Ginny Dewhurst: The Private Diaries (Part 3)
by La Riene Bleu

 

 

10th March, 1792

This most certainly has been a week for surprises and unexpected
happenings. I was awoken today by Caroline knocking at my door; a
strange occurrence in itself as I am usually not troubled by either
herself or William until I make my appearance downstairs at
breakfast. She was clearly excited about something though, and I did
not have the heart or inclination to scold for being awoken even
though I do not tend to like being disturbed in such a fashion when I
am sleeping.

"Oh Ginny, I am sorry, I did not mean to wake you," she apologised
immediately upon seeing me abed and the curtains still closed. "I
should have waited, I know, but - well, I thought you might like to
see this - "

"What is it?" I asked, my curiosity piqued enough to make me sit up
so that I could see. Caroline only smiled, reaching out into the
hallway for a moment before bringing forth a most delightful bouquet
of flowers, the like of which I had not yet seen in the whole of my
visit to London.

"They're for you!" she told me, holding them out to me as she did so.
I stared at her in amazement, reaching out hesitantly to take them in
my hands.

"For me? Caroline, there was no need to give me flowers - " I
exclaimed, more than a little confused as to what could be the cause
of her rather odd behaviour. She only laughed at me though, which did
nothing to enlighten me.

"They're not from me, silly!" she laughed, shaking her head. "Though
I think I have an inkling as to who the sender might be. There's a
card - aren't you going to read it?" Looking down I noticed something
that had not captured my attention before, a small pale blue card
nestled in amongst the blooms. I opened it carefully, smoothing it
out before staring to read it.

Ginny,
I hope that you are well and that you will not be displeased with me
for offering you this small token. My Mother is forever sending me
flowers from home and I fear that my apartment here in the city is in
danger of being completely overrun by them; I therefore thought to
share their beauty with someone whom I knew would appreciate it.

Your obedient servant,
Archie.

"Well?" she prompted when I had still not spoken. I could feel my
face had grown quite warm at the words, but luckily I do not think it
was enough for Caroline to notice anything amiss. It was only because
the windows were not yet opened that it had done so in any case, and
I did not want her to receive the wrong impression as to my reaction
at discovering the sender of the flowers. I smiled at her, moving to
smell the sweet fragrance that lay before me.

"They are from Archie," I told her, holding out the card so that she
might read it. After doing so she handed it back to me, her smile
matching my own as I continued to examine the beautiful flowers in
their many shades and varieties.

"How very thoughtful of Mr. Kennedy," she observed, laughing softly
as I could not conceal a blush this time, "He clearly thinks very
well of you, Ginny."

"And I of him," I managed to reply, realising as I did so the truth
of my words. I had no time to dwell on the matter though, as the next
moment Caroline was calling for Mary to set about finding a suitable
vase in which to display the bouquet before it wilted, and I set
aside my musings in the general hustle and bustle of rising and
dressing. It is only now that I have time once again to think over
such things that I find myself agreeing with my earlier assertion. I
do indeed think well of Archie, and I hope that he will find the time
to call upon me again soon.

 

 

12th March, 1792

Today I have behaved quite appallingly. I do not know what has come
over me, but there can be no excuse for my behaviour, and I feel
completely and utterly ashamed of myself. I am no better than a
child; no I am worse, as being 18 now I ought to know better. Even
now while I write this I can still feel the threat of tears and can
do nothing but scorn myself for such a weakness. I will not go back
downstairs tonight, I really do not think I could face William and
Caroline, nor indeed anyone else ever again. Oh what am I to do? But
wait, I will explain as best I can, such conduct on my part cannot be
forgotten, I will not allow myself to forget it. It will remain here,
recorded forever as a testimony of my failings. Oh I cannot stand
this -

Nothing of consequence occurred yesterday, or at least nothing worth
recording here. I read and embroidered for the most part with
Caroline which was enjoyable enough, although I confess to my heart
not being wholly in it. Each time footsteps echoed past the house I
would jump a little, my breath catching slightly as I waited to hear
if they would continue or if it were someone coming to call. For each
person who passed by I felt my good cheer slip just a little, leaving
me feeling quite horrid. I really do not know why I was behaving in
such a fashion, but I could not help it and it quite affected my
sprits for the entire day. I know that Caroline noticed my rather
despondent mood after a while, but she did not comment, making a few
attempts to cheer me before realising the futility of such actions
and leaving me to my brooding. Needless to say I retired early,
although it did me not the slightest good as I did not sleep until
the early hours of the morning. Maybe that is why I have been so
completely out of sorts today, although I cannot in all conscience
allow myself to use that as any excuse or justification for my
shameful tantrums.

