Sarah followed Lady Abigail down the street. More like hitching a ride in her wake, Sarah thought; for people did seem to move aside for her. Nodding to a few ladies in the crowd, Lady Abigail steered them towards a quieter section.
As the crowd dwindled, more and more of the women sported embroidered ankle length skirts. Exchanging nods with nearly all of them Lady Abigail led them to a small shop. The door was embelished with a sign picturing a bee at a loom. The words ‘The Busy Weave’ was arced above the painting.
“Here we are.” Lady Abigail opened the door causing a small bell to chime. “The delightful mercers shop I mentioned.”
Sarah stepped inside and was immediately overwhelmed by the fabrics and colors that lined the walls. It was like the one time she went to a fabric store, with the thought of making her own Halloween costume. That had been a disaster.
“Lady Abigail,” a small man with spectacles bowed as he stepped from behind his counter. “And what, may I ask, brings you here this fine day?”
“Ah Merchant Rupert,” Lady Abigail turned to him from scanning the fabric. “That is a very good question indeed.” She stepped aside, drawing Sarah before her. “This young lady here requires a court dress, fit to be presented before the King.”
“And how soon will you need the fabric, m’lady?”
“I am afraid Hickory will have to come down and pick it up this afternoon.”
“Goodness me that is a rush, m’lady.”
“It most certainly is.”
Sarah began to examine the fabric. To think this was all hand woven was mind boggling. It was soft too. She just hoped she wouldn’t have to help sew.
“Sarah,” Lady Abigail’s voice brought Sarah back into focus. “This side child,” Lady Abigail stood before the pastel fabrics on the opposite side of the shop.
Sarah sighed. She should have known the darker colors she’d been looking at wouldn’t be for her. Choosing a fabric out of the selection was hard, especially as Sarah wasn’t a fan of pastels. What was worse was that pinks and yellows were prevalent; and Sarah did not care for pink.
“Surely something catches your eye,” Lady Abigail asked as Sarah paced the wall for the third time.
“Well,” Sarah stopped in front of the only bolt that did not show any pink. “I guess this one.” Her fingers ran down the green blue and yellow fabric.
“Leftovers from last year,” Rupert stated as he pulled the roll out. “Still quite good I assure you; stored in the best conditions, m’lady.”
Lady Abigail flourished a hand at him, “Of course it was Rupert. I expect nothing less from you.”
Rupert smiled as he set the bolt on the counter. A gentle nudge set it rolling, his hands catching it at the edge. Sarah’s eyes widened now that she could see the whole pattern. The background, which she’d assumed was yellow, was actually the blue; though pastel, it set off the darker green leaves very nicely. Among the green, and much more sparsely than Sarah had thought, the yellow flowers bloomed. Lady Abigail studied it for a moment before giving a verdict.
“It will do.” Sarah let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “What fabrics do you have to use for the dress underneath?”
“Well there are of course some lovely pastel yellows …”
Sarah automatically wrinkled her nose and Rupert stopped mid sentence.
“Blues and greens then, Madame?” he offered hopefully.
“Please,” Sarah sighed.
“Edward!” Rupert called behind him and a young lad scampered out from the back. “I need some of last years dress materials, in blues and greens, at least four bolts.”
Edward bowed to Lady Abigail and Sarah then scurried off with a ‘Yes master.’
“Now, while he gets that what else do you need, m’lady?”
“Everything,” Lady Abigail sighed and began listing off the various other items Sarah would need.