The Girl of Many Names

July 8, 2011
By Artsygirl SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Artsygirl SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8 articles 4 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather that something is more important than fear.
" Let no one despise your youth instead be an example to the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. " 1 Timothy 4:12


I remember when everything was so simple. Before everything became so complicated, life was easy to live.
I lived on a farm with my parents, Ada and Bernard DeClaire, and my eight brothers and sisters. Our life wasn't anything exciting but it was regular, and there is something to be said for knowing everything that's going to happen in a day. I would wake up in the morning around 5:30, put on my dress and apron, then help tie my sister's aprons and make sure that they had their hair braided. Then I would walk out the door, across the kitchen, and then outside where the sun hadn't yet warmed up the fields or awakened the birds. Then I would tread up the grassy hill to reach our barn, which I could find only because I had plodded the path so many times. Inside I would always be greeted by the soft mooing of our cow Marie. I always stroked her before I got my milking stool. I milk our cow Marie until the frothy snow white milk would fill up my worn wooden barrel. In the next stall were my chickens which I lovingly called 'my girls'. I would collect their white eggs as quickly as possible to avoid getting pecked. After taking care of them, I would walk back to our house to help my mother with breakfast; which was usually eggs.

The days that were especially special usually always began the same as any other day. After chores and breakfast, on a special day my true love Fernan would come to visit me. I had known Fernan ever since we were both knee high to a rabbit. He was smart, funny, and handsome with his wavy blond hair and brown eyes. He always called me 'Bee' and treated me as if I were the queen of France. We had memories that we would always remember, one of which I'll never forget.

He had accompanied me while I was looking for some wild flowers. The day had started out warm and beautiful, but the longer I looked for wildflowers, the faster the dark clouds came. We were in the middle of a field far away from our homes, when we saw a bolt of lightning flash not even a mile away which made me so terrified that I dropped into a faint

I was told later that Fernan carried me across the field in search for shelter and it began to rain. Long fat rain drops that made it impossible to see anything poured down on Fernan and me. Fernan took off his own coat and laid it over me, then ran, still holding me, in search of a shelter.

I'll never forget how grateful my parents were of Fernan for taking such good care of me, and how disappointed they and I were when we found out that he couldn't afford a bride price. On that day I must have cried for hours. I had always imagined that he and I would be together, and this was a terrible blow.

“ Bella, we have something to tell you,” The words that would change my life completely followed, “ We know that you were expecting Fernan to marry you. But you know that he wasn't able to pay the bride price. A gentleman by the name of Bernard Buraqua came and offered us a large bride price. We need the money Bella.”

I sat in silence. A tear slid down my cheek, but I brushed it away. “ I've never heard of this man. How did he come to find me?” I whispered.

My mother with her ability to come up with the right thing to say came over and sat next to me. “ Don't cry Bella. He seems to be a nice man. He said that he's watched you from afar for years. He had thought that you were intended to be betrothed to Fernan, but when I told him that Fernan could not afford the bride price, he was very delighted. He offered us much money, and promised that he would treat you well. He's coming by carriage today to bring you to his home which he said was a lovely rolling estate. I want you to be happy Bella. This will give you a better future then this,” my mother made a sweeping motion with her hand.

When my mother had left I continued to sit. I looked out the window and saw the rain begin to pour down, reminding me of Fernan, and I began to sob. I wanted to run away. I had no right to be sold off like livestock, no better then a cow or a pig sold off to the slaughter house.

Thoughts of running away ran through my head, but they shortly ended when I was called to come downstairs and meet my new husband.

There Bernard stood. He was a gangly man with medium length brown hair tied back. His blue eyes scrutinized me with care, though I couldn't tell how he felt about me because his lips were tightly pressed togetherr. “ Hello M'lady,” his voice was deep.

I said nothing until my mother nudged me. “ Good day.”

“ It tis.”

The silence in that room was tangible. Bernard shifted uneasily.

“ I suppose that we should begin our travel home M'lady. It tis a long drive and I hope to be there by dusk.”

I hugged my parents and my siblings and walked with Bernard who was carrying my one suitcase.

“ I am impressed M'lady that you could fit your belongings into one suitcase.”

