Isabella walked everywhere in the streets of Paris and would often sit and sketch the amazing buildings and sights that she saw. Her hotel was next door to the Cabarets of Heaven and Hell and she would make up fanciful stories with them as the location. It was easy to do, even someone without so active an imagination could probably do it!
She began writing to her Father to let him know she was well and happy and enjoying all the fine things Paris had to offer. She liked the idea that she was now walking on the same cobblestones her Father and Mother had once strolled and was hopeful that Fate would bring about a true love for her as well.
One day she woke up and put on her happiest stockings and after having a sip of wine (for courage!) decided to take some of her drawings around to different shops and see if any of the owners wanted to sell them for her. There were so many artists in Paris that she felt almost ashamed of her meek efforts. But she needed to make money as her wallet was growing slim and she had not even met one single person, more or less her One True Love.
Isabella knew that if she went back to the cottage without a husband she would end up an old maid. Her heart was so full of love that it was impossible to imagine that she would not be able to share that with someone. There must be a match for her.
If only she knew where to look, she would go there right this very minute.
She picked up her portfolio and locked her hotel room door and said goodbye to the doorman and walked into another lovely day in Paris.
The air seemed sweeter and the flowers more vivid than at home.
Perhaps it was all the bakeries and patisseries all over the city that made it smell like Heaven!
As she strolled down the sidewalk, enjoying the colorful dresses and fashionable hats of the French women she would keep her eyes on the ground for any bit of something she might keep as a souvenir of her time here. She had an album at home for keepsakes and postcards and she hoped to add a few more pages to it once she finally returned.
Hello! What was that bit of paper at her feet?
It was a recipe for Angel Food Cake!
Written out on a stained and crumbled bit of index card. She thoughtfully put in in her small bag and continued on her way, wondering to herself if it was a sign.
Even though no one else at home believed in them, she did!
She would often have strange things happen, like the Bible would fall from the bedside table and then suddenly the door bell would ring and there would be Father Goodman calling for tea.
Or one time she was at the grocery and ran into a whole display of dog food with her cart and later that day a neighbor had brought over Sadie as a tiny pup and asked if she would like to have her.
Maybe the recipe meant something?
Maybe it was just a scrap of paper that had been lost and didn't mean anything her more sensible side argued. Her sensible side had been quite upset over this whole ordeal and longed to be home, safe with her orderly schedule and tatting.
The rhythm and repetition kept her hands busy and her mind occupied and she didn't feel lonely as she tatted for hours in the lovely wicker rocker on the porch of the cottage. She could smell the wisteria and lavender almost as surely as she was there.
She couldn't let her sensible self ruin this for her because this would be her only chance at a Romantic Adventure and she was going to enjoy it! She had worked hard all her life and never expected any thanks because it was her duty but now she finally had done something selfish and yet she believed that her Father understood and wished her success, once he had gotten over his initial grief at being abandoned so suddenly.
Maybe after she had shown her drawings and watercolors around town she would grab a petite morsel and eat it in her room and then do some tatting to while away the time and sooth her inner critic.
Maybe she would earn enough money to visit the infamous Moulin Rouge she thought as she walked by and stopped to peer up at the Moon on top. It must be quite wonderful to see a show in such a fanciful place. The city was magical to her and every morning she was enchanted anew when she looked out her window at the view before her.
She could hardly wait to get dressed and be among the crowds so merrily walking around taking in the air and so unaware of the marvelousness that was Paris. Why, she bet that hardly anyone who was born here was even delighted with the architecture or uniqueness of Paris. There were times she had been walking on the beach by her home and heard tourists remarking on the view as they saw it for the first time. It was the same everywhere she imagined. People get used to something and then take it for granted.
It was just as she finished that thought that she saw a flutter of paper land at her boot and she had to step back not to step right on it!
It was another recipe!
This one for donuts! It said comfort at the bottom of the page.
What did that mean? Was it a person's name? Or was it a discription of the fried cake?
She was about to put it in her bag with the other found recipe when a man with an apron and chef hat came running towards her almost knocking her into the bed of lavender and topiary at the doorway to an art gallery. He accidently bumped her portfolio and as it fell to the ground the latch opened and her pages of artwork began to fly about like kites on the breeze. Or maybe it was butterflies like the ones she felt in her stomach as she looked up into the kindest brown eyes she had ever seen.
Just at that very same instant the owner of the Art Gallery came out and said: "Here, Here! What's Going ON??? Madame, may I help you? Did this clod hurt you?" Then he began picking up the drawings and paused as he saw what they were. He looked at Isabella and said "Are these yours? Did you do them?"
She could only nod as her voice had momentarily left her and was off running in a field of daisies, happy with the hope of love or at least mesmerized with infatutaion.
The Chef looked down at her hand and took the recipe, saying, "Pardon me, but this is mine. Thank you for finding it. The wind caught my book just as I was about to put it in my pocket and it has scattered my favorite recipes all over Paris, I am afraid!" With that being said he turned and walked quickly back down the street and soon disappeared from her view in the crowds of people.
Her cheeks felt as warm as wrought iron rail she leaned back on to steady her trembling legs.
He was handsome.
He smelled like bluebarry tarts.
His eyes were so golden brown and crinkled around the edges with laughter just waiting to ring in her ears.
The Art Gallery owner took one look at her and suggested she come in for a spot of tea and a cucumber sandwich as his wife had just made him a midmorning snack and this girl looked as if she needed some fortification. It would also give him a chance to look at her work, which he thought he just might have a buyer who would be interested in them.
Isabella gladly let him assist her into his shop and gratefully sat and sipped her tea as she tried to shake the image of the handsome baker from her mind. He had run off so quickly, he probably wasn't interested in her or had even noticed her.
He just wanted his old recipe!
That was all!
What was wrong with her?
The sensible Isabella stifled for weeks decided to give herself a strict talking to and launched into a lecture, her shoulders sagging as she listened to her inner monologue rant and rave about love and romance and silliness and butterflies, indeed!
Isabella sighed and was about to admit to herself that she was right when the gallery bell rang and the baker appeared with a large tray of tarts.
~to be continued~