Romance Fiction posted April 26, 2012 Chapters:  ...19 20 -21- 22... 

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Mrs. Kennedy's Death

A chapter in the book A ROUGH BEGINNING

Chapter Nine Part One

by c_lucas

This novel is written in the Omniscient point of view. The story takes place is New York's Irish slums. Points of history are intermingled with fiction.

Brigit's Cross


JUNE 1875

Ending of last chapter:
All turned toward Mrs. Kennedy when she began muttering. Phillip was the first to start toward her bed.
The three women walked over to stand behind the doctor.  They held hands, with Heather in the middle, and began to speak as one:

Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheirc Dé,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossena
Indnóeb dibad bethath che.

(Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God's love of her;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one.)

Phillip turned and looked at them in total bewilderment.
Phillip focused on Heather. “Where did you learn Latin and an old form of it as well?”
Heather glanced at the two women who were still holding her hands. Her mother on her right side gave her hand a quick squeeze.  She took a deep breath and faced Phillip. “Latin? Is that what yeh be calling th' holy words?”

“Holy words?” Phillip stared at the three women who stared back. “They are not from the Vulgate. I have some knowledge of Latin, but this is older than the version I studied.”
“It be th' form before th' time of yer St. Jerome. I be th' one teaching them. Brigit taught it ta me and I be teaching it ta others.” Philip turned to see Mrs. Kennedy, eyes closed, smiling. “Me husband be leaving me his box while he be seeking his fortune. He told me it be discards from a German printer’s shop.”
“Where is this box? How did your husband acquire it?” Phillip could hardly contain his enthusiasm.
Mrs. Kennedy appeared to be sleeping. His questions went unanswered.
Philip turned his attention toward Heather.  “What box is she talking about?”
“Her husband’s wooden chest.” She glanced at her mother and stared nervously at Phillip.
“Do you know where it’s at?”
Before she could answer, Mrs. Sullivan squeezed her daughter’s hand and answered Phillip, “I be th' only one knowing besides Mrs. Kennedy. Her blessed husband be receiving it from his kin. It be handed down throughout th' ages.”
“Do you know the name of the printer?”
“Mrs. Kennedy never be saying. She said when she opened it, Brigit appeared ta her and be teaching her th' old language.”
“You mean St. Brigid .…”
“Nay.  I be meaning Brigit. Th' Catholic Church described her as a Saint because they could not get followers if they denounced her.”
Heather and Kathleen nodded their head in agreement.
Phillip focused on the woman he planned to marry. “Do you believe this nonsense?”
“It not be nonsense. Mrs. Kennedy use ta be one of th' nuns who guarded th' Flame of Kildare. When she served her time, she left and be working as a mid-wife/healer when she met Mr. Kennedy.”
“Does Father Murphy know you three hold Celtic beliefs?” Phillip fought to keep the anger out of his voice.
Kathleen spoke up, “Th' good Fader be knowing Mrs. Kennedy’s past and be holding it against her. We three be acting as Christians should act. Heather is th' only one who be praying ta Brigit at th' Christian Altar.”
“Th' Reverend Mother thinks I be protected by th' Virgin Mother. I’ll not be correcting her and she be inviting me ta join th' sisters….” Heather stopped, angered at the shocked expression on Phillip’s face. “Nay! You’ll not be judging me, me mother or me friend. I be taking all of th' Fader’s classes with you and be promising ta raise our children in th' Catholic Faith. We all be good Catholics!”
“Why haven’t you told me about Brigit before?”
“Unlike th' Virgin Mary, Brigit be only for women. She be a Warrior Goddess, th' Goddess of Fire, Fertility and Healing. Men not be much interested in these areas.”
 “And you believe all of this? Who do the men worship?”
Breanna came to her daughter’s defense. “There be more men gods than women gods. Most goddesses let th' men rule, it be keeping th' peace among them.” She pulled Heather to her. “Heather be making yeh a good wife….”
Heather pulled away from her mother. “I’ll not be needing yeh ta take up for me. Phillip loves me and I’ll be loving him back. We’ll not be keeping secrets from each other.” She took a couple of steps toward him.
Phillip opened his arms to receive her. She caught th' blanket as it began to slide from his shoulders. “Maybe I best be getting yer shirt.”
The door opened and Father Murphy entered, followed by Mr. Sullivan who glared at the half-naked doctor holding his daughter.
When he released her, Heather fetched his shirt and handed it to him. “Good evening, Fader Murphy. Mrs. Kennedy is resting.” Heather walked to the kitchen area and prepared two more cups of tea.
Phillip hurried to Heather's sectioned off area and returned tucking his damp shirt inside his pants. He glanced at Heather who tried to ignore the staring match between her parents.
Phillip cleared his throat and addressed the Priest. “She's resting comfortably, but how much stress the convulsions caused, I don’t know. Sometimes, she’s coherent and other times she's not.”
The priest hooked up the curtain and stepped behind them to be with Mrs. Kennedy alone.
Heather picked up the iron and started drying Phillip’s socks. She did not comment when Mrs. Wiley took over the job, finished it and concentrated on the doctor’s underwear.
“This has been a long night. Th' priest is here and we’re not being much good for Mrs. Kennedy.” Mrs. Sullivan started for the door, stopped and glanced at her husband.
Heather sat at the table, holding her rosary in her hands, but kept her eyes open. Her lips moved silently. She was fully aware of her father staring at her but she ignored him. He'll be having his say later.
Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan left without comment. Mrs. Wiley sat at the head of the table, her eyes closed, and her silent mouth began moving without the benefit of her rosary.
Phillip picked up the rest of his clothing and returned to Heather’s area.  He came back out fully dressed. Heather stopped her praying, turned and looked at him.  He motioned for her to join him, but she refused and pointed to the table across from her.
He sat down and Heather reached out for him with her rosary in hand. The young doctor stared at the rosary and at her. Heather continued with her silent prayer, not taking her eyes off of Phillip.

