They emerged from a dozen boudoirs; their rooms as sweet as sugar cubes, frosted with lace, dusted with petit point and iced with glass.
They had chosen carefully from tiny pots of scented rouge, arsenic powders and lip paints the colors of summer fruit: peach, plum, nectarine. The collections of chemical persuasions were patient as the undecided fingers hovered above them.
Patch boxes with pastel landscapes and encrusted jewels that startled delicate fingers were opened. The tiny shapes were whimsical communiques: stars to hang on the cheekbones of chaste galaxies; diamonds to draw attention to a curved mouth – an unattainable treasure; tears to convey a message of unrequited passion.
The princesses had taken off their tiaras of twisted gold and placed them on their dressing tables. Their crinoline petticoats bobbed underneath architectural skirts that were garlanded with ribbons, knotted with flowers and stifffened with trellis-works of ruched satin.
And then they left.
The forest met them at once; it would be a long, chilly walk. Branches draped against bare shoulders questioningly. "Stay – a question, please" they requested. Perhaps they wondered at the princesses' agile roots, clad in exotic slippers of silver and sapphire linen, and green silk with heels of crimson enamel.
Darkness fell upon them, but the princesses' joy was like a light and it dazzled the shadows. Their laughter rose into thte twilight and splintered into stars that glowed in the cobalt sky. So, out of gratitude, they received the evening's promise: that every twelve hours it would return to release them from the cares of the day and warm them with dreams, just as their laughter had warmed the night's cold heart.