Author's Note: Reader, if you are one who takes pleasure out of gorgeous, young Mary-Sues who fall in love with an OOC canon-character and they sappily love each other and then get married...this is not the story for you. Likewise if you are expecting a story with a girl (not necessarily a Mary-Sue) who is virtuous, smart, vivacious, and all-together likeable. No. But I can't say any more or that'll give it away. Read to find out my moral. Anyways...I just wanted to tell you that this story is like no other in this fandom (stories featuring OCs, I mean), so if you were looking for a "girl walks into Sweeney's shop and he starts making out with her, yada, yada, yada..." this story is not for you...unless you're willing to give this a chance. If that is the my guest! Wow...I took that long to tell you just that this isn't a SweeneyOC fic. and my wordiness.

I love readers and reviews! And if this first chapter is slow, I'm sorry. This chapter is a vital introduction and the real story comes in chapter bear with me. :) This will also be eventual Sweenett since, if you know me, I think Sweenett is the best pairing in the whole entire fictional world. I would NEVER do a two-sided (Sweeney liking the OC back) SweeneyOC.

And I promise I'm still writing my Sweenett oneshots! The next one will be up by the end of this week or the middle of next week. I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN OR ABANDONED THEM!

Also...this story is about Celestine, not Polly. So, before you go into a rant that Polly is a Mary Sue, keep in mind that she is not the main character. A slightly significant one, yes...but not the main one.

I wrote this on a whim, and I'm also testing out Celestine for an original fiction story. And, since fanfiction is a tool I use for writing practice (I'm merely 15...but please do not judge by my age. I feel I can be just as good as you adults) I like to test out characters and see how well they can flow in a story.


Disclaimer: Any characters that you do not recognize are mine. Others are not. Big whoop.


" know better than to chew with your mouth open."

Celestine Prudence Wellford swallowed the remaining fragments of the juicy, delectable mouthful of apple she had in her mouth. She dolefully looked down at the ruby-red fruit in her hands, marred by a large, white bite mark and pouted.

"But things just don't taste as good with your mouth closed," the girl of fifteen crossed her arms and huffed. "It's a ridiculous "etiquette" rule. Hmph! I think "etiquette" is just something invented to make everything less enjoyable."

The woman standing alongside the girl heaved a deep sigh. Well, the deepest sigh she could achieve with her corsets, that is. Celestine could be impossibly childish and asinine at times. She would know. To be exact, Polly had been Celestine's nanny and governess ever since Celestine was in diapers.

Though Polly Campbell wasn't your typical, matronly, strict nanny that most girls like Celestine had. No, Polly was a thirty-five year old beauty with strikingly red, curly hair and dazzling blue eyes the color of a robin's egg. Though she always wore her hair up and wore modest, unremarkable clothing, her sheer loveliness never went unnoticed. She was always receiving flowers and whatnot from men she hardly knew, but for some odd reason, she always turned each and every one of them down gently. She proclaimed that she adored being somewhat of a mother figure to Celestine and never desired to run off and get married.

But, aside from being beautiful, she was also a fair, kind woman who nurtured Celestine like a nanny would, but always regarded the girl's manners with a firm, but gentle hand like a governess should. She always reminded Celestine to sit up straight, walk lightly, curtsy at the proper moment, say please and thank you, and so on. She also took Celestine many places and allowed the girl a good amount of freedom. But on the condition that she'd behave herself and practice her manners in public.

"Celestine," Polly began again. "Must you insist upon behaving like a spoiled five-year-old instead of the proper young lady you are?"

"I'm sorry, mam'," Celestine sighed, taking a much daintier nibble out of the apple before chewing politely with her mouth closed. "I'm just so hungry and I haven't had a nice apple for so long..."

"I understand, dear," Polly patted the girl's shoulder. "But you know that you have to have a few inconveniences if you want to be respected by society."

"Society..." Celestine said airily, as if pondering something, though of course she wasn't. Celestine never "pondered" anything. Sure, she daydreamed frequently, but that wasn't the same as really thinking. No, Celestine loathed thinking about imperative matters or logic. She'd far rather imagine the beautiful wedding dress she'd have someday.

