Friday, November 18, 2011

The Cold Shoulder

Vivienne opened her eyes to a bright new day and reached out for the comforting warmth of her husband but he wasn’t there.

Abruptly she sat up in bed, ruefully remembering the argument that erupted the night before.

“Not now, Bernard,” Vivienne had said as she typed away on her computer.  “I have to finish this project for work.”

“Come on, Viv, you’ve been giving me the cold shoulder for weeks.”

“Bernard, I’m this close to landing a major account.  This project is really important to me.  I’ll make it up to you as soon as it’s finished.”

“Seems to me I heard that song right before you got the project you have now.  When is it my turn, Viv?”

“Somebody has to bring home the bacon.” 

Vivienne winced as the words echoed in her mind.  Bernard was a modern day troubadour.  He had won her heart by serenading her with original love songs and one of them had hit number three in the Billboard charts when a famous artist covered it.  For weeks everywhere she went she felt Bernard’s love pouring out of the radio.  He could move people to tears or make them kick up their heels and forget about their troubles.  From time to time royalty checks might rain down like a princely shower of golden coins but his work didn’t generate a steady income.  As she tried to brush out her tangled locks and emotions, Vivienne felt ashamed of throwing money in his face. 

She got up to dress but when she opened her armoire, she remembered the Saint Regis lace gown her Great Aunt Morgana had given her at their last monthly tea...

It was still folded away in the bottom drawer. 

She shook the gown out and held it against her body. 

“I’ll show you the cold shoulder,” she smiled, shrugging the gown on over her womanly hips. 

The deep burgundy lace set off her creamy skin and raven hair. 

The satin rose that trimmed the front matched the roses that bloomed in her cheeks as she planned an amorous reconciliation.  Then she heard Bernard’s footsteps in the hallway.  She stashed her pajamas under a pillow

and struck a beguiling pose on the bed

just as Bernard came through the doorway.

“Good morrow my lady.  Wouldst thou break thy fast?” he said with his blue eyes twinkling. 

Vivienne drank in his manly form and sighed.

“Bernard I’m sorry…” she began

but Bernard clasped her hand, 

raised it to his lips and began singing:

Lady, I am one of those who willingly endures
your wishes, so long as I can endure;  

but I do not think I can endure it for long
without dying, since you are so hard on me
as if you wanted to drive me away from you, 

so I should never again see the great and true beauty
of your gentle body, which has such worth
that you are of all good women the best.  

Alas! thus I imagine my death. 

But the pain I shall have to bear
would be sweet, if I could only hope, 

that before my death, you let me see you again. 

A long while later Bernard cradled Vivienne on his lap and tenderly fed her like a child.

“Corn crashos?”

“You know I can’t cook, Madame Ventadour.  But

Lady, if ever my heart undertakes anything
which may honor or profit my heart,
it will come from you, however far you may be,
for never without you, whom I love very loyally,
nor without Love, could I undertake it or know it.  

The lyrics above come from “Dame, je suis cilz”  as quoted in “Study Guide for Medieval Love Songs” created by Dr. Paul Brians, Emeritus Professor of English, Washington State University.  I named Bernard after Bernard de Ventadour, one of the most famous troubadours in the “courtly love” tradition.  He lived in the 12th century and was attached to the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine in England.  Vivienne was originally a Disney fairy named Vidia, but I named her and her great aunt after characters in the cycle of Arthurian romance tales.

If any of your ladies wants to show a valiant knight the cold shoulder, here is a tutorial on making the gown:

À Bientôt


  1. Love it! Oh Bernard is such a romantic. *Swoon!*

  2. Lovely story and awesome tutorial!

  3. I love the little story between Vivienne and Bernard! =D And what a cool tutorial too! I will definitely be trying this one out for my gals!

  4. You go get your man, Viv. Even I cringed at the reference to money. OUCH! St Regis lace to the rescue. Very romantic story. Thanks again for another great tut. I am slowly making it through my long to do list.

  5. Great Aunt Morgana knew that Saint Regis lace gown might come in handy. Thanks for the comments ladies. The Saint Regis lace stories are a lot of fun to shoot and write.

  6. Thanks for this story, Limbe Dolls. I loved the "Corn Crashos" cereal box and the classy retreat to that box as the young couple "make amends" ;-D

    Bernard is a charmer. Viv is endearing, too.

  7. I downloaded the Corn Crashos box from They have a lot of great stuff including money.

  8. The deep burgundy St. Regis lace gown helped this couple resolve their issues. It probably motivated Bernard to display his affectionate forgiveness by spoon feeding Vivienne (even if the spoon contained Corn Crashos).

    Lovely story and wonderful tutorial.