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A Comedy of Manners?

Okay, this story sure took a hard turn to the Land of Weird. Motivations here? Is Cherry really that concerned for her business that she has to act servile? Sure, Cherry is the hired help; it’s her business. The social separation of these people is also inescapable, as seen both by the clothing and the artwork, where we see Tara—er, Caroline—and Violet from a groveling servant’s viewpoint in panel 2.

But, is Cherry patronizing Caroline and Violet by apologizing about the little toads, or is she just genuinely embarrassed by them scampering about and making her look careless? It’s not as if you never see creatures crawling, hopping, and flitting about in gardens, even for two rarified ladies such as these.  Yes, we know that Violet is really a poseur, while Caroline comes across as…charmingly passive-aggressive. She hides her put-down (“wild streak”) within an oh-so-charming sense of familiarity and manners. She also looks and dresses younger than Violet, so maybe she is Violet’s niece. Or maybe she is just naïve.

I think Cherry is also putting on an act, as we can see by the contrast with her “inner self” emoting in panel 3. What is Cherry’s aim here, then? If Jules Rivera is not pulling our leg, I’m intrigued by what’s going to happen next.  At worst, we should hope that Cherry gets all of Caroline’s home landscape business for this performance.

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