Virginia Barton

5 August 2014: An August Reflection

5 August 2014


This August reflection has nothing to do with the harvest, holidays, or heat waves. Acute readers of these Commonplaces may have noticed that I used to write regularly for the religious press — almost exclusively for the Catholic religious press. On the feast of the Curé d’Ars, I wish I still did. But a daughter pointedly advised me to:

 “Keep religion out of your Commonplaces, Mum!”

And I have done so, more or less, despite mixed feelings. Religion, or faith perhaps, is so much a part of me it’s like trying to deny failing eyesight or an expanding waistline.


So instead of St. John Vianney, a.k.a. the Curé d’Ars, here’s a glimpse of The Ancestor.

Suppose someone, a stranger, had just left the room: you caught a peek of a well-turned leg in a pale silk stocking and a black high-heeled shoe; probably a navy coat and gloves, inevitably a brimmed hat. You might have had a glance from large blue eyes if you were lucky; then she was gone.




She was a person you always wanted too see more of, but she knew the value of scarcity, in an un-calculated way.

Although expected, she often failed to turn up at family events, unlike her sister who always came.

She changed her name by deed poll.

She never married but was surrounded by admirers. She was patriotic to a fault, self-willed, and a talented artist.

Besotted with all things French, she worked at the Admiralty and Royal Society for Medicine.

The friends she made were friends for life.


Thus the Ancestor, of whom more another day.





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