My own introduction
~ When I was five years old my mother died. I was so little I can’t remember it, now that I am sixteen. But I do remember my papa being exceedingly sad. Then, he was so happy when he married my stepmother (I was ten then) I hadn’t the heart to complain; he had been so sad.
But maybe I’d better go back to the beginning. I am (some might say was) the daughter of a merchant, and his pretty, kind wife, Isabella. My mother, Isabella, was also the daughter of a merchant, and that was why she married papa. Their first child was a boy, my late brother Caleb. Then, they had me and were "overjoyed" as the stories say. They named me Eleanor Isabella Shenendoah Shorr.
When I was three and Caleb five, he got influenza going on a voyage with papa and died soon after. I don’t remember him. I don’t remember my mama either, for she pined for my brother and got so weak she just faded out of life like a flower in December. Papa was so sad, as I said, and so when five years later he met my stepmother at a royal ball he fell in love at once.
That’s about how it happened, and my stepmother and her twin daughters, who were exactly my age and very haughty, moved in to our spacious mansion. At first Annalissa Mary and Susanne Katherine slept in my room, but then stepmother said they should not sleep together, much less with me, and put them in the north and east gables.
When I was thirteen, papa went on a voyage overseas to Kukamada, a place he did much of his trading at. It was his longest voyage that anyone could remember, and it became eternal when his first mate came to our door, bedraggled old Bill, and told us papa had been washed o’erboard.
I don’t know about stepmother and Lissa May and Sue Kate, but I was devastated.
Now, it was no more than days when stepmother showed her true nature. She said that I was not now rightful owner of the house, as I claimed. She even said that I was now a poor orphan who should work for her living.
I have been sleeping in the attic; getting up at the crack’o’dawn, and scrubbing the floors for the past three years of my life. No, our riches are more plentiful than ever, but I am a poor orphan working for my board and keep.
While I dress in rags, Lissa May and Sue Kate (or the Mademoiselles Annalissa Mary and Susanne Katherine, as I am now obliged to call them) are pampered and spoilt, and now, however they may have been at age ten, are vain, stupid, and cruel.
They frequently go to balls, and so I was not at all surprised, when an invitation from the palace came for them. Maybe more surprised and delighted upon opening it, which stepmother did, but I quietly took the cream colored envelope up to her.
The letter is opened
~ The royal king of Shenendoah cordially
the Madams Shorrs to a ball in his
homecoming honor; any eligible maidens
are to attend by royal decree. The prince
will marry a fair maid met at this ball;
again, every maiden in the kingdom is to
The ball will be held to-night at eight’o’clock
Duke Rolland Ives, esq.
"Wonder of wonders, my flowers!" ejaculated stepmother (to her daughters, not me) "an invitation from the king!" Lissa May and Sue Kate swooned (not really, but it seemed the appropriate action) and stepmother sent me to fetch water. I must admit that I was in a daze, for it had said by royal decree that every maiden in the kingdom was to attend.
"Might I go too, stepmother?" I asked, bringing the porcelain jug to her. She laughed aloud. It was a feeble, hope, and after the laugh it was gone. I was so unprepared at her reply that I nearly dropped the jug.
"Yes of course, Cinderella dear," (for this was their vulgar nickname for me) "you may go by all means. Have you a dress? get it on and come show stepmama."
I ran up to my attic and got out a beautiful jade ballgown that had been my dear mother’s. I slipped it on and deftly brushed my golden hair until it shown. I looked in the cracked mirror that stood on my secondhand beaurau, and I could see my blue eyes shon with happiness also. Adding a jade bow in my hair for good measure I hurried down to where my stepmother sat reviving Lissa May and Sue Kate.
"Why Cinderella!" said Mademoiselle Annalissa Mary. "How lovely!" Mm. Susanne Katherine nodded in mute agreement.
