Auguste did not want to take his visit to the palace too soon because there was no guarantee the he would be invited again. He waited until he could barely stand being in his own house and then came. It was two weeks later.
His coming to visit elated Henry. He quickly ushered the guest into the library, and ordered some refreshments to be served to them there. He then continued by telling one of the guards to find his sister and tell her that they had company in the library, and that her presence was requested. During all this, his guest perused the shelf. “It is quiet a collection you have here.”
Henry smiled, “Indeed it is. It has been many generations in the making and yet it never seems to have the book I am looking for. I fear that my family’s collection seems to lack in the more modern books. I guess my father is to blame for that one.”
Auguste pulled out a book, “Yes, but there are so many great other. You do not need a modern book while you have so many great ones by Plato.” He places the book back on the shelf.
“You and my sister shall get on capitally. She is a most ardent fan of Plato. I am sure that you have meet her before seeing as she is best friends with Jacqueline.”
“We have met briefly, but you know how young girls are. When together, it is hard to understand them. They seem to have no trouble understanding each other as they both talk at the same time and both at the speed of a hundred words per minute.”
Henry let out a slight laugh. “I believe that I have seen many of girls do just that including them. What is even worse is when they attack me. I could have been visiting with a girl for an hour and all I know is that her name is Catherine and she speaks too quickly for me to understand.”
Right then, Danielle walks in with a servant carrying in refreshments behind her. A smile quickly graces her face, “Auguste, we are glad that you have finally came to see us. Both my brother and I had doubts that you would after we had waited a week in a half for you to come. I simply do not know how you could have managed; I certainly know that I could not have.”
“Yes, well strange as it may sound the longer you live with them the easier it becomes. I have become use to their habits and have become pretty good at staying out of their way.”
“I know it must have not been easy on you to have your wife die, but you did a very good thing in marrying the Baroness. I shudder to think what would have become of Jacqueline otherwise.” Danielle got a smile out of Auguste with that comment. “To be perfectly honest with you, I have always been a bit jealous of Jacqueline. I know it is wrong, but I simply can not help it.”
Auguste looked at her curiously, “Might I inquire why?”
“As I assume you are aware, my father and I do not get along. He is trying to make me into a perfect lady which is not who I am. If it were not for Henry, I do not know how I would have bared all of my lessons. None of which had to deal with subjects that I truly wanted to learn about.”
“Your father is a good man. He simply is trying to do what is best for you. I do not blame him because I want the best for Jacqueline too. Sure, we both have different ideas as to what is right for our children, but our children know that we are doing the best we can.”
This provoked Henry to speak again. He had been spending his time observing them. “Bravo. I could not have said it better myself. I guess it takes a father to understand a father. Now then, let us changed the subject to a more lighter matter.” After that, they discussed some books and other things of that sort. Auguste ended up spending a few hours in their presence and promised that he would soon return with some new books for the Royal pair to read.
Auguste continued his visits. As sad as it might sound, he was much too happy to escape from his home. Both Henry and Danielle enjoyed his company, but it was obvious that Danielle enjoyed it more. Probably because he was exactly what she thought a father should be, and also because he seemed to have an unlimited supply of knowledge to provided her with.
A week before Danielle’s seventeenth birthday, he had to go out of town. Well, he did not exactly have to go out of town, but he chose to. He did not want to be around when she was told the truth because he feared that he would tell her who he truly was. He gave her a gift a fine new book that was filled with things that would interest her, and then was gone for a fortnight.
He was gravely missed, but the pain was easily dealt with because the Marquis and his wife had returned home. They lightened the mood of a very serious castle.
Danielle was excited about her birthday and was unable to see why everyone seemed to be so tense. As usual, a ball was to be held in her honor. She kept herself occupied by picking out a dress, and helping the cooks in the kitchen. It was something that she always secretly did.
Marie was tense because of Francis. She was unsure how he would tell Danielle the truth, but could only hope that he would not insist on telling her at the same time that he told the whole kingdom.
The night was quickly upon them, and everyone prepared himself or herself for the event. The evening started smoothly. Everyone was enjoying themselves either by dancing, socializing, or something along those lines. Francis had made it a point to stay out the way. Soon he would take action by giving Danielle a toast. One that he would never forget.
Danielle took ever offer to dance that came her way. She did not discriminate against anyone because of his lack of title or anything else for that matter. She was here tonight to simple enjoy herself. Many eyes followed her that evening. One of which was her brother. He dare not dance with her although it was sometimes his custom. He simple just enjoyed watching her from afar.
Eventually, Danielle grew tired of dancing and took a seat by her mother to try and refresh herself. Neither one of them talked much, but simple enjoyed being able not to have to talk. Soon Danielle was whisked away by a new partner. She planned to dance as much of the night as possible. Marie simple watched Danielle and hoped that she would always remember this night for the good and bad.
As the hour advanced, Francis knew that he could no longer put off his announcement. Everyone who was planning on coming to the ball was there and those who always left early would soon be gone. He beckoned for Marie and Henry to join him. He them stood up and cleared his throat. Almost immediately, everyone became silent. Both Marie and Henry drew in sharp breaths for they knew of the coming danger.
Francis ignored them. “I would like to make an announcement to the people of France, but mainly my daughter if she would please step forward.” Danielle walked through the crowd and up to her father. “For many years, we have disagreed. I have always been trying to make you become something that you are not. There is a reason that you could not have known for why I behaved as such, but I must now tell you.”
“If I could have thing my way, you would never have been told, but it is part a deal I made. Although, I doubt that them man I made it with would even know the difference.” Here Francis drew in a deep breath as he watched Danielle’s face fill with worry. “On the night of your birth, your mother gave birth to a child. That child was the true princess of France. Unfortunately for her, she died that night leaving me despairing over the loss of my child. In the garden that night, a man left a child on our doorstep and asked that someone raised the child as our own. That child was you.”
There was a sudden gasp among the courtiers at this news, but Danielle kept her eyes locked on her father. What he said explained so much, but at the same time it made her feel empty. “What does this mean?” her voice barley being heard over the racket of the courtiers.
Francis tried to break eye contact, but her look was simply to strong for him. “It means that I can no longer acknowledge you as my daughter. By law, I have to strip you of your title. If you were still sixteen I could adopt you and you would regain your title, but now it is too late. Nevertheless I do wish that you will stay in the palace.”
Danielle took a look at her ‘family.’ They meant everything to her, and yet she did not believe that she would be able to stay with them any longer. She gave a simple nod and casually walked out of the room.