My days of intemperance--of gambling, womanizing, and drinking--are done. Whether my sins ended when the cannon burst , nearly taking my leg, or whether they ended last month, when my affianced, an endlessly forgiving lady whom I’d at last agreed to wed, fell from her horse and broke her neck, matters little. My dear lost Wili, fool that I am, I took you for granted, thought you would always be there, arms open, ready to love and forgive!
That part of my life, full of deception and lies, those days of selfish pleasure—are over. As my confessor says, God has granted me wealth, position, strength and grace of form, but I have taken His gifts for granted, have evaded the duties and tasks which are required of a gentleman.I am to marry my lost bride’s little sister and take up the duties of lordship, tending to neglected family property and assisting my father with diligence and honesty. My young cousin Caterina will not make an easy wife, for she justly blames me for her beloved sister’s years of unhappiness. Caterina is, to all intents and purposes, a child, with little knowledge of the world or of the duties required of a gentleman’s wife. There is almost nothing about her—beyond her lanky promise of beauty—which interests me, except for her surprising knowledge of horseflesh, which rivals that of any man I've ever known.
If I am to fulfill the promises I’ve made to my family and to God, I must be patient with my young cousin, be at first far more a stern and loving father than a husband. This will not be easy for me, as I have hitherto been accustomed to always have my way with the ladies...
~~ Christoph von Hagen
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Historical Novels with Passion and Magic