Chapter Three: The Amiable Bride

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"Good nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit and gives a certain air to the countenance which is more amiable than beauty

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"Good nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit and gives a certain air to the countenance which is more amiable than beauty. "--- Joseph Addison

The trouble began for the simple reason that the Princesse Anne-Camille needed a husband

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The trouble began for the simple reason that the Princesse Anne-Camille needed a husband.

When a match appeared in France for her hand, even those like Evienne who lived far from Court shared in the sense of excitement. Evienne knew the entire story of Anne-Camille and the enormous royal family. Of course, when her father argued Evienne should have the chance to attend the party in Versailles to celebrate, her heart did cartwheels in excitement. Charlotte was too young to go, or so her father told her, but Lottie seemed indifferent.

Staring at a trembling hand inside a single pool of light the decorated the darkness, Evienne saw herself clearly and turned away in shame. She remembered she was there, barely breathing in the shadows, the night that her father and his friends supposedly tried to kill the Princesse.

Evienne was not only there, but she also looked stunning. She felt it, underneath the shame. For possibly the first time in her life, that evening made her the sort of woman meant to be envied and admired. During a moment that could have perhaps been Evienne's greatest regret, she felt jealousy. Some women lived like this and dressed in beautiful gowns and coiffed hair daily. She would have given anything to trade places with even the most unremarkable person there. In her world, Evienne was almost always unremarkable. Here, she could be taught to shine and to catch the eyes of admirers. She was a bright girl and good company, so why should she not be loved by Dauphins and Princes from foreign lands?

In the back of her mind, even she knew the answer. She was innocent for her age, sheltered, expected to know things she didn't. She'd never even had a boy like her enough to kiss her, so some of what was said travelled directly over her head. A place like Versailles ate girls like Evienne up and left them with nothing but mysterious maladies or illegitimate children.

Still, it didn't hurt Evienne to feel beautiful and special, just for one night.

There were many women there the evening who'd been made up like flowers in bloom, appropriate enough for the May wedding of the Roi's ninth daughter and reportedly his most headstrong, Princesse Anne-Camille. Evienne was obsessed with the pomp and circumstance, absorbing every detail about Court life in case she should ever get to go. More than anything, she wanted to see the very lovely Princesse in her wedding gown. Evienne was the type of girl who sighed over such things and dreamed of her own wedding and her own Prince, even though perhaps both would remain impossibilities.

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