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As Fortune Leads

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“Let me hear you play,” says the man in the inn.

It is fortunate that she brought her lute on the journey to Cremona. She had no true vocation to be a nun anyway, whatever her uncle thought.

Instead she travels and sings songs about a man with marmalade-flavoured kisses and a loud, warm laugh. She thinks she could perhaps have loved him more than any cheese in Italy.

She hears of the Horror of Parma through scandalised, delighted gossip and fears there’s no word of exaggeration in the gory tales.

Her own heart, at least, will heal in time.