The Glad Swastika

My maidservant is absent, ‘tis true, but slight gladnesses brighten my sagging spirits. ‘Tis all a lady can do: one must distract oneself with pleasant diversions and even more pleasant thoughts when one’s maidservant dies a gruesome death on an abortionist’s filthy table. I’ve no one to tighten my corsets, save Minnie, the foyer’s maid, but her hands are most gruesomely wizened with age and labor, and I swoon more easily when I feel her rough skin brush against my glowing, satin-y skin, aged a mere 19 years. I allow my nurse-maid, Tillie, to tend to my corsets when she makes her weekly call, but alack! her visits are too infrequent, and she grumbles over the task.

And who is there to tend to my silken tresses? Dear Marguerite can help, of course, and her own maid-servant, Birdie, yet all their efforts do not achieve the same effect as the wretched Orpha was able to achieve. ‘Tis true, Celtic blood flowed in her wretched veins, but in spite of this flaw she was a brilliant coiffeuse.

But Papá and Step-Mother Celestine have been of great assistance to my emotional frailty, as has the dashing Horace. At twilight he calls with his euphonium. He arrives directly from his job managing his father’s haberdashery. Ah, the work that men do! I do not believe I should choose to possess the intellectual and social superiority of a gentleman if a requirement of this superiority be the hard toil that a man must endure! I should choose to remain in my gentle state, quietly resting away the hours of my blissful life, far from the exhausting energy required of one who spends his days in the world of industry!

Horace brought me a new fan from the Orient to add to my collection, adorned in peacock feathers and various filigrees most pleasing to my blue eyes. And, in what is certainly a symbol of glad tidings, to-day my little nieces Millie and Florrie rushed into the Gazebo at the back of the estate, where I was engaged in daydreams most whimsical, and they were in a very excited state.

“See what came by post today, Auntie Katharina!” Said Millie.

And they each opened their hands to reveal a little swastika pin and thimble which is the beneficiary of all those with membership in the Ladies’ Home Journal’s Girls’ Club!

“How wonderful!” I cried. “’What every girl wants – her own swastika!’” I said, reciting the well-known slogan of the Girls’ Club.

“We shall wear the pins proudly on our taffeta!” Said Florrie.

This sent me into peals of laughter. “Why, you mustn’t ruin your good taffeta dresses in such a fashion, you naughty little girls!”

“Oh, Florrie, you kid so,” Millie admonished her twin sister. “Of course, we shall display them only on our wool coats come winter.”

“There’s a good girl,” said I.

“Auntie Katharina,” said Florrie, blushing a bit, “you are so kind to us, I want you to have this. I’ve no use for it.” She extended her hand to deliver the little thimble into my own.

“Why, what a good deed you have done, Florrie! You are most suited for membership in the Girls’ Club!”

I was most touched by this little gesture; of course, I have no use for a thimble either; sewing would coarsen my fingers so, but I shall display it proudly on my dressing-table! The swastika, that ancient token of good fortune and all-‘round joy, could never have any unpleasant associations! No, when I gaze upon it, I feel only comfort, as it ever shall be with the swastika!


Adam Minter said...

Toyed with commenting in your 19th century voice, but quickly gave up. This is so great. Do more.

Katharina van Seethinbottom said...

Why, my good gentleman, we are living in the modern and advanced 20th century! Horseless carriages are everywhere, and some even suggest (impudently, in my view) that women should be granted full suffrage rights! I would advise you to glance at your calendar, where you may note that the year is 1912.

But I shall dispense with the ribaldry. I send most sincere thanks your way for reading my ruminations.