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Retribution: Chapter 27

The Aftermath

By Rachel LeschPublished 7 years ago 23 min read

Catharine finished up a letter in reply to one she had received from Agnès, who had sent it from Cairo, where they had arrived last week. They had taken the long way to Egypt, traveling through Italy and Greece. Along with her previous letters and postcards, Agnès had sent her mother a Fortuny silk scarf from Venice and a medal blessed by Pope Pius XI from the Vatican. In this most recent letter, she described how she and Kit were going to take a camel ride into the desert to look at the pyramids. Catharine reminded her in her own letter that she should not go out into the sun without a hat or parasol and that she should drink plenty of water; too much sun and dehydration were the worst things possible for the complexion.

Judging by her letters, Agnès seemed very happy and Catharine was glad of it, though she did not think she could bare having Agnès live far away in New Mexico. But it would give her an excuse to travel more.

Two days worth of newspapers sat on Catharine’s desk unread and she reached for yesterday’s edition of Le Figaro. Annette stepped in and told her that a gentleman, a Monsieur Prideaux, was there to see her. Catharine handed her the letter she had finished and told her to show the gentleman in.

“Good morning,” Catharine said to Charles from over the newspaper she was reading, “I was just writing to my daughter, Agnès. She was married last month and is on her honeymoon.”

“Little Agnès,” Charles answered, “why she’s younger than Marianne.”

“Well both my girls grew up pretty fast. And Kit’s a nice boy, though he is a Protestant. I wonder what ancestors who fought under the Duke de Guise would think of that?”

“Speaking of Marianne, have you seen her since Tuesday?”

“No I have not.”

“Did you read yesterday’s newspapers?”

“No, not yet. That’s what I had just sat down to do.”

“Well, I came here to tell you that Augustin Lerou escaped from La Santé on Tuesday night.”

Catharine crossed herself.

“Lord have mercy, I hoped we had heard the last of that boy. How do you know about him?”

“Marianne told me about they had been close last summer.”

“Not too close I hope.”

“So he’s not the type of person we want around our pretty little Marianne, is he?”

“To put it simply.”

“Do you think he might have seen her since his escape?”

“Why all this interest in that boy’s comings and goings?”

“I’m concerned about Marianne.”

“And where was this fatherly concern when you left for America all those years ago?”

“And whose fault was that? You were the one who hid my letters from Madeleine. Who let her believe that I was dead. Who told me that she took up with some other man. Because you couldn’t bare to see Madeleine happy. Because you’re a bitter, lonely woman who wants everyone to be miserable. No one cares about you, Catharine, and you have no one but yourself to blame.”

Catharine burst into tears and wept like a child.

“Yes, I’ve been burning in a hell of my own making. I’m burning every day for what I’ve done. Marianne has been a cross I’ve had to bare since her mother’s death. I love the girl, as much as I do my own children, but every time I look at her, I’m reminded of Madeleine and what I did to her. Marianne will hate me if she finds out about this.”

Charles began to leave the room, disgusted with her. He walked with a stiffness in one of his legs. The trauma to his knee which he had received as part of an injury he got during the war had caused arthritis in the joint.

“No, you couldn’t be that cruel. Charles you wouldn’t.”

Catharine continued to sob and cursed the day Charles Prideaux, James Beaumont that was, came into her life.

Mimi had promised to meet her sister for lunch and some shopping. Over glasses of white wine and bits of bread dipped in olive oil seasoned with herbs, Catharine told about what she had gone through that morning.

“Our dear brother-in-law dropped by for a visit earlier today,” she said, “He came, asking if I knew if Marianne had anything to do with Augustin Lerou since his escape from prison.”

“He escaped?” Mimi asked with surprise, “Oh, yes. I remember reading something about a prison break earlier this week.”

“Charles acted liked he had come out of fatherly concern for Marianne but he only wished to cause trouble, as always.”

“He has a lot of nerve, after he was the one who abandoned his wife and child.”

When she had been a young girl, Mimi had seen her brother-in-law as a sort of romantic hero and had been a little bit in love with him herself. She felt his desertion of her sister as a personal betrayal.

“That isn’t quite true?” Catharine added tentatively.

“What did you do, Catharine?”

“Why do you think I did something?”

“Because you have a guilty look on you face.”

Catharine took a sip of wine for courage and then began to explain.

