"a lacy parasol to shade my golden curls, and keep the sun from my fair, unwrinkled complexion. "
Catherine yearns to be like an upper-class lady of the Victorian period. These women would hold luxurious parasols
made of lace, and often intricately designed, to shield the sun from browning their perfectly white complexion because tans were much too suggestive of the peasantry. Such was the notion for high Victorian society. One must not expose one's countenance to the sun, for one would let slip an inch of one's handsomeness should one allow such an atrocity to occur. And of course, lace parasols just looked really cool to hold.
There is a sad irony in the fact that Catherine speaks of concealing herself from the outside sun when, realistically, the children can hardly step outside their room letalone outside the house and then - what's more - take the shining sun for granted.