"But what shall I do? Where shall I go?" asked Emma.
"You're certainly welcome to stay here for as long as you like," said Pierre.
"But I couldn't!" Emma was shocked. "An unmarried woman staying in the home of an unmarried man - what would that look like?"
"Let me check with my friends. They have several children, but I'm sure they'd be willing to let you stay with them temporarily."
"I wouldn't want to impose..."
"Oh, they wouldn't see it that way at all. They're both very kind people," Pierre insisted.
Within minutes they were standing on Sydney and Gabrielle's doorstep.
"Oh, you poor dear! Whatever happened?" Gabrielle asked when she saw Emma. Emma repeated her story to Gabrielle.
"Why, of course you may stay here! We don't have much room, but you're certainly welcome to sleep on the sofa."
"Oh, thank you, madame," said Emma. "You're so very kind."
"Why, it's perfectly all right!" Gabrielle embraced her. "I know exactly what it's like to be all alone with nowhere to go."
Sophie was a year old by now. She was a chubby, happy baby, with dark hair and eyes and dimples. She had only recently learned to walk and toddled curiously over to Emma.
"Aren't you adorable!" Emma exclaimed, holding her arms out to the baby. "Won't you come see me?"
Sophie's smile disappeared, and she fell onto her plump bottom, where she sat looking anxiously at her mother.
"She's just a little bit shy around new people," Gabrielle explained. "She'll be fine once she gets to know you." She picked Sophie up and sat holding her on the sofa beside Emma. From the safety of her mother's arms, the little girl regarded the newcomer without fear.
"Would you like to play patty-cake?" Emma smiled warmly at Sophie. After a moment's hesitation, Sophie smiled back at her.
"This is Emma," Gabrielle told Georges and Genevieve when they returned home from school. "She'll be staying with us for a little while."
The children looked at Emma curiously, and the woman quickly shared her story with them.
"After our mother died, they took our aunt away from us and put us in an orphanage," Georges told Emma. "We were so scared. We were so sure that she was being taken away to the guillotine and we'd never see her again. I was so very happy when she and Uncle Sydney finally found us and brought us to England."
"You poor dears," Emma said to Georges and Genevieve. "I'm so happy you're safe now."
"May we please go play with Little Lucie, Aunt Gabrielle?" asked Genevieve.
"Of course, dear, as long as you're home by dinnertime," Gabrielle told her.
"Please let me do something to help," Emma said to Gabrielle when she began to prepare the meal.
"Why don't you wash these vegetables and then I'll chop them," Gabrielle suggested.
"I'd be happy to," Emma said.
Soon Sydney was home from work. "This is Emma," Gabrielle told him. "She's a friend of Pierre's who needed a place to stay for a little while."
"Of course she's welcome to stay for as long as she likes," said Sydney. "But where are Georges and Genevieve?"
"I told them that they could go to play with Little Lucie as long as they were home by dinnertime," Gabrielle told him.
Within a few minutes, Gabrielle and Emma had finished preparing dinner, and the children still hadn't returned.
"It isn't like them to disobey," Gabrielle said. "I do hope that nothing has happened to them."
"I'll go over to Charles and Lucie's and fetch them really quick," Sydney volunteered. He went to his friends' house, where he found them both very worried.
"I went outside to call Little Lucie in for dinner and didn't see the children. I looked all over for them but couldn't find them anywhere," Lucie told him.