a social lesson (150)

It was the year 1712 and the Countess was hosting for the first time, finally declared ready by Mama to be a hostess. Normally, Mama or her sister were the ones to prepare – instead, Mama had decided she needed the knowledge and lesson for the centuries yet to come.

She waited by the curving staircase, still nervy about the fire dancing just feet away from her.

(In this form, she was much more vulnerable)

Guests arrived in a flutter of silk and velvet, a flash of jewel to rival any pearl fang and all curtsied to her. Write your own social etiquette, Mama had instructed her, and she had. From upstairs, the rest of her family were watching and listening. This was a test, she knew, and went to menace the cooks into preparing the feast with a little more alacrity.

(If ghosts arrived, well, she paid them no attention)

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