|During the Storm
Author: Vera-Sabe PM
Based on the 1921 silent film Orphans of the Storm directed by D. W. Griffith. Henriette Girard is a common girl and Chevalier de Vaudrey is an aristocrat. They fall in love before and during the French Revolution, though it is forbidden.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Words: 4,978 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 04-18-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5002191
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: During the Storm
Disclaimer: I do not own anything except for this wonderful plot. The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to D. W. Griffith and United Artists. I am not making any money for the publishing or writing of this story. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning & AN: This is my first Henriette/Chevalier fic and all I have to say is that I did my best to keep them in character.
Keep in mind that flames will be laughed at and will only serve to increase my amusement. Although, I do accept constructive criticism because I know it will help me out in the long run.
A couple of things, too:
1. This one-shot is based on the 1921 silent film Orphans of the Storm, starring Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, and Josef (Joseph) Schildkraut. The movie was written, produced, and directed by the master and genius at movie-making D. W. Griffith. Also, I decided to keep the "storm" title because it fitted with the plot of the film and how D. W. Griffith titled it.
2. There will be dialogue from the film and the dialogue is not my own. It belongs solely to D. W. Griffith and United Artists.
3. I recommend that you watch the film in order to understand this one-shot. It is not really critical, but you will better understand the story if you do. And I highly recommend it because it is fantastic. For anyone who has not seen silent films, this one will convert you and you will not be disappointed. Though, I must warn you it is a real tear-jerker.
Now, without further ado, here is the story….
Summary: Henriette Girard is a common girl and Chevalier de Vaudrey is an aristocrat. They fall in love before and during the French Revolution, though it is forbidden.
This one-shot is based on the 1921 silent film Orphans of the Storm written, produced, and directed by D. W. Griffith.
Also, this one-shot is set before, during, and after the scene where Chevalier arranged lodgings for Henriette. This is my extended version of what they could have said more to each other than they actually did in the film.
During the Storm
Henriette Girard and Chevalier de Vaudrey searched for Louise to no avail. After a few more moments of searching, he persuaded her to halt her hunt for the night until the morrow. She did not want to stop, but knew he was right. The hour was very late, the streets of Paris were deserted, and she was quite tired. This day surely did not go as planned. She was so overwhelmed, distraught, and worried for her Louise that all she wanted to do was cry.
He directed her to one of the buildings nearby that he knew had lodgings open at this hour of the night. He opened the door, letting Henriette enter first. He turned left, walking down a slight, wide corridor with Henriette following him. It led to a counter where a woman was standing behind it. Henriette discerned that she was probably the proprietress of the building.
Chevalier proceeded to talk with her. He quickly, but most kindly and sincerely made all the necessary arrangements with the proprietress to give Henriette lodgings, not just for the evening, but for however long she needed them.
The provisions were settled swiftly. Mere seconds later, the proprietress led them down the same corridor Henriette and Chevalier walked through moments before. They followed her up the stairs, soon entering Henriette's new quarters.
Once they all stepped inside, Henriette took a quick look around the room and was surprised that she quite liked it. To her, she thought it was simple yet beautiful and elegant.
The main living area was quite spacious. There were two polished, wooden tables that were located against the wall on either side of the door that led into the apartment. At the opposite side of the wall, there stood a simple but marvelous, white piano. A white, plush stool with wooden legs served as a companion for the piano. There was a set of double-doors with white, flowing curtains next to the piano that led out to a small balcony.
Then there was a large, wide, polished, wooden armoire in the left corner at the far right side of the room. The door that led into the bedroom was near the armoire and was also located on the far right side of the room. To complete the quarters, there was a white carpet with two refined, wooden chairs that were situated on either side of it. One chair faced the entrance of the apartment while the other faced the piano. Both stood in a sort of diagonal way.
After the proprietress bid them both a good night, Henriette felt as if her heart would burst at any moment. She was completely overwhelmed by her current situation. Her eyes moistened, tears threatening to fall down her cheeks. Nonetheless, she did not want this aristocrat, this surprisingly wonderful, charming, caring, kind, sincere, and generous man to see her cry. She rubbed her eyes discreetly, trying to stop the tears from completely falling down on her cheeks.