Yes, Celestine was quite different from the practical, contemplative, and headstrong woman Polly was. Celestine was dreamy, naïve, and very much a child. To top it off, she was also rather odd. Though she was slightly scatterbrained, she always pointed out the queerest things whether it was the "faces" on the trunks of the trees in the park or the way Harriet Carr's mole is shaped like a sparrow, she'd call attention to it. Celestine also tried to socialize with the strangest people...the man with a sour expression on his face, the woman who has to stay inside because she is great with child, the beggar on the street, the scabby crook, and far more peculiar company. The more weird or uncanny you are, the more likely you are to have Celestine talk to you.

Though despite this oddity about her, she still was a frivolous, but rather vain girl. Oh yes, Celestine was very vain about her appearance. Though she wasn't alluring and gorgeous like Polly (she was quite the opposite, actually), she acted as if she were. She'd curl her stick straight, brown hair with a small, hot 

curling wick every morning. Though it took hours, she thought it was worth it to have beautiful ringlets every day.

She also wore clothes that were at the height of fashion, with lots of frills around her chest area since her bosom was nothing to write home about. Today she was wearing a fine, olive green satin dress that nicely complimented her eyes. She even had a bit of powder on her slightly flat nose to rid herself of the nasty shine it tended to get when the weather got too muggy.

So, the pair was out on a cloudy day in London to visit St. Dunstan's marketplace. Mrs. Wellford, Celestine's mother, wanted a bit of salt, so Polly decided to check the market to see if the vendor who normally sold spices and such had any salt. Unfortunately for Polly, she realized that the seller was fresh out and she'd have to come back the following week.

"Ready to go home, Celestine?" Polly asked the girl with another sigh.

"Must we?" Celestine's lower lip jutted out and her eyelashes fluttered pleadingly. Her eyelashes were one of her very few good features and she loved to flaunt them...even when no one was looking save her own reflection in the mirror. "The weather is so nice and there are so many odd people out that I haven't seen before and I almost certainly shan't ever see again." Celestine took another bite of the apple, careful not to get the juices on the ruffled sleeves of her dress. "And I've already practiced my scales and finished that sampler for mother," the girl bent her knees and began bobbing up and down anxiously. "Don't you think I deserve a little fun, Miss Polly?"

"Yes, Celestine," Polly couldn't help but laugh at Celestine's childish performance. "But we'll have to go straight back home if you don't stand up properly." Celestine halted mid-bounce and stood up straight, putting on an ersatz snooty expression. She stuck her little, flat nose into the air and said in a mocking voice,

"I'm a lady and I shan't have any fun at all. I must stand up like this and act like a snotty twit."

"Watch your language," Polly warned her gently, though she was desperately trying to keep a grin off of her face.

"How do I watch my language?" Celestine cocked her head. "I don't see anything." The girl held out her hand in front of her mouth and said,

"My name is Celestine. How are you?"

She then looked at her palm and showed it to Polly. "Do you see any language on my hand?"

"Oh, you're such a little goose," Polly clucked, shaking her head. "You're..."

"Ladies an' gentlemen!"

Polly was cut off by the sound of a young boy's shouting. The two ladies turned around to see a lad standing on the makeshift stage in the middle of the square. Soon a large throng of people flocked around him and Celestine, of course, was no exception.

"Celestine!" Polly cried out as Celestine ran over to follow the swarm of people and surround the boy. "Get back here!"

But Celestine flagrantly ignored the red-headed woman. Instead she looked up at the boy in awe. She'd never seen a boy his age in such odd attire. His outfit was shabby from his neck to his toes. She even noticed that he wasn't wearing shoes.

But the strangest thing about his was that he was wearing a large top-hat on his head that was much too big for him. She could tell this by the way the brim kept falling over his brow.

Polly rushed over to Celestine's side, having had to push through the crowd to get to her, which was a very unladylike thing to do.

"Celestine!" Polly put a hand on the youth's shoulder. "You know to never run off like..."

"May I please 'ave your attention?!" the boy announced over the buzz of the multitude, once again cutting Polly off. "Do you wake up every mornin' in disgrace cos' your pillow is covered with 'air?" The boy motioned to several men in the crowd. "And ladies? Did you marry an 'usband with long, wavy locks an' now 'es 'ead is shiny as a new dime?" Several of the female spectators mumbled with agreement.

Polly snorted in disapproval, taking Celestine by the wrist. "Come now, darling. This is just silly..."

"Miss Polly!" Celestine whined, pulling her hand away from Polly's weak grasp. "I want to see what's going on!"

"Wot if I could show you somethin' that could change that?" the lad bent his knees, trying to make eye contact with several of the onlookers.

"Magic!" Celestine cried out jubilantly. "That would be magic!"