I could see that he was trying to start a conversation, but I didn't have to oblige. So we walked in silence to his carriage.

We rode in silence until we were a few miles away from our house.

“ Listen Bella, I know that you don't like this at all, and I'm sorry that you couldn't be with that man Fernan. But what's done is done, and I would rather you drop your attitude.”

I frown. “ What happened to M'lady and all that? I have every right to behave as I please. You dragged me away from my home, my family, and the one man I ever loved. You've succeeded in completely ruining my life. I don't know anything about you Bernard, and I don't know why I never met you before if you were so taken with me.”

He smiled. “ Well for starters, my name isn't Bernard, it's Jaque. Count Jaque DeLoah-”

Confused I asked. “ Why did you tell my parent's your name was Bernard?”

“ Because then they would know who I was.”

“ Why didn't you want them to know who you were?” I asked incredulously.

“ You'll find out given time. For now I would like to enjoy being married to you for a bit, and then you shall know. Oh and while we are married, would you prefer that I call you Bella or you're real name Claire?”

“ Claire?”

“ Don't play dumb little girl with me Claire. You know who you are. You're Marie Antionette's daughter and you know it.”

“ What is wrong with you? Why would you think that? You met my parents.”

“ I met your adopted parents. Coverups I'm sure. It must be hard being a illegitimate child, and that's why I know that you are pretending that they are your real parents.”

“ But why would you think that I am an Antionette?”

“ Inside information. Classified,” He said when he saw me about to ask where he got the information from.

“ Then why would you want to marry me?”

“ I have my reasons. You'll find out soon enough what they are, but for now I want you to be a good little wife, do what I say, and don't cause any trouble.”

Jaque, if that was really his name, was a smart man, he didn't trust me. When we arrived at his estate I was breath taken. The house seemed to sprawl on and on forever. The lawns were pristine and well kept with flowers in neat little beds, not growing free and wild like at my home. As we rode into the governor's drive I saw a little red barn tucked away, filled with horses of all different breeds.

“ Whose horses are those?” I pointed to the barn.

“ Mine of course. Do you ride?” He helped me down from the carriage, and motioned for the driver to get my bags.

“ No, I never had the chance. We couldn't afford a horse. I've never traveled away from my home before.”

He chuckled. “ Well this is all new for you then.”

I hoped that I would be able to visit the horses, but he ushered me inside.

The inside of the house was dark and gloomy. The walls were adorned with paintings of men hunting and fishing. It looked like a perfect house for a bachelor but not a man and his wife.

“ This is Clarett,” Jaque motioned to the man carrying my bags, “ He's one of the help, he's the butler and the driver. Also Nora the cook, and Adora the maid. You are free to use them as well as I am. Clarett, would you take Claire to her room?”

“ If you don't mind, please call me Bella. I'm used to it, and I can't wrap my mind around that I might not actually be a Bella,” she said to Clarett.

Clarett shrugged in response. “ I suppose if that is what you what you want Madam Bella.”

I followed Clarett up the steep staircase. As we kept going farther and farther up, I got nervous.

“ Clarett, is Jaque making me sleep in the attic?”

Clarett reached the top of the steps and took out a key from his pocket, putting it in the lock of the door at the top of the steps.

“ No Madame Bella. You are sleeping in the tower. It is for your safety. And-” He unlocked the door, set the bags down, and motioned for me to come inside. He walked swiftly outside the door, shut it, and locked the key. “-So that you don't run away.”

“ What?” I began to cry, “ What kind of monster is Jaque?”

On the floor I continued to sob. My life was ruined. I was going to be locked in a tower with a crazy man as my husband miles and miles away from the love of my life. What more could go wrong?

As I looked up I could see that more could go wrong. The room that I was put in may have not been called an attic, but it looked like one. The bed was wobbly and made of rusted metal, there was a small rotting wardrobe, and the room was covered in peeling paint. There were mouse droppings on the floor, and cobwebs in the corners. This room probably looked beautiful at one time, like my life thus far, but just like my life, it had gone into disrepair.

“ What am I going to do? What is going to happen to me?” I cried aloud.

Jaques words rang in my head, “ You'll find out soon enough, you'll find out soon enough...”






