I've decided! I shall ask her tomorrow. A man only lives once!
We agreed to meet at our usual place at noon. Clarissa has asked for a half-day off, and I'll sneak away from the chancellery. That old fogey of a supervisor will never notice I'm missing. And even if he did, so what! I'm young, I'll find other work.
Although... if Clarissa found out I'd lost my job, she might not agree... I'd have proposed to her ages ago, were I not aware how much she fears a life of poverty. She's never said as much, but I can see it worries her.
But what are we waiting for? Together we shall live more economically than apart, and finally we shall not have constantly to scheme up ways to meet here!
I wanted to invite her to dine at the best eatery in all of Beauclair... So many times I have imagined what it would be like. Waiters decked out in golden livery would bring us foie gras and sorbets. Clarissa would sit on a satin cushion, a raven-black crown of hair on her head and looking beautiful, the most beautiful woman in all the room. Then, I would pull out a diamond ring.
But the truth is I shall never be able to afford all that, not even if Clarissa were to insist a ring of simple silver would be enough for her and we'd be better of spending that coin to buy a house in Hauteville, where we could open up a shop and she could sell hats.
Thus I shall propose to her tomorrow, in the abandoned wine cave which serves as our meeting place, our cozy sanctuary where we have spent so many pleasant hours together. She never complained that our only romantic moments have been spent surrounded by cobwebs and old barrels of wine. But tomorrow marks the end of all that! Once we are wed, I will carry her across my threshold. It will be tight quarters, but there will be room enough for a bed. And there will be no cobwebs.
I've only a simple copper ring for her, with a red glass jewel of the cheapest sort. But I promise in a year's time I will exchange it for a silver one, with an amethyst, or maybe even a ruby!
O, Clarissa! Tomorrow cannot come soon enough!
I think I shall not be able to fall asleep tonight.