JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 9 – In which Miss Austen casts a few aspersions upon the modern mode
Rising a little, in her cot of crystal, she looked around.
She was not singular in her plight. Around her in a small darkened hall, a dozen, two dozen other poor mortal souls stirred and struggled, in their own translucent prisons. Each one of them naked. And she suddenly came to the full realisation that she — it was shocking — she, also, was naked as a babe in arms.
Naked, and yet not naked without witnesses. Bearing down upon her were a number of strangely attired individuals — their clothes of a mode surely foreign, brought over perhaps from the New World? No English dressmaker would stitch a garment so immodest or so crude, of such harsh and ugly lines. Indeed no Austen lady, worthy of the name, would consent to apparel herself in such outlandish finery.
(For the younger Miss Austen might not be such a dowd as Cassandra had become of late years. But still, there were limits, and some of these styles coming down from the great capital were becoming positively beyond the pale!)
Alarm beset her, in a strange place and feeling strangely — strangely well, with no trace of the debility and sickness that had plagued her these seven years. And she might have fled, even without a stitch upon her. If she had been free to do so.
Already some of her fellow inmates were beating upon the walls of their miniature prisons.