(A Winter'sTale)

Part I


Translation: Natalie Guillaumier 

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A story that never was. Pure fantasy. To be inserted after the episode An Impossible Love, and the departure of Fersen, which, in the manga, happens right before the birth of Maria Teresa Carlotta, [1] and in the anime, before the birth of Louis Joseph. [2] However, in actual reality, Fersen, who since March 1780 has been appointed aide de camp to General Bochambeau, embarks on a journey on the Giasone, the 13th of April, which sails towards Brest. [3{ Girodel, is obviously, the one in the live-movie.


I had started thinking about this plot in 1983. The nucleus of the tale, obviously, is the actual present one. However, it was only in 1999, while imagining the dialogues between Oscar and Andre’, have I felt the need to write.



Seated facing the window, the sea of Normandy on the horizon, she looked far into the distance. It was a sunny September day, and a slight breeze caressed the curtains, every now and again. She was tired. Her disease had worn her out.

The baby boy was asleep in the cot.

“Shh…my little one… do not cry…” She had been holding him tight to her just a moment ago.

“My son’s name is Andre’. He has green eyes. I don’t know if I will ever see him become a grown man.”

“I look at my hands and they seem to me like the hands of a dead man. Pallid, shrunken. But I do welcome every single moment of this new life like a blessing.”

“I did not want to become a mother. It was never a wish of mine to be a mother. But I love my son with all of my strength.”

“He is the continuation of our life and our love. Above everything else. And I am scared to have to leave him alone. He is so terribly small and defenseless. It all depends on me and on his father.”

“My husband will not be able to see our son. But I am sure that he knows his every single breath, his every single movement. And I thank God, in whom I do not believe, to have given us a chance to survive.”  

“But I keep thinking that he hasn’t been….. it’s a sad story. One that happened many, many years ago.”


The end of the summer

Things had started to change during the end of that summer. Just like that, without her ever being aware of it. She would not have known how to explain it. It’s just that one day, she surprised herself thinking about him in a different way. She started to feel a strange kind of anxiety, quite like the feeling of expectancy of something. She started to hear her heart which, ever so suddenly, took off in flight, without her being able to control it. They were living the same old life. And he wasn’t any different. As usual, he was always by her side. Her best friend. But she… at first she could not comprehend. The fact that she was thinking of him so often. The fact that he was in her every thought. It was a strange thing. That feeling of doubt was torture. Then, very slowly and with a lot of skepticism, she finally realized all. And after that, she used all her strength to suppress those feelings. No! It just couldn’t be! The mere idea horrified her. He was her best friend! He shouldn’t have! It couldn’t be! She did not want that! She would have wanted that everything would stay as it always had been. Even though she couldn't explain to herself why. Perhaps it was fear. Fear of change. Fear of facing new situations. So, when she was with him, she continued to act as if nothing had changed.


After a while, she could not avoid it any more. She caught herself waking up in the morning with him in her mind. She caught herself lowering her gaze and blushing when he looked at her, when he spoke to her. She started acting more and more strangely. She had no idea how to handle that new unexpected feeling. She liked being in his company, she always had. But now, when she felt happy and pleased, she almost felt guilty about it. She was caught between wanting to stay and wanting to run away.

One afternoon they remained outside practicing pistol shooting. They were already late and, for her, this session had been particularly strenuous, after an entire day passed with the Royal Guards. Andre’ had noticed her fatigue and, while they were heading towards home, he put his hand on her shoulder in a friendly, affectionate way. She was petrified. The touch of his hand had made her blood ice all over. She felt the piercing warmth of that touch. The energy it gave her. And she became stiff like stone. Andre’ noticed what happened. And he immediately removed his hand. He was stupefied. How many times had he made that exact same gesture? Oscar had been acting strangely for a while. At times, it appeared to him as if she was intentionally avoiding him. Other times – but he didn’t want to hope too much – it seemed as though she sought him out.  


But never, as in that moment, had the training sessions been light and easy for Oscar. Spending time with him was beautiful - more beautiful than usual. When they were together, she gave her very best. She knew that he was very proud of her.  And she did not want to disappoint him. They trained for hours. By now she had gotten used to that strange feeling of hers, that made her want to spend more and more time with him. The evenings at the taverns and the inns, which they spent talking for hours, just like they did when they were children, passed all too quickly. They were oblivious to the noise and din of the people around them. They did not feel the autumn cold that had started to hit them. They were lost in the labyrinth of alleyways of sixteenth century Paris, their cloaks wrapped around them, protecting them from the first icy gusts of wind, and they did not dare quicken their pace. They would not have ever wanted to go back home - because they felt too good. Two great friends. Two companions. Had been so for a lifetime. Close together.  