For a moment I was speechless for joy; then stepmother spoke. "Very well, Cinderella," she said coldly, "you have most remarkably beautiful dress. But, I am afraid, my windows are getting frightfully dirty, what about yours, dears?"
Lissa May and Sue Kate caught on immediately. "Yes," said Lissa, always the spokesman for her silent sister, "They have. And my rug is in need of cleaning; my laundry’s piling up, and curtains are in tatters. And, if I am to go to the ball, I simply must have a new dress out of that pink silk mama bought me."
"It’s the same state in my chamber" was all Sue Kate said.
"So, dear, I am afraid you have a few chores to do before you can go." This was stepmother, cold and hard-voiced as ever.
I knew then that I would not go to the ball. What is a royal ball anyway? I could not possibly be benefited by it, for, although I had the sage dress, where is my coach and six? my liveried servants? I did not have what was needed for an elegant escort.
I walked dejectedly up to my attic chamber, where I live with the mice and rats. A bird was perched on my bed trilling a note, and did not fly away as I entered. Oh little bird, I thought sadly, you are quite as gay as a flower in summer. If only I had your song; your plumage, then, then I could go to the ball.
The bird launched again into song, as if in my honor, and soon another joined him, and another. By and by, there were five birds perched on my rusty bed, singing like a choir of angels. This was too much, and I began to weep.
I lay down on my bed, and I suppose I fell asleep to the sound of birds chirruping an afternoon greeting.
When I woke, stepmother was prodding me harshly. "Cinderella!" she kept crying. "What a disgrace!" the great clock in the town square struck five’o’clock and I flew out of bed, grabbing my apron and avoiding stepmother’s eyes. I ran down the stairs faster than she could follow in her trailing evening gown, and was soon in the kitchen fixing the tea for my stepsisters and mother.
I took it up to their tearoom, which was a splendid windowed tower-room furnished with rose-colored trimmings and regal wooden floors. The piano also stood in that room; a magnificent grand over five feet long; the girls had their ‘music lessons’ in here.
Stepmother permitted me to stay, for I was dusting that day, and had not made it up yet to the tea-room. I dusted slowly and carefully, as Clarette, our maid when papa was alive, had instructed me. Clarette did not believe any more than I did that stepmother owned the house, but as stepmother was the one with the power of command she had to obey.
I listened to their talk of the coming ball, until I suddenly remembered that both Lissa May and Sue Kate had ordered a new ballgown.
Rushing down to my small sewing room, I picked up the pink silk and began cutting.
Two and a half hours later I stood surveying my work critically. Two dresses, one of pink silk and sewn in the traditional full-skirted, puffed-sleeved ballgown fashion; the other violet and sewn in the latest fashion; high waist, tight skirt, and flowing sleeves.
I took the pink silk first to Lissa May, who, I admitted, would look ravishing. Her black hair and black eyes complemented the rosy color of the dress and made her look every bit the romantic belle.
The violet dress I took to Sue Kate, and seeing it on her I decided that with her green eyes and sandy hair she was fair game for a prince.
Then I went back to my chores. I was almost done, and wonder of wonders, I finished just as the coach pulled in to view. Stepmother had agreed I would share the family coach if I could go. I hurriedly put on the ballgown and did my hair in becoming golden puffs, then ran down the stairs, skirts trailing behind.
But alas, stepmother, Lissa May and Sue Kate were even now in the process of climbing into the handsome coach. I ran out the door, and hurried through the rose garden, but to no avail. All I achieved was a torn skirt and a tearstained face.
My last chance at a ball was gone.
A fairy godmother?
~ I ran, sobbing, to the bench in the garden, where I lay my head in my hands and wept until I could weep no more. Of a sudden I heard a voice, gentle, and kind, as I imagined my dear mother’s would be.
"Eleanor," the voice said, soothingly, "Dear Eleanor! do not weep!" I looked up and saw a plump, motherly woman smiling down at me.
