Gone to God
Lizzy meads was pleased. From eleven o'clock this morning she had been filled with the burning words of the Methody Preacher, words that had by-passed her brain and bored their way into her very soul. The Preacher had delivered a fiery sermon and Lizzy had been filled up with the light of God. Her father would be pleased that for once she was filled up with more than Billy Bartle's wayward shank. That boy had caused enough trouble over the last year.
Lizzy smiled and pulled the blanket carefully around the baby's face. It was a cold day, the ice on the windows was as thick as a fist in places, but Lizzy had not noticed the cold since early this morning when her Grandmother had told her the news.
'You're father says you can go this time' Grandma Meads had said. She neglected to tell Lizzy that she had all but twisted her son's arm out its socket in order to get him to agree.
' I don't want her up for ridicule' he had argued.
'There will be more ridicule if you keep her locked up. This is the tenth time John Wesley has come to Gwennap to preach at the Pit. Your daughter has not attended once. Give her a chance.'
'I gave her a chance Mother, look where it got her.'
Mary Meads could not argue with this, but the baby was beautiful and was doing well, considering.
'That baby is an innocent in all this' she said 'don't punish her no more.'
Lizzy had been presented with her mother's Sunday best. The dress hung off her thin shoulders but the shawl covered the worst. She had combed the dirt from her hair and had scrubbed at her face until it was ruddy with cleanliness.
The baby had been left with Martha Gerrans and they had walked with the rest of the Methodist community to listen to the Preacher at the Pit. Lizzy hung on tightly to her fathers arm, she had never seen so many people and there was an excitement in the air.
'John Wesley loves Cornwall' Grandma had told her as they turned in the gate 'he has a special place for us in his Godfearin' heart'
Lizzy looked down over the ancient amphitheatre. It was already half full and the congregation was steadily filling each ring. By the time the Preacher took his place at the heart there were people spilling out over the surrounding fields.
'I can't see nothing father' Lizzy said
'His voice will find you' Thomas said patting her arm. Lizzy had been born short of a penny or two but she was a good girl really, he should be thankful.
'And the innocent shall go to God unfettered, bereft of sin, and he shall take them in his arms...'
The Preachers words rung out clearly and Thomas looked down at his daughter. Her face was alight.
Thomas grabbed John Perranwell by the arm.
'Have you seen Lizzy? She disappeared halfway through the sermon.'
John was the fifth person he had asked and no one had seen his daughter. His mother pushed her way through the dispersing crowds and shook her head. It was so unlike Lizzy and she really seemed to be enjoying it.
'We'll go home' Mary said 'she knows the way.'
They left the village and made their way to their cottage at the top of Coldwind Cross. There was no sign of Lizzy but as they drew closer to the house Thomas could see that the door was wide open.
They found Lizzy with the baby, the blanket carefully covering his small body. He had been dead for a little while but Lizzy continued to rock him.
'What have you done Lizzy, ' Thomas gasped 'what have you done?'
'I have give him to God,' Lizzy said smiling 'the Preacher said that the innocent shall go to God. Grandma said my baby was innocent.'
Earlier this evening I was looking up some spooky venues for me book launch. One of the places I looked at was Bodmin Jail. In my usual fashion I got completely ditracted by some tidbits of information and found a young woman's name amongst all the convicted felons. Beside her name were the words - 'murdered her own child'.
Gwennap Pit still exists and is about ten miles from where I live. John Wesley visited on numerous occasions and it was said that he stirred up the crowds with his 'fire and brimstone' sermons.
Oh, running out of time...have I done it??
Yep, nearly, set myself a challenge of an hour - started 11pm, finished at 12.03. Have a go, it was fun, apart from the initial panic!!