31 October 1812
Elizabeth woke up with a start. Her heart pounded hard in her chest and breath came out in laboured gasps. Bathed in sweat, shivering, she reached for the candle on her nightstand and lighted it with trembling hands. Succeeding in her task, she got up from bed and put a shawl around her shoulders to keep herself warm and started to pace about the room, trying to shake off the memory of her dream.
It was not exactly the dream itself, as she did not remember any details after awakening. But the feelings it inspired were still with her. She recalled a feeling of a panicked horror, of helplessness and despair, entrapment.
Trying to calm herself, she sat by the window and looked out into the blackness of the night. The sky was overcast and all she could see through the pane was pitch-black. She turned her head to the room again, when something outside caught her attention. Was there...a light shining from the forest far off? She looked closer, pressing her nose to the cold glass. Nothing. I must have imagined it. She sighed and looked away. There it was again! Very faint, almost invisible, but it was there. What could it be? There was no one living out there as far as she remembered.
Maybe the light was lit by somebody who needed help? A traveller lost in the woods or a hunter hurt by a wild animal and unable to move? And now he was imprisoned in the dark forest during the cold October night? Maybe she should go out and see what it was.
The light seemed to summon her, she felt drawn to it and quite powerless to resist it. Was it just curiosity or something more mysterious? She did not know. All she was aware of was that she needed to see the source of this light.
She got dressed and quietly left the house, taking with her a lantern to light her way. Once she stepped outside a puff of wind hit her and she had half a mind to turn back. But no, she needed to go on. Gathering her resolve, she proceeded to walk along the path that led straight to the forest.
It was a pine forest, during the day the jade tree tops sharply contrasted with multicoloured crowns of oaks, ashes, poplars and other trees growing abundantly in the countryside. The dark green wall of pines against the gay gaudiness of deciduous trees seemed extremely dark, and this familiar and friendly wood appeared quite strange and uninviting. At night, however, it looked hostile and absolutely terrifying.
Elizabeth shivered, partly from cold, and partly from anticipation and anxiety. Her navy blue coat thrown over a light dress, a scarf and a red bonnet usually provided enough protection against the chill. Now, however, the strong wind which had been blowing since the previous evening flew under her dress, drove into her coat and untied the ribbons of her bonnet. Stopping for a while to tie them she looked up. Dark clouds were racing through the grey sky like ships during a storm; only here and there a fragment of a clear night sky peeked out. Now and again a silver, full moon was visible in the patch of clear sky, only to disappear again after a few seconds, covered by another layer of clouds.
The wind was getting stronger, she could hear it howling in the tree tops, causing them to sway, making the branches seem to reach out for her like ferocious paws. Her small lantern gave her little light and the small circle of light made the darkness beyond it seem even more frightening. A hoot of an owl was heard nearby, somewhere to her right she heard a rustle in the bushes and quickened her pace. She could still see the faint light in front of her and it reassured her a little.
Trying to calm her nerves, she thought rationally, as if it was just an ordinary walk for her. Shivering from the cold, she attempted to focus her thoughts on an everyday subject, pushing away her fear and dark musings. Winter is coming, she thought sighing. No more walks, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the abundance and beauty of nature. No more carefree scampering about the woods, fields and meadows. A time of a calmer season was approaching. A time of concentrating on perfecting her skills in embroidery, the piano forte, and exercising her mind. A time of reflection and study. She giggled to herself. I sound like Mary, she thought.
Yet it was true that winter was a time of meditation, making plans and hopes for the future year. This year it occupied her even more than ever before. She had turned twenty and everybody expected her to get married soon. Her mother had been talking of nothing but gentlemen, estates, fortunes and how to capture it all in the form of a rich husband for years. She was determined to find wealthy fiancÚs for her daughters. The girls had to go to all of the balls in the neighbourhood, socialize with the best society, and make and receive calls - all the time looking impeccable wearing radiant smiles on their faces. What pained her mother most was the issue of entailment. Unfortunately, having only daughters, she realized that her house would be taken away from her after her husband's death. The more time passed the more she was obsessed with getting her daughters married.
There was, however, one problem. Her family had little money and weak connections. So it was improbable that some young man would honour any of the caring mother's five daughters with a proposal. But she still lived in her fantasy world and believed that her daughters' beauty would make them irresistible to all rich gentlemen.
