Thomas Grancourt is now in tunics. His favourite toy is a painted metal horse, presented to him by John Cecil, Baron Snordwich.
Last winter, his mother gave him a sister, Hilith.
With inadequate space in the great chamber for two cribs, their father converted a small outbuilding, originally intended for guests, into a nursery. It is not so warm as the main house, but perfectly comfortable for the summer.
Ewfame has taken over the nursing of both of her children, but Margery has been kept on to help her care for them.
Ewfame treasures the time she spends in the nursery, away from her husbands censure. Gilbert is not malicious, but he never seems pleased with her.
He is happiest hunting with friends, or riding through the countryside on his horse Able.
But even Able sometimes lets him down.
With the warm midsummer weather upon them, Ewfame takes every opportunity to escape to the great lake with Margery and the children.
Whenever she feels the water against her skin, she feels weightless, free from care.
On Tuesday, the first after midsummer, Adam packs the women a picnic of bread and summer berries.
Back at Havlock Hall, Gilbert is entertaining Parson Couer and Mace Rostand, a university friend of the parson’s, now a lawyer in Advorton.
Adam prepares their supper with special care. He is happy to have fresh ingredients for his kitchen.
He sauces a silverside of lamb with mint.
For once, his master is impressed.
Over supper, Grancourt and his guests exchange news. Rostand has family in Crafthole, but has not visited anywhere nearby since Lord Snordwich’s last Nativity celebration. He is delighted to hear of Perroy’s victory at his lordship’s archery tournament, and of the birth of young Roger Cecil.
The gentlemen wash down their meal with cups of refreshing berry nectar. It lacks the depth of flavour of the autumn blends, but is just right for a warm evening.
The nectar has been made by Mistress Grancourt herself, small-scale domestic brewing for all but the grandest households being seen as women’s work.
On Wednesday afternoon, Philip Clerinell’s groom John arrives at Havlock Hall with a letter from his master. While Grancourt reads it over, Adam and William take the young man to rest in the buttery, where they serve him bread and nectar.
They learn that Clerinell’s wife has given him a third child, a daughter he will name Felicia. John speaks affectionately of her older sisters, Alice and Beatrice, both around Thomas’ age.
The next day, another visitor calls. It is Margery’s son Hugh with some fish to sell.
Hugh’s uncle gives him a good price for his fish, along with a piece of pie, and sends William to fetch the boy’s mother.
She is overjoyed to see her child.
The fish will make a good supper for Friday evening, but only Mistress Grancourt will be present to enjoy it. The letter that her husband received was an invitation to Felicia Clerinell’s naming fest, and on Friday morning he departs. William readies the horses and the household gathers in the courtyard to see them off.
In her husband’s absence, Ewfame makes two more trips to the lake with Margery and the children.
Hilith especially seems to love the water.
For the next two evenings, Ewfame takes her supper in the nursery, but after the Sunday service she makes the parson her guest in the great hall. Since William is away, she gives Margery’s son a small purse to wait on them.
At one point, he trips and almost lets the bread fall to the floor. He is mortified, but luckily Ewfame is too absorbed in her meal to notice.
By nightfall, Gilbert and William have returned. Ewfame orders Adam to prepare her husband some food while he washes off the dirt from the road.
After he has eaten, the couple retire to bed. Ewfame reads aloud from their book of hours, and together they pray for health, happiness, and patience.