Great rejoicings! Grandma Mags has returned from Minnesota along with Tabitha and her child. They took the boat from New York and arrived in Liverpool a few days ago, and after visiting Lillibet in London, made their way up to Wren Cottage by the mail coach, taking two days’ fast journey.
Grandma Mags had a difficult decision to make, for her sister Mrs Sag has been looking after a Dear Friend who really needs her help, and wanted to stay to help out. However the boat had been booked, and she felt she had been away too long now that the scatterings of her granddaughters were drawing to an end. Many of the girls went away with friends after the untimely death of their parents but had come together again. They did not realise that their source of income would collapse, and have been struggling these past few months to eke out a living doing various jobs.
The friendship with Mrs Beauchamp has been a great boon and help, but Grandma Mags felt her family needed their own Grandma to be with them. Tabitha has but recently come out of mourning for her sailor husband who was lost at sea in a terrible storm off the coast of Maine, and brings with her baby Johnny. Johnny never knew his father, for he was born posthumously. Tabitha looks a little serious, unsurprisingly. However, she was always very close with Gisella, and it is likely that it is with her that Gisella may find she can talk about her very unusual experiences recently.
Grandma Mags’s sister Mrs Sag (both formerly the Misses Cragg of York)
Gisella has been receiving visits from a lady she met at church, who knew that she might be a little lonely in the daytime with Lucy out at work. Mrs Beauchamp enjoys Gisella reading to her – her eyesight is a little difficult these days, and the young woman is an expressive reader. Mrs Beauchamp brought some carrots and a beautiful pot of parsley with her yesterday, and drank a dish of (new) tea with the family. She had mentioned recently that the Board school assistant was leaving to get married very soon, somewhat to the surprise of the Schoolmistress. She brought up the subject of Gisella’s fine schooling at Lady Alice Owen’s school, now run by the inestimable Mr Hoare.
Today Mrs Beauchamp came after lunchtime, before the usual hour for calling – to ask Gisella to go along this evening with her, to Mrs Blenkinsop’s house. Mrs Blenkinsop was very interested to hear of Gisella’s excellent schooling and interest in books. She wishes to talk with her about the possibility of helping out as an assistant at the Board school.
Gisella loves children, and does indeed love reading and writing. She has learned a little French and Latin, along with geography and history. She is not sure that she is strong enough yet to contemplate such an enterprise, but thinks that it will be much better suited to her than work in the mill, or indeed the bakery – since flour in the air makes her sneeze dreadfully. She wonders whether she could make over Lucy’s plain blue dress?
March 1st. With a little help, and a lot of heaving, furniture was moved into Upper Kettle Street. It was a modest amount of furniture, the basics, because the rooms are small and there is no spare money. After getting everything in but not ordered, over a restorative cup of tea discussions take place about how to improve the money situation. Various opportunities are possible – there is a cotton weaving mill in the town, and there are shops. It’s also possible, Lucy hopes, that there will be ladies who need dresses made, but she worries that they are not known in the town. Only one friend from past times knows them, it is old Mrs Fells who encouraged them to come. The first night is spent huddling up to each other on the mattress with sheets and blankets for warmth. Tomorrow, Lucy will make some pillows, and hopes to find fabric for curtains. Gisella will see about getting the chimney swept – the fire smokes.