Starring Roxanne Chevalier – A historical short story written & illustrated by Miss Snowy Mouse

I am Roxanne Chevalier. This is my story.

I was the wife of Lorenzo Chevalier, one of the richest feudal lords in the whole of France.

My husband Lorenzo used to be a knight. Actually, “Chevalier” means knight. He was promoted to a feudal lord during the reign of Louis XV of France.

When Louis XIV ascended the throne in 1643, all of us were happy, as he seemed to be a good, kind, and just ruler. However, one of his actions affected the Chevalier family for life. He banned the feudal system.

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Lorenzo was suddenly out of work, with no source of income. As we thought we could continuously earn money, we had a lavish lifestyle and no savings. We began to starve. Lorenzo begged the King for another post, but Louis XIV was adamant. Whoever had been part of the feudal system was no longer welcome in his court. Disheartened, Lorenzo gave up, and found work as a laborer. He left home at 4 a.m. to work in the fields, and came back home at 11 p.m. At the end of the day he was very tired, and we barely had any money.

Lorenzo couldn’t do such hard work in the fields after a luxurious lifestyle. One night, he died peacefully in his sleep.

I was all alone in the world. I felt, and still feel, that my current misfortune was the fault of none other than His Majesty King Louis XIV.

I couldn’t stand it any longer, and decided to kill him.

I began planning carefully. The King loved riding. Every morning, he took his favorite horse, Amour (a stunning Arabian mare) out for a ride. Maybe I could make the horse bolt…. Then it came to me!

The next morning, when Amour was waiting near the stable, I snuck over and put a branch of holly under her saddle. Just then, the king came by. “What are you doing with Amour, Roxanne?” he asked.

I panicked and replied, “Your Majesty, I am a lonely lady. Now that my husband is dead, I don’t have any company. I hope you don’t mind me spending time with the beautiful lady Amour.”

I saw the kings gaze soften. He loved praise for his horse. I continued, hoping to win his heart. “Lorenzo always loved horses and I feel that his love for horses has passed onto me. Will you let me be your stable hand?”

“No”, he replied curtly, and walked off. Oh, well. Always worth a try. So he didn’t go riding after all. Plan failed.I kept thinking though.

The king woke up very late, at around 9 a.m., and had a cup of coffee. The coffee was kept ready by his bed, so could drink it whenever he woke up.

The next morning I was up at 3 a.m. I ran to the apothecary and bought some monkshood, a beautiful purple flower. My purpose, though, was not to admire its beauty.

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Monkshood, or wolf’s bane, commonly called aconitum, has a long tradition as a deadly plant and was used by ancient warriors to poison the water of their enemies. So I thought, “Why not take some tips from the ancient warriors? They probably knew all the methods of killing and maiming. Who better to learn from?”

Instead of poisoning water, though, I would poison the coffee.

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After buying the monkshood, I hurried to the palace kitchen, and saw a cup of coffee sitting on the counter. Assuming it was the king’s coffee, I dropped the monkshood into the cup and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then I took the monkshood out and left only a small piece on the coffee.

I ran out of the kitchen and back home as quick as I could.

At around 9 a.m., I heard screaming and shouting. Feeling that I would be suspected if I wasn’t there, I ran to the palace. When I reached, I found the king’s favorite cook, Aurélie Leclercq, dead!

I had poisoned the wrong person!

I was shocked. Then suddenly, I became more disgusted with myself. I left the monkshood on the table! The king’s soldiers had gone to the apothecary and inquired about it, and they were onto me.

Luckily, they had no real proof. They just let me off with a warning, and banned me from entering the palace.

I knew I had just one last chance to kill King Louis XIV.

This time I wouldn’t bother with things like poison and holly. I would do it myself.

With a dagger.

I bought one when Lorenzo died, so I could protect myself. Though it was illegal. Oh, well, rules were meant to be broken.

I got into the palace disguised as a milkmaid, and somehow got into the king’s bedchamber. I waited there till he fell asleep.

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Then I rose up above him with the dagger, and plunged it…..

…. into the pillow because he woke up and turned over. I was thrown into the dungeon, with barely any food and water. They wiped of every trace of my existence, to disguise the fact that there were people unhappy with the King’s rule.

No one will remember me except those that read what has been scrawled on these dungeon walls.
I am Roxanne Chevalier. This is my story.

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