“This is disastrous,” Adele said, looking over the fabric. “Absolutely disastrous.”

“It’s the tiniest stain. Put a pearl there.” Beatrice looked unperturbed by the existence of the little mark, a spot of blood that happened upon the cloth when she’d been pricked with a pin through the layers of silk.

“Have you recently been struck about the head?” asked Adele.

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything,” Beatrice sniffed, rolling her eyes. She winked at Adele and they both laughed for a moment, fussing with seams, each of them making tiny, careful stitches, applying hundreds of pearls and gems with patient fingers.

“How is your head, by the by?” Adele’s fingers moved quickly; she was amazing with embellishment work — her embroidered whorls and pearl-studded skirts graced the fat frames of so many of the upper class, it was almost a mark against someone who didn’t have at least one of her pieces.

“Aching,” Beatrice sighed. “But I imagine that will go away with time.”

“Well, dearest, next time when they come to question you, be a little nicer, and they’ll be a little less prone to wanton destruction,” Adele chastised gently, sighing.

“Yes, dear.”


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