I am now in my sixth week, and Cynla can no longer encircle my waist with her two hands. Other people are also noticing that my body is changing, which pleases me a lot. I don't have to hide it this time, so if I forget to eat it's just because I'm too busy, not because I'm trying desperately to stay thin!
On Mizrein hanre, I started working in Erne's practice. This is very satisfying, but also very hard work, although today was a bit quiet. I don't think I will ever really understand the girls and women. Sometimes one visits me, like Hinla with the overstretched back muscle, who tells me she had a really nice time last night, look, her customer had even bitten her in her buttocks! If it isn't good and fun, they don't do that, apparently...
And then there's Serla, who was beaten up by a customer, not for fun, but because he got angry because he was unable to do his duty to her! I helped ease her bruises, and she drew a portrait of the man, so life-like that I sent her to Master Jilan, not because he takes apprentices, but so someone who knows about these things could tell her that she's really good.
She visited us tonight, and drew me naked -- this is not improper because only women were present. I intend to give her four shillings for the drawing and to ask her to draw me again in a week or two, until the child is born. That way Aidan can see my body changing, too, when he comes back.
Serla has been drawing all evening: me, and Leva, and Halla and the cats... I wonder why she doesn't try to make a living out of it. Maybe when Shab Hafte comes here for Timoine, he'll be able to take her as his apprentice. Serla stayed the night, as did Halla.
Halla is severely malnourished. She worked in Faran's brothel, about which later, when I make notes about money. She needs to eat a little, and very often, so I made her stay in the hospital, but since she isn't really sick and is a nice person to have around, very helpful, she stays the evenings and nights with us.
Tomorrow, I'll have to close the practice, because it's the day to swap with Kancho, and it wouldn't do to have Kancho work in Erne's practice, of course. I've got Sedi, another of Faran's whores, who was too filthy for words, but is gifted and her master is the baker who works near the Kissing Bridge, to warn me if there is anything I need to come for.
Sedi was so filthy, in fact, that I had to wash her and cut off all her hair. She wasn't sure whether she would get customers that way, so I painted hair on her bald head with henna. And the next day I had a dozen girls who wanted the same treatment! Apparently men find this exciting. I doubt Aidan would want me to cut off my hair! Anyway, I refused, of course, I think I had gone too far with Sedi already. (Although Raisse says she wants to relieve me of her strict injunction not to teach anyone the proper way of making oneself lovely.)
Also in Faran's brothel, there's Ruzyn. She is about thirty years old and used to work in another brothel, but had to leave when she turned twenty or something like that. She says she only has to do the lie-on-your-back type of work nowadays, but that she used to specialize in customers who wanted all sorts of games. I have offered her to help her buy out Faran, so she can make Faran's house a clean and healthy place where the women get enough to eat and earn enough, and it looks as if she's interested. She was writing to her ex-husband to visit her and advise her. She has two sons, apprenticed to a butcher and a baker, so she never lacks bread and sausage.
I am not going to own a share: that would not be proper at all for a princess and a doctor. But I can lend her the money to get started, about 200 riders should be enough.
The weavery turns out to be in a very bad state. Except for the floor boards, everything is useless. The windows, doors, roof -- and if we want to put a new roof on it, the town demands stone walls, too.
There were just three looms, all three in a very bad state. Also, there was a big paper nest formerly inhabited by wasps which I burned in the grate. Setting fire to the nest impressed Ruyin and Jeran a lot!
In the cellar we found another set of books, and we took that to the temple, too, where they were very interested.
I did negotiate very well: I have got the building and the grounds
for forty riders, minus the cost of tearing down the building, so I
might actually get money out of it. The tearing down has started
For the guild membership, forty riders. And Jeran and Ruyin will have to show their mastership's letters.
For the rebuilding, about two hundred riders.
For the buying of four to six looms, between sixty and eighty riders a loom, making between two hundred forty and four hundred riders.
Total investment, not counting salary (which I should start paying now, since Jeran is to Veray to buy looms, and also to visit Ebru and inquire about Khastane's son), between 500 and 640 riders. No wonder people seldom start a new enterprise!
I have also, finally, ordered new shoes! There was some beautiful bright red leather, and I have asked Rovan to make me shoes just like I have, but red. I went there with Leva because we were on our way to the poor quarter, and she bought shoes, too. This was on Hanre Nafur. It was very nice to speak to my friends down-town again, I had bought Síthi samosas for all the children. Nobody was very ill, only the usual things, except for one man who needed the copper salve.
I also got seven shillings apprentice's pay. I will get this every week, which means four riders a year. Apparently I am also entitled to eat in the hospital. Leva said that I should earn more than my maid, but I am giving Arvi eight shillings a week, she is worth it, if only because she is never surprised by guests and keeps my bed linen spotless, no matter how many girls, children and cats sleep in my bed!
I am noting down the cases in Erne's practice in Erne's practice book, so I will not repeat them here, only when there's something new for me to learn about.
Early in the morning of Timoinei hanre, Lyse called me to come with her to the Síthi quarter. A Síthi midwife had called for Lyse to come because she had trouble with a birthing, and Lyse wanted me to come because I speak Síthi and know what to do.
The case was very interesting: the baby was coming out feet-first, or rather, it wasn't because the womb was blocked by the placenta. I have very small hands, so I could go inside the woman and pick out the placenta. A good thing I don't have long nails anymore! Then Lyse took the baby by the feet and guided it out. It was a boy, quite big, too. The mother had plenty of milk.
The poor woman had torn a bit, though, and even her womb was wounded, so after the birth I had to heal her inside and outside. I think I should be allowed to be proud of myself because when I visited the mother today to bring her the silver bracelet for her boy, she told me she was so surprised: she was still bleeding a little, but nothing extraordinary and she could stand, walk and piss without any difficulty.
I am so proud of the midwife Bashi, that she decided to swallow her pride and call us. She wants to learn the Valdyan way of doing things, and I am sure she has plenty to teach us, too. Tomorrow, when I am in the neighbourhood because I will work with doctor Jeran, I will call upon her and ask her to consider becoming member of the Doctors' and Midwives' Guild.
I later asked Lyse what we would have done had the placenta proved immovable or if the umbilical cord had been wrapped around the baby's neck. She told me we would have had to cut through the belly to get the baby out, but that that means losing the mother nine times out of ten. Doing nothing will lose both, though, which is worse.
Perhaps not the right heading. In any case, the Temple of Naigha is delayed in making copies of my herbary, since the High Priestess is dying. She will very likely be succeeded by Senthi, but for now, all is chaos. I have taken my book back with me because I am lost without it, it contains everything that isn't in my notebooks. And Erne's herbary contains so many recipes I am sure that don't work that I don't want to rely on it for things I don't know about.