Like many clockwork girls, I pass best clad in lace. I veil my head, shawl my shoulders. Though dogs sniff me out in a moment, people seldom notice my clicking. Men are easiest to fool. Let your laces slip, and you are as good as real—or so Charles suggests as he fingers my tucker. Within the cabriolet, the clattering hooves echo harshly as we hie ourselves Haymarket. The cob on the cobbles. Charles’s lips on my neck are soft as dove’s wings. I dislike their flapping. The driver pulls us to a stop. “Come, pet,” he murmurs, “we must make our entrance.”
Oh, the opera, that mechanism designed to provoke emotion. Charles adores a contralto. Tonight, we are bound for La Cenerentola. I wish he would take Diana, but, he says, it does no good at all for a man to be seen with his own wife. She sleeps later these days, cries more often, grows fat. He can less and less stand the sight of her. She has not forgiven him for Peggy, her lady’s maid, the most trusted servant in the house, now ruined and dismissed.
The clockwork clicks, the snag and spring of the metal arms. We… Read more »