Circumstance of Birth
by Keeter

The year was 1776. The war with America was drawing to a close and England
was busy licking its wounds.

The night was fierce. Cold winds swept across the land, bringing torrential
rains. Lightning flashed as two dark figures made their way up the road.
The mud was ankle deep, but eventually they reached their destination; a
stately manor house, just over the border into Scotland. They sloshed up
the steps and went inside. Inside was in more turmoil than out. Servants
were running all over, some giving orders, some receiving. Just then, a
large, well-dressed man came down the stairs. "I,ve brought the doctor
sir, one of the figures said. The man nodded and led the doctor up the
stairs. As they reached the top, a blood-curdling scream was heard. Both
men rushed to the room at the end of the hall. A servant looked up as they
entered. "T,won,t be long now, she said in a thick Scottish burr. The
doctor hurried over to the bed and took a peak under the covers. "When did
the pains start? he asked. "An hour or so ago, the other man replied.
"You, the doctor pointed to the servant, "I,ll need boiling water and more
blankets. Quickly now. He looked up at the big man standing next to him.
"This baby is coming fast Lord Kennedy.

On this same night, not far from Plymouth, another household was in an
uproar. Another doctor hard at work. "I know you are tired my love, but
you must try, he said gently to his patient. She shook her head. "I
can,tII,m so tired The doctor laid his hand on her brow. "You must
Louisa, you must. She nodded her head, took a deep breath, and bore down
again. Louisa gave it her all and just as another clap of thunder was
heard, so was a tiny cry. That tiny cry grew into a healthy wail as Dr.
Hornblower cleaned the baby up. "It,s a boy Louisa! he said through tears
of happiness, "A beautiful, healthy baby boy. He wrapped the little one
and laid him over his mother,s breast. "Louisa, I,d like you to meet
Horatio Nicholas Hornblower. Your son! Louisa looked down at the tiny
face looking back at her. Dr. Hornblower cleaned the area up a little and
then sat on the bed with his family.

But far to the north, things were not so calm. The baby indeed was coming
fast but as the doctor examined his patient, he noticed something wasn,t
right. "STOP! he shouted, "Don,t push Bridgid! What ever you do, don,t
push yet! Lord Kennedy looked panicked, "Doctor? "The cord is being
pinched against the baby,s head. I think it might be wrapped around the
baby,s neck. Just then, the servant came with the water and blankets.
"Here, the doctor said, "Pour this over my hands and then dry them with a
blanket. The doctor handed the servant a bottle and soon the room reeked
of vinegar. "What are you doing? Lord Kennedy asked. "I have to try to
get that cord from around its neck or the baby will surely die. The doctor
tried his best to maneuver the baby but he couldn,t dislodge the cord. "We
have to get that baby out now. Bridgid push with all your might love. And
push she did, until the baby was delivered. The cord was indeed wrapped
around the baby,s neck, and tightly. The doctor removed the cord and patted
the baby on the bottom but the baby wasn,t breathing. The doctor began
rubbing the baby,s back and chest vigorously. "Come on little one, give us
a cry. Give me a warm blanket! He wrapped the baby up, still rubbing.
Suddenly, a tiny sound was heard. "That,s it. Come on, come on. A few
more shuddering breaths and then a hearty cry was heard. The doctor handed
the baby to Bridgid with a weary smile on his face. "It,s a boy, Lady
Kennedy. "Is he alright? Bridgid asked. "Well, we,ll watch him for the
next month or so but I think he,ll be fine. The doctor took the baby and
listened to his chest. "Here, he said handing him back to Bridgid, "Put
your ear to his chest. That,s what it should sound like. Check him every
day and don,t hesitate to call on me if you have any concerns. "Thank you
doctor, Bridgid said holding the baby close, "We can never thank you
enough. Lord Kennedy looked at the doctor. "I think there may be a way to
thank you after all. Dr. McManus, what is your Christian name? The doctor
blushed a bit. "Archer, m,Lord. "Then that shall be his name, Bridgid
said, "Archer Kennedy. "Archer William Kennedy, Lord Kennedy
interjected. Bridgid held little Archie tightly, softly singing to him as
Lord Kennedy walked Dr. McManus down stairs to the door.


Little did the world know that on this day, November the 14th, 1776, two
babies were born who would grow to become two fine young officers and help
shape this world into a better place.

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