When Corinne had washed and changed her attire to a dress she had discovered still hanging in the wardrobe in her bedchamber Richard took her into his chamber and told her that she was spending the entire day with him whether she liked it or not. She laughed and answered that she loved the idea and that which followed her response was a long kiss during which deep feelings underlay the initial pleasure of the contact.
Afterwards Richard asked Corinne how she would like their wedding to happen.
“Well, at some point we must visit a tailor,” she replied, “and we can choose what we wish to wear and at another point we must draw up a list of all the people we wish to invite and at yet another we must consider food. But what I am sure of is that it should be a private ceremony and that the guests must be people whom we know intimately but that there should be some sort of event to follow to which all the inhabitants of Periville are invited and that it should not be too fancy or expensive lest we lose sight of the real meaning of it.”
Richard sighed, awed by the end of Corinne’s answer.
“All of those ideas sound wonderful,” he told her. “How about a parade for the public event? All the young girls in Periville could dress in their finest attire and follow us.”
Corinne beamed. “I adore that idea.”
Corinne’s expression filled Richard with such warmth that he kissed her again, utterly unable to suppress his emotions.
To his surprise and concern, after this kiss, Corinne looked a little sad.
“My lord, perhaps we should tell Eric of the new situation before we spend any more time together,” she murmured.
“Oh,” he said quietly. “I suppose that we should.”
Richard had a sudden thought, inspired by the sadness upon Corinne’s face, that she might feel guilty for the kisses which the pair had already shared and reached out for her cheek, stroking it softly.
“Do not feel that you have been cruel to Eric,” he told her soothingly. “Had I not disappointed you, you would not have needed another man. It is my fault that events have taken this path.”
Corinne shook her head.
“I genuinely cared for him, Richard. It is my fault, too, that the news will hurt him.”
“My lady, you cannot control the impulses of the heart.” Richard smiled wryly. “Who can?”
Corinne seemed cheered slightly by these words although she again appeared dejected as she walked to the stables and approached Eric’s grey mare. Richard rubbed her shoulder comfortingly before she mounted the horse.
“I will be by your side during the entire time,” he promised.
She smiled at him sincerely.
“Thank you. Your support means so much.”
“Your happiness means more,” he murmured, before walking to the stall containing his black stallion.
The pair set off together for Eric’s cottage, Corinne remembering to attach a cart to Richard’s horse: for transporting her belongings to the manor. As Richard rode alongside his beloved wife-to-be, he prayed fervently that Eric would not be harsh to her.