Quiet reassurance

Lydiatt House
April 11th 1853

I have woken up exhausted from the trials of yesterday. After I took my leave of the woman from the village I went directly to the Post Mistress and asked her to send a message to Horsham that Cook is to be collected immediately in a secure vehicle. I do not think I have the strength to witness her departure, so shall have to comfort myself with the knowledge that I have done all that is in my power to help her. When Cook is safely strapped into her transport and away from Blindingham for sure, I shall send a basket of breads to the woman and her brother to thank them.

As I came back to Lydiatt in the afternoon I could hear strange sounds from somewhere on the upper landing. Having not the slightest interest in what the Cornbench children do to fill their days, I gave it no thought. But I was a little surprised, I must allow, to see Mrs Cornbench come scampering down the stairs, rather in the manner Dauncey uses when I have surprised him in the middle of an afternoon nap. I expect a cat to sleep as often as it can and in as many obscure crannies of the house he can find – so to find that Mrs Cornbench also seems to favour an afternoon rest in the attic (at least I assume that is where she was – the door to that part of the house was swinging open as she descended in a fluster to the hallway) was disconcerting.

I was just about to tell her my tale of Cook and the village woman when Josiah appeared from upstairs. Bless and save the man, he has been wrestling with his grief for days now and is spending a good deal of his time alone. I went to him but he is still so saddened that he could not quite bring himself to kiss me. I rather think his sensibilities are such that he is disinclined to be affectionate towards me in front of our hosts – Mrs Cornbench was close by, waiting to offer us tea I expect. Josiah is a proud and thoughtful man, indeed. After spending my day in the company of such poor and crazed folk, I am delighted simply to be in his presence. I do not need physical manifestations of my husband’s love for me. The expression on Mrs Cornbench’s face as all three of us were gathered in the hall was sufficient proof of the regard in which I am held by him.

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