In Good Company gave us an interesting task this week! My quest was to discover what would happen if the fated shoe fit one of Cinderella's stepsisters.
The King is mad decided Drusilla. First he summons us to a last minute, poorly planned ball so that he can parade us like cattle before is spoilt son. Now he declares that the dufus must marry whichever maiden fits a found slipper! Simply mad! And if the King is mad, can the prince be much better? Drusilla knew better than to voice her thoughts aloud. To whom would she entrust them? Mother didn't care about the mental status of the royal family. That they were royal was all that mattered.
Marguerite followed her mother's opinion in all matters. Sometimes Drusilla wondered if her sister was capable of having an independent thought at all. She supposed that such mindlessness must be a desired trait for a crowned princess. Let the slipper fit her, prayed Drusilla. Her heart fell as the Duke lifted the velvet lined chest to reveal it's content. Even from the distance she peered, it was plain that the slipper was sized better for her own foot than that of her sister. Such a tiny footwear would never stretch enough to fit Marguerite. Of course that did not stop the girl from clapping her hands and gleefully squealing "That's MY lost slipper! It's been found!"
The Duke stood unconvinced. "Please be so kind as to remain seated whilst a fitting is attempted," he stiffly requested. As the Page tried in vain to force the slight slipper on Marguerite's foot, an idea flew swept over Drusilla. Cindy! The worthless ward had been caught often enough play acting in Drusilla's shoe keep. Their sizes were near enough. How just would it be for the King to find that his decree would force a union of monarchy successor to the orphaned servant girl!
"M'Lord must surely be parched. Mother, should I see to refreshments?" she offered.
The Countess looked positively stricken, but there was no acceptable way to object.
"A most excellent idea" exclaimed the Duke, reaching to steady the ornate medallion that had begun to swing as he leaned forward to inspect the fitting progress, or lack thereof. Not shoe, but bondage thought Drusilla as she quickly exited. After seeking out Cinderella and explaining the situation, she was surprised to hear the ungrateful brat exclaim "But I don't want to marry the Prince either!!! His palms were sticky and his breath, putrid!"
"Think of the elevation..." began Drusilla before the implication of the protest hit her. "Hold on. You've met the Prince?"
Cindy's hands flew to her mouth. "Oh no. I promised the old woman that I wouldn't speak of it."
"What old woman?"
"The one who sent me to the ball."
Drusilla appraised the figure before her. Yes. How could she not have seen it the night before? But then again, who would have? What clue would have allowed anyone to imagine that it was the cinder girl in a ball gown! This is my avoidance - if only I can convince her to come forward.
"Oh Ella dear, what a compliment it is that his hands grew moist with anxiety as he drew close! Do not fear his palms will remain so always. Once he feels secure in your good opinion, his nerves will calm. As for the halitosis, one must blame the abundance of garlic in the menu. As princess you can command that the item be banished from the castle. Princess Ella! What a miracle is before you! Seize the chance."
Confusion clouded the girl's face as Drusilla's hopes faded. "I don't know." she whispered. "It seems too much."
"Then remain in our service if you haven't the courage to grasp opportunity when it throws itself at you. Bring out the wine and hurry about it. The Duke is waiting." Drusilla turned to storm out of the room when one final thought occurred to her. "Have you the remaining slipper?"
"In my pocket."
"Keep it hidden and when I am Crowned I shall rescue you from this servitude," she sneered. "I feel perhaps that you would fair better on a pig farm." Leaving the girl to mull the threat, she returned to the receiving room to find Marguerite in tears, her mother distraught and the Duke impatient.
"Forgive my delay your grace. The beverages should be just a moment more."
"That is all well enough, but let us get to the business at hand - or foot, I should say. If you would - " he gestured toward the seat. Obediently, Drusilla sat and extended her foot for the Page. A moment later, the slipper was in place. A whoop of elation that escaped the Page went unrebuked. The Duke rubbed his eyes and bent closer to confirm the fit. Just then, Cinderella brought in the service tray and, glaring at Drusilla, set it down loudly.
"I will not tend swine!" she declared, sticking out her foot to display the slipper's match.
"You stole that!" exclaimed the Countess. "How often must I punish you for looting through my daughters belongings?"
The Duke sank into a chair, overcome. Drusilla almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
"Mother, it is true that our sweet Ella has a penchant for dressing up in the finery you have graciously afforded me, so your mistake is understandable. Nonetheless, I cannot pretend to claim that the slippers as my own. I fear that I would burn in hell eternally if I did not reveal that they do indeed belong to the late Count's daughter. Surely you would not wish such a fate for me?"
The coldness that shots out from her mother's eyes pierced deeply into Drusilla's core. "No, my child. I would not wish that fate for you."
To the Duke the Countess requested "Take this charge from me. She is gladly given over to the court."
Then leveling her gaze at her daughter once more she proclaimed. "It took great character to make such a choice, however, such character is wasted here. I feel perhaps that you would fair better in a nunnery."