Suppression through conventions
The terrors of the forest
For days Liliana had hardly come out of her room. Since Johan had left, she felt she had lost her only ally. She wondered if she should run away and look for him.
But now the king, her father, who was always travelling, had announced that he was coming home.
The queen sent a maid with a dress to Liliana. The dress was long, grey and high-necked with a small white lace collar around the neck. Liliana tried to put it on as best she could with the help of the maid. Finally, her neck was sticking out of the lace collar and her arms were stuck in the narrow sleeves of the dress.
- The dress is much too tight!, cried Liliana: I can't close it!
The maid pulled tightly on the laces.
- Ow! You're hurting me!!! I can't breathe!!!, Liliana complained loudly.
The maid stopped and said:
- I am to tell them from the Queen that she will come for you when it is time..."
She quickly curtsied and disappeared.
After a while, the Queen herself entered and examined her daughter. Satisfied, she noted:
- Yes, that's good. It suits you well, this dove grey ...
She examined Liliana from all sides and stopped behind her:
- Oh, we'll have to do better than that ...
She grabbed the strings holding the corset together and pulled them with all her might.
- Mother ...!, Liliana whimpered: I can't breathe!
- Never mind!, the queen hissed, you'll get used to it. This time it won't take long. Come now!
She grabbed her by the hand and led her downstairs.
The absent father
Liliana was half sick and she could hardly stand on her feet.
The queen brought her before the king:
- Your daughter!, she said dryly.
The king examined her from top to bottom and growled:
- She has grown up! - But does her dress have to be so grey?
- It's perfect for her!, the Queen replied and added: "We're still working on her manners. She won't be eating with us today!
Tersely she added:
- We can't present her like that to a groom!
She stretched and said aloud:
- It's time for the daughter to get hitched.
The king eyed his Liliana briefly. The queen looked at him challengingly and nodded meaningfully. He shrugged his shoulders and turned back to his entourage.