“Oh no.” Angela’s musical voice is suddenly stricken. “Margaret, I didn’t mean – Margaret, he doesn’t love me, and I don’t love him. But our fathers arranged this, and I cannot say no.”

Hope spears Margaret, as sharply as grief had a moment earlier. “Why can you not say no?”

Angela sighs. “You know that my father is not well. He won’t be able to keep the shop much longer. He wants me married this summer, while he can still provide for me. While I still have a dowry.”

Margaret is silent, thinking.

“If I asked you not to marry him, would you do that for me? For our friendship? I would help you as much as I can.”

Angela is silent for a long moment. “Margaret, you are my friend. I would help you if I could. But… I don’t have any other offers. I don’t love Baptiste, but at least I know he is kind. The next suitor might not be – if there even is another. And you are forgetting – Baptiste’s father will not permit your marriage in any case. If you cannot marry him, then why should I not do so? I will be a good wife to him, you know.”

Margaret cannot think of a reply to this. She bites her lip. Angela’s hand covers hers.

“Please do not be angry with me. But I have to tell you one more thing, which is true: Baptiste has not asked after you once since he returned. I believe that you love him, but are you sure that he loves you?”

Margaret cannot help it – she bursts into tears. Angela hesitates, then puts her arm around her. She smells of orange blossoms.

Are you quite sure you want to marry Baptiste?

Of course! There has obviously been a terrible misunderstanding, but I’m sure he loves me!

Yeah, this isn’t looking good, is it? I think I might give it a miss.

[This is way too rational. I want drama! Take me back!]

[Take me back to the start]


Michel-Ange – Auteuil fleur9left Jasmin fleur9right Ranelagh

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