Glass — 20 of 25

Emily Short

Release 1

Section 3 - About the Ball

[In which we work toward the discovery that the beloved is -- or was -- under a spell.]

Wondering is a scene. Wondering begins when Prologue ends. When Wondering begins: change conversation set to Table of Wondering Remarks; change the target subject to ball; change the current action to "Curiously".

Table of Wondering Remarks

blankbirds"'At least we can rule out the parrot as a possible wearer of the shoe,' says the old lady, twinkling."
blankshoe"'I-- managed to rescue the shoe when she ran off,' says the Prince, a little embarrassed-looking.

'It's fortunate she left behind such a distinctive token,' says the old lady, her eyebrows raised in mischief."
blankmagic"Unless you are mistaken, the old lady flinches."
blankTheodora"Theodora starts. 'I didn't have anything to do with it,' she remarks. 'That is--'

'That's enough, Theo,' says the old lady. 'No one said that you did.'"
blankLucinda"'Yes, Parrot?' asks Lucinda, looking up at you rather coldly. She's always made it clear she thinks you possessed. Theo is much nicer."
blankheirs"'And I suppose this is a suitable young woman for -- that is, your father will think her a good mother to his grandchildren?'

'I'm sure she comes of good family,' says the Prince. 'Everything about her spoke of breeding.'

The old lady exchanges a glance with Lucinda; two little smiles of quiet smugness, even if they neither of them would like to say why.

'Very appropriate,' says the old lady."
blankmarriage"'It's marvelous that you were so drawn to a young lady that you want to marry her even though you can't remember what she looks like,' remarks the old woman.

The Prince glances at her sidelong, but she does not meet his eye.

'She was very pretty.'

'As you recall,' the old lady says.

'Yes, as I recall,' he says. 'I wrote down some notes at the end of the evening. Everything I could remember about her, everything I recalled her saying to me. I believe I noted that she was pretty.'

The old lady casts about for something to say to that."
blanklove"'Do you--' begins the old lady. 'Oh, dear, this is such a delicate question, and there is no tactful way to put it. Do you have reason to think she reciprocates your regard?'

'Mama, he's the Prince!' exclaims Theo, looking scandalized.

'I know, dear,' says the old lady. 'But it is possible that she does not feel the same way he does, and one-sided love-matches are worse, I think, than marriages of pure convenience on both sides.'

The Prince's cheeks go a little pink. 'She told me-- that is, she put it very delicately, but she gave the impression that she had admired me for some time.'

'Ah,' says the old lady."
lovemarriage"'If she does love you,' Lucinda says, 'I wonder why she was not more straightforward? Deception has no part in true love.'

The old lady shoots her a look of the uttermost exasperation. 'You're very young,' she says. 'Leave the platitudes and generalities to those who have seen a little more of the world.'"
marriagestepmother"'I was so fortunate in my own alliances,' says the old lady, startled into a reminiscent mood. 'The dear captain -- Lucinda and Theodora's father -- was so handsome! and then...'

She trails off before mentioning that her second husband was so rich and socially prominent. There is a tactful silence."
blankball"'It wasn't a masked ball,' the old lady says. 'It wasn't even badly lit. Your father did not stint on the candles at all.'

The Prince opens his mouth.

'Oh, dear, dear, I am being odiously prying. I'm so sorry. Perhaps you met this young lady out on the terrace...' She trails off, suggesting the very faintest disapproval of young ladies who linger on terraces, out of sight of chaperones, to hold conversations with Princes, and never tell their names.

'I met her in candlelight,' says the Prince, goaded. 'But she left me at midnight.'

The effect of this comment is like the shattering of glass: for a moment you wonder if he dropped the shoe...? No. It is merely that he has admitted, or near-as-admitted, that his chosen bride is one who appeared to him under a glamor, a magical enchantment. A crime punishable by death under his father's law.

Everyone remains very very quiet."

Wondering ends when the current subject is the ball.