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The Inksmith

by Katherine Briggs In the seaside town of Goodeword, gossips whispered that Mrs. Helena Walker was an incarnate angel. She must keep her wings in a chest and Heaven’s shine in a box, and other foolish prattle. Helena earned this hearsay by hemming her gown sleeves above her elbows and forgoing a bonnet even in sunny weather. Every other woman and man covered themselves and their children in gloves, low-brimmed hats, and high collars to hide the stains marring their skin, while Helena displayed her pale, unflawed arms, neck, and face in public. Only angels boasted such freckles. Helena considered her virtuous reputation and laughed. She, like everyone else, earned stains. The fire in the hearth crackled, and Helena remained near its warmth to powder her face and draw pale blue paint against the veins near her temples. Today warranted extravagance. Sails had been spotted against the sea. This would be the last ship to dock before winter’s freeze, and it would bring her husband Oziah h

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