“When the war ended, Madeleine thought he was dead. But as you know, that was untrue. He started writing again after he was released but I hid those letters from Madeleine; I burnt them before she could find them. Then I wrote back, telling him that she was about to marry another man that for her sake and for Marianne’s, he should stay away. I’m not sure why I did it. It was when my marriage to George was falling apart and I could not bare the thought of him coming back and her being happy when I was unhappy.”

“I know you and Madeleine didn’t always get along but how could you do something so blatantly cruel to her, just because you were having problems?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t have a good enough excuse for what I did. I know I don’t deserve forgiveness, but you’re the only one I can’t bare having hate me. You’re not only my sister, you’re my only real friend.”

“It’s not up to me to forgive you.”

“And now’s going to go tell Marianne everything and I’ll add her to the list of people who hate me.”

“You reap what you sow, Catharine.”

On her way home, the thoughts on Catharine’s mind were, “I never should have invited him back into our lives. I should have ignored him that night at the ballet when I asked him to come for tea. He doesn’t care about Marianne or her well-being; he’s only ever been interested in humiliating me. Remember how he enjoyed every minute of telling me about how Marianne’s little gutter rat escaped, implying that she’s been seeing him since then and we’re ineffective guardians.”

Augustin and Hélène went for a walk the next morning. The worst of the winter cold had past and it was quite warm and spring-like in the sun but it was bitterly cold in the shade and occasionally an icy wind blew threw an alley and hit you unexpectedly.

Hélène’s eyes looked heavy and sad, which somehow made her look even more beautiful; Augustin had not thought this possible. Faucherie had gone out the night before and had come back yet.

“Going to see Ninon?” Hélène had accused.

He had backhanded her and threatened to do worse if she did not shut up. Faucherie was usually an easygoing fellow until you set him off.

Hélène had always known that he had other women; it was his habit to go after any girl he fancied. But she had usually turned the other way, believing that he loved her best and always would. Ninon had been her only real rival.

“I guess I’ve been moody lately and taking things more to heart than I should,” she said to Augustin as they were passing a bakery. The smell of bread baking tickled their noses tantalizingly. “Did you ever hit Marianne?” she asked randomly.

“Once,” Augustin admitted, “It was after I told her about that robbery. She got upset and called me a thug. I hit her and said she wasn’t going to talk to me like that. I felt terrible afterwards. She hit back and said I wasn’t going to lay hands on her like that.”

“I never took her for the type that would hit back.”

“Do you wish you had hit Faucherie back?”

“No, it wouldn’t have done any good. And besides, the person I really want to take a shot at is that Ninon. Flaunting about like the Queen of Sheba just because she’s good at taking her clothes off. I’m pretty good at it myself, I just have the decency not to do it in front of people.”

Hélène looked a bit tired and unwell and Augustin suggested that they sit down at a cafe.

“I’ll be alright in little bit,” she told him.

“Are you sick or something?” he asked her.

“Just a little morning grogginess.”

“Would you like something?”

“Just a cup of tea. I’m not hungry.”

Augustin ordered some toast and coffee for himself and tea for her. Across the way, a tall, skinny young man dressed in dusty cap, a pair of stained, baggy, and roughly patched trousers, and an oversized overcoat stood against a wall, admiring Hélène. He was a boy of about Augustin’s own age with shaggy dark hair and a wide toothy grin.

Both Augustin and Hélène were amused by such a funny figure and chuckled a bit. He took a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it using a match from a box placed on the table. Then he handed it to Hélène and lit another for himself.

“Care for a smoke?” he said to the young man.

“Thanks,” the young man answered.

Augustin lit another cigarette and handed it to him.

“So what’s your name, my friend?”

“Gui Berger, but mostly they call me Gui Bourgogne or just plain Gui.”

“Augustin Lerou.” Augustin offered Gui his hand which he shook. “And this is Mademoiselle Hélène.”

“Pleased, Mademoiselle.” Gui swept into a dignified bow which would not have been out of place in the court of King George and Queen Mary of England and suavely kissed Hélène’s hand. Hélène gave an amused laugh.

“He’s a scruffy old dog,” she said, “but it looks like he knows a few tricks.”

Augustin laughed too. This was what he imagined it would look like if Charlie Chaplin flirted with Clara Bow.

“So, Gui Bourgogne, are you perhaps from Burgundy?”

“My parents owned a farm not far from Beaune, but the bank foreclosed on it a year ago come April. I thought they could do without the burden of another mouth to feed, so I took off on my own. Been traveling around since then, wherever there’s work.”

