I soon had a part-time nannie, who came in by the half-day. Her name was Ivy, and she had a squint and a black Spanish hat with a red rose under the brim… I thought it was the most beautiful hat I had ever seen.
Another result of my not being ill was that my mother now had much more social life. When she came to say goodnight to me in all her glory before going out to dinner, shew would be wearing a dress, short-skirted and with its waist round her hips, of pink and gold brocade; or one which I liked even better – almost as much as Ivy’s hat – which was black, held up by a narrow black ribbon over one shoulder and a string of coral beads over the other, and flashing a broad pleat lined with coral pink in the skirt, that appeared and disappeared as she moved. I could draw that dress now.
The intriguing blog Clothes In Books quotes and reviews Rosemary Sutcliff’s Blue Remebered Hills, her autobiography about the years before becoming world-renowned historical novelist and writer of children’s literature. The blog reproduces a picture of opera singer, Lucrezia Bori (from the Dovima is Devine photostream) wearing such a dress as Rosemary describes so vividly.