Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal: A Fictional Account of a Young Woman’s Experience During the War of 1812
December 5, 1813
These last days have been very hard. I am so jittery and yet heavy at heart. It is difficult for me to make up my mind about anything and now my health seems to be suffering as well. I would be just as pleased to lay abed as get up and when I am up I feel so ill I could crawl back under the covers. A weariness comes over me at the oddest times and mother has noted it. I do not wish to be a worry to her or Father and yet here I sit, unable to finish the simplest task without tearing up. Perhaps things will be better in the spring, when the ground has thawed enough for us to bury my husband properly.
Mother and Evvy have been urging me to go to see the doctor in Johnstown, or at least consult dear Mrs. Randall. They are convinced that I need a tonic of some sort. Perhaps it would be prudent. In that case, I would much prefer Mrs. Randall’s advice. She is our nurse/midwife, after all and knows many remedies that doctors do not, things she learned in her old Scottish home and things that she has learned from the elder women of White Wolf’s lodge.I shall ask William to take me over to see Mrs. Randall and that will put Mother’s mind to rest.
Friday, December 10, 1813
Wonderful news! I am an aunt now. Elizabeth was delivered of a lovely little girl baby. William has decided to name her Victoria Elizabeth” after our dear departed sister. Victoria and Elizabeth are staying here a week or so until Elizabeth gains her strength back. Her labour lasted more than a day and she is exhausted, but “Vicky” as we call her, is a strong little baby who makes her demands known in no uncertain terms. Mother is laughing again, as she used to and I find her cuddling our new resident very often though Elizabeth protests that Vicky will be spoiled beyond all hope of redemption.
Mrs. Randall attended Vicky’s birth, but was so busy with Elizabeth, she had only time to ask me a few questions, look me over quickly and sigh. She said that she would take time to talk to me in a day or so when things were a bit more settled around here. Her serious demeanor somewhat alarmed me, but I don’t have time to think about much more than helping Elizabeth with the baby and preparing meals with Mother.
Sunday, December 12, 1813
If my writing is barely legible it will be no wonder. I am still shaking from my visit with Mrs. Randall. Robert brought her back today to look in on our newest family member and her mother. She is very pleased with Elizabeth and Vicky. William is beaming ear to ear, although none of us got much sleep last night with the baby waking every three hours for her feeding. Once she was satisfied with the progress of her charges, Mrs. Randall sat me down with my parents for a serious discussion.
To say I was concerned would be stating it verymildly. First of all, Mrs. Randall asked me how I was feeling generally, aside from my obvious grief. I told her that I was extremely tired and that sometimes, although I have a good appetite, I can’t always keep my food down, but that seemed to be happening less and less. I asked her if there was a tonic I could take and she patted my hand. Then she asked me in a very low voice, if I had missed my monthly and I looked at her in shock.
“Oh, it can’t be that, can it?” I’m sure I turned paper white.
Mrs. Randall smiled and patted my hand again. “Yes, my dear, it can be. I believe you are expecting a little one, probably this spring.”
You can imagine my astonishment. Mother and Father came immediately to my side. Robert left the room.
“Oh Adeline, we will have another little one. How wonderful!” My mother’s eyes were filled with tears as she embraced me. My father looked very serious. He assured me that they would be helping as much as they could. I could only think of my dear Charles and that his child would never know him. I felt numbed and I must say, I still do.