The Diary of a Goose Girl HTML version

Chapter 9
Here follows the true story of Sir Muscovy Drake, the Lady Blanche, and Miss Malardina
Phoebe's flock consisted at first mostly of Brown Mallards, but a friend gave her a sitting
of eggs warranted to produce a most beautiful variety of white ducks. They were hatched
in due time, but proved hard to raise, till at length there was only one survivor, of such
uncommon grace and beauty that we called her the Lady Blanche. Presently a neighbour
sold Phoebe his favourite Muscovy drake, and these two splendid creatures by "natural
selection" disdained to notice the rest of the flock, but forming a close friendship,
wandered in the pleasant paths of duckdom together, swimming and eating quite apart
from the others.
In the brown flock there was one unfortunate, misshapen from the egg, quite lame, and
with no smoothness of plumage; but on that very account, apparently, or because she was
too weak to resist them, the others treated her cruelly, biting her and pushing her away
from the food.
One day it happened that the two ducks--Sir Muscovy and Lady Blanche--had come up
from the water before the others, and having taken their repast were sitting together under
the shade of a flowering currant-bush, when they chanced to see poor Miss Crippletoes
very badly used and crowded away from the dish. Sir Muscovy rose to his feet; a few
rapid words seemed to pass between him and his mate, and then he fell upon the other
drake and the heartless minions who had persecuted the helpless one, drove them far
away out of sight, and, returning, went to the corner where the victim was cowering, her
face to the wall. He seemed to whisper to her, or in some way to convey to her a sense of
protection; for after a few moments she tremblingly went with him to the dish, and
hurriedly ate her dinner while he stood by, repulsing the advances of the few brown
ducks who remained near and seemed inclined to attack her.
When she had eaten enough Lady Blanche joined them, and they went down the hill
together to their favourite swimming-place. After that Miss Crippletoes always followed
a little behind her protectors, and thus shielded and fed she grew stronger and well-
feathered, though she was always smaller than she should have been and had a lowly
manner, keeping a few steps in the rear of her superiors and sitting at some distance from
their noon resting- place.
Phoebe noticed after a while that Lady Blanche was seldom to be seen, and Sir Muscovy
and Miss Crippletoes often came to their meals without her. The would-be mother
refused to inhabit the house Phoebe had given her, and for a long time the place she had
chosen for her sitting could not be found. At length the Square Baby discovered her in a
most ideal spot. A large boulder had dropped years ago into the brook that fills our duck-
pond; dropped and split in halves with the two smooth walls leaning away from each