Mrs Becher's Diary


Mrs Broadmead

A small woman with an amazing personality. Impatient yet full of energy and without much self-control. Changeable, full of moods and quick to take offence. She was fond of reminding us that her maiden name was Mainwaring and in all things she was a snob.

Her hair was dark and crisp, her eyes of that piercing blackness that usually belongs to gypsies. Opaque and somnolent in repose, they were quick to turn to pools of lambent fire and they were her most arresting feature. She had grown stout but her feet were small and shapely and, in her youth, had been compared to those of Trilby.

When one was favourable in her eyes, one went to visit her and if she did not want to see you she would tell you so very plainly. She would talk for hours, pouring out stories of her own life and experiences or those of her acquaintances which made one’s eyes open wide with horror, each one a catastrophe transcending in horror the one that had gone before.

Her other hobby was handicraft, and she was extraordinarily good at it. I have been shewn exquisite paper flowers made by her, miniature gardens, jewellery, barbola work; Japanese lacquer boxes – and each idea was taken up with violent enthusiasm, and then all the expensive paraphernalia would be cast aside for the next craze.

She was, I think, a lonely woman and the company of men was more agreeable to her than that of her own sex.