"Celestine!" Polly looked horrified as several people turned around to glance at the naïve youth. "That's nonsensical! That's..."

"It might as well be!" the boy replied volubly, giving Celestine a wink. "But I'd call it a miracle!"

"A miracle!" Celestine blushed, olive green eyes glimmering with awe. "What kind of miracle?"

"Wot kind o' miracle?" the boy looked to the audience, putting his fingers to the brim of his outlandish hat. "This is the miracle!" With one swift movement, the boy whipped off his hat to reveal a full head of hair with marvelous, flaxen tresses.

"Oh!" Celestine gasped, though this time, she wasn't alone. The rest of the audience seemed vastly impressed and they were "oohing" and "ahhing" almost in unison.

"Hogwash," Polly grumbled. "Celestine, how in the name of Jesus do you believe this?"

"Look at his hair, Miss Polly!" Celestine pointed up at the stage and clapped her hands together elatedly. "How did that happen without some kind of miracle?"

As Polly opened her mouth to speak, that blasted boy started up again,

"'Ow did I do it, you ask..." the boy grinned a bit.

"How?!" Celestine was dying of curiosity, not accustomed to so much excitement in such a short period of time.

"Twas Pirelli's Miracle Elixir!" the boy proclaimed as he sauntered over to the side of the platform and grabbed two bottles filled with yellow liquid. He held them up in the air so all could plainly see them. "This is wot did it, ladies and gentlemen! Pirelli's Miracle Elixir!"

"He's not seriously telling us that solution makes hair grow!" Polly crossed her arms and snorted at the ridiculousness of the whole situation. She was a practical woman who was never fooled by those "despicable scams". Their claims of miracles and magic were all a bunch of poppycock made to lure fools into purchasing their ineffective, fraudulent wares.

"Does more than make it grow, mum'," the boy responded to Polly's rather loud remark of contempt. "Use a bit o' this an' you'll 'ave an 'ead of 'air so thick that you'll 'ave to thin it once a week!"

"Golly gee!" Celestine giggled. "That's simply splendid!"

"Celestine, your hair is plenty thick enough," Polly pursed her lips. "Even if that "elixir" did work, you wouldn't have a use for it."

Suddenly, to Celestine's amazement and delight, the boy burst into a beguiling, rather catchy song. And boy, that youngster had a seriously good set of pipes on him. Even Polly was slightly impressed that such a sonorous, clear sound could come from such a little lad.

Though the words to his tune were absolutely ludicrous, Celestine and Polly stood in respectful silence for a few moments to listen to the child sing.

Once he finished, he took out a large crate filled with the bottles of "elixir" and took several of them out to sell to the bystanders.

"Wanna buy a bottle, mister?" the boy held out a bottle to a severely bald man in the first row and the man gladly took it. "Costs only the meager sum of one penny!"

"One penny!" Celestine's eyes widened so much that they were almost the size of two silver dollars.

"I wouldn't pay a hay penny for that rip-off!" Polly muttered darkly, her tolerance wearing thin since her slight fascination by the boy's musical talent had dissipated.

"I want one!" Celestine shouted, jumping up and down, waving her hand in the air.

"CELESTINE!" Polly grabbed the girl's arm and pulled it sharply down at her side. "Stop this foolishness now!"


"No "buts", young lady!" Polly snapped.

Celestine stiffened immediately and gradually her chin began to quiver. She got so frightened when people yelled at her. Soon she felt her eyes becoming heavy with hot tears and she lowered her head, letting a few drip to the ground.

Polly looked upon the girl and her anger slowly fizzled away. Yes, it was hard not to lose your temper with Celestine sometimes but yet, it was far more difficult to stay angry very long. The girl tended to behave like a kicked puppy whenever anyone raised their voice to her and the forlorn, wounded display she put up was enough to make everyone with even the slightest amount of empathy in their hearts feel rather rotten. And Polly was no exception as she felt the guilt bubbling in the pit of her stomach.

"Darling," Polly said softly, tenderly taking Celestine's hand. "I'm so sorry. I know you don't like it when I get angry..."

"Don't...a-apologize," Celestine sniffed, wiping the tears from her eyes as she looked up at Polly. "Everyone gets angry, Miss Polly."

"Here," Polly pulled out a pretty handkerchief with embroidered violets on the corner and handed it to Celestine.