She wore a dress as blue as the sky at mid-afternoon, and her eyes were clear blue also. Her hair was white, the color of the first snowfall in Shenendoah.
"Eleanor," she said again, "do you know who I am?" I shook my head slowly, my voice still to choked to speak.
"I," she went on, "am your fairy godmother, dear. I have come to see you off to the ball!"
I finally found my voice. "But," I said, "I am not going to the ball."
"Not going?" she asked. She sounded puzzled. "But every fair maid in the country is to come, you know. I’d say your fair, and your definitely not a man, so that makes you a fair maid."
"Yes," I said a little testily, "I am a fair maid. But how can one go to a ball when one’s only garments are rags?"
This time she shook her head. She still sounded puzzled. "Yes, I suppose that you need a dress. Well, that’s easy." She waved her hands madly and as I looked down at my dress it was no longer sage-coloured rags.
I was clothed in a lightish purple gown that seemed so delicate I couldn’t at first move. I felt up for my tangled hair, and found it braided and twisted around my head in a crown. On top of the braids I felt a crown of white daisies.
I felt on my feet the most exquisite slippers I had ever worn, even when papa was here. Taking one gently off, I found they were of diamond glass.
"But, I have no coach, no servants in livery! how can I go to a royal ball on foot; in a stage; a farmer’s wagon!" I cried this beseechingly to my godmother, who frowned.
Then she made a most unusual request. "I can’t make something out of nothing, Eleanor dear," (she said) "so bring me a pumpkin, six mice, two rats."
I ran into the garden and was soon back with a large orange pumpkin, which I set at her feet. Then I went in the house for our rodent-trap, and found exactly six mice, but had to hunt up in my attic for the two rats.
But I soon found them, and putting them in the trap I carried it out to Fairy Godmother. "Thank you," she said. "Now stand back a little, Eleanor dear."
She waved her hands again, muttering, and soon I saw a most remarkable sight. The pumpkin began slowly to grow, and fade, until it was a splendid white coach! then, as I looked again, I saw the mice turn the same color, and grow into splendid horses, and the rat-footman and rat-driver jumped on and beckoned me in.
"Now," said Fairy Godmother, "like all magic, this is only temporary, dear. It will vanish at the last stroke of midnight, and no sooner. No later either, but you will have plenty of time to captivate the prince; be gone now!"
I climbed into my coach and Fairy Godmother waved a cheerful farewell.
As I sped along the highways and byways of Shenendoah, I came in sight of the palace; splendid in silver grandeur.
When my coach pulled up at the palace, my ‘footman’ helped me to the bottom shining stair, but from there I was alone. I stood for a moment, watching the grand white ‘coach’ drive away. He would call again for me at midnight.
I finally got up my courage and ascended the stair. At the top I saw the entrance to the palace and from there I could see women being presented to his highness. "Her Regalness, Duchess Morning Glory Thoms; Her supreme excellency Madame D’Rouche; Johannie Bohme, princess of Undervil" this I heard read in a monotonous voice by the Grand Duke Rolland Ives himself. Duke Ives was a very boring creature; surprisingly a bosom friend to the prince.
As I entered, I gasped for I heard a few all to familiar names. "Her Grace, Mademoiselle Analissa Mary Shorr; sister, Mademoiselle Susanne Katherine Shorr; mother, Madame Emmanama Shorr, wife of the late Monsieur Shorr, father of the lost Eleanor Shorr." At the part about ‘the lost Eleanor Shorr’ stepmother visibly cringed; not willing to admit that the lost Eleanor was now her kitchenmaid.
But apparently they were the last, for the prince was yawning and the music was beginning an overture. I recognized the tune; an old Shenendoahn melody that my papa had sung to me as a child.
I moved as silently as I could on to the dance floor, and was immediately asked by my Lord Noah Nod, whom was a great friend of papa and so I kept my face down during the dance, hoping that it had matured enough so that he would not recognize me. For Noah Nod was famous for his booming voice, and if stepmother knew I was at the dance. . .
