The Wardrobe Mistress 8 (Second Part: Chapters 21– 23; Third Part: Chapters 24 – 26)



I have to change my opinion about Fern. She is not a very nice person or a good friend to Vanessa. Even though she told Vanessa there was no film in the camera she used to take the photographs of Alistair and Vanessa in a close embrace, she was lying. Fern had the photos developed and gave them to Vanessa’s mother, threatening to spread word that Vanessa is a home breaker who goes with married men. Ruth goes to see her daughter in the theatre, and the woman is not very kind to her daughter, and the conversation ends with Ruth saying that Vanessa is not her real daughter. Vanessa already suspected something when she saw Eva’s file in Miss Bovary’s office, and she discovered that Eva had a frail baby who was born on the same date as Vanessa was.

I don’t think Vanessa is too heart-broken when Ruth leaves her in this way as she has never felt her love. Yet, she is determined to find out more about her origins. Just recently she learnt that Eva had passed away. So she writes to Ruth, asking her for information, and what she sends her is her birth certificate. Wanting to feel closer to her real mother, she discovers where she is buried, and Alistair goes with her. When she discovers the grave, she is shocked to find a gravestone next to Eva’s  in which she can read her own name and her date of birth; the person buried there died as a baby and is named as Eva’s daughter. So Vanessa is in a turmoil, wondering about the truth. Is she Eva’s daughter? Or is it the baby buried next to her? So if she isn’t the real Vanessa, who is she in reality? I am agog with curiosity to know because the only explanation that I can find is that maybe there were two babies, and either Vanessa or the baby buried might be Miss Bavary’s. Her reaction when she heard Vanessa’s date of birth makes me think that she is involved in this matter somehow. Eva, who was just an employee in the theatre, and her illegitimate child can’t have made much of an impression.

As for Vanessa and Alistair, she has already mentioned that she wants him terribly. Yet, when Fern discovers them together, Alistair feels he needs to do something. Fern threatens to soil Vanessa’s reputation, so the only way to save her is to agree to a divorce. To do so, he needs to accept his own adultery, so following the instructions of his lawyer, he hires a woman, who is called a professional adulteress, and they stay in a hotel together so that one of the staff can testify that they saw Alistair with a woman who was not his wife.

Vanessa only learns that Alistair has gone away with a woman, and for a while both of them avoid each other; he just wants to protect her reputation, and she is jealous and upset. Then Alistair explains the real situation to them, and when we believe that they are going to get together, Alistair refuses her as he is afraid that she will treat him as he has heard she treated her late husband.

Vanessa then writes a letter, explaining what happened with Leon. She blames herself because when Leo’s plane was falling, she tried to make him bail out, but then she discovered too late that in her desperation, she had forgotten to press the button to communicate with Leo. That is why she didn’t feel she deserved a widow’s pension. Besides, she wanted a separation. Alistair wants to know more about the reasons why Leo and Vanessa fell out, and he learns the truth from Fern. We still don’t know the details, and I’m dying to know. We know that Leo was unfaithful to her, but I have the hunch that there is more.


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