"Who," Evangaline asked carefully, "thought that this particular tradition was a good idea for our family?" She should have studied more fashion in school, and her only reference on that sort of thing was upstairs. She wasn't going upstairs right now.
Behind her, one of her sisters shifted uncomfortably. "We've done it before. You've been there when we did it, Evie."
The skirt went down to the ankles, and the silhouette was unnatural, too small at the waist, too big at the bum. "We did it at one of the new houses, Fallon, or at an in-laws. Bellamy, dear, you just finished up that fashion class, didn't you?"
The ghost was silent. That was a blessing. But it appeared she was checking the mantle and the tops of the window-sills for dust and scoping out the protections around the edges of the walls. It had no face, which was a bit distressing.
"I, uh. That's the portrait dress." Bellamy swallowed. "Aunt Zenobia's portrait dress. From when we looked through the old books? The note says she hated it."
They'd been telling ghost stories - Fallon's idea, but Aunts Antonia and Carlotta had gone along with it. Nice scary stories of the dangers of not laying your dead down properly.
Evangeline glanced at the stairway. The ghost climbing up and down the stairs there was dripping spectral blood on the new carpet. She looked like she'd died badly, and possibly slowly. And she was between Eva and her books on spectres and exorcisms.
On the other hand, if that was Aunt Zenobia...
"Next year, we're sticking to roasting chestnuts on the open fire." Eva steeled herself and ran up the stairs to her books.