Sitting in a straight-backed chair, Tata Sous-sus, remembering her breeding, kept her own back ramrod straight and her hands neatly folded in her lap. Training her eyes on some imaginary, distant point, she succeeded in making her interrogators uncomfortable. It was as if she were staring right through them, as if they weren’t even there.
“Your Ladyship,” intoned the judge of the high court. “You have been accused of high crimes and misdemeanors against God and country.
So often in her life, Tata had been accused of having a loud, abrasive voice, but now she answered at a low volume, with a dignified, measured tone. “I am innocent.”
Shaking his head, the judge said, “You must plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” Those are your only options.
“As God is my witness, I am innocent as a newborn babe!” Forgetting herself, she allowed her voice to become strident, almost shrill.
From the public gallery, two of Queen Pirouette’s ladies sat side by side. Lady Abigail Hoffenhoff took the hand of her colleague, Lady Sharpsweet. Leaning into Sharpsweet’s ear, Abigail said, “At last, Auntie Finale is going to get her comeuppance.”