Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Excerpt from Dangerous Hearts

This is part of the story from Dangerous Hearts that tells about a bittersweet romance and how a priceless diamond and emerald necklace came to belong to Caroline Dupris’s great-grandmother. In this scene Caroline is explaining to Rob events that happened nearly a hundred years earlier near the turn of the twentieth century:

"According to Daddy, the crown prince of a small European country came to the United States on a visit and somehow met my great-grandmother, Maria LaFitte. As young women of her day often did, Maria would go to meet her friends in the ladies area of the Jefferson Hotel near her home in Richmond."
"Yes. I have heard the prince sometimes stayed there."
"The young women would dress up in their finest clothing and visit over an elegant lunch," she explained.
"Legend held that during one of those lunches, Maria, who was supposed to have been a real beauty, encountered the prince. During the rest of the prince’s stay, Maria, without telling her parents, returned to the hotel where the young couple fell in love.
The prince vowed to take Maria back to his country where he planned to marry her," Caroline continued. "But when he told his family of these plans, they refused to approve his marriage to a commoner and ordered their son to return home immediately."
"Did he go?" Rob asked.
"Because he honored his parents, he had no choice but to obey them," Caroline said. "But the last night the prince was in Richmond, he reserved a portion of the Jefferson Hotel. In front of the splendid staircase, he dined with Maria while nearby a group of musicians serenaded them."
"What an amazing scene that must have been," Rob said.
"Yes. I have stood many times by the huge stairway that many people still believe was part of the "Gone with the Wind" movie. I always think about my great-grandmother and her bitter-sweet romance."
Caroline sighed. "That night the prince presented Maria with the priceless diamond and emerald cross."
"According to the story, he said, ’With this cross we shall be together always. Leaving you will haunt me forever.’"
"I had no idea so much romance was connected to the cross." Rob appeared visibly moved by the story.
Caroline shrugged. "The prince returned to his family, and years later, Maria LaFitte heard of his suicide. Maria married my great-grandfather and raised a family, but she never got over her first love. All her life, she kept the box with the necklace in it close to her, but no one ever saw her open it.
Then shortly before her death she put on her best Sunday clothes, placed the royal cross around her neck, and went to the Jefferson for one last visit."
Tears came to Caroline’s eyes as she remembered the look of wonder on her father’s face when he repeated the story to her. 
"Daddy was with her that day. He watched her shuffle slowly to the bottom of the grand staircase where she stood as if waiting for an invisible partner to take her hand for a dance."

Copyright 2010 Mary Montague Sikes

1 comment:

Aleta said...

OK, I got chills reading this!