It was only last winter when she was outside, free. The Thames was frozen, a broad sheet of ice stretching around the outskirts ofLondon. Living in a manor in the wealthier part of the city, she seldom set foot near the murky banks of theThames, but that winter was different. She would swap places with her maid, slipping on the rough grey kirtle and draping a coarse brown woollen shawl over her slender shoulders while her maid adorns an elaborate wig. Then she would braid her hair and pinned it up, settling a coif over it to hide the brilliant red gold colour of her tresses.
Sweeping up a big woven basket, she would wander far from her district into the more common part of the city, stopping here and there to listen to bits of gossips shared by the women sewing at doorsteps, and to smile at the children playing in the street under their mothers’ watchful eyes. And then the narrow alleys would open up into a wide marketplace, where there were rows of stalls selling different goods. She would stroll pass all of them, lingering at the stands selling pretty silk ribbons in all the colours of the rainbow and the other pretty knick-knacks that would hold the attention of a young lady such as herself. But the stalls selling jars of different herbs and dried flowers was where she stayed the longest, fascinated by the smells and the healing properties of them. She would take her time selecting an assortment of different herbs to be used as stuffing in pomanders. After buying all the essential plus little treats for herself, she would walk off further, until theThameswas stretched in front of her. There she would settle her basket on the ground and pull on her skates, then step cautiously onto the icyThames. Later she would learn to skate first then buy goods from the market forLondondoes have its share of thieves.