It all began after dinner today; I had spent the morning in much the
same fashion as I had the previous one, and was feeling rather
disagreeable from the outset. I cannot explain why, but it really is
a most horrible way to be in and I found myself wanting to snap at
everyone and everything without having the slightest provocation or
reason for doing so. It was a remark made by Caroline however that
caused me to display such an unladylike fit of temper, and however
much it may cause me shame to remember it, I feel duty bound to
record it here in order that I may remind myself in days to come of
how foolishly I am behaving.

"I expect you will be glad to return home at the end of the week,
will you not Ginny?" she enquired pleasantly half way through dinner.
I paused, my fork half raised as I took in the full meaning of what
she was saying.

"I - I had not realised it was so soon," I managed at last, frowning.
And indeed I had not. The time I had spent in the City seemed to have
only just begun, when in reality I have been here for almost three
weeks now. The agreement had been that I would stay until the middle
of the month, and, it being almost that now, it was only right that I
should leave soon. I had known the length of my visit from the start,
but somehow, now faced with the prospect of returning to the dull
monotony of life at home, I did not think I could stand it. Whilst
all of this was going through my mind, Caroline continued to talk,
having evidently not noticed that I was far from happy with the turn
of conversation.

"It will be good to see your Mother again I am sure," she was saying
as I forced myself to focus on her words through my inner
distress, "I know I always hated to be away from home for long, I got
so frightfully homesick, even after a couple of nights - "

"I do not get homesick and I most certainly do not want to see my
Mother!" I snapped suddenly, cutting short what had become nothing
but an irritation to my already fraught nerves. My unexpected
outburst was met with astonishment from both William and Caroline,
the quick glance exchanged between them not escaping my attention and
annoying me still further.

"Ginny, I really do not think - " William began, clearly having decided
that it was his duty as my brother to intervene at that point.

"I do not care what you think! And I especially do not wish to hear
it if it is anything that concerns my leaving here and returning
home!" I exclaimed, horrified as I felt the first sting of
tears. "Excuse me," I added, quickly pushing my chair away from the
table as I stood, almost upsetting the dishes in my haste to get away
from it all. I tried to keep in control of myself until I could reach
my own room, but I had hardly taken two steps before the tears
started to fall and by the time my hand closed around the door handle
I was sobbing loud enough for all to hear me. I somehow managed to
get to my room, flung myself down upon my bed and just cried for what
must have been almost an hour until I lay exhausted in a sniffling
tearful mess.

I cannot explain this. I do not know why, but I feel so miserable; I
cannot even entertain the thought of going home without wanting to
scream and shout in the most horrible fashion imaginable, although
there is no real reason that I can identify as a cause of this sudden
aversion to that which I have always managed to at least tolerate in
the past. I do not want to leave here; I love my brother dearly, and
have become almost as equally fond of his wife during my stay here. I
shall miss this house and Marie and Mrs. Warner and everything that I
have come to know and love here. Oh and worst of all, Archie is meant
to call and now he will not be able to as I will not be here, and if
he attempted to call on me at home it would be completely hopeless as
Mother would surely send him away and I will never see him again as
it will be just forever until I am allowed to the city again and now
I am crying again and must stop before I smudge the ink on the rest
of this infernal entry

 

13th March, 1792

I have had to force myself not to tear yesterday's entire entry into
shreds as I write this, so absurd does it seem to me now given all
that has happened this morning. All is well, I am to stay here a
while longer and not only that, I have received another note from
Archie and all in all I am about as joyful today as I was miserable
yesterday. Oh this makes no sense, but I am so cheered by this news
that I cannot think straight, much less write. I will try to though,
as I feel I simply must record what took place this morning to make
me so blissfully happy.

I slept hardly at all last night after my outburst, feeling so
desperately unhappy that I could do nothing but lay staring at the
ceiling as each hour dragged by, feeling as if they were centuries in
their passing. I could not stop thinking, turning each and every idea
that I could find that would mean I could stay over in my mind, until
I thought I would go mad with it. I even briefly considered running
away in order to avoid having to return home, but I quickly dismissed
it for the foolishness that it was. I had no money, nowhere to go;
and besides, if I took flight now it would still mean leaving
William's, the very thing that was the main reason for my not wanting
to go home. I would not be able to see Archie either, and would
doubtlessly soon be caught and returned which would only lead to yet
more tears and arguments without having achieved anything of the
slightest use. Eventually though my tired mind could put forward no
more plans to end my plight and I must have at last fallen into sleep
as the next thing I knew daylight was steaming through the curtains
that I had not bothered to draw the night before and it was morning.