Chevalier gestured for Henriette to step further in the room—it was hers' after all, smiling reassuringly at her. For some reason that was not yet known to him, he wanted to take away her pain, sorrow, and anguish. He wanted to make her feel better. He found that all he wanted to do was to make her happy.
Henriette gave him a small smile in turn, conceding to his request. She set her handbag on the piano stool, then turning back around to face Chevalier. She was suddenly filled with an overwhelming gratitude towards him.
She stated very genuinely and kindly, "Monsieur, I-I don't know how to thank you." She paused. "You saved me when you could have let him, them…."
She could not finish that sentence, beginning to feel as if she might want to cry again.
She forced herself to remain calm and confident. Though she considered herself to be quite a strong and brave young woman—being almost independent, she thought she could not be that young woman at this moment.
"You saved me," she could not help but to repeat that statement for it was true. "You have been very kind, caring, and generous to me, Monsieur. You have even tried to help me find my sister. Why, you have even paid for my lodgings! If I am not too bold, I must state that you are quite different from other nobles."
She still could not comprehend how this man, born and raised to receive and have nothing but the best and most luxurious, expensive things in life, could risk his own life to save hers; a simple, common girl's life.
Chevalier listened intently. His previous feelings did not diminish. The need to take away her every sorrow, to make her happy, and to protect her with his life did not leave him. It was utterly strong and powerful, burning like a fire within him, which threatened to consume him and then to ultimately explode. He found that he welcomed this feeling and need wholeheartedly.
He smiled at her, almost smirking. He replied while walking to stand in front of her, "In a way, I am."
His smile faded. "But what you must understand is that I come from an aristocratic family who is selfish, cruel, spoiled, and uncaring. Yes…," he nodded his head, stating sadly, "I, too, am like them and am ashamed of it. We have been cruel, inconsiderate, and even evil to the citizens of France."
He became angry with himself, "People are dying, starving, and living in poor and terrible conditions. We have done nothing to help them, nothing to improve their conditions. We treat them as they are nothing but the dust we wipe from our boots. We care only for our reputation, how we can further our standing with the king, who will marry which princess or prince, and whose and what celebration we should attend next." He paused.
"I was born and raised into such a life, and thus I am doomed to suffer the same fate as them…," he finished, "for there is a storm approaching. The people of France will rise up and rebel and I will not fault them for it as it is their right to do so."
He did not know why he told her this. Maybe to remind her that he was not a saint, and never will be. That he was just as much to blame for the treatment of their people as his family and every aristocrat was because he was part of the atrocious nobility.
He never told anyone where his true loyalties laid; never told anyone what he truly thought about his family, about his nobility, and about every aristocrat in France. Oh, he told the Marquis de Praille some of his opinions and predicted to the Marquis what was going to happen to them (the nobility), but Chevalier never told the Marquis what he had now expressed to…. He wanted to laugh, but was able to contain himself. He did not even know her name!
Though, yes, he had been thinking of such things for a very long time. He truly loved the people of France and wished there was more he could do for them; giving them bread very frequently was not adequate; it was and never will be adequate. The people needed… deserved more!
But… it was not in his power to do so. That power rested with King Louis XVI and to an extent Count de Linières, his uncle. And of course his uncle was never going to listen to him; and of course his uncle was never going to suggest to the king that he needed to change the way he ruled France. They were scoundrels, all of them. They never had and never will have any compassion for their people, never!
He slowly recovered, quickly making amends, "Forgive me. You must think I'm a fool and a scoundrel for speaking to you like that."
He slowly smiled again. "And please I would like it very much if you would call me Chevalier."
"Chevalier," Henriette smiled. She found she liked his name.
Then she shook her head, "There is nothing to forgive. Just like the people have the right to rebel, you have the right to speak your thoughts." She continued, repeating her previous words yet again, "And I do not think you are like all the other nobles as so you claim to be. You would not have saved me from the Marquis, you would not have tried to help me find Louise, and you surely would not have paid for my accommodations if you were as they are."
Even though he tried to dissuade her from thinking about what he did for her versus how he and the other nobles treated the rest of the common people, he found that she could not be. She could not be deterred or dissuaded from anything; not from finding her sister and not from him proclaiming to her that he was by and large a rascal.
He nodded his head, smiling slightly at her declaration once more.
Oh, how he was falling in love with her. His mind ceased to work. Falling in love with her? He questioned himself. But he realized quickly that he could not deny it. Yes, he truly was, though he only just met her this evening.