One day they stayed for hours under the dark sky, contemplating the uncertain light of the stars. [5] They sat in silence on the wet grass, close to each other, never wanting to kill the magic of that moment. On the way back, which they took without haste, they exchanged intense looks that said more than a thousand words; they smiled with complicity, with warmth, feeling the bond, which was becoming deeper and deeper between them. While they were entering the house and were saying goodnight by Oscar’s room, he had very sweetly taken her hand in his. They spoke in whispers for a moment, before parting for the night, then, while feeling a burning ardour, an indescribable sense of gratification and expectancy, all the future ahead, she closed the door behind her and stayed there, listening to his fading steps. 


They celebrated New Year’s Eve at the Palace that year. The fireworks spectacle reflected in the little lake and the fountains was memorable. Marie Antoinette, while descending the steps, seemed to be lost in thought. New Year’s Eve on the battlefields… But the joviality of her spouse, who got extremely excited about anything mechanical or technical, was contagious to her. He was enthusiastic about the show, busy explaining the details of its preparation, the way each mechanism worked and its purpose. And while she suddenly moved around, she noticed something other people would not have seen. Andre’s and Oscar’s eyes shone like diamonds. She observed them for a while. She thought about certain comments that some of the ladies at court had recently made to her, which she had welcomed with a certain skepticism. She smiled, amused at the idea of teasing the always icy Oscar. She was glacial…she had to have an ardent soul! She had seen her flare up all too often, though Oscar hadn’t noticed. So she took her aside.        

“Mademoiselle Oscar”, she smiled, “I have been told to ask you whether you and Andre’ are… together…” She had an adorable, joking tone.

“Forgive me, Your Majesty…In what sense?” Oscar tried to keep her distance.

“Yes, well, if you are in love…”

Oscar became a flaming red, in the dark. Composing herself, she bowed and replied “Not that I know of, Your Majesty”.

“Oh, I understand…” “Pity!”, she added, amiably, the Queen.

At the tick of midnight, the fireworks became more intense, attracting everyone’s attention. Oscar followed Andre’ amidst the crowd. She felt fulfilled to be able to spend that moment with him, even though she never cared much about the fireworks. But it felt good to be there and contemplate the lights.Then the party ended. When they were saying their goodbyes, Marie Antoinette jokingly turned to Andre’:

“Are you not going to wish Oscar a Happy New Year with a kiss?”

By the time Oscar had time to realize what was going on, Andre’ had tenderly lowered his face towards hers and kissed her gently on the cheek. Oscar felt a rush of fresh emotion when she apprehended that smooth shaved skin close to hers.

That night, when they returned home, freezing with the cold weather outside, they ran toward the fireplace to light the fire. While Andre’ was rearranging the wood, Oscar found poured some alcohol to warm herself up. They sat down. They remained so, staring at the flames. Then Andre’ took her hand in his, squeezed it and with his eyes full of untold words, slowly, simply, said,

“Happy New Year, Oscar.”

She looked at him with the same intensity. She returned the emotion with which he squeezed her hand.

“Same to you…”, she smiled at him.

This is how the new year began.



Andre’ walked into Oscar’s room. He had been doing this for days now. She would be huddled on the bed, wrapped in the sheets, absent from the world. She did not want to see anyone. She wanted no-one near, who could give her any sort of comfort or make sense of what had happened. Only Andre’ could. She had immediately asked for him. Only Andre’ could understand her. She only wanted him around. His discreet presence gave her some warmth.

He had been the one to find her. He was the one who, like thunder, had dragged her, holding her tight, away from that madness. He was very worried when he did not see her. He usually followed her around everywhere she went, but that time she had received a message from one of her men telling her to see Girodel who was in the company of the Queen at that moment. The Queen was posing for a country scene painting next to the Trianon and the structure that was being renovated. In fact, in such a circumstance, Her Majesty would only consent to seeing Oscar. So Andre’ could not follow her at the time… On the other hand, it was a very short route. So right there and then he had not really given it much thought – things like this could happen even at the Palace, but, after hours of absence, it could not have been a coincidence. And even though at first he had thought that the crowd had dispersed, the abnormal duration of Oscar’s absence had started to alarm him – so he started asking around, looking for her, while a growing anxiety was taking hold of his senses. Then, all of a sudden, one of the rank officers had said