After my dance with M. Nod, I was asked again and again by dashing young gallants, all leaving their partners to clamor for my dance. I am not vain, but I needed the attention; I had been ignored by one and all when I ‘was lost’ after papa died.
But I had my adoring eyes on the prince, his supreme highness Pierre III. Unfortunately, that good personage was busy with one Mademoiselle Louisa Schmidt, and I don’t even think he saw me.
Things went on in this manner until full eleven’o’clock. Then, I thought I would faint, for who was coming toward me as if he had seen a ghost, but prince Pierre III of Shenendoah himself? of a sudden the music quieted, and all in the room who might not have noticed me, or thought of me simply as an angelic belle, turned in my direction.
My current partner stammered an explanation and ran off to find his lost Isabella, and I was alone, my face flaming, my eyes scared.
I am very outgoing; I was not afraid of the prince coming my way. I had just then glimpsed stepmother in the crowd.
I did not know it till much later, but she did not know me any more than Duke Rolland Ives did.
Before I knew the prince was at my side, and we were dancing to a traditional and beautiful Shenendoahn waltz. We waltzed into the secondary ballroom, and from there, without stopping, to the garden, where we danced to the music in our hearts among the roses that smelled so sweet.
It was then I knew I had fallen in love.
But as the music stopped, the clock began the first of twelve strokes; strokes of midnight! I ran, the prince grabbing my hand and calling questions which I did not heed. I ran down the steps, and into my coach. We went at top speed until we were out of the palace gates; forever, probably.
As the clock sang out the last lingering note saying it was midnight, I felt down to my sparkling ballgown, and found it reduced to sage rags.
I walked dejectedly back to the mansion, where I washed and got back in to my working dress. But I kept the sage rags on my pillow, to remind me of the wonderful night at the ball.
~Stepmother and her daughters came home three full hours from when I left the ball, and Lissa May and Sue Kate chattered gaily on about the ball; the prince, and most of all, the beautiful belle.
"Oh Cinderella!" Lissa May cried rapturously, forgetting haughtiness, "she was gorgeous! simply lovely!"
"And she had the most pretty trailing white gauzy dress on, and a diamond tiara! and the prince danced with her for a full hour! he only danced with me for one minuet!"
This was Sue Kate, come out of her silent prison to talk condescendingly about ‘sights poor Cinderella never saw’ to me.
"What was her name?" I asked innocently, hiding a smile.
"Why," said Lissa May, contemplating and racking her silly brain for knowledge she could not find, "I don’t know! I never saw her face to face, and the prince never got her name either! how funny!"
I soon retired to the attic, for I wake up quite early in the morning to sweep and lay out the breakfast.
I dreamed that night. I dreamed that I lived in the splendid silver palace of Shenendoah as the princess Eleanor, wife of the great prince Pierre III. My father-in-law, king Pierre II, saluted me as I passed him in his grand throne room, going to my love in the garden.
Then the dream became a nightmare, and I was running through rose bushes, away from something I could not see, with the prince ever beckoning me on a few feet ahead. I woke up suddenly.
"CINDERELLA!" came the cry from down the stairs. "COME HERE NOW!" it was stepmother.
I slipped in to my navy cotton dress and tied an apron over it. When I was downstairs I met stepmother at the bottom. "Cinderella," she cried excitedly, "where are my daughters?"
"In bed," I answered, careful not to be grouchy. Stepmother punished for that.
She hurried up the great front staircase, and I followed wearily with the broom. The top of the stair must have shon that day, for I swept back and forth while listening to the conversation from the morning room.
"Girls!" cried stepmother excitedly. "You will never ever guess what has happened! there is to be another ball!"
I had heard sleepy groans from my stepsisters before, but now there was tense, exited silence. Finally logical Sue Kate broke it.