When he had heard her bravely and courageously defying the nobles at the fête, it was as if she had awakened him from a long, deep sleep. Her courage, bravery, and passion had pulled him towards her. She spoke with such conviction, that he had been ashamed with himself. He had regretted not having the courage to speak as boldly as she against his friends, family, and all the other aristocrats when he had the opportunity to do so in the past.
When he had realized that she spoke the truth about her sister, he had known that he had to help her and he did just that. After they had barely escaped the festivity with their lives and they found the street where she said she saw her sister last, he had felt his heart breaking. He had felt no pity towards her, only compassion.
After they had searched for a long time and still had not found her sister, he had wanted to do everything and anything that was in his power to do to find and bring her sister back to her.
And he had arranged lodgings for her, so she could have somewhere to stay because he had wanted to protect her. He had wanted her to be safe. He had wanted her to sleep comfortably in a warm bed with a warm pillow under her head. He had not wanted her to sleep on the streets, not after all that she had suffered and he had been there to witness it.
For all these reasons and many more, yes, he was in love with her.
She was waiting patiently for his reply, and with those thoughts in his mind, he smiled, almost smirking at her again. Raising an eyebrow, he finally spoke, altering the course of their conversation.
He asked politely, "And what is your name, Mademoiselle?"
"Henriette... Girard," she replied.
She found that she could not remain strong. She tried… oh, how she tried, but she failed. Tears threatened to escape her eyes and when they came, she knew she could not stop them.
"Henriette," he looked into her eyes as he said her name, smiling lovingly at her.
As he said it, he found that he not only liked it, he loved it. He realized that from this moment on there was never going to be another woman for him. He was going to love, cherish, and honor her forever. He could only hope that she felt the same for him.
After he said her name that is when she cried. She quickly covered her face with her hands as she sobbed. She tried to force herself to wipe away her tears and regain her composure. Though before she could do that, she felt his strong yet gentle fingers wrap around her hands, lowering them away from her face slowly. She felt his hands touching her face gently—one holding her head up tenderly while the other wiped her tears away with a handkerchief.
They silently locked eyes with one another—both not saying a word.
The first moment his hands touched her skin, a very warm feeling spread throughout Henriette's entire body. Her heart began to race. She suddenly felt quite bashful. No boy or man had ever made her feel this way until now. Chevalier's own heart raced at the feeling of being so close to her and to be able to touch her like this. He found that he did not want to leave her sweet, enchanting, and caring embrace.
Unfortunately, the moment was soon broken. Henriette quickly looked at the ground, shaking her head morosely. Because she did not see, Chevalier quickly stole a small kiss on the handkerchief—on the spot where he wiped her tears away.
She spoke, "Please forgive me. You have done so much for me and all I can do to reward and thank you is to cry. But I would like you to understand the entire reason for my tears."
At this statement, Chevalier frowned in slight confusion at Henriette.
Before he could speak, she quickly continued, "You know only part of it. I want you to know the whole truth." She paused.
He remained silent, allowing her to speak, just as she had let him speak.
She began, "You see… not only is Louise blind, but she is also the only family I have left in this whole world. Louise was orphaned as a baby. After my parents gave birth to me, they found her and decided to raise her as their own. So, she's not really my sister, not by blood. But she still is my sister, even though my parents did not give birth to her. We have grown up together to be like sisters." She smiled a little at that.
She continued, "The years passed by and we were all very happy… until the plague struck. My… our…," she corrected herself. "Our parents were affected by it and they died."
To this day, she could not forget what happened and she knew the pain of their passing would not fully leave her. As the years passed, the pain lessened. Nevertheless, it was always there and it was never going to really go away!
"We became orphans… we are orphans." She took a deep breath, releasing it slowly, "More years passed, but then Louise became blind. She couldn't see anything. She couldn't see her hands, or her feet, and she couldn't even see me."
She forced herself to finish her and Louise's life story, doing her best not to weep profoundly, "When she became blind, I promised her that I would take care of her… always… and… forever. We came to Paris today because we discovered that she could be cured."
She knew forcing herself not to weep had been entirely useless.
While weeping, she barely exclaimed, "Though, I do not know… if that is still possible… for I have lost her. I do not know where she is, nor know if I will ever see her again! And she's all I have left… and I am all she has left in this world!"