The young woman sighed. She harboured no such hopes. She was realistic - no rich man would ever notice her and prudence forbid her to marry a poor man. Above all, she was determined to marry only for love. The whole affair seemed hopeless.
The path was narrowing visibly. The light was very near. A few more steps and she stood in the middle of a small clearing and saw a light clearly shining through the dark thicket of the forest.
The source of the light was a tiny window in a small cottage. The house was well-kept, though it was clear it was rather old. From the only pane she could see the light which soothed and comforted her. Who could live here? She wondered. She had lived in this country all her life, but she did not remember ever hearing of an inhabited cottage in the middle of the wood. Curiously, she stepped closer. Before the door she hesitated. I should not be doing this. Who knows what I may find there? But she had not come here only to turn around and return home. In a wave of determination, she approached the door and knocked.
She waited for a while but there was no invitation. Deliberating for a moment, she pressed the door handle. She shivered again, almost regretting her decision. But it was too late. Feeling as if she was going to the gallows, she pushed the door open and stepped inside.
There was nobody in. The inside of the cottage looked nothing like she had imagined. It was furnished modestly: a table with a single candle on it, two chairs, a fireplace and an old bed in the corner. From the ceiling hung bunches of dry herbs. On the bed lay a big black cat, who didn't condescend to notice her, as he was currently occupied with diligently licking his fur. On the walls hung several shelves containing numerous old and dusty-looking tomes. She approached a shelf to examine its contents. Reading with difficulty, since the lettering was old and faded, one by one she deciphered the titles on the back of the books.
"Dwymmermorck," she read the title of an old book, furrowing her brows in confusion. It didn't mean anything to her. The next title said "La lettre noire - Histoire de la Science Occulte," Jules de Bois, Avignon 1622. What are these books? she thought with some trepidation. She moved on to the next tome. Gondelman, "Tractatus de Magiis." Her hand flew to her mouth to stifle her gasp. I need to get out of here.
"Welcome, my child," a voice said behind her, startling her almost into fainting. She spun around and faced the occupant of the cottage. An old woman was looking at her with a friendly smile. She was wearing simple clothes; her grey hair was hidden under a white cap. She did not seem frightening at all. Elizabeth calmed a little. The woman did not look like a wicked witch.
"Good evening," she replied uncertainly.
"Who is this lovely young lady that deigned to visit old Margaret's cottage?" asked the old lady smiling.
"My name is Elizabeth...Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn," replied the girl.
"Oh yes, I remember you, child."
"You know me?" asked Elizabeth incredulously.
"Oh yes, yes, I do. When I was younger I used to walk to Meryton. I saw your mother, your sisters and yourself. I remember you were your mother's nuisance because your dress was always stained, your hair tousled and you had a decided opinion on every subject. You grew into a beautiful young lady and I suppose your character is as strong as it used to be, otherwise you would not have come here tonight."
Elizabeth, slightly disconcerted by the compliment and the fact that the woman knew her, blushed and nodded. Trying to calm herself she looked around the cottage.
"Oh, dear, forgive me! I so rarely have guests I have completely forgotten my manners. Sit down, please," the woman spoke and indicated a chair by the table. "Would you like some tea?"
"Do not worry, you are safe here," laughed Margaret.
"Forgive me," muttered Elizabeth in embarrassment, her eyes cast down. Margaret smiled understandingly.
"Do not concern yourself, child. I know very well who I may seem to you. I know what they say about people like me. I would like to comfort you that not all of it is true. Frankly speaking, most of it is not true."
"Who are you?" asked Elizabeth shyly, raising her eyes on the woman who now sat opposite to her.
"Who do you think I am?" answered the woman with a question.
Elizabeth gathered her courage and asked, "Are you a witch?"
Margaret looked her straight in the eye and replied without a blink, "Yes, I am."
Elizabeth was very nervous, but her natural boldness and curiosity started to surface. A sudden thought occurred to her.
"Can you tell the future?" Elizabeth blurted out before she thought. She blushed in mortification.
Margaret nodded with understanding.
"It is why you came here tonight, is it not? Ah, I see it in your face that you have been thinking about it lately. Your thoughts drew you to me."
Could it be true? On some subconscious, almost magical level, she knew all along why she came here this night. She came here for the answers to her questions. She managed to regain some of her confidence and dared to ask, "Is it true?"
