So, here I sit in the Manor, toasting my toes by the fireside and illicitely reading ‘Clarissa’ when I should be perusing my Bible, it being Sunday.
Still worse, I have been thinking improper thoughts about wishing for romance and aventure with a man who will make me tingle as Lord Ynyr, though so delightful, handsome, and in every way agreeable ( besides being so much my social superior that my even aspiring to think of him as a prospective marriage partner is an impertinence in itself).
On top of everything else, I have been thinking of Kenrick, quite uncharitable thoughts about how repuslive I find him, and how dreadful it was to find him by my bed.
So, I turn my thoughts to the village children’s Christmas party. Lord Ynyr always holds one for his tenants, and although present giving properly belongs to St Nicholas’ Day I have been making a small present for each of them. I hope I have made enough dolls for the girls…
And here is Agnes, I know her brisk footsteps well, bustling in to poke up the fire and accouncing that ‘They will be here in a fortnight.’
“What, Agnes?” For I am still thinking of the dolls.
“The young men from abroad, of course. The dark one and the fair one. They will be here in a sennight. ”
I tease her, “Why, Agnes, I have been quite taken in. You said that we should each of us have an admirer when first I came here six months since, and they are still not here. Such laggardly dispatch is far from encouraging. By the time they arrive, we will all of us have grey hair and the rheumatics.’
But she is not to be drawn; “They will be here in days. ” She gives me a thoughtful look. “It’s only fair to warn you, though, miss, that they are both of them rascals.”
I am shocked. “Why, Agnes, as if I would encourage the advances of a rascal!”
She just smiles. “You won’t be able to help yourself, Miss Sophie, you will fall for him like a ton of coals being delivered.”
After this inelegant simile, the shameless girl keeps a smiling silence.
I wish what she said would come true for sure, for I long, with the weak and erring part of me, for romance and adventure.
Agnes has shown me her Tarot pack. I drew back from it, finding myself uneasy yet fascinated by the evocative images of those sinister cards. “The Lovers, Miss Sophie. It has been coming up for you and me these past six months.”
“Let us hope it doesn’t continue to do so for the next sixty years.”