The next few days, Evelyn and I worked at creating many fine brushes of increasingly exotic animal hair she had on hand. Boar bristles were too stiff. Badger performed decently, but didn’t give the same release of powder I wanted. Powder didn’t stick well to horsehair. Cats, dogs, foxes, otter, beaver, all had their problems. I mean, they would work, I guess, but I had really hoped something would give me the same characteristics as the fingerprint brushes I used in New York, especially after I had gone to such efforts to get a decent powder.
I sighed, then picked out the badger and the fox. “Let’s fit a handle to these. I guess they’ll do all right.”
Evalyn sighed with relief. “At last. Even with your box, I have fallen behind in broom making, especially since many people want your new flat brooms.”
“I’ll go get us some lunch. Anything in particular you would like? It’s my coin.” I had almost said dime, but quickly changed it so I didn’t get a look from her.
“Are you trying to court me?”
“No, just wanted to give thanks for all your help and for taking up your time.”
“Well, in that case, a roasted hen and root vegetables would be pleasant. And some wine.”
I nodded, and made my way down the street, patting Ranger as I went. There was no point in unhitching him. Now familiar with this part of town, I could take a couple of short alleys and get back to the main shops quite easily.
Once there, I walked the line, trying to decide for myself what I wanted. Inevitably, I was drawn back to Marion’s shop for some bread. Fortunately, Caitlyn was hard at work mixing more dough so I didn’t have to have an awkward interaction with someone who definitely thought I was—or should be—courting her.
At the next stall, I picked up some butter and cheese. I thought about a boiled egg when a chicken squawked, flapped, and ran away from the young man who had attempted to wrestle him to the chopping block.
The startled chicken had shed some of its feathers, which hung in the air, drifting toward my face. I used my hat to try and knock them away as the young man got the chicken back, despite its squawkings.
I blew an errant feather away from my face.
The light bulb went off.