Waiting Game

B’ham Hall October 16th 1851

Josiah still has not sent for me. This can only mean that he is intent on finding the best possible accommodation, so I am not the least bit cross with him but I do miss him. I feel more complete when he is here. Managing the house and the estate is an art I fear I may never fully master.

I had to search for Villiers this afternoon to discuss the situation with the laundry maid. She comes up from the village every week to see to the linen but is so incompetent with the new mangle that I no longer have sufficient stocks for the Chinese Room or the Blue Room. I have come to a decision about her future but need a delicate way of arranging her departure, since her mother is a fearsome woman. Mrs Everdown is perfectly capable of ruining my standing amongst the villagers ,which I most certainly do not want. I have become quite the local Lady since the Ball and I now sit on two charity boards. I am greeted with respect by almost everyone I meet. I was sure Villiers would be able to devise a plan to rid Blindingham of the laundry maid without incurring anyone’s wrath.

I could not find him anywhere in the Hall so I went down to the kitchens where I discovered Cook in a very strange mood. She was sitting at the work table singing to herself and crying such big tears I marvelled that her apron was still dry. My first thought was that she must be slicing onions – she had recently received a consignment of them from Spain, I believe – but there were none to be seen. She was singing about sailors lost at sea but I know she has no relatives in naval circles, so I was at a loss as to what her concern was. If Josiah were here, he would have known what to do. When I asked if she had been taken ill she raised her head, gazed at me with wild eyes and said she would be better for a nap, so I allowed her to retire for the rest of the afternoon. I am a tolerant Mistress and would rather my staff were content than fully occupied. Josiah would never consider the comfort of the servants, but I am sure they respect me all the more for my forbearance.

I unearthed Villiers a while later as I walked down the approach. He was returning, in rather a hurry, to the main house having given instructions to the Gardener, he said. Indeed I then saw the Gardener come rushing from his lodge carrying a firearm of some sort. Villiers told me he was searching for a pheasant for Cook. There is always something going on here, I do find running the Hall quite tiresome! I am so looking forward to being in the City again.

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