The F-Major marched into the hall, they were all in uniform, swords, breeches, high boots, huge gloves and cocked hats. They removed their hats and the F-Major whacked the table with her sword.
We shut our songbooks and closed our mouths and stood.
The F-Major declared the four hundred and thirty-first commerce open. She tipped her sword to the top table, the Praesidium, the uniformed guard on her table, and the rest of us, the corona.
The F-Major read the despatches, the news, and the names of two elder dames who had died in the last quarter. Two minutes of silence.
I looked around, two hundred women, most were wearing a little hat without rim, Heidi too. The F-Major was a very large person, not one to cross swords with, though probably very nice.
“Song number 244”
We grabbed our songbooks and sang as loud as we could. After the last verse we slammed the songbooks closed and drained our glasses and banged on the table.
I'm an elder dame too.