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The Tiara Club at Ruby Mansions 4: Princess Olivia and the Velvet Cape
"Nothing exciting ever seems to happen anymore," Princess Jessica said gloomily. "We haven't had any balls or parties forever."
We were slumped on the sofas in the Recreation Room. It was true. It did feel as if school was going on and on, and every day was exactly the same.
"Should I go and look at the bulletin board?" I asked. That's where Lady Harris, our principal's assistant, puts up any invitations, or changes in classes, or anything else we should know about.
Princess Lauren yawned. "I looked on the way down here," she said. "The only new notice is about wearing sensible clothes. We've got to make sure we dress warmly when we go outside, because it's getting so cold."
"Do you think it'll snow soon?" Princess Amy asked hopefully. "That would be fun."
I went to look out the window. "It does look quite cloudy—"
I began, and then I stopped. Some-thing very strange was happening in the courtyard outside. "Quick!" I gasped. "Look at this!"
My friends flew to join me at the window. We stared out at the Ruby Mansions footmen, who were hurrying around and carrying long planks of wood.
"What are they building?" Princess Chloe's eyes were wide.
"I think it's a stage," Jessica said thoughtfully.
Princess Georgia clapped her hands. "Something exciting must be happening! What do you think it'll be?"
"Maybe it'll be some kind of play," I suggested, and I hoped I was right. I really love acting.
The door to the Recreation Room opened and the horribletwins, Princess Diamonde and Princess Gruella, came sweeping in.
"Oooooh!" Diamonde trilled. "Look at the poor little Poppy Roomers peering out of the window! They must not have heard about the Grand Demonstration tomorrow."
Gruella sniffed. "We know all about it, don't we, Diamonde?"
"Of course." Diamonde gave us a snooty look. "King Rudolfo is such a good friend of Mommy's, so we know exactly what he's going to do. He's going to show us how Perfect Princesses should behave when a prince lays his cape on the ground in front of them."
"Why would a prince do that?" Amy asked in surprise.
Gruella rolled her eyes. "Really!" she said. "Some princesses don't seem to know anything, do they, Diamonde? Should we tell her?"
Diamonde shook her head. "Certainly not. If Amy doesn't know something as simple as that, she shouldn't be here." And Diamonde stuck her nose in the air and flounced out of the room. Gruella hurried after her.
Jessica made a face as they slammed the door behind them. "They'll be absolutely awful tomorrow," she said. "I bet they will show off nonstop."
Amy was still looking puzzled. "Please, somebody tell me about this cape business!"
"It's a kind of traditional thing," Lauren explained. "If a Perfect Prince sees a Perfect Princess about to get her feet dirty, he's supposed to lay his cape down on the ground so she can step on that instead."
Georgia smiled at Amy's astonished face. "Silly, isn't it?"
"And actually, the cape makes it worse," Chloe said. "Soggy velvet is so hard to walk across. I expect that's why we're having a demonstration."
"Do you think we'll get to take turns?" Jessica asked.
"I hope so," I said. "That would be a lot of fun!" And this wonderful picture popped into my head of me floating across a crimson velvet cape, while a handsome prince bowed low in admiration.The Tiara Club at Ruby Mansions 4: Princess Olivia and the Velvet Cape. Copyright � by Vivian French. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.