Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The boat

Versailles, 18th November 1713

Claire Baizanville would knock on the door, but hesitated for a moment. Pensive, she turned to watch the small garden, still undecided. After a while, she sighed and finally knocked gently.

A maid showed her the way. It was actually unnecessary, because the palace was quite small and she'd have been able to go all around it without any effort. When she arrived Princess Elisenda's deskroom, she knew there was Marquis of Vilana too. She was gently invited to join the meeting, and afterwards they continued their conversation:

--So, dear Marquis, has King George been finally crowned at Westminster?

--Indeed, Your Highness, according to our ambassador in London, Lord Dalmases.

Claire sat and watched at them in silence. Vilana radiated satisfaction, while the Princess was simply radiant. Biting her lip not to speak too soon, she tried to smile as well and buy some time to think how to start... Quite unsuccessfully indeed, because Elisenda noticed immediately that something had gone: --Claire, what's wrong?

Claire forced herself to use a voice the most professional possible: --Nothing good, Your Highness. Our Monte-Cristan network of agents have just got news that last week there was a big battle in a town called... Montblanc. One of your main armies was encircled there and annihilated by a superior enemy. One of your most valuable generals was taken prisoner, and there have been numerous casualties. It is feared that the enemy may force the road to Barcelona.

Vilana seemed as if suddenly petrified. Elisenda paled hard: --I am s-sorry, Your Highness --Claire stammered.

A thick silence filled the room for a long while until the young princess rose sharply, eyes twinkling: --It would be ineligible to stay here, doing nothing while so many people suffer from our cause. I'm going to Barcelona right now!

--Winter is about to begin, Your Highness. The road would be too hazardous --Vilana objected.

--Let's go to Netherlands and charter a boat, then --Elisenda replied.

--Too dangerous if unescorted --Claire intervened--, especially around Finisterre, where a Spanish warship could intercept you.

Claire's face suddenly lit up: --I've got a better idea. There is an unemployed brigantine at Calais harbour. A fast and well armed one. Her captain is a friend of old from Caribbean who owes me a favor... Her crew is rude, but trustworthy. Have you ever been on an... er... a privateer? --she mischievously smiled.


abdul666 said...

Hope Her (new) Highness is not seasick on heavy sea: it's unpleasant and embarrassing. ^^

abdul666 said...

Now, if Claire feels she can entrust Louis Alexandre Bontemps (son and worthy successor of the [in]famous Alexandre) and the Mousquetaires with Lady Elisenda's safety, she could courir la Poste (use the horses and relays of the royal couriers) to Calais. Thus Her Highness would board only in Le Havre de Grâce, after staying without qualms a little longer in Versailles to conclude affairs of State or private nature.