Miss Wallace's coat

Miss Wallace was a customer who had an extraordinary fine taste in art, in particular she loved batik. She was the aunt of one of my patients, Jane, also was a customer. Miss Wallace was a solitary person, not young, and one could feel that she preferred her own company.

She lived in a terrace house on the East Melbourne side of Punt road with her beloved cats. She had never married.

She would walk to our place from her home when she came calling rather than taking the tram, always dressed elegantly, carrying an exquisite, ageing hand bag that demonstrated her fine, individualist taste.

Slim and with a refined walk, she was an eccentric. She never wore make-up and let the hairs on her chin grow, which by the time that we knew her had formed a fairly long beard. Her appearance, or what others might think of it did not disturb her.

One day she arrived with a silk coat that she wanted to sell. A Chinese embroidered coat of black silk with a blue silk lining.

She told us that her mother bought this coat in Raffles Hotel in Singapore when they traveled there in the 1920's. It is for a small woman and it fitted Veronica, so Veronica bought it. Now Veronica is ready to sell it.

We did not see Miss Wallace for a while after this and thought that perhaps age had caught up with her, but Jane came one day and told us that her house had caught fire one night and both Miss Wallace and her cats had died from smoke inhalation.

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