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What inspired you to write your book?
I was intrigued by one of my ancestors, a woman who was taken captive by a Mohawk tribe during the American Revolution. She chose to stay with them and marry into the tribe, despite being offered her freedom. The Songbird and the Secret is in many ways based on her life.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The Ship “The Lyon”
Somewhere in the Atlantic
She stood at the prow of the ship. Alone.
“It is dangerous for a beautiful young woman to be here, Katharina.”
The words were not spoken aloud, but to her remembrance. The voice in her memory had been filled with kindness. Warmth. Protection.
And now she would never hear that voice again.
And yet there was another voice. A voice yet more kind, more protecting. A still, small voice that was always near. Time and again on this journey across the seas, he had proven that.
Katharina breathed in the scent of the briny ocean, no longer sickened by it as she had been at the start of their journey. Where before it had signified all she had lost, it now seemed to bring with it the excitement of a new hope, a future she knew God had planned for her, a story he was writing with his own hand.
The wind played havoc with the ribbons of her hat. Silken maroon streamers suddenly floated in the air before her, making her realize too late she had forgotten to tie them under her chin in her rush to get out of the dank lower deck with its putrid scents. Her hat followed after the ribbons, floating in the morning breeze. She reached for it, groaning as she leaned over the railing. The wood creaked beneath her weight, slight as she was. She stood on tip-toe, stretching. Almost. The wood cracked. She gasped, sucking in a breath as the foaming water below seemed to rush toward her.
A masculine hand wrapped around her, pulling her back just as his other hand clutched onto her hat. She fell against the strong chest behind her. Her breaths came in gasps.
“Francis.” Make light of it, Katharina. She stepped away, turning to beam at her rescuer. “My hero, always just in time.”
Francis grinned at her praise. His dark hair, even midnight black in the sunlight, blew across a strong brow. Katharina reached a hand up, brushing her fingers against the soft hair at his temple. He liked when she spoke this way. Acted this way. She would have to remember to do so often in their marriage. She did love him. Did want to please him, but this had all come upon her so unexpectedly. She had much to learn, and no teacher.
Dawn’s sun shone down upon the newlyweds. Wispy clouds bathed in pale pinks, purples, and oranges spread across the sky.
“Look at the clouds.” Francis turned Katharina toward the eastern sky. “Do you see that?”
She squinted, shaking her head.
Francis bent to look at her, the familiar broad grin spreading across his features. He was a handsome man. And he was her husband. She had to continually remind herself.
“I see a pretty little girl with strawberry blond braids,” he was saying, “and a dainty nose, and blue eyes.”
“The cloud-Katharina,” she whispered.
“You didn't forget.” He pulled her into a warm hug.
“How could I?” Katharina leaned over the ship’s railing, remembering…
Bringewood, Herefordshire, England
A much younger Katharina sat on the wooden stoop outside her cottage. She glanced down the path that led from her home to all of her favorite places, then down at the china doll in her lap, then back up again, waiting for someone. She stroked her doll’s painted black hair.
“Oh, Emmaline, when will dear Papa come home? Why must he always work so late?”
She held the doll against her shoulder, patting it softly on the back. “Now, now. Don’t cry. He’ll be home soon and when he is, you can tell your grandpapa all about your day.”
She heard footsteps, but when she glanced toward Bringewood Manor, it wasn’t Papa approaching. It was the next best person in all the world!
“Francis!” She beamed up at her friend.
“Aren’t you getting a bit old to be playing with dolls?” Francis sat down on the stoop beside Katharina.
“Eleven is certainly not too old for dolls, and Emmaline doesn’t like your kind of teasing. You are her papa, after all.”
“Yes, yes. So I am.” He obliged Katharina by patting the doll on the top of its head.
“She’s crying. She would like her Papa to rock her back to sleep.”
“Must I, Kat?” Francis moaned.
“She has not seen you all day!”
“All right! All right.” Francis jostled the doll. “Eleven may not be too old to play with dolls, but twelve certainly is!” He handed Emmaline back. “Soon enough, you’ll have another victim to coerce into rocking your Emma.”
“My cousin is coming to live with us at the manor. He’s a bit older than us but—”
“We shall have another playmate!” Katharina clapped her hands together excitedly. “Oh, Francis, you’ve brightened my day. What is he like?”
