“Yes, it is very gay. But Praskovya Feodorovna thinks that it would be better if the pattern were smaller, and if the dots were blue instead of light brown. I sent some other material to my sister: it’s so lovely that it is simply impossible to describe it in words. Just imagine: some little stripes as fine as the human mind can conceive, a blue ground, and across the stripes, all over them in fact, a lot of dots and splashes, dots and splashes, dots and splashes—in short, it is incomparable. I positively declare that there was never anything like it.”

“But my dear, that’s motley.”

“Oh, no! it’s not.”

“Yes, it’s motley.”

It must be stated that the charming lady was somewhat of a materialist, inclined to denial and doubt, and that she despised many things in life. However the nice lady again asserted that her material was not in the least degree motley, and exclaimed, “Dear me! you are wearing gimp. Why, gimp is no longer worn.”

“What! it is not worn?”

“No: scallops are worn instead.”

“Scallops—ah, that’s not nice at all!”

“Scallops; everything is scallops; a pelerine scalloped at the edges, scalloped sleeves, scalloped epaulets, scallops below, scallops above, scallops, scallops everywhere.”

“That’s not at all pretty, Sophia Ivanovna, if everything is scalloped.”

“Oh dear me, yes; it is incredibly pretty, Anna Grigorievna. But how greatly surprised you will be to learn that bodices have grown still longer, and that the front is cut in a point. The skirts are quite round, like the old-fashioned farthingales; and a little padding is even added behind, in order that one may look a fine woman.”

“Well, that is nice, I must confess!” said the charming lady, making a gesture of the head which was full of dignity.

“Exactly: I confess that I like it,” replied the nice lady.

“Well, for myself, I shall not follow that fashion, on any account.”

“I also think—well really, when you consider what fashion does come to sometimes. I asked my sister for some patterns, just for the fun of the thing. My Melanie has already made herself a dress in the new style.”

“So you have some patterns!” exclaimed the charming lady, not without a perceptible movement of anger.

“Certainly: my sister sent them to me.”

“Give them to me, my soul, for the sake of all that’s holy!”

“Alas! I have already promised them to Prascovya Feodorovna. Perhaps you can have them after her.”

“Who will care to wear anything after Prascovya Feodorovna! It’s very strange that you should give the preference to strangers over your own friends.”

“But she is my aunt.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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