“Of course not, Her Majesty is at the palace today…”

His fear was now much stronger. What on earth could have happened? He could not manage to take away a certain nagging thought from his mind…he knew that it seemed that Girodel had been making subtle avances towards Oscar – who was, if nothing, irritated by this behaviour – ever since he had seen her in high uniform dancing with the Queen at the ball (apparently he had had a horrible evening at the Royal stables, feeling lonely and disconsolate and infinitely stupid); he also knew that he had come to some sort of agreement with the general, who did not seem at all to oppose the marriage, but would have preferred to wait, in order to allow his daughter’s career to advance further. He knew that, recently he had become more insistent, but above all, that had the reputation of being a libertine. All in all, this worried him a great deal.

“Who told you to tell the Commander about the Queen?” he confronted the guard who had passed on the message from the Queen.

“But… at Court…”

“Yes, that’s right! At Court…The Queen is not at the Trianon. Why did you tell Oscar to go there?” He threw him against the wall. The others thought that he was going crazy. He had to be quick, get it out of him before the other guards came to help their friend. “Who told you to send her there?” he kneed him. Then, he started working on convincing him to speak with fist strikes. There was no time to lose.

“The… captain… Girodel…”

“Where were they to go?” Andre’ was furious.

“I don’t know…” More punches. Providence struck. “A barn… or stable…”

“Where, by God! Or do you want me to beat you to death?”

“One of the constructions in the area…I don’t know exactly which…”

He let him go. He ran away. He rode his horse, with his heart in his throat, and went through every square foot around the Trianon. It wasn’t a well known area. Access to it was limited, even for the King, to the express invitation of the Queen. At least, unless he was hoping too much, the horses had to be outseide the building.


Oscar was desperate. While they were riding, Girodel made her change directions, saying that the Queen was posing in a “realistic” environment and he took her to this barn-like structure which she, personally, had never noticed. When they entered the building, he got alarmingly close to her, coming from behind, lowering his face to hers, touching her. She stiffened. “What are you doing?”

He came even closer. “I want you”, he sain, taking her by the shoulders.

She roughly pushed him away “Don’t even think about that!”, and started walking straight to the door.

He stopped her in her path. “Wait!”

Oscar released herself from his grip and ran out the door.

At that point, he grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her to the ground. “I want you”, he had whispered in her ear. She went cold. He felt heavy on top of her. “Let me go! You are mad! Let me go!”

He had trapped her arms and was trying to drag her in. She was fighting, but he had managed to get her inside again and closed the door with the chain. Then, the madman had struck her, she had fought with all her might, but could not make it out of his grip. He had thrown her to the ground and, when she had got back on her feet and had thrown herself at him to fight, he grabbed her shoulders and banged her head various times against the wall. She found herself on the ground, her hair sticky with blood, her hands tied behind her back, and with that beast on top of her, touching her. When she felt his hand on her breasts, she went violently red. “Let me go! Let me go!” she screamed. As if it was of any use.

He had not stopped. He continued as if she was not there. As if she wasn’t a human being. He roughly stripped off her clothes, not all her clothes – just that part that was necessary to him.

She shouted “Nooo!!! Noo!!”, but he planted his hand on her mouth “Shut up!”.

She could not breathe. She could not move. He was on top of her, violently touching her, crushing her, hurting her. He tried to keep her legs apart, but she furiously resisted. “I don’t want to! I don’t want to!” She defended herself as she could, but she was tied up. She screamed desperately, but nobody could hear her. There was nobody.

He had not thought that he would have encountered so much resistance from her, but he was stronger. He beat her till she bled, till she got dizzy. The rest, notwithstanding, was difficult for him. She had stiffened and was resisting him, even though she was at the extreme of exhaustion. The bruises were now starting to appear on her face, her body and her legs, her wounds were burning through her. Then he started getting stronger. He brutally took her. And a lacerating pain was added to the rest. Then, something incredibly, painfully, scorchingly violent.

She cried, her head to one side. “Nooo! Noooooo!” Oscar did not want to hear anything… She did not want to be there. Her body was sending her terrible, painful messages. But she could not accept that situation. That wasn’t her. That wasn’t her.

It went on for a long time. Then, but only a long time afterwards, he went off of her for a while. He came back. He lay down on his side next to her. He started to touch her. But, at this point, she could not feel anything any more.

