Getting Hestered

I love books. Maybe I should say I love well written books, which is not exactly the same thing. I guess it’s really true that I love a great story even when the book isn’t that well written. Mostly I think it is the ideas that are in books that makes me love them. Today’s idea, from Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale is one I plan popularize until it ends up in a dictionary.

In the story, there is a family which has gone a bit wonky. Twin girls are cared for but not supervised much and the house suffers for 13 years with little cleaning (the Missus has gotten older and sees through a fog of grey) and lots of mischief. A new governess arrives finally (after an escapade with a perambulator) and she glows with something we come to understand is, in fact, cleanliness.

As she goes about the house she gathered the light that managed to get though the grubbiness of the house and reflected it back into the gloom. She was “a spring cleaning miracle.” She then began to set about creating order. She carefully checked the house for areas that need work from top to bottom, noting doors that squeaked and windows that rattled, finding which keys go to what and labeled them. She made her way through the house – and at the same time, she made tiny changes in every room she went into. She straightened curtains, folded blankets and picked up books to be returned to the library.

It seemed she had only to cast her eye about a room for the darkness in it to recede, for the chaos to begin shamefacedly to put itself in order, for the ghosts to beat a retreat. In this manner, every room was Hestered.”

You’ll excuse me while I go Hester the house.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Shoeless on May 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    lol. I like that…”Hester the house”…I could see that catching on.


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