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Our Spring Council meeting was brief, perhaps because Iuris Perita was not there to lecture us but probably because we all had plans and were eager to get on with them. As Libraria, I was busy lending books for study. Joach has the new volume 'Grammatica' on Artes Liberales; it is very much to be hoped that he will be able to express himself more clearly after spending a whole season studying from this book. Speculor is devoting himself to the study of Mentem with as much enthusiasm as he pursued Imaginem and Intellego. I shall be returning to the summa on Rego. Elise had sent a message that she wished to have the book on Herbam. She offered just a single pawn of vis in payment, claiming that the book was not worth more. My initial reaction was that she was trying to cheat us, and establish a precedent for lower fees, but my sodales were inclined to agree with her view of the book, and it was a pawn of Auram vis so I agreed to accept just one pawn this time. We were all keen to have a safe source of light for use in the scriptorium as soon as possible and so Constantine is to perform his season of service right away and produce another lamp for us. Vis from the regio was collected, I cast the Aegis of the Hearth, and business was complete.
I met Jimena today, and found out that she is expecting to be away for several weeks, paying a visit to Rennes with Lady Marta. My first thought was that Lady Marta was unwell, but it is nothing of the kind. Jimena reminded me of the problems she encountered last spring when she went to St.Brieuc in the hope of finding an intelligent and curious child to come back with her here to learn medicine from her. She has spoken with Sir Achilles, thinking that he might be able to put her in touch with someone who could help her find an apprentice, and he sent her to Lady Marta who has been very keen to help. However, Jimena is worried that Lady Marta does not entirely understand what she is trying to do. She seems to think that Jimena should present herself as a Spanish noblewoman seeking a suitable girl as a companion, perhaps the younger daughter of a minor noble family that cannot afford the dowry for a suitable marriage or the donation to admit the girl to a nunnery. Jimena wishes to find a child no more than twelve years of age at the most, who is intelligent and hard working, with a well-developed curiosity about the workings of the world and, ideally, a few years' schooling behind them. Jimena is to travel to Rennes with Lady Marta to try to find a suitable apprentice, and Jimena hopes that she can get Lady Marta to understand her requirements while they travel.
I have been away for several days, paying my regular visit to the Lady Cierella, and I am glad to say that everything went very well. She was pleased with my story-telling in the re-enactment of her rescue, and she enjoyed the tale I told afterwards at the celebratory feast so she gave me a pawn of Muto vis and one of Aquam. It is a pity that Gwénolé seems to have lost interest in this event. We had good conditions for travel and so, despite the unfortunate loss of time in the Valley, were not away so long as to interfere with my work on Rego.
I have been making frequent visits to the place near Quercus' oak, on the edge of the village, where I planted the magic acorn, hoping to see signs of growth as the ordinary acorns sprouted, and have been always disappointed. So, I was especially thrilled when a message reached me that a couple of our people have seen field fae on our land. I shall spend whatever time I can spare from my studies outdoors in hopes of catching sight of them myself.
Joach and I have been talking about the books belonging to House Verditius which we know Iuris Perita took charge of when they had been rescued from Dextrovorsum. Joach, quite rightly, believes that they are the property of his House so should be in his care. I feel sure he accepted my point that the books would be safer in the library than in his laboratory. We do not know whether Iuris Perita took them with her, or whether they were sent away some time ago, or perhaps they are still in her sanctum, where no-one can get at them.
Jimena has returned to her cottage and has brought with her a girl of about eight years of age. She is the youngest daughter of a minor noble of Lady Marta's acquaintance from Rennes. Whilst in Rennes, Marta had spent a lot of time doing things that seemed to be unrelated to the matter of finding a suitable child. She had done quite a lot of shopping, which involved hunting for items in the market, then an amount of bargaining, often enlisting Jimena's help if the seller spoke only Breton. She had also spent a lot of time calling in to see scribes and clerks, talking to them at length and sometimes obtaining a document, often handing over some gift, perhaps of foodstuffs or cloth. Many hours were spent paying social calls on women who usually turned out to be related to Lady Marta in some way or other, cousins of cousins, or families into which one of her daughters had married. This was particularly tedious for Jimena, who was under instructions from Lady Marta to say as little as possible, and to keep up the pretence of noble birth herself. However, it was as a result of some of these meetings that the girl she brought back was found.
Jimena was worried at first that the girl seemed so unenthusiastic about leaving her family. Lady Marta has raised daughters of her own and soon found a way to win her over. The girl had previously only ever worn handed down things from her elder sisters so was thrilled to be given a brand new dress, a warm cloak and some good boots all of her own. Marta added a pretty silk scarf and the child cheered up enormously. Whether she continues happy with her lot when she realises that hard work and study are required remains to be seen. She is not stupid, at least. Lady Marta is taking a great interest in the child and took it upon herself to commence lessons during the journey home, introducing the girl to reading and making her practice writing her name. Jimena intends to send her to lessons with the tutor Naimes, and with Edwin when he can spare the time.
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