Contact arrangements

Sydney Walk
June 19th 1853

I wonder sometimes whether widowhood might not be preferable to abandonment. Josiah has written from Blindingham to say he is still required to oversee the building work. I have not seen him for three weeks and am going stupid with loneliness! I did send word back dutifully saying that of course he must do as he sees fit and that I am sure his presence is vital to the success of the refurbishment plans, but in truth I cannot see what benefit he is to those workmen at the moment. He is a planner and a thinker whose skill lies in enterprise, not labour.

But I must not appear shrewish in my letters to him. The darling man is making our future more secure, bless him. I only worry about his comfort – he needs good food and a warm bed at night, as any man does. I do not think Mrs Cornbench a substitute for a loving wife, although I am sure she is enough for Mr Cornbench.

I shall no longer fill this journal with lamentable pining for my husband! He will be home before I know it and besides I have a new activity to occupy myself. From now on I shall devote myself to nurturing Papa’s relationship with Mrs Doughty. I have a mind to write Mrs Hayden, if she is still in the country, to see whether she might be willing to meet me in private. If she is open to the idea, I shall ask her to concentrate her powers on me and my departed – I should dearly love to know Mama’s thoughts and will do all I can to carry out her ethereal wishes.

So when Josiah does return from the Hall, and from Mrs Cornbench’s pinched ministrations, he shall find in me a much more spiritual and understanding woman. It will do me no harm to remind him what a wife he has in me!

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