Julie was standing on a box in the middle of her bedroom. Several older women hovered around, measuring her growing body's new dimensions. Her mother, the Duchess Louise of Abret, was sitting nearby, sipping tea while she watched. "Mother, why do I need a new dress?" "His Grace, pardon, Augustus serenissime is holding a ball for the dukes, the counts, and the barons this weekend. All of the nobies are invited, including cher cousins from Burgundy. Even those German nobles are invited. What a disgrace, those hillbillies in charge in Chagny." "Mademoiselle, please raise your arms ... very good," one of the seamstresses said. The Duchess Louise went on. "The Royal Family will be there, of course. I'm told Romain has finally grown up ... Count Paris will be there. It has been so long since we've seen him and I know how he adores you." Julie quickly changed the subject from Paris. "What does father say about this? I thought we don't socialize with the Montagues." "The Cardinal is arranging things and convinced your father to go along. For national unity and all that male nonsense. As the other great house in ... what are we calling it, yes, Neustria, the Capulets must make their appearance alongside them. And it is time for you to be presented to society anyway."