It was the Queen's masquerade, and they were dancing.
There were so many, it must have been over a hundred.
"Mister Carbunkle, please..."
Over a hundred puppets of lace and velour, some hundred top hats, sequins and pearls by the thousand.
"Excuse me! Mister Carbunkle?"
A wash of color that left the eyes dazed and swimming, stained with a thousand thousand exotic shades.
She was there and gone again too quickly to follow, precipitated from the swirling chemistry of the court and then reabsorbed, a vision of pale gloves and an elegantly layered skirt. Step by step, he descended then into their midst, click click, click click, toe and heel echoing against the marble stairs. Eyes nailed to the swirling knot by the third column in front where she had become, for a moment, visible.
"It's time for your tea, Mister Carbunkle. Come along now. Yes, that's it, you're with me now. Come, it's your tea-time. Now then, what sort of tea would you like? Mister Carbunkle?"