"Thank you, Miss Polly," Celestine wiped her nose with it and brushed away any lingering tears on her face. Once she gave the handkerchief back to Polly, it looked as if she'd never even cried in the first place.

"There," Polly patted Celestine's head. "All better?"

"Yes, mam'." Celestine smiled, turning back to the stage to look at the boy selling the bottles of yellow liquid.

"Why do you want to buy it, anyways?" Polly asked the girl out of pure curiosity.

"Oh," Celestine giggled. "I was going to get some for Papa. He has a dreadful bald spot on the back of his head!"

Though Polly's conscience nagged her to scold the girl, the hilarity of what Celestine just said caused the poor woman to go into a silent laughing fit. Yes, it was true that Mr. Wellford had a very significant, shiny bald spot among his grizzled brown hair.

"He does, doesn't he?" Celestine grinned from ear to ear. "Why don't we buy a bottle for him?"

"That would be very..." Polly stifled a boisterous guffaw. "That would be very disrespectful to Mr. Wellford."

"You would hurt his feelings?" Celestine's smile began to slowly fade.

"Perhaps," Polly nodded acutely.

"Well, I shan't give it to him upfront, then," Celestine said decisively. "I'll put some on his head while he's sleeping. He shan't know what happened when he wakes up with fine, thick hair over that horrible old bald spot. He'd never guess that I was responsible for it."

"What an imagination you have," Polly shook her head. "Whatever are we going to do with you?"

"Pardon me, mam', but what in the world is that awful odor?" the gravelly, deep voice of a man rang out as if he were purposely trying to be heard.

"We must be standin' by an open sewer or somethin'," an equally noisy voice replied, this time it was from a woman with a thick cockney accent.

The boy looked over to the audience in alarm. Being afraid that he might lose a sale, he began his marketing pitch even louder,

"Try Pirelli's an' yer 'air will be so thick that all the girls will gather 'round in admiration!"

Celestine sniffed the air, looking bemused. "I don't smell anything bad."

Polly disregarded the youth's statement and was instead following the example of the man and woman by making snide remarks of her own,

"So he's saying that girls will flock around if you have good hair? Even if you're fat, stout, ugly, or cruel? Sure..."

"Dear God, this looks like piss," the same man commented again. Neither Celestine nor Polly could see who it was, but they could hear him with crisp clarity.

"Miss Polly!" Celestine gasped in alarm, putting a hand over her mouth. "That man! Did you hear what he said? Oh, Miss Polly, he used a naughty word!"

"Yes he did, dear," Polly said nonchalantly, patting Celestine on the head. There was a smile dancing delicately across her lips as she clandestinely cheered on the man and the woman, whoever they were, and hoped that this Pirelli swindler would be publicly humiliated for his disgraceful con...with the Beadle present as well, to top it off. It was a sight that Polly wouldn't miss for the world. She loved to see people brought to justice.

"Don't open that bottle, dearie," the woman warned someone who had apparently purchased some of the "elixir". "You might git somethin' dreadful all over yer 'ands."

"This smells like piss," the man added dryly, causing Polly to let out a snort of amusement.

"He said it again, Miss Polly!" Celestine cried out. "His mother's going to make him wash his mouth out with lye soap!"

"Yes, Celestine," Polly choked back a fit of giggles. "I suppose he will have to... have to do that."

"I won't tell on him, though...whoever he is," Celestine whispered. "No one deserves to have lye soap in their mouth. Such a nasty taste!" Celestine winced, remembering the time when she had said "the Dickens" at the dinner table and her mother made her put a bar of lye soap in her mouth for ten minutes. Not a very fond memory for our dear Celestine, I'm sad to say.

"Innit a shame?" the woman observed at the top of her lungs. "'Ow it'll jos keep you bald an make yer 'air smell like a chamber pot!"

The boy onstage looked positively mortified and scared out of his wits as he stood there, frozen, still holding a bottle in hand. The pitiful sight of the lad was enough to make the ever-cynical Polly cease her acerbic commentary. The scam wasn't the boy's doing, after all.

But apparently it wasn't enough for the man and the woman since they were still going at it, the volume of their voices getting higher by the second,

"Yep...definitely piss," the man proclaimed in his monotone voice. "It's piss with ink."

But before Celestine could exclaim in horror that the man had uttered the "naughty word" again, a bright blue form flew out from the gray, dusty curtains at the back of the platform. When Polly and Celestine looked closer, they saw that it was a very...eccentric looking man in an unconventional, rather pretentious looking attire of shocking azure silk, complete with a hat and a cape. He also had a black moustache that was slightly curled at either end.

