Even though they were not yet wed, it had become customary for Princess Pirouette and GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats, to enjoy supper together. As they were surrounded by servitors, functionaries and ceremonial guards, the conversation was kept idle and for the most part, inconsequential. On this occasion, Pirouette’s confessor, Father Gant and Tata Sous-sus were sharing a meal with the happy couple. Court protocol required all to be silent until Pirouette spoke, so it was up to her to break the ice.
“Tell me, Father Gant,” she began. “How goes your work with the poor in your parish?”
Father Gant paused from his soup, cleared his throat and then said, “Oh, very well, Your Highness! Very well indeed. Your Highness’ concern for the poor is legendary. Legendary indeed.”
“I’ve been looking over the contents of my coronation oath, Father, and there is no mention of the poor. I wonder why that is so?”
Contrary to protocol, Tata Sous-sus chimed in. “The coronation oath has been the same for hundreds of years, my dear. Every King heretofore has sworn the same oath. To alter it now would be a terrible breach of tradition.”
GarGar gave Tata a withering look, but held his tongue. Father Gant returned to his soup. Pirouette tapped the table top to indicate that she was finished eating her soup; therefore, all the places had to be cleared. Father Gant looked crestfallen as gloved hands whisked his soup away. Tata sighed, licking her spoon before a servitor snatched it from her hand. GarGar, who was sitting to Pirouette’s right, gave her hand a quick squeeze. “I wonder what the next course is going to be?” He said.