Excerpts from The Luck of Two Magpies, copyright 2012, all rights reserved.
No distribution or reproduction without the author’s express permission
“Do you think less of me for not believing as you do?” Elisa asked.
“Nay, lass. I know ye to be a good and kind woman, more intelligent than most, more honest about the doubts ye have.” She smiled ruefully. “Aye, I have ‘em, but that is what faith is for, eh?”
A contemplative sigh deflated Margarida’s chest, the wind from it sending her tissue silk veil fluttering like eiderdown in a breeze. She smiled bravely. “All our lives we are told what to believe. But a great fear—that our priests are in the right, that the ugly and evil ones will come for us do we relax our guard, keeps us from thinking aught but what our confessors would have us think. Lest ye forget, our God is the only one I know. I am at ease with Him, eh?” She squeezed Elisa’s hand. “Daughter, this place is not as generous in spirit as yours, or as tolerant in accepting what is different. Recall what was said ‘twixt His Grace and me about inquisitions. Mind me, lass. Ye are oft too outspoken, and I care too deeply for ye to live past such an accusation.”
Elisa developed new admiration for Margarida’s stamina and directorial abilities. In between overseeing the packing of more trunks than William was sure to allow, her mother-in-law advised Elisa on court etiquette.
“Ladies must be less obvious in some ways, but more obvious in others—Helaine. This chest is ready, eh?” The maid left the room as if winged. “And recall, Court does not allow a woman the freedoms she has in her own home. Speak only when spoken to, and see ye do not offer opinions so readily, my dear. Most lords prefer a silent woman,” she said as William muttered, bent over a confusion of papers on his table…
“Hmmph.” Margarida turned back to Elisa. “Of what did we speak?”
Elisa propped her chin on her fist. “Silent women.”
Margarida ignored him. “Aye, they like ‘em silent, lady, but beauteous.”
“I’m sure.” Elisa sighed. “The perfect package. Drop dead gorgeous with no thoughts.”
Margarida chuckled. “Oh, thoughts they do have, daughter. And when ye gather with the other noblewomen ye will hear quite a few of ‘em.” She sniffed a chemise and set it aside. “A sly woman listens for things her lord may find useful, and is careful to speak her mind only to those who have earned her trust.”
“But I don’t know them.”
“Then ye will listen and not venture to speak.”