CRUISE FOUR
THE SEQUEL TO
THE MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE
PART FOUR
FRANCE
SPECIAL NOTE FROM AUTHOR
I wish to express my deep gratitude to three kind list members who generously provided me with pictures of France for this Chapter.
 
Monica, Constance and Lloyd, I thank each one of you for the beautiful pictures. This chapter could not have been created without your valuable contribution.
What a beautiful day it was! As the Wheaten Princess tied up in Marseille, the passengers and crew could not wait to set their feet on solid ground again!

The band was playing a cheery French song, and the tune seemed to remain with them as they left the ship and boarded the coaches which would take them to the railway station, where they would transfer to the TGV to Paris. Many were excited about travelling on this famous, fast-speed train for the first time. Oh, it was such an exciting adventure!

At the station, it was a bit of a drama for some - getting luggage on board, coming late and, yes, some even couldn't remember where they'd put their tickets!
It seemed like no time - and they were in Paris. It had been an enjoyable train journey, and very smooth.

After settling into their hotel, they broke up into groups and set out to do some sight seeing.

The River Seine was a major attraction for one group, and there was an amusing incident as they were crossing one of the many bridges across the famous river. The mysterious and secretive Emma spotted Murphy V, Jimmy and Nelly from across the road and came running over with little regard for the traffic rules! Jimmy warned her to be careful, and she responded by calling him JAMES, which landed on Jimmy's ears like a lead balloon!  REALLY!  Fancy calling him that!

Bella Beachbunny was with Captain Guiness again. (They walked out together on the previous Cruise, too!)  Guiness was beginning to feel hunger pangs and asked her if she'd care from some lunch. Naturally, she agreed, (hoping to be taken to a flash French restaurant no doubt!)

Dr Charlie seemed impressed with Emma, as did Murphy V. There's nothing like a 'mysterious' lady to get all the boys interested!

The whole ship was trying to figure out 'who' she was, and what she did, and where she was from. There was definitely an air of mystery about her, and she wasn't revealing her secrets to anyone!  Even Maggie hadn't been successful in finding anything out, and Maggie was an expert at getting people to spill their secrets! Someone suggested they give the 'sniffing-out' job to Cooper!  That seemed like a pretty good idea, considering his 'nose for a story'!

Another group was looking at famous churches, and Notre Dame was a must for those interested in architecture.

Guinness N was there with Dasher, Guinny and Bailey. (He decided to stick close to them as they all spoke fluent French!)

Also in their happy little group were Kelsie, Murphy M, Keeleigh, and Sister Ella in the company of Katie S and Mackenzie Jane.  Sister Ella's interest was more than architectural of course, and Guinny went searcing for the 'way in' so she could spend a quiet moment inside. (Such a thoughtful boy!)
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Max
The Ballerinas were on their way to their auditions for the Paris Ballet Company. Darcy, Brandy G and Khaki had great expectations of being accepted and being signed up at least in the Chorus Line. Excitedly, they hurried into the building and prepared for their 'big audition'.

Soon, their names were called and they each, in turn, performed their solo dance on stage before a panel of adjudicators.  Then, they waited anxiously for the decision.

The verdict was a crushing disappointment for the girls. NONE of them had been selected.

They left the building in tears. They had come all the way to Paris - and for NOTHING!  All their hard work; all their hopes and dreams, DASHED to pieces by that panel of judges who didn't seem to know good dancers when they saw them!

Shocked, and with heavy hearts they wandered without purpose through the busy streets, trying to figure out what they did wrong.

So pre-occupied were they with thoughts of their rejection, that they did not notice Hurley coming towards them. He'd actually been looking for them and approached them now with a welcoming smile. His smile was not returned and, for a moment, he wondered what HE'D done wrong.

They walked to a part of a bridge over the Seine which was not full of people, and little by little, they explained to Hurley what had happened at their audition. As they burst once more into tears he reached out to comfort them. This was a gentle side of 'Mr Personality' they'd not seen before, and they were so grateful that he'd come by just at that crucial moment.

He became thoughtful for a minute, then his warm smile returned.

"Listen ladies," he said in a soft voice, "I KNOW you can dance and I think you should get your chance, but not here."

The girls looked puzzled. "Not here?" asked Khaki, wiping away a tear from her cheek.

"But we wanted to join the Paris Ballet!" exclaimed Darcy, and Brandy G nodded her head in agreement with her friend.

Hurley lifted his paw and shook his head. "No," he replied. "Not here. In NEW YORK!"

"NEW YORK!"  they exclaimed in unison.

"Yes, my dears! Sponsoring talented performers who are looking for their start in the Performing Arts is one of the things I do.  I will be proud to sponsor you and see you set up with the Ballet company there. I happen to know the director very well!"

The girls were speechless! What a wonderful man Hurley was! They now had a second chance and, thanks to his generosity, all was not lost.  They'd prefer to be in New York anyway, as it was close to home!