"It is because of the beautiful lady who came to the last ball. The prince has fallen madly in love with her and wants to see her again. But--" she paused dramatically-- "He can easily un-fall in love. And then. . ."
"He can fall for one of you, children." Stepmother’s tone was high and triumphant.
Another ball! I could have wept. Another ball! and Fairy Godmothers were supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Oh well. I hurried up to my attic where I lay on the bed and did weep. Then I found the invitation stepmother had been so exited about. It read:
The prince Pierre III of Shenendoah
has decreed another ball of the same
sort for the night of September 19, at
the same time. All maidens of the
land are to attend by order of his
highness King Pierre II of Shenendoah.
Duke Rolland Ives, esq.
I ran in to the room, forgetting my chore. "Oh stepmother!" I cried jubilantly, "I must attend this! by royal order, every maiden in the land is to go!"
Too hasty. Stepmother smiled her cold smile and said "Of course, of course, Cinderella! you may go, by all means. It is tonight at eight; we will leave at seven forty-five. If you are done and dressed by then, please join us!"
I hurried through my chores and was done by five thirty. Rushing up to dress, I noticed that one window had been missed. I went back and cleaned it, and then carefully examined the house. By the time I was done it was nearly seven.
Going up to my attic, I turned away from the sage rags on my bed and pulled out another splendid ballgown from the back of my closet. This one was a pink evening gown with lace trimming. I looked around my room for something to wear, and spied Analissa’s string of pearls she had cast away to me.
I walked down the stairs in splendid grandeur, careful so as not rip my dress, for this was even more beautiful than the first. I pulled my had pulled my hair back and french braided it, then turned the braid up, making a loop.
I was met at the bottom of the staircase by Analissa Mary and Susanne Katherine, dressed in the dresses they had worn to last night’s ball.
"Hello Cinderella," said Lissa May slyly. "You’re all ready to go, aren’t you?" this was said with a knowing glance at Sue Kate, who winked.
Stepmother came down then. "My girls, my girls!" she crooned proudly. "You are all so lovely! and Cinder-- Eleanor, dear, how gorgeous you look! the best of all!"
"Cin-- Eleanor, did you wash my windows?" I turned white, for Lissa May’s room had been locked. As a matter of fact, so had Sue Kate’s, and stepmothers, and the western gable. All of the rooms most in need of meticulous care. I had forgotten about them by now, but Lissa May’s reminder made me cringe. It had been a plan all along.
"All right, Cinderella, the game is over," said stepmother. I tried to protest, but she cut me short. "A lie is a lie, and by coming down all primped and proud you told us in your appearance ‘I am going to the ball. I have done all my work.’ All the work was supposed to be done, Cinderella."
But the rooms were locked! my mind cried helplessly, for I knew stepmother would not heed, for now they were unlocked, fastidiously mussed up to make a job for me, and there would be no time to finish and go to the ball in forty five minutes.
I walked sadly back to my room, but then when stepmother had gone I came down again, still in the pink dress. I wanted the essence of a royal ball, even if I couldn’t go.
I dreamed while I worked I was a captive princess, put to drudgery and hardship by an evil stepmother. Most of that, of course, was true.
When I finished my work the house shone like the stars that were beginning to creep out from their shadowy day places. I looked down at myself in horror as I realized that my beautiful pink gown was drenched with soapy dishwater, and the skirt was ripped from weeding the side-garden.
Once again, I had reduced a dress to tatters.
I walked up to my attic and changed in to my worn calico best dress. I might as well go down to the servant’s fest. This was held every time a ball or something of the sort was held in Shenendoah, but I didn’t expect to see many there, as every eligible maiden was to attend by royal command.
As I was going out the gate, my brown shawl pulled over my braids to keep warm, I heard that voice again. "Eleanor," it said. "Where are you going?" I turned around and there stood Fairy Godmother!
I ran to embrace the little lady, heedless of my dress. She asked me why I wasn’t at the ball. She reminded me I had almost gone.
