Time passed and mother and child soon reached the venue. Ermengarde, however hard she tried to shut her eyes to the glimmering place and people, was stunned by the beauty and ambience of the large palace. She even forgot the pain her corset inflicted upon her, but then she regained her senses and tried to flit around without tripping over her gown. Impossible! she thought. How in the world will I ever be able to run in this thing?
"Oh, Georgine! What a pleasant surprise," an elegant woman said, and Ermengarde's mother smiled. "Is that your daughter? She's a pretty little thing, yes? And what is her name?" asked the lady, putting back a goblet.
"Oh, yes, she's my daughter. Ermie, come and meet our new friend, Madame Forestier. She's been talking of you." She came nearer to Ermengarde, and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Don't speak until you are spoken to, and don't run like that----just take short, quick steps. Come along now," said Georgine.
"Oh, Ermengarde! What a pretty name----let's call you Ermen for short, yes? Well, how old are you?" Madame Forestier said.
"I----uh, I'm just----eight, ma'am," Ermengarde said, fidgeting uneasily.
"Eight, are you? Well, there's a grown girl, Georgine, and by the looks of it, she will surely become an elegant woman like myself in the near future."
"Well----" she started, then held back, remembering a piece of advice her mother gave her not long ago. Fortunately, Madame wasn't listening anymore, and had trotted off to find another person to talk to.
But now Ermengarde had other things to worry about. She kept tripping over her gown so often and bore the embarassing laughter from "elegant" onlookers for so long that she picked up the hem of her dress and fluttered out of hall, enraged. She went and sat down in her coach, and hid her face in the sweeping mass of cloth, furiously waiting for the next day to come, and hoping that it would be a less troublesome one.