He was almost knocked off his feet when all three of them threw their arms around him at once and hugged him. (He didn't mind that though, not one little bit!)
The Passionate Pooches had joined with Sweetie, Riley M, Tess, Maggie, Riley A and Shana at the Eiffel Tower.  Riley A and Shana were a couple, and so were Sweetie and Reese, and it was looking as if Riley M and Bristol, and Punky and Max might have something going, too! To be sure, the Wheaten Princess, like another famous liner, did have the nick-name of 'The Love Boat'!
Another group of happy tourists were making their way across one of the bridges over the Seine. Scooch and Rudy were there, but Rudy had been taking a dip - apparently! Queenie was with Seamus, and Boogie, Shadow, Finnegan G, Clancy and Buddy were admiring Maeve!
Meanwhile, Abby and Bailey Beachboy, Keeva and Guinny, Tobey and Miss Reilly, Miss Morgan and Cody, Katie T and Madame Stella were visiting the Louvre.

While others were enjoying the sights  and walking their feet off, Bella and the Captain were dining at the Chez Julien Cafe near the church Saint Gervais on Rue. The food was SUPURB!  But even more than that, the relationship that had been building between them for a long time was entering a new phase - one which promised more serious things! Hmmmm!
Killian, Tuckerotti and Brady had concluded their business in Paris and set out to meet up with their friends from the Wheaten Princess. Killian had arranged to meet her little sister, Katie S, and her dear friend, Sister Ella, at Saint Jacques, where they could have some privacy.

Young MacKenzie Jane was with Sister Ella and Katie S, and when Killian arrived with Tuckerotti and Brady, Katie ran to greet her big sister. Sister Ella also hurried down the steps to meet her old friend. Killian almost danced over to greet them, and MacKenzie got a lump in her throat at such a happy sight.

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The next day was a sizzler! A group of 20 dogs were on foot, walking along The Avenue des Champs-Élysées  to the Arc de Triomphe.

Everyone tried to find some shade under the trees and it ended up looking rather packed! Guinness N was wishing he'd brought a portable bar!  Boomer and Kelsie had been smart enough to bring, and wear, their Safari hats. Maggie was asking Teddy some pointed questions and received appropriate answers!

Bailey asked Miss Katie T to lunch at a Cafe, and it appeared that she'd been counting on that!  Doctor Charlie, who'd arrived too late to get a shady spot to rest in, decided to follow them. It was just too hot to stand around in the sun, and a cool drink wouldn't go amiss either!
Versailles  was a very popular tourist attraction, and Killian, Tuckerotti and Brady were keen to visit it.  Punky, Bristol and Finnegan B were there too, and - so was Cooper!
They were delighted with what they found at the Centre Pompidou. SOMEWHERE TO COOL OFF - or so they thought!

Guinny, Dasher and Bailey had other ideas and had to spoil the fun!  Still, after what happened in Rome when certain passengers were caught swimming where they shouldn't have been, Dasher wasn't going to allow his little charges to take any chances !

Shadow had asked Killian if she would go with him to the Pere Lachaise Cemetary where he wanted to lay some flowers at the grave of Chopin, his favourite composer. Killian was happy to accompany him.

Shadow had selected some of Chopin's music to play in his Concert Recital and he felt he should pay his respects to the great man in this simple way. Killian thought it was very sweet - so typical of Shadow's sensitivity and gentleness.
Shadow and Killian weren't the only ones interested in cemetaries. Jimmy had brought Nelly; and Keeva, Lexi and Cassie were also showing interest, though Nelly's interest seemed to be more with the flowers!
Sydney, Griffin, Murphy V and Cooper were interested in the celebrity graves, and were strolling along, reading the inscriptions on grave stones (Griffin and Sydney translated) when 'Emma the Elusive' came up to where they were; silently passed them without saying a word, and continued on her way alone and in her usual secretive fashion. It was more than Cooper could take. He HAD to follow the lady!
So, follow her he did, even though Sydney thought it wasn't sporting. Cooper figured that something suspicious was going on and he wanted to get to the bottom of it - like any good reporter would.

He kept a respectable distance where he could observe her without her being able to see him. He dodged expertly from one grave stone to another, using the high stones to hide behind.

Gradually he got closer, and closer until he was within hearing distance. Emma did not seem to be aware of his presence as she bent to read an inscription on one of the stones. Then, to his astonishment, she sat down beside the stone and wept! He thought, 'This must be the grave of someone she knew well.'

She then laid a single rose on the grave and whispered something in a language he did not recognize. It sounded like RUSSIAN!

Suddenly, Cooper felt like he was intruding on an intimate scene and he was uncomfortable and guilty. He quietly turned and slipped away, leaving Emma with her privacy.

As he left the cemetary and walked back towards the hotel where he was staying, he pondered over what he had witnessed. Emma had  secrets, that was true, but he had not been able to uncover them and, further more, he didn't feel that he should.

So, the mystery of the Elusive Emma remained. 
TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 4B
Copyright - A P - 2009 -2010
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