Chapter Three: Nougat Lane

Jan 15th Lord's Day

After a week avoiding my Lord, to church. The preacher is again the Scot. The talk of the development has reached his ears as he droned on about the land and its development and growth for ages, or so it seemed. All very drab. My wife woke me as my noisy breathing, or as she called it snoring, was causing a disturbance. Felt obliged to leave larger than normal donation in the collection plate.

To my Lord in the afternoon, summoned. Am vexed over our last meeting but I needed not to have held concerns as my Lord is in good spirits. He has received news of an official inquiry into Welborne-in-the-Marsh. My Lord is not concerned at all and is confident that the inquiry will find the right way. The inspector will see the justification and need for this development, he has been bred for such decisions.

My Lord is busy in so many areas at the moment. There are unpopular road changes in the south, Nougat Lane, is to be widened to allow more carriages to and from Gosport. My Lord says that Nougat Lane has been a sticky problem for the council but that the improvement should move the problem down the road to Gosport. He laughed, I laughed too as I think he made a joke and it would be remiss to let him laugh alone at his own humour.

Together we strode, in step, through the mud to the end of Nougat Lane. My Lord stopped to ask me to walk behind him as I was splashing his new cloak. He is in a good mood as he didn't curse me.

At the end of the road, my Lord stopped, and regally waved his hand to the left. "That way lies Gosport, a wild town Pipez, not a place for a young man to visit alone. Over there," he pointed ahead of us, "is Leigh of the Solent. Nice chap, nasty place. And there, Pipez," waving to the right, "is where I will meet you tomorrow morning. The old naval station of Stubbins Town. Don't be late!"

His coach pulled up behind us. He alighted, brushed the dirt from his coat onto me as I held the door. Then he was gone.

I turned and started the long trudge home. The drizzle returned and quickly turned to rain. My boot started to leak.

I woke the maid Debs to prepare food for me. My wife was asleep. I kicked Will and told him to dry and mend my boots for the morning. I must ask my wife to get a new boy, this one is insolent beyond my experience. Cold ham and peas was served with a smile.

An early rise tomorrow. I have missed prayers on the Lord's Day, I vow not to again. And so to bed.