“I haven't seen him for years and years. He lived here a long time ago, but you probably don’t remember. You were only a baby when my mother sent them away.”
“That wasn’t very nice of her.”
“I don’t pretend to understand what grown-ups do.” Francis shrugged. “But what does it matter? He shall be back and that means a new mate for us.”
“How old is he?”
“Thirteen, one year older than I.”
“But not too old to have fun. True?”
“Well, he might not be in the mood for much fun. He’s coming to live with us because his mother is dying.”
“Oh, no! Will his papa come with them?”
“My father didn’t say anything about his papa. I don’t think he has one.”
“Not have a papa and his mother dying? How very sad. We must be especially kind to him, Francis, and do anything we can to make him feel better.”
“That we will, mon chérie. And you have a talent for doing so. He’ll be happy as a lark within a fortnight of meeting you.” With that, Francis jumped up and pinched his friend’s elbow.
“You’re it.” He grinned, then sprinted off down the path.
“Wait a bit, Francis,” Katharina called. “My boots are horrid for running.”
Francis stopped to wait for her. Katharina laid her doll on the stoop and untied her boots quickly, throwing them down. She charged through the grass with bare feet, chasing after her friend. The two ran into the orchard nearby, tagging, racing, laughing. Finally, Francis lay down on the grass, panting heavily. “Watch the clouds with me, Kat,” he said.
“What do you see in them?” she asked, laying down beside him.
“I see a pretty little girl with strawberry blond braids, and a dainty nose, and blue eyes.”
“Why, you don’t see me in the clouds.”
“Of course, I do! I have a very vivid imagination.”
“Well then, what is the cloud-Katharina doing?”
“Playing happily with her best friend.”
Katharina turned on her side to look at Francis. “You will always be my best friend.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “And you will always be mine.”
“Look, Papa, a rabbit! He wants to be chased.”
Katharina’s papa chuckled, letting go of her hand as they walked along the edge of Bringewood Forest a few days later. “Don’t go too far, dear one.”
“I won’t,” Katharina called as she hurried after the rabbit, running as fast as her short legs would carry her. She chased it, laughing, hopping over the logs it hopped over, crunching the leaves under her plodding feet.
“You-are-a-fast-little-rabbit,” she panted.
As her side began to ache, Katharina’s footsteps slowed. Before another minute had passed, she’d lost sight of the rabbit. She leaned against a tree trunk, breathing hard. Turning around, she expected to see her home in the near distance. Instead, she found herself in the middle of Bringewood Forest. How far had she run? She tried not to be afraid but there were always warlocks and wolves in forests, weren’t there? Or cruel old women like the one who tried to cook up Hansel and Gretel. Or an evil witch who’d like to steal her away.
“She’ll lock me up in a tower and I’ll never see Papa, Francis, anyone, ever again.”
“Who will do that?” asked a startling voice behind her.
Katharina jumped, and then laughed at her fright when she saw a boy standing not two yards away. His nose and chin were very like another nose and chin she knew quite well.
“You must be Francis’ cousin, Daniel! But what are you doing here?”
“I followed you.”
“You followed me?”
“Sure, it looked to me like you were aiming to get lost.”
Katharina laughed again. “You’ve only been here two days! How could you help me if I did get lost?”
“Hm, I didn’t think of that. You are a clever one, Miss–” Daniel cocked his head to one side. He considered her with a most charming smile that went straight up to eyes, eyes the color of melted chocolate.
“Katharina.” She smiled back, feeling an instant bond of friendship. “Katharina Simeon.”
“Well, Miss Katharina, you are a clever one.”
“Oh, yes. Clever enough to know we really are lost!”
“But isn’t it much better to be lost with someone than alone with no one?”
Katharina thought of the frightful things she had been imagining before he had come and had to agree.
“Shall we start trying to find our way out of this enchanted forest?” Daniel asked. “Forests like these always become haunted at night.”
“With spirits and witches and all sorts of creatures if the fairytales hold any truth.” Katharina shivered.
“Then take my arm, my lady, and we shall find our way back with God’s help.” Daniel bent his arm, leaning toward her with exaggerated gallant. Playing along, Katharina placed her hand upon his arm and stood tall, as she imagined a duchess might do.