Once Henriette ceased with her account, Chevalier felt his heart breaking once more. He placed his hands on her shoulders, bringing her gently in his embrace and against him, letting her cry in his chest.
Though he felt wholly helpless as to how to undo the suffering that fate so cruelly poured upon her, he completely understood everything.
He now knew exactly why Henriette cared and loved Louise so, and why Henriette would do anything in the world to be reunited with her. Because he was in love and loved Henriette so, he would do the same for Henriette. If he lost her, he would do anything and everything in this world to find and bring her back to him.
Chevalier let Henriette cry for a few more moments, and then he slightly stepped away from her, so he could stare into her lovely, beautiful eyes. He remained close, though, as he wiped away her tears with his handkerchief a second time. He found that he did not like to see her cry. He wanted to see her smile, to see her happy.
He spoke his thoughts, saying in a gentle voice, "Don't—please don't cry."
He had an inkling his plea was not sufficient for her to cease her tears. Nevertheless, he could never, never fault her for crying. But he wanted to calm her to some extent, wanted to bring a small measure of hope, happiness, love, and joy into her life at this moment. Yet what he executed next came as a shock not only to her, but to him also.
Henriette could not believe that Chevalier held her in his arms, allowing her to weep uncontrollably. She found that he was the most kind-hearted, gentle, compassionate, passionate, caring, wonderful, beautiful, charming, and intelligent aristocrat… man she had ever had the pleasure of knowing in her entire life, second only to her father. The feeling of his arms around her was wonderful. She felt that same warm feeling spread throughout her body as she felt it the first time.
Oh, how she longed to forever remain in his arms, to never let him go, to stay like this with him forever. She also found that she felt completely safe in his embrace for she trusted him… with her own life.
When he slowly wiped her tears a second time and pleaded with her not to cry, she found that she could not go against his request, though she still felt tears prick at the corner of her eyes. She was still distraught, worried, and sad. But with him, she felt like she could be happy, joyful, calm, and serene. She felt like her sorrows and the whole world could melt away, leaving only the two of them. She felt that nothing else could matter, only them.
Noticing that tears still threatened to cascade down Henriette's cheeks, Chevalier slowly placed his hands on her arms, pulling her gently back against him. He lowered his head towards hers, giving her a sweet, slow yet searing kiss. Her lips were so sweet and warm against his.
Looking at her in amazement that he kissed her after he moved away, he would find that the kiss they shared and the feeling of her lips against his would haunt him for many days to come.
She allowed him to take her in his arms again and oh, how delighted she was that he did so. But when he placed his lips on hers, time seemed to stop for her. She was rather speechless. Yet the kiss was slow, gentle, and sweet yet so searing that it almost made her go weak at the knees. The feeling of his lips on hers was breathtaking; they were gentle, soft, and tender.
He slowly moved away from her. They both stared at one another in astonishment. Her eyes widened at what just occurred between them. She pressed her left hand against her mouth, curling her hand faintly as she continued to look at him in wonder. He mirrored her actions. His eyes also widened while he placed his fingertips from his left hand upon his own lips.
Henriette and Chevalier both knew nothing more could ever… should ever transpire between them. Their blossoming romance could never be for it was forbidden because the law—in other words the king—made it so. He was a noble. She was a common girl. His class despised hers, likewise her class despised his. He could be arrested, exiled, or possibly even murdered and the same could happen to her.
After they both slowly regained their composures, Henriette lowered her hand back down to her side and Chevalier did the same. He needed to make amends. He should not have kissed her. Though deep in the back of his mind, he knew that was a lie.
Nevertheless, he decided to lie, "Forgive me. I—I'll never do it again."
His mind told him the truth. You are a liar.
Henriette found that she felt disappointed by Chevalier's declaration. She was also surprised at herself for feeling this emotion. Should she not feel happy that he would never kiss her again?
After all, their romance could never be; it was forbidden. He would be ruined forever if his family and other nobles found he had associated with her. People of his birth and place in society despised and did not correlate with her kind of people.
And yet… yet she wanted him to kiss her again. He made her happy, he took some of her pain away, she trusted and felt safe with him, and she could see that he truly cared for her and for the citizens of France.
She also continued to firmly believe that he was not the villain he proclaimed he was to her in their earlier conversation.
