Acte 5: Circumstances of Why
And now is a fine time you have the distinct “pleasure” of meeting Auntie Mildred, a unique specimen still living in the long-ago past.
Kathleen’s Auntie is a hold out from the Victorian era. A time when she believed a woman knew their place in society and did not need to be anything other than a servant/wife and mother whose main purpose was to issue and raise heirs to the master of the house(and her life).
And if she had lived with the Victorians, Kathleen and I were sure they would also find her to be a bitter pill to swallow.
Mildred was a short, thin as a ribboned Mary pole, prune faced old horror, whose thin, tightly bound black hair was held perpetually in a severe widow peak. She looked like one who commands everything to be her way. Which she does, and has enough money in the bank to get it.
She also invariably always dressed the part of an old dowager. Wearing layers of crinolines under mourning black, heavy skirts and dresses. The type of high necked long-sleeved cut blouses with the perineal gemmed brooch that was worn at the time. Her attire looked as severe and foreboding as the elderly lady wearing them.
An only child, she had never married. Of course, she had been engaged to a suitable gentleman as a young lady, a pilot who had the misfortune of perishing in the Second Great War, as she called it. And so her lot in life was a grieving soul, who made a habit of grieving other people’s souls.
She had inherited a suitable fortune from her father and was miserly minding it for all the long years she had lived.
Her only purpose now in life appeared to be focused on Kathleen marrying a suitable husband. This has taken on urgency these last few years.
For, at the ‘ripe old’ age of Twenty-four, Mildred believed her great-niece Kathleen was fast becoming too old to be respectfully married and soon would be fodder for a nunnery.
And so she had Kathleen dressing up( to Mildred’s expectations) and was dragged to all the social events in the area with the hopes of meeting a suitable man (of Wealth) for her great-niece to be courted by.
Kathleen put up with it all just to please her great auntie.
The gowns she was forced to wear out were horrid. But she had the opportunity to wear real diamond jewellery to some over the top posh affairs. And she enjoyed, thoroughly, the attention that was piled upon her.
The main local social event of every year for Mildred was the Perth Ball held at the majestic Fingask Castle.
Now this year a fortnight before the ball. Mildred came up with a sudden case of gout.
As the time ticked away it became obvious that Mildred could not attend her beloved ball.
Kathleen, in her mind, could never attend unescorted by another female, so she reluctantly agreed to let me go in her place. A deal sealed once I told her my brother could chaperone ( thanks to our uncle picking up a ticket for him).
So Mildred has her new. sombre black, taffeta gown tailored down to my figure and insisted I wear her diamonds out with it.
Kathleen’s gown picked by Mildred was of a similar design to mine but in burgundy.
Kathleen had said the hell with that idea(not to her Aunties face) and both spinsterish gowns and their cumbersome hooped pantaloons ended up hanging in the back of her closet.
While together we went out to some upscale boutiques where we each found more modern, fun attire to wear with the showpiece diamonds of her Auntie Mildred’s that we both would be wearing.
Now Mildred could not care two licks about dresses and her mother’s jewels. She only owned them because one must put on a show in the social circles she haunted like a vulture.
Actually, it appeared she didn’t appreciate anything she owned. It was all left to her from her parents. Aside from her clothes, she did not see wasting money on any other frills.
Whining how costly everything was as in this modern age, she frugally maintained the small fortune she had inherited from her parents.
As a matter of fact, everything she now owned, property, furnishings, money, stocks, etc was not going to any relatives after she passed on. it was all being given to the same local nunnery her overly pious, late mother had help fund, a fact she openly told everyone.
As well as saying poor spinster Kathleen would probably be going there if she didn’t marry respectfully by age 26.
As I said.
Mildred is a unique old vampire bat of a specimen.