At the behest of the French king the artist has journeyed from Italy to lead his school of students in the design and construction of a château in the Loire Valley. Despite the fact that master and servant seldom talk, each is acutely aware of the other’s presence and routine. He gives her gifts of clothing and jewellery; she is sensitive to his every need. He imagines them dying together, envisaging her as lover, angel, Madonna. Finally she puts it to him, falteringly, one sleepless winter’s night in the kitchen - she would like to continue to serve him after death by offering him her body to study. Then, on receiving news of her idiot son’s death, she sets out to bury him, promising to return shortly. But the winter passes and she still hasn’t returned. The artist develops a fever and, unable to draw, he waits.