The priest walks around the cluttered work table, drags a finger down its surface and holds it up for inspection. He scowls and wipes it on his cassock, walks slowly up the stairs to the kitchen. He stands before her, hands clasped behind him.
“Listen, daughter. I came to speak to your husband about his reputation. I do not carry gossip, for I care nothing for the chattering of such birds. No, I speak of his professional reputation. Under normal circumstances I would never trouble a wife with my concern, but you and I enjoy a certain confidence gained by your life in the Church. I say to you in all candor: your husband is on the verge of losing his good name, if he has in fact not lost it already. My errand today was to offer him opportunity to right the harms his dalliance have caused the Church. It could be considered a commission. On the other hand, it might be considered a penance as well, for I cannot offer much in the way of financial compensation. It is a chance. Perhaps it is a last chance. So, my daughter, I ask you this: will you not approach your husband with my offer?”
This is an excerpt from a novel in progress about Marie of the Incarnation and her mission to New France in the 1640s.