A mining camp in Kentucky. February 1, 1937.
Early in her first pregnancy, Margaret had a vision of delivering conjoined twins that were attached at the vocal cords. However, the midwives in the mining camp thought it unlikely that she carried more than one quite normal fetus.
Thus, on the bitter February morning when Margaret at last gives birth to that lone child, she is sore disappointed, and like Barbara Allen, she turns her face to the wall.
“But, Margaret, it is a man-child of rare beauty!” The midwife-in-charge carefully dries the newly washed infant, whose bright blue eyes peer up at her from under thick black lashes. The left eye winks, and the smiling wet lips whisper the words, “Morning, Darlin’.”
Open-mouthed, the midwife stares down at the beautiful baby, mesmerized by the perfect face with its dimpled chin and retroussé nose. Dozens of adolescent females, as well as scores of women of greater age, push their way into the room, falling to their knees and stretching out their hands to touch the infant’s dark cascading curls.
Simultaneously, a half-dozen wenches tear open their blouses and rip off their brassieres. “We are volunteer wet nurses!” they proclaim in unison.
“Get back, you harlots!” shouts the midwife.
But the man-child smiles broadly and says, “Hire ’em all, Honey. Little Donnie’s hungry.”