"Gisette!" I heard my sister call. Her voice was always so melodious. It wasn't a surprise at all since she was an aspiring singer. I looked down at the book I had been reading, a story that seemed all too familiar. It was about a young boy, raised by a church. His story had struck a chord within me as I read it. It had first caught my attention in the window of a bookseller's shop. I looked down at the pages of the book, remembering the life I had left behind.
I had been deserted when I was but a child, left out in the cold streets of Aveiro to die. And I almost did, as someone told me, until I was found and brought to a safe haven, a church, where I would remain until the age of twelve, living a most uneventful life. Chores I did, scrubbing the floors, cleaning the kitchens, scraping candle wax from tables to make myself useful as I lived there. It was the only life I had known.
I did everything I was told, grateful that I had been allowed to live there as long as I had. It was during those years that I developed a love for the church, forming a tight bond to the Catholic religion. I lived in Portugal then. I remember loving the smell of the sea breeze as I walked by the docks, my small basket on my arm containing the products I had collected for the day. Sometimes it was fish for a meal I would prepare later on in the day, other times it was parchment that I had bought for the priests to write on. I had always done those types of small chores for the churchmen.
And so my life went until the age of twelve, when a respectable family arrived on the doorstep of the church. They were called the Burgesses, and they would change my life. In short, the father had taken a liking to me and had requested to adopt me. Of course, the church had been quick to accept, happy to see me find a family. And so I left with the Burgesses, to a new life that I would never imagine. Simply put, I went to England.
I lived my life from the age of twelve under the roof of my new family, quickly learning their ways. As I began to grow older, I soon began to realize that they were a family of noble birth. I realized that one day as I walked down the streets with my newfound father. His clothing was different, more ornate. People as they passed treated both him and me with a strange amount of respect they did not show to each other. But, my mind as young as it was, I did not put two and two together as quickly as I would have liked, my father was the one who told me who he truly was. And what he turned out to be was a politician.
I had been raised from my childhood in a respectful household, treated as a daughter. I know that now. The balls and galas I attended and the circles I involved myself in kept a thin sheen of respectability that none dared tarnish. Many sideways glances were thrown in my direction for the sole reason of my exotic look, and in return I tried my hardest to ignore it.
Though not a word was uttered I could see the comments in their eyes. 'How had she come to enter the household of a respectable lord? How could a foreigner like her ever learn the customs that we have?' Those words I never heard, though it stung all the same. The eyes of these people followed me everywhere I went, their curiosity almost unbearable.
It was obvious if one looked at me that I did not belong. My younger sister looked nothing like me, as she should. Blonde hair and blue eyes graced the features of every one of my relatives, their pearl white skin the final icing on the cake. I, on the other hand, had dark features. My family and I were polar opposites in every respect.
"Gisette!" I heard my younger sister call once again. My head shot up once again out of my reverie. The door opened almost imperceptibly, and in popped the fair features of Clarissa, her bright smile greeting me.
"Someone is here to see you." I heard her say, a hint of playfulness in her voice. I narrowed my eyes in confusion as I saw her lips curl into a smile. "A Dragoon cavalryman, it seems." She said.
"His name?" I asked her. Her eyes looked upwards in thought, racking her brain to remember what he had told her.
"Captain Greene, I think he said." Clarissa replied. I felt the anger rise within me even before I could even reply. Why was he of all people here?
"Tell him I'll be down presently." I replied. Clarissa nodded respectfully, closing the door behind her. I would deal with him. Pompous, arrogant little…..how dare he show his face here?!