Peach of June - Chapter 4
2. Kindness Comes From Money
Before September of that year, we got married.
It was my childhood dream to get married in the lavender forest on Riverrun Island. But Antoine took me to his estate, suggesting that we have our own simple wedding instead of the luxurious one that many people are watching.
At the end of September, a wedding was held in a small church on the estate of Count Güell.
Instead of holding a gorgeous bouquet like my older sisters, I made a bouquet of small wildflowers that Antoine had picked, and I wore a plain, girly white muslin dress that I originally had. We were just like a little bride and groom.
“Are you okay, Leah?”
Sister Isabella asked me on the wedding day.
“What do I need to worry about?”
I asked back.
“To marry the second son of Count Güell.”
“Are you talking about money?”
Isabella Riverrun, now Duchess Isabella Orle. Sister Bella was married to a duke’s family that was overflowing with wealth and honor. Obviously, I will not be able to live as affluent as sister Bella.
“Money? Leah, neither of us has ever lived in need of money, so it may sound naive to say this, but as most people say, money is not the most important thing in marriage.”
“I thought you were worried that I would live a poor life because I married Antoine.”
“Since you have the dowry you bring, you will never live poor. Beth also married a poor Viscount, but look at the two of them, they’re full of love, aren’t they? They live happier than anyone else.”
“Then what are you so worried about?”
“Is Antoine good enough to make you happy?”
“He is. I told you. He makes me happy.”
“Can you believe that promise? It is said that a man’s true heart is expressed not in words but in actions. Can you believe everything Antoine showed you were real? Do you think he really loves you?”
“Sister, I am happy now. Antoine made me happy. He does everything for me.”
“Leah, what about you? Do you love him too?”
Love? Well, did I really know what love was then?
I liked Antoine’s bright eyes that looked at me, I liked the kind words he gave me, I liked the way he listened to everything I said, and it made me feel good when he was by my side.
He treats me so well, of course he loves me, doesn’t he?
If his words touch my heart – when he says he will always hug me – doesn’t that mean I’m in love too?
I closed my eyes once, then opened them, and said with a confident expression.
“Sister, Antoine loves me. And I….., I love everything Antoine does for me. I love the time I spend with him. Isn’t that enough?”
“Promise me that you will always be happy, Leah.”
“Antoine is a kind person. I will be happy with him for the rest of my life. Sister, don’t worry. I promise.”
If I could only say a word here, I would say this:
‘You shouldn’t make promises carelessly.’
I failed to keep my promise.
What did a 17-year-old girl know to make such a promise proudly?
I should have noticed when I saw the sincerity of a man who picked up a rose on the spot without even preparing a bunch of roses in advance.
Güell County was not a family that had accumulated so much wealth in the first place. One small estate in the west end was inherited by the eldest son.
The only inheritance Antoine received was a small house and orchard field at the edge of the territory.
Antoine Güell was pretty good-looking, but he wasn’t resourceful.
He had no skills, no money, no strength, no virtue. All he could do after a long time since cutting ties with his older brother was to go around the streets and bet on gambling and memorize poetry and sing songs.
The enormous dowry I brought was all thrown away at gambling within a year of marriage. Even the money to hire workers to work in the orchard fields soon ran out.
After that, it was a continuation of a miserable life.
“If you brought it from the duke’s family, at least get some more money.”
But my father, Prince Riverrun, could not give me more money than the dowry.
At first, I used to borrow a little from my sisters, but that was only once or twice.
Now I have no more face to show for begging.