Friday, January 31, 2014

The Madwoman in the Garden

The following post was originally published on January 31, 2014. I'm reposting it because, well, Blogger and I had a little contretemps and I thought Blogger was going to throw this post in the bin. So I quickly hit Revert to Draft thinking that would save it, even if it didn't save my recent changes to the labels - I added labels so I could get "dynamic pages" on my new tabs on my blog. Cool, huh? I also updated the banner, in case you didn't notice. Doesn't my blog look really slick now?

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I hit Revert to Draft, and it did indeed save my post. But made it a Draft - unpublished - again. I guess that's what Revert to Draft means. Seems a bit cryptic to me.

So now I'm publishing it again, with the labels, so it'll show up if you click on the Short Stories or What I Wear tabs. You can skip the whole thing if you already read it. You can skip the whole thing even if you haven't read it.

But if not, I give you The Madwoman in the Garden -

The day was cold and drear, with an opaque fog seeping in off the Baltic Sea. Nevertheless, I decided to take some air in the small side yard of this crumbling old pile where I reside. I avoid the streets and open spaces. People stare at me and whisper behind my back. 

I prefer my solitude.

I am Valastasia, and I am the last survivor of my illustrious family, the Bugheroffs.

The passionflower vines are dead, as is my youth, and the fog clouds my mind and wraps me in a shroud of nostalgia. Memories haunt me, speaking to me in ghostly voices from the past.

But I find comfort in the confined space and the familiar gargoyle that looks down from the fence.

I wear old clothes salvaged from the dusty trunks in the attic of my family home. They are my sole luxury and my only mementos of past lives – an embroidered brocade jacket, a shirt of the finest imported silk, and hat and gloves made from the fur of an ocelot. 

The jacket's not really embroidered and the shirt is cotton. Of course you know the fur is fake. What a drama queen! 

My belt and boots were left behind by an officer in the military who was my lover in the halcyon days before the revolution.

I remember with yearning the days we spent together, days when we were young and untroubled, when we shared the deepest secrets of our souls, and dreamed of our brilliant future together. 


Alas, it was not to be. One ominous evening we went to see the ballet – it was a magnificent performance – and the next day he was gone. He had deserted the army, discarded his possessions, and abandoned me for another love. I was inconsolable! He had fallen for the lead dancer of the Bolshoi, Ivan Toudance, and they had fled to San Francisco.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. 

Blah, blah, blah, Valastasia never recovered, okay? She hung out alone in that creepy old house, shunning the world and living in the past. 

(No cats? That doesn't seem right.)

This Gothic tale inspired by and linking up with:
52 Pick-me-up at Spy Girl - Short over Long
Share in Style at Mis Papelicos - Gothic
Hat Attack at TheStyle Crone - Hats!

Jacket - Coldwater Creek (old)
Shirt - Jones New York (resale)
Skirt - Fresh Produce (resale)
Boots - JCP (old)
Belt - thrifted
Hat and gloves - WalMart (ocelot, my ass!)



  1. Very poignant [wipes a crocodile tear]. The dead passion flower especially.
    It does indeed look very chilly + foggy and now I need to go heat up my cup of tea.

    This silhouette might technically be long over long, but why be pedantic? It looks swashbuckling!
    Thanks for linking up with 52 Pick-me-up.

    Oh! Thanks for reminding me about Hat Attack! Aaaaaaack!

  2. Ha, that was awesome! I'll have to find something as dramatic for this weekend's Hat Attack!

  3. BWAHAHA! Bugheroffs indeed. You are the epitome of Gothic.

  4. Oooh, Val! The wordsmith in me truly appreciates the tale you told. And it fits the pics so well. You're inspiring me to dust off my working novel and write again. You're also giving me hope that my next week (wherein I attempt to work within the parameters of several linkups and my school's Spirit Week themes) won't be as impossible as I'm anticipating.

    No smiles today? ;p Just teasing. Had to after I read your comment on my post today.

    M @

  5. Ah Ms. Fondue. You are indeed sad and lovely. I, too, have been led astray by men in tights. Looooooooove This.

  6. Oh Valastasia, we meet again, after so many, many, many, many (okay) years. The night of our escape, Takenzeepiss and I waited for you on our yacht in the harbour. I had hoped you had ran away with the Smirnoff ballet. Yet, here you are. Do let's keep in touch this time. You look the same as in my dreams.

  7. This was amazing!! I loved it!! I popped over from Sacramento's blog. Happy weekend to you xx

  8. Ahh, you are like a Chekhovian heroine, drowning in ennui and past glories, Madame Valastasia. Looking gorgeous while doing so, at least - what a fabulous jacket (especially belted) and your faux ocelot hat is a beauty!
    And it is so kind of dear Valastasia to send some of the Bugheroffs' family jewels across the sea to England, where they will be treasured. Thanks you, the earrings and necklace are beautiful! xxx

  9. Ah you have quite the past today. You are looking dramatic and filled with a history of intrigue!

    blue hue wonderland

  10. Kudos to you for covering all those themes! 💛

  11. I cannot believe you managed to cover all of those themes in one outfit! You get the Ms. Practical award. You can display it in your old castle next to your fading portrait.

    How nice of your old lover to leave you the belt and boots!


  12. Love your outerwear so much dear :D


  13. Aaaah the Bugheroffs? what a sad tale, but, you Valastasia are a heroine! resplendent in such regal ocelot and finery......... I wish my family trunk was as awesome x x x

  14. Valastasia bugger-off....oh you crack me up Val! I had to go back and look at the photos, as I was so involved in the story. Well done!

  15. I am honoured that Her Highness, Russian Princess Valastasia, grants me a look in her back yard. Living in solitude she never missed her elegance and refinement.
    When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me the story of the Russian Princess. She read in a newspaper the rumour that she still is alive. I was very impressed and though of her in a fairytale manner.
    Now I see the rumour was true :-)
    Sabine xxx

  16. I lost the ability to make sense after Bugheroff! Hilarious. xxx

  17. Great hat dear Val!!! Fancy you being related to the Bugerofs!!!!??x

  18. I am dying here--this whole post was made of WIN!!

  19. The jacket is a dream, dear Val, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Such an honour to have you.
    Love and sunshine ALWAYS

  20. Valastasia has me laughing out loud, and the 'ocelot' hat and gloves are divine. Thank you for sharing with Hat Attack! And when are you going to start a little stand-up routine on the side?

  21. Looking splendid as ever with a grand story to tell

  22. Killer jacket and hilarious story. Big smiles over here. Xo

  23. Oh, such a clever heroine you are...but without any cats, I couldn't find your story credible at all.
    I actually think you made it up, didn't you? Love the ocelot accessories from Wal-Mart...I'm on my way over to get some right now!

  24. Whatever your'e drinking, I want some! ;)

  25. Love the gargoyle guarding your solitude!


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