A Straw Mattress in Madison

A baby to hold and love


Photo Ad Meskens of painting by Newbold Hough Trotter (1827–1898)/Public domain)

Chapter two of the life of Anna Raymond Beardsley.

The bed was not fine, the room quite small, and it was not a hotel. The birthing was attended to by the widow who rented her rooms to Westward travelers, and the birth struggles were already fading from Charlotte’s mind. All considered, when compared to the thought of it happening in the wagon, this room was a palace and the bed could be that of a princess.

The last few miles to Madison had been easy, the weather fair, and Charlotte was in good spirits. Mr. Beardsley, however, seemed more anxious by the hour, and less interested in talking with his wife. His words, what few he spoke, were short and gruff, his eyes seemed to avoid hers. That he was desirous of being in California was well known to Charlotte, but they had a child now, a child he had barely acknowledged. Did that not matter to him?

Charlotte had named the child Anna Raymond, Raymond after her father, Henry Raymond, and Anna after her brother’s wife. Mr. Beardsley had shrugged his shoulders when Charlotte told him; the child was not a boy, he had no care for its name. He seemed even more distracted, almost distant, she thought. Surely he had so much on his mind, his business, the inevitable delay caused by the baby. But he must…



Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence 👀

Retired Unix Consultant. I write tech and humor mostly but sometimes other things. See my Lists if your interests are specific.