Chapter 12

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"Its not a sickness," the doctor told Sheba, "You are actually in perfect health."

"Then why all these headaches and vomiting?"

"Well, Mrs Tory, I am happy to announce that you are pregnant!"

Sheba sighed in relief. Another baby would be wonderful.

She went to James, who was still recovering from yellow fever.

"Are you sick again?" he asked, worry in his eyes, "Because it would be my fault."

"No, I'm in perfect health."

"There is no way you are perfectly healthy! What about all the throwing up?"

"I'm pregnant."

James looked at her. "You've never been this sick before," he said, thinking deeply.

"Well," Sheba said happily, "There's a first for everything!"

She went went back to her work, but had to get a bucket before getting much done.

"Mama?"

Sheba looked up from her puking position to see Israel, holding a rag in his little hand. "This is for you!" he said, as if he had gotten her a box of diamonds. "It make you feel better." Sheba took it gratefully and cleaned her face up.

"Thank you, Israel," she said, feeling more coming up, "Now go outside and play with Ollie."

Israel ran out the door just as Sheba had her face in the bucket again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Sheba!" cried Martha, marching in, "You should have sent Oliver to fetch me! I had no idea you weren't feeling well!"

"I'm pregnant," whispered Sheba, for if she opened her mouth any more, she feared she would hurl.

"Good gracious! You should get to bed!"

"James is sick."

"Darling, you know I would have helped you. You are in great need of help. And I am here to do just that. Is James contagious?"

"Not anymore. He's just weak and needs rest."

"That goes for you, too. Now let me assist you." Martha pulled Sheba to her feet and guided the exhausted woman to bed.

"Finally," said James when he saw her, "I get Sheba to myself!"

"Yes," said Martha, "And I am taking over. Now don't worry about the children, I will take care of them. Sheba won't have to nurse, I know how to make gruel for Arabelle. Sleep well!" With that, Martha Washington left them to take charge of the household.

"Bossy creature, ain't she?" asked James after a while.

"Aye, that she is," replied Sheba, trying to get him to shut up.

"Always got on my nerves when she did that," he continued to Sheba's disappointment. "She just loves to get in your business and..."

"Will you stop talking for at least five minutes?"

"Your wish is my command."

Sheba rolled over and tried to sleep, but ended up tossing and turning for hours. Finally, she got up and started making dinner. "What are you doing up?" asked Martha, beginning to sweep the floor.

"I can't sleep with this one," said Sheba, rubbing her five month baby bump, "Its attacking me."

"Nonsense," said Martha, "Sometimes you get a tough one. Have you thought of any names?"

"Well, a little."

"Do tell."

"If its a girl, I was thinking Lorenza. If a boy, I was hoping Zion."

"What lovely choices, dear. You do have a gift for that."

"Thank you." "

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Arabelle, don't bother your brother. He's too little to play with now."

Arabelle bounced up and down and clapped at two day old Zion, who was crying. Sheba sighed and put Arabelle on the rug, spreading her toys in front of her. Sheba then picked up little Zion, who's jet black hair made soft curls around his tiny face. "You were totally worth all that misery," she whispered, kissing his cheek.

The triplets barged in, trailing dirt into the house. They had leaves in their hair, mud on their faces, and frogs in their pockets. Their bare feet had grass stuck to them and they were wet up to their knees.

"Did you go play in the creek?" asked Sheba amusingly.

"Yea, Mama! We caught dees fwogs!" Said Asher, jumping.

"Good job, all of you!" cried Sheba, "Now go tell Daddy to wash you off!" They rushed over to James, who was on the roof fixing the shingles with Ezra.

Ollie came in, drenched. "What happened to you?" asked Sheba.

"There's a wee chance that I might have been pushed into the creek by a few kids. No big deal."

"Go dry off," Sheba said, tossing him a blanket. He dried his long red curls and popped a couple of cherries into his mouth before leaving.

Zion was a very attached child, clinging to his mother like a life line. Sheba made a sling and laid him in it, and he quickly fell asleep. She wanted to surprise her family, so she made vegetable soup, apple cider, brownies, and mashed potatoes with butter. She finished at sunset and set everything out on the huge oak table. Instead of chairs, they used benches, for there were so many people living there, they couldn't possibly make enough room for chairs.

"Come inside!" Sheba yelled, waking Zion. The baby screamed at the top of his lungs until Sheba spread a blanket out on the living room floor and laid him on it while they ate.

"What's this?" cried James, looking at the table.

"Sheba has really put herself to work, aye?" asked Ollie, dancing around with Micah.

"My sister knows how to spoil us," Ezra told them, "And she will do all that she can to make herself useful."

Sheba laughed. "Don't be so surprised that I'm being nice," she said, kissing James. He dipped her and kissed her full on the lips, making the triplets gag.

"Gwoss!" squealed Israel. Ezra and Ollie laughed.

As they were eating, someone began pounding at the door. "Its an emergency!" someone yelled. James flew to the door and Sible, Martha's slave girl, tumbled in.

"What happened?" asked Sheba, standing.

"They're sending a thousand boys from here to the battle field. They took teens, and they want Oliver!"

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