14. 19. Blothmath 1368
19. Blothmath 1368
I cannot keep from glaring at her. Drogo has already given me a warning look, but I cannot stop. He knows I don't like her and, though she is as gentle to Frodo as I could wish, she has already gone too far. I don't think she can help it.
I was really looking forward to meeting Drogo's brother again, for I like Dudo and Laura and their two children, but Dora, his sister, is a thorn in my side. She is a professed spinster and an old shrew, who has been against me from the first day Drogo and I met. I don't know the reason for her aversion to Brandybucks, but that is all she sees me as: that Brandybuck; the lass from the wrong side of the river.
Even today she could not help herself. She held Frodo and, though he was uneasy, he did not cry. She said he was beautiful, but, just as I was about to thank her for the compliment, she leaned over to Dudo and, in a voice just loud enough for me to hear, whispered: "A wonder, considering his distaff breeding."
Dudo and Drogo both glanced angrily at her, but she did not heed them. If it had not been for Drogo, I would have thrown her out of the Smial. I want some peace again; some rest. I have had too much of nosy relatives in the past few weeks to endure her.
"Auntie Primie, can he do anything?" Ten-year old Asphodel's question startles me out of my thoughts. I frown, not quite understanding.
"Silly," young Daisy, Asphodel's older sister declares. "He's a baby, what do you think he's supposed to do?"
The girl shrugs and looks at my child who is lying in Laura's arms, his huge blue eyes following every one of her movements. "He's sweet," Dudo's wife announces, looking up at me with a smile on her face. Her finger gently touches the tip of my lad's nose. Frodo, whose eyes had shifted and were then following the finger instead of the little girl, frowns with the effort of trying to see his own nose. He wriggles in frustrated protest and opens his mouth to vent his displeasure, but Laura laughs and lets go of his nose, gently stroking his cheeks to calm him instead.
Laura is sitting in a rocking chair by the fireside while Drogo entertains his siblings at the dining table. He holds one of my hands, probably trying to calm me, for I keep glaring at Dora, who is looking back at me just as unkindly. But when I hear my baby cry, Dora is forgotten. All my attention is fixed on Frodo. I let go of Drogo's hand and come to him, looking down at my precious baby over Laura's shoulder. "Now, now, my dear. No need to cry, is there?" I croon and Frodo quiets almost immediately, now watching my face through his teary eyes.
I smile reassuringly at him, but he does not smile back as he usually does. Instead, he starts crying again. Motioning to Laura to give me the babe, I cradle him in my arms and try to shush him, but it is no use. "Perhaps he's hungry," I tell Laura, wrapping his swaddling around him. It is not quite time yet for his next feeding, but it is difficult for even my son to keep to a schedule with so many callers.
Putting an arm around her younger daughter who had come to lean her head on her shoulder, she smiles at me. "Don't worry about us."
I give her a thankful nod and quickly retreat to the room I share with Drogo. With a sigh, I close the door and lean against it for moment inhaling the welcoming smell of my bedroom, a place of rest and peace. The fire in the hearth has burned low but it is pleasantly warm and I welcome the subdued light. Relieved, I walk over to the bed still trying to soothe my upset child.
I feel so weary in bone and heart. I long for a night of proper rest, but what I want even more is some peace. I have not had a single day in the past month just for me. Some relative or other has come to visit to look at my precious boy nearly every day, either that or we have gone to Brandy Hall. I want some time for myself again - for myself, Drogo and Frodo. I even welcome Frodo's crying for it gives me an excuse to withdraw from the bustle for a time.
"Hush, dearest," I soothe. "What's upset you so?" I cradle him closer, stroking his damp cheek with my other hand. "You've had enough of your relatives too, haven't you?"
Even in the intimacy of this room, Frodo is unwilling to stop crying. His chubby cheeks are flushed, his tiny fists clenched. I think perhaps he is hungry after all. I quickly unbutton my blouse and offer him a heavy breast. Frodo, however, doesn't show any interest and struggles and frets even more.
I sigh, tears suddenly welling up inside me. The urge to cry has been steadily growing and though I try to swallow my tears, it is impossible. They fill my eyes, blurring my vision. His screams make me even more melancholy, and feelings of being utterly helpless and forlorn envelop me. "Don't, Frodo, dear," I whisper, cradling him again. "Don't worry your mommy."
O, that Dora! Why couldn't she and Dudo come another time and allow my little family some respite? Trembling with the effort to hold back more tears, I sit back on the bed, leaning back against the headboard. Rest, that is what we both need, Frodo and I, for he is hungry; I can hear it in his voice now.
Taking a deep breath, I try to calm myself before trying to soothe my little one again. Quietly, I begin to croon.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
I sing all verses of the song I know and am amazed how much it calms not only me but Frodo also. He looks at me, his shining blue eyes studying my face. I smile and gently smooth his wrinkled brow with my finger. He is not too happy about that and fusses. I put a finger on his lips, already parting to protest again and he immediately suckles it.
"No need to tell me twice, my dear little star," I whisper and carefully push my blouse aside. This time he is more than willing to be fed and I take a relieved breath as I hear him grunt contently.