My Dear Friends and Neighbours,
I write you today with the worrisome news that our dear friend Old Mary has taken ill. I did not see her at church Sunday last, and went to Thisteldown to see if all was well, only to find Old Mary abed and quite weak. I sent word back to Carlyle House that I meant to stay with Old Mary and tend to her needs. Now that I am a married lady, I am no longer maid to Lady Elizabeth and I have taught Flossie, my friend and Elizabeth’s new maid, how to tend to Elizabeth’s hair and wardrobe so I am at liberty to stay with Old Mary.
Not two days after I came to Thisteldown, Mr. Penn came to pay a call upon Old Mary, for they are dear friends. He was worried for his friend and insisted we repair to his home where Old Mary may have every comfort. This was a kind gesture as the cottage can be draughty if the fire is not tended. Mr. Penn’s coach came, transported us to his house and that is where we have been for the last few days.
You are all kind folk and your good wishes, flowers and visits have been an uplifting sight but Dr. Thornton begs me to ask you please to allow Old Mary to rest so she may regain her strength. He thanks you all for your care and concern but feels Old Mary must not be disturbed so she may get well again. I shall keep you all abreast of Old Mary’s progress and ask that you remember her in your prayers.
Such ominous news, and not a fortnight after we were all so shocked by the fire at the Butcher’s Shoppe. Twas providence that had Alice Powell and Hetty Thorne out taking their exercise that day and noticing the smoke coming from the upper floor of the Butcher’s Shoppe. This allowed the men to form a bucket line from the horse pool at the Rose and Crown to put out the fire. Of course there is damage to the living quarters of the Owens’ but thankfully it was confined to the kitchen and part of the girls bedroom. Lady Elizabeth immediately said the girls must come and stay at Carlyle House whilst the repairs were being made, though Mary, a shy girl, would not leave her mother. Salley, was thrilled at the prospect of living with her best friend Sophia who attends La Forge with Salley upon her recently granted scholarship from the Amberleigh Trust.
Mrs. Medlyn, sister of Mr. Thomas who has come to live with him and keep his house was also happy to have the girls come and stay at the rectory. Such a kind woman, a recent widow herself, she helps her brother through his grief. Seeing how he enjoys tutoring her eldest son, she has encouraged him to take on more students which he has thought seriously about. He says another curate may be the thing to help with duties while he attends to educating some of the local children. He has applied for another curate who shall arrive in a few months’ time.
We are a strong village and look after one another, something that is a comfort to us all. I thank you all for your concern for my husband who is with his regiment en route to Gibraltar and thence to Corsica where he will surely see battle. I welcome your prayers on his behalf and beg you to also remember Alice Powell’s brother, William, who shall also be engaged at Corsica. I thank you dear friends most fervently for your friendship and love.