A peasant girl's life will change forever.
"I observed your apprentice."
The Countess looked better. As her lady-in- waiting had suggested, she had called for mother early the next day. She did not, however, speak of herself, but seemed inclined to other matters.
"She is my daughter, your ladyship."
"She is young."
"It is never too early to study the craft, Milady."
The Countess nodded. Her great gray eyes turned thoughtfully upon me.
"You wish her to follow you."
"I do hope and pray she will, Milady of Warwick, God willing."
"Her touch hath healing. How does she in your garden?"
"Well, Milady. She is my eldest, obedient and clever."
"Come here, child."
I did as I was told. Sunlight fell precipitously through a window, a sudden break in the eternal galloping clouds of spring. I was walking, although I did not know it, into another world.
The Countess stretched out a long-fingered white hand. I had never seen so many glistening jewels. They danced before my eyes like blue and red stars.
"Give the Countess your hand, child!" From behind, the lady-in-waiting delivered a jab between my shoulder blades. Thus prompted, my small freckled fingers met the elegant hand of the lady.
"Such beautiful eyes!" Hers met mine and I knew that her spirit was exactly as hard and as brilliant as those jewels upon her fingers.
"What is your name, child?"
The name made her smile and once more I was astonished. Unlike most breeding women of our village, she had all her teeth....
~ Juliet Waldron
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