“Monsieur leSaber, he has left?” Matilde spoke with a whispered urgency.
The captain regarded his daughter with concern. She seemed far too eager. “He has. He plans to room at the monastery outside Beaucaire upon the close of the week.”
Her sloe black eyes reflected the darkness of a night without stars. Her slender fingers fidgeted in an unexpected display of distress. “Father, I must ask. Did he speak of me favorably?”
A knot grew in his chest and his heart threatened to burst through his ribcage. This was not the conversation he wished to have with his daughter. “Matilde, you will turn your gaze from Monsieur leSabre. His destiny does not coincide with yours.”
Crestfallen, she cast her eyes to the floor, “So you did speak with him about matrimony.”
“The topic was breached, but he quite thinks of you as a sister,” Corrick said firmly. Historically, such a comment would have been sufficient to influence a change in her desires. He underestimated her ambition.
She looked through him, a wicked determination consumed her features. “If he is so minded, I shall take up the veil and join a nunnery.”
He sighed heavily, wishing he had remained at sea another month. “You know nothing of him. This is naught but a passing fancy and I will not deem to embarrass you to him with this pretense.”
“An idle fancy it might be, if not for the bearing of his character,” she argued her case with conviction like a magister before the court. “He is noble where others are base, kind where others are cruel, and he knows the pain of a fractured soul. He has seen the world and is weary of it. A man such as he would not enter into a union lightly, nor would he abandon his marriage bed for the sake of one fleeting night.”
He would admit to none that there was wisdom in her words. William radiated a morality that inspired trust and loyalty from all those around him. If he had expressed an interest, would it have been so difficult to accept? As it was, a quandary trapped him. Corrick could see that her mind was keen and there would be no peace until she had her way. Saddened, he yielded a little ground to her argument, knowing that was all it would ever be. William was not in the market for a bride, and certainly not for one as fickle or manipulating as she. “While I would agree that even a soldier has redeeming traits, Monsieur leSaber is well on the road by now. That ship has left the harbor.”
Her lip quivered and a mist glistened in her eyes. She nodded slowly, “Then I shall make arrangements with the Mother Superior.” She turned away, poised and graceful as ever, and sailed up the narrow staircase as if it was a winter river. smoothed over with ice.
“Lord deliver me,” he prayed under his breath. He had the distinct impression that this wouldn't be the last time they would have this discussion.