The Beautiful American – excerpt 1

ELIZABETH VISITS MADAME LA FAYETTE IN PRISON… from my novel, THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN, by Marilyn Holdsworth. “Oh, no,” she wailed the moment the door opened revealing the two guards. “The guillotine,” she cried. “It is to be today. Dear God, dear God, have pity on my soul.” “Oh my dear, my dear,” Elizabeth Monroe soothed, pushing past the two guards and rushing to Madame LaFayette’s side. She stooped down, took the trembling woman’s hands in hers, and knelt down beside her. “No, no; it is nothing like that. I am Elizabeth Monroe. My husband, James, is the United States minister to France and a longtime friend of your husband. They fought together in our revolution,” she explained. “I have come to visit you, assure you how very concerned for you my husband is. We are going to do all we can to help you.” She placed her arms around the sobbing, frightened woman’s shoulders, continuing her reassuring words in soft, flowing French. I stood watching from the doorway as

Marie Antoinette at guillotine.

Marie Antoinette at guillotine 1793.

Mistress Monroe calmed and comforted Adrienne LaFayette. Disregarding the filthy surroundings, Mistress Monroe continued to crouch down before the distraught woman, holding her hands as she spoke. When at last she rose, she drew Madame LaFayette to her feet and embraced her. “Merci beaucoup, thank you for coming,” Adrienne LaFayette whispered, wiping her eyes. “I was sure they had come to take me to the guillotine. I was so very frightened. My family is all gone. I thought for sure they had come for me too,” she said, fighting back the tears. “Of course you did, my dear, but have courage. Be assured that James will do all he can for you,” Mistress Elizabeth promised, patting her gently on the shoulder before joining me at the door. “We must go now, Jasmine, get back to the Folie as soon as possible. We must tell James of this poor woman’s deplorable state.” She glided gracefully back down the long dingy, hall, past the guards to the prison door, where Michael was waiting to escort us safely back to the carriage. You can read more about The Beautiful American, by Marilyn Holdsworth at: https://marilynholdsworth.com/the-beautiful-american/

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