Roger Cecil is a difficult child, easily frustrated by new challenges and terribly afraid of the dark. Each night, his nurse Mabel leaves a candle burning and sings him songs to help him sleep.
Sir Thomas’ daughter Marian sleeps in her parents’ chamber, but Beatrice often brings her to play in Roger’s nursery.
While her charge is busy with poppets and tops, Beatrice sews together a scrappier toy for her own daughter Jaclyn, a little whale made out of offcuts from her apron and tunic.
On All Souls’ Eve, Humphrey bakes soul cakes.
He sends Ralf down to Plumville with basket full of them for the village children. Beatrice asks the young groom to deliver her whale to Jaclyn, as an early gift for the Feast of the Children.
Jaclyn is happy to hear from her mother, and loves her new toy.
The baron, his wife, and most of their train are away, attending a feast thrown by Edward de Vesci, Earl of Tredony, to celebrate the marriage of his eldest daughter to Ronald Postel, heir to the barony of Burdley. Sir Thomas and Chaplain Wereables have remained at Plumbob Hall to keep order and hospitality in their master’s name. At supper, Sir Thomas sits in Lord Snordwich’s place, with soul cakes, rabbit stew, and cups of Farmer’s Harvest laid out before him.
For All Souls’ itself, Humphrey stuffs a duck with onions and prunes.
Mabel and Beatrice do not touch the rich, dark fare. While they are nursing, fresh vegetables are recommended, with a little white meat, but nothing too strong-smelling or heavily spiced. Their All Souls’ meal is chicken and mushroom pottage, thickened with oats.
The following morning, Wereables takes Sir Thomas through the household accounts. Both men are anxious to ensure that everything is in order before Lord Snordwich returns.
After lunch, the chaplain leads the children on a hilltop walk.
He shows them where wild herbs will grow when spring comes, and tries to teach Roger the names of the places in the valley.
Humphrey is busy in the kitchen all day. That evening he expects back not only Lord Snordwich’s household, but also that of Walter Howard, Earl of Effenmont.
The earl and his wife Isabella were guests at the wedding, and plan to break up the journey back to Effenmont with two nights at Plumbob Hall. In the late afternoon, the whole party arrives.
Before giving Lord Effenmont’s grooms a drink in the buttery, Ralf shows them where the horses are stabled.
The lords and ladies take nectar in their chambers and are washed and dressed for supper. Lady Snordwich assigns her own gentlewoman to wait on the countess.
Joan is not pleased to be left in the Howards’ company. She has found Lord Effenmont to be mean-spirited, bombastic, and unforgivably stupid. His wife she thinks less tedious, but proud and critical to a fault.
While Lady Snordwich rests from the journey, her husband sits straight down to compose two letters of thanks in his own hand to the great lords who opened their halls to them while they were away.
The first is to Lord Tredony; it expresses gratitude for the wedding feast and wishes happiness to the earl’s daughter in her marriage. The second is to Botolph Darcy, Bishop of Gatrobury, who, thankful for the kindness shown by Lord Snordwich to his favourite nephew, offered bounteous hospitality to the whole party on their journey back to Plumbob Hall.
When supper is ready, Snordwich surrenders his place to Lord Effenmont, who outranks him.
They are waited on by the two youngest of Effenmont’s attendants, Peter de Vesci and Alberic Roussel.
De Vesci is heir to the earldom of Tredony, but it is no shame for him to carry bread and nectar: young noblemen often enter into the service of their elders in this way, in order to learn from them the lordly virtues of justice, magnificence and courtesy.
He could, perhaps, have been blessed with a better teacher. During supper, Effenmont talks loudly and at length, while Lord Snordwich listens patiently.
Their ladies share an interest in music, which they discuss over plates of nectar-braised grouse. The countess praises Adam’s playing—though of course, she adds, he could not hope to match to her husband’s or father’s minstrels.