“How do you get around?” Hélène asked.

“Mostly in boxcars, or I walk along the tracks.”

“Must be hard life,” Augustin commented.

Gui drew a circle in the air with the two middle fingers on his right hand, an old peasant gesture symbolizing the wheel of fortune and meaning something like, “oh well, it happens.” He seemed like the kind of person who did not let life bother him too much. The wheel of fortune could bring him up high or take him down low, it was all the same. He would get by somehow. Augustin thought that perhaps this was the best way to be though it was not in his nature. He had always tried to make his own luck, and much good it had done him.

Hélène ordered Gui a cup of coffee and he told them about his travels around the country and his plans for the future. He would stay in Paris for the rest of winter and then hit the tracks again when the spring came; there would not be too much of a demand for farm laborers until then.

When they finished their drinks, they went along on their separate ways.

Not long after Augustin and Hélène’s return from their walk, Faucherie came back. He stood in the doorway and told them that there was a commotion outside. Augustin and Hélène rushed over to look out of the nearest window.

There was an ambulance and a couple of police cars parked on the street. Hélène had shrieked when she heard the sirens, instinctively fearing a raid. Some of the neighbors had stepped out of their homes to see what was going on. Many more were probably watching through their windows just as they were. A pair of corpses, one of a man, the other of a woman, were brought out on stretchers from a house across the street. They were followed by a small, meek-looking young woman in a dressing gown who was brought out by two policemen, her hands cuffed behind her back.

“She poisoned her husband and a woman she found him in bed with,” Faucherie explained. “She brought them in coffee and gingerbread laced with arsenic early this morning and they were dead within hours. The poor thing then called an ambulance and the police and turned herself in on the spot.”

“And how do you know all this?” Hélène asked.

“Because I was the one who arranged the whole thing. The husband has connections with the Fontaine Outfit. He noticed that I was living across from him and threatened to squeal about it. His wife had been some poor little street gamine until he married her out of pity and since then he’s treated her with nothing but aloofness and contempt. I have it on good authority that he was a bit too fond of dames and came home late every night to his poor wife, drunk and with another woman. I had a girl I know approach him in one of the places he frequents; they hit it off and she was living in their house for a week with dear little madame kicked out of the marital bed. As you could imagine, this was enough to make even the most patient woman lose it. Well, the bastard had it coming, and his wife took the blame for it and no one will ever think it was anything other than a crime of passion committed by a jealous spouse. Poor little woman, I’ll see she gets a good lawyer who’ll get them to go easy on her.”

“You really are a bastard.”

“I hope you didn’t get any ideas, my love.”

“I’d do much worse.”

Faucherie then turned to Augustin “This street will be filled with flics today. We better lay low, keep the curtains and blinds closed.”

“Of course,” Augustin answered.

As they went about closing the curtains and blinds, Augustin recalled the look on the young woman’s face as she was being taken away in handcuffs. Her fear of facing the courtroom, the jail cell, and possibly the guillotine. She regretted what she had done but probably for that brief moment when she had poisoned her husband and his mistress, she had enjoyed every minute of it.

It was a feeling he knew well. He recalled his killing of Camille with a pleasure which scared him even though it had complicated things for him. He was not just an escaped convict; he was also a murderer.

Madame Océane sent Marianne to bring a bag of leftover potatoes to a soup kitchen off of Place St. Sulpice. Marianne went in through the back door into the kitchen. There were stoves where pots of soup and kettles of hot water for coffee were being heated up and a counter where people were making sandwiches. One of these people noticed her.

“You must be the girl from La Première Étoile with the bag of potatoes,” she said.

“Yes,” Marianne answered. “Here they are.”

The woman took the bag of potatoes from her, thanked her, and bid her good evening.

The soup being cooked smelt delicious and reminded her that after this, she could head home and have her own supper.

Marianne exited through the swinging doors which led into the dining room. On the other side, groups of grey and grim looking people huddled in groups which formed a grey sea which smelt of the wet wool of winter clothing. The tables were all filled up that evening and many had to stand. She had expected to see mostly men, men who were out of work and had to leave their families in search of jobs. Many such men flooded into Paris everyday. But there were a good number of their wives and children. Women, some Marianne’s age or younger, in ragged dresses, old coats and hats, and threadbare shawls, some holding bundles of rags which turned out to be babies. Children in old, worn out, and patched up clothes. The luckier ones had coats and shoes or boots, beat-up ones often missing laces, or stuffed with newspapers, or were so small that their toes poked out. The shoes were placed up against the radiator to warm and dry. Some only had rags tied around their feet.

