Arriving In France

Elise Boissonneau • Chapter 20

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Maria’s hope for a pleasant journey came to pass, and we had calm seas the whole way. We arrived at Bordeaux early in the morning. The dock was a bustle of activity as ships were being loaded and unloaded. Gulls circled overhead, looking for anything edible, while their squawks filled the air. 

I was excited to be back in France and looked forward to seeing the King and Queen again. But there was business to attend to before we could enjoy that pleasure. 

“Shall we visit my father first?” Elise asked Grand Duke Goatbeard as we debarked The Sea Merchant II. 

“Yes. I see no reason to delay.”

We made our way to the offices of Boissonneau Exports. 

“I think it best if only The Grand Duke and I go in,” Elise said. 

So Andelbert, Maria, and I found a bench and waited. 

. . .

Grand Duke Goatbeard will take the telling of this portion of the tale. 

Elise led the way inside. Delbert Boissonneau rose from his desk as we entered. 

“My Dear, I am so pleased to see you. You were gone longer than I expected. How is Sophie?”

“I am pleased to see you as well, Papa. Sophie is well. Father, I would like to introduce you to Grand Duke Gruston Goatbeard from Kapri in The Austrian Netherlands.”

“Your reputation precedes you, Sir. I am honored to make your acquaintance,” Delbert said. 

“And I, yours, Monsieur.”

How is it you two know each other?”

“Father, I have a confession to make. I did visit Sophie in Vannes, but then I went on to Kapri to meet with The Grand Duke.”

“For what purpose?”

“A business arrangement between our companies.” 

“I do not understand.”

I inserted myself into the conversation, hoping to explain the agreement from a business perspective.  

“Monsieur Boissonneau, as you are no doubt aware, your daughter is brilliant. She presented me with a business opportunity that will benefit both of us. I was surprised it came from a young woman, but I could find no fault in it. Only prospects for success. I have a copy of the agreement with me now. I only ask that you read it before drawing any conclusions.”

I handed the written draft of the contract to Boissonneau. He took it, sat at his desk, and began to read. When he finished, he looked up at Elise and said, “This was your idea?”

“It was.”

“All these years, I couldn’t get you to take the slightest interest in the business, and suddenly you come up with this?”

“I assure, you Monsieur. It was all her idea,” I said. 

“I am speechless. It is a sound business plan. I would be a fool to dismiss it.” Boissonneau said. 

Elise smiled. 

“But I don’t understand why you didn’t come to me first. I could have dealt with The Grand Duke myself.”

“I was afraid you wouldn’t listen to me. Plus, I wanted to show you what I was capable of.”

“Hmm.”

I figured this was a good time to take my leave. 

“I do not want to take up any more of your time. I will be in town for a month, staying at the Hôtel de Honneur. Have your lawyer look over the contract and contact me when you are ready to discuss it. I bid you good day.”

“Good day, Grand Duke. I shall be in touch.”

I walked out, leaving Elise and her father to begin the inevitable discussion of her venture. 

. . .

“How did it go?” Britpop asked. 

“As well as could be expected. Monsieur Boissonneau seemed agreeable to the idea, although he was not pleased that Miss Boissonneau neglected to consult him first. Regardless, I am confident he is a smart enough businessman to see the value in the agreement and will accept the terms.”

“That is good news. Is Elise coming out?”

“I suspect they have a lot to discuss. She knows where we are staying. I am sure she will join us in time.”

“I assumed we were staying on The Sea Merchant II.”

“Haven’t you had enough of Broth’s cooking? We will be staying at the Hôtel de Honneur until our business is concluded. It is no Palace of Versailles, but it is more comfortable than a ship cabin.” 

Elsie and Andelbert looked pleased.

I spent the day arranging business meetings between Britpop and some business associates. I knew my guests would be eager to continue on to Versailles, so I wanted to get the process moving.  

The following day, Britpop and I conducted a series of meetings that proved fruitful for Britpop. Blastfurnace Silent Horseshoes would now be manufactured and distributed in France by the du Boise Brothers, and Britpop would receive a percentage of each sale. 

As Britpop and I walked back to our hotel, Monsieur Boissonneau turned a corner directly into our path. He recognized Britpop. With a look of both disgust and anger, Boissonneau said, “Pirate.” Then he started yelling, “Pirate! Pirate!”

“Run,” I said to Britpop. He did. 

“Monsieur Boissonneau, allow me to speak.” I said.

“Not until I have informed the police of the pirate.”

“There is no need. Baron Blastfurnace is no pirate.” 

“He raided my ship and took my cargo. What else would you call it?”

“I can explain.” 

“Our business deal is off. I will not go into business with pirates or their associates.”

“Please, hear me out.”

“I will not,” Boissonneau said and pushed me aside. 

I stood there watching him walk away. 

. . .

When I got back to the hotel, I found Elise waiting for me. 

“Britpop told me what happened.”

“Where is he.”

“I sent him to the park and told him to sit on a bench and read.”

“Good. Your father won’t listen to me. Can you reason with him?”

“That is not a task easily done, but I will try.”

“Thank you. I should have considered this might happen. I was careless.”

“My father has a strong temper, but he will eventually cool down. Leave it to me.” 

“Thank you again, my Dear. I shall go find Britpop.”



To Chapter 21


I welcome your thoughts, questions, suggestions, corrections, etc. 

Thank you.

Mark


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