Lavinia is Aunt Maria
's live-in companion in Black Maria
. When Mig
arrives, Lavinia is gone, but Mig remembers her from previous visits, and since Mig and her mother
stay in Lavinia's room, they are surrounded by reminders of her -- clothes and slippers and silver-backed brushes and a photograph in which Lavinia and her mother, who look just alike, both appear. Even Chris
finds Lavinia's nightdress under his pillow.
Lavinia is also the name which the visitors bestow on a stray gray Persian cat, since Betty insists that she looks like Lavinia the companion. Betty adopts the cat instantly, feeding her and patting her and planning to take her back to London, although the children complain that she has no more personality than a cushion. They care for Lavinia in secret, since the mere sight of her makes Aunt Maria furious. Indeed, Lavinia is frightened of Aunt Maria, and also of Elaine.