Upon exiting Princess Priouette’s antechamber, the prime minister found himself thrown into a crowded gallery. Courtiers hurried to and fro, hardly noticing the amazing paintings and portraits that hung on the brightly lit hall. It was no surprise to him that Tata-sus had been lingering just outside the Princess’ door. “Did you have a nice chat with Her Royal Highness?” Said she, all smiles. The prime minister sighed heavily and looked in another direction, trying his best not to engage with the old woman. He knew her to be a plotter and a schemer. Tata persisted and taking my lord’s coat sleeve, she gave it a hearty pull. “Yet if I were to slap this insolent woman a few times across the face, then I would be the bad guy!”
“Tell me, kind sir,” continued Tata-sus. “Has there been any progress with the marriage contract?”
“What marriage contract?” said the prime minister coldly.
“Don’t try to be coy with me, monsieur. I know every trick in the book.” Tata smiled sweetly which despite her bad teeth had a disarming effect on most people. The prime minister was a notable exception. “Would you care to throw you hat into the ring as one of the commissioners on the marriage committee?”
“Ach!” Scoffed Tata. “Of all the calumnies against my very person that I am forced to endure, I feel your excoriation to be the worst.” She drew her fan from her reticule and began to fan herself rapidly.