The Seine River Cruise

Elise Boissonneau • Chapter 24

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The following morning, we started our journey up the Seine river on a steamship headed for Paris. It would stop at Versailles on the way. The day was perfect for a cruise. The sun was shining and the temperature moderate. The four of us lounged on deck and watched the ships and scenery pass.

“I can hardly believe we are going to the Palace of Versailles. Tell me about the King and Queen,” Elise said to Maria.

“I was just a maid at the palace; I rarely saw the King and Queen. I barely spoke to them until the day before my wedding. Britpop is far better qualified to answer that question. He had an audience with them both on many occasions.”

Elise turned to me. “Well, then.”

“Neither are what I expected. They are the King and Queen and everything that goes along with that—power, authority, fear. But they are surprisingly human also. The King has a mischievous side and is quite inquisitive. He wanted to witness the making of silent horseshoes, so I made one in his presence. And he delighted in tasting Andelbert’s bread. The Queen is equally surprising. She likes to play commoner in a Hamlet she had built just for that purpose.”


“Yes. It is quite remarkable. The Queen even dresses in peasant clothing. She also sings beautifully and plays several musical instruments.”

“I got the impression that the Queen had a slight crush on Britpop,” Andelbert said with a smile.

“Watch your tongue, Andelbert. Words like that will get me sent to the Guillotine. She was simply pleased to have a fellow Austrian to talk to.”

“If you say so,” Andelbert teased.

“I say so.”

I didn’t like where this topic was headed, so I steered the conversation in another direction.

“You will not believe the grounds of Versailles. There are themed gardens and vast canals lined with trees in orderly rows. Andelbert and Maria rode on a barge in the canal after their wedding.”

“I cannot imagine being married at Versaille,” Elsie said with a far-off look in her eyes.

“It was truly something out of a fairy tale,” Maria said. “I look forward to showing you where it took place and sharing all the details.”

“I am giddy with excitement at the thought of it all.”

“I hope you get to meet Lafayette and his wife Marie,” I said. “Lafayette was a great friend to Andelbert and me, and helped us navigate the customs of the royal court. When we last spoke, he planned to go to the American Colonies to be part of the struggle for independence, so he may be gone. We shall see.”

“We must also visit Paris. Have you been, Elise?” Andelbert asked.

“As a child. Before my mother passed. I have more images in my mind than memories.”

“Well, we shall remedy that,” I said. “Paris is a city of beauty and wonder. There is much to see and do. Perhaps we can attend the theater.”

“I would love that.”

“As would I,” Maria added.

I smiled at the thought of the four of us exploring Paris.

To Chapter 25

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