The first chapter in which the exponent Eifa travels from Paris for her unforeseen betrothal to Prince Albert in Whitechapel. The title refers to her societal understanding. Tentatively titled "Atlas, knelt"
A ginger sigh had been extracted from lush lips of the brooding passenger, silent and incognito aside from the dark veil used to shield against undesirable odors and temperamental weather. Upon a quick study, one observes the proper folding of small hands upon the other, adorned in fine lace gloves, and a single ring of baronial status; the black taffeta and satin gown had encompassed a very feminine form, the jewel necklace trimmed in white lace held pearl button closures and continued towards underskirt in its rows of satin ruffles; yet, the disquieting oculars had not rose from the fixed study of the velvet trimmed setting of the train. The Orient Express was a fabulous beast of creation, though its customers (usually of the wealthy sort) reduced the overall quality of the experience, especially for such a young, impressionable female.
Finally, a young gentleman entered, his handsome features monstrous from the expressive anger so thoroughly indulged. “Uncultured brutes should have little dealings in business,” he remarked, before soothing the gold embroidered Baker City Vest, drawing attention once more towards the expensive Vienna Brocade Tailcoat. The young attendant allowed her attention to be enraptured then to her frustrated companion, beckoning with an elegant wave to sit.
“What has you so infuriated, dearest Gauthier,” the vague accent beheld the romance of her French lineage, much like a luminous moon flower, awaiting the perfect instant to unfold its petals; everything was pale and gentle and romantic about the slip of a woman. Her passive tone suggested an easy calm, though the flush of elegant cheekbones did not. “That you lose the composure of your great gentility?”
His amber eyes withheld the gaze of her hazel as though having found insult in the inquiry. Calmness entered his face as though it were a struggled sentiment, before the rage subsided and he surrendered to pleasant conversation. “My apologies. It is impossible to procure the perfect prosody nor the utmost principle of punctuality to those who willingly squander time.” The frustration fled in a breath, though the tick of irritation showed when he referred to his pocket watch for the time. The absurdity of individuals perplexed the youth, though, he mused he should find no reason to become upset by the nature of such, aside from this day. “And now we will be late for our appointment.”
The woman waved her hand to dispel the pessimistic energy within the cart, and secreted away a small curve of the lips. “Some circumstances are extenuating. Time is owned by none.”
“How eloquent, Fie,” he pronounced the mixed syllables of her name, then settled into a meditative silence. Their brief conversation terminated at the sound of the departing train, and resumed once the terminus had neared considerably.
It began with: “Strange, isn’t it, that you should be notified of an impending marriage between you and Prince Albert?”
“An arranged marriage is hardly a scandalous topic,” the laugh of sarcasm rose, “though surprising to such nobility.”
“Indeed. You were merely the daughter of a French aristocrat, presently the future Duchess of Clarence.”
The blush that colored her features was light. Her Gauthier had spoken truth at the complexity and surprise surrounding the situation. Eifa had been playing the violin with her governess when the news arrived by royal messenger; her father had kissed her cheeks with tears of joy and triumph after informing of the future situation. The strangeness of it grew more so when reviewing her delinquent history with suitors. Studies and music had consumed her life, and left little room for the wistful notion of romance.
Still, the sentiment had found her hidden among the dusty reserves, seduced her unassuming perceptions, and driven her mad with its addictive musk. It was a confidence never dared betrayed in confessional — a quiet writhing of passion unperturbed.
The train stopped, and the passengers rose, anxious for the coolness of fresh air.
“Very briefly may I mention the young Duke surely will be at a loss of how to romance a fille.”* Her undignified response consist of a feminine chuckle, and opening the black lace parasol. Gauthier took the hold of the Truesdale truck with care. As per instructed by the royal handler, she brought only the bare necessities, provided with all others upon her arrival.
Nervous fear tickled the inside of her belly. The charm of a lady dictated discomfort was never shown. She bared her teeth into a smile, and pressed arm in arm with her confidant forward into a world unknown. “Indeed, he shalln’t.”