Excerpt from book:
[Nurse Lona Day has had her dressing-gown ruined: a jug of cocoa was spilt down it. Miss Silver is investigating:]
‘What was the dressing-gown like?’
Maggie’s face lighted up. ‘Oh, it was lovely – all birds and flowers and butterflies, worked on black satin. Done in China, she said. A lady she was with in India gave it to her.’
‘It sounds extremely handsome – too good in fact for everyday wear as a dressing-gown.’
‘Oh, but it wasn’t – more like one of those house-coats really. She’d wear it for dinner in the evening when it was cold. Lovely and warm it was, with a beautiful silk lining.’
‘Then she did not usually wear it as a dressing-gown?’
‘Oh, no, she didn’t.’
[Later] He discerned Miss Janetta amidst pink bed-linen with an embroidered coverlet drawn up to her waist. She appeared to have sufficient strength to sit up. She wore a bed-jacket trimmed with a great many yards of lace, and not a hair of her elaborate curls was out of place. A boudoir cap composed of about two inches of lace, a rosebud and a bunch of forget-me-nots nestled coquettishly amongst them, and she wore several valuable rings. He reflected that she looked a good deal more like a Dresden shepherdess than a mourning invalid.
comments: Regular readers know that I cannot resist a dressing-gown, a kimono, a bedjacket. It is all research for when my branded Clothes in Books bedwear (Tm) range comes out. Well that’s my excuse - see particularly The Bedjacket Business Plan post here.
Miss Silver herself always has outfits that can best be described as memorable:
She wore a figured silk dress, bottle-green with a sort of Morse code of multicoloured dots and dashes, which had been her last summer’s best, and over it a short black velvet coatee.Other regular features, reassuringly present in this book, include a ‘hortatory cough’ from Miss Silver; a female character with a ridiculous name (Lona, the owner of the Chinese dressing-gown); an engagement/wedding broken at the last-minute. And the mysterious and hideous bog-oak jewellery:
She wore a row of bog-oak ingeniously carved, and a large brooch of the same material in the shape of a rose, with an Irish pearl at its heart.For a previous Miss Silver book I found this picture for you:
The books – and I have featured many of them on the blog – always feature outfits I want to illustrate:
So there was Miss Day, with a skirt of russet tweed and a soft yellow jumper. Not very young, but she had a good figure, and the jumper showed it off.
There are also many mentions of women doing the gardening in trousers.
And versions of this ensemble feature in many a Miss Silver book:
there came past her into the room a tall, dark girl in a fur coat with a small black hat tilted at a becoming angle. The coat was squirrel, the hat undeniably smart…
(Picture from the Ladies Home Journal of 1948.)
As I read this one, I thought it has been far too long since I had a good Miss Silver fix (although there are posts on her all over the blog – click on labels below). Pilgrim’s Rest is a most enjoyable entry in the series, with its miserable family, illnesses, unexpected use of cannabis, unlucky heirs, and many suspicious characters. A complex plot, and a great couple of hours reading.
Woman in a Black Kimono is by Alexander O. Levy from the Athenaeum website.