my dearest one，
alex and his aide-de-camp， who is the son oflord templemore， have left us after staying twonights. ihopealex will come back again next weekend. he certainlyenjoyed himself painting，and produced a very good picture considering it isthe first timethat he has handled a brush for sixyears. ihave now four pictures，three of themlarge，in an advanced state， andi honestly thinkthey are better than any ihave painted so far. igavealex your message and he was verypleased.
the painting has been a great pleasure to me，andi have really forgotten all my vexations. it isa wonderful cure， because you really cannot thinkof anything else. this is saturday， and it is a weeksince we started. we have had newspapers up tillwednesday. ihave skimmed through them， and itcertainly seems we are going to have a pretty hardtime. icannot feel the government are doing enough about demobilization， still less aboutgettingour trade on the move again. ido notknow how we are ever to pay our debts， andit isevendifficult to see how we shall pay our way.even if we were all united in a coalition， gatheringall the strength of the nation，our task might wellbe beyond our powers. however， all this seems already quite remote from me on this lovely lake，where nearlyall the days are full ofsunshine andthe weatherbright and cool.
much better than the newspapers was your letter， with its amusing but rather macabre account of the journey to woodford.iam longingto hear how our affairs are progressing. i do hope you are not overtaxing yourself with all the business that there is to do. we shall certainly notforget about mary's birthday；but let me know what you have done about a present.