Mrs. Haverty was an elderly woman who lived in Bénouville, Louisiana. She was the "kind of legendary" owner of the heritage-listed Magnolia Hall property, and rarely left her estate. Rory mentions Mrs. Haverty in an anecdote to Julia during one of their sessions in The Madness Underneath.
Rory nor any of the other Girl Scouts had ever seen Mrs. Haverty, so Rory admitted she had previously pictured Mrs. Haverty covered in spiderwebs while wearing an old hoopskirt. When they met, Mrs. Haverty surprised Rory by donning modern sportswear. Mrs. Haverty entered the sitting room looking pale while wearing pink plaid culottes and a matching T-shirt. Rory likened all the varicose veins on Mrs. Haverty's legs to a road map.
Early Life Edit
In her youth, Mrs. Haverty was apparently a Girl Scout. She is implied to be quite affluent, as she is rich enough to own a heritage-listed property. At one point, Mrs. Haverty bought herself a golden retriever, who she named Big Bobby. Rory paints her to be a solitary person of 'legend' (at least among the Girl Scouts), so it is implied that Mrs. Haverty does not live with any family members or friends. Mrs. Haverty offers to sponsor a large Girl Scout picnic on the grounds every year.
Rory's Magnolia Hall Adventure Edit
When Rory was a child, she was a member of the local Girl Scout group (alongside Jenny Savile, Melissa Murphy, Erin, and others). Mrs. Haverty herself was apparently a Girl Scout in her youth and would support their activities. She allowed the Girl Scouts to have an annual picnic event on the grounds of Magnolia Hall. This was a major Summer event, and Mrs. Haverty would arrange a jumping castle, a Slip 'n' Slide, porta-potties, barbeques, ice creams, and coolers for a selection of soft drinks. The Girl Scouts would all contribute to creating a banner filled with thankful messages in gratitude. However, Mrs. Haverty rarely left the building and no-one was allowed inside, so none of the girls ever saw her come out to collect it. Rory cites this annual picnic as her reason for wanting to join the Girl Scouts.
In the year when Rory was approximately ten years old, it was a particularly hot Summer and the local porta-potty hire company had a strike. Lest the picnic be cancelled, Mrs. Haverty told the Girl Scout leader Mrs. Fletcher that the girls could use her downstairs bathroom instead. This was the first time Mrs. Haverty had given anyone permission to enter Magnolia Hall, and Rory desperately wanted to be the first to have the privilege. By forcing herself to drink all of her water at once, Rory was allowed access to the inside of Mrs. Haverty's house.
It was a historical building, and had not been fitted with an air-conditioner so the interior was sweltering. Old family portraits lined the hallway walls, with a marble-topped table and an archive of old newspapers. While there, Rory took the opportunity to peep through open doorways in adjacent rooms (however, she supposedly drew the line at opening closed doors). Rory found and passed by the downstairs bathroom beneath an alcove. In one of the front sitting rooms, Rory came across a big golden retriever and began to pet it. Mrs. Haverty appeared and had to explain to Rory that the dog had died and been stuffed. This was Rory's first encounter with death.
Later Life Edit
Mrs. Haverty presumably still lives in Magnolia Hall, Bénouville. Rory describes Mrs. Haverty as a very pale and elderly woman. This was eight years ago, so it is possible that Mrs. Haverty may have passed away prior to the beginning of The Shades of London series.