27 June 1016
I have just received the letter you sent me the day after you discovered that I had left for Armorica. I am sorry that it was necessary for me to leave Yorke so suddenly, without taking proper leave of you; it was the farthest thing from my heart. But I will not belabor the matter. I feel sure that my friends in Yorke have explained the matter to you in full, and if not, I beg that you will speak with Colonel Redvers.
As for me, I fear my sorrow at leaving so hastily is quite swallowed up by my joy at returning to my family. It has been over half a year since I left here for Cumbria, and I am amazed at how much has happened during that time. Anne-Marie has grown so much and has become quite the chatterbox, and I see you in her face. Margaret is quiet and thoughtful (if a child of not quite three years of age can be called thoughtful) and bids fair to become the very image of her mother. I missed them terribly the while I was gone, but until I held them in my arms I had not realized just how much. I do hope that someday you will be able to come and visit them.
Amelie has been too much taken up with the general store and our daughters to miss me unduly—she assures me that I am mistaken in this—and has been much helped by Brigitte Baptiste, the wife of my friend Jean Baptiste whom I met at Suprenant et Fils in my early days in Mont-Havre. He is now the head clerk at Tuppenny Wagons.
Young Luc has been attending to my forming shop in my absence, and is nearly ready to be named a journeyman; Bastien, I fear, has slipped behind him, for as an apprentice Luc has not been allowed to teach him, and of course there has been no one else to do so. I find that he has been diligent in his copying; his grimoire is up-to-date with Luc’s. All in all, the Former’s Guild is thriving here in Armorica, though it remains in its infancy.
The wagon-works, alas, are doing less well. It is not for lack of demand! There is not a carter in Armorica who does not covet one of our wagons; and I find that Marc Frontenac has received inquiries from a coach-building firm in Mont-Havre. But alas, building our wagons requires a former, which is to say myself, for Luc is not yet experienced enough. My part in the labor is small but essential, and though I left as many formed elements as I could before I left for Cumbria they have long since been exhausted. I have spent much of my time this past week in the workshop there working to my utmost.
As for Bois-de-Bas itself, Marc has looked after it in my absence. This afternoon, for the first time in many months, I was able to join the other townsfolk at the hot springs for a good soak—and, I fear, more than a little drinking.
In short, I have been missed and I am glad to be home and back at my proper work.
With all my love,