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I have allowed the Queen to be the center of attention at this latest Tournament. Her Champion took it into his head to present a challenge a'pleasance to honor Her. It seemed harmless enough. The challengers were required to present her a gift, after all. This seemed an ideal distraction for the populace and Herself while other, more important, actions were undertaken in the background. Of course, the vexatious creature used it as another excuse to plunder the much depleted treasury. The various bribes and expenses of outfitting a secret guerilla militia are growing difficult for even me to disguise. She asked me about the apparent deficit, all concern and good intentions. I may have spoken too sharply to her, but I am confident that if I replace the shattered crystal goblet (part of her favorite set), and have the tapestry well cleaned, She will forgive and forget. It is her nature.

I shall have to insure that her ladies-in-waiting are sufficiently cowed as well. I detected the smallest hint of disapproval in the set of one's mouth the other day. The Queen asked me what had become of the little chit, and she did not think to question when I told her that there had been a terrible injury in her family, and that she had to leave unexpectedly. Each fact of which was true, of course. I do so hate to lie to the Queen.