Summary: 9th story in The Battle of Wills series. The Cartwrights try to decide on a name for the coming baby.
Rating: K+ Word Count=2542
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Cartwrights or Bonanza. No copyright infringement is intended. Original plot and characters are property of the author. This story is for entertainment and no money was made from it.
Reviews from the Old Library are on the last page
The Battle of Wills Series:
Education is More than 3R’s
The Shadow of Jean deMarigny
A Gift Horse
A Room Full of Memories
A New Pattern
Naming the Newest Cartwright
Presents from the Heart
Big Brother Lessons
Naming the Newest Cartwright
Marie was sitting on the settee, sewing a dress for the coming baby. The material rested on the bulge made by the newest Cartwright. She sighed in boredom, set aside the dress, stood up, stretched, and headed for the kitchen. Hopefully, Hop Sing had left the sugar cookies sitting on the counter.
The opening of the door caught her attention. Ben came in with a sack of coffee for Hop Sing. “How’s my favorite mother-to-be?”
She smiled and replied “I hope I’m your favorite. I wouldn’t want to be second to Bonnie.” Her mare had been bred when Ben had decided that riding around the ranch would be a danger to mother and child.
Ben stopped for a kiss before continuing to the kitchen. When he returned, he carried a small plate loaded with cookies. Taking one for himself, he brought the plate to Marie. She took the plate, went over to the coffee table, and set it down.
As she munched on one, Hoss and Adam came in. While Adam shut the door, Hoss crossed the room to the table to get some cookies. “Those are for Mama” said Ben. “Mais non, mon chere. You may have as many as you’d like, mon fils. Hop Sing has more in the kitchen.”
“Do ya think the baby’ll like cookies?” asked Hoss around a mouthful of crumbs.
“The baby won’t have teeth, mon fils.”
The look on Hoss’ face made her laugh. A sudden pain made her gasp with surprise.
Ben crossed to her in two strides and grasped her by the elbow. “What’s wrong, darling? Should I send for the doctor?”
Marie still looked surprised. Finally realizing she was holding her breath, she exhaled slowly and looked at Ben in wonder. “The baby kicked.”
“She did?” he asked with excitement. He placed a hand on her belly, hoping to feel his child move. His reward was another strong kick. “Come over here, boys” he encouraged.
Adam and Hoss went over to their step-mother. She grasped a hand from each son and placed it on her belly. “I don’t feel nothin’” said Hoss. “Be patient” said Ben.
Nothing happened for several minutes. Adam was about to pull his hand away when the baby kicked directly under it. His smile went from ear to ear as said “That’s gotta be a boy. He kicks really hard.”
Hoss was disappointed that the baby didn’t kick the side he was on. “Is it gonna kick me too, Mama?”
“I don’t know, mon fils. Perhaps the baby is finished for now.” Marie kept Hoss’ hand pressed to her belly, but nothing else happened. Ben and Adam removed their hands so the little boy could place his other hand on her belly. The baby decided to stretch. Hoss’ eyes widened with wonder as he felt his sibling move. “How’s it do that, Mama?”
“Do what, mon fils?”
“Move in there. How’s it got room?”
Marie giggled and looked at Ben. “The baby has enough room but sometimes needs to stretch a little. That’s what you felt just now.”
Hoss’ eyes again widened in wonder. “When’s the baby comin’ out?”
“Not for a few more months.”
“How will it get out?”
Marie turned scarlet and Ben cleared his throat. “Why don’t we find out what Hop Sing is going to make for supper?”
“Do ya think he’ll cook up some stewed apples?”
“He just might. Let’s go suggest it to him.”
Ben steered Hoss for the kitchen, leaving Marie alone with Adam. She noticed the boy was lost in thought. “Marie?” he asked.
“Oui, mon fils?” she asked as she sat down on the settee.
“I know you and Pa think the baby is gonna be a girl, but what if it’s a boy?”
“What do you mean, mon fils?”
He was trying to figure out how to be tactful. “Won’t a boy need less…frills?”
“It won’t matter for the first several months. The baby won’t mind.”
“Won’t people talk about a boy in frilly clothes?”
“They won’t notice the clothing. People want to see a baby’s face and hands. Besides, a girl is expected to be dressed in lace.”
“What if the baby is a boy?”