Thus, what could she say to him? "No, I would like to kiss you again?" "No, I love you?" "No, you are mistaken." "No, I liked it?" "No, please do it again?"
Even though her mind gave her all these suggestions, her reply was quite different, "But…," she swallowed hard, "there is nothing to forgive, Chevalier."
Henriette wanted to say more than this, but the words would not come.
Chevalier was vaguely, but pleasantly surprised by her reply. He realized that she must care for him, even if it was only by a small measure. When he looked into her eyes, he could see that emotion shine clearly in them. Though it may have been a mistake to say that statement to her after their kiss, he would find a way for them to be together—no matter what the consequences were.
He smiled warmly at her while stepping closer to her. He took her left hand in his right and caressed it gently. She gave him a small smile in return, though she blushed rather deeply. He knew that he needed to depart and return home, but he did not want to leave her.
Henriette did not want Chevalier to leave, but she knew that he must. He turned to depart, but oh, how he wanted to feel the touch of her skin against his once more.
He turned back to face her, taking her hand and caressing it for a second time. Her skin and hand was so soft and delicate. Just the feeling of her hand in his was a sufficient reason for him to want to kiss her for a second time.
She loved the way he caressed her hand. As he did so, her heart raced, thumping rapidly against her chest. Oh, how she longed to stay with him, and to hold and kiss him. Was she in love with him? How could she be after only one evening? Oh, but it had been such an intriguing and enchanting one.
Chevalier locked eyes with Henriette. Still holding her hand in his, he raised it to lips, placing a chaste upon it. As he did so and if it was even possible, her heart thumped twice as much as before and she felt her cheeks become very warm.
He lowered her hand back down slowly, saying, "I must leave. Good night, Henriette."
Still blushing deeply and wishing she was not so bashful, she replied softly, "Good night, Chevalier."
She followed him to door. He stepped out into the hallway, turned to look at her, and repeated, "Good night."
"Good night," she also repeated.
She watched him turn around to walk to the stairs. As he descended them, she slowly closed the door. She turned, leaning her back against it. She found that she was breathing hard, and that her heart was still racing. Also, she could not help but to continue to blush at everything that passed between her and Chevalier.
For the first time in a long time, a true, happy smile graced Henriette's lips and face as she walked to the piano and picked up her handbag. Henriette turned back to face the door and her smile widened. She looked at the floor while she placed her fingertips to her lips. Then she looked back up at the door. It was futile to think that he would come back in, or that she would ever see him again… but she dared to dream.
With dreams of her and Chevalier in her mind, Henriette walked into her bedroom to retire for the night and to get some much needed sleep.
Chevalier walked down the stairs and onto the first floor landing. All his thoughts were focused on Henriette and every single event that had happened to them since he first set his eyes on her at the social gathering earlier this night. Just as he neared the door to step outside, he looked back over his shoulder, tilting his head up to look at the second floor. He smiled; then turned to walk outside into the crisp night air.
As he travelled home, Chevalier made his decision. He knew where his loyalties laid. It was with the people of France, yes. But now, it was with Henriette, too; his darling, sweet Henriette.
Despite the king, the law, and his nobility, he found that it was of no consequence to him for he loved her. He was not concerned that she was not also born of noble birth. He was not concerned that he could be exiled because he associated with her. He valued honor and love above everything else in this world. Thus, he would be honorable and fight for his love for her, even to the death if that path should ever come before him.
Though Chevalier did not know it now, his thoughts would become true in the turbulent days to come, not only for the people of France, but for him and Henriette as well.
AN: I hope you enjoyed it, but there is not much left to say. I said mostly everything I wanted to in my first author's note.
But I will say this: If this is not what you expected, I'm sorry. If it sounded corny, cheesy, and clichéd to you, all I have to say is, "Oh, well."
It is based off a silent film, so of course it is going to be all that and more, lol. It is not Pretty Woman, P.S. I Love You, or Maid in Manhattan and it never will be.
Oh and just in case anyone doesn't know, lodgings is what we all call a hotel room nowadays. And we all call a proprietress a landlady.
Again, I love silent films and Orphans of the Storm is NO exception. During the Storm is a tribute to the film, Lillian Gish, Josef (Joseph) Schildkraut, Henriette and Chevalier's romance, and D. W. Griffith; the master and genius at making movies. As always, until next time everyone.