Jaque, if that was really his name, was a smart man, he didn't trust me. When we arrived at his estate I was breath taken. The house seemed to sprawl on and on forever. The lawns were pristine and well kept with flowers in neat little beds, not growing free and wild like at my home. As we rode into the governor's drive I saw a little red barn tucked away, filled with horses of all different breeds.

“ Whose horses are those?” I pointed to the barn.

“ Mine of course. Do you ride?” He helped me down from the carriage, and motioned for the driver to get my bags.

“ No, I never had the chance. We couldn't afford a horse. I've never traveled away from my home before.”

He chuckled. “ Well this is all new for you then.”

I hoped that I would be able to visit the horses, but he ushered me inside.

The inside of the house was dark and gloomy. The walls were adorned with paintings of men hunting and fishing. It looked like a perfect house for a bachelor but not a man and his wife.

“ This is Clarett,” Jaque motioned to the man carrying my bags, “ He's one of the help, he's the butler and the driver. Also Nora the cook, and Adora the maid. You are free to use them as well as I am. Clarett, would you take Claire to her room?”

“ If you don't mind, please call me Bella. I'm used to it, and I can't wrap my mind around that I might not actually be a Bella,” she said to Clarett.

Clarett shrugged in response. “ I suppose if that is what you what you want Madam Bella.”

I followed Clarett up the steep staircase. As we kept going farther and farther up, I got nervous.

“ Clarett, is Jaque making me sleep in the attic?”

Clarett reached the top of the steps and took out a key from his pocket, putting it in the lock of the door at the top of the steps.

“ No Madame Bella. You are sleeping in the tower. It is for your safety. And-” He unlocked the door, set the bags down, and motioned for me to come inside. He walked swiftly outside the door, shut it, and locked the key. “-So that you don't run away.”

“ What?” I began to cry, “ What kind of monster is Jaque?”

On the floor I continued to sob. My life was ruined. I was going to be locked in a tower with a crazy man as my husband miles and miles away from the love of my life. What more could go wrong?

As I looked up I could see that more could go wrong. The room that I was put in may have not been called an attic, but it looked like one. The bed was wobbly and made of rusted metal, there was a small rotting wardrobe, and the room was covered in peeling paint. There were mouse droppings on the floor, and cobwebs in the corners. This room probably looked beautiful at one time, like my life thus far, but just like my life, it had gone into disrepair.

“ What am I going to do? What is going to happen to me?” I cried aloud.

Jaques words rang in my head, “ You'll find out soon enough, you'll find out soon enough...”

The day when I would 'find out soon enough' came soon enough. But not after I had proven myself a good wife to Jaque. I tried to fight him, but doing so was so tiring that I soon gave up and became a mechanical wife. Nothing I did for him was because I loved him, in fact at first I despised him. But I had hoped that if I proved myself worthy he would let me go.

“ Claire-”

I still hadn't gotten used to this strange name. 'It's Bella!' I wanted to scream. But of course, I nodded. “ Yes Cher Jaque” Sickeningly sweet.

“ The day has come.”

He needn't had said what that day was. I knew. This was the day that I had been waiting this year for.

“ What do I need to do?” As nervous as I was, I was excited as well. After he used me for the purpose intended, he would have no further use for me. Then I intended to run home to Fernan.

“ Well, what I need you to do is simple. Marie has already been informed that I have her daughter and since I'm sure that she won't want Louis to know about you, but won't want you to die-”

“ Die? What do you intend to do to me Cher Jaque?” I asked in horror. I began to back away from him. I thought about running away, but then I remembered I was still locked in my room.

“ It's a shame really, but it must be done,” he said almost to himself.

“ What must be done?” I asked hysterically.

He looked up from the floor. “ If things don't go as planned you will end up at the bottom of the sea my Claire. Now don't cry-”

Tears were pouring out as abundantly as the sea, which would be where I would most likely end up in a number of hours.

“ How did you even get word to Marie? How do you know she would believe you?”

“ Because I am a count. Of course she will believe me, but if not, I suppose the mermaids will love to have a maiden friend.”

“ But. But I'll be dead.” I said almost to myself. The realization had just completely sunk in. \

“ Yes, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. Now don't look so forlorn, if everything goes well we'll have an abundance of money!”

“ Yes Cher Jaque, the word of importance there is 'if'.”