“Oh you really do not wish to collaborate, Oscar…” he observed sarcastically, adding, “I think that we have to start addressing each other as friends, after this moment of intimacy. Oh I know… people of noble blood don’t use that… but prostitutes do.” “Well, I have to say that now I can claim as my own what you have continued to deny me till now… And your father will be relieved to allow a nice wedding to patch things up… especially if, in a short time, from this meeting of ours, an heir will be born!”

Oscar, her eyes wide open, came back to reality. No, it couldn’t be… even this, no… “Andre’” she said slowly, tearfully. My God, what would he have said… and her father…

When he came back on top of her, again, she screamed louder, her voice broken “Nooo! Andre’! Andre’!” trying to resist with all her strength.

But he started all over again. She did not even know how much time had passed. More time. More violence. Oscar would have wanted to die. She did not think of anything any more. She could not think of anything any more. Only the darkness. The emptyness. He would not stop.  

Desperate, crushed under his weight, she screamed again, “Noooooo! Nooooooo!” She cried. “Andre’” she shouted. “Andre’! Help me…”


Andre’, who had come close to that building, noticed the horses. But, more importantly, he heard something that was barely perceptible in the beginning, but then, it got stronger. “Oscar…”. His heart fell to his feet. He got closer, trying not to make a sound, and he heard the muted sound of his own feet on the grass while his heart was pulsating in his chest. He had to be careful. If Girodel was there he had to rely on taking him by surprise. He came close to the window so that he could be able to look inside. He was armed. Sword and loaded pistol. It took only a moment. He could never comprehend how he managed to maintain his wits about him after he saw that scene. Oscar, strewn on the ground, was screaming, calling out to him. Girodel was on top of her, half undressed. He had to act fast. He figured out that the room had to be to the immediate left of the entrance to the building. With a decisive kick he knocked the door open, barged in and found himself, with a few silent strides, behind Girodel, aiming the pistol at his head.

“Now get yourself off of there.” He said, cold as ice.

“Oh, well, servant.” He turned around slightly. “Your mistress and I have had a very interesting encounter.”

Andre’, his finger tight on the pistol, violently pushed him away and he kneeled down by Oscar. “Oscar…” he murmured. She was full of bruises and scratches, her gaze fixed, her wrists tied up.

Girodel stood up, rearranging his clothes.

“She insisted so much, but she chose an inappropriate place, with little discretion. Or perhaps she hoped that you would see us?”

Andre’, now in a blind rage, grabbed him by his neck tie “I am not under the impression that she insisted, so much so that you have had to tie her up!” he replied, kepping him crushed against the wall.

“You are a primitive man.” He laughed, “Perhaps you do not know about certain perversions…”

Andre’ moved his hand dangerously close to the Count’s neck. He had a storm inside of him. He was dead furious. But he surprised himself, in the meantime, that he managed to realize how futile it was to try to explain things rationally to a creature like this. And he knew in his heart that she had been dragged there, that she had not accepted anything like that to happen to her.

“She mentioned you often.” Girodel started talking again.

Andre’s heart was tightening in his chest.

“Perhaps she was thinking of a threesome.”

Andre’ could not see clearly any more. He hit him with fury, first with punches, then he took him out with the back of his pistol. He freed Oscar. He tied up Girodel with the same rope in order to give themselves some advantage while getting out of that place. He had an impenetrable gaze, his eyes full of tears, when he was close to her – and with infinite tenderness, he covered her up, he made her comfortable, he took her in his arms. She let him do. She had annulled herself.

“I… didn’t want…” was the only thing she said, slowly.

“I know… Let’s go home.”

To be Continued...


Mail to  laura_chan55@hotmail.com

Translation: Natalie Guillaumier Mail to natguill@hotmail.com

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[1] 18TH DECEMBER 1778.

[2] 22ND October 1781.

[3] CASTELOT, Maria Antonietta, Milan, Rizzoli, 1987, pp. 148-150. ERICKSON, Maria Antonietta, Milano, Mondadori, 1996, pp. 201-202. HASLIP,  Maria Antonietta, Milano, Longanesi, 1989, pp. 158-160. ZWEIG,  Maria Antonietta, Milan, Mondadori, 1984, pp. 197-198. Fersen sails to Brest in the June of 1783, tries to return to Versailles, but only in 1785 does he actually manage to settle there

[4] Clear influence of the GUCCINI of E un giorno…

[5] I don’t know why, but this reminds me of the GUCCINI of Stelle.