Faith was teething so Jamie and Claire had been taking turns getting up with her at night and walking the hallway with her until she fell asleep again.
Claire quickly discovered that singing to her helped soothe her, even if she didn’t fall asleep again right away.
She didn’t remember many lullabies that her mother had sung to her in those too brief years they had together—but that she had sung to her was a very clear memory that had stayed with her.
There was one song that she was surprised she remembered so well. During the war the army had managed to secure and arrange film screenings for the troops and nurses, especially in the hospitals—even those near the front. They were a very welcome diversion, whatever their subject matter so no one had been upset when reels for children’s cartoons showed up in the mix.
She’d only paid half-attention to the film itself—elephants, a circus train, a tenacious mouse. It was an odd combination and she was over tired and over-worked. The lullaby caught her off guard by bringing tears to her eyes as the memory of losing her own mother knocked the breath from her lungs with its intensity.
And five years later, she found the lyrics of that lullaby were easier to recall than the words of the reels she’d danced to with Frank at their wedding or the words of the speeches broadcast over the radio at the end of the war.
“Baby mine, don’t you cry.
Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, Baby of mine.”
“That’s lovely,” Jenny whispered as she shuffled quietly down the hall with Kitty in her arms nursing.
“Oh… thank you,” Claire whispered back. Faith had fallen asleep again so Claire shifted her up to her shoulder, rubbing circles into the child’s back. She gave off a surprising amount of heat when she slept and Claire could feel the sweat gathering where Faith’s cheek pressed to her shoulder, soaking into the thin fabric of her shift.
“I dinna recognize it,” Jenny commented. “Is it an English song?”
“I… I don’t know. I remember it from… well… it’s from a long time ago,” she said dismissively. Or rather, a long time to come.
“Ye sing it well. I never had much talent for singing myself but my mother… she was raised with a great many talents, ye ken. Jamie got a few though he says he’s lost his ear for music,” Jenny rambled, yawning as she shifted Kitty from one breast to the other. “Must have been the fighting—standing so close to guns blasting that way is like to make any person deaf with time.”
Claire bit her tongue—if Jamie wanted Jenny or Ian to know the truth of the blow to his head, he would tell them himself.
“Is there more to that song? I’d love to hear the rest,” Jenny requested.
Claire nodded and picked up where she left off.
“Little one when you play,
Pay no heed what they say…”