Study Guide

Jacob Have I Loved Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

  • Being married to a Catholic isn't so bad, and Louise is happy that her parents are able to attend her wedding and meet her husband, especially since her father dies later that same year.
  • Caroline calls hysterically when their father dies, but Louise knows she can't go to the funeral. She's nine months pregnant, and it would be silly to travel that far and risk her health and the baby's.
  • Pretty soon, Louise's mother will come to live with them, but until then, Louise and her family are making do. She has a baby boy that they name Truitt after her father, though everyone in Truitt is sure he's named after the town.
  • One night, Louise is caring for a woman about to give birth to twins. The first one is born and he's pretty healthy, but the second twin—a girl—is struggling.
  • The baby is practically blue, but Louise has no incubator, so she sets the baby in an iron pot filled with blankets next to the warmth of the stove.
  • The baby's father thinks she might die and wants to go grab the priest to have her baptized. Louise knows she's going to live, though. On her own, she baptizes the baby with the name Essie Susan. The family can always change the name later, she thinks, but Susan seems like a saint's name.
  • After Louise is able to nurse the tiny, struggling baby to safety, she realizes she forgot all about the firstborn twin.
  • She asks the baby's grandmother where he is, and she says he's sleeping in a basket.
  • Louise tells the family to hold him as much as they can and to baptize him, too.
  • Since Louise has been breastfeeding her own baby at home, she starts to feed little Essie herself while the older twin's mother feeds him.
  • As Louise is walking home that night in the snow, she suddenly hears her sister's voice singing beautifully in her memories.
  • It looks like she finally forgives Caroline.

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