As much as Marianne pitied them, something about them repulsed her. They represented an unpleasant truth: that a whim or trick of fortune could make her just like them. She thought of the potatoes she had brought being turned into a delicious stew to feed hungry and grateful mouths. She also thought of the onion soup waiting for her at home, that had been when they were cooking in kitchen which had so tickled her fancy. It was lucky for her that she had a pot at home when she was so craving it.

Her thoughts usually strayed like this after a long day.

The door opened and a man walked in. It was Dominic Verte. He walked over to the counter and struck up a conversation with the woman behind it. The woman handed him a bag of groceries.

“Thank you,” Dominic said, “I told Louise that I would pick up some groceries on my way home.”

“You still haven’t told her you lost your job,” she answered.

“How could I. She was so proud that I still had a job when so many had lost theirs. Everyday when she thinks I’m going to work, I’ve been out seeing who’s hiring. I was hoping that I would find a new job before she found out.”

“I wish you luck, Dominic.”

“Don’t tell my wife I was here.”

Dominic picked up the bag of groceries and walked towards the door. He noticed Marianne and gave her a look which said “I prefer it if you didn’t say anything about this.”

Marianne felt that Louise deserved to know the truth about her husband’s unemployment but it was not her place to say anything. Louise would be angry with him for keeping such a thing from her.

In Place St. Sulpice, Marianne bent down to fix the buckle on the strap of her shoe and adjust the heel of her stocking, which had slid up her foot.

“Mademoiselle Marianne,” a voice said.

She looked up to see Gabriel Renault and lifted herself up to her full height and smoothed her skirt.

“Monsieur Gabriel,” she answered. “How nice to see you.”

Gabriel removed his hat before he continued speaking to her.

“Were you alright?”

“Yes, I just had to fix my shoe. I was on my way home.”

“From where?”

“The soup kitchen on the other side of Place St. Sulpice. I was bringing some food there. And what brings you here?”

“My sister went shopping, my brother-in-law is at work, and my father is taking a nap. I decided to go for a walk.”

“Your father looks like he’s doing well.”

“He is, though the past couple of years haven’t been the easiest for him. It’s the most he can do to keep our farm above water. I’m afraid that some of our neighbors resent us because we’ve managed to stay afloat when some of them have gone under. But our family is too highly respected in Contaille for them to say anything.”

Contaille-sur-Seine was the small village on the outskirts of Rouen which includes Chateau Aubrey and its surrounding estate. The Renault family had lived there for generations as tenants of the d’Aubreys, renting Ferme Pommier, one of the larger farmers on their property. When the d’Aubreys had to give up their beloved chateau, the Renaults had been able to purchase the property they had rented. They had been doing pretty well since then though the hard times had hit farmers like them the hardest.

“And how’s Gillian?” Marianne continued.

“She’s the same as always,” Gabriel responded. “Our father spoiled her rotten, and now her husband spoils her rotten.”

Gillian, Gabriel’s younger sister who had just gotten married, was the same age as Marianne and they had come over to play with Mathilde and Agnès often when they were children.

“And what’s your brother Yve up to?”

“He’s in the army, stationed in Morocco.”

“I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco.”

Marianne could not help but compare Gabriel to Augustin. Gabriel was about twenty-four, five years older than her. Augustin had told her that his birthday was the twenty-first of February, which meant that he had turned twenty-one by now and that he was three years younger than Gabriel. He was slightly taller and slightly broader than Augustin. His hair was blond, short and bristly whereas Augustin’s hair was dark, wild, and curly. Gabriel’s face was handsome, serious-looking, and not prone to smiling, though not severe and unpleasant, as different as possible from Augustin’s merry eyes and roguish, crooked grin.

“May I walk you home?”

“I don’t see why not.”

They continued on towards the Rue Cassette. Marianne hoped that no one would see her arrive home with Gabriel. Not that she was ashamed to be with him but rather that if Louise and Papa Verte saw him, they would make a bigger deal about him than was necessary.

Gabriel watched her go inside after they said goodbye. To him, she appeared to be everything he had ever wanted.

The first thing Marianne did when she entered her apartment was turn on the stove to reheat the pot of soup. The intoxicating scent of the soup was released into the air.

Madame Poisson knocked on the door and told her that there was a telephone call for her.

