Kitty

Kitty is the eldest of Mama Wag’s ten children, and as such was responsible for children from a young age. Now grown, she has children of her own to look after while her husband seeks a fortune in Australia. She has a strong maternal instinct but death is a common visitor to childbearing women and children amongst her neighbourhood, where money is scarce and malnutrition and disease rife. Survival is tough and it can, and does, make a cold and cruel heart.

 

Kitty always had a bright and inquisitive mind but, as a woman with no schooling and very little money, had very little prospects. As a child she dreamed of becoming a doctor and helping fend off death but everyone knows women can’t be doctors.

 

Kitty instead has tried to help her fellow childbearing women and the children as much as she can. She has watched and learned what she can from travelling healers and quack doctors who have treated the poor mothers and children. She turned her hand to midwifery, helping mothers at their most vulnerable, but success is low and this quickly led Kitty to the darker side of motherhood.

 

She soon found she had more of a need and reputation as an abortionist, helping women who find themselves in an ‘unfortunate situation’. Secretly, women of all social classes and for many reasons, come to her looking for a potion or two to prevent new life growing and quickening.

gallery/28

Never to turn a job down, Kitty will often have 6 or more young children and babies to look after and to the stranger looking in, the children in Kitty's care will often be sleeping and look content. Word has it that this is down to Kitty's kind tender nature, though those at the pharmacy know that it is more likely due to the calming effects of 'Godfrey’s Tonic’, an opium based medicine, that keep children pacified and in want for nothing for hours, including food & milk.

 

Kitty is resourceful and will look for income wherever she can find it. When breast feeding her own babies she will wet nurse other babies for a small fee. Most wealthy families expect a wet nurse with a better social standing, but her own fat and healthy babies assure them of the good quality of her milk and indeed it's true, though keeping them off  the "harmless" miracle drug ‘Godfrey’s tonic’ seems to better their appearance and their chances of survival too.