Character Interview: Clare Dupres (age 14)
Today, I am interviewing the heroine of Midwife of Normandy. The year is 1668.
Bonjour, Mademoiselle. Would you mind answering a few questions?
Maman will scold me if she finds out I am not studying my midwifery lessons. But if I stand out here by my front gate, I might see Pierre whilst I speak with you. (She looks up and down the dirt road) He comes here for lessons with Papa.
Where is your mother? Perhaps I should ask her permission for this interview.
She has gone off to a birthing. I begged to go with her, but she says I am not ready because I am careless with the herbs she carries in her bag. To be sure, learning the Latin terms is a tiresome business. She will probably return with a chicken or two, payment for her services. When I become a midwife, chickens will not be enough for me. Maman says I have an unchristian attitude, not befitting our Huguenot faith. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a dirt-floor cottage like this. I intend to be fabulously rich.
I doubt Midwives earn much. What will you do differently, Mademoiselle Clare?
I shall limit my services to wealthy women—nobility, upper gentry. They have the means to reward me handsomely, considering I will be the only midwife in Normandy (after Maman retires) who has the magic elixir for a pain-free birth. It is a secret formula passed down from my ancestors and it can never be written down. (Clare smiles) Oh, excuse me. I must go back into our cottage and finish studying Culpepper’s Complete Herbal. Check back with me in a few years. By then I will have jewels and gold aplenty and live in a beautiful maison with many servants and my handsome Pierre. He is my cousin, in case you did not know. Au revoir, Madame. What did you say your name was?
My name is Carole Penfield. I am the author who is writing a novel about your life.
Indeed? Well do not forget to include Pierre. (Clare twirls around and skips back to her house)