Queen Evangeline was summoned as soon as possible, feeling it was fit to fulfill her ever weakening son’s request. On entering his bedchamber she nodded her head in agreement.
“Theodore my child, I feel that indeed it would be a very sensible idea. You have not made a public appearance in a long while. It is time you did. My only concern is your condition. What if you were to collapse upon the balcony?”
“I plan to be seated Mother. I am well aware that I can no longer stand upon my own two feet.” He whispered.
Queen Evangeline nodded. “Very well. Tomorrow afternoon you shall make your speech. I shall make sure that the public announcement is sent in writing to every household in the kingdom. Your throat sounds very hoarse, are you sure that you won’t struggle greatly?”
“I will try not to. Thank you Mother, it is very important.”
Theodore felt a huge sense of relief, it simply had to be done. The following day Theodore was bathed and dressed with assistance, too frail to do it himself. Quarter of an hour later he lay fully clothed upon his bed, fast asleep. With his pouting lips slightly parted and splendid hair flowing over the white cotton pillows. He was an image of angelic, true beauty. Bonnie ventured into his room, clearing her throat.
“Theodore my dear, I am very sorry to awaken you. It is 12.15 we have only 45 minutes to spare.”
He stirred gently and sighed. “Ah Bonita, I was just having a small nap to refresh myself before this afternoon.”
“Just a concern of mine Bonita, how am I to get to the balcony? I do not feel that I can stand. I feel the blood taken from my body has weakened me further somewhat.”
“Howard is willing to carry you until you are seated.”
“Splendid. My goodness, I feel like I have not been in his company for a long time. How is he?”
“Concerned, like the rest of us. He is in good health. Shall I comb your hair Theodore?”
“Yes please. I think it is still a little damp. I would do it myself but I’m afraid I struggle to lift my arms.”
Bonnie nodded and combed Theodore’s hair gently in sections, helping to restore it to his former glory. It hung in fine chestnut waves enhancing the remaining beauty in his sullen face.
“There I am finished, your hair looks splendid.” she grinned.
“How do I look?” He questioned. “I know I can rely on your judgement, you will give me an honest answer.”
“Your illness has not deprived you much of your fine looks, as ever you are dashing-ly handsome.”
“Do I look frail? Tell me honestly.”
“Yes my dear, your face is thinner than ever.”
He sighed sadly. “I imagined that would be the case.”
“You’re very cold again.”
“I know. I have yet another request Bonita. Would you stand beside me when I address the public?”
“Oh my goodness! It would be an honour!” She exclaimed.
Theodore’s eyes sparkled. “Wonderful!”
“I feel I should change my dress Theodore, I look so plain, it will not do.”
“Hmm. Well I should at least tidy my hair.”
Theodore nodded feebly. Bonnie paced back to her chamber, seating herself at the elegant dresser. She combed her hair pinning it into a neat bun, dressing in her best dress, the one she had worn when Theodore and she first met. Bonnie returned to the bedroom quickly where Theodore lay dozing. She placed a hand upon his shoulder. He gasped and inhaled a sharp breath filling his crackly lungs with oxygen.
“I apologise for frightening you my dear. I have returned as it is almost time.”
“Oh, thank you.”
Bonnie sat by his bed in a high-backed chair.
“Are you nervous Theodore?”
“No, not nervous…. determined.”
Howard stood in the door way, his face solemn. He knocked calmly.
“Your majesty it is time now. Might I carry you to be seated upon the balcony?”
“Very good your grace.”
Howard placed Theodore’s arm around his neck, supporting his waist and knees, gently carrying him to the comfortable chair which awaited him, placing a blanket over his knees for warmth. Theodore trembled, the icy air penetrated his body, like a thousand knives stabbing him, causing the hairs to stand upon his spindly arms and legs. He groaned and placed his head in his hand which was resting upon the arm rest of the chair. Bonnie gently rubbed his shoulder injecting Theodore with a tiny ounce of energy. Theodore knew that somehow he must go on.
To be continued….