AS A small boy I always wondered why my mother bore so patiently with Aunt Teresa. Myself, I dreaded her frequent visits to our house. Somehow or other I always ‘got it’ when she came. She was always lowering my small dignity in some way, and her petty tyrannies rankled with me sorely. Later, when I was beginning to grow-up, and was attending High School, I learned the reason why she was tolerated. I had it from my father, and I give it in his own words. He too had suffered much from Teresa.
“My boy,” he said in his grave way, “I’m afraid you’ll just have to put up with it, same as I’m doing. Your mother has ambitions for you which she hopes to realise through your Aunt. You see, Teresa is rich. Some years ago she bamboozled an old fool with a pot of money into marrying her; then worried him into dying and leaving her the cash.”
That then is why Aunt Teresa’s visits to us were always encouraged. Alas, for all my mother’s artful scheming, Teresa no longer comes; why, I shall endeavour to relate.
She is tall and angular is my Aunt, somewhat hatchet-faced, and of uncertain age and temper. An ardent suffragette, she possesses a reputation for oratory which my father claims is second to none in the Empire. Added to all this, she has a morbid fondness for all kinds of pets; and thereby hangs my tale.
One Monday morning the customary bomb exploded on to the breakfast table — a letter from Aunt Teresa — in which she informed us that she had made arrangements to purchase from Hayseed (a local farmer) a genuine prize-bred Welsh goat. “I shall arrive on Friday,” she wrote, “and on Saturday morning Albert and I will fetch the goat.”
I almost fainted at the thought of leading a rotten old billy-goat down High Street at a time when my school friends would be sure to see me. All that week I went about in blackest misery and despair. I called up a thousand excuses, but in vain. Mother only pointed out to me the importance of pleasing Teresa in all things.
So the wretched day drew inevitably nearer. On Friday Teresa duly arrived and when she gave me her usual horrible kiss I could have … could have …
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