Edmund was spared the need to reply as the door opened revealing Junapa and Kolb in the clothing he had purchased for them.
Junapa looked incredibly elegant. She wore a long black gown that was covered with lace and small pearl buttons. The neck was tight and long, surrounded by a web of white thread that gave her shoulders the look of light snow on the dark branches of an old tree. Her hair was held in place by a large net of pearls and silver that also bore a single clear jewel rested squarely in the middle of her forehead. Along the edge of this net was a wide headdress of small raven feathers. She held a bright paper fan that was painted with a rolling seaside view that practically glowed against her slim figure.
Kolb was dressed in a marvelous coat that looked black, but shimmered red in the gaslight. His tails were long, and his lapels reached out almost to his shoulders. His jacket was open, revealing a smoky blue vest with a long silver watch chain that dipped almost to his knee. His limbs were tightly gripped by the clothing, framing his tall strong body in black, while his dark shoes glimmered as he walked. He had combed his hair, and pulled it back into a dashing ponytail that rested on his shoulder.
They both swept into the room, arm in arm, polite smiles plastered painfully on their faces.
“Good evening,” Junapa trilled, a faint note of panic still plain in her tone. “I’m so glad you three could join us for supper.”
“Indeed!” Kolb said, his hat brushing the carpet as he swept it off his head in a deep bow. “It is an indescribable honor to have your illustrious personages grace our humble home with such… such grace, poise, beauty, pomp, lucre, class, comfort, propriety, generosity, and humility.”
“Yes, quite,” muttered Patron Vanndegaar, scanning their clothing up and down. “I can imagine you don’t get those qualities much around here.”
“Samsuel,” snapped Matron Cromley. “There is no need to be rude. I, for one, am delighted to see you both again, and looking so well! thank you both, Misses Knittle, Mister Popomus.”
“Now,” Matron Scower sneered in frustration, her voice sharp and cutting the others dead, “If there are no further interruptions, I reiterate my question. We are intrigued to know why we here, boy!”
“I should think we are a bit intrigued, what?” Wislydale said grandly.
Matron Scower looked ready to explode with fury as Wislydale walked into the room with–no! Without a glass of liquor in his hands.
Edmund was amazed. He hoped this was a good sign–that he had thrown everyone off balance enough with the sudden arrival of the Heads of Family. With luck, his cousins would be far too focused on their own behavior and not embarrassing themselves to pay much attention to him, and what he was doing.