Life Without Life

Chapter 2:

In another side of the manor lives a vivacious boy named Matthew. He is the Baron's son and is treated as such. He lives quite differently from Emily-Elizabeth, yet somehow is so similar. He must face the fact that some day, if not sooner, he will be compelled to marry another Lord's daughter. His father, the Baron of Nottinghamshire, only hopes for his son's happiness. What he does not realize is that his son thinks he is in love.

"Matthew, do you remember my good friend, the Baron of Cannock?"

"Aye, father, how could I not forget? You have been telling me continuously that I am to marry his daughter. But you do not seem to understand."

"What is there to comprehend? You should be privileged to be one of the favored ones to be betrothed to her."

"Aye, well, what of them?" he says bluntly.

"I am inviting them to a banquet to commemorate your marriage! All the arrangements have been made and the banquet will be held in January."

"Father, you do not understand! Then again, how could you? I am devoted to someone else."

"What is this devotion you speak of?" the Baron inquires.

"It is a name I cannot nor will not utter. I am under a secret oath not to reveal who she is or how we happened to rendezvous." With a tap of his feet, Matthew is outside the front gate of the castle.

The castle size itself is immeasurable. It occupies most of the grounds of the manor and is located on a low mountain­top. Surrounding the castle is a wall and beyond that wall is the village of Nottinghamshire. Once inside the main iron gate of the wall, stand within the courtyard. To one side there is an apple orchard; to the other is the servant's ward. Directly in the center lies a water­fountain statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture, standing among a meadow of lilacs.

Matthew storms out of the castle and proceeds into the orchard. He recollects the first person he ever met here:

"Matthew, why must we meet like this, so secretly?"

"I do not wish for my father to find us hither. It is for that reason we must never see each other again!"

"Matthew, could you not reason with him, tell him of our love for each other. He is sure to understand how you feel for me."

"Em, I do love you, you know that. It's just that I cannot go against my father's wishes. I must tell you adieu."

Matthew attempts to forget that last kiss they had experienced, but it is implanted into his mind. The aroma of the autumn flowers in the orchard keep reminding him of the first time he had laid eyes upon that maiden. That lonely peasant girl, he thinks, as he goes into the stables to fetch his horse. I wonder if she still remembers me.


continue to chapter 3