The Widow Annette

Monsieur Sileux had never met the Widow Annette before, curiously gazing to her as she glided into the room. He had heard that she was not the prettiest of women, and he saw that to be true. Her hair was dark and straight, her face was pale, yet there was something in the way she held herself, in the way she lifted her chin-a regal elegance of sorts. And her eyes, sharp and blue, with an intelligent wit in them, as if she knew something that he did not.

She folded her ivory hands in lap after she curtsied and set herself in a chair across from him. Only twice before had he met her husband as a grown man, a Frenchmen such as himself, a quiet man of sorts who had never been one for banter and conversation. Monsieur LeDaroux had been several years older than his English wife Annette, from what he had been told in the past.

"Bonjour, Monsieur Sileux," the Widow Annette began in perfect French, as if she was herself born in France. She continued on in his native language comfortably, "Thank you for having me. You have a very fine house."

"We may speak English if you wish, Madame." Monsieur Sileux continued, his voice thick with his French accent, occasionally dipping from the English language to his own. "I am impressed with your fine French. I was told you were bred and raised in England."

"That is true," she replied. "But my Mama was French, and even after her death, my Father believed it was the utmost importance to continue my training in the language, and he did it religiously. I have many close cousins here is Paris, and have visited them often. They have, too, assisted me in my learning of it."

"That is fine." continued Monsieur Sileux, after a pause, he continued. "I was very sorry to hear about your husband, Monsieur LeDaroux. He was a fine man."

Sorrow shadowed her eyes, she averted her gaze from his to her hands in their neat pile on her silky black skirts. "Merci beaucop, Monsieur." she replied quietly, returning her eyes to him. "My Mother-in-Law tells me you were very close to her husband.”

“Very,” he continued with a note of sadness in his voice, smiling mildly. “We hunted much together. I still mourn him, to this day.”


A brief knock came on the door as we sipped tea, making us both start. “Yes?” Monsieur Sileux answered.

The door swung open and a servant woman strolled inside, making her way over to me with a letter in her hand. “This was sent to your Uncle’s home, but supposedly it was of the utmost urgency that you receive it immediately so they had it sent directly over here, Madame.”

She handed it to me, and with two curtsies, one to me and one to her master, she fled the parlor with as much speed in which she had come. I glanced down to the letter in my hand, recognizing the swirling handwriting which sprawled my name upon it. I briefly looked up to Monsieur Sileux, who was on the edge of his seat, itching with curiosity as he waited for me to open it. I wished he was not here so that I may open the letter without his hassle.

“Go on,” he urged in French, adjusting his powdered wig on his head. “You heard what she said. Urgent.”

Swallowing, I tore it open, scanning over the letter briefly before tucking it hurriedly in my dress pocket. Disappointment spread across Monsieur Sileux’s plump face, though he continued, “What on earth is the matter?”

I lied plainly, having my voice waver with emotion, “It is from my Father…my sister is ill, very ill. She fell sick with a great fever.” I stood abruptly, and so did he. “You must excuse me, Monsieur. I am dearly sorry.”

Mon Dieu!” My God, he cried. “I hope all turns out well. You are excused, Madame, I take no offense in your hurriedly departure.”

He bowed curtly, and I curtsied in a rushed fashion, walking briskly out of the room, down the hall, and out of the house. Once out on the streets of Paris, I hurried to my Mother’s brother’s home, clutching the letter from the Blanche in my hand.

The End

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