But she got the pumpkin, the rats and the mice, and soon I was off to the castle. This time, instead of the flowing white dress, I wore a deep blue satin. My hair was done in a crown of braids again, and on them I wore a circlet of pink roses, which matched my sash of pink satin.
On my feet were the same shoes, the diamond glass ones that I had worn before.
I jumped in to the coach and we started off, Fairy Godmother again warning me about the properties of magic.
When I arrived at the palace I flew up the stairs, stopping just inside the doorway. There were more presentations, and the droning voice finally announced the last lady, and the dancing began.
Again I was asked by many people to dance, but after only a little while prince Pierre III meandered his way over through the dance.
I relived the blissful existence I had found last night. I also noticed a daisy in the prince’s buttonhole; a wilting daisy. Off the crown that had fallen from my head as I ran to my coach.
Tonight I was quicker, and five minutes before midnight I had excused myself from the prince’s company and was driving sedately back down Palace Avenue.
When I arrived at stepmother’s house all was as I had left it, and I changed back in to my cotton frock. When they arrived I was sewing on a dress that I was making Analissa Mary for if there was to be another ball. It was cream colored, and had creamy lace on the hem and cuffs. Susanne Katherine’s was done; a red and black beauty.
Again they talked on and on about the ball; belle; and prince. I just smiled to myself when they got to the part about the girl dancing with the prince all night. And then they told me news that almost made me drop my needle--there was to be another ball!
The next day no invitation came, for the third royal ball was announced on the night of the second, after I had left. But I was exited all the same, for I was getting my work done much faster than normal; I had also tactfully made stepmother tell me that no, I only had regular work. Stepmother does not go back on her word, and I had found yet another dress away back in my closet.
And so at six’o’oclock, I donned my third gown. This was spectacular. Made of yellow silk and sewn in a traditional ballgown style, it was by far the most gorgeous of the three. It was even more beautiful than the magic garments I had worn for the last two nights.
But I made one mistake. I again wore Lissa May’s beads.
I suppose that Sue Kate had planned it, though it did seem spur-of-the-moment. I came downstairs wearing my gown and beads at six-thirty sharp. Came down into the midst of an uproar.
Lissa May was complaining that she had no good beads to wear. Sue Kate whined that she had no slippers. (At this, I dropped the hem of my dress, for I was wearing a castaway pair of white chiffon slippers from Sue Kate.)
Then they saw me. "Why Cinderella!" Lissa May cried hotly. "Those are my beads! MOTHER! Cinderella is wearing my best pearls!"
Stepmother came swishing down the stairs in a deep emerald-colored satin ballgown. She nodded to Lissa May, who grabbed the necklace off my neck, purposefully ripping also the sleeves of my dress.
She slipped them on her own, and I raised my arms. My skirt went up, and Sue Kate saw the chiffon slippers. Rushing over she pulled them off my feet, which made me nearly trip, and as I walked backward to steady myself my skirt--my beautiful yellow skirt--ripped up, showing my fluffy petticoat.
I ran upstairs, sobbing. My evening was ruined. I lay down on the bed, until I heard Fairy Godmother.
I had, in the commotion, forgotten all about things like Fairy Godmother. But now she spoke, as I heard the carriage which held my stepmother--and sisters--rumble away.
"Bring me the pumpkin, the mice and the rats!" was her request, as usual.
Soon I stood outside my splendid coach in a gown more beautiful than any I had ever imagined.
It was of white silk, a gown that seemed to float around me like a morning mist. On my head was a diamond tiara, like unto the diamond-glass slippers on my tiny feet. My hair was done as it had been before, and I was (though I am not vain) sure that if handed a mirror I would agree I was beautiful.
Fairy Godmother wished me on my way, and soon I was in the splendid ballroom again.
He was waiting for me. I got through only two minuets, and then the Prince came over and took my hand.
