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The Island Of Serenity
Chapter 3 The Early Years Some children are born with a silver spoon in their mouths, I was born with one rammed up my arse. That way I could; sit up straight, stand up straight and shine from within. My mother was the direct descendent from an obscure French noble family, who had the good idea to take an extended vacation, with their English neighbours, about the time when most of the rest of the French nobility where being offered, very, very short haircuts. They arrived in England, with very little else then their nobility and a small box of very expensive jewellery. They bought a smallish house in the South; the Duke found work as a private tutor and the Duchess as a seamstress. Their children were brought up as aristocrats in exile; all the virtues of the off-springs ‘de bonne famille’ were drilled into them, in anticipation for the day when they would return to reclaim their rightful inheritance. Through the generations, the myth of their nobility was passed down, as was an education of the highest standards; their impeccable manners and values being the best compensation against the loss of everything else. Slowly but surely, the family clawed its way back up the social ladder; the men were noticed for their bravery and honour and graded during the wars, the women were sort after by the sons of local landowners for their modesty and grace, and as education became universally available, their breeding and intellectual investment brought them to the top of the heap. These successes did little to soften the importance of their ‘nobles in exile’ strict education; although, there was no longer the idea that they would return to France to recuperate their domain, in fact, now they were moving into the higher echelons of British society, it became, if anything, more important that they integrate even deeper into the British aristocratic world. And so my mother was born into the British lower nobility; Antoinette-Marie Claude Armatage. She was the younger sister, Marie Josephine was her ‘ainée’ by three years, and Antoinette suffered greatly from the long shadow cast by her pretty, charming and intellectually brilliant sister. However, the strong, family directive of, ‘onwards and upwards’, was in no way lost in her, and she must have secretly vowed to scale the social ladder, faster and higher than her, otherwise unassailably successful sister. To fulfil this self imposed objective, there seemed to be only one path, a very good marital alliance. She would either have to marry a nobleman, already high up in the county’s social circles, or someone quite rich, or at least on the way to so being. As the young, eligible, noble bachelors were already well sought after by many young, pretty and even, God- forbid, intelligent young ladies of impeccable backgrounds and heritage, Antoinette-Marie hedged her bets and set off to find a young, multi-millionaire in the making.
Ch 3