Posted by Tania Kindersley.
The younger niece is home for half term, so all is joy and delight. She has the trick of bringing sunshine with her whenever she enters a room. Since the actual sun is also blasting down out of a blue autumn sky, there is an embarrassment of riches.
The particular loveliness of the niece is that she instinctively sees the good and wonderful in every person and every thing. Her first exclamations are always of the most positive kind. 'Oh I love your house,' she says, as if she had just walked into Chatsworth. It always reminds me of the Radletts arriving at Fanny's house in Love in a Cold Climate: the exclaiming. 'Look how beautiful the dogs are,' she says. 'I love those pictures, I love that photograph, I love your food.'
She is an exceptionally nice human. Niceness, as we all know, is an oddly hard trick to pull off. It can be bland, or dull, or grating, or infuriating. There are those terrible fake nicers, who put on their good humour like a hat, when you know that all the time they would like to stamp on your foot. The danger of the false note is ever present. Much easier, in some ways, to be sceptical and cynical and bitchy and even a little bitter.
With the niece, the niceness just radiates out of her, like starlight, natural and unforced. It leaves a smile on your face for hours after she has left.
Witness the loveliness:
In the interests of balance, here is the older niece, in all her equal loveliness:
And of course the lovely canines:
And here I am, the old aunt, this morning, at my desk:
I hope you are having a glorious weekend.