Diary of a Goose Girl by Kate Douglas Wiggin
by the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Chapter 12



July 17th.

Thornycroft Farm seems to be the musical centre of the universe.

When I wake very early in the morning I lie in a drowsy sort of dream,
trying to disentangle, one from the other, the various bird notes,
trills, coos, croons, chirps, chirrups, and warbles. Suddenly there
falls on the air a delicious, liquid, finished song; so pure, so mellow,
so joyous, that I go to the window and look out at the morning world,
half awakened, like myself.

There is I know not what charm in a window that does not push up, but
opens its lattices out into the greenness. And mine is like a little
jewelled door, for the sun is shining from behind the chimneys and
lighting the tiny diamond panes with amber flashes.

A faint delicate haze lies over the meadow, and rising out of it, and
soaring toward the blue is the lark, flinging out that matchless matin
song, so rich, so thrilling, so lavish! As the blithe melody fades away,
I hear the plaintive ballad-fragments of the robin on a curtsying branch
near my window; and there is always the liquid pipe of the thrush, who
must quaff a fairy goblet of dew between his songs, I should think, so
fresh and eternally young is his note.

There is another beautiful song that I follow whenever I hear it,
straining my eyes to the treetops, yet never finding a bird that I can
identify as the singer. Can it be the--

"Ousel-cock so black of hue,
With orange-tawny bill"?

He is called the poet-laureate of the primrose time, but I don't know
whether he sings in midsummer, and I have not seen him hereabouts. I
must write and ask my dear Man of the North. The Man of the North, I
sometimes think, had a Fairy Grandmother who was a robin; and perhaps she
made a nest of fresh moss and put him in the green wood when he was a wee
bairnie, so that he waxed wise in bird-lore without knowing it. At all
events, describe to him the cock of a head, the glance of an eye, the tip-
up of a tail, or the sheen of a feather, and he will name you the bird.
Near-sighted he is, too, the Man of the North, but that is only for

The Square Baby and I have a new game.

I bought a doll's table and china tea-set in Buffington. We put it under
an apple-tree in the side garden, where the scarlet lightning grows so
tall and the Madonna lilies stand so white against the flaming
background. We built a little fence around it, and every afternoon at
tea-time we sprinkle seeds and crumbs in the dishes, water in the tiny
cups, drop a cherry in each of the fruit-plates, and have a _the
chantant_ for the birdies. We sometimes invite an "invaleed" duckling,
or one of the baby rabbits, or the peacock, in which case the cards

Thornycroft Farm.
The pleasure of your company is requested
at a
The Chantant
Under the Apple Tree.
Music at five.

It is a charming game, as I say, but I'd far rather play it with the Man
of the North; he is so much younger than the Square Baby, and so much
more responsive, too.

Thornycroft Farm is a sweet place, too, of odours as well as sounds. The
scent of the hay is for ever in the nostrils, the hedges are thick with
wild honeysuckle, so deliciously fragrant, the last of the June roses are
lingering to do their share, and blackberry blossoms and ripening fruit
as well.

I have never known a place in which it is so easy to be good. I have not
said a word, nor scarcely harboured a thought, that was not lovely and
virtuous since I entered these gates, and yet there are those who think
me fantastic, difficult, hard to please, unreasonable!

I believe the saints must have lived in the country mostly (I am certain
they never tried Hydropathic hotels), and why anybody with a black heart
and natural love of wickedness should not simply buy a poultry farm and
become an angel, I cannot understand.

Living with animals is really a very improving and wholesome kind of
life, to the person who will allow himself to be influenced by their
sensible and high-minded ideals. When you come to think about it, man is
really the only animal that ever makes a fool of himself; the others are
highly civilised, and never make mistakes. I am going to mention this
when I write to somebody, sometime; I mean if I ever do. To be sure, our
human life is much more complicated than theirs, and I believe when the
other animals notice our errors of judgment they make allowances. The
bee is as busy as a bee, and the beaver works like a beaver, but there
their responsibility ends. The bee doesn't have to go about seeing that
other bees are not crowded into unsanitary tenements or victimised by the
sweating system. When the beaver's day of toil is over he doesn't have
to discuss the sphere, the rights, or the voting privileges of
beaveresses; all he has to do is to work like a beaver, and that is
comparatively simple.



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