Once upon a time Magdalene gave birth to a baby boy and the town rejoiced. Well, that is how it was supposed to go. But Magdalene Harrison did not get her happy ending as she had wished. You see.... or should I say it all started? It all started when Magdalene was born, I guess. Her father was a Harrison, of the Biloxi Harrisons. Of course it was originally Harris but Franklin Harris, Magdalene's great grandfather, didn't think it sounded dignified enough. Poor Miss Magdalene must of sent him rolling his grave. Anyway, her father was Richard Montgomery Harrison of Biloxi, Mississippi and her mother was Victoria Pershing. I believe Victoria once told me her father was a General, but he never came around.
The day Magdalene was born was a good one. Richard and Victoria had been trying to have a baby for nearly six years. So the only thing that could have made that day better is if that baby had been a boy. But when Victoria was handed that baby, all wrapped up in one of her best linen, she couldn't have been happier. Richard took it all in stride. I assume it was because he knew now that Victoria could have children. For awhile there were whispers around that she couldn't and that Richard had married wrong. So a daughter didn't come out bad in the end.
Magdalene was given her grandmother's name on her father's side. She was Magdalene Virginia Pershing Harrison and the name fit her well. She was born with hair the color of a chestnut horse, rich and brown-red, eyes the color of autumn oak leaves. By the time she was walking her hair hung to her shoulders in bright little ringlets. She made her momma proud.
When Magdalene was four her mother gave her a sister, Margaret. Richard blamed Victoria for birthing another girl and the distance grew. But Miss Magdalene dressed her up like a doll and pushed her around in her pram. Margaret nearly died of exposure when Magdalene pushed her out the door and her momma couldn't find her. If it wouldn't have been for a surprise visit from the neighbor that baby wouldn't have made it.
Victoria gave birth to a set of twins, a boy and a girl, only a year later. Richard promptly named the boy after himself. Victoria called the baby girl Olivia. Olivia was born small and she stayed that way. Those twins marked the end of Victoria's baby birthing days. After they came along you'd have to look good and hard to find Victoria and Richard closer than I could spit. Some people gossiped that Victoria became depressed after the twins were born. But I knew that Victoria loved them babies and the real reason was because she had caught Richard doing something unspeakable.
Magdalene grew up with very little attention from her parents. Truth speaking, the only person who paid her real mind was the horse-master. Richard raised carriage horses along his plantation. Well bred, high headed and quick stepping horses that pulled dignitaries to balls and what not. Magdalene spent most of her days brushing the horses. Her mother hated her eldest spending time with horses instead of practicing her needle work. Her father ignored everything that didn't have to do with his business or his son.
When Magdalene was thirteen a mare went into foal. Magdalene had snuck out of her window and down the side of the veranda to stay and watch. The mare gave birth to a colt. On his face sat the marking of a bird in flight. For Magdalene it was love at first sight. For the foal just wanted to suckle.