I don’t remember much about that evening. Neither does dear Pierre. But I do know that I was delirious, lost in love. And when the clock struck midnight, I was caught off guard, for I had not imagined that this evening could ever end. I thought that it was heaven; it would go on till eternity.
But I flew down the stairs as the clock struck the last stroke. I was hurrying so fast that a diamond slipper flew off my foot, but I had no time to pick it up. I made it into my coach and out the gates, but then the spell was broken.
I walked, weeping, back to the chateau.
My evening of happiness was ended, and ever would be.
the grand duke comes to call
~ "Annalissa!! Susanne!! come near, dears!" stepmother was bubbling with excitement. I stopped dusting the mantle and listened.
"The grand duke, his regalness Rolland Ives, will be coming! the prince has said he will only wed the fair maiden from the ball, and the duke last night found a glass slipper that could belong only to she on the step. He is coming to every village and every house in Shenendoah to try on the slipper, and whosoever it fits, will be the bride of the prince, and future queen. You will, dears!"
Then she came and did a most inhuman thing. She locked me in the pantry.
Luckily, the pantry was wall-to-wall with the parlor, and so I could hear all that went on.
The duke entered, trumpets blowing.
He said in the droning voice I recognized from the ball, "Hello to her regalness Madame de Shorr, with daughters, Mademoiselles Analissa Mary and Susanne Katherine. Let us proceed."
First he tried the slipper on Analissa Mary. It didn’t fit, and Analissa had a fit. Then stepmother did a really dumb thing. "Excuse me for a moment," she said before Duke Ives could see that the shoe didn’t fit.
She grabbed Analissa Mary and ran into the kitchen, where I could peer through the keyhole and see what happened.
She took a knife and cut off Lissa May’s toe.
Lissa May had an especially large toe, and that is one reason her foot wouldn’t fit. But it did, when she got back.
Duke Rolland Ives threw his wig in the air for joy, and then talking Lissa May’s hand cordially, mounted her on the white stallion that had been brought especially for the princess.
But as she rode away (I was looking through the pantry window) little red drops fell from the shoe, and the attendant noticed. "My Lord!" he called. "I’m afraid Mm. Shorr is an impostor!"
Lissa May was hurried back to the chateau in disgrace, and it was Sue Kate’s turn. "A cordial hello to mademoiselle Susanne Katherine, and let us proceed." Droned the voice again. Before the trial this time stepmother had whisked her daughter into the kitchen and cut off her extremely bulgy heel.
Going back in the shoe fit perfectly, and all went well until the attendant again let up the cry, "My Lord! I’m afraid Mm. Shorr is an impostor!" Sue Kate was also dragged back to the chateau.
"Are you sure there are no other women in the house?" the duke asked formally. Stepmother nodded vigorously (she is a stupendous liar).
But by then I had, with the help of a piece of strong wire left in the pantry from a trap, worked my way out. I ran in to the parlor just as the duke was leaving.
He turned in surprise. "I thought there were no more women in the house. . ."
he began, but stepmother, cold faced, cut him off.
"Only a servant girl," she said curtly, but to my amazement the duke insisted on trying me. He ran across the floor to my chair, not noticing the foot stepmother had placed in front of her.
As he tripped the shoe flew from his hand, and shattered into tiny bits by the staircase. He began to weep.
"Wait!" I called as he was about to leave. I fingered a trinket in my apron pocket. Pulling it out I said, "I have the other!"
CONCLUSION: As I close this journal
~ Now, as you may have guessed, I am the queen of Shenendoah. My dear Pierre is my noble king. We now have a darling prince, Jean Pierre (Pierre said he was sick of 3rds and didn’t want a 4th.).
And, surprise of surprises, my two stepsisters, Analissa Mary and Susanne Katherine, are my ladies-in-waiting. Stepmother has been gone twelve years. She disappeared the night of my wedding, and has never been seen again.