Away, with a hop and a jump, went Paul,
And, as he whistled along the hall,
Entered Jane, the crippled crone.

“Holy Virgin! what dreadful heat!
I am faint, and weary, and out of breath!
But thou art cold,—art chill as death;
My little friend! what ails thee, sweet?”

Margaret has held it together quite well in front of her brother, but Jane’s tone of voice is too kind, and before she quite realises what she is doing, she is kneeling on the floor beside Jane’s chair, weeping into her lap.

Jane pats her hair kindly. “There, there, child. I see you’ve already heard. A terrible thing, but with his father and Angela’s pushing it, what was he going to do? I did give the two of them a piece of my mind, though, for your sake.”

Margaret laughs a little through her tears. “Did you prophesy for them, dear Jane?”

She could hear Jane’s smile in her voice. “That I did, my love, and a grim prophecy it was indeed. Miss Angela looked quite stricken when I was done with her.”

Margaret swallows. “And Baptiste?”

“Barely said a word, and white as a sheet, that young man.” Jane’s voice grew stern. “I do think you could have fallen for a man of stronger character, my dear.”

Forgetting her grief for a moment, Margaret lifts her chin. “My Baptiste is a kind and gentle man. You must not insult him so!”

One of Jane’s bony hands finds Margaret’s and squeezes it. “Now, then, daughter. It is no insult to speak the truth. Young Baptiste is indeed kind and gentle, and sweet and loving too, if you’d have it so. But it is that very sweetness and gentleness that makes him so apt to be ruled by his father and pushed away from you and into the arms of Angela. He is a good man, but not a strong one. If you will love him, you must expect that, and that he will be ruled by anyone of stronger will.”

Margaret would like to argue with this statement, but there is a little too much truth in it.

She sighs. “You are not entirely wrong,” she allows. “I think…

“I need to talk to Baptiste”

“I need to talk to Angela.”

“I knew when he disappeared for a year without a word, and then didn’t even tell me when he came back, that he would never marry me.“

[This story is not angsty enough. Take me back!]

[Take me back to the start]


Michel-Ange – Auteuil fleur9left Jasmin fleur9right Ranelagh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *