I originally posed this a little over two years ago; however, that time it only garnered a handful of positive responses. Is is my hope that others may see my beloved Natasha and what a special cat she was. RIP my little angel!
Plans for Pirouette’s coronation had reached a critical point. An exhaustive search of Church archives had revealed a treasure trove of information regarding the ritual; however, first-hand accounts of the crowning of the last King were more difficult to find. This was primarily due to the fact that nearly every witness of that ceremony was long dead. An elderly man who’d sung in the boy’s choir over eighty years after the fact, assured the Coronation Committee that he remembered word for word what was said that day. “Aye!” Cried the old man, back bent with age, a cane in one hand and an ear-trumpet in the other. “Just like yesterday, it was. They even had a big, old elephant in the procession. It was pure amazement to all, it was. Pure amazement!” The old man began to cough violently.
“Where the hell are we going to be able to collect an elephant?” Asked the Archbishop. “What do they even look like? From what I understand, they are the biggest thing on God’s creation. Isn’t that so?”
“Indeed,” replied the old King’s confessor, Pere le Fosé Sale.
Above all else, the old King loved beauty. He surrounded himself with only the best-looking people, tall men with straight backs and pretty young women. He collected art the way misers collect money. That is why he decided to marry Lady Greenmeadow. She was a rare beauty with blond hair and blue eyes. Her lips were red without the use of cosmetics. And while the King was eager for the wedding ceremony to take place, there were others who were less than enthusiastic about the match.
“Lady Greenmeadow is an adventuress,” said Princess Pirouette. “She will make a cuckold of His Majesty.” Abagail Hoffenhoff, who had recently been promoted to the post of chief lady of the bedchamber for the Princess, shook her head.
“She’s to be called la baronne now. The King himself has said so. Her next adventure will be as Queen.”
“Pray to God that it is not so,” replied Pirouette. “And pray to God that He sends GarGar home, safe and sound.”
“Amen,” said Abigail who in piety crossed herself.
The mayor of the capital sat at the far end of a long table in the guildhall of stonecutters. In his hand he held a brief communiqué from the prime minister. The message was brief. “Restore calm by any means necessary.” It was signed by the minister’s own hand, but bore the royal seal. The wax seal elevated the scrap of paper to the level of a royal edict.
While inside the guildhall, nobody spoke a word, outside the shouts of “GarGar! Pirouette!” were deafening. The demands of the populace were simple. They wanted the Crown Princess and le comte to marry and they wanted the prime minister to leave office immediately. Their mood promised to turn sour if they were forced to wait for any extended period of time.
“What are we to do?” whined one of the aldermen. “The mob is liable to tear us limb from limb if we don’t give them what they want.”
“The day we let criminal mobs run the country, is the day the entire kingdom sinks into oblivion,” replied another alderman.
“We will draw up a decree, in fact make several copies. One will be nailed on the door of the Great Cathedral. The others will be distributed around the city. It will say simply that the royal couple will wed this Sunday and that the prime minister has left the city.” The mayor looked around the table, waiting for a response. Silence prevailed. “Well, who wants to write it?”
“You do it!” Shouted the first alderman. “You seem to have all the answers. May I suggest we start ringing all the church bells in the city so that the people will know that an announcement is coming soon?”
“Good idea,” said the mayor. “If we can get the people to go back to business as usual, then we are halfway to resolving this crisis.”
The bronze doors to the guildhall had been barred shut with a large plank of wood. Suddenly there was an alarming surge in the volume of the shouts. Trumpets began to blare, and then, to the horror of the mayor and his aldermen, the wooden bolt snapped like a twig. The doors were flung open and in marched GarGar with hundreds of people at his back, holding his sword aloft, shouting, “Nobody is to be harmed! Treat these good men gently!”
Princess Pirouette straightened her back as she stood before the prime minister. Because she remained standing, he was obliged to stand also. Suffering from a bad back, he longed to sit in one of the chairs in her antechamber. The pain finally forced him to speak, “As long as Your Highness remains standing, I am required to stand also. I must say that I have a terrible backache.” He gestured at one of the chairs. “Would Your Highness care to sit.”
“Very well,” acquiesced Pirouette who didn’t have one malicious bone in her body. “How may I help you, my lord.”
The prime minister pulled up a chair and placed in directly in front of the Princess and sat, placing his hands firmly on his knees. “I’ve been wondering-” He paused, groping for the right words. “I am wondering if perhaps your engagement to le comte des Deux Chats is not premature?”
“What?” Pirouette could not conceal her surprise. “It was you who originally suggested the match! Why would you say such a thing?”
“Yes, but that was before his infidelity with my niece.” His words stung. She’d actively decided to forget GarGar’s brief encounter with Lady Greenmeadow.
“Quite frankly, my lord, I don’t think I will ever find someone who loves me as much as Monsieur le comte. I don’t feel free to say more, except that I do not appreciate that Lady Greenmeadow has returned to court. In what capacity is she here? Who’s idea was it to forgive and forget?”
“Oh, it was the King’s decision entirely. He’s always been fond of my niece.”