Mrs. Wiley reached out and touched the rosary. She began to pray out loud. Heather joined her and Phillip placed his hand over the part of the rosary Heather had offered. He closed his eyes and remained silent while the two ladies prayed until Heather started a prayer he recognized. He joined in.

When the ladies finished, Heather, encouraged by his willingness to join them, squeezed Phillip’s hand and began a prayer she knew Phillip was familiar with. Mrs. Wiley joined her and Phillip took a deep breath and joined them.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,  Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The three continued to hold hands, and Heather began a traditional prayer for the sick. Phillip remained silent with his eyes closed. He joined in when Heather and Mrs. Wiley started the Twenty-Third Psalm.

Father Murphy came through the curtained off area and joined the trio. The priest crossed himself and sat down at the table. Mrs. Wiley released Heather’s hand and went to the tea pot which was warming on the edge of the stove. She refilled everyone’s cup and sat the pot back on the stove.

“Mrs. Kennedy will not be here much longer. God rest her soul.” The priest crossed himself. Mrs. Wiley, Heather and Phillip did the same. “I regret I not be trying harder to save her soul.” Fader Murphy shook his head.

Phillip kept Heather’s hand in his and stared at her. “Isn’t there something you need to tell Father Murphy?”

Heather gulped and glanced at Mrs. Wiley.

Mrs. Sullivan walked in without knocking. She was carrying a ragged item, woven from reeds.  “That be my job. Fader, you and I be needing ta prepare Mrs. Kennedy ta meet her Maker. Do not be surprised at th' language she be using. She be ready ta accept your ways.”

Book of the Month contest entry


Source of the image, "Brigit Cross," courtesy of Wikipedia.

This is a rewrite. Regular readers may not get any rewards.

Caitlin Anna Wiley will change her name to Joanna 'Jo' Wiley when she is arrested for theft of a two cent apple.

Cailin = Irish for girl.
Divil = Devil
Fader = Father
Help = hep
Me = my
Mammy = mother
Mudder = mother
Ta = to
Tay = tea
Th' = the
Yer = your
Yeh = you

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