DEAR READERS, HERE IS THE ADVENTURES OF FLEUR CLEMENTINE POST THAT I PROMISED A WHILE BACK.
I HAVE GIVEN A LINK TO THE FIRST PART HERE!
If you would like to go back and read the first chapter, click here!
She whimpered as Adelé pinched her cheeks.
“Hush now,” she ordered, moving her hand to rid Fleur of the tangles in her hair, “If you had not been sneaking about, my mistress would not have paddled you. You really ought to stay where you are put Fleur.”
The girl only glared at Adelé through hot, angry tears.
She looked at Fleur’s reflection in the tiny mirror that stood across them. Feathery eyelashes brushed away salty water, a white knuckle was resting in a mouth.
“I will have to use a bit of incense.”
Sniffling, Fleur’s tiny little eyes widened.
Adelé smiled at the mispronunciation. “Yes, to help rid you hair of its atrocious smell.”
“What does it smell like?”
Adelé reflected quickly, “a pig-sty.”
Bustle and rhyme defined the Clementine Maison. At any given moment, tufts of silk and tulle tinted in wondrously rich colours could be seen flying out the hands of a lady’s maid as she crashed into a messenger carrying more of same. Despite, Le maison was in good cheer as the ball approached, the women becoming more and more ridiculous with glee. The men had left for a weekend of hunting while the women carried about so. To be in their way was a frightful occurrence indeed.
Jewelers, couturières and cordonniers were in and out of the house suffering the displeasure of the matriarch if they did not arrive at the time of her bidding. Little Fleur Clementine loved to trail behind these rushed panickers; they nearly always dropped little charms that Fleur could take and store in a small wooden chest that her father had brought home from Venice.
By noon that day, Fleur had quite a collection of cloth, jewels, and leather. Still, none of these treasures abated her want for the Matriarchs pearl set. Luckily for her, she had considerably better access to inspect them now as Fleur’s sisters had been called upon to sew new ballgowns for the ball. Because Fleur was too young for the task, she had been shoved to the nursery to be looked after by the nurse. However, the nurse who had been called upon to direct messengers, left the task to the cook who certainly was not fit for the task as she was constantly called to the salle de couture to help with stitching.
The cook disposed of Fleur after only a few minutes and told her to go to the stables and sit. After this directive she promptly slapped Fleur on her backside to get her moving, and watched her walk to the stables. The stablemaster had her sit on a stepping stool that was used to help people get on the horses. She sat for a few minutes, then stablemaster was called to direct a few messengers. Fleur found her chance to escape.
Moving from her post, Fleur waited at the edge of the cobblestone path to see when a messenger came. If she was small enough to hide behind him, she could sneak her way back in.
Fleur laid low in the grass near the stables, which was long and feathery. Her brown muslin dress had provided wonderful camouflage for the dingy coloured stables marred by years of bad care and little renovation. Luckily, her ladys maid had washed her hair that morning so she now wore her matching cap that hid her shock of red hair.
She had some trouble remaining still because the grass was itchy, but she found a small grasshopper to distract her while she waited. It was green, and had a few speck of dirt on it’s body. She grabbed the spiny legs and watched in a childish glee as he tried to get away. Another grasshopper came, a bigger one. Fleur let the smaller grasshopper go and cupped her hands around the new grasshopper, giggling as his fluttering body tickled her chubby fingers.
“The doors are right up there. The cook will show to the duchesses quarters.”
Fleur snapped to attention, placing the small animal in her pocket, and watched the cook rush back inside. The traveler was carrying what look like three rolls of silk and two of lace. Fleur had come out of her hiding spot and trailed behind the rushing man who was letting the blue colored silk unfoil until it was dragging along the road, covering Fleur entirely.
She had made sure not to step on the cloth as she followed the merchant who whistled on his way to the door. The door was open, so he just walked in. Fleur had dutifully followed.
Fleur heard her lady’s maid voice as she had rounded a corner. Fleur quickly ducked into the kitchens where the cook was nowhere to be found, but a messenger was exiting, leaving a trail of jewels like a little and girl and boy had left a trail of bread crumbs in a story that her ladys maid had once told her.
Presently Fleur, sat surrounded by those jewels, wondering what to do with her treasures. She wanted to bury them, for someone to find later, but she still needed the matriarchs pearls. Her love for the secret trinket had not waned since she had gotten in trouble.
The pearl set had been transferred from her mothers bedroom to a cleaning chamber with the rest of the jewelry that was to be worn for the ball–all of the pendants, and rings, and cufflinks’ for the men. Even her necklace with a tiny crystal, a gift from her father, was to be cleaned.
All Fleur had to do was reach the cleaning room and get the pearls before her mother retrieved them. She had attempted, but ever since she had entered the house, she had been distracted by falling silks and jewels that she could collect for herself.
She shoved all of her treasure into her wooden chest and stored it in the nursery where her sister’s kids played games. She knew that they would not touch her chest for fear she would know things were disturbed, which a possessive Fleur was known to do when her stuff was touched. Once she had even knocked her niece Clara into a puddle of mud for stealing the rag doll that her dad brought her. Even though she didn’t like dolls, she treasured things that her father brought back for her on his trips.
