Her bonnet was nothing but a pointless decoration; a delicate failure. Too small for protection, too light for balance – it was too pretty to be real. A tiny monument to silliness and frailty, it was perched on top of plaits of hair arranged like clenched hands. It was false, useless and beautiful like the woman who wore it. Her maid held it like a glittering child. The lady wore it like a crown.
Scraps of lace, splashes of sequins, arcades of flowers, torn feathers…their patterns were lifelines of artificiality. Small and complex like jewelry, they were made only to be handsome. They were protected from a sudden breeze by a gloved hand quick to respond – like a mother reprimanding a child for going out into the cold without a coat. No symmetry of lace would comfort that weakness; no knot of moiré ribbon could hold the flawed whimsy in place.
Yet for all of their frailties, their embarrassing sweetness, the perfume of weakness and memento mori…generations later they still exist. But the names of their fey owners have been forgotten – and their bones have long vanished