"Signor Pirelli!" the boy gasped, moving aside so the man could step through.

"He looks like he'd be enjoyable company!" Celestine said decisively, pointing at who Polly assumed to be Pirelli.

"Hogwash," Polly huffed. "He's a nasty swindler he is."

"But look how colorful he is!" Celestine argued. "And he has such a funny little moustache!"

"Celestine," Polly groaned. "You think Judge Turpin is...and I quote...a "jolly good man". Judge Turpin! The vilest piece of work in London..."

"He is not!" Celestine angrily crinkled her brow, ignoring that Pirelli was strutting around and talking about what a great barber he was. "He's just unhappy, Miss Polly! The great Judge Turpin is a very kindhearted man on the inside."

"Here we go again," Polly thought to herself, wishing that Celestine would just give this up already. You see, Celestine had taken quite an unreciprocated fondness to the distasteful, rather slippery judge who was infamous for being unfair and unmerciful in court and rumored to have shelves full of immoral books filled with scandalous pictures. He also had a beautiful, yellow-haired ward who was about Celestine's age that he kept locked away in her room. Polly found the man despicable and wanted desperately to keep Celestine away from him. But sadly, Celestine's parents highly approved of him, so Polly had to allow Celestine to do what she pleased in that matter.

Luckily, though, Celestine also took an interest in Turpin's ward, Johanna, and the two formed what could be called a semblance of friendship. Sure, they liked each other enough, but the two were so different that it was difficult to make conversation. And, secondly, Celestine could only see Johanna up in her room...and with Turpin's permission, which only he gave to her so as to give himself time to dispose of the flowers that Celestine brought for him every time she paid a visit.

"I want-a to know-a who has-a the gall-a to say my elixir is-a piss!" Pirelli squawked in his odd Italian accent. "I heard-a some-a-one-a say-a it-a! Who-a is-a it-a?!"

There was a silence as still as a sloth deep in slumber as Pirelli waited with bated breath for someone to confess.

"I said it," the undeniable voice of the gentleman who had been mocking Pirelli's product earlier spoke.

"And who-a are-a you-a?"Pirelli spat with perfect, disdainful articulation. "Step up-a on-a to-a the stage-a!"

There was a silent buzz of gossip from the bystanders as a man unhurriedly strode up to the stage and walked up the steps.

"Oh!" Celestine let out a high-pitched gasp as the man turned around to fully face the audience. He was exceptionally pallid with deep, sunken-in eyes tinged with the dark circles of ceaseless torment. A tan vest and pinstriped trousers clung to his tall, gaunt body as he stood there, eyes flashing like murky jewels ignited by a powerful flame.

But the most appalling thing about the man was indubitably his untamed mane of ebony black hair that was swept this way and that about his head as if his tresses had been brushed about by a raging wildfire. And if this weren't abysmal enough, he also had a dazzling stripe of white that graced through the mangled sea of black.

"M-Miss Polly..." Celestine's eyes widened as if in a deep trance. Her voice was also lighter and airier than it had ever been in her entire life. "Take a look at him."

Polly looked up at the man and gave an involuntary shudder. "He is creepy..."

"No..." Celestine breathed. "He's..."

"Well...what-a is-a your-a name-a, mister?!" Pirelli looked fed up by the man's silence.


"I'm Mr. Sweeney Todd...of Fleet Street," the man replied in an almost bored manner.

"Sweeney Todd," Celestine's words were all like a giant exhale as she stared up at the man.

"Celestine?" Polly asked, concerned, snapping her fingers under Celestine's nose. "Celestine! Are you well, Celestine? That scary man must be giving you quite a fright..."

"No..." Celestine held out her hand. "He's...He's..."

"He's what, dear?" Polly wrinkled her forehead in indisputable curiosity.



"I'm here now to say in front of everyone here that you sir, are a fraud," Todd said with a light hint of a sneer dashed into his tone. "Your supposed elixir is nothing but an ineffective substance formulated from piss and ink..."

"He said the bad word again," Celestine had officially lost her marbles...even though she didn't have that many marbles to begin with. "I've always loved a rogue."

"Celestine!" Polly was becoming short of breath. Sure, Celestine had done some pretty outlandish deeds before, but this definitely took the cake. Never before had Celestine expressed romantic feelings towards anyone...especially in a manner such as this. Well, perhaps with the judge...but not at this intensity.