“A gentleman,” she emphasized with a suggestive tone.

“If I was talking on the phone with Baby Jacques, she’d think we were having an affair,” Marianne thought.

She went down stairs and took the telephone from Madame Poisson.

“Hello Marianne,” Monsieur Prideaux said.

“Hello Monsieur,” she answered. She was hesitant to address him as her father because there were too many unanswered questions.

“I’m coming into town tonight to have dinner with my wife and in-laws and was wondering if you would care to join us?”

“Sure, it’ll give me an excuse to wear my new dress and hat.”

“We’re dining at the Cafe des Flores. I’ll pick you up around eight.”

“I’ll see you then.”

It was a little after six, that would give her plenty of time to freshen up and change her dress.

“So who’s the man you were talking to?” Madame Poisson asked from behind the door.

“My father,” Marianne responded.

She was looking forward to seeing him and possibly getting some answers.

Charles arrived to pick her up a few minutes before eight.

“Good evening, my dear,” he said to her.

“Very well, Monsieur,” she responded, “And you?”

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing you.”

The walked to the Boulevard St. Germain and met Adèle and Charlotte at the Saint Germain des Près metro station. Adèle walked up to Marianne and kissed her on both cheeks.

“Mademoiselle d’Aubrey,” she said, “I didn’t know you were coming but this is a pleasant surprise.”

“Your husband invited me to come a few hours ago,” Marianne answered.

“Charlotte, this is my step-daughter, Mademoiselle d’Aubrey. Mademoiselle d’Aubrey, this is my sister, Madame Sorel.”

Charlotte came over and kissed Marianne.

“Pleased to meet you,” she said, “Your father’s told me so much about you.”

“I wonder if Jules is already there?” Charles asked.

The restaurant was farther down the boulevard. The maitre d’hôtel approached them as they entered the restaurant.

“Good evening Monsieur Prideaux,” he said, “Monsieur Jules and a young lady arrived a few minutes ago and are waiting for you at table four.”

“Thank you Jean-Michel,” Charles answered.

He lead his party over to table four where Jules was sitting, along with a girl. Jules noticed them and beckoned them over.

“Jules, who is your lady friend?” Charlotte asked him.

“I’m Clare Allard,” the girl answered.

“Oh yes,” Adèle responded, “The barmaid Jules has been talking about.”

“Adèle, don’t be such a snob,” Charlotte whispered to her sister, “Pleased to finally meet you Mademoiselle Allard,” she said to Clare.

Charles whispered to Marianne about how Adèle did not approve of her brother’s girlfriend, believing that she was beneath him. But the dinner went well and Adèle was perfectly cordial to Clare.

When they all sat down, Charles introduced Marianne to Jules and Clare but Jules explained that they already knew her.

“She’s my friend Augustin Lerou’s sweetheart, Augustin’s the one who broke out of La Santé,” he said, “Remember me, Mademoiselle d’Aubrey, Augustin’s friend.”

“Oh yes,” Marianne responded, “The best lindy-hop dancer in all of Paris.”

The dinner which Charles had ordered was made up of sole meunière, onion soup (which Marianne had been craving), and apple strudel for dessert. As they enjoyed the food, they all pretended that everything was perfectly normal, as if a father and daughter had not just appeared out of nowhere into each other’s lives.

With a paternal smile, Charles put a dollop of cream onto Marianne's strudel and asked her if he may walk her home.

“Of course,” Marianne responded.

She could feel Madame Sorel’s suspicious gaze on her as they spoke together.

“Your wife’s taking all this pretty well,” she told Charles as they were walking home together, “all of a sudden having a stepdaughter she didn’t know about.”

“I explained everything to her, about how your mother and I were separated by the war and she believed that I was dead,” Charles began. “She didn’t question further for fear that it would all be too painful for me.”

“There’s one problem I have: my father’s name was James Beaumont.”

“I was James Beaumont years ago, but then I became Charles Prideaux.”

“And I imagine you’re also the Count of Monte Cristo.”

“No, but something very close.”

“So how did James Beaumont become Charles Prideaux?”

“I had to come back to France in ‘29 because I was wanted back in the states for Prohibition violations. Because I could speak French, I used to drive up to Quebec and smuggle cases of whiskey back across the border for some gangsters.”

“Did you know Al Capone?”

“Of course, Capone and I were the best of friends.”

She chuckled at his joke.

“The women in my family have always had a thing for rascals, I guess that’s our curse.”

