“Berthilda, do stop chattering like a magpie, it is most unbecoming.”

My tone was slightly sharper than it needed to be. However, a young lady could only take so much talk about how a gentleman looks at one. I did not enjoy discussing such topics.

“But what if he thinks. . .”

“It really is no concern of yours what he thinks. There are far more important and constructive uses of our thoughts.”

I heard her sigh behind me as I drew the bow, rested the feathered fletching against my cheek and aimed for the target. When we did archery together at Miss Genevieve’s school for girls, I liked to focus on perfecting the art, Berthilda however, liked to do everything but.

“I just wish that someone would notice me. I will be an old maid at this rate!” Her half wail, half whisper was annoying and her comment ridiculous. Especially considering she was fifteen a day ago.

I refrained with extreme discomfort from rolling my eyes and released the pull I had on the bowstring. No sense wasting an arrow if my aim would not be true because I was distracted.

“Please don’t be ridiculous. You are only fifteen! The odds of you being an old maid are slim and none, and anything you say or do now will not help your matter. Please do not become like my older sister who thinks she has to constantly flirt or throw herself before gentlemen. It is unladylike and vulgar. You will be married when you will be married. Good gentlemen don’t like girls who are coquettish to a fault.”

She paused, actually giving thought to my words. It was about time.

Her next words came softly.

“I just don’t want to be alone, you know?”

I wheeled towards the target, drew the bow and shot. A near perfect shot. Miraculous considering the fact I was agitated. I knew exactly what she meant, and despite my stern remonstrance’s, I agreed. I did not want to be alone either.


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By His Grace,