The story so far: On Cordelia’s first day at the St Justus Home she has had her first experience of feeding the headless orphans porridge through a funnel. But disaster strikes when, as Cordelia is feeding her, little Jemima falls to the floor and appears to be choking to death….
Cordelia was petrified, frozen to the spot, as little Jemima thrashed about on the floor, her little body, starved of precious oxygen, turning bluer by the second. Suddenly the door burst open and in strode Matron Blessed. Taking the situation in in an instant, she kneeled astride the little girl, and clasping her hands together, pounded down on her chest, one, two, three times. On the third strike, a lump of porridge was expelled from the top of the child’s neck. It splattered against the skirting board as her skin began to gradually return to its normal colour.
Sister Odium was the first to speak. “Ohh Matron, well done” she gushed “I was about to do the same, but wasn’t quick enough, I had a funnel full of porridge in little William’s neck here, and daren’t leave him unattended. I had told that girl that she must ensure that the porridge is completely smooth and lump free, before blowing it down the little darling’s necks.”
The colour rose to Cordelia’s cheeks. The Matron had told her no such thing, and it was the Matron who had prepared the porridge! Her mouth opened and closed, but she could think of nothing to say.
“Come here, you poor child” Sister Odium said as she picked up little Jemima and held her close. “Don’t you worry about clumsy Cordelia, I shall feed you myself.”
Jemima struggled and pulled herself away from the overbearing Matron and ran to Cordelia, holding on to her leg and bowing the top of her neck slightly.
“Perhaps,” Matron Blessed interjected, “perhaps you had better let Cordelia try again, and this time supervise her, as she is new and inexperienced.”
“As you wish Matron”
As Matron left, Sister Odium’s expression changed to a sneer. “You ought to be more careful” she snarled, “you might have killed little Jemima here”
Then she took Cordelia’s ear between her forefinger and thumb and pulled it to her mouth. “And if you ever so much as think about mentioning to the Matron that I cooked that porridge, or that I didn’t explain to you about the lumps, I shall make it my business to make your life a misery my girl. Do we understand one another?”
Cordelia nodded, her heart racing, as the Sister jammed the funnel into Jemima’s neck and spooned porridge into it from the first metal bowl. The one that she, not Cordelia, had been using.
“Make yourself useful girl” the older woman leered.” Stir the lumps out of that other bowl, will you.”
Cordelia did as she was told. But as she did so, she couldn’t prevent one or two salty tears falling into the porridge.
How will Cordelia Cope with the wicked Sister Odium? Will she persevere at St Justus for the love of the orphans, or flee forever? Read the next thrilling episode tomorrow!