By and large, Evelyn left me to my own devices to tie and glue my down feathers into brushes after showing me how the first couple of times. From there I just used her to inspect what I had done, gradually getting better at it as I went. Unfortunately, I needed to actually make the brushes before I could test the feathers with the powders. It was the only way to get a good application.
But after a full morning of work, I was a sticky, feathery mess, and my fingers ached from tying the twine. But I had a set of workable feather dusters done. Done enough to test with, anyway. I didn’t intend on keeping any of these, so hadn’t even bothered to let the glue dry.
I tested each of the brushes across different applications, wood, stone, glass, leather, and even clothing. The last was sketchy, at best, but the results of all the other tests produced a clear winner: stork. Turkey came in second, which surprised me. I had enough stork feathers for at least half a dozen brushes, though, so there was no need to use the turkey.
I packed everything up, telling Evelyn she could keep the testing brushes, if she wanted.
“And what would I use them for, eh? Moving such a small amount of dust is worthless.”
I shrugged. “These were designed to apply, not move, more like makeup brushes.
“Makeup, what’s that?”
Right, modern terminology.
“The, um, paints and powders that ladies in court use.”
She looked at the brushes more closely, now. “You think ladies would buy these?”
I shrugged again, tying my leftover feathers to Ranger’s saddle. “Maybe. You’ll need to show them they work, though. Put them on some fancy handles, and probably. I don’t really understand nobility.”
“But how would I get them to ladies of court? I couldn’t even speak to such as they. If only—”
“Are we bargaining, Evelyn?” I said suddenly, turning to smile at her.
“I believe so, Shamus,” she grinned.
The negotiation had taken some time, as it involved Marrick, Jameson the carpenter, Willis the tanner, and Ernst the apothecary, and a few others. By the end of it, there was quite a little cooperative operating, agreeing to supply one another with what they needed to create a range of specialized goods, including makeup for the ladies of court.