Historical (fan)fiction set in the mid 1800s, after the conclusion of the events in the Count of Monte Cristo.

Eugénie Danglars (living under an assumed identity in Rome with her lover Louise d'Armilly) is angry to find that her father has tracked her down.

After such a complete breakdown in familial trust and loyalty, what can he want?


2. Louise

Louise d'Armilly, Eugénie's singing instructor, intimate friend for many years, and very intimate friend for only a little less time, was sitting at their table, in the small room which served them both as dining room, study, music room, drawing room and kitchen. If they had needed a grand ballroom, atrium, boudoir or office it would have to serve for that too, as it was the only room they had but for a small room barely large enough for the narrow bed they shared, a wash-room large enough only for one person to stand, and a closet no larger than that, which contained all of their possessions and supplies that were not on that one small table.

There were few of these.

Louise greeted Eugénie as usual with a soft and long embrace.

"Ah, it is good to have you home."

"It is good to be home. It is uncomfortable enough to dress as a man all the time without having to do it in this heat."

"You make a very pretty man," said Louise, reaching around her neck and pulling her down for a quick kiss. "If all men were as you, then we two might not need to live so unconventionally to find our happiness."

"Cherie, I can tell you from personal experience today, men are as disappointing as ever. And in any case, you are my happiness."


"What? What is it?"

"I know you are not completely happy. Whenever you go out, I see your face tighten, your eyes narrow. When you come back, you relax only a little. You are relieved to be back, true, but also tired. Living here is wearing you down. We have so little, and my dreams of fame in the Opera have been just that. Sweet dreams, from which we wake all too soon."

"We get by."

"I know. Only, if we could find some other source of income, if you could reclaim your---"

"Non. Absolutement. I will not, I cannot write to my father. I have no father, and the man who used to suffer me to live in his house will I'm sure admit to having no daughter. He will have nothing to do with me. I am surprised you would bring this up again, to notice I am unhappy and then aggravate it with talk of that loveless boor."

"I'm sorry. Only---"

"Well, what, my love? Only what?"

"Only, there is a letter. I think it may be from him. I know his hand from when he would very grudgingly pay for your music lessons. Had he known what you were teaching me, I honestly think he would have tried to offset it against my fees," Louise winked, "or possibly charge me the balance."

"That's a given," said Eugénie, with a smile. "For his disapproval would be held in check by his desire to make a saving. He had no real morality. Shame and disgrace for him were only matters of public standing and business credibility. That's why he felt no shame for his own miserable treatment of others. Let us see this letter."

M. "Etienne" Danglars, c.o. Mme Louise D'Armilly

I have of late reconsidered the wisdom of many of my actions and how I stand with God and my fellow man. Despite considerable reluctance I have been forced to admit my own mistakes were partly although not exclusively to blame for the situation we both find ourselves in.

If you can find it in yourself to meet with me, we can talk. I have no desire to demand your certainly insincere apology for the way you have behaved, and I'm sure you know me well enough not to expect one from me. If you wish to know more, then meet me at Caffè Vincenzo near the Opera. You need not bring your "instructor". I am sure she has nothing instructive to add to the discussion that I would care to hear.


"Well, Louise, you are right about one thing. That's certainly him."

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