I did not want to go down to breakfast and sent Mary away when she
tried to help me dress. It was very childish of me I know, but I
could not face the thought of having to see William and Caroline
after my unforgivable display last night, and I did not think I could
bear to see the reproach on their faces at my ingratitude towards
their kindness. So I remained in bed, attempting to read although I
did not make a great deal of progress as I kept having to read over
whole pages again because I had not taken the words in at all the
first time. After a while I soon gave up, letting the book fall to
the floor with a sigh. I could not sleep again and there was nothing
else that I could manage to concentrate on given the troubled state
of my mind, so there was little for me to do other than lie in bed
forever or get up and try to do something about the terrible
situation that I had created for myself. I was just in the process of
forcing myself out of bed when there was a knock at my door, and
after a moment, Caroline entered the room.

"How are you feeling this morning, Ginny?" she asked carefully,
watching me closely for signs that I might be about to launch into a
rage again. I looked down for a moment, far too embarrassed by my
recent behaviour to meet her gaze. I made myself look up again after
a moment though, needing desperately to apologise to her even though
it took a great deal of effort in order to do so.

"Caroline, please - forgive me for my terrible behaviour yesterday," I
told her quietly, my fingers picking restlessly at the hem of my
nightgown in my agitation. "It was most appalling, I really do not
know what came over me - I am sorry - ." I knew that my words were
insufficient in the face of my actions and also felt that they fell
far short of conveying what I meant to express, but I could do no
more now than wait and hope that Caroline would accept my rather
fumbling attempt at an apology. To my relief though she smiled,
moving after a moment to sit on the bed beside me.

"It was my fault as much as yours, Ginny," she told me, reaching out
to take my hand in hers. "I was insensitive towards a subject that
clearly upsets you, and for that I am sorry. But tell me - " she added,
her face filled with concern that only made me feel worse for how I
had treated her, "Does the thought of returning home really fill you
with such despair as you displayed last night?" I swallowed, refusing
to allow myself to give in to the tears that were once more
threatening to fall.

"I - I like it here - " I managed after a moment, feeling as I did so
like a child of nine again. "I feel at home with you and William and
I don't want to leave - everyone who I have met during my stay - ."
Caroline was silent for a moment, thinking over what I had said.

"Perhaps then it might be possible to extend the length of you visit
to a little longer - " she said slowly. "You Mother would have to
consent to it of course, but William and I have discussed the matter
and would hate the thought of you returning home in so unhappy a
state as you are now in - " I stared at her as I tried to take in what
she was saying, my hand grasping hers tightly in my excitement.

"Do you mean it? I can stay?" I almost whispered, unable to quite
believe what I was hearing.

"If your Mother is in agreement, I can see no reason why you should
not," she replied with a smile. "And I am sure that William will be
able to convince her that it is in your best interests to remain here
for the time being - "

"Thank you!" I exclaimed, cutting her words short as in a rather
uncharacteristic display of affection I threw my arms around her. I
was just so happy that I could not help myself, although I believe
she was more surprised and pleased rather than offended.

"I will go and tell William to write home immediately," she laughed,
standing as she did so. "Oh, and I almost forgot," she added as she
reached the door. "This was delivered here this morning for you, by
a `handsome young gentleman' according to Mary, created quite a
flutter among the maids apparently - " I took the paper eagerly from
her, unable to keep from smiling when I instantly recognised the
familiar handwriting on the front of it.

"Pleasant reading, Ginny," she told me, closing the door behind her.
I quickly opened the note, reading it quickly before going back over
it more slowly in order to take in the words.

Ginny,

Forgive me for not writing sooner, but family business unexpectedly
called me away for a few days and I have only just this morning
returned. I hope to find you still in the City and ask if I may have
the pleasure of calling upon you on Friday morning? The weather
promises to be quite delightful and I thought that perhaps a pleasant
stroll in the sunshine might be to your liking.

Please pass on my respects to your brother and Mrs. Dewhurst, and I
pray that they and yourself are well and in good health.

Your obedient servant,
Archie

He wants to see me. And for some reason that I cannot explain even to
myself, that makes me feel as if I am the happiest girl in the world.
I wrote a reply just after lunch to accept his request, making myself
wait a few hours after having received it so as not to appear too
eager in my response, even though I really wanted to send a note the
instant that I had read his. I am acting so completely unlike myself
lately and I cannot explain it at all, but I do not think it is
possible to stop so will not allow myself to worry overmuch about it.
William has agreed to my staying and I am sure that Mother will be
only too happy to accept his request, as she agrees to everything
that he puts before her. I would usually resent any further evidence
of the favouritism that she so clearly lavishes upon my brother, but
this time I can only be thankful for it as it means that I am able to
stay here. I must stop now, I am making not a word of sense, but am
too happy to care!