Margaret knocks on Baptiste’s window a little after dawn. Her heart is beating so fast that she feels feverish. Soon she will hear his voice again.

It is too early for anyone to be awake yet, especially after last night’s celebrations. Margaret taps on the window again, a little harder this time. The shutters creak open.


There is incredulity in the whisper. Margaret closes her eyes. It is Baptiste, at last.

“Yes, love. It is I. Will you not come out to me?”

“Are you a ghost?”

Margaret feels a small pulse of irritation. “No, Baptiste. I am a living woman, and your betrothed. Please, come out to me.”

There is a long pause. She can hear his breath coming quickly. She does not know what he is thinking.

“… Alright,” he says, at last. The window shutter closes. Margaret waits.

The touch on her shoulder makes her jump. With a little cry of joy, Margaret casts herself into Baptiste’s arms. They come around her slowly, uncertainly. He smells of woodsmoke.

“My love! I have missed you so much! Why did you not write?”

Baptiste’s voice is still uncertain. “Because… you could not have read my letters?”

Not an imaginative man, her Baptiste. But then, he never was. Margaret smiles up at him, fondly. “No, but Paul can. Jane can. My friends can. Your letters could have been read to me, and I would have known you still loved me.”

Baptiste is silent. Margaret feels suddenly breathless. “You do still love me, don’t you?” she asks.

She feels his sigh more than hears it, and his arms come around her fully at last. She clasps him more tightly against her, breathing in his scent. “Oh Margaret. Yes. Of course I love you. I just couldn’t believe you were really here. I was told you were dead.”

Margaret feels suddenly chilled. “Who told you that?”

“My father. He wrote to me, and told me you were gone, and so I thought I might as well come back and marry where I was told.” She feels him shrug. “I couldn’t think of anything else to do.”

Margaret hugs him more tightly. “I understand. You must have been so very upset.” She smiles up at him. “I forgive you, of course. And now, you are back and I am alive, and ready to be your wife.”

Baptiste’s arms drop away from her, and she feels suddenly cold.

“I am promised to Angela,” he says. There is something else in his voice, and Margaret cannot tell what it is. Her heart begins to beat faster.

“You were promised to me first,” she reminds him.

Baptiste is silent.

Are you really sure you want to marry Baptiste?

Yes! He is my own true love and I am his!

I really don’t like this silence. There’s something wrong here.

[This was a bad idea. Take me back!]

[Take me back to the start]


Michel-Ange – Auteuil fleur9left Jasmin fleur9right Ranelagh

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