The peasants have been hard at work in preparation for our next production, Virtue Triumphant, as we can see.
You might think it harsh to describe these simple, honest folk as peasants. It may also be incorrect to label them simple or honest, but that’s an altogether different question. As far as Virtue Triumphant is concerned though, peasants they most definitely are. Yokels, bumpkins and peasants every one. The only one amongst them who isn’t is of course the wicked Squire Sir Septimus Grope, lord of all he surveys and master of all who can’t run away quickly enough. Perhaps also the vicar too, thanks to his status as member of the clergy and the closer proximity to God which that bestows upon him, may also be considered above the common herd (without giving too much away, the vicar’s proximity to God is dramatically increased as events unfold, but more on that another time).
Before anyone writes in to point out the obvious apparent mistake here, no they aren’t painting anything green; it is clearly (and deliberately) magnolia. So why not title this post “Painting the village magnolia” then? Because while “Painting the village green” may be seen as a play on words, “Painting the village magnolia” sounds more like a whimsical euphemism:
The vicar eased himself carefully along Mrs Maybud’s back passage and tapped lightly at her rear entrance. “Apologies, dear lady” he said, “if I have roused you at an inopportune moment. I appreciate that it is early in the day to be knocking you up. I tried round the front but received no response”.
“Why, vicar!” replied Mrs Maybud, obviously flustered, “you have taken me quite by surprise. I was so engrossed in painting the village magnolia, I was quite unaware of your attempted ingress. Would you care for some buttered crumpet?”
See what I mean?
A footnote for our younger reader – if you are unsure as to why “painting the village magnolia” might be considered a whimsical euphemism, or what it could be a whimsical euphemism for, or indeed what a whimsical euphemism is in the first place, or if you are confused by any aspect of the exchange between the vicar and Mrs Maybud, I suggest that you ask your parents to explain. They will be more than happy to do so, possibly with the aid of instructional diagrams.