When GarGar, le Comte des Deux Chats arrived at Court, Princess Pirouette was sixteen years of age. In his calvary officer’s uniform, he cut quite a dashing figure with his black riding boots and red cape, his curved sword bouncing against his hip as he strode into the Throne Room. Pirouette watched from a gallery above, hidden by a coromandel screen. As soon as he entered the room, all the courtiers hushed their whispering, and more than one woman hid her blushing cheeks behind her fan.
When it was Princess Pirouette’s turn to grant her monthly audience to all the new arrivals to the Court, she stood at one end of her Presence Room. The new courtiers were already assembled at the other end of the room when she entered through a hidden door that was disguised as a bookshelf. They all bowed or curtsied, depending on their gender. With her fan, she motioned for them all to rise. In the past, it was her custom to flit from one individual to the next, barely taking notice as they each kissed her hand, but in this case, she paused in front of le Comte and looked intently into his face. She was a little taken aback when, contrary to protocol, he returned her gaze with aplomb.