One evening, though, after Jacob and Sophia were in bed, a frantic knock at the door brought Isabel to her feet. She and Edmund lived in fear of the day when someone would come and tell them that their father fell into the river drunk and drowned or was killed in a fight at the alehouse. Edmund had been doing most of their father’s work since their mother’s death, but England at that time still did not smile upon young orphans, and having a father for their younger siblings—even one that was useless most of the time—was better than no parent at all.
“Issie, open the door,” came a frantic whisper. Peter. Isabel looked at Edmund and gave him a reassuring smile.
“When did he start calling you Issie?” Edmund asked with raised eyebrows.
Isabel rushed to the door and pulled Peter in. Peter wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close in an embrace they would never have been able to share outside the walls of the house.
“I’m so glad I found you safe,” Peter said.
“Peter, what’s wrong?” she asked.
“I received a vision. Not just a word, a vision. You were tied to a stake.”
“What? I thought you said we would be married. How can we be married, but I be tied to a stake?”
“I do not know,” Peter said. “Maybe the future is always in flux, maybe our decisions can interfere with God’s plan. I simply do not know. All I do know is that I cannot let that happen to you. You need to run. Issie, you need to run tonight.”
Edmund put the clothing he was working on down and came over to where his sister was still standing in Peter’s arms.
“Tell me what is happening,” he said.
Peter looked at Isabel and she nodded. “You can trust him. I do.” He nodded and squeezed her one more time before they sat together at the dinner table.
In hushed tones, to not wake the younger children, Peter told Edmund of his abilities. Edmund, to his credit, kept his mouth shut until Peter finished with his narrative.
“You say you saw Issie tied to a stake?” Edmund asked. The disbelief in his voice was evident.
“I have never before received visions from God,” Peter said hesitantly, “but this was as clear as day. It was as if I was there.” He looked at Isabel and she saw the fear and concern in his eyes. “My love, you must run. I will follow when I can and find you, but you must flee.”
“‘My love’?” Edmund said, looking from Isabel to Peter.
“Peter, how can I leave the children? Can you promise me that they will be safe?”
“You know that I cannot,” Peter said. “They will be without you no matter if you decide to go or decide to stay. I urge you to leave.”
“I will think about it,” Isabel said. She held up her hand to stop Peter’s objection. “If I choose to go, I want to make sure that my family is provided for. I have seen a lot of valuable objects in the river, washed down from towns upstream in the flood. I can retrieve them and Sophie, Jacob, and Edmund will be able to survive since Father is absolutely useless.”
“Issie, you should not speak about your father in such a manner,” Peter said. “Whether or not it is true.” He sighed and picked at a loose splinter on the table. “I think we can work with that, but promise me that if I tell you to run again, you will leave immediately. I will promise not to ask you to run again unless your arrest is imminent.”
“I can accept that,” Isabel said. “I will do what I can to begin preparations now.”
“Thank you, Isabel,” Peter said, putting his hand on hers. He smiled at her.
After Peter left, Edmund pulled Isabel aside.
“Tell me what is going on,” he said.
“We are to be married,” Isabel said. “Not now, but when he is able to save enough.”
“When was this decided?” her brother asked, gripping her elbow a bit too hard.
“God has decreed it,” she told him.
“Have you agreed to it?” Edmund asked. “God seems to decree a lot, most of which you do not believe. You believe none of God’s decrees that comes from our uncle’s mouth, but you believe the badger’s son? Have you agreed to this match?”
Isabel nodded at him. “He is a good match. Our … strengths complement each other.”
“If you will have him because you will, not because he says God has decreed it, I will support it. But, I do agree that you must watch yourself. If he is as gifted as he says, then we should listen to him.”
“Of course,” Isabel said with a nod. “I have an idea to provide for you, Father, and the young ones. I will begin tomorrow.”