My Notorious Life By Madame X

My Notorious Life By Madame X

Kate Manning

Language: English

Pages: 357

ISBN: 1408835657

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

‘In the end, they celebrated. They bragged.

They got me finally, was their feeling.

They said I would take my secrets to the grave.

They should be so lucky.’

Axie Muldoon, the headstrong daughter of Irish immigrants, forced to beg for pennies as a child on the brutal streets on New York City, grows up to become the most successful – and controversial – midwife of her time.

‘Saved’ from poverty by a well-meaning philanthropist, Axie is sent West with her younger brother and sister. But the kindness of strangers is short-lived and soon Axie returns to the city of her birth, alone, but determined to one day reunite her family.

When she is taken in by a Manhattan doctor Axie learns the craft that she will live by – and later fight for. She rises from the gutter to the glitter of Fifth Avenue high society, and discovers that the right way is not always the way of the church or the law, and that you should never trust a man who says ‘trust me.’ But what if that man is an irresistible risk-taker with a poetical Irish soul?

As Axie’s reputation grows she finds herself on a collision course with the crusading official who would be the righteous instrument of her downfall. It will take all of her power to outwit him and save both herself and those she loves from ruin.

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Charnel House of Shame. Liberty Street Scandal! Full of foreboding I paid him a nickel and took Belle by the hand. —We live on Liberty Street, isn’t that so, Mam? she said, trotting along beside me, looking up, ready for a talk. How we loved to talk, us two. That child was an Axie like her mam. Nothing was ever so much fun for me as to tell her things and see what question she’d manufacture next. Now, though, I did not answer her chatter, when she asked What is a Charnel House? but stopped

a steam train. Mrs. Eliot VanDerWeil, the card said. —She’s very grand, said Maggie. —She insists and insists. The room fell away, and Maggie’s voice was a garble beneath the roar in my ears. Mrs. Eliot VanDerWeil. —Are you all right, Madame? You are quite pale. —Send her in, I said, so weak. —Yes ma’am. My heart was clutched by a fist in my chest. My hands were lost things patting the air, smoothing the sides of my skirt, touching at my face to see was it real? The air was sharp and

down the front of my dress. I shrieked. He clapped his hand over my mouth. —Shush. A snail track of cold traveled along my sternum southward. —Oh Lord. —Shh. Be quiet. Now I placed a sliver of ice on the back of Charlie’s neck. —Ah, Mother of God, he said, his shoulders hunched up to his ears. He took another bit of ice and ran it up and down the skin of my arm till I shrieked but quietly so he stopped my mouth and sank me down to the floor where we traveled ice along the pathways and lanes

in the hallway, such as you: they don’t die. They’ve got doctors. Medicines. Elixirs. Doodads. All the finest remedies and SCIENCE. Likewise, so do you. You’re not living in Cherry Street now, do you hear me? Or ever again. It would be nice to believe the picture, what he said. The family with stables and bank accounts. The elixirs and the pomades and the doodads. It was all I wanted but I didn’t trust it was real. None of it. —Not possible, I said. —You wouldn’t trust the sun to shine or the

live here in no Asylum. So come out to the prairie alla ya, for a happier day! —Hip hip hooray, the orphans cheered, deluded by talk of the West. That night the matrons gave us each a Bible and a cardboard suitcase. They handed around charity trousers for the boys, dresses for the girls. Dutch tried on her new skirt and twirled herself dizzy whilst I chewed my fingers down to the nerves. —Sleep now, youngsters, said Mrs. R. —Tomorrow you’ll be away on the train. But I did not sleep. In the

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