I took a weekend break from the WIP. But, here’s an excerpt from it. In this scene, Natalie, the heroine, is going to a hattery with her new friend, Jeanette. It’s the first time Natalie has been out on the streets of Versailles.
“Good. We will be going to such wonderful places today, you really should know.” Jeanette pointed up at Natalie’s hair and smiled. “That is such a lovely hair piece. What is it? Gardenia?”
Lifting her hand to the hairpiece, Natalie nodded, running her fingers over the petals. “Yes. Silk. It was a present for my birthday a year ago. I thought it went wonderfully with this dress.” The gardenias and upper layer of the dress were a soft shade of cream. The dress dipped into a low neckline, and around her neck, Natalie wore a simple, white ribbon choker.
“A beautiful outfit all together. You are so fashionable, Lady Natalie. Do you do any work in the area?” Jeanette lurched forward slightly and from outside, the horses neighed as the carriage started for the town.
“I don’t, and I never thought of working in fashion. There really isn’t a place for women in the industry.” Natalie watched as they left the courtyard, the tall, wrought-iron gates shutting behind them. She breathed a sigh of relief.
Jeanette laughed, tugging aside the curtain to pin it back. The streets of Versailles passed by at a comfortable pace, but Natalie was a touch disturbed at the amount of people who seemed not to have homes. “Isn’t it amusing how that works, Lady Natalie? Women are the nurturers of fashion, we are the ones who wear the dresses and the wigs and the heeled shoes…but yet there isn’t any room for us in the industry.”
Natalie laughed along with Jeanette. “It is rather ridiculous, if you ask me. Perhaps I just might break into the fashion scene just to spite the other men…who are hardly men in the first place, if you know what I allude to.” She pointed outside, her finger against the window. “Why are there so many people on the streets? Versailles is a rather well-off city, I thought?”
The laughing stopped. “It was, yes. But, since the people started to spend all their money to fund their pitiful revolution, they have also put themselves out on the street. Now that, Lady Natalie, is what I call ridiculous.”
They passed by a mother with three children. The children combined probably weighed what a healthy child should weigh. They were dirty with clothes that hardly protected them from the bite of the late summer air. It made the bile in Natalie’s stomach curdle with disgust and anger. “How could a mother do that to her children?”
“Well, when a mother sticks her nose into business that is not hers, she starts to think of herself and not her children, I suppose.” Jeanette shrugged as they left the scene behind. “You see it all throughout the city. And then they always end up at the palace, waiting for handouts because no one can manage to find work or money to buy their own bread.”
“Sickening. I actually feel sick over it.”
“As you should. Just remember this the next time you see grubby little hands raised up at you, asking for money from your coffers. They chose this for themselves.” Jeanette pushed a strand of misplaced hair back behind her ear. She was young, probably the same age as Natalie, and her red hair, blush of freckles and green eyes made her very attractive.