Stepsisters! Nasty, grotesque Anastasia, Drizella! That poor
Cinderella’s impediments – led by her witch of a stepmother
Lady Tremaine – all of them sinister, greedy and vain! Disney,
at least, made this plain. But Lady Tremaine was in fact standard
issue for seventeenth century wannabe rich: her itch to succeed
in society was as ho-hum and as common as pine tar and pitch.
It’s true that the elder stepsis’ Anastasia was not at all pretty,
but she wasn’t nasty: she hadn’t the wit to be mean. She could
daily be found leaning over her lap in a daydream, nearsighted,
attempting to knit. However, Drizella, though less nicely named,
was a beauty. Moreover she liked Cinderella (whom she would
call Cindy) and thought it her duty to offer her friendship: she’d
sneak from her bed in the night and go down to the down-pillowed
nook where she gently would wake Cinderella to lend her a book –
Montaigne had published one lately Drizella was sure would regale
Cinderella – its scandalous wanton abandon was certain to tickle
them both: and tickle it did. But the pickle they say Cinderella was
in was a crock. In fact the sole female who couldn’t attend the block-
buster ball of the Prince was Drizella. That week she’d a hell of a flu.
Cindy, it’s true, was the belle of the palace: her stepmother
wasn’t delighted. But neither was she full of malice. Anastasia,
weak-sighted sweet dope, couldn’t win: Cinderella was Lady
Tremaine’s only hope (damn the flu). No fairy godmother, no lost
glass shoe. The prince had his eye on the girl, and that moment
decided to marry her: that was the end. Well, not quite the end.
When Drizella recovered enough to be summoned to meet Cindy’s
husband-to-be – Cindy (aghast!) watched the Prince fall in love
at the sight of her! But the light of her wasn’t to last. Drizella fell
back into flu. The royal man cried as she died. We hear that
they all made the best of it. But that’s all we know of the rest of it.