“What does it say?” the stepmother asked.
Ella’s father reached into his tailcoat, pulled out an engraved letter, and handed it to Ella. She read the handwritten words aloud: “On behalf of the King, Their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, you are invited to attend the Prince’s Masquerade Ball to be held in a fortnight.”
“Why that’s just two weeks away!” exclaimed the stepmother.
“TWO weeks?” chimed the stepsisters.
For the next two weeks, the women scampered around the house in frenzy; they could not contain their excitement. Ella took freedom’s opportunity to spend time with her father. They replanted a small lily garden behind the manor.