Mary Darling

A foundling infant mysteriously left on a doorstep.

Appears in Wicked IntentionsNotorious Pleasures, and Scandalous Desires

* * *

Silence Hollingbrook got up and padded to the door, cracking it only slightly because she was still in her chemise. No one was there—or so she thought until she heard the sound again and looked down. A baby lay at her feet in a basket, like Moses only without the rushes. She frowned at it and he frowned back, stuffing a fat fist into his mouth and growing rather red in the face. She didn’t know much about babies, but she did know when one was about to bawl.

Hastily she bent, scooped up the basket, and closed the door behind her. She set the basket on the table and lifted out the baby, inspecting him—or rather her, as it turned out. The baby was dressed in a gown and stays and was quite pretty, with dark eyes and a wispy curl of dark hair peeking from her cap.

“I don’t receive visitors before two of the afternoon,” Silence muttered to the little girl, but the baby simply waved a fist, nearly catching her in the nose.

Silence looked in the basket and found a silver locket in the shaped of a heart. 

“Is this yours?” she asked the babe as she opened it awkwardly with one hand. Inside was a slip of paper with the word darling written on it. That was all. She searched the basket, even taking out and shaking the blanket the baby had lain on, but there were no more clues to the baby’s identity.

“Why would someone leave a baby on my doorstep?” she wondered aloud as the baby gummed its fist. The child seemed happy enough now that Silence was holding her. Perhaps the unfortunate mother knew of her connection to the foundling home?

“Well, then I’d best take you to Winter,” Silence said with decision. Suddenly she had a reason to get up this morning. She felt almost excited. “And since I found you, it seems only right that I be the one to name you.”

The baby raised her eyebrows as if in query.

Silence smiled at her. “Mary Darling.”

–from Notorious Pleasures