"Yes, Nadine, but you almost told Orry secrets that can never be revealed. You've been pretty good about keeping secrets from your 21st Century friends, about your father really being from 1400's France. But, Nadine, people in my time would think your mother's a witch, that is if they ever saw the player piano and the record player and..."
Quasimodo and Nadine sat at the little table in the confines of the bell tower. The bell ringer had just cautioned Frollo's six-year old daughter about the dangers of blabbing to the wrong people. Those good 15th Century folks may not understand because such wonders as player pianos and gramophones did not exist.
"Is that why they would call Mommy a witch,?" asked Nadine. Quasimodo
chose his words carefully so Nadine would understand.
"Yes, Nadine. See, people from my time, when they see something they don't understand, will say it's enchanted or cursed. Tell me, Nadine, what do you think Orry thought when you showed him those things?" Now Nadine Frollo understood and told Quasi not to worry.
"I made Orry swear that he wouldn't tell anyone."
"Good! Let's hope he keeps his promise. Now, young lady. let's go down to meet your folks. This is a big day." "Oh, Quasi," replied Nadine as the pair began the long descent, "Mommy said that Papa invited a lot of people. I get to see Uncle Jehan, Cousin Isabelle, Jehan-Henri Marchand...."
The child's parents, waiting downstairs, had granted permission for Nadine to visit Quasimodo right after Mass, with instructions that she may remain there until the appointed time came for upcoming activities.
It was Danisha's 21st Century friends' idea, to host a charity baseball game in honor
of Claude Frollo. Of course, the retired Minister of Justice was
extremely flattered but puzzled as to why. You see, a few months ago,
while Danisha recovered from the "Dorothy-is-really-Danisha" ordeal,
Madame Fern and company planned this event as a "Thank You" gift for
Frollo. Fern Grigsby, Frollo's queen-sized 21st Century spy
extraordinaire, wanted to thank Claude for the many years of great
friendship and good times.
Moreover, it meant so much now that Danisha truly alive, and two very special people were at last reunited. It was Danisha herself who suggested that admission and concessions proceeds should go to the orphans' home that Fern established in 15th Century Paris years ago.
The game, to be held in an expansive meadow near Claude Frollo's private
estate, would cap an eventful summer.
Those two 21st Century music scholars, Clevon and Willie, would act a
hosts, and conduct the game as their grandfathers did back in the days
of the old Negro Leagues.
"Not to worry," Clevon told Fern, "me and Will got the jokes and the plays all worked out...You all just sit back, relax, and pass a good time."
And, since this game was for charity, Claude Frollo didn't seem to mind
indulging his friends. Oh, he knew there would be several key people in
attendance – the LaCroixes, the d'Arcys, the Flamberts, Raimon Cauant
and Felise. Then there were the Ouimets – Philippe, Évrard, and
Philippe, the new Minister of Justice, had just returned from summer holiday and was surprised that Claude Frollo extended such a genial invitation.
Well, to be sure, the younger Ouimet brother, who last winter nearly married a then-out of her mind Danisha, almost declined. It took much persuasion from his cousins Clarice and Anseau; but, in the end, it was Orry's report of what happened inside Nisha's home that Sunday which piqued Évrard's interest.
Oh yes, the boy did just that, because Orry, unlike Nadine, couldn't remain silent anymore. Come the following Monday, when that music once again wafted from Nisha's pied a terre, Évrard voiced his inquiries. That's when Orry, despite his vow of secrecy to Nadine, told his father everything.
Little seven-year old Orry Ouimet's gray eyes brightening with every
word as showed his father several items smuggled from Danisha's pied a
terre. Thank the hired help Clemence for doing that, thought Orry. The
young maid, herself consumed with curiosity about her employer, gladly
gathered the stereoscope and a few pictures for Orry.
