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Really bad short fiction: Henry and Mab

Henry and Mab's story is courtesy of word prompts from my friend Fraidy:

Maria had milk fever and between bouts of fever she had terrible ague as the house was really too cold and they could not get it any warmer. There was much concern by the local doctor and the midwife that Maria would not survive the birth of this child as the milk fever was such an advanced case.

Maria had been bled twice and the breast had been expressed as much as possible given the severe pain she was in and yet her condition seemed to deteriorate rather than improve. Maria's sister Blanche was angry that instead of being at home helping to attend to his wife, her husband Henry was off cavorting and fornicating with a bar maid in town.

Henry's occasional visits and show of affection of Maria would have been risible if she had not been dying from the milk fever. His lack of concern left most of the household aghast at his actions. Many hoped he would get the "French Pox" for being such the womanizer at a time like this.

Henry was intractable in his desire to be with Mab the bar maid in town, so what if she was a tart, she made him laugh and was merry, not like the moaning and crepe hanging that was going on in his own home. He wanted pleasure out of life not the pallor of death surrounding him.

The ague and fever were the penultimate steps in Maria's illness. Soon there was delirium which indicated that the end was near. Maria did not know who she was or where she was she became involved in a world that was made up in her own mind as her life ebbed away.


It was a weighty decision on Blanche's part to go to the pub with its derelict patrons and look for Henry so that he could be with his wife at the end but she could not find him so she left so that she could be with Maria as she passed over from this world to the next.

Henry was very malleable when it came to the attentions of a woman. He did not realize that Mab had her eye on being his mistress well kept in town, if not the lady of the manner when the ailing Maria finally died. Nay, Henry did not know he was "being played for a fool."

Mab was persuasive, after Maria died she convinced Henry to marry her although she was of a class greatly beneath his but he certainly enjoyed her charms in the bedroom. So Mab who had once been a harlot at the inn was now the lady of the manor.

Mab was highfalutin as the lady of the manner. She had nurses and maids caring for the children and she dressed herself in fine silks and fancied herself to be well born because of her rise in station by marrying Henry. Mab had delusions of grandeur and her life style demonstrated this.

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