Wednesday, 18 March 2009
By Elton John
(continued from here.)
For some unknown reason, the young woman found her eyes straying toward the driver. He was standing beside the horses, waiting as they were for the journey to begin. He was dressed in a warm brown cloak and hood which covered most of him save his shiny black boots. From beneath the hood, however, she briefly caught a glimpse of the sparkling blue of his eyes.
She must have stopped walking, she realized, the sound of Edward’s voice returning her to reality once more. She frowned distractedly and took a step toward the horses, no doubt confusing the poor man and all the servants present.
“You’re to be our driver?” she questioned, and he bowed low before he answered.
“If it so please, my lady.”
His voice was unmistakable; there could be no doubt now. Marguerite found herself torn between a desire to rejoice at the sight of him or ridicule his habit of disguise. She frowned more deeply in his direction, which he pretended not to see as he had ducked his head during his bow.
Edward cleared his throat conspicuously. He was holding the door open, a confused expression quite clear upon his face. It was not like her to take such a keen interest in carriage drivers.
Marguerite shrugged lightly, as though she did not much concern herself with Edward’s opinion of her behavior. “I would like to see the horses more closely, if such is possible, before we leave.”
“Marguerite!” Edward protested almost immediately. “Why – I assure you that…!”
She did not give him time to finish. “I am certain I can manage the task on my own, sir,” she said then. Calling him “sir” was a sure way of indicating her seriousness about a subject, as they rarely used such formalities between them. Edward immediately twisted his face into a disapproving frown and wrinkled his nose slightly.
“As you wish, my lady,” he answered after a moment, speaking in a cool, formal tone and schooling his features into a more haughty facade. “I shall wait within.” With that, he climbed into the vehicle and let the door slam shut behind him.
Marguerite sighed inwardly. It might take some time to heal Edward’s bruised ego, as it could be rather fragile. Still, there was no way of explaining her motivations in front of the crowd of assembled servants.
Those who had witnessed this exchange remained standing a few moments in stunned silence after the door had slammed. Marguerite sighed again, rather impatiently this time, and turned back toward the driver, upon whose half-hidden face she thought she could detect a quiet smirk.
“If you wish, my lady,” he said, responding at last to her request, and gestured toward the horses.
They were beautiful animals, Marguerite thought briefly. She forgot her ulterior motives for the moment and placed one hand upon the nose of the nearest animal. His coat was soft as velvet, and shiny as well. “They are beautiful,” she said in a low voice. “I can almost understand why you would take this job.”
“Beauty, I must admit, is a motivator,” he confessed in an equally quiet tone. “Not, however, that of the horses.”
(title of this entry borrowed from "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" by Elton John, from the album Honky Chateau.)