Aimée spent most of the day under the watchful eye of Madame as they worked on needlepoint, had her voice lessons and studied the Psalms. She heaved a sigh as she closed the holy book.
“Madame, after that passage I feel the need for reflection. Please excuse me while I get some air and take a turn in the garden.”
Madame looked up from her embroidery.
“Very well, Aimée, but not for too long. It’s almost time for luncheon, then we have the dressmaker expected,” she replied. Aimée nodded and still clutching the book she strode out of the room towards freedom. She evaded the gardener and made her way to the roses under her window. She was careful to keep her skirt clean as she crouched down and fished out the small box. She stood up and thumbed the latch open.
The young girl hastily shoved the box in her pocket and shut her eyes in feigned supplication.
“Aimée!” Madame repeated as she came across the lawn. Aimée turned to greet her.
“Oh, Madame, you startled me.”
“I thought I could also use some air and decided to join you,” the older woman said. “What were you doing that I was able to startle you so?”
“I was contemplating God’s creations as I studied these beautiful roses, Madame.” The woman frowned.
“You must not put too much importance on beauty, child. It is fleeting,” she grumbled. “Come, some activity will be refreshing. Why not read the passage again and see if it resonates with us better out of doors?” Madame began to walk along the pathway. Aimée dutifully opened the Bible again and followed behind the woman as she read the latin out loud.