"Is it true that I can tell the future? Yes, it is true. I can do many things that the vicar would not like," she chuckled.
Elizabeth inhaled deeply and gathered her courage. "Could you tell my future?" she asked quietly.
The woman became serious. She looked at the girl closely.
"Are you certain you want to know your future? You might hear things you would not like."
Elizabeth thought for a moment. Margaret was warning her. Am I sure I want to know my future? I do not know. But need to find out.
"I am certain," she answered in a confident voice.
The fire burned cheerfully in the fireplace. The cat had finished its cleaning and lay in the corner observing a mouse. Elizabeth felt sorry for the mouse. She felt as if she was going to be assaulted by a fierce predator - her own future. Would she like what she learned? Calm down, she instructed herself. It is only your imagination, nothing dreadful will happen. At the worst you will learn you would become a spinster. There are worse fates. She sipped the herbal tea. It was tasty and seemed to soothe her nerves.
She looked attentively as Margaret walked to one of the shelves and took down a small box. She returned to the table and sat opposite to Elizabeth. She smiled at her reassuringly.
"What would you like to know, child?"
Elizabeth, too excited to feel self-conscious, replied, "Well, I am twenty years old now and mama insists that I find a husband as soon as possible. It would be best if he were rich. But I..."
"But you do not want that," Margaret finished for her. "You want love, yet you fear it at the same time. You dread the unknown and that you will never find it."
"'tis true," said Elizabeth surprised.
Margaret opened the wooden box and took out a deck of cards from it. Elizabeth inhaled sharply and opened her eyes widely. It certainly was not a deck of ordinary playing cards. They looked old, but their shape was surprisingly good. It was clear that the old woman cared for them very well and protected them from any kinds of damage. The left side of each card was covered with fantastic and beautiful drawings of flowers. The right side, however, showed a different illustration on each. Elizabeth sighed in awe. The cards were beautiful indeed.
The old woman held the cards in her hands for a few moments, concentrating. Then she opened her eyes and started to shuffle the cards. She shuffled them slowly and precisely, afterward she cut the deck and started spreading them on the table in a way that the illustrations faced Elizabeth, whose heart was beating madly with excitement.
She looked at the first card. It showed a woman sitting on a throne, clad in a flowing and rich scarlet gown. Her head was crowned with a golden crown and she held a wooden staff in her hand, which was almost as tall as her.
"This card represents you," explained Margaret. Elizabeth held her breath in expectation. "It is the Queen of Wands. It tells me you are a friendly, cheerful, intelligent woman. You do not like sitting in the house idly, you prefer to spend your time actively outdoors. In a way you are like a child; you have much energy and enthusiasm in you. That is why you are very good with children."
Elizabeth was surprised and amused. She thought about how much she enjoyed playing with her young cousins. Now I know why, she thought, I am like a child myself.
Margaret continued, "You like being with people, you can fit into any group and situation. You have energy, fire. These qualities make you quite irresistible; you can charm anybody you meet, but remember that fire may also burn and maim. Be careful and do not let your liveliness lead you astray."
Elizabeth grew serious. She did not particularly like what she was hearing. The old woman's warnings worried her. But before she managed to say anything, Margaret pulled out another card. It showed another woman, looking very royal as well, wearing a blue gown and a golden circlet. Instead of the staff, however, she was holding a golden goblet.
"This is the Queen of Cups," said Margaret. "She represents someone who is very close to you, a person who has great influence on you. It may be a woman, beautiful, blond-haired, with a tender and loving heart. She is loved by everybody, she wants to help people and support them in everything. She is very tolerant and generous, a true angel.
"Jane!" exclaimed Elizabeth before she managed to check herself. Her amazement and awe were growing by the minute.
"Your sister?" asked Margaret, not at all concerned with Elizabeth's outburst. "Yes, that makes sense. Is she important to you?"
"Oh yes! She is the dearest person in the world to me," admitted the young woman.
The woman looked at her closely, then looked at the cards.
"I do not entirely understand it, but your sister's fate seems to be bound inseparably with yours. And it is not only because of kinship."
Elizabeth was fascinated.
"What else?" she asked.
