The Vicar's Wife Surprises - 14 June 1858

It was a delight to meet Mrs Charlotte Maybold this morning. I'm surprised to be writing that, but it's true.

I've really only seen Mrs Maybold twice so far, both times at Church. And she tends to be well hidden under a rather matronly bonnet when she's there. She's not a bad organist, although I'm told by those that know that Mrs Fancy Dewy is a better one. Maybe Mrs Dewy doesn't play because she's practically always pregnant or nursing, whereas Mrs Maybold hasn't been blessed with family just yet.

But Mrs Maybold is a revelation. Much younger than her husband. And full of life and racy stories. I've no idea where Maybold found her. Given the write-up I received from him - "holy, sober and hard-working" I was expecting something totally different.

She's got this afternoon scheduled for visiting the deserving poor. And she had some very rude words to say about them. Apart from Old Mrs Endorfield over in Upper Mellstock. Apparently Elizabeth is getting on for 80. But she still knows every bit of gossip for miles around - who's the father to which local illegitimate child, which marriages might be enforced in the near future, who's wandering further than he should on his furze-cutting errands. Sounds like the sort of old woman that any diligent Lady of the Manor ought to be paying a visit to as well. Whatever the stories they tell about her.

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