I was surprised to find that Gerald had already sorted out for us to stay in some rooms in a lodging house in London. We each had a seperate bedchamber, as was appropriate, and had a large living area between the two, which we shared.
Our landlady seemed a brisk sort of woman and didn't take kindly to us on our arrival, as we blocked the stairway as we lugged our trunks to our rooms. Mistress Lowe, as she was called, seemed to like order and the chaos we caused put her in a bad temper. She also didn't seem to like the French, because although she treated Gerald with at least an attempt at politeness, she didn't even try to be civil to me after she heard my accent. Now I understood why Gerald suggested he did most of the talking.
It didn't take me long to unpack the few possesions I had brought with me from France, and as I stared into my bare wardrobe I thought about the dresses I would buy if I had the money. My mother had always thought I would have preferred to have been born a boy because I didn't pay much attention to clothes and appearance. The truth was, by the time I was old enough to want to dress well, there were already murmers of revolution and we didn't have the money to spend on nice clothes.
Sighing, I shut the doors and moved over to the desk in the corner of my room, where I took out the writing set Guilliame had given me to ensure he stayed well informed of what was happening across the channel. Taking out a sheet of paper, a pen and a jar of ink, I began to write in the coded language I had been taught.
'What are you up to?' Gerald knocked before poking his head around my door.
'Just letting Guillame know we've arrived safely and giving him the address to send any instructions to.'
'Very good.' His head disappeared and I heard his footsteps creaking back towards his room. Picking up my pen I started writing again.
I'm sure you will be very happy to hear of my safe arrival here in London. The journey wasn't as arduous as expected although I have discovered I can suffer from seasickness.
However, I did happen to meet a friend of yours who calls himself William on the voyage over. He seems...
I paused for a moment while I thought of the right words to describe William. Irritating? Overconfident? Amazingly handsome? None of these seemed appropriate for the letter I was trying to write.
He seems an interesting sort of man but doesn't seem to be in a rush to meet with Gerald, who is escorting me as you know. Do you know of any reason why he might be so reluctant to meet with such a close friend of both yours and mine? But do not trouble yourself with worrying about it. I'm sure by the time I have received your reply all will be in order.
I have no more news for now but will write again when I do. Let me know how Auntie and my cousins are doing, it feels like I haven't seen them in an age.
All my love
As I was signing my name I heard the floorboards creak again as someone stopped in the doorframe leading into my room.
'You know it's rude to enter someone's home without an invitation.'
'But the lady downstairs seemed all to happy to let me come up when I told her I was visiting some very dear friends.'
'It's also rude to sneak up on people.' I heard a low laugh from behind me and the shifting of weight from one foot to the other.
'And what did you say about me in Guillame's report?'
'Now that would be revealing confidential information,' I pointed out as I sealed the addressed envelope, 'which I wouldn't tell you if my life depended on it.'
'And why would that be?' William swaggered into the room, still dressed in his outdoor coat, and sat himself down on my bed.
'I'm still not sure if I trust you yet.'
'So you've written to our great leader for approval?' He raised an eyebrow. 'I thought you were cleverer that that Adele.'
'No harm in making sure. After all, this is a very dangerous game we are playing.' There was silence for a few moments as our eyes locked.
'Speaking of which,' William said, breaking the silence, 'I have a possible ally for you here. A similar story to you in fact,' William rummaged around in his pocket before pulling out a battered envelope and pulling out its contents. 'Her father and brother are both supporters of the revolution and of the Blanche, now the father is dying we are hoping she will take his place.' He held out the papers to me. 'A little visit couldn't hurt.'
'I can't believe you've talked me into this,' I muttered as William knocked on the door to a non-descript house where the next member of the Blanche was supposed to live.
'That's what they all say,' said William, smiling to himself as the door opened to reveal a stunned looking girl who was a little shorter than me with reddish brown hair and a soft face.
'Are you Claire?' William was abrupt and to the point, setting the girl off balance.
'Umm.. yes. Who are you?'
'My name is William and this is Adele Durand from France and we are part of the Blanche. May we come in?'