The question of suitable names had occupied us for months. I say "us," because I saw no reason why I should not offer a suggestion or two. (There is nothing wrong with making suggestions so long as the persons to whom they are offered are not obliged to accept them.) Not until the end of her pregnancy did I begin to suspect Nefret was carrying twins, but since we had already settled on names for a male or a female child, it worked out quite nicely. There was no debate about David John; no one quarreled with Ramses's desire to name his son after his best friend and his cousin who had died in France in 1915.
A girl's name was not so easy to find. Emerson declared (quite without malice, I am sure) that between our niece and myself there were already enough Amelias in the family. It was with some hesitation that I mentioned that my mother's name had been Charlotte, and I was secretly pleased when Nefret approved.
"It is such a nice, ordinary name," she said.
"Unlike Nefret," said her husband.
"Or Ramses." She chuckled and patted his cheek. "Not that you could ever be anything else."
Charla, as we called her, had the same curly black hair and dark eyes as her father. Her brother Davy, now perched on his mother's knee, was fair, with Nefret's blue eyes and Ramses's prominent nose and chin. They did not resemble each other except in height, and in their linguistic eccentricity. Davy was more easygoing than his sister, but he had a well-nigh supernatural ability to disappear from one spot and materialize in another some distance away. The bars had been installed in all the rooms they were wont to inhabit, including the veranda, where we now sat waiting for Fatima to serve tea ...
The foregoing is excerpted from Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.
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