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Reading Aloud

Clothes make the man

Did you watch the royal wedding? My daughter spent nearly all day in front of a friend’s TV screen. Quite fantastic, all this royalty together. My daughter thought the Queen didn’t look too happy. Nor did her other daughter-in-law. Maybe she was a little jealous? Who should get the most attention? All these beautiful dresses! The Queen’s according to a national newspaper particularly tasteful.

Aldous and his wife were coming back from somewhere on that day and stopped at some friend’s house to watch the Royal Wedding. An event not to be missed. Colourful, gorgeous, glorious, lovely and loving, enthralling, beautiful music, too, and the Bride elegant and self-possessed, conscious of her duties and patiently, like the rest of the family, waving to the cheering crowds from the Balcony. They knew what they owed the Nation!

“Did you like the Bride’s dress?” the dentist asked me next day. I told him I did and he approved. Aunt Maisie whom I saw in the afternoon did not: the neckline was too low. She showed me pictures of other royal brides from earlier years. It was true, their dresses went up to their necks. Aunt Maisie shook her head about the immorality of our time.

I told George and his wife about Bob Somebody, the great fund-raiser, who was knighted recently. He was dressed for the occasion in a suit presented to him by the Royal Tailors and worth £1000. The Queen had paid him a compliment and actually said: “You look nice.” This had been reported in all the media – the Head of the State herself confirming the popular proverb that “clothes make the man”. George and his wife weren’t sure whether to laugh or not. “This is not what he’s been knighted for,” she pointed out to me, visibly impressed by the enormous sums of money he had raised. I must give him he’s good at that. By the way we don’t have a word for “fund-raising” in my language.

George was looking down my legs and noticed that I had some “pretty sandals” on… I was glad I could please him.

New Friend told me that before he actually knew me he had often seen me on the road – in always the same clothes. Not that it mattered, he said, he was just struck by it.
The children told him that I could look elegant if I wanted to. He readily granted me that and paid me compliments when he saw it. He in fact thanked me for putting on new shoes or a “glamorous” dress or pretty earrings. He liked earrings for girls. He didn’t like girls wearing men’s clothes. It’s nice of people to take notice of one’s clothes and praise them. It is so reassuring. One likes to feel that one looks right.

Like the Bride on the Royal Wedding. Aldous’ wife gave her comment: she had never seen such a beautiful bride before. So lovely and friendly and relaxed. And her dress. Quite extraordinarily beautiful. I threw in again: clothes make the man. The subject of dresses was dropped. I wonder who looks best without clothes?