Shocked by the Chamberlain’s rebuke, Monsignor von Thornbird forced his gaze downwards to the floor of the Presence Chamber. “Sir!” Had shouted the Queen’s Chamberlain. “You forget yourself!” Indeed, the Emperor’s new ambassador extraordinaire had forgotten himself. So beautiful was the Queen to whose Court he’d been sent, Monsignor von Thornbird had been ill-equipped to remember the rules of protocol that dictated he never look the Queen directly in the face. How not to look with admiration upon the most beautiful face in the world?
“My lord Chamberlain,” said Queen Pirouette in a voice so sweet that it made birdsong sound like thunder, “Please do not be so harsh with the Monsignor. He is new to our Court. He must be given some leeway in order to adjust to his new surroundings.”
The Chamberlain bowed deeply from the waist. “Forgive me, Sire,” he muttered. Scouring his mind for some excuse to explain his indecorous outburst, he rubbed his forehead, as if that would hatch a thought worthy of a man of his station. “Forgive me, Monsignor,” he finally managed to utter in a tone that sounded deeply sincere to all in the presence chamber. “Please forgive me,” he repeated.
“Let’s not become mired in blame,” said the Queen serenely. Extending her hand for the ambassador to kiss, she continued. “My lord Monsignor, it is my sincere hope that you shall act as a bridge between myself and your master, the Emperor.”