Thursday, August 23, 2007

Up the Grand Staircase

Making their courtesies to the older ladies sitting as chaperones at the base of the grand staircase in the great hall, the two young ladies flitted up the staircase, pausing a few times to allow Maria-Aurora to pause and fan herself in a perfunctory attempt to sustain her indisposition. At the first such interlude securely out of earshot of the chaperones, Maria-Aurora leaned against the marble balustrade a moment to reseat her heeled pump, to which she was still becoming accustomed, and, reflecting a moment, enquired, "but I don't see why Oma would be such a fright to this comte, she spends all her time at her needlepoint, and I don't think she's ever been to France."

"Not our Grandmother Annelise, my grandmother Vittoria. She travelled widely during my father's childhood, in order to keep up appearances on behalf of the duchy until he was old enough to assume the coronet. She must have met him somewhere and gotten on bad terms."

"With your grandmother? I cannot fathom how that could have been," Maria-Aurora replied archly.

Sophie-Vittoria refused the bait. "The important point is that the comte somehow had the key to the organcase in the chapel--at least it's easy enough to prove or disprove that, without involving anyone else."

"Why don't you just give the key to your father, and tell him everything that's happened?"

"The comte said that the enemies of my father had agents in the household. If we give it to him; he'll give it someone else to investigate--probably Chancellor von Schirnhausen, but who knows? If the key gets handed to the wrong person, the whole thing will disappear, and just be put down to a girl's fantasy. And besides," concluded Sophie-Vittoria with irrefutable insight, "it's my party, and I'll pry if want to."

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...


What a wonderful play on words. I salute you.

-- Jeff