Monday, January 2, 2012


"Hello, dear, I'm Penny! Don't be shy, come closer! How are you?"

I was about to say that I was fine, thanks! but she clearly wasn't interested in my answer. She went on as if we'd known each other for a long time and she'd kept some secrets from me, which she intended to reveal now.

"I was born in '69", she whispered, "Eighteen sixty nine to be precise. He he, don't run away yet, I am still attractive, aren't I?. I have two fathers: one biological - a French man, who registered me when I was born and the second one, an English gentleman, who took me over the channel, bought me some nice dresses and, to be perfectly honest, offered me a lovely childhood.

I relished the time spent in England, I was spoiled in a way, but you know how it goes being the only child. I got to find out later that my father, the English man, had had quite some high hopes on me. As for me, I wanted to get married, have kids, send them to college, have them married, have grandchildren and so forth. And you might think of me as vain, but I wanted all my offspring to resemble me!"

She said the last words in an emphatic, yet quiet voice, as if she was trying to revive the dreams of a glory that she actually never tasted.

"Anyway, I was not a beauty, although I looked decent and I managed to overcome the lack of symmetry  by a rather extravagant posture. However, I was a wild teenager, always on the rough side, hard to tame, difficult to be understood, dangerous at times. But I was always honest, never treacherous, extremely straightforward, all in all something you'd be safe to call an open book"

"Then", she continued fixing a very distant point, "came the accident. Although there had been some... events now and again, this time it was different. The poor unfortunate chap died, crushing his head on the cobblestones. Truth be told, it was not my fault. He got too excited, he thought he could tame me like no man had done it before, but he just went too far too fast"

"That was the last drop. My father loved me dearly but he grew older and step by step his nephew got to pull the reins in the house. He didn't like me a bit, the bastard. Maybe because I was French, although I was as English as him, or maybe because of my rough side, or perhaps my look? Don't know. What I do know is that I slowly became Cinderella of the family. And the cousins became the favourites.

And they went to college, got married, had children and then grandchildren, retired, and so on. And, if I'm to be completely fair, they did it well, I can't be jealous anymore. They were also very strong genetically, if you look at the uncanny resemblance through the generations. The new kids are fancier nowadays, better dressed indeed, but they are the same as their grand-grand-grandfather."

"I am at peace now, I got my admirers, people who love me just the way I am, who cherish me, some of them buy me new fancy clothes, but they keep me as I like to be kept: a quaint lady with a handful of habits. And one or two whims ;)"

She ended her story with a mesmerising smile and I smiled back, with a strange desire to get to know each other better. To taste for myself the bright and dark sides of Miss Penny. Miss Penny Farthing.

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