Mistress of all I survey

May 10th 1852

Goodness me, Boo!

Last year when we returned here I was as nervous as a kitten about entering my own home. But now I am a confident Lady I almost ran up the steps to reclaim my empire! Villiers had gathered the staff as usual – sorely depleted by the absence of Cook and the Girl – and I thanked them for looking after the Hall so well. I shall find out in due course whether or not they actually have.

The Girl is still in London. Josiah tells me his associate still has want of her and since I do not care ever to see her or the child again I was happy to let her stay behind. We continue paying her wages, I believe, but I may put an end to that arrangement soon. And Cook is still in the sanatorium, poor woman. I shall visit her just as soon as I have found a personal maid to attend to me – if I do not, and I go about in public having dressed my own hair, I may be in danger of being mistaken for an inmate!

Josiah, as I predicted, set about changing the furniture in the entrance hall – he said something about making more room but I paid him scant attention because Mrs Everdown was trying to tell me what changes she had made. I had been concerned about what she would do, as you know, but I do believe she has made things run more smoothly. I resolved to be less judgemental about her in future and can only assume that someone else was responsible for bringing up her stupid daughter. She has more than compensated for the pitiful mess her child made of our linen last year.

Villiers is happier than I have seem him for a long time. His illness has quite vanished and he is charming to Josiah, myself and the rest of the staff. Something about the country air must agree with him and although I am still not convinced he is a natural servant, I hold him in almost affectionate regard these days.

I must dash now, there is so much to do when regaining control of an estate such as ours and I wish to reassure myself that Cook is in good hands.

Do let me know how it goes in the City!


Effie x

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