“I guess that’s why you became sweet on Augustin Lerou?”


“There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you. I read in the papers that Augustin was broken out of prison, and I wanted to ask you if you knew about the escape or have had any contact with him since then. Before you get mad at me, I’m not accusing you of anything or judging you, I’m just concerned. If you’d had anything to do with him, no matter how small or innocent, they could arrest you for conspiring with a fugitive. It's hard enough out there for a man with a criminal record, let alone for a woman with one. I know it seems odd to you, having a strange man show up and act like your father, but please give me the right to be concerned about you.”

“I haven’t seen him since his escape. He might be reckless but he’s not stupid. He knows to stay away from those he loves for a while to keep them out of trouble.”

Marianne hated lying to people, though she seemed to have done a lot of it in the past several months. Sometimes it benefited people to hear an unpleasant truth; they may not like it but it did them good. Other times it just hurt them. He didn’t want to hear that his daughter had taken in a fugitive, especially not the part where she had lost her virginity to him, and the truth would only hurt him.

“I hope you’re telling me the truth, child.”

“Why would I lie? And where has all this concern been for twenty years?”

“Ask your Tante Catharine. She was the one who hid my letters from your mother, who let her believe that I was dead, who lied and said she’d taken up with another man, who let me believe for years that my wife and child had forsaken me.”

She didn’t want to believe this. Her mother and her aunt had had their difficulties but her aunt could never do something so cruel. She had more reason to trust Catharine than she had to trust him.

“Where are you going?” Charles asked when she turned around and began to run back up the Boulevard St. Germain.

‘I’m going to go ask her myself.”

Catharine was settling down for evening with Murder on the Orient Express. She had just gotten through a rather petulant phone call from Mathilde, who had received an equally petulant letter from Agnès as part of their ongoing argument about social and political conditions in Italy under Mussolini’s fascist regime, something they were pretending they knew anything about. This convinced Catharine even more that her daughters were two of the stupidest girls in France.

There was a knock on the door; it was Annette with her tea. Catharine got up and opened the door, Annette came in and brought the tea tray on the bed.

“Thank you,” Catharine said.

“Mademoiselle d’Aubrey is downstairs,” Annette told her mistress. “She’s asking to see you.”

“Send her up, please.”

“It’s very late, Madame.”

“Something must be wrong.”

Annette showed Marianne up. Marianne looked pale and upset. Catharine’s instincts had been right.

“Marianne, what’s the matter?” she asked the girl.

“Is it true?” Marianne responded.

“Is what true?”

“Did you hide my father’s letters from my mother? Did you tell him that she left him for another man? Are you the reason my father didn’t come back?”

Catharine sat down on the bed and gestured for Marianne to sit down beside her.

“Yes, it’s all true.”

“How could you do something like that to my mother, your sister?”

“The bond between sisters is a strange thing, when one is hurt, the others hurt as well. You can’t hurt your sister without hurting yourself as well and sometimes it hurts you more than it hurts them. You see, your grandmother was a proud, stubborn woman. She believed that she was above most people and she was always right and could do no wrong and she raised me to be the same. I could do no wrong because I was better than everyone else. People who are like that need people to bully to make themselves look better or feel better when they’re upset. Your mother was always so small and vulnerable and was such an easy target. The thing was, I could handle your mother when she was unhappy. I could mock her for being whiny and mopey or I could be kind to her. When she was happy, when she was with your father, she didn’t care what I thought and I couldn’t bare that. When I did all these things to her and your father, I was having problems with your uncle George and I couldn’t stand your mother being happy with her husband when I was unhappy with mine. That’s how I was then, everyone had to be miserable when I was.”

Marianne’s eyes looked heavy and wet. Her lower lip quivered and she began to cry. These were the tears of a child; she would not cry like this much longer. Tears are quick to come to the young because they have not yet built up the defenses of older people. She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her coat and tried to compose herself.

When she left, Catharine was concerned about her and what she would do. She called Mimi and Marianne’s neighbor, Madame Verte, to ask them to keep an eye on her because she was afraid that her niece might do something rash like run away or try to commit suicide again. According to Louise Verte, Marianne simply came home, went to bed, and woke up the next morning and went to work, much to the relief of the girl’s aunts.

Their biggest fear was that these events would throw her back into the arms of Augustin Lerou.


About the Creator

Rachel Lesch

New England Native; lover of traveling, history, fashion, and culture. Student at Salem State University and an aspiring historical fiction writer.

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