Lady Pendleton, Damian Ashby’s eccentric aunt (see the epilogue to Treasuring Theresa on Susana’s web site), is visiting Susana from the early 19th century. She’s intrigued by life in 21st century Toledo, Ohio, and, of course, Susana is thrilled to have the opportunity to pick her brain about life in Regency England. It certainly gives her a great deal to write about in Susana’s Parlour!
Susana (To the Reader): Today we are shopping for the fabric for the Regency ball gown I mentioned in the first post about Lady P’s visit. We postponed the trip for a couple of weeks because we thought there was going to be a big sale at JoAnn’s at the end of the month. Actually, we discovered the sale was already over! But Lady P was far too wired for shopping to tolerate another delay, so we forged ahead to the fabrics. As you might imagine, Lady P was overwhelmed by the selection!
Lady P: Here I thought Ellington’s Emporium well-stocked with the latest textiles! They have nothing on this-this Joanne’s…is that the name of the linen-draper? Or perhaps his wife’s?
Susana: Joanne’s, yes. It’s a national chain—that is, there are many stores of the same name around the country for those who enjoy sewing and handcrafts.
Lady P: So there isn’t any person named Joanne, then?
Susana: I don’t really know. No one here, at any rate.
Lady P: Young people! Too self-absorbed to ask obvious questions! Goodness! Are those tiny diamonds woven somehow into the cloth?
Susana: Oh no, just something sparkly. Sparkly is the fashion these days.
Lady P: Yes, I see. Everything here is glittering like treasure. Goodness, I’d love a gown made up of this aubergine material. Little sparkling flowers all over it! What about you? I daresay this would become you as well.
Susana: Uh, no. Purple is definitely not my color. And besides, I’m looking for a fabric similar to what was used in 1813 England. Sparkly fabric would be a dead giveaway.
Lady P: What a pity. These are so beautiful. I have half a mind to have a whole new wardrobe made up to take back with me to my own time. Why, I would be a sensation! The talk of the town! And dear Theresa could use some new additions to her wardrobe after her latest lying-in. She’s expecting her third, you know. Amelia came first, and then little Charles Robert, the heir. Named after her father, you know.
Susana: How lovely! I’d love to meet Theresa someday. But…no, you can’t take back anything from this time period when you return to the 19th century.
Lady P: Poppycock! Of course I can!
Susana: Anyone who watches science fiction knows that you can’t meddle with history. It has to follow its natural course. Otherwise, the future might evolve differently and people like me might not even exist.
Lady P: Well, of course that would be a shame, but then, if you didn’t exist, you wouldn’t even know it, would you?
Susana: Hmm… no, I suppose not.
Susana: Well, uh, not really.
Lady P: Even so, Susana, I hardly think that taking back a trunk of new gowns with—what do you call them–—sparkly fabric?—would upset the future world all that much.
Susana: Well, perhaps not, but how would you explain having such unusual gowns in the 19th century? If you tell the truth, who will believe you? At best, they will confine you to Bedlam. At worst, they might burn you at the stake as a witch.
Lady P: Nonsense! Witches are no longer burned at the stake in England, Susana.
Lady P: I shall have to think on it. Now… if you must have the sort of fabric from my time, let’s look at the silks and muslins and see what we can come up with. I still think you would look well in orange or yellow…
Susana (to the Reader): They told me finding the appropriate fabric for a reproduction gown would be difficult, and they were right! Sparklies aside, they just don’t make fabrics the way they used to. After several false starts, we finally settled on the cream taffeta pintuck for the gown and the blue satin for the coat. And we’re making a chemise as well. The gown is supposed to be lined, as is the coat, and I’m wondering how comfortable it will be to wear five layers of fabric in a crowded exhibit hall at the convention. Can we get away with not lining the gown and hoping that the chemise keeps it from being too revealing? Decisions, decisions!
In the meantime, I’ve been showing Lady P some episodes of Star Trek that feature the Prime Directive. As much as I enjoy having her here, I am not keen on disrupting the past and thus inadvertently starting World War III. But it’s an uphill battle. She seems to grasp certain concepts quite quickly, but those she finds inconvenient she persists in misunderstanding. Like a few other people I know.
As always, please comment if you have any specific questions you’d like Susana to pose to Lady P while she is here.