Lost Love Found
fur-lined. Besides, the day is fair, Nan.” Valentina gazed at herself in the long pier glass, admiring the way the amethyst-colored velvet brought out the identical color of her eyes.
    “I do not like these overlow necklines, m’lady,” said Nan with stern disapproval. “Yer whole chest is open to the elements, and I don’t care what you say, yer going to catch a cold! ’Tis bad enough indoors, but standing outdoors at that theater … I tell you no good will come of it.”
    “Nevertheless, dearest Nan, I am dressed most fashionably, and as a member of Her Majesty’s court, I cannot be seen any other way. Fetch me the purple lace neck whisk, please. And my jewel box.”
    Nan went off, grumbling about certain people’s willfulness, while Valentina, smiling like a pleased feline, continued to admire her gown. Since Edward had been dead for over six months, she was out of black and allowed to add gray, white, purple, blue, brown, and dark shades of green to her wardrobe. The queen preferred her ladies to wear black and the maids of honor to wear white except for festive occasions, so when in attendance upon Her Majesty, Valentina would have to don more somber garb.
    Valentina’s gown was of a single amethyst color on the bodice, overskirt, and underskirt. The bodice was decorated with silver threads and pearls in an interlaced design. The panel of the underskirt was sewn with silver threads in a pattern of leaves and vines. The tiniest ruffle of violet lace sprinkled with tiny seed pearls edged the neckline.
    Valentina opened a small ivory box and, after carefully studying the contents for a moment, removed two heart-shaped, tiny black patches. She placed one just barely above the right-hand corner of her mouth, the other on the swell of her left breast.
    “Scandalous, it is!” fumed Nan, returning with her mistress’s jewel case and the required neck whisk. “I just don’t know what’s gotten into you, m’lady. Your mother would be very upset.”
    “Patches are in fashion, Nan. There is nothing scandalous about patches. Open the jewel box, and then attach the whisk for me, please.” Valentina turned her attention to her jewelry, most of which she had inherited from the Barrows family. She drew forth a triple strand of pink pearls, each strand longer than the one on top of it. A large teardrop baroque pearl surrounded by diamonds hung from the longest strand. When Valentina fastened the necklace around her neck, the great teardrop nestled between her breasts. She next chose fat pearl earbobs and then a variety of pretty, though not spectacular, rings. The pearls were probably the best jewels in her possession.
    The neck whisk fastened into place, Nan assured herself that Valentina’s elegant chignon had not been disturbed. Then she said, “Since it does no good to reason with you, I suppose I had best get your cloak and gloves. Promise me at least that you will wear the hood, for the wind coming off the river is icy damp.”
    “I will,” Valentina assured Nan, smiling.
    As Valentina descended the main staircase of Greenwood House, Padraic was openly admiring. She was garbed in a lovely pale amethyst velvet cloak edged in soft gray rabbit fur and carried a small and decidedly frivolous muff of the same fur, to which she had attached a nosegay of silk Parma violets. She held out a hand encased in a scented pale purple glove. He kissed her hand, his eyes meeting hers.
    “Good day, cousin,” he said, pleased to see her blush.
    “Good morrow, m’lord. Are we ready to leave? Which theater are you taking me to, the Rose or the Globe?” she asked.
    “The Globe, and we must hurry if we are to get seats on the stage. I will not allow you to be exposed to the rigors of the pit. On the stage we are safer from the pickpockets and cutpurses, but whatever you do, don’t let go of your muff or your cloak, Val.”
    “Nan is scandalized that you would take me to the theater at all,” Valentina admitted as they

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