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  • And so the people talked. In the French villas, along the elegant boulevards, where jacarandas scatter their purple flowers, in dining rooms, in parlors, sitting in chairs made of rosewood, in rooms with lacquer paintings, with blue-white porcelain vases, full of white lotuses, in gardens, blooming with azaleas.

    It was a scandal. And the people, how they loved a scandal, especially involving the rich, the powerful, the pretentious, the family, that claimed (though no one ever saw the proof) that they had royal blood, that in their Book of Ancestors, they were descendants of some third cousin of a fourth princess.

    And so the people talked. Some smirked with satisfaction. Some were gripped with fear. Some only felt compassion.

    Some said. That’s what happens when you raise your children with nonsense borrowed from the French.

    Some said. That poor girl. No matter what happens, her future is a tomb. The doors of polite society will be forever shut to her.

    Some said. I hope this never happens in our family. May the heavens protect us from such evil. Such disgrace.

    The cause? Some said her lover was a soldier. Some said he was a journalist. Some said he was a diplomat. It didn’t matter. He was a foreigner. An American.

    Some said. Imagine a half-breed descendant from the royal family. Haha!

    Some said. Can you believe? She refused to have an abortion. Or adoption. Even after the thrashing from her father.

    Some said. This proves that the youth of today are spoiled. This generation is rotten!

    No one knew how she escaped from that locked room. A servant perhaps?

    Then they found her body in the Mekong River. Drowned.

    And the people. They stopped chattering. At least for a moment. There was only silence.

    POSTSCRIPT: After this incident, my grandfather sat my mother down and had a talk. He said, darling, if you ever get into trouble, ANY type of trouble, please don’t do anything rash. There are places you can go if something like THAT happens. We will send you to France or the countryside. But please, know that whatever happens, don't be afraid, you are still my daughter. Nothing you do will ever change that.
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