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And so they went, the two sisters, escorted by their father to the ball. The girl wet the ashes with her eyes. Taking up her mother's book, she stared at the picture, the line sketch of unimaginable beauty. She went to her sisters' mirror, set the book carefully on the dresser, and composed herself.

She found that whitening her sisters' powder with the ashes made her face pallid as the paper of the page of her mother. She found that her diet of her sisters' leftovers let her, when she tightened her strings particularly hard, fit into the dress her mother had left, and she found her deathly feet sliding like wax into the matching slippers. She was the very portrait of her mother.

She floated into the garden where the boy was working. And stopped. She crossed her hands in anxiety, and shut her eyes. He looked, was touched*, and was transformed. "You . . . " he said, "You need to be at the ball. But you cannot go alone; it would not be fitting." And so they went. The girl never said a word. When he left her, he shook his head again at her beauty, and just before he parted, he smiled carefully and reminded her, "You do know, don't you, not to stay past midnight, if you know what I mean." She walked into the ballroom.

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