Monsieur le Premier ministre was enjoying a cup of tea with Princess Pirouette (and her ladies) one sunny afternoon on the Southern Terrace. These get-togethers had become something of a ritual. The Prime Minister found that he enjoyed the Princess’ company and since one day, one day soon, she would become his sovereign, he thought it appropriate that she should be briefed regularly on the business of governance. She poured his tea with her own hand and smiled at him as she did so. “Oops!” She said. “Your cup runneth over!” They both laughed as she dabbed at the spill with her lace napkin.
Suddenly, in mid-chortle, Monsieur le Premier clutched his chest. Searing pain cut his breath and travelled down his left arm. He collapsed into his chair, his face ashen, his lips blue. He tried to cry out “Help!” But all he could do was croak hoarsely, “Ack! Ack! Ack!” Even in the throes of this fit, his mind race. Poison! He thought. I’ve been poisoned! But why? Why would the Princess want me dead? What Monsieur did not know, nor would his physicians ever know, was that he was suffering from endocarditis; that is, a bacterial infection of his heart.