,he would have given anything to ask Morwena about it ,anything,As his mind became jumbled up,his pacing increased and he began to ring his hands.He was sweating with the tension of not knowing and he struggled with that.His mind went back to what Morwena had told him about his weakness when dealing with Bill Penhaligan and those words of hers rang in his ears;”I don’t want to bury my husband the way we had to bury Pa”
What with the time going on and the evening being well along,there was a knock on the front door of the Polmounter’s house.It was Bill Penhaligan,the mine manager.For once,he didn’t seem to be trying to demean Vernon,and his face was almost caring.He asked how things were,and told Vernon that he would be paid for his shift,and for them not to worry.This display of human kindness touched Vernon,but he couldn’t bring himself to actually thank Bill,but gave a cursory nod of approval.
Just then ,there came from upstairs a piercing scream from Morwena like she had just been visited by a Vampire.It was no good,Vernon barged past Penhaligan and with his huge mining boots stamping upstairs he climbed the stairs.He didn’t know what to do,He thought about shoutouts no out,but he knew never to bother the Pyhsician of the nurse.His emotions and his feelings were of a frightened man.He did the bravest thing that he could do,and k cokes the door.Nurse removed the sheets that had been placed behind the door to muffle the screams of !orwena,as her labour had been tortuous.As the nurse tried to calm Vernon,the Physician addressed Vernon with the words:”We saved your wife,but couldn’t save the child,”
With that Vernon sunk in the adjoining chair with Morwena in a state of semi-consciousness.
Their child had been placed in a makeshift crib,delicately wrapped and afforded the dignity that you would expect when a life had been lost in this close knit community.
Wether Vernon new it or not,things would have to change now,and Morwena wasn’t strong,in fact,it was touch and go wether she would make it so the nurse explained to him.
As the Polmounters had been such good folk , Vernon requested that she stay there a day or two before she was well enough to go home and he would tend her at the Polmounters.
As he walked back to their cottage,his head again caused him to have so many conflicting thoughts.He had been powerless at essential times in his life.His family had a aura of invincibility,but they were really just like everybody else when it came down to it.
Vernon thought about how Morwena would take all of this,and he thought about the baby,and then he wept .