The boy did ask so politely and Clemence didn't think her mistress would mind. Besides, thought the maid, the mistress, the daughter, and Frollo are en route to Chateau du Pré for an afternoon event. Clemence surmised that they wouldn't return until the next day since Mlle Wood packed a few belongings for an overnight stay at Frollo's chateau. So, when Clemence handed over those items to Orry, who in turn showed them to his father...
"Hold it up to the light, Father. Look through here..."
Orry Ouimet handed the stereoscope to his father after sliding in a picture. "Nadine calls this thing a stereoscope. The pictures don't appear flat..It's what Nadine called '3-D'...That's the bridge, Father..."
Imagine the assessments running through Évrard's mind the moment his eyes took in every astonishing image. This is incredible! How ingenious these New World people must be to achieve all this. Why, none of us: the French, the English, the Italians, the Spanish....NO ONE...can ever boast having all this! This city, this New York City, is a virtual dream come true!
At last Évrard said to his son, "My dear Orry, as soon as we arrive,
tell no one that Clemence gave you these things. Her mistress will
surely and severely chastise Clemence. Frollo would want the girl
punished for stealing from her employer...No, just make nice
conversation with Nadine, that is all. Understand?"
Orry didn't quite want to comply but, out of friendship for Nadine, and out of obedience to his father, the boy begrudgingly agreed.
"But Father, what will we do with the things?"
"I want you to return these items to her home. Tell Clemence that it isn't right for a servant to give away her employer's possessions..."
Évrard stopped himself, then, "Run along, Orry, and tell Clarice we shall leave for Chateau du Pré shortly. I need to pen a letter to your uncle..."
After Orry left, Évrard did just that – wrote a letter that he hoped would lead to a reconciliation with Philippe. He also needed some answers about Frollo's New World lady, and since Philippe knew the woman from long ago....
And what did that letter say in part?
My dearest brother,
I am sorry for all bitter words spoken....I wish to make amends, start fresh so to speak....My dear Philippe, things have happened since you left on holiday...Frollo's lady, the New World woman called Danisha Wood...What do you know of her and her friends?
These people come from the most advanced society imaginable, and I have positive proof that this New World is indeed the Paradise everyone speaks of. This is NO fantasy or the stuff of legends...The New World is full of gold and riches beyond our wildest dreams....
If you should come to Chateau du Pré this afternoon, Orry and I shall pass along our findings. He said that Frollo's daughter mentioned a 'car' kept out at Chateau d'Arcy...That is supposedly the main means of transport...Apparently they don't travel by ocean as we know it, which may explain the frequent journeys between their country and ours.
Philippe, I find this woman intriguing in the extreme, and I intend to learn more of her and her country....I am, Philippe, your loving brother....
During his entire recovery Jehan never voiced outright his turbulent, forbidden desires; he merely kept those prohibited feelings to himself and enjoyed the time spent with his family. Yes, Danisha and Nadine were indeed family, and how wonderful this pair made Jehan's stay that more pleasant. Jehan loved the circa 1900 artifacts, especially the player piano and gramophone. Of course, Jehan, by being in that exclusive circle of time travelers, already knew of these items. But on this morning, he felt something amiss.
He had hoped to pass the morning looking at the antique pictures
through the stereoscope, but that scope, along with several pictures, were
Just before Phoebus arrived, Jehan espied the hired girl, Clemence,
steal into the drawing room and replace the stereoscope and pictures
where they lay the day before. Jehan Frollo soon thereafter accosted
Clemence and demanded, "What are you doing with your mistress'
belongings?! You perfectly well know handling her things are strictly
Clemence hedged, saying, "I only wanted to see this....Just to look at the pictures...I...I'm sorry, M. Jehan! I'm sorry!"
And with that, Jehan instructed Clemence that she would be returned to Chateau d'Arcy without delay. "It is apparent, wretched girl, that you cannot be trusted!"
Right then and there, Jehan Frollo decided to tell no one of this. He
felt such information would cause Nisha and Claude needless worry.
Besides, reasoned Jehan, once Clemence is no longer in Nisha's employ,
that meant the secrets remain safe – For now.
