hands down, the feature i loved most about werribee mansion was the staircase. because, you know, it kind of brings to mind images of lovely debutantes gracefully descending down the stairs in dresses with the loveliest shades of lemons and apricots; blushing like a newly blossomed rose in the early morning spring; nervous hands as cold as winter underneath their silk-lined gloves; shyly making eye contact with the gentlemen in the room, if at all. a vision of romeos and juliets all over the place.
either that, or a vision of danse macabre for those who get their thrill from paranormal stuff. which is highly likely considering that it’s an 1870’s mansion, for crying out loud!
oh, and remember thomas chirnside? the older brother? well, he actually committed suicide in the laundry in 1887. a shotgun found lying beside him. something i only found out now. apparently, according to some stuff i read on the internet, from 1884 thomas was plagued by an illness and got really depressed. he became anxious about the government taking away all his life’s work; about the drought and falling prices; anxious about his investments, etc. believing he was bankrupt, he shot himself to death.
as well as all the other tragic stories surrounding the mansion, both published or otherwise.
drawing from this, there’s a night theatre performance at the mansion which combines a history tour and a bit of scary comedy in one by professional artists who make the 19th-century werribee mansion folks come to life. something i find interesting but kind of creepy at the same time. (it has some really good reviews though so if that’s your thing, then go for it.)
of the 60 rooms in the mansion, only a handful were open to the public. the bedrooms are not really that big. just enough to hold a bed and maybe a couple of bric-a-brac here and there, as well as a bit of furniture. for some reason, the rooms reminded me of imelda marcos’ mansion in leyte.
the nursery wing was, of course, dedicated to the little chirnsides who once lived there. children’s toys such as dolls, a rocking horse, and even cribs were furnished to give people a glimpse of what the room must have looked like then.
to be honest, i find dolls creepy. and to have one positioned on an otherwise empty bed makes me uncomfortable. similar to the feeling that i felt looking at the dolls at this ancestral house in negros occidental. or those antique statues of saints at another ancestral house here in cebu. (jeez. i really have had my fair bit of museum visits, huh?)
also on display were the costumes of the master and the lady of the house which set them apart from the different uniforms of the staff. of all the uniforms, i like the lady’s maid best because it’s definitely more fashionable than the others and not quite as drab or as somber. however, considering my flair (or lack thereof) when it comes to household activities, chances are, i would have been a laundry maid then. because i kind of enjoy doing the laundry. i find the clothes spinning inside the machine fascinating to watch. hypnotizing, even. (jeff can vouch for that, having witnessed me at such state. lol.) but then again, there were no washing machines then. so… on second thought, i think i’d rather be the lady of the house and endure the duck-y costume.
that way, as the lady of the house, i get to chill on the balcony on warm summer days with a fresh frozen strawberry margarita in hand. blissfully enjoying the sight of the gorgeous garden below me when the roses are in full bloom, tended by hunky gardeners with ripped abs — all in their shirtless glory as if my garden was a small village of sparta and i their queen. lol. just kidding.
jeff would be sitting there with me, of course. probably flying an ancient version of his quadcopter over the entire estate. smiling meaningfully at me as he stares deeply into my eyes and say,
“boo, i’m hungry.”