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The Diary of a Goose Girl

Chapter 2
July 4th.
Enter the family of Thornycroft Farm, of which I am already a member in good and
regular standing.
I introduce Mrs. Heaven first, for she is a self-saturated person who would never forgive
the insult should she receive any lower place.
She welcomed me with the statement: "We do not take lodgers here, nor boarders; no
lodgers, nor boarders, but we do occasionally admit paying guests, those who look as if
they would appreciate the quietude of the plyce and be willing as you might say to
remunerate according."
I did not mind at this particular juncture what I was called, so long as the epithet was
comparatively unobjectionable, so I am a paying guest, therefore, and I expect to pay
handsomely for the handsome appellation. Mrs. Heaven is short and fat; she fills her
dress as a pin-cushion fills its cover; she wears a cap and apron, and she is so full of
platitudes that she would have burst had I not appeared as a providential outlet for them.
Her accent is not of the farm, but of the town, and smacks wholly of the marts of trade.
She is repetitious, too, as well as platitudinous. "I 'ope if there's anythink you require you
will let us know, let us know," she says several times each day; and whenever she enters
my sitting-room she prefaces her conversation with the remark: "I trust you are finding it
quiet here, miss? It's the quietude of the plyce that is its charm, yes, the quietude. And
yet" (she dribbles on) "it wears on a body after a while, miss. I often go into
Woodmucket to visit one of my sons just for the noise, simply for the noise, miss, for
nothink else in the world but the noise. There's nothink like noise for soothing nerves that
is worn threadbare with the quietude, miss, or at least that's my experience; and yet to a
strynger the quietude of the plyce is its charm, undoubtedly its chief charm; and that is
what our paying guests always say, although our charges are somewhat higher than other
plyces. If there's anythink you require, miss, I 'ope you'll mention it. There is not a
commodious assortment in Barbury Green, but we can always send the pony to
Woodmucket in case of urgency. Our paying guest last summer was a Mrs. Pollock, and
she was by way of having sudden fancies. Young and unmarried though you are, miss, I
think you will tyke my meaning without my speaking plyner? Well, at six o'clock of a
rainy afternoon, she was seized with an unaccountable desire for vegetable marrows, and
Mr. 'Eaven put the pony in the cart and went to Woodmucket for them, which is a great
advantage to be so near a town and yet 'ave the quietude."
Mr. Heaven is merged, like Mr. Jellyby, in the more shining qualities of his wife. A line
of description is too long for him. Indeed, I can think of no single word brief enough, at
least in English. The Latin "nil" will do, since no language is rich in words of less than
three letters. He is nice, kind, bald, timid, thin, and so colourless that he can scarcely be
discerned save in a strong light. When Mrs. Heaven goes out into the orchard in search of
 
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