"Eight of Swords," pronounced Margaret spreading another card. It presented a woman, bound and blindfolded. Elizabeth trembled. The woman was trapped, her way of escape was blocked by swords. "Look at this card. Just like the woman in the picture is bound and with no escape, you feel right now. You feel powerless, disoriented, forced to do things you do not want to. As if you were trapped with no choice, no way to turn."
"That is how I feel," replied Elizabeth quietly.
The woman smiled at her trying to reassure her.
"This is the present. Let us see what the future holds."
Elizabeth stopped breathing for a moment in expectation.
"The Wheel of Fortune." The card spread by Margaret showed a giant wheel rising in the sky. It was surrounded by clouds and mythical creatures; on its top sat a blue sphinx, below it a creature resembling a devil and next to it a snake.
"The Wheel of Fortune has been moved," continued Margaret. "Your life is on the brink of an enormous change. It has already started. Somewhere, someone has made a decision that will influence your future. Whether the change is going to be for good or bad is not clear yet, but soon all things will change."
Elizabeth was trying to accept what she had just heard. She did not like it at all that she did not have any control over her life, that someone else could alter her future. Her gloomy thoughts were interrupted by Margaret, who spread another card. It pictured a knight on a racing horse. He was wearing armour and a red cloak, raising a sword in his hand. He looked as if he were racing to the battle.
"It is the Knight of Swords, a young man who will soon enter your life. Maybe you already know him, but do not recognize him as someone important to you yet." Elizabeth froze. "He is very direct in his statements, extremely intelligent, he is respected and possesses remarkable knowledge. Unfortunately, these features often lead him astray and to extremes. He may be rude and arrogant, may be domineering and controlling. He may also be very critical and unfeeling. He is ambitious and haughty and he always gets what he wants."
Elizabeth stared at Margaret in complete shock. She knew just such a man and hoped fervently to never have anything to do with him. What was the meaning of this?
Margaret glanced at her face. "Ah, from your expression I gather that you know this young man?"
Elizabeth nodded weakly, still too upset to reply. "I can see that you do not hold him in high esteem. I am sorry to distress you, but this man is your destiny."
Elizabeth could not believe her ears. Mr. Darcy her destiny! It was too ridiculous to be true and yet so far Margaret had been correct in everything she said.
"You should realize," said Margaret. "That he is essentially a good man. He only needs to learn not to yield to his less noble tendencies. Teaching him this will be your role."
"But how...?" asked Elizabeth incredulously.
"You will have to teach him a lesson," replied the old woman, smiling. "Show him that he will not always get what he wants without effort. Teach him that in order to win the love of a woman he needs to deserve it."
Elizabeth felt the sudden urge to laugh helplessly. Mr. Darcy? Love? She hadn't thought she would ever use these two words in one sentence. Margaret drew another card.
"Two of Cups," she indicated the card presenting a man and a woman standing together and looking deep into each other's eyes. Both of them were holding a golden goblet in their hands. "I see mutual interest and attraction. From the first moment, the energy between you and Mr. Knight of Swords has been very powerful."
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. Oh yes, the energy was abundant in all their interactions she needed to admit it. But until this moment she had not thought that it might stem from their mutual attraction. When she thought more about it, however, she had to admit that Mr. Darcy was a very handsome man. Was she attracted to him? Or better yet, was he attracted to her? No, I don't believe it, she thought stubbornly.
"The attraction between you is indisputable, the cards do not lie. But look," she motioned to another card she spread on the table. It showed a woman sitting on the seashore in a white gown, blindfolded and holding two swords crossed in front of her. "Both of you will deny your feelings for a long time. This card, Two of Swords shows it clearly. You will suppress your emotions and refuse to face the truth. You will reject your feelings and pretend indifference."
Is it really possible? Elizabeth thought in wonder. And yet, each word Margaret said confirmed that it was the truth. She will fall in love with Mr. Darcy... the thought was not so very revolting when she took into consideration all the old woman had said. He was handsome, rich, intelligent and if it was true that he was a good man then why not? Only that she did not have any tender feelings for him right now. When was it all going to happen?
"You say that he is a good man, but I do not see it right now. When will I change my opinion of him?" asked Elizabeth.
