As you can see, this poor Monarch has a seriously damaged wing. Amazingly, it was still able to fly. I didn’t see it go very high, but it was able to flit from blossom to blossom without any apparent trouble.
According to legend, Queen Anne was making lace by hand (known as tatting.) She pricked her finger with her needle and single drop of blood fell on her handiwork. That is why there is a red spot in the center of the blossom. There is debate over which Queen Anne was tatting. Some say it was Anne of Denmark (1574-1619) who was the wife of James I of England (also known as James VI of Scotland) who was eight years senior to Anne. The other sovereign in question is Anne (1665-1719) daughter of James II (grandson of James I.)
Queen Anne’s Lace is not native to North America. It was brought over by European settlers (a nice word for invaders, don’t you think?) Its flowers can be used to make a natural yellow dye. Parts of the plant are mentioned by herbalists as a diuretic, an antiseptic, soothing to the digestive system, useful for colic, and as a hallucinogenic! Queen Anne’s Lace was a valuable enough medicinal herb that colonists relied on it. It was also considered a reliable contraceptive. (Don’t try this at home!)
Queen Pirouette was reading the most recent reports about Tata Sous-sus who was incarcerated in the North Tower along with le margrave du Port. Both were suspects in the murder of Lady Greenmeadow. When her spies (for lack of a better word) brought her the news of Tata’s secret child, she was understandably shocked. Even more damning was the fact that the deceased lady knew about this sad event. The pieces fell together when a note was found, half-charred in the Margrave’s fireplace that read: Il faut trouver un moyen de faire taire LG/Some way must be found to silence LG.
It was well passed sunset. As the Queen’s vision was rather poor and had been so since childhood, Abigail stood behind her holding an oil lamp. Most of the reports had been written by the women who were sent to watch over Tata, but some of these ladies were in fact illiterate and were obliged to dictate their reports to the Captain of the Guard. Some of their descriptions of poor Tata were heart-rending to Her Majesty. Here Tata is praying fervently. There she is weeping uncontrollably. Here she is refusing food. There she is pacing back and forth, ringing her hands.
Please God. Exonerate poor Tata! Prayed Pirouette.
There was a knock on the door of Tata Sous-sus’ cell. Her companion this morning was a woman named Isabel. They heard the clanking of keys and the scraping sound of the lock being turned. Pushing the door open, the Captain of the Guard entered and said, “Madame, you have a visitor.”
Tata stood up from her chair where she’d been playing a game of Solitaire. She said nothing, but Isabel said, “Oh, really? Who is it?”
The Captain motioned with his hand at the door and a woman, young and well-dressed, entered. When Tata saw her, she narrowed her eyes suspiciously, but maintain her silence.
“Do you recognize this woman?” Asked the Captain. Tata shook her head.
“Hello,” said the woman with a gleam in her eye.
“Go on. Tell her who you are,” urged the Captain.
“My name is Adriana,” said the woman smoothly. “Adriana Toussaint.”
Tata again shook her head. The name rang a bell, but she couldn’t quite place it.
“Madame,” said the Captain with relish. “This is the child that you abandoned twenty years ago to this very day!”
Tata swooned and Isabel barely had time to keep her from falling. She and the Captain helped Tata Sous-sus to her bed which she hit with a thud. Speaking for the first time of this encounter, Tata muttered the word “child,” before she slipped into complete darkness.
“Perhaps I should come back another day,” said Adriana.