Wednesday, 19 September 2007

The return of Madame Loufoque


I can not truthfully describe to you the depth of trepidation with which I undertook the long journey north to Brittany. Having received Madame Grognonne’s last communication, and having had no response from my telegram to her, I had no idea what I might find at Chateau Loufoque on our return . It would seem my worst fears were justified when we arrived in the dark hours of the early morning, tired and travel weary from our long journey, to find the doors wide open and no sign of life.
We had come as fast as we could but it would seem we had arrived, alas, too late.

The kitchen range was cold, no lights were lit, and all was dark and empty. There were signs of an apparent disturbance in the pantry plus an all pervading and unmistakable aroma of stale fish in the air. I had neither strength nor stomach to inspect the cellar nor the melon beds but feared the worst. The only sound was the slight snoring and snuffling of Loic’s pigs curled up under the kitchen table, not I admit the most appropriate place for them to sleep but, under the circumstances, I had not the heart to disturb them.

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The etching above is of the Prison in Vannes, an insanitary place with little in the way of comfort. When I imagine Madame Grognonne incarcerated there in, possibly shut away for ever for her crime my blood runs cold. As a housekeeper her faults were undoubtedly many and various but good domestic servants are so hard to find these days and where on earth would I retrieve another capable of pulling a governess cart unaided and wielding a Kendo stick with such accuracy, it has taken me years to get her to understand the finer points of English tea making! Had I been a lesser woman I should have wept.

15 comments:

Grouse said...

Ah! But you are NOT a lesser woman! As I told you (surely not that long ago) BREEDING WILL OUT!!!!!! And if the worst comes to the worst and Mm G HAS been carted off.......at least the damned place is purple!!!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

A bacon sandwich and a cup of tea might help to calm the situation.

Elizabethd said...

A true lady will always rise to the occasion. Up and at them!

Inthemud said...

Oh my lor! What has happened?

ChrisH said...

Quelle horreur!!!

lampworkbeader said...

Actually I'd quite like a change of occupation. I'm not much good at pulling carts but I used to be a demon with a hockey stick, and as for gutting fish...Well. I'll say no more.

Pondside said...

See if you can get a copy of Mrs Beaton's book - everything you need to know about housekeeping and cooking just in case you have to do without the marvelous Mme G

muddyboots said...

you do know that pigs eat anything?

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Berlimey . . .WHAT has happened . . . . where will your vivid imagination takes us next . . .

@themill said...

I fear the reason for well fed pigs snoring beneath the table of an empty kitchen.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Oh dear...I am transported back to the tales from my rather eccentric uncle...the family went off for the day to a wedding leaving a young son behind with strict instructions to mind the pigs....when they returned there was no sign of the lad...searching...they found his boots...unfortunately his feet were still in them!! Oooooops

Pipany said...

Think I need to go back a bit - am a bit lost again! xx

Suffolkmum said...

Not sure if it's better that it was Loic or his pigs that were curled up under the table. And where or where is Mme G?

CAMILLA said...

La Pigs under La Tabl'e whatever next.! Has Madame Grogonne gone missing, taken with her La Cookery Livre.?

Camilla.x

UN PEU LOUFOQUE said...

Oh why worry about Lawrence when Chief Patisseir has Antoine to keep him company !