The fire flickered happily in the fireplace, but the atmosphere in the study was just the opposite. The light from a gap in the ajar doorway fell upon the Queen and King of France.
Queen Claudine sat upon a cushioned armchair, her hands folded demurely in her lap as she watched her husband, the very picture of a devoted wife waiting for an appropriate moment to comfort her partner.
King Joseph paced before the crackling fire, tense with anxiety. Papers and scrolls, no doubt various proposals from courtiers, lay abandoned upon the cluttered mahogany desk.
Husband and wife stayed silent, each turning the same thought over in their minds-there was a rebel army rising in the country, determined to send the royal family into exile, badmouthing each Royal and smearing their name.
It was in these rare moments in which King and Queen could think of a solution to any problem, each knowing that the other was on the same wavelength. However this was the one time that neither of them could think of a quick way to solve the problem.
Finally, King Joseph let out a great sigh and stopped pacing. He moved meditatively to lean against the back of the armchair Queen Claudine was sitting on. Their eyes met in the mirror hanging opposite them, reflecting the worry shown in each taut muscle in their faces.
“The people misunderstand us, Claudine.” King Joseph placed a hand on his wife’s shoulder. The encouraging look in Queen Claudine’s eyes pushed him to say more about the matter.
“They say that you are proud and arrogant, but we both know that your shyness is the true reason to your lack of interaction with others, which they have misinterpreted as arrogance. They despise me for having an English mother and French father, calling me the mixed-blooded son of traitors.” King Joseph paused, closing his eyes. “They even accuse me of squirrelling money away on useless investments for my own personal gain! Mon Dieu!”
Queen Claudine raised a dainty white hand and rested it on her husband’s hand upon her shoulder.
“Fret not, my dear. They feel angry due to various reasons, but if we address them rightfully and justly, I believe that the commoners will be appeased.”
“Claudine, you always make me feel better.” A ghost of a smile flitted across King Joseph’s face.
“Still, I suspect that someone in the palace is the mastermind of the rebellion.” Queen Claudine tipped her head to the side, looking at her husband questioningly.
“I hope not. The thought of one of our daughters betraying the crown and the family pierces me like a thousand needles to my heart. But as much as we may dislike the notion, we must face the truth should there be a terrible confrontation.” King Joseph mused.
They lapsed into a comforting silence, seeking recluse and reassurance from each other.
Little did they know that walls had ears, and the traitor had just been outside the door, sneaking a listen.