Monday, July 28, 2008
Contrary to the expectations of the attending nurses, who had hoped for a thunderstorm at the very least, the Antichrist was born on the 8th July at just after eleven in the morning. Her mother (for the antichrist was a girl) suffered nothing more than a slight pain – certainly a lesser one than when the infant had been planted there after one gin too many at the annual Harvest Ball – and thought fondly of last year’s Master of the Hunt.
For her part, the Antichrist, who upon being presented to her mother was promptly named Clarissa, had time to practice her piercing cries and her scowl. To her consternation, neither ability withered the flesh from the bones of the nurses nor summoned her minions from the bowels of Hell to wreak vengeance for a slapped bottom.
Clarissa developed a pout.
Gertrude Wainscot carried her newborn daughter out into the sunlit grounds of Pine Lodge and, contrary to the advice of the nurses, held her up to the sky and announced her birth the way she’d seen it done in ‘The Lion King’.
There was little in the way of applause from the animal kingdom, although a magpie chose that moment to steal a piece of bread from the bird table, its tuxedo flashing in the sunlight.
Gertrude sat at the edge of the lawn, wrapped Clarissa in swaddling and ordered tea for two. The trees behind her trembled as two leafy green arms reached to hold their daughter.