"Oh, Miss Polly!" Celestine mumbled. "I must have him."

"Look at him, Celestine!" Polly shook the girl's shoulders, trying to get Celestine to snap out of it. "He's old enough to be your father!"

"So?" Celestine's eyes were rolling up in the back of her head as her lashes fluttered. "He's perfect."

"You've only known the man by sight for less than one blooming minute and you're telling me that's he's perfect?!" Polly had had about enough absurdity for one day. "Do you even hear what you sound like?!"

"And I'd gamble that I could give a gentleman a shave with ten times more adroitness than you could, sir." Todd's voice came out as a rather frightening growl that somehow slid from his throat as softly as velvet. It sent shivers down the spines of both Polly and Celestine. Though, the shivers were a quite different sensation for the both of them. Polly's shivers were ones of trepidation and Celestine's shivers were ones of arousal.

"Do you even hear what he sounds like?" Celestine gave a shuddering breath on her last syllable. "So...husky..."

"The man's bloody growling like a beast!" Polly's blue eyes flashed with alarm. She'd always been warned about this kind of behavior in girls Celestine's age, but Polly never believed that Celestine was capable of such...scandalous thoughts. Though the girl probably didn't have an inkling of what she was feeling, Polly knew it was undoubtedly lust. A deadly sin. Something Polly thought she would never have to deal with...especially if it involved Celestine. Celestine was such a child and Polly felt that her little girl would never grow up. How in the world could it all change so fast?

"He's not a beast," Celestine argued weakly, not even aware that Polly had just said "bloody". "He's a man."

"For the love of..."

"You-a dare-a to challenge me-a?!" Pirelli snorted. "You-a will-a regret-a such a decision!"

"No," Todd smirked. "I don't think I will." Todd pulled out a silver straight razor from a holster on his side. "See this here? I've got four more. I'll wager that I can give a faster, smoother shave than you ever could. If I can't...these razors are all yours."

"Hmm..." Pirelli studied the razors and then glanced back up at Todd with a toothy grin.

"But if I win..." Todd held up a hand. "Five pounds."

"It-a is a deal." Pirelli was still grinning.

"Who's for a free shave?" Todd unsmilingly looked to the audience.

Immediately there was a wave of hands and incessant cries of "I do!" and "Pick me!"

"Choose me, Mr. Todd!" Celestine burst the "dizzy bubble" that surrounded her and began shouting and shaking her hand in the air. "I want a free shave!"

"Celestine!" Polly yelled the child's name for about the millionth time that day as she violently grabbed the girl's arm and yanked it down. "For the love of Christ, child! Men get shaves! Not ladies!"

Todd selected two bearded men from the crowd and brought them up onstage as the boy brought up two barber chairs for the men to sit on.

"Do you think he needs help up there?!" Celestine struggled against Polly's grip. "I'll help him..."

"I did not raise you to act like a little coquette!" Polly snapped. "What in the name of sweet Jesus is your problem?!"

"He's deliciously handsome," Celestine gushed. Damaged

"We must be talking about a different man, dear," Polly slapped on a stretched smile and used an exceedingly honeyed tone. "Or maybe you're not looking at this man properly..."

"Whoever performs the fastest, smoothest shave is the winner!" the Beadle waddled up onto the stage and produced a small pennywhistle from his vest pocket. He then enclosed his lips around it and blew. A shrill squeak proceeded as the Beadle took his leave.

Pirelli snapped his fingers and the lad ran to grab a large bundle of what appeared to be white, green, and red fabric. When Pirelli took it from the boy and shook it out, Polly recognized it as the Italian flag. Now, under normal circumstances, Polly might've leaned over to test Celestine by asking what country the flag represented to see if she'd been paying attention in her lessons. But the governess was feeling far too apalled by the present situation to attend to such duties. Celestine's innocence and safety was far more important to her at the moment.

"Celestine," Polly took the besotted girl by the elbows and dragged her away from all the excitement. "We're going home right this instant." There was a cuttingly sharp, yet urgent edge to Polly's voice that hardly ever made an emergence in her tone.

"But, Miss Polly..." Celestine's voice was still distant and airy, though she had meant for it to come out fiercely. She was too infatuated by the way Sweeney Todd lathered the man's face to put up much of a fight.

"I said this instant!" Polly snapped as she led Celestine away from St. Dunstan's, praying to God that this was simply a one-time thing.