They said that Marie D'Arrivière was the best seamstress in the whole of Orléans (and certainly the prettiest), but what they didn't know is that she was also the younger cousin of Guillaume Dupont. And he was the leader of an enormous rebellion group known only as Blanche.
I stared at the piece of paper lying in my lap, my hands trembling. What did Guillaume think he was doing? Sending me a letter like this! Hadn't he even stopped to think about what might happen to both of us if people knew about the correspondence? In an angry outburst, I said as much to my sister, Capuchine.
'Don't worry, Marie,' she said with a laugh in her voice. She was four years older than me, and pregnant. 'Guillaume knows what he's doing.'
'I'm not worrying,' I grumbled. 'Read it for yourself. There's enough to get all of us hung.' I handed her the letter and walked over to the casement. I leaned on the sill as Capuchine read it.
'Mon dieu!' I heard her gasp, and I turned to her.
'You were right,' she said. 'Guillaume must stop. We must take him in hand. I would go, but...' she gestured to her stomach, already rounded like a balloon.
I sighed. 'D'accord. Alright, I'll go.' I reluctantly pulled my green shawl off the bed and made my way out through the kitchen and onto the street. It was around five o'clock, and the shadows were lengthening. I would have to be quick if I wanted to speak to Guillaume and get home before dark.
Guillaume lived on the other side of Orléans, and so by the time I reached his house, it was already quite late.
'Guillaume! Laissez-moi entrer! Let me in!' I called. A few minutes later, the door opened to reveal my cousin Guillaume. He was the same age as Capuchine, quite tall and rather handsome. He had golden hair which flopped over his face, and sparkling green eyes. I felt my anger at him dissipate. It was impossible to be angry with Guillaume.
'Marie!' he said. 'What are you doing here? Is everything alright? Is Capuchine...?'
'Capuchine's fine,' I said. 'But I needed to talk to you. Let me in, can't you?!'
Almost reluctantly, he stepped aside, and I hurried inside his house.
'Écoutez-moi!' I ordered. 'Listen to me. You're getting out of hand with this Blanche business. Even Capuchine agrees.'
'Capuchine? But I thought-'
'Be quiet! I haven't got long. I must be back for Capuchine. Alors, you must stop sending letters to us. It's too dangerous. You're going to get us all killed! I've told you before, I'm not interested in joining your group, or whatever it is. I'm just interested in the here and now - protecting Capuchine and her child. And you're putting them in danger. So stop!'
I expected Guillaume to look suitably apologetic, and to tell me that he had seen the error of his ways and would immediately stop all his nonsense. Or rather, I was hoping he would. In fact, the exact opposite happened.
'Don't you ever wish that you could go back and stop François from dying? That's what I mean, Marie - I'm trying to stop that from happening again. And you could help me!'
'I'm sorry, Guillaume. Maybe I will help others once I'm sure my own family is safe. Obviously you don't feel the same. Je pense... I think it would be best if you don't come and see Capuchine. At least not while you're putting us in danger. Bonne nuit, monsieur.'
And so I left Guillaume standing with his hair rumpled in the doorway to his house, while I made my way back to my sister.