The full moon bathed the new friends in its soft light as they found their way out of the forest. Papa would be anxious.
“The stars sparkle as if they’re made just for us,” Daniel said, looking up.
Katharina followed his gaze. The startling beauty made her whisper. “Do you think this was what the sky looked like when the shepherds heard the angels singing of the savior’s birth?”
“I don’t know, but I believe they would sing now if they would look down and see you.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Because, Katharina, you are God’s most beautiful creation that I have ever seen.”
Katharina smiled. “I’m so glad you're my new friend,” she said, squeezing his arm. “Promise me.”
“Promise you? Anything.”
“Promise you’ll always be my friend.”
Daniel turned to hold her hands solemnly. “I will always, always be your friend, Katharina Simeon.”
A servant came running toward them. Katharina recognized her as the head housekeeper, known to be a stickler for every rule. Was the woman about to reprimand them for staying out too late? No, she didn’t seem to notice Katharina at all. She was there for Daniel alone.
“Your mother—” The plump housekeeper gripped her sides, her words breathless. “Oh, just come, master Daniel! Come quickly!”
The look on Daniel’s face struck Katharina’s heart. He rushed to follow the housekeeper with nary a backward glance. Katharina hurried home to find Papa.
The servant led Daniel to a bed chamber at the east wing of the manor. Mother lay in a large bed with a canopy, her head raised upon a mound of downy pillows. Uncle Lawrence and Cousin Francis were at her bedside. Servants stood in one corner of the room, waiting silently.
Daniel stood in the doorway, watching as Uncle Lawrence knelt, holding Mother’s hand, speaking to her in low tones. The housekeeper pushed Daniel gently into the room. Uncle Lawrence turned his face toward him.
“Daniel, my boy.” Uncle Lawrence stood, placing a firm hand on his nephew’s shoulder, squeezing.
Daniel stepped toward Mother’s bedside. He took her hand in his, as he had seen his uncle do. If he grasped her tightly enough, would she stay?
“I must go soon,” she said weakly, as if answering his silent question. She stroked Daniel’s hand, her touch gentle as a feather.
“But, Mother, I don’t want you to leave me!”
“Sh, now. We don’t choose when we go. He chooses for us and we must obey.”
Daniel laid his face against her hand, crying tears into her palm. With her other hand, she caressed his sandy brown hair as she had done when he was a little boy.
“Now listen closely, my brave boy,” she whispered, wiping his tears with one of her fingers. She nodded toward Lord Berington. “Honor your father in all things. Serve him, and perhaps he will bless you with the inheritance he promised me when we were young.”
“I don’t understand. Father is dead.”
“Oh, my boy.” Mother turned toward the wall as fresh tears filled her eyes.
“The delirium,” Uncle Lawrence mumbled. “It comes and goes when the fever—”
Mother looked back, resolutely meeting Daniel’s eyes. “I meant to say honor your uncle, of course.” She looked toward Uncle Lawrence whose troubled eyes were upon them. “He will be good to you, for you deserve every good thing his hand has to give.” Her words were firm. Binding.
“I will honor him, Mother, I promise.”
“My Daniel, my good boy.” She framed his face in her hands. “I believe I shall miss you even in Heaven.”
Falling back onto the pillows, Mother closed her eyes, sighing peacefully. Her grip upon Daniel’s hand slackened and her head fell to one side. She looked as if she were sleeping and, indeed, Daniel knew she was sleeping the eternal sleep of the righteous. There was no woman with more goodness in her heart than his mother.
Daniel clung to her tightly, sobbing. When Uncle Lawrence pulled him gently away, Daniel turned to be met with a fierce hug.
“It will be alright, my boy.”
But Daniel wondered if anything could ever be right again.
Many days later, Katharina skipped across the foot path that stretched from her home to all of her favorite places. The orchard. The rose garden. Bringewood Castle. She looked toward the castle, eyes searching eagerly for Papa. Her father insisted upon calling his employer’s home “Bringewood Manor” but to her it looked just like the castles in her favorite paintings did—turrets and all. Because Papa worked there as a man-of-all-trades, she had free reign to explore. She was fond of playing outside but on rainy days, she would play chess with Francis inside or roam the manor’s halls and corridors with Daniel. As much as she loved spending time with her friends, her evenings belonged to the most important man in her world.
