On Wednesday, G was down at the Staging post to collect Lillibet’s weekly letter from London. Down from the stage coach stepped Sophia! She had returned from France where she had been staying with a family for nearly a year. She spent a week with Lillibet in London and bore her news in person. Lillibet says she is doing well making fine clothes for fine ladies, and is content but misses her sisters and cousins very much. She has been joined in her small room by another fine dressmaker, Louisa. The menage is convivial and they share jobs and each others’ company.
What a joyful welcome Sophia received from all at Wren Cottage! She had with her a trunk with some French clothes, a fichu for each sister, lace edged by herself, and dried food goods from Lillibet. On her journey from the Pyrenees she had stopped in various towns, and the city of Paris, where she stayed with another relation and visited art galleries. Oh, the paintings and sculptures she has seen!
On Thursday a letter came by the post, from Sarah who had arrived at Lillibet’s in London and would be coming to Wren Cottage in a few days. She left Grandma Mags in America in good heart, but a little delayed there for some time to come.
This welcome news brought with it the difficult question of space in Wren Cottage. The roof space has been opened up and can be reached with a ladder, and has been thoroughly cleaned and the walls limewashed, mattresses obtained from Mrs Beauchamp and bed coverings made by Rosina and G. Even with a second sleeping room, it is crowded because the rooms are very small in the first place. With nine inhabitants, a one up and one down plus attic is quite a squeeze, and Ettie needs the space to ply her sewing machine.