After carefully placing her chest to the side, she went in search of the cleaning room. Scuttling past bustling adults, little Fleur Clementine rushed down the main corridor from the nursery which housed the matriarchs personal dressing room, and the sewing room, and raced through the royal corridor which housed the head bedroom and the matriarchs bathing room and closet. The royal hall intersected with the guest room hall which led to the servants quarters. In this square hall that held the washing rooms and a storage room, was the room where the jewelry would be cleaned.
Fleur rarely came to the servants quarters because the stench of harsh soaps hurt her delicate nose and it was overly crowded. Their were more servants than beds available. There had once been more than enough room, but Agnes’s constant flow of children and the matriarchs want of more guest rooms had led to unfair cramping of the servant’s quarters.
Fleur slipped past a maid carrying a few pendants from what could have been any of her sister’s rooms.
“Little Fleur, you should not be in the servants quarters!” the piercing voice of her sister-in-law’s ladys maid rang through the halls, seeming to bound off the walls and echo themselves around Fleur.
Good breeding and years of ingrained manners had not incorporated in Fleur any sort of automatic response to authority. Her mind filled with her goal of the pearl set, took no note of Celiné’s servant.
“Lollia! I’ve been calling you!” Celiné Roux entered the quarters, watching what she thought was a young servant girl shove her way through crowds of busy maids and servants in order to attend to her own duties. “Know you not to answer when I call?”
“I am sorry Lady.” Lollia bowed. “Your mother entreated that I send some of her jewels to be cle–”
“Sweet Christ Lollia! There is no time for excuses now. Come. I must give you the rest of my silks to be properly cleaned. Make haste!”
Fleur was now in the cleaning room, where a dozen servants stood at round tables filled with brushes, knives, and other instruments largely foreign to Fleur. The servants were rambunctious while they worked, speaking freely with wine in between them to keep them energized. Fleur noticed a small chest of jewels already cleaned and encased.
Wiping a sweaty palm on the hem of her muslin dress, Fleur straightened and began to look through the cases, removing each out of the chest when she figured that it was not the pearl set. It took Fleur some time to do this, because she became entranced with each set that she took out. Soon she had emptied the entire chest and still could not find the pearl set. She turned to look at the oblivious servants at the table, drunk and working to hard to notice her. Pondering absently whether she could take the jewelry off their table, Fleur chewed on her knuckle anxiously.
Fleur inched towards the nearest table, her fiery curls threatening to escape her bonnet with each step. The bonnet finally fell as she dropped to a crawling position in order to better disguise herself. The hem of dress dragged along the damp floor as she inched closer to the table, two dark round circles forming on her dress as her knees pressed against the floor. Her milk hands grew sticky as anxious sweat, dust, and the damp floor mixed.
Fleur moved directly behind the chair of a non-familiar maidservant who was using a thin wire covered in bristles to clean a ruby pendant with delicate diamonds surrounding it. The color reminded Fleur of the ices that her father would buy for her when he took her to the market. Fleur thought maybe her father would take her if she let Adelé put her in her stockings for the ball. Fleur hated stockings. They itched all the time, and Fleur nearly always scratched holes into them.
The nostalgic reverie lasted only a few brief minutes, but that was all the time it took for Fleur to be spotted by one of the maidservants. Unfortunately for Fleur she had managed to catch the eye of the meanest one. Ingrid, a Russian servant girl who hated the entire Clementine family especially Fleur, and made certain that she knew it. She had been serving as an assistant cook for as long as Fleur could remember.
“Vye! Hellion child, you not know yehr place! Geht out!” Despite being a petite little thing, Ingrid managed to sound like a announcer at the horse races.
Fleur, not at all scared of the servant girl, rose, making her way towards the table. Ingrid would certainly stop her so Fleur had to look for the pearl set fast. She dove through the crowd of spectators and began searching through the jewels. She raved madly until strong arms grabbed her and she was suddenly off the table.
“Zhou brat!” Ingrid’s long pointed nose pressed against Fleur’s as she spat Russian curses at her.
“Let me down!” Fleur grabbed a fistful of Ingrid’s hair and pulled at it, her own hair tumbling between the wrestling girls like a hay.
The two girls knocked a table over, sending jewels flying. Ingrid landed on top of Fleur, pinning down her hands and calling for someone to call the matriarch.
A small chirp made Ingrid stiffen.
Another chirp had her falling on her back and slithering away, until two small grasshoppers jumped into the air, free of Fleur’s pocket, and made their way onto Ingrid’s lap. She let out a shocking squeal that had the entire room of maid servants emptying the servants quarters to get away from the little creepers who were wreaking havoc by jumping away from Ingrid and onto tables filled with jewels. As servants rushed to get away from the crickets, tables were knocked over, and Fleur slipped and slid along the damp floor in order to catch her creatures.
When the matriarch and Adelé entered the quarters a few minutes later, they saw only a flash of red hair wailing and darting throughout the room chasing two small little grasshoppers who chirped a gleeful song.
song than inspired me: much of ellie goulding’s Halycon album food that provoked me: such an array of things–pasta with spinach and tomatoes mixed with olive oil, a grilled cheese sandwich, tea, and sausage (not all one meal and over the course of a few days)