When Katharina spotted Papa leaving the back entrance, she ran toward him to clutch his large hand in her small one. As they strolled toward the orchard where they took their walk each sunset, she swung his arm about. A flock of sparrows flew overhead, their wings flapping in unison. She thought she could almost feel the breeze they must be making.
“Papa, what is the verse about the birds and the animals?”
He smiled. “The verse from Job, my daughter? But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”
“And even I am in His hand?”
“Yes, dear one. He holds you very closely. Remember that always, even when I am not with you.”
Katharina turned to hug him, burying her face in his cloak. “Oh, Papa, you will always be with me.” She breathed in the smell of wood chips that always clung to him, a beloved aroma because it was his scent.
Ever since Mama had died upon Katharina’s birth day, she knew Papa had taken special care to make sure she always felt loved and safe. He had not wanted to remarry, and had told her time and again how he trusted the Lord to provide her with whatever he could not.
Before Katharina was born, Mama’s sickness cost Papa most of his fortune in doctor's fees. When he was compelled to seek a career, Papa hadn’t needed to look far. He’d always tinkered in woodworking and their nearest neighbors sought a new craftsman around the same time he began to look for employment. The Beringtons thought it fortuitous. Thomas Simeon told his daughter it was Providence.
Katharina pulled away from Papa to skip along the path, keeping up with his long strides.
In the orchard, she turned aside to collect wildflower blossoms. As she ran from flower to flower, a colorful bouquet quickly gathered in her arms. Suddenly, she felt something hit her upon the back of the head. It rolled off and landed on the grass beside her. A tiny apple!
She looked up into the tree above, where foliage and pink blossoms blocked most of the view. Nevertheless, Katharina was certain who had pulled this lonesome young fruit from among the branches. When she saw his face peeking amongst the leaves, she giggled, dropping her flowers in a heap.
“Daniel! I didn’t expect to see you today.” Katharina’s smile was wide despite knowing today was the two-month anniversary of his mother’s death.
“Come up and climb with me,” he called down.
“Papa, may I?”
“Of course, my dove. Come inside for supper when you hear the bell.”
“Yes, Papa.” Katharina kicked off her shoes. As soon as she was sitting on the branch beside Daniel, she asked, “How is my friend?”
“I shall be right as rain in time. At least that’s what my uncle says.”
Katharina wasn’t sure what to say to that so she simply sat quietly. Companionable silence fell around them.
“Did you hear that?” she asked suddenly. “Listen. Do you hear it?”
Daniel sat perfectly still, watching Katharina as he tilted his head, listening. At first, the only sound was the rustling of the leaves above as the wind blew them softly. It blew Katharina’s hair, too. She felt the blond strands escape her braids, gently tickling her face. And then she heard the sound again.
“It’s a Warbler.” Daniel listened for another moment. “No wait, a Chiffchaff.”
Katharina broke the quiet with her giggle. “You jest! Chiffchaff is too funny a name for a bird with such a beautiful song.”
“Would you prefer the scientific name, my friend?”
“Phylloscopus Collybita, then.”
“Oh my! That’s even funnier than Chiffchaff. What does it mean?”
“Phylloscopus means ‘to see leaves’. After all, he spends most of his time among them.”
“Just like we do.” Katharina pulled an apple blossom from a low hanging branch to pluck the petals. “And what does his surname mean?”
“Animals don’t have surnames, silly. The first name is the genus. The second is the species.”
“Alright, alright. The species name then. What does that mean?”
“It comes from the Latin word for money changer. Its song sounds like coins jingling.”
Katharina stopped moving again, listening intently. She could hear the bird in the tree above them, its song louder than before. “It does sound like jingling coins! How do you know so much about birds?”
“My mother taught me.” Daniel looked away.
“Oh, Daniel, you are so blessed to have had a mother to teach you things. My mother was never able to teach me anything. I never knew her.”
“No. She died when I was born. It was a sad time for Papa. He says I was the sun that warmed him through the coldest days.”
Daniel reached his hand over to cover Katharina’s and squeezed gently.
“I think you warm me on the coldest days, too, Katharina. I am so glad God brought you to me.”
“Silly, he didn’t bring me to you. He brought you to me upon a chaise and four ponies all the way from Oxfordshire!”