“Your pere is sure the baby is a girl. I also believe so. Why are you sure this child will be a boy?”
“There aren’t many girl Cartwrights.”
“Perhaps this baby will add to the number of Cartwright filles.”
Adam pursed his lips in thought. Marie was hoping Adam would drop the subject. “Can’t you make some non-frilly clothes just in case?”
“What did Hoss wear as a baby?”
“What do you mean nothing?”
“Just a diaper. We kept him wrapped in a blanket. He was a big baby.”
“What did he wear as he got older?”
“For a while, Pa and I put him in feed sacks.” Marie raised a skeptical eyebrow. “We’d cut out the bottom and make some holes for his arms.” At a face from her he added “We didn’t have money for store-bought clothes. So we made do with what we had at hand.”
Ben and Hoss returned from the kitchen before Adam could continue his story of how his brother had been clothed. Hoss was contentedly munching on an apple. It turned out that Hop Sing was going to make stewed apples for supper.
“Sit down, boys” Ben said as he sat on the coffee table opposite Marie. “Let’s discuss a name for the baby.”
“Will we give it a real name and then a regular name?” asked Hoss.
“What do you mean?” asked Marie, confused.
“My real name ain’t Hoss, but everyone calls me that.”
“Uncle Gunnar said we should. Pa said we’d call you both and see which fit. You were so big that Hoss seemed better than Eric.”
“Let’s just stick with one name for the baby for now. We need some girl names.”
“What about boy names?” asked Adam. Marie just looked at him. He seemed so determined to be right.
“Your mother and I believe the baby will be a girl. Let’s concentrate on girl names.”
“Before Hoss came, you said a boy would be named for Grandfather Cartwright. If the baby is a boy, are we gonna call him Joseph?”
“Josephine would make a lovely name” said Marie. “That was the name of Napoleon’s empress.”
“We could call her Josie” said Hoss with a smile.
“I was thinking a girl could be named after my mother” suggested Ben.
“What was her name, mon cher?”
“Anne Cartwright” said Adam thoughtfully. “It’s kinda…bland, isn’t it?”
“What was your mama’s name, Mama?” asked Hoss.
“Her name was Simone.”
“I like Anne better” said Hoss.
“How about Anne Marie?” suggested Ben hopefully.
“Anne Marie Cartwright” said Marie. She smiled and said “It’s very pretty.”
”That’s too girly” complained Adam.
“What’s your suggestion?” asked Ben.
Adam shrugged his shoulders and said “Is Joseph the only boy name you’ve got?”
“My pere’s name was Francois” said Marie as a suggestion.
“France who?” asked Hoss wrinkling his nose.
“You would say Francis” she replied.
“What about Frances if it’s a girl?” asked Adam. “We could call her Frank.”
“Frances Cartwright” said Ben. “What do you think, darling?”
“I think Josephine sounds prettier.”
“Are you quittin’ on Anne Marie?” asked Hoss.
“Not yet” said Ben. “Your mother and I just want to have a few names picked out before the baby arrives. We’ll know which name to choose when we see her face.” He smiled at Marie.
“We have Anne Marie, Josephine, and Frances. Three very pretty names” said Marie.
Adam was surprised that Marie included his girl name suggestion. “Is the only boy name Joseph?” he asked.
“It looks that way” said Ben. “I’m sure this baby is going to be a girl.” “So am I” answered Marie.
“What color is her hair gonna be?” asked Hoss.
“What do you mean?” asked Marie.
“Do we get to pick that too? I think her hair should be yellow, like yours, Mama.”
Marie had to stifle a laugh. “We don’t get to pick the baby’s hair or eye color. God will do that for us.”
“Oh” he answered disappointedly.
“Why don’t you boys go outside and play for a while?” suggested Ben. It was a few hours until supper and he wanted to relax for a while with his wife. The boys went out the door as told.
Ben moved from the coffee table to the settee and put his arm around his wife’s shoulders. She laid her head against his shoulder and sighed. The baby was starting to leave her tired most days. She kept telling herself three more months and she could be pretty again.
“Did you and Adam really dress Hoss in feed sacks?”
“Who told you that?”
“Adam. He said that there was no money for clothes so you dressed Hoss in what you had. Since he was so big, the only thing that would fit was a feed sack.”
