Chapter 6

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

Josephine had been scheduled to arrive at the château belonging to the Marquis in Auvergne two days prior to his departure to Paris. How would she explain her late arrival? She thought of accusing her family for the delay but then the Marquis would chasten her innocent father. No, it would be unfair to drag her family in this deceit.    

The Marquis was determined to parley with his soon-to-be bride who was feigning sickness. Josephine knew that this ruse wouldn’t hold out much longer. She had agreed to marry the Marquis foolishly presuming that matrimony would bury her shameful secret. But her reckless decision to revisit her past was now threatening to change the course of her destiny. 

With a deep sigh, she began. 

“Monsieur, I left my father’s home on the appointed day. But there was some important business I had to attend to before making my way here.”

The Marquis was all ears. He was mesmerised by her soft, tinkling voice. 

“Just after a few hours into our journey, I asked the coachman to take a detour and head towards the estates of Monsieur ….…….”

Before Josephine could complete her sentence, Gérard walked in and bowed deeply.

“Excusez-moi, Général Alexendre wishes to speak with Monsieur le Marquis regarding a very urgent matter.”

The Marquis was evidently displeased. But he knew Général Alexandre as a highly meticulous and earnest man. He would never send a frivolous message.

“D’accord. Tell him to expect me in the library,” instructed the Marquis.

Gérard lowered his head and retreated.  

Josephine’s heart fluttered upon hearing the Général’s name. A light blush coloured her pale cheeks at the thought of his warm, masculine body.

”Ma cherie Josephine, je suis désolé. We will continue our tête-à-tête shortly, I promise,” said the gallant Marquis, gently kissing Josephine’s hand. 

Was this her chance to defy fate once again?                                                                          

                                                       **************************

“This better be important Général, otherwise you will have to face the wrath of a love struck man,” the Marquis jested as Alexandre bowed before him.

The Général opened the palm of his hand and displayed a filigree brooch studded with emeralds. Delicately he lifted the top of the brooch to reveal portraits of Josephine, a handsome young man and a young child.   

Qu'est-ce que c'est?” the Marquis enquired, peering closely at the portraits..

 

“This brooch belongs to Dame Annise Yves d’Aquitaine. Gérard found it on the river bank where she was rescued,” the Général replied gravely.

“Dame Annise Yves d’Aquitaine? But this is the portrait of my dear Josephine, the future Marquise,” countered the confounded Marquis.

Now it was the Général’s turn to be baffled. 

 “But Mademoiselle introduced herself as Dame Annise when I saved her from drowning in the river that runs through Dijon.” 

“But that’s way off course from Valois. Besides why would she want to conceal her real identity?” silently wondered the Marquis, seeds of suspicion sprouting in his head.

Comments

What a clever twist at the end. Josephine has got herself into quite a fix so I wonder how she will sort it out. Once again you have written a convincing chapter that left me keen to read the next chapter. I also think you chapter the time and the way each of the characters would behave towards one another really well. Very good indeed!