The day when I would 'find out soon enough' came soon enough. But not after I had proven myself a good wife to Jaque. I tried to fight him, but doing so was so tiring that I soon gave up and became a mechanical wife. Nothing I did for him was because I loved him, in fact at first I despised him. But I had hoped that if I proved myself worthy he would let me go.

“ Claire-”

I still hadn't gotten used to this strange name. 'It's Bella!' I wanted to scream. But of course, I nodded. “ Yes Cher Jaque” Sickeningly sweet.

“ The day has come.”

He needn't had said what that day was. I knew. This was the day that I had been waiting this year for.

“ What do I need to do?” As nervous as I was, I was excited as well. After he used me for the purpose intended, he would have no further use for me. Then I intended to run home to Fernan.

“ Well, what I need you to do is simple. Marie has already been informed that I have her daughter and since I'm sure that she won't want Louis to know about you, but won't want you to die-”

“ Die? What do you intend to do to me Cher Jaque?” I asked in horror. I began to back away from him. I thought about running away, but then I remembered I was still locked in my room.

“ Don't interrupt. It's a shame really, but it must be done,” he said quietly.

“ What must be done?” I asked hysterically.

He looked up from the floor. He stood up from the love seat and began to pace back and forth, his shoes making loud clunking sounds on the rickety floor. “ I will have Marie over for tea. After tea we will go to the Aisne river for a stroll. If Marie doesn't give me ransom, then I will hoist you into a boat, and tie you down with weights. If she still doesn't well-” He sighed heavily. “ If she still doesn't give me ransom then you will end up at the bottom of the river my Claire. I can't have her thinking that I am weak. Now don't cry-”

Tears were pouring out as abundantly as sea that I was doomed to be drowned in.

“ How did you even get word to Marie? How do you know she would believe you?”

“ Because I am a count, and Louis' friend. I have every right to have tea with her. Maybe she will be so grateful for me not telling her husband that she will pay a large ransom.”

“ But... But if she doesn't then I'll be dead.” I said almost to myself. The realization had just completely sunk in.

“ Yes, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. Now don't look so forlorn, if everything goes well we'll have an abundance of money!”

“ Yes Cher Jaque, the word of importance is 'if'.”

Marie was so beautiful that I almost wished that she was my mother, though I'm sure she would have been a terrible one. Her white wig glistened in the light, but not as much as the jewelry that she was laden with. The dress that she was wearing was a soft blue v-neck that billowed out at the bottom. When she spoke it was with sweet syrupy voice.

“ It is simply wonderful that you have invited Louis and me here for tea. It's so lovely here and you're wife is simply darling. She looks just like I did when I was a young.”

I blushed under her compliment.I could see that Jaque could take what she said as proof that I really was her daughter. As I continued to sip my tea Louis continued.

“ Oui Jaque, I'm glad that you and I will have a chance to remember old times. What made you think of this since we haven't talked in years? If I do remember the last time we talked ended poorly.”

I could see that Jaque was getting anxious to go on that stroll that would either leave him with riches or make him a bachelor again.

“ Well-” He stopped and glanced at his grandmother who had accompanied us. She had said that she couldn't miss a chance to see Marie in the flesh. She was a tiny thing with her hair tucked into a white wig identical to Marie's. Her dress was a more modest tan with thick straps appropriate for her age. “ I do believe my grandmother would like to take a stroll wouldn't you Grandmother? We could walk just a little ways outside of the estate and walk along the Aisne river.”

Jaque's grandmother smiled. “ That sounds delightful dear, that is if Marie-”

“ Of course we would love to.”

Louis nodded.

“ Then follow me.”

We walked a ways until we reached a path leading beside the Aisne river. I got more nervous by the second.


Since Jaque's grandmother was already talking to Louis, Jaque took that opportunity to pull Marie aside.

“You know how you said that my wife looks like you when you were young?” He whispered.

“ Oui.”

“ It is because she is your daughter. But not from Louis.”

Marie looked at me in shock. “ Her? No. You must be mistaken. I have never had children outside of Louis.”

“ Alright, maybe this will help you remember!” Jaque grabbed me and dragged me down closer to the river. “ You give me ransom and I will not tell Louis.”


