L is for Love

L is for Love

On that day in March, I had only just arrived at the estate, a little-known ward from the country. I was a shy girl, nervously seeking fresh air and some solitude while walking through the gardens. Golden light glittered merrily on a rainbow of flowers while I walked, parasol in hand, a protection from the wind, the rain, and the heat of the day.

That was where I overheard the conversation, an idle chat between two matrons, both gray-haired and stately, two women whose faces and names I cannot recall.

“They say Philip had three daughters,” one of the women was saying, she of the wispy silver-gray overwrap.

“Of course he does,” the second woman said, a tall and stately lady in red.

“He named them Faith, Hope, and Love, for the graces from St. Paul’s.”

“The who from the what?”

I grinned at the question and paused, not wanting to eavesdrop but also not wanting to interrupt.

“Don’t interrupt,” the first woman said, almost as if she were reading my mind. “His youngest and final daughter came as a surprise to everyone, of course. He named her Charity, a sickly thing. She nearly died. They thought there would be no hope for her.”

“But-”

At this point, I felt bad about spying and carefully began walking toward them, twirling my parasol so as to draw their attention – and to partially conceal my face.

The first woman continued speaking. If she saw me, she gave no sign. “Phillip, and Faith and Hope, they were distraught. But Love – oh they say that girl was taken with grief so great that she was willing to do anything.”

“And?”

“She gave the transfusion. It saved Charity’s life, if you can believe it.”

By then, I was almost out of sight, and almost out of earshot.

“Love died that day,” the first woman said. “But the procedure saved her sister’s life.”

“So you say. But if-”

And then, I was past. Unwilling to stay and eavesdrop, I continued walking. To this day, I do not know any more than what I have said, although I do know – as I’m sure you do – that my uncle’s nephew soon became one of the first to receive what is now called a blood transfusion. I have always wondered if there was some connection.

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