Later that evening, as Katharina made her way back to the orchard after supper, she came upon Francis. Perhaps he’d join them in their tree-climbing until sunset.
“Hello, Francis, I haven’t seen you in ages and ages.”
“That’s because you never spend time with me since Daniel came,” Francis grumbled, kicking a stone down the path.
“You’re free to join us, even if you do seem to prefer your books to me. Daniel doesn’t prefer anything to me.”
Francis grunted. “I did prefer you, before you started fussing over him so much.”
“Oh, do stop grousing and join us!” She took his hands in hers, waving them up and down. “We have so much fun. Don’t you remember? Before Daniel came, we decided to befriend him together, to do whatever we could to make him happy.”
Francis pulled his hands from her grip. “You have done that very well on your own, Katharina, as I said you would. I wish I didn’t always have to be so right about everything.”
“I don’t understand you.”
“And I don’t understand you, either, though I suppose he does.”
“Yes, he does. He’s my best friend.”
Francis scowled. He picked up the rock he’d been kicking and threw it past Katharina, sailing it just near her head. He turned and rushed back to the manor, not saying another word.
Though he had never thrown rocks at her before, Katharina was used to Francis throwing fits. She shrugged and started for the orchard where she knew she would find Daniel waiting for her.
Bringewood, Herefordshire, England
Katharina walked through the meadow alone, mimicking the songbirds that had lately become her inspiration. As she sang the notes, she closed her eyes, walking slowly, running her hands over scattered wildflower blossoms. Nearing her fourteenth birthday, Katharina was lithe and graceful, a pretty picture for the eyes which beheld her.
“New Zealand Meadowlark!”
Katharina turned toward the voice. Opening her eyes, she tilted her head. “I must say, Daniel, I believe you are the smartest boy I have ever met.”
“That isn’t saying much.” He grinned. “How many boys have you met, after all?”
“Well, there’s you, Francis, Papa, your uncle, the boy at the fish stand—what’s his name?”
“I’m not sure who you mean.” Daniel frowned, a sudden edge to his voice.
“The boy with the nice smile,” she pressed. “The handsome one with the Roman nose and curly, dark hair, and a sparkle in his eyes. I am certain you know him.”
“I haven’t noticed anyone by that description,” Daniel insisted.
“But you’re the one your uncle always sends to market. You’re the one—”
“You know, Katharina, my family is not fond of fish. I buy only chicken and beef. The pretty girl at the chicken stand, now she is worth speaking of.”
“As we were talking about boys I know, she is not worth speaking of.” Katharina stuck out her tongue at him and turned to walk toward home.
Before she had taken four steps, Daniel’s hand was at her elbow. “I’m sorry, Kat. Don’t go home. Come and watch the sunset with me.”
Minutes later, the two perched in their favorite tree. Katharina reached out, touching its trunk. “Our tree must be very old to have so many wide branches perfect for climbing.”
“At least eighty years old, Uncle Lawrence says.”
Daniel laughed. “Ancient, perhaps, to a child.”
“A child?” Katharina crossed her arms and frowned at him, losing her balance. She shrieked, clutching at the air.
Daniel grabbed onto her just in time. “You must keep a steady head, or I will have to refrain from teasing you.”
“If that be the case, perhaps I shall lose my balance more often.” She crossed her arms again, feigning precariousness.
“Katharina, the fall is far!” Daniel put his arm around her.
“I was only teasing, though I did have you fooled! Do not refer to me as a child if you don’t wish me to act like one.”
The repentant look Daniel threw her way was enough to still her wounded pride. “I promise you, my lady, I will no longer treat you as a child. To prove it, I shall tell you a true story not fit for young ears. Are you woman enough to hear it?”
“Oh, yes!” Katharina scooted closer to Daniel to better listen. He was the best storyteller she knew, even more so than Papa.
“You think this tree is old at eighty years, but I shall tell you of another, more ancient tree which grows in the old churchyard in Llangerny. You have heard of Abergele and Llanrwst in Wales? Well, Llangerny sits between the two. There is a lone church in the center of town, high atop an old hill. In the yard behind the church is a timeworn, old yew tree said to be 3,000—no, 5,000 years old.”
“In truth?” Katharina asked, eyes wide.
