Two days beforehand, the Chamberlain had informed the Master of the Horse that the Queen would be taking carriage ride to the countryside in order to enjoy a nice, quiet picnic with no one around except her ladies-in-waiting with the footmen and coach drivers would double as waiters for this special occasion. So besides the Queen’s carriage, several more would be needed for the other ladies of her suite and, of course, the food.
Just as she was descending the staircase from the main entrance to the palace, her carriage pulled up to the bottom of the staircase. Clearly taken aback, Pirouette looked over at Lady Abigail and said, “I almost had to wait!” Almost always within earshot of the Queen, the Chamberlain clenched his fists. This was just the kind of episode that could cost the Chamberlain his job. Just look at what happened to the cook! He thought. The Chief Chef was now taking orders from the very same man who, in fumbling his own job, caused the Chief Chef to fall from his high position.
“My Lord Chamberlain,” said the Queen in a kindly tone. “Did I or did I not tell you a week ago that I’d be needing a carriage at precisely 10 o’clock in the morning today?”
“Well, uhm,” he stretched the two words out to half a minute before he finally answered the Queen’s question. “It was three days ago, but indeed it was ample time for the Master of the Horse to carry out his duties in this respect. It’s a scandal that the carriage wasn’t waiting for you when you came out of the palace.” He was a smooth one, the Queen’s Chamberlain.
“As Queen, I am the head of state. I know that I am young. I understand that the gentlemen of the court and the Privy Council are unaccustomed to obeying the commands of a woman. I rule over every man and woman in this realm. I rule their cattle and their crops. I even rule the soil where they plant their seeds. An entire week is ample time to ensure that there is a carriage waiting for me when I leave the palace. Wouldn’t you agree, my lord?” She asked the Chamberlain.
“On behalf of the Master of Horse and his staff,” said the Chamberlain quietly, “may I offer you their sincere apology for this error. Once they hear the news, I’m quite sure that they will be as appalled as the rest of us.” He bowed lowly.
“Indeed!” Piped up Lady Abigail who deployed her fan and began to used it to effect, fanning herself as if she were a block of ice in the middle of July. Both she and Queen Pirouette had attended L’Académie pour la tenue des jeunes femmes nobles. Despite its fatuous name, the school did more than just teach the young women deportment, or how to dance, apply makeup or make a nice, strong cup of tea. Mathematics, Geometry, Algebra were offered to those with an aptitude for numbers. Besides grammar and diction, the young women were exposed to the greatest writers that the Kingdom had ever produced. They were required to learn at least two musical instruments. Even Astronomy was available to those who showed an interest.
Because the Queen and Lady Abigail had shared so many experiences together, they developed a strong and fast friendship. They shared private jokes. Even some of their mannerisms were the same. Sometimes they’d even dance together, sparking unkind gossip about the nature of their relationship. In private, more than a few would quietly suggest that the relationship between the two of them was more than platonic.