Lacock July 31 – 1869
My Dear Constance
Your nice long letter dated Paris Thursday arrived here on Friday at 2 PM It is as you say a great comfort having so speedy a post. By all means go to Fontainebleau for a few days if you have a fancy to do so – You will find the drives in the forest very pleasant, and neither you nor Ela have taken a drive in a forest for a long time past. I was not aware that I passed thro’ Fontainbleau [sic] on my journey – I may have done so unconsciously – I saw that I passed through Melun but I did not pay particular attention to the stations – I came down here Thursday evg the 29th The weather has ever since been cloudy and showery and quite cool.
We made enquiries in London for a cook without success. Goodwin saw some that he did not like – I therefore bethought me of what you said one day that Wilkins’s daughter might perhaps do sufficiently well and (Goodwin concurring) I have made that arrangement. It is understood to be merely on trial, if you dislike her cooking we must make a change, but Wilkins thinks she has had sufficient experience to do for a quiet family like ours. There is to be no kitchen maid at first, but I am of opinion that it will be quite necessary to have one – but that can wait till you arrive. None of the London cooks Goodwin saw would hear of taking a place without a kitchen maid. I have heard of an under housemaid may perhaps do, but not heard of a helper or footman. I have no time for more this evening – I hope Ela likes Paris & I daresay it interests you to see it again.
Our garden here is gay
adieu Your afft