Queen Evangeline let out a cry, her heart ruling her mind and flew at her. She struck Jane who sunk to the floor. A blood curdling scream echoed through the corridor. Bonnie paused, letting go of Theodore’s hand. Theodore jumped his sharp hearing compensating for his loss of sight.
“Do not be alarmed your Grace, I am sure that-.”
“Oh God! What has happened?” Theodore gasped.
“Stay calm your Grace. Shall I go and investigate?” Mr Howard suggested, having just re-filled Theodore’s water jug.
“Please venture downstairs Mr Howard, for I need Bonnie to stay. Whatever could the commotion be?”
Bonnie squeezed his hand. “Do not be alarmed, I am sure the situation sounds worse than it actually is.”
“I-I am not afraid. I’m just a little puzzled.”
Mr Howard scurried down the staircase, searching the rooms which were almost directly beneath Theodore’s. He apologised to the small group of guests which sat in every room, until he entered the last one. Alas, something was stopping the door from opening.
“Is someone in there?” He questioned.
“It is I.” Queen Evangeline stated sheepishly.
“Ma’am, are you quite well?”
“Has something happened?”
“Might I come in?”
Gingerly, he opened the door gazing at Jane who lay slumped against the wall, her head lolling to one side.
“My God! What happened? She fainted?”
“I wish she had. I am afraid that I struck her.”
Mr Howard crouched beside her. “But why?”
“She came, to my event unannounced and then she tells me that….”
“Oh, I cannot say, it was too awful. It must have been a lie, surely, oh what can I do?”
“She breathes easy.”
Mr Howard, scooped her up from the floor, as her head lolled, he rested it against his shoulder and placed her on a couch, supporting her head with pillows. He opened the small chest of draws and took out a blanket, covering Jane with it.
“Ma’am, you must wait until she comes too, have you smelling salts?”
“I am afraid that I don’t, but Miss McGrath always carries them. Shall I ask to borrow them?”
“Heavens no! She will only ask what you want them for! Look, she is coming round now.”
Jane stirred, opening her eyes. She gazed at their blurred faces, shutting her eyes again.
“Please don’t throw me outside, not like this.”
“Miss Mallis, tell me that you were lying about…”
“I wish I was.”
“You-you were full term?”
“How far on? Tell me!”
“Your Majesty, please be gentle. No matter what she has done, the girl has been through quite enough for one night.”
“Three months , I think.” Jane muttered.
“So you lied to me again. You did not give birth to his child at all, you may have miscarried but I think that you are over-reacting. Perhaps you did not bleed for a few months, that can happen, can it not?”
“Not to me.” Jane whispered. “I miscarried, I lost a great deal of blood.” Mr Howard’s eyes widened.
“You are a much more amiable character when you are ill, aren’t you?”
“Please do not mock me.”
“I am the Queen and you are a liar!”
“I buried it!”
Mr Howard grasped Queen Evangeline’s arm, restraining her.
“Let go of me!”
“Ma’am, I will not let you strike the girl again! Please calm yourself!”
“You have gone barking mad Miss Jane Mallis, perhaps you’d be better off in an asylum! You come here wishing to see my son, who is dying and claim that you miscarried his child. My! I could have you locked up!”
“Please Ma’am, be careful with what you say. The girl is not well.”
“She is clearly sick in her mind. Fit for an institution!”
“What do you expect me to do, your majesty, what does it take? I buried the remains under a tree in my own garden.”
“That is sickening!”
“Perhaps, perhaps not.”
“Well thank God the child did not live!”
“You are cruel your majesty, wicked and unjust. I am fully aware that I have acted in an unfeeling way towards Theodore. But not to this extent.”
“That- that is why you returned that day?”
“Of course it was, for what other reason would it have been?”
Queen Evangeline grasped the bible from the corner shelf. “Swear upon it, swear upon the bible!”
Jane, pulled her self up into a seating position on the couch and placed her hand upon it, gazing at it’s bound leather cover.
“I-I tell, the truth and only the truth or condemn my soul to hell, Lord. I miscarried Prince Theodore’s child, which is why I returned last time.” She nodded, removing her hand.
“There, it is done. Now I think I can be certain.” Queen Evangeline stated.
“Can I see him?”
“Theodore? Certainly not!”
“Your Grace, he is a man. Please ask him.”
“Not in his frail condition, your news would be the death of him.”
“He should know. It was his child, his own flesh and blood!”
“No, he should not and he need not hear the horrid news from the likes of you!”
“I cannot live with myself unless I tell Theodore!”
The Queen gasped. “You should only refer to him as your Grace!”
“Please. No-one shall know, all the guests are elsewhere.” Jane begged.
“He is fragile and wont want to see you.”
“I’ll be careful and wont stay long.”
“Being careful is not in your nature.”
“Please!” Jane cried.
“Ma’am, Theodore is a grown man. I feel it might be wise to let him make his own decisions.” Mr Howard suggested, placing Jane’s shawl around her shoulders, noticing the goosebumps upon her slender neck.
“Very well!” Queen Evangeline snapped. “But on the condition that I stay in the room.”
“Yes, of course.”
“And Miss McGrath too.”
Jane shook her head. “Please, I barely know her. I do not want her to know.”
“Theodore tells her everything. He trusts her as he trusts Mr Howard, God forbid! I can assure you that he will tell her after you have gone.”
“You- you do not like Miss McGrath?”
“What business of yours is it to ask such questions? Hold your tongue! You are not going to faint again are you?”
“No, your majesty.”
“Good, I would be less than sympathetic if you were to make another scene! Now come along Miss Mallis.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014