Part Exchange

Sydney Walk
April 27th 1853

Boo is as big as a house. She was not that size when full with LB, I am sure – I asked her whether she was quite convinced it was just one child she might be carrying but this did not make her laugh as much as I thought it would. Poor lamb – I have never hidden my envy of her state of motherhood but if I am to be truthful it is a clean, dressed sweet-smelling child I hanker after, not the terrible burden and pain that must be endured to achieve it.

Still, Boo was much amused by my story of Cook and the village people and she is, as I hoped, full of ideas for the new decorations for the Hall. She did become a little distracted when I told her about the note Josiah had received from the Girl – asking me quite curtly why I had not opened it. After I had explained my utmost respect for the fact that it was not addressed to me, she gave me a very strange look which I can only imagine was caused by the temporary discomforts suffered by women in her condition. She cheered up very quickly though and took the Press funds I had brought with me. She locked them away immediately, even before Mrs Doughty had arrived for our business meeting.

After the three of us had spent a very sensible hour discussing the workings of the Press – it is a thriving enterprise, I am assured and one which is attracting clients in increasing numbers – Mrs Doughty took her leave of us with the swiftest of polite farewells. I think she is worried that we still hold her responsible for LB’s recent injuries, but really she must not concern herself any further with that. I may have to send her a note to reassure her.

I asked Boo to tell me all her news – I was aware that I had taken up most of the time with news of my own, but she seemed unwilling to say much at all. She said she was tired, so I kissed her, what bit of her I could reach over her swollen form, and came back to Sydney Walk. I shall retire tonight very happy that my life is once again normal – full of the good wishes of my friends, the satisfaction of knowing I am contributing to a proper business venture and the love of a good man. To say nothing of the admiration I enjoy from my cat.

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