1614: ii

After hearing the rumor, Gilles passed the convent to appease his curiosity. He shuffled down a quiet lane along a low wall and came to a kitchen garden.

“Pardon me, good Sister,” he called out, “Can you spare anything for a brother to eat?” A woman stood up from her work and recognized him as a Capuchin. Behind her a girl crouched as she poked seeds into the soil. “That is, I see you have a fine garden and I need only a little to sustain me.” The nun said a few words to the girl and she disappeared inside.

“Who might I say is welcome?” the nun replied with a smile. She had recognized his accent and spoke in French.

“Brother Paul,” he smiled. The girl reemerged and handed the nun a bundle of cloth.

“I am Sister Ruth and this is Aimée Marche, my charge.” The nun passed the offering to him. It was a hunk of bread.

“Thank you, Sister Ruth and Mademoiselle Marche. I shall let you return to your work,” Gilles said. He made to move away.

“Wait, Brother Paul, have you any news from home? I have not been in many years,” Sister Ruth bid him to stay a while. As Gilles began to relate news of Paris, he was able to take a good look at Aimée. She was around twelve or so with bright eyes and chestnut hair that escaped her cap. The conversation shifted to the garden and Gilles posed an occasional question to Aimée. She proved to be a pleasant and free speaker although she had the habit of slipping between Flemish and French without a thought. He finally bid farewell and over the following weeks found himself passing the garden on a somewhat regular basis.


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