James sat by the bed in quiet contemplation. Sarah was dying. In truth she had been dying since William was born five months ago.
She stirred and he turned, hopeful that she might wake and return to him. Alas, this was not to be, she remained the same. It was as if a paralysis had set in, the doctors said some form of infection after the birth had got into her blood.
He had loved Sarah from the moment he set eyes on her. He had been working as a shoe maker in the Main Road at Oatlands, back then there wasn’t much more than a Main Road in Oatlands. Sarah had gone into the shop to get her mistress’s shoe repaired. He took twice as long to repair it than was necessary, while he chatted and got to know her a little better.
That was 24 years and 12 children earlier. She made him want to be a better person. The fact that he had come out ‘involuntary’ didn’t bother her, she herself had come out with the orphan scheme, looking for a fresh start.
Sarah was a hard worker and together they built up their finances and property, working towards the day they would have their own pub. She was the best mother a man could ask for. What would become of their children now, how would he cope when she passed? How would any of them cope? Tears ran down his cheeks at the very thought of being without her.