Margaret looked at the cards. "Wait a moment..." she pulled another card, showing a nocturnal scene. On the shore of a pond two dogs were sitting, howling to the full moon in the sky. A crawfish was crawling out of the water as if attracted by the light of the moon. In the background Elizabeth could see two towers. "Ah here it is," said Margaret satisfied. "The Moon, it explains everything. The Moon means an illusion, deception or a misunderstanding. Someone or something will make you create a false impression about the Knight of Swords. This fake picture will prevent you from knowing his real character and make you consider him a bad man."
"I can see the one who will do this. He is the Devil." Here Margaret showed her a card representing the devil sitting on a throne. He was naked from the waist up, his hands and feet were clawed horribly and on his head he wore a pair of ram's horns. At his feet stood a man and a woman, both unclothed. But what really made her afraid was the sight of their hands - they were chained together.
"Oh yes, he is the Fiend himself. Rarely does one see a person who resembles the Dark Prince so much. He is obsessed with wealth and is determined to gain it no matter the cost. He is ignorant and his actions reflect his foolishness. He wears a bondage of hatred and jealousy, he is blinded by these feelings, as well as by a powerful drive to revenge. He is a very dangerous man, my child. Beware of the Devil."
Elizabeth started breathing very fast. The picture painted by Margaret was exceedingly terrifying. But it was not only fear that made her uneasy. The thought that she should believe a liar telling falsehoods about a decent man was terrible for her - one who had always prided herself on her ability of discernment. But looking back, she had to admit that she had already been prejudiced against Mr. Darcy. She realized now that she had never actually witnessed any instance of an evil character in him and, save for his rude comment about her at the Assembly, he had behaved quite politely. Was she so vain that she allowed herself to write off a man only because he did not immediately fall to her feet? Her head started to ache. It was all too much! Oh why had she ever come here?
"Your relationship right now is characterized by disagreement and competition," said Margaret, pointing to another card. It showed a group of people holding long staffs who fought with each other. "This card is called the Five of Wands. You engage in verbal sparring, you argue every time you meet. It seems as if you hate each other, but, as it is often the case, those who like each other, fight with each other."
"Yet it will not last long. Look at this card." The card showed two people in a boat; one of them was sitting on the bench and the other was standing and moving the boat using a long pole. There were several swords on the vessel and a land could be seen far away. "It is the Six of Swords. This card indicates travel. You and your knight will go your separate ways. Both of you will travel; literally and figuratively. And then at your destination you will meet again."
Another card lay on the table. Elizabeth listened breathlessly.
"The Tower." And indeed the picture showed a tower. But it was not an ordinary tower - it was a tower destroyed and ruined. It was surrounded by the night and the storm, a thunderbolt hitting it, causing it to collapse and catch fire. Elizabeth shuddered at the sight of figures falling from the flank to the earth, where they found death. "Ah, the crumbled hopes and destroyed expectations. The downfall of the mighty who are properly humbled. My dear, I believe this is the lesson we talked about earlier. And this is what will happen to your knight when he receives it."
Elizabeth looked at the card in silence. It looked terrifying. Whatever her feelings for Mr. Darcy were she did not wish him such devastation.
On beholding another card drawn by Margaret, Elizabeth gasped in terror. The card pictured a skeleton in armour on a white horse, holding a black banner in his hand. Under the horse's hooves lay numerous dead bodies, and before it stood a wealthy looking man, possibly a king, trying to bribe the Death with gold, but in vain.
"Do not be afraid. The Death card looks frightening, but it is not the sign of actual death, usually at least," explained Margaret and Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief. "It indicates the end of something in a transition. Closing one door to open another, completing a chapter, changing. Both of you will have to "die" symbolically in order to be reborn for your life together. You will undergo a very great change in your outlook and view of the world and each other."
"After you have had the time to think and reflect on what has passed, you shall meet again by chance. But to both of you the meeting will bring hope. This card, the Star, shows it clearly." The card pictured a woman bending over a small pool of blue water, pouring into it more water from a vessel. The woman was blond-haired and unclothed as well. Over her head shone a beautiful bright star and several smaller stars.
"Your meeting shall restore faith in you. A belief that all can yet be well, a peace and serenity. You shall find a harmony that you had not thought possible."
Elizabeth smiled, feeling more and more entranced. It sounded so fascinating, she could not quite believe it was her own future unfolding before her eyes.
"Oh, no!" exclaimed Margaret suddenly, furrowing her brows in concern. "It does not look well at all."
"What?" asked Elizabeth anxiously.
