Glamour in Glass: Jane’s primrose dress

We are two weeks away from release day for Glamour in Glass, so today I have a fairly large excerpt for you. Also, because I know how much you like clothes. The pretty, pretty clothes.

This dress is from the 1813 La Belle Assemblee “Frock of plain jacconet muslin, with a demi train; body of amber and white shot sarsnet, made in the same manner as last month, except that the waist is a little shorter; the sleeve, which is of a jacconet muslin, is very full, and is looped up with a floss silk ornament in the shape of a heart … ”

And how does it appear in Glamour in Glass?

“Never fear. I have seen the seating plan. Mme Chastain has you paired with Colonel de Bodard, who speaks competent English, having been an émigré during the Revolution. He and M. Chastain should keep you tolerably occupied during dinner, though the conversation will tend toward war recollections.” She opened the wardrobe. “What shall you wear to night?”

“The primrose with the demi- train.” Jane began pulling pins from the muslin frock she had on. “War talk is sure to be an improvement over hunters. At any rate, that is such a relief. I do dislike forcing others to speak in English for my benefit. My comprehension has improved in just the short span since our arrival, but I despair of my speech ever being fit for company.”

Anne- Marie laid the dress on the bed and took a delicate bodiced petticoat from the bureau. “Madame, you do not need to fret. My mother never became fluent in her adopted language, and yet made herself well understood. No one will expect you to speak without error.” Switching languages, she said, “And now, I will speak to you only in French. You must answer me so as well.”

Choosing the easiest answer en français, Jane said, “Yes.” After a moment, she added, “Thank you,” and felt her vocabulary exhausted.

“Lift your arms, madame.” Anne- Marie pulled the old petticoat off and slipped the new one on. Jane obeyed each instruction,  sometimes gathering the intent from the actions rather than the words, but they managed to proceed with only the occasional bout of laughter born from misinterpretation. Through it all, Anne- Marie was unfailingly gentle of Jane’s  sensibilities, and yet firm in not allowing her to speak English.

Forced to use the language thus, even for simple tasks such as getting dressed, Jane began to realize that she knew more words than she had thought.

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