She hardly recognised her own reflection. Where once she would have seen herself dressed in a floor-length dress which was covered in lace and ruffles, she now saw herself clad in a simple short-sleeved dress, a dress which didn't even reach her knees. She had not worn a dress which showed off even an inch of her legs since she was a little girl; in her own time, such a thing would have been considered shocking, even indecent.
Still, Victoria reflected, she wasn't in her own time any more. And, if those horrible Dalek creatures were typical of what she could expect from now on, the Doctor was probably right when he'd said that the dress she had been wearing when he and Jamie first encountered her would not be practical for adventuring in. That was why the first thing the Doctor had asked Jamie to do once all three of them had entered the TARDIS was to show her where she could find some clothes more suited to her new life.
Victoria ran her hands down her skirt, still trying to get used to having her lower legs uncovered. As she did so, she recalled how Jamie had led her down a long corridor, eventually emerging in what she could only describe as a very large wardrobe. Clothing from all periods of Earth's history lined the walls as far as she could see - togas from Ancient Rome, gowns from the Middle Ages, even some dresses that she herself might have worn. "I've never seen so many clothes before," she remarked at one point. "What does the Doctor need them all for?"
Jamie, standing by the rack of Roman clothing, turned at the sound of her voice. "We told you - we travel in time."
Victoria could only shake her head. So much had been happening to her lately; ever since the Daleks arrived in her own time and took her captive, things had never been quite the same. And the idea that she was now inside an actual time machine was almost beyond belief. She knew her father and Maxtible had been conducting experiments in time-travel - that was what had led to that whole dreadful business with the Daleks in the first place - but this was another matter.
"Aye," Jamie said, mistaking her bewilderment for scepticism. He pulled one of the tunics off the rail he was standing by. "The Doctor told me he wore this when he met the Emperor Nero," he added, holding it up for Victoria to see.
"Nero?" Victoria echoed, trying not to laugh. She recalled reading about Nero in her schoolbooks, but she had never expected to find herself standing next to someone (least of all a young Scotsman she had only known for a matter of hours) who claimed to know someone who had met the man himself.
"Och, aye." Jamie hung the tunic back on the rail. "I wasnae with him then, mind - I met him later . . ." Then, after a brief pause, he added: "In 1746."
1746 - that meant Jamie had been living more than a hundred years before she was even born. Victoria was about to question him further when she suddenly became aware of a strange sensation, a sensation of movement even though she was standing still. From somewhere came a sound like nothing she had ever heard before; the only way she could describe it was as the braying of some enormous beast. Startled, she looked at Jamie, who shrugged.
"That just means we've taken off," he explained, recalling how he had asked the Doctor to make this take-off as smooth as possible to avoid scaring their new travelling companion. "Aye, it gave me a fright too the first time." He held his hands behind his back and thought back to all the things he had encountered since his first meeting with the Doctor back in the Scottish Highlands. Like the strange "flying beasties" he had seen shortly before meeting Victoria and which the Doctor had told him were called "aeroplanes".
"Anyway," Jamie said at length, "we can't stay here talking all day, so come on." And, with that, he and Victoria continued their search of the TARDIS's vast wardrobe.
In the end, they had decided that the section covering the mid-to-late 20th Century should provide what was needed, namely clothing that was practical and easy to move in. Victoria remembered taking one of the dresses (red and patterned with large white rings) off its hanger and examining it closely. There was no question that it was made for a grown woman - it would have been too baggy on a child - but the hemline barely reached her knees. "Goodness!" she said, starting to giggle slightly at the thought of walking around in her own time dressed in such a garment. "You mean people really wear this kind of thing?"
"Aye," Jamie said, remembering Polly, the Doctor's previous female companion. Polly and her friend, Ben, had both come from London in the 1960s; they had been with the Doctor during Jamie's first encounter with him. "That's what lassies are wearing a hundred years after your time."
Just the same, Victoria thought to herself, this particular dress wasn't to her taste. It wasn't the length (or lack thereof) that was the problem; the design didn't appeal to her. In the end, however, she had managed to pick out several new outfits and Jamie had directed her to a room where she could get changed. Out of a deep-seated sense of propriety, she had asked him to wait outside while she divested herself of the dress she had been wearing when the Daleks arrived in her time and took her captive. As she did so, she felt as though she was divesting herself of her old life.
Slowly, she struggled out of her heavy Victorian dress with its layers of petticoats, which now lay draped across a nearby chair. Next, she turned her attention to the undergarments she had been given, undergarments unlike any she had ever worn before. Instead of a tightly laced corset and lace bloomers which came down to her knees, they consisted of something called a "bra" and a pair of bloomers which looked as though they would barely cover her - she blushed at the thought - posterior. There was also a pair of stockings (or "tights" as the label on the box described them) made from a thin flesh-coloured material called nylon.
First, though, she had to remove her old undergarments. This presented quite a few problems, as her corset could not be unlaced without help and she had always had a maid to assist her before. She hated having to ask Jamie to help her with such an intimate garment, but, with no other females around, there was no choice in the matter. All she could do to maintain any sense of decency was to keep her eyes closed and tell Jamie to leave as soon as he was done with unlacing her; she could attend to the rest herself. Although Jamie had seemed rather embarrassed himself, fumbling with the laces in her corset and keen to leave at the earliest opportunity.
Everything else was easy - once she had figured out how to put the bra on. Now, as she inspected her reflection in a full-length mirror, she found it hard to recognise herself, dressed as she was in clothes from a hundred years in her future. Still, it was a comfortable dress which allowed for a freedom of movement which had not been possible in the fussy dresses she had worn in her own time. She could only hope she would get used to wearing short skirts eventually.
Besides, if she ever returned to her own time, what was left for her there? Her mother had died when Victoria was very young; every Sunday for as long as she could remember, she and her father had visited the woman's grave after church, gazing solemnly at the stone carved with words proclaiming that it was "Sacred to the Memory of Catherine Waterfield, beloved wife and mother". And now, her father too was dead, killed fighting the Daleks, his body destroyed along with the Dalek City and not laid to rest beside that of his wife. Victoria shed a tear in remembrance, then wiped it away, telling herself that her father would not want her to mourn. Her heart ached when she thought that she would never see him again and she suspected that feeling would never go away. All she could do was try to avoid thinking about it and get on with life.
Victoria looked at her reflection once more, then withdrew from the room. As she left, she cast one last look at her old dress, before turning her back and making her way up the corridor to join the Doctor and Jamie at the TARDIS console.