I stood in my bed chamber in the Foley’s home in a disagreeable state of perturbation. My heightened distress was due the Prince’s hasty removal from the Marchmonts ball at the hands of the gout. Such an event had prevented the exuberant felicity of familial reunification that I had so longed for since I had discovered my royal lineage. I had been desirous, for the three days since the regrettably lamentable incident, to surrender myself wholeheartedly to that most feminine female frailty of nervous apoplexy, and had been trying with some zeal. However my nerves failed to oblige me and no such hysteria was forthcoming!
I lay upon the bed awaiting tidings of the Prince’s recovery and immediate frenzied search for his fallen relation. I was torn betwixt my forlorn despair that so delightful an occasion of unity amongst our own ménage may never come to pass, and the auspicious expectation that it might. Unwilling to abandon myself to peaceful slumber I employed that gift so particular to young ladies of true accomplishment; the indulgent reverie of inventive schemes. It was fortunate that I oft indulged in the perusal of novels thus I was well acquainted with the ways of the beauteous heroine. I determined from my recollection of these sources of certain truths, that the Prince may, like as not need some aid in his quest.
“Francesca, like as not the Prince may need your aid in his search!” Said I to myself in tones melodic certainty.
Soon my cabal revealed itself to me with the clarity usually associated with the best diamonds. I would leave the Foley’s uncomfortable establishment upon the morrow and seek immediate employ within the royal household.
“Ten to one you would instantaneously secure a position as one of the queen ladies in waiting.” I assured myself with feeling.
Once I had secured such a post the Queen would, for reasons she would find entirely unfathomable, be intuitively and helplessly drawn to me by our in-concealable natural affinity. Whence she had succumbed to curiosity and improved our acquaintance to such a degree that I would be know throughout court as her favourite, she would be left in little as our true connection and she would be overcome with every happy feeling. Upon making so paradisiacal a discovery she would, I was entirely certain, rush forth to the king and say …
But quite what the queen would say to the king I never did settle upon. For at the very culmination of my delightful illusion I was interrupted by the sound of a carriage.
I was, I confess exceedingly puzzled by so surprising a surprise particularly at so irregular an hour. For while I was unaware what the hour was, I knew to be late as my hair had taken on the quality that spoke only tardiness. I made all haste to the window casement and glanced down at the peristyle below in time to see a splendid barouche arrive at a speed that with each turn of the wheel suggested sensational developments. A woman was soon handed down by an excellently liveried footman and granted admittance by Mr. Puff, the Foley’s own churlish servant. I was gratified to note from my single short glimpse that my estimation of sensation were entirely correct. Since the lady wore a bandeau atop her head of such magnificent proportions that it too intimated astounding sensationalistic happenings with every wave of it’s scarlet plumage.
I waited in fevered anticipation and twas not long afore I heard the household being roused and Sukey arrived in my chamber with the air of one who has tidings of intrigue.
“Sukey,” Said I ” You arrive in my chamber with the air of one who has tidings of intrigue.”
“My dear Francesca, we must make all haste to the parlour for there are such sensationalistic happenings to witness!” was her animated reply.
We proceeded to the parlour in so hasty a fashion that we undoubtedly bore a marked resemblance to poachers fleeing a Lord’s woods with above two dozen brace of pheasants within our grip! Our subsequent entrance into the afore mentioned parlour showed a severe disregard for propriety and I feared we may have exposed ourselves to the ridicule of the pleasingly hatted guest. I need hardly have feared for upon my entrée the good lady was the very essence of emotive sentimentality as she turned her elegant figure and estimable visage upon me.
“Oh for the love of all things muslin! I had come to believe I should never see this day!” Cried she in tones of animated disbelief. “Forgive me so inelegant an outburst.” She concluded.
“Francesca, pray allow me to introduce our free-spoken guest. This is the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity.” Mrs Foley performed the formalities with the air of the accomplished hostess.
“Dearest lady, Allow me to offer you my sincere admiration of your abundant multitude of titles!” Said I with open veneration that verged on over familiarity.
“Why child, you are too kind. Tis true such a notable variety is unusual, however so numerous a number was rendered entirely necessary that I may fully convey the nature of my nobility.” Said the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity. “However it is not of my collection of titles that I have come to speak.” Continued she, ” I have journeyed this eight and thirty hours to see you Miss Nonsense.”
“me?!” I spoke with tones of surprised euphony.
“Indeed, for whence I first laid eyes upon you at the Marchmont’s ball your likeness to the Prince’s sister was beyond anything reasonable, thus I deduced you to be a lost relation of the monarchy. At least as near to the Prince as a niece if not closer. However when I saw you embark upon that jig with such elegance as would have made you the envy of every young lady as she dances her first dance at her long anticipated coming out ball, I noted the peculiar lightness of your right foot and I knew at once that you were not a personage of royalty. Though you possess enough natural grace and elevated refinement that you could easily be counted among them. T’was upon seeing this that I knew without a doubt that you are my own Francesca! My own daughter!” Said the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity!
I was all gratification that, following so exacting a perusal of my person, the lady had found so much to charm and give pleasure. Thus I did not take heed of what she said and was forced to entreat her to repeat it. The Duchess Lady Countess Of Inveracity was beyond generous as she obliged me and repeated her eloquent speech.
“Whence I first laid eyes upon you at the Marchmont’s ball …” Began she, “… you are my own Francesca, my own daughter!” Concluded she with feeling.
Upon hearing these words for a second time I was soon so overcome by every happy sentiment that I indulged in the most elegant fainting that was in my power to perform. …
To Be Continued