“In truth, my lady, I would never lie to you.” Daniel took her hand in his and scooted closer. “Now, one night each year at the stroke of eleven on All Hallow’s Eve, the Angel of Death appears under the bough of that old tree to make a grim prophecy. There he slowly, solemnly, in the ancient Welsh tongue calls out names—the names of those unfortunate parishioners doomed to die within the year ahead.”
“That’s silly.” Though her words were light, Katharina’s quickly beating heart betrayed her fear.
“Don’t scoff at the legend, Katharina. It didn’t go well for the last man who did. One evening, a visiting tailor was drinking at the pub with the townspeople, pouring scorn upon the legend. The men challenged him to go to the old yew tree and prove the story groundless. And what do you think he did?”
Katharina shivered. “He went there?”
“Yes. He went alone, up to the old medieval church. Once there, he saw nothing. Just as he began to make his way back down the hill and proclaim his victory, the tailor heard it, an ancient voice which seemed to call from far away. He crept slowly toward the tree. As he approached, he saw a shadow, human in form. And then he heard the voice more clearly, reciting names in the old Welsh tongue. The last, the very last name he heard was his own. The tailor cried out to the angel of death, ‘No! I am not yet ready!’ But within the year, he was dead. No one scoffs anymore.”
The hair upon the back of Katharina’s neck stood on end. “It has grown cold. Let us go home.” She climbed quickly down the tree, Daniel following behind her.
“I have a secret to tell, but only if you have one for me in return.”
Katharina’s whispered words swirled among the rustling tree branches, blending with the gentle autumn wind some months later. She scooted closer to Daniel.
“I do happen to have a secret to tell you in return,” Daniel replied. “But why are we whispering? There’s no one else nearby.”
“Your cousin is reading in the garden, only a stone’s throw away. Besides, secrets must always be whispered. Always, Daniel.”
“Alright, m’lady. What is this mysterious secret?”
Katharina blushed, delighted when Daniel referred to her as m’lady. It made her feel quite grown up. At sixteen, he was, after all, two years older.
“Well, m’lord,” she began, sitting up tall and dropping her whisper, “I have found a hidden passageway in your castle!”
“So it is my castle now, is it?”
“Yours, oh yes! At least Papa says it is rightfully yours. What does he mean?”
“I’ll tell you another time. When you’re older.”
Katharina folded her arms and pouted. “Older? How much older?”
“Once you catch up with me, m’lady.”
Katharina fumbled with the red cape in her lap, debating whether to answer him or punish him with a silent treatment. After all, he’d promised to stop thinking of her as a child. She twined the silky ribbons of her cape between her fingers. The day was beautiful, warmer than expected. Perhaps she should simply enjoy it with her friend instead of continuing an old argument. Then again…
“I’ll never catch up with you, Daniel, as you well know. And you promised.”
For a long moment, Daniel didn’t say anything. Katharina held his gaze as she wondered what he was thinking. His sweet brown eyes looked just like the melted chocolate in warm milk Papa always made for her. And Daniel himself was just as warm. Never cold like Francis. What was he thinking? Finally, Daniel dropped his gaze and looked away.
“Forgive me, Katharina. I did promise and, in truth, I don’t really think of you as a child. Why, you’ve just turned fourteen. Are you aware that my grandmother, the Lady Joan, married when she was fourteen?”
“Married? I cannot imagine being married within the next year!” She wrinkled her nose.
Daniel laughed. “Now.” He gave her a boyish smile. “About this hidden passage you have discovered in my castle. I want to see it right away.”
“You are just as Papa says, the adventurous one. Your cousin, on the other hand, is the boring one, always glued to his books. Francis used to be such fun.”
“If that be true of him, I have never seen it, Kat.”
Daniel leapt from the tree. Katharina jumped down after him, falling against him and knocking them both to the ground. They laughed together and stood.
“Now for your secret.” Katharina brushed dried grass from the front of her dress.
“You did promise to tell me one.”
“Quite so, and my secret is this.” Daniel bent his head close to hers and whispered in her ear, “I love you, my lady Katharina, and someday I am going to marry you.”
His secret words were carried off on the breeze to be kept and cherished with Katharina’s secret. The words would be stored away, later to be joined with others they would soon speak, blending together to form a whole, all-encompassing secret, bound together for good or ill. Only time would tell which.