Annette: Versailles

I grimaced at what seemed to be our new problem. Gazing over Clara’s mismatched gown, I began to wonder if our masquerade as sisters would be discovered if such a simple thing as her clothing gave her away. The same question seemed to put us all into thought; the small amount of money from the Blanche could not be used on such trivial things as gowns and ribbons. In a quieter undertone, I turned to the young, fiery girl, glancing over her short, slim figure, “Do not worry about it-I have a spare dress that has seemed a bit tight for a while. I will cut and mend it so perhaps it could fit your smaller form better.”

“Are you certain?” she looked up, her eyes skeptical. “Will it not be too long?”

“I shall trim the hem, and re-sew it, similar with the arms.” I answered. “It is worth a try.”

Clara gazed over me, nodding briefly. I still wondered if she liked me or not, though I admired her inner fire and wit. “Thank you,” she murmured, almost seeming surprised by my offer.

Emmanuel pushed us onwards from there, evening was approaching as the sun dipped towards the horizon once more. I could not believe it had been another day. I wondered of my uncle, Gustave, and Abrielle, and what they would think of me now and where I was. I wish I could write them a letter explaining my where-abouts and reassuring them of my safety. Though I was well aware of the danger of written words at the time-the letter could be easily intercepted and we could be caught and killed.

I swallowed, urging my horse onwards to an inn in Versailles. It’s grandeur was not as equally great as I had seen years earlier when I came to visit as a girl with Gustave himself. Revolution seemed to wear it down, making it a dirtier, rougher place, famine and disease tearing through. Beggars kneeled in the shadows, soldiers jeering and jesting at them as they passed. The dirt and cringe hidden in the corners  made me cringe.


We found an inn at the edge of the city, one cheap enough so we could spare a few coins for later. Dinner was served, and we trudged to our room, to prepare for our greatest adventures in the days following.

I sat at our small fireplace with my dress in my lap, taking a pair of scissors to it and cutting at the lovely pale green satin. Clara sat on the floor at my side, silent as she watched. Sparse words passed between us as we worked, and as the flames threw light at her face, I was able to glean a better look at her features, stealing them as I glanced from the corners of my eyes.

Marie soon offered her assistance in sewing the new hem, and I found her to be a fine seamstress. A slight conversation was sparked between us, of families, days past, and upcoming days. She asked after my parents, but inquired none of my husband. Perhaps Guillame had told her slightly of the tragedy before, and I decided that was well, and asked after her own. I noticed Emmanuel standing by the window gazing out, a silent, watching shadow in the darkness. It would seem that our similar experiences and losses would draw us together, yet it felt that it pushed us apart, as if our parallel pain would only cause us further discomfort. Though I knew him to be an honest, kind man, whose friendship I could count on.

It was not long before I beckoned Clara to stand. It appeared hours as passed as we cut and sewn and mended. Emmanuel excused himself quite suddenly, murmuring of something that he must do. We gazed curiously after him as the door shut behind him, but I continued to ask Clara to change from her clothes into the new dress.

Briefly, Marie and I turned away so that she may have her privacy, until we returned our eyes once more. In the dim light, the dress fit not the most perfectly, though it did fit. I trimmed a few loose things here and there, and Marie ran to get a comb and a ribbon from her things. She tore as gently as she could at Clara’s matted tangles, straightening it as best as she could, before tying it neatly in a matching ribbon.

The two of us stepped away from her, tilting our heads as we observed our work. Clara shifted uncomfortably in her new clothes, glancing anxiously at our eyes, “Well?” she murmured.

Pourquoi, vous regardez belle!” Why, you look lovely, I exclaimed, turning to Marie as well. “You shall be the two prettiest women of Versailles!” Indeed, did Clara look more womanly, expressing the prettiness of her features.

“Three prettiest women!” cried Marie, putting her hand on my shoulder.

I laughed, “Non, if I may pass for five-and-thirty…”

Marie giggled, “He didn’t mean you appeared five-and-thirty, Annette!”

I still chuckled, shaking my head. “It is about time for sleep. We have passed many hours, and it must be past midnight already! We need our rest for the morning.”

After helping Clara from her new gown, I made sure they crept to bed and made my way to the window where Emmanuel had earlier stood, glancing out onto the darkness of the town. Where could he be off to, and what trouble could he be causing?

The End

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