1617: x

Gilles refolded Aimée’s letter carefully.  His anger was not assuaged, only redirected and focused now on Madame. Only now, Aimée was redeemed.

“Semper fidelis,” he murmured.

“What is that?” asked the man who shared the table with him. He picked up the wine bottle and tried to fill his glass only to spill more on the table than in the cup.

“Watch yourself, Jacques!” Gilles grabbed the bottle from the drunk’s grasp and waved the innkeeper over to clean the mess.

“That paper keeps reappearing. I have watched you read it and grumble about a dozen times now,” Jacques said, “I refill my glass each time.” Gilles rolled his eye and tucked the letter away again.

“I have a problem and have yet to think of the solution,” he said. His companion drained his glass.

“Solution for what?” Jacques asked.

“I’m not going into detail, but I have to move something from one place to another and I don’t know to where,” Gilles replied.

“I cannot help you, my friend, without a little more of your secret,” Jacques propped his head up with his hand.

“I entrusted something to the widow of my half-brother and she has used me badly,” Gilles admitted.

“So you must move this thing?” the drunk murmured. “An object?” Gilles picked up his glass.

“Not an object.”

“Ah! A breathing object?” Jacques prodded. Gilles gave him a dark look. “You are getting your feathers ruffled, my friend. It betrays you and your fair object.” Jacques made an hourglass shape with his hands. “I can always tell, Gilles and I’m hurt you haven’t mentioned this before.”

Gilles sighed.

“It is not what you presume,” he said.

“Isn’t it?” Jacques slurred. “It always is.” Jacques wrapped his cloak around him and leaned back against the wall. He heaved a sigh and fell asleep.

Gilles pulled the letter out again and reread it as if this time there might be more words.

i       ix       xi

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