The Leyland Manor Diary

Welcome Home!

The first view you get of Leyland Manor is from down the grassy mound it was built on. You were already deep into the park, when the lane turned left and you looked up at the modern fascade framed with large old beech trees; or rather the house looked down at you. In the old days one was crossing the river via an ancient stone bridge. A cobblestone road leading the visitor directly from the village to the manor house. But the bridge was destroyed one winter and never rebuilt, as some pageant woman said it would be unwise to do so. The land left and right of the road was leased to two (quarreling) families owning farms near Leyland village. It became their border, overgrowing in time and unrecognizable to the stranger of Leyland's history. Nowadays you had to drive around the village and the Trevenor's farmland, crossing a newer bridge and entering the park from the southwest. This improved first view of the house let to the renovation of its fascade to modern standards in the first place, while the other two wings of it were still in its oldfashioned Tudor and Stuart glory, all including a tower, lead windows and ivy covered walls. But that part, the old courtyard and the tower, you only saw, if you took the right turn of the fork, also leading you to the stables and farm buildings of the manor. If you took the left turn and went up even higher, you found yourself facing the classical new front of the house (which used to be the back a very very long time ago). Looking back down the mound the park opened wide into the landscape of meadows, farms and valleys. To your right were steps down to the Baroque flower garden and going around the house, passing by the old tower and turning right again at the Tudor wing, you'll enter what used to be a formal Renaissance garden. One in shameful disorder, neglected and nearly distroyed. Once there has been a terrace overlooking that garden. Now there were only bushes and ferns. The path leading to an archway was blocked and impossible to trespass. There was no way to the courtyard or street outside. You had to go back all the way, as every door to the old wing was shut as well.
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September 13th, 1763

I got downstairs before breakfast was served and went outside. After last nights storm the heat was gone and the air crisp. Without a destination in mind I went forward into the park. After a couple of minutes I reached a corner of a path leading into some kind of wood or high and wild shrubs. Behind the first wall of greenery was a ruin, of which I could determine the remnants of windows and a vaulted ceiling, all buried in greens. Once inside I knew it was a chapel, long forgotten and so very beautiful. Through a doorway on the opposite wall I entered a small graveyard overgrown by the wilderness. Though it seemed so close to the main house I never discovered this place before. Somehow I must have wandered to other parts of the park. Not knowing how much time may have passed and seeing the sky darkening again, I went back to the house. Everyone was at breakfast and simultanously to my entrance a servant came in to report he couldn't find me and started at seeing me. Smiling I gave him permission to leave and finally asked my husband to forgive my absense. He was then very curious as for my whereabouts this morning. I quickly answered but didn't wait for any reply but asked more questions on behalf of the old chapel and the graveyard.
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Letter to Harriet Osberton

Leyland, September 12th, 1763

My dear Harriet,

what a weekend! I got your letter on Friday, but couldn't sit down for my response till this morning. I hope you'll receive this letter on your safe arrival home. Please send a note of your health and disposition after your return.
Our dinner for Ms Susan was as neat an affair one would expect and everybody well entertained and fed. Sundays service would have been to your liking, though Reverend Thompson was obviously happy about no critics present.
My dearest Harriet, I miss you very much. Ms Susan is an angel and a profound teacher and a wonderful aunt, but my friend's absence and her cruel family makes me wish for us being together. Let me know, when I can visit you at Clarington!
Ms B sends you all the best wishes; we called on her and she'll come to take tea with us tomorrow.

Do give all my love to Mr O and think of your ever true friend

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September 12th, 1763

It was the first weekend at Leyland, which I seriously enjoyed. When Harriet stayed with us, I could bear it quite well to call it my home. When we went to Wortham I started to miss it, but thought it because of all the events concerning Fred and suddenly Harriet as well. When we came back, I was relieved to be here again, to see Miss B and to wander our garden. The quietude of my own chamber was the most luxurious thing... Saturdays dinner for Miss Susan was somewhat satisfactory. Cook did a wonderful job, with Frank as guest the young ladies were well entertained,even I sat down at the harp for one song. Miss Susans presence gave me confidence and I noticed how easy it could be to converse with our neighbours and Lord C's friends; though I cannot remember all we were talking about. Still, cards aren't the thing for me.
Sundays service was rather short in content, though not necessarily in lenght. But afterwards Miss Susan and I visited Mrs Higgenbotham. Miss Susan thinks her funny - possibly in a more urban way, as she is far more in elegant society than Mrs H could ever boast of... Last night was only family and later they told me stories about Franks and Fitzwilliams childhood at Leyland, about Miss Susans youth, her life in town.
This morning we made calls, wrote our letters, of which I had many piled up on my desk and later took a drive through the park with the gentlemen. Now I'm fatigued, but have to dress for dinner. No other guests tonight, but tea tomorrow at Miss B's.
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September 9th, 1763

This morning I received a letter from Harriet, who told me of her relatives bad behaviour and their subsequent return home. I immediately told Lord C about Max's absence from Wortham and he contacted his lawyer again, who is to inform him of any news to be got on Max and possibly the mysterious woman involved in the whole affair with Frederick.
I wanted to answer her right after breakfast, but Ms Susan caught me on my way to my desk and we went to the parlour discussing the dinner in her honour. It took all morning and my housekeeper was happy to return to cook to inform her of an elaborate scheme she would have only a day to prepare for. Nevertheless Ms Susans 'help' did help me and made me aware how I had neglected my housewifely duties.
The gentlemen were out, therefore we partook in a rather small repast, I had completely forgotten Harriets letter. But I did write a great deal, to Ms Susans amusement, though I could very well see her delight in advising me on how to see things in my house that needed my attention.
Thinking about it now, I see Leyland as my house, my household... my home I have to attend to... It is strange though.
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