October 9th 1860
I can hardly hold my pen to write, such is my anger at what I have been forced to consider.
I do not pretend to claim that Josiah was above reproach. Indeed, as a husband he disappointed me on more occasions than I feel it reasonable to endure. He has a confidence about him that is not borne out by his achievements and his personal attention towards me was at best unwelcome and at worst unbearable.
But he is a man of honour.
I can not allow Josiah’s name to be besmirched in the manner adopted by our new vicar, and will do my utmost to stand up for him in the village. Reverend Dibleigh had the temerity to sit at my table and ask me whether the gossip he had heard was true.
‘Gossip, Reverend Dibleigh?’ I asked ‘Why does gossip play a part in your contribution to our community – have you no better way to spend God’s time than listening to prattle from villagers with more corn than sense?’
He had the grace to blush at my question, revealing as it did that his social interaction with the women of the village takes up an inordinate amount of his attention.
He asked me whether Josiah had indeed ‘swindled’ – a coarse term I only use in the reporting of what was actually said – the previous incumbent whilst taking charge of administering the weekly collection. Having laid such a blow, the Reverend then sat in silence. As if offering me a confession I had neither requested nor needed.
The effrontery of that man is enough to silence cockcrow, I declare..