"The Seven of Swords." The card depicted a young man running away stealthily with an armful of swords. "It seems like your reunion will be interrupted very dramatically. I see running away and a hidden dishonour. But it will not be hidden for long... A two-faced individual will deceive everybody and run away. I have a feeling it is going to be the same fiend as in the Devil card. In the end he will create a very dreadful, shameful situation, a scandal."
Terrified, Elizabeth put a hand to her mouth. How horrible! What evil person could purposefully set out to destroy the honour of innocent people for his own gain or wicked reasons? Margaret was right, only the devil himself.
"But there is still hope," continued Margaret and Elizabeth felt reassured somewhat. She looked at the card the old woman had spread on the table. It showed a woman dressed in a red robe, sitting in a chair. Her head was crowned; in one of her hands she held scales, in the other a raised sword. "Here we have the Justice card. I see a man acting on ethical principles, taking responsibility for his previous neglect, determining right action and seeing a plan through. He shall restore all to balance and right the wrong committed by the evil and the careless. A very noble action, flowing from his natural goodness and his love for you," concluded Margaret, smiling at the young woman warmly.
Elizabeth was too spellbound to ask questions at this point. All she could do was listen in silence to her future. She watched closely as Margaret drew the last card and put it on the table. In the picture were a man and a woman standing in a garden. Elizabeth blushed when she realized the pair was naked. Above their heads an angel was looking at them from Heaven, holding his hands up in benediction.
Margaret smiled. "The Lovers. Just as I thought. A very happy future awaits both of you after you resolve all the matters and sort out your differences. You will have a bounty of love and affection. But that is not all. You and your knight will establish an intimate, deep, close union. You are soul mates and you belong together. All the obstacles you will overcome in order to be together will teach you to appreciate your relationship greatly." Looking Elizabeth in the eyes, she smiled and said gently, "This is your future my child; a connection of body, mind and soul. A freedom that comes only from loving somebody completely and unconditionally. You shall be very happy indeed."
Elizabeth stared at the card for some time, taking in all she had heard. Certainly, when she was coming here today she had not expected anything like this. But now she had her answers. The question was, what was she going to do with them? Was there anything she could do?
"Our future is not carved in stone," said Margaret, as if reading her mind. "What I showed you today is what will happen if the events continue to unfold as they do now. But you are not a helpless observer. You can act, you can direct your fate, you can shape your future. Think about it, child."
Smiling and thanking the old woman profusely, Elizabeth stood up and put on her coat and bonnet. Then she turned to Margaret again.
"Thank you again for your kind help. Good bye."
"Good bye, child. I wish you luck," said the old woman kindly.
Elizabeth walked out of the small cottage, feeling extremely grateful to Margaret. She waved at her one more time and ran along the path to Longbourn. The night was still as it was when she traversed the same track a few hours ago, but she was already different. This short time spent with the old woman and learning about her future changed her greatly. Whatever she decided to do with this knowledge, she knew that nothing would ever be the same....
She woke up when the rays of early morning sun fell on her face. Oh, dear, what a dream! She thought. She had never had a dream so strange and so real at the same time. It felt as if she had experienced it all indeed, but it was too ridiculous to even contemplate this possibility.
She got up and looked about the room in search of her shawl. It was not at the foot of her bed, where she had put it when she had gone to bed the night before. After a few moments of searching, she found it lying on the floor by the closet. Elizabeth furrowed her brows in confusion. She did not remember putting it there. Oh well, it did not matter.
Bundled in her shawl, she took up her clothes from a chair. Strange, I could have sworn I put them in the closet. She picked up her petticoat and gasped. The hem was soiled and torn. Frantically, she searched for her boots and, after a few minutes of looking (they also were not where she had left them), she found them. They were muddied, as if from walking a long distance in boggy soil. But it was raining all previous day and she had not left the house! Unless... unless what she thought was a dream, was no dream at all. No, that is impossible! Or is it?
All she had learnt about herself and Jane, and the bad man and...Mr. Darcy. Did he truly love her? Were they destined for each other? What was dream and what was the reality? With a sigh, she reached to the pocket of the dress she held in her hand. She felt something there. She took it out and forgot to breathe for a while. It was the Lovers card. She stared at it for a while in amazement, then turned it around and sighed. On its left side was a note: "Dear child, trust your destiny, but remember that you hold the future. Margaret."
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