At Home

Armand’s First Letter. Amelia’s First Letter.

Bois-de-Bas, Armorica
11 August 1016

Dear Mum,

I do apologize for springing young Luc on you with no warning—though you had said you would gladly receive him “at any time” when last we spoke. Had I written and asked, half-a-year would have gone by before he could have arrived at your door, half-a-year we can ill spare. Luc will provide you the details.

In truth I have no fear that he will receive a cold welcome from you; rather I fear that he will receive too warm a welcome, and could I have sent him directly to Grandmaster Netherington-Coates I would have done so. I beg you will keep him quiet in Norwich Street until his removal to the Guild Hall, and that thereafter you will not single him out, at least in public. It is for his own safety—though indeed he is dear to my heart, and I wish you could lavish all of the affection upon him that he deserves.

But he will explain all that.

I have been much taken up with affairs since my return to Bois-de-Bas, alas. I have had to be much involved with Armorican politics, far more than I would prefer, and putting the Wagonworks back on an even footing has taken up what time has remained—for it was quite at a stand-still without me, there being no other master formers here. I fear my poor Amelie has been quite out-of-patience with me!

But no more. The politics is at an end, at least until we have some response from His Majesty and the Cumbrian Parliament; and Lord Doncaster has assured me that his despatch concerning these matters will reach His Majesty in good time to knock parliamentary enthusiasms on their heads. May it be so!

Furthermore, the Wagonworks is back in good order, so that I have been able to resume my habits as they were prior to coming out to attend to you and Father. Each week I spend two days at the Wagonworks doing the necessary and three days in my forming shop, meeting with customers and filling their needs. On those days I have time to attend to Bastien’s training, and already he is becoming quite the help to me. On He is hardening cookware as well as I or Luc could do, and has become a dab hand at assembling other items. On the sixth day I attend to my researches, and the seventh, of course, is the Sabbath.

But best of all I now have my evenings to spend with Amelie and my lovely Anne-Marie and Margaret Elise. Anne-Marie will be four years of age next month! I am glad to be home where I can read stories to my three ladies.

You will remember Madame Truc and Jacques-le-Souris; they are still with us, and continue to play the role that my Amelie’s father and mother would have played in their lives had they lived…though, I suppose, had they lived it is likely that I should still be unmarried, for as you might not know—I do not believe we have spoken of it—my marriage to Amelie was to some extent arranged. Her mother was gone, and her father was dying; I was regarded as no farmer, but a good man, and quite wasted as a goat-keeper; and so the ladies of the town threw us together so as to ensure the stability of Amelie’s father’s general store. I knew nothing of this until I was already completely smitten, though Amelie was in on it from the beginning, and I rejoice to say that I have no regrets.

Though possibly it would still have worked out; for even had M. Fabré lived, Amelie was of an age to marry and had become good friends with Marc Frontenac’s wife Élise.

But I wander—how delicious it is to have time to wander! As I was saying, my daughters rejoice in their grand-mère and grand-père; but I should wish them to rejoice in their grand-mama as well. My special project is well-in-hand, and I have hopes that I will be able to bring them to see you sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as next year.

Your happy son,

Armand

Next Letter

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Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

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