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Madame Chamberlaine: The Telescope Truce

Tzipie Wolner

I wanted to hide, I was so ashamed. Why did I keep fighting with Shuly? Really, there was no reason. She just bothered me sometimes, but really, I still liked her. And now this!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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o where are you taking us?”

“Nowhere. We’re picking something up,” Madame Chamberlaine said.


“You’ll see in a minute, mes petites. Vites!”

We finally stopped in front of a house, no, a palace, as big as the whole block! There was a high, black iron gate all around the property.

“Who are we visiting, the Queen of England?” I asked.

Non. My old school friend. I asked her to lend me something special.”

“What? Tell us!”

Madame turned to us with a smile and placed a finger on her lips. Then she rang the red buzzer.

A guard, wearing a red beret and a red belt, peered out of his little red booth.

“Oh, you must be Madame Chamberlaine! Madame Gnocchi left something for you.”

The gate swung open and the guard pushed out a big, rectangular box.

Madame hoisted the box up. Shuly and I ran to help.

“Hey, I was here first,” Shuly said. “Go help Madame in the front!”

“Excuse me! Maybe you could help her in the front!”

“You always need to have everything your way!”

“Oh, yeah? Yesterday, you—”

I stopped. Where was Madame going?

Shuly and I ran after her.

“Why did you go so fast?” I asked.

“My ears hurt when the two of you fight.”


Shuly and I dragged our feet and were quiet until we got home.

And then Madame opened the box.

“What is that?” Shuly asked.

“A telescope.”

“A stethoscope? Don’t doctors wear those? This looks like a microscope but like way, way huger.”

The living room filled with Madame’s tinkling laughter.

“Do you remember how we were looking up at the stars last night and you said that there aren’t that many stars? Well, there are far more stars than you think! This telescope will let us see just a tiny bit more of Hashem’s beautiful world.”

“Can I look now?”

“We’ll set it up and as soon as it gets dark, we’ll look into the universe!”

Madame went to help my mother cook supper. Shuly and I took turns peering into the telescope. Then I discovered it can swivel. I swiveled it to Shuly’s face.

“Shuly, did anyone ever tell you that you have these weird holes on your nose?”

Shuly slapped her hand over her nose. 


“Shprintzy! Stop that! Why are you looking at my nose through the telescope?”

I giggled. “Because it’s really funny.”

Shuly stormed out of the living room and yelled. “And I do not have holes on my nose!”

Don’t tell her, but she really does have. Like, a ton. Did you ever look at anybody’s nose through a telescope? Well, you shouldn’t. I wouldn’t want anyone looking at my nose through a telescope, because I have a feeling I also have these weird holes.

Madame came in with Shuly.

Excusez moi, ma petite, but telescopes are not for looking at noses.”

“It was a joke!”

“Ha, not a very funny one,” Shuly said.

Mes filles! Since I came you have not stopped fighting!”

“Well, Shuly always starts,” I mumbled.

“I do not! You do!”

“I don’t!”

Vraiment, encore?” Madame said. “Are you not even embarrassed?”

She turned the heavy telescope away from me, wiped it clean, and gently removed it from the tripod.


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