Jehan made Clemence solemnly vow to reveal nothing of her employer's
home or its belongings. Not too many of these 1495 people know about
Danisha actually being a visitor from 21st America, or that Claude
Frollo is a frequent transtemporalist himself.
"No, they must never find out, or, as Madame Fern says, 'Our cover gets blown sky high.' And I know what lies ahead...A charge of witchcraft...Our darling Danisha could be executed, along with Claude, even Nadine...Oh no! No one must ever discover this!"
A few moments later, a visitor arrived. It was Felise LaCourbe, the same
woman who came to Paris under mysterious circumstances. But for today,
Felise was in a superb mood. She was among those invited to this
'baseball game', and she extremely anxious to meet with Claude Frollo's
New World lady. And she was relieved that Jehan Frollo had recovered
from his ordeal.
"You must be careful with the medications, Jehan," she told him as she greeted him with a sisterly kiss and embrace. "Such concoctions are known to overcome even the strongest of men."
But the people arriving for this event gladly accepted Claude Frollo's kind invitation. Such a lovely woman, this Mlle Danisha Wood, but there is so much mystery surrounding her. Too many questions posed by one man in particular set the stage for a game of "touch and go" on Danisha's part.
Why O why, surmised Solange Marchand, niece of Madame d'Arcy, does Évrard pry so? Of all the d'Arcys, only Solange knew the truth behind Frollo's New World friends and swore that she would reveal nothing. But Évrard was persistent as he made his inquiries before the host and hostess appeared on the scene.
It was the timely arrival of Évrard's
brother, Philippe, the current Minister of Justice, who informed
Évrard of so much.
"All I know, good brother, is that Mlle Wood made frequent journeys here all those years since I've known her. Then there's that instrument...the huge 'piano'...Claude Frollo gave that to her that Christmas...more than ten years ago. Yet he kept it in the Palais....Oh, Évrard, there are more things you should know..."
Right there, in the verdant meadow, the Ouimet brothers made up, and Philippe told his brother of key events in Claude and Danisha's long-term relationship. Philippe, himself a rather curious sort, informed Évrard that it was "This very game, this baseball," that eventually brought Claude and Danisha together.
"Évrard," began Philippe with a chuckle, "she was in the square that day, at play with the children when she hit the ball, which sailed up and over the square and smashed into that window in the Palais...My goodness! I've never seen Claude Frollo so angry; but, later, he seemed so moody, so emotionally distraught....That's when I realized he had fallen in love with the woman...Oh Évrard, if you had married this woman..."
Yes, if Évrard had gone ahead and married the woman, then what damage could've been wrought? What does it matter now? Danisha has no recollection of the past winter's ordeal, and she doesn't seem too inclined to rekindle those feelings. Perhaps, thought Évrard Ouimet, it's all for the best. But the more he thought about Danisha and her friends, the more determined he was to learn more.
Thanks to his son's ingenuity and a servant's momentarily lapse of judgment, Évrard now knew the truth of these newly discovered lands. What a find! And, if he made the right moves and asked the right questions, then he could at last be reunited with the woman he wanted more than anything.
Yes, thought Évrard Ouimet lon 603 g and hard, perhaps she will come to love me. After all, Claude Frollo has yet to marry her, and she can't remain unmarried for long, not with a child to consider...
Évrard Ouimet stayed hidden within the crowd as Claude Frollo and company finally arrived. He watched Nisha, along with her daughter, alight from the carriage. Yet deep down, even in her present cheery mood, she seems sad, depressed...
Of course, thought Évrard, in good time Danisha shall soon tire of Frollo, for I can tell. Rixende looked the same way right after Orry was born. She didn't love me, just as I'm sure Danisha doesn't love Claude Frollo as she so often acknowledges.
Oh, just one moment alone with her is all I need to convince her to leave that man...And become my wife!
COMING UP IN THE FINAL CHAPTER:
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