“ Tell me what?” Louis walked over from where he was talking to Jaque's grandmother.

“ But she is your wife! Why would you- Please don't tell Louis he will not believe me if I deny it!” She begged.

“ For ransom I won't say anything.”

“ What is it that you don't want me to know?” Asked Louis again. “ Tell me now!”

“ Or,” Jaque grinned as he held me close to the water's edge, “ If she really isn't your daughter, prohaps you will give me money to save this girl's life.” He forced my whole head into the water so that I was completely submerged.

The water began to fill up my lungs. All I could hear was the steady sound of the water lapping around me. All I could see was green of the water. All I could hope was the Marie would save me. If not I would have a watery grave.

What felt like hours later, my head was lifted out of the water. My ears were so clogged that I could barely make out anything, but I could make out the words, “ How could you?”

Once my ears were unclogged I could hear Jaque and his grandmother talking. Marie and Louis had left,I didn't blame them.

As I laid on the grass I could hear Jaque's grandmother's gentle apologetic tone.

“ I lost control.”

“ How could you cheat on grandfather Rionno? I'm sure he's turning over in his grave right now! How could you trick me? That means that there is no ransom money for me!” Jaque said with anger.

“ You make me feel so bad. Jaque. I only was with Franca when Rionno was away on business. When I found out that I had a baby, Adela, I couldn't keep her. I wanted her gone. So I drove into the country side for hours. Finally I found a farm that looked inviting, so I put Adela in her basket and hoped for the best.”

“ But why did you tell me that she was Marie's daughter?”

“ Because when I asked you to keep an eye on her and you asked why, saying that she was Marie's daughter was the first thing that popped into my mind.”

Feeling better, I walked over to Jaque and his grandmother. Sitting down on the grass I said softly, “ So you're my real mother.”

She nodded her head sadly. “ I'm afraid so. I am sorry for all this Adela. I never knew that Jaque would try to use you for ransom. I only wanted him to watch over you, his marrying you, and using you for ransom were his own idea.”

“ You are an evil beast!” I hit him hard with my fist. “ You're mother tells you to watch over me, and then you use me for your own purposes. You lock me away, and treat me poorly. You-”

My mother wrapped me in her arms. “ I am so sorry Adela. So sorry.”

“ So my name is Adela now? Not Bella, not Claire, but Adela?”

“ Yes that is your birth name.”

I shook my head in amazement. “ With all of these different names, how am I ever going to find the real me?”

“ You're still who you've always been. A sassy, outspoken girl who doesn't like to be told what to do,” Jaque snapped, “ And you're still MY wife. Which means I still can tell you what do even if you don't like it. Now, we are going home.”

“ No. I'm through with you telling me what to do. You tried to kill me, and I've never liked you. I am going back to Fernan, even if he can't afford my bride price! You know why? Because he loves me and you don't!”



Unfortunately, I wasn't able to run away. Jaque's marriage rights were binding so I had to remain his wife. However, his mother made sure that I was well taken care of, and that I had a villa of my own where she frequently visited, and we were able to catch up on all the years that we had missed in my life. And so ends the story of me, the girl of many names.



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This book has 4 comments.


on Jul. 14 2011 at 8:49 am
Artsygirl SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8 articles 4 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather that something is more important than fear.
" Let no one despise your youth instead be an example to the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. " 1 Timothy 4:12

Sorry that the chapters doubled. I don't know what happend there :(

on Jul. 13 2011 at 11:53 am
Artsygirl SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8 articles 4 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather that something is more important than fear.
" Let no one despise your youth instead be an example to the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. " 1 Timothy 4:12

Thanks! I kinda of just wrote the story as it popped into my head. I'm so glad you liked it!

Bookworm1 said...
on Jul. 13 2011 at 10:11 am
Loved it!! It was exciting! I'd have liked it if she punched Jaque at the end though, he deserved it! Sad also that she didn't end up with Fernan! But i loved Adela/Bella/Claire!

on Jul. 13 2011 at 8:32 am
Artsygirl SILVER, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8 articles 4 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather that something is more important than fear.
" Let no one despise your youth instead be an example to the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. " 1 Timothy 4:12

Thank you to the first person who voted my book a 5! I really appreciate your feedback!


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