Sunlight filled the palace’s cavity, shimmereing on the decorative gold moldings. A distant sound, barely perceptible, echoed. Marie Antoinette, in her flimsy nightdress, caught her breath. What could that be? The sound came again.
She looked around, she saw no one, nothing, but for her reflection. Tall mirrors, short mirrors, wide mirrors, all framed in glittering gold. Her widened eyes caught the light as she turned to the sound. The sound of a muffled laugh. She bit her lip. But there was no one there. She called, “Hallo, hallo . . .” She walked toward the sound. It bounced off all the hard surfaces, mirror, wood, moldings, it got louder. She clasped her hands over her ears, but the sound boomed like she had an ear trumpet. Her nightdress caught at the bottom of the column, she fell forward and stumbled then gathered herself up, her heart pounding too many beats.
There it was, the laugh, coming from the column. She put her ear to it. Nothing. She swallowed her fear and slid her hand over the column’s edges. There it was again, that muffled laugh. Bang, a door smashed open right in front of Marie’s face. “Yikes.” Out popped her husband, a small jeweled box in his hand, he in his night dress, void of his powdered wig, lean of build, just the right size to squeeze into the boxy column.
She gasped, her hand over her heart, “Oh Louis, I will whip you for this.” He stuck out his hand and grabbed hers. He pulled her to him, so close their lips almost touched.
“My sweet wife, how could you be so crass? Might my peace offering dissuade you?”
She pulled away from his hold and held out her hand for the jeweled box.
He placed it in her palm and she looked inside. A fresh chocolate from Paris. “Yes, I can be dissuaded.”
“But wait my darling, can you save the delicacy for later?”
“If I must . . .”
His gaze lingered on her lush lips. “Marie, did you remember this day? It is the yearly celebration of our marriage. Will you permit me to take you to our garden? Something unexpected waits for you there.”
Marie glanced with apprehension at Louis. Her mouth was dry. “What would you like to have then, Louis?”
He tilted his head to one side and offered a smile that reached his eyes. “I would like to have you say yes.”
“This one time Louis, I will be what it is you like.”
When they got to the garden, four puppies jumped and greeted Maria. “Is this my anniversary present, Louis?”
“It is my darling, are you pleased?”
Marie wrapped one arm around Louis, and with her other arm, she held one of the pups. Her eyes glistened and as a tear escaped, she kissed her husband and whispered thank you in his ear.
A brief history of Versailles from Wikipedia:
When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.