Ben chuckled. “When Hoss was an infant, we just kept him in a diaper. When he could walk, Adam made clothes for him with fabric I bought. Like Adam, he wore dresses until diapers were no longer needed.”
Marie laughed in response. Finally getting some breath, she said “Adam is worried about the baby being clothed in dresses. He says people won’t be able to tell if the baby is a boy or girl. I suppose people could see that Adam and Hoss were boys.”
“I’ve never seen Adam quite so determined to have his way about something” said Ben.
“Perhaps he wants to feel as if he has some say in regard to his sibling.”
“He wasn’t this way at all with Inger. I wonder why he is now.”
Lifting her head from her husband’s shoulder, Marie asked “Do you really have to wonder?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, looking into her eyes.
“He wants the opposite of what I want. Perhaps if I said the baby will be a boy, he would say it will be a girl.”
Ben kissed his wife’s forehead and said “We won’t know for sure until the baby comes.” With a hand on her belly, he added “I hope we’ll have a girl.”
She kissed him and said “So do I, mon cher. But I will be just as happy with a boy.”
“So will I, darling.” He kissed her again.
Outside, Adam and Hoss were holding a jumping contest between two toads they found near the water trough. “Why do ya think the baby is gonna be a boy?” asked Hoss.
“Because I’m sure.”
“I’m a boy and you’re a boy. That means Pa always has boys.”
“How do ya know Mama hasn’t decided to have a girl?”
“I told you, Hoss. Look, you and I have different mothers, right?” Hoss nodded his head. “That means Pa somehow decided we would be boys. Besides, Pa has a brother and he has a boy. There aren’t many girl Cartwrights. Understand?”
Hoss thought about that while he held his toad. After several minutes he said “I guess a boy would be okay.”
At supper that evening, Hoss was enjoying a second helping of stewed apples when Marie suddenly hiccupped. She blushed a bright pink, put a hand to her mouth, and said “Excuse me.” Hoss giggled.
“That baby must think I’ve eaten enough” she said.
“Oui, mon fils?”
“Adam and me talked it over and if you don’t wanna have a boy that’ll be okay.”
Marie looked across the table at Ben, who gave a slight shrug and a smile, and said “Merci, mon fils. Your pere and I would like a girl, but we will love a boy just as much.”
“You won’t be mad if it ain’t a girl?”
“No, mon fils. Your pere and I will be happy with the baby God gives us.”
“That’s right, Son. Your Mama and I want a healthy baby.”
“A girl might not be too bad” said Adam. “We could teach her to ride a horse and how to fish.”
“We could even show her how to pick up toads” said Hoss.
Marie and Ben were smiling at each other as Hoss and Adam talked about all of the things they could teach a girl to do. She hoped that Ben would get the princess he wanted. And she loved the idea of a little girl in frilly dresses being doted on by the Cartwright household. All she really wanted was a healthy baby that would grow to adulthood. When she thought of the son she had lost those many years ago, she became quite melancholy. There was so much excitement in regard to this baby and with her loving husband here at her side, she knew everything was going to be all right. Whether the baby was a boy or a girl.
Ben raised his glass and said “To Anne Marie, Josephine, or Frances Cartwright.” He and Marie then drank from their glasses while Adam and Hoss clinked theirs together. Marie then said “To Joseph Cartwright.” The boys’ glasses clinked together again. “To the newest Cartwright” said Adam. This was followed by clinking glasses. “To whatever God give us” said Hoss. Ben replied “Amen!” and both Marie and Adam laughed as glasses were clinked together.
Marie knew this child was coming into a house filled with love, which lifted her heart. The newest Cartwright was most likely to be spoiled rotten by parents and siblings alike. And she knew that Adam would adore this child regardless of how he felt about her. Maybe she could make a few non-frilly dresses, just in case this was a boy.
Another loud hiccup brought her out of her thoughts. Marie joined in the laughter as she poured another glass of water. Petite Anne Marie certainly knew how to get attention already, she thought as she sipped some water.
Next Story in The Battle of Wills Series:
Other Stories by this Author
- A New Pattern (by Patina)
- Big Brother Lessons (by Patina)
- A Gift Horse (by Patina)
- A Room Full of Memories (by Patina)
- Love’s Labor (by Patina)