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by Anne McCaffrey
p.129 "She's birthing," with such authority that I had to smother a snicker.
Kindly, none of the men insulted him by looking. But we all heard the mare sink to the deep straw bedding. How clever of animals to improve on humans in this activity. We heard several grunts from the mare, no screams or long ululating cries, no weeping and complaining about her lot, or cursing the man who brought her to this condition.
p.166 He came to me every night, kind and thorough, until the morning when we both knew I had not yet conceived. I cannot tell you how relieved I was, that feeling overpowering any sense of failure that I had not immediately conceived for him, for it meant he must live another month at least. I would have that much more of his company to remember. I could no longer deny to myself that Alessan had always been important to me from the moment he had married my dear Suriana, just as Ruatha had been the haven denied me first by the circumstance of her death, and then by my parents' arbitrary decision at Gathertime. Now he was vital to my heart and soul in a way that I never could have anticipated in the wildest flight of fancy. I treasured every casual touch; sometimes, in the night, I would feel his questing hand, as if to reassure his sleeping self that I was still there. I cherished each word he spoke of approval for my management, my suggestions. I stored them up, as others might hoard marks or harvests, to strengthen me in the famine of his absence.