When Princess Pirouette heard her dresser Abigail Hoffenhoff play the harpsichord, she immediately requested that the court’s composer/conductor write a little piece to be performed exclusively for her household. The man who went mysteriously by the single name of Ludwig wrote a short concerto for harpsichord and strings. He called it simply For Abby. On the afternoon of the performance, with all the talk circulation around court of poison, no refreshments were served.
The performance was a complete success; however, shortly after the entertainment, Abigail complained of feeling a little timorous, perhaps even a bit feverish. One courtier helpfully suggested that Monsieur Ludwig had impregnated the sheet music with arsenic or perhaps strychnine. On the basis of this firm evidence, Ludwig was arrested and tossed into the dungeon. It would be a long time before anyone mentioned his name again. The position of court composer/conductor was immediately filled with a younger and much more handsome man named Sir Adam Percival.
As Princess Pirouette spent weeks organizing the outdoor concert, nothing could go wrong. The day arrived and nearly the entire court was assembled on the South Lawn of the palace. Baron von Maxwell was the conductor and the program was an eclectic mix of contemporary and ancient music. As the orchestra opened with Nos Esprits Libres et Contents. The audience was fairly buzzing with excitement.
Because of her much inferior rank, Tata Sous-sus sat in a chair far in the back. Although she was unwell and should have stayed home, she insisted on attending. Shortly after the program commenced, she began to cough and wheeze, blowing her nose loudly in her handkerchief. By the time the first song was over, the entire audience was enraged by her behavior, but what was to be done? Baron von Maxwell had tried to conduct the orchestra with restrained equanimity; however, he finally lost his composure, walked into the back of the chairs where Tata Sous-sus sat and plunged his conductor’s wand into her chest as if it were a dagger. While he cause her no bodily harm, her dress was left with a jagged tear in the bodice. She jumped from her seat and fled the scene in tears. After that, she became known as Auntie Finale.
GarGar, le Comte des Deux Chats sat with one of the court musicians playing duets on the lute. They were in the middle of singing, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” when the sound of a flute and tambourine filled the air. On queue everybody in the room rose to their feet as Princess Pirouette entered. They all bowed and curtsied. The Princess gave a tiny wave of her hand and nodded acknowledgement, smiling serenely at everybody, and nobody in particular. “Pray continue,” she said. “That’s one of my favorite songs.” GarGar leaned over his lute and began to strum the introductory chords.
And the same flower that smiles today tomorrow will be a-dying
GarGar hoped that the theme of the song would land on the Princess’ ears with extra meaning. He knew that she must hold some affection for him. ‘Ere long her prayed that this flower, now just a sprout, would grow to full bloom.
Once again, King GarGar was refusing to get out of bed. This time it was because of an argument between his wife and their second daughter, both named Pirouette. King GarGar didn’t know who was more stubborn- mother or child- but he was sick and tired of the entire affair. Now that la jeune Pirouette was nearing a marriageable age, it only made sense to start looking at prospects. While his sympathies were with his wife, he could also understand his daughter’s point of view. She felt as though her parents were trying to get rid of her, or trade her for some political points. Because of this, the child had a severe case of the blues.