One could say that the passage of the years had been unkind to Maud, not cruel, as nothing is cruel to one of such distressing loveliness. Just unkind, in that the years did what they always do - rather than protect her from their ravages.
Maud had been a striking beauty in her youth, of the sort to take one’s breath upon entering a room, or strolling a laneway. She was not consciously aware of the passage of time, being more focussed on day following day. Surprisingly, Maud did not trade upon her beauty, did not use it as currency. Instead, she invested it in cultivating her own depths, similar to an economic rationalist’s investment in infrastructure.
As blousy maturity edged past callow youth, Maud revelled in the depth that shadow and rough line etched, revelled in the beauty of character. Hers was a looking glass of a different hue.