Arianna’s Diary – A New Year


Arianna Diary divide


Goodness! Another year gone. Certainly it was a decent one. Nancy coming to Ickworth, myself becoming a half-sister to little Freddie, and of course the glorious servants’ ball. I must say I felt an old hat to the tradition, Nancy being so new! Well, even though I have been here almost two years now, Ickworth never fails to astound me with its European grandeur.

And yet, aside from its beauty, each routine seems so familiar. I am accustomed to the never-ending bells that ring down the corridor and the housemaids scurrying in response. The footmen ascending the stone staircase each afternoon to prepare the dining-room table. Mr Prosser’s shrill telephone ringing every half-hour, and Nancy and I giggling when we hear his deep, solemn voice talking of estate concerns.

And now I am oh so very used to Cook’s voice as she screeches that Lily hasn’t peeled the vegetables properly, or that I am too slow at washing up – again.

Remember when I was that timid little scullery-maid? Oh, I haven’t changed much. I am still timid when Mrs Finkle addresses me; I always lower my eyes when passing Mr Prosser in the corridor. I never step out of my place, Ickworth has taught me that.

Mama wrote a short letter to me yesterday. Dear little Frederick – he is a few months old now. Mama and Mr Blackburn are perfectly happy in their little Derbyshire cottage by the sounds of it. I’ve pasted it below so I won’t lose it.



Dear Arianna

I hope this finds you well. In Derbyshire, we are all very well, dear Frederick included. He is growing so big! And very handsome too, just like James. Have you heard from him recently? I received a very pleasant letter from him at Christmastime, and I have heard he has made great friends at the farm.

And you? How does Ickworth fare in the chilling winter weather? I am sure you must be freezing in your attic bedroom. Do use those mittens I knitted you for the Christmas before you left – they are made of good thick wool and will keep your hands a little nicer I am sure. 

My husband sends his regards. He is keeping busy at work and is also working our little square patch of lawn into a kitchen garden so we might grow more of our own produce. I’m sure the walled garden at Ickworth is far more superior, but we like the idea of dinner from home-grown vegetables.

Freddie sends a kiss. I so long for the day when you can meet him, and love him as I do. He’s a dear. 




Mr Prosser’s office