Sunday, October 28, 2007

It was not my intent, when I first made the acquaintance of Mr. Abel, to pay him any particular notice.

He had much to recommend him as a friend: an infectiously cheerful, friendly demeanor, a willingness to dance wherever music or room could be found (and perhaps with only one of these two necessities), and an ability to render me lightheaded with laughter at his writing.

It seemed a happy thing in itself to have such a friend, and I did not wish for anything more, or regret the circumstances which removed the possibility of more. Even laying everything aside, which I never could have done, he seemed at the time to be... dare I acknowledge, not the sort of man to inspire those sorts of feelings in me? We met infrequently, though I had occasion once or twice to be gladder for the comfort of his presence than I could explain. Sometimes one kind word from someone not an utter stranger is enough, and Mr. Abel has nothing but kind words, it seems... I didn't feel so presumptuous asking him.

How peculiarly difficult it is to write this evening! The words don't want to come, but beg me to let them rest where they lie, unspoken and safe from all threat of being misused or regretted. I suppose this means I fear the risk of saying nothing more than the risk of speaking. If he weren't so patient...

Recently- and can I really mean by that vague word only the last few weeks? It feels ages longer- but only recently did he begin to seek my company more. No one else was claiming it any longer, and so I wondered what could be the danger? None to him, anyway. I enjoyed what friendship was given, and gave thanks for it, treating the idea of an exchange of affections as the impossibility it seemed. It was pleasant to dance and flirt and laugh and not, for a little while, care so much about whether I was cared for.

But it happened that the impossible became possible. We've spoken very little as to how, in part because I fear to ask. The timing of it all tries my belief in coincidences, but it was explained as though it were a decision made before the question of my interest was even raised... and that suffices because I want it to. If I found it were otherwise, I'm not sure what I'd do.

So it happens that I find myself, unexpectedly... happy? Lord help me. Let me not wake up and find there's been a mistake, that this gift was addressed to me in error. I don't want to give it back.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My association (I cannot properly call it courtship, for it never really was) with Mr. Gryffin Hax is finished. Before it ever had a chance to actually begin, and perhaps I should be glad for that- at least, that is how I intend to view it, once the hurt has subsided. Cautiousness has its uses. At least I can be perfectly confident that I have given him no injury. It's strange, I had thought there was something worth pursuing... but he didn't. And that, apparently, is that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I happily interrupt declension of the past imperfect for matters more current- namely, the rather unfortunate mistake I've made in assuring the representative of the Imperial Navy of Caledon that Middlesea had no plans to form an independent fleet. It is in fact the heart of the error, rather than the excuse, to say that I did not know about it. While I had effectively turned over decisions on those matters to another, it always remained my responsibility to stay properly informed, and I have grown shamefully lax. I have offered my apologies to Commodore Trenton, who first approached me on the matter, and am prepared to do so for the others, if it should be necessary. The fault is entirely upon me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

What delight to discover in the Friday post an invitation from the Dowager Lady Soliel Snook and Commodore Sputnik to take tea with the appointed chaperones of the Caledon Season- and what immediate disappointment when I realized I would not be able to attend. Not even in Caledon, by the time the appointed hour came around, and so there was little point in regretting. I did hurry back for the introductory ball yesterday afternoon, arriving, despite my best efforts, a little worse than halfway through. The anxiety of locating and fitting a suitable dress really did turn out to be wasted, for I stayed no more than half an hour in the hall itself. I could hardly tell you why. After I had bid everyone good evening, and made some halfhearted attempt at conversation with a few similarly unoccupied guests, I found myself gripped by a curious lack of feeling. Like boredom, but without any logical source- more as if I could not engage myself with what was happening around me. Irritated at myself and not a little uncomfortable in my debutante's gown, I curtsied my way through the crowd and slipped out.
Fortunately for me, her Grace of Carntaigh has some very fine trees. I slipped off my shoes and clambered up. The apples were not quite ripe, so I did not disturb them, but I'm not sure I can say the same for the squirrels.

The windows of the hall were partly ajar, I think, to admit fresh air, and through them I kept time with the orchestra and with the conversation of the dancers, the pleasant rumble punctuated frequently with a giggle or an exclamation from one of the girls in response to some inaudible remark. I began to wonder rather seriously whether I were not being foolish to think that I ought to join them, not merely that night, but every night of the Season. Their Graces were, as ladies will be, gracious enough to accept me despite my warning them of my unsuitability. If I do not go forward, what options are there for me? I'm not mature or experienced or accomplished enough to serve as a Caledon hostess, and would rather forgo society altogether than hover anonymously upon the outskirts of it as if I were afraid. That is one thing, thank Heaven, I am not.
And still, this ridiculous hesitation... but I seem to be hesitating in every area just now, not merely this. So many things lie so near at hand that I can almost feel them brushing against my fingertips, but I demur, ready yet reluctant to grasp them. I know nothing waits forever, and still...
My back and other places were growing quite numb against the tree's hard limb by the time the music of the eleventh set began, but I waited, stubborn and unwilling to leave entirely until the other guests had said their goodnights to each other. I stopped to laugh at myself- and memory supplied the echo of another's laughter, which mingled strangely with mine until I remembered... six years old, on that last unclouded summer, and my mother sending my oldest brother to find and fetch me, which he always could better than anyone else. He knew as the others did not that I hid only for the delight of being found, and knowing it, how he teased me, standing beneath my tree and shaking its trunk (he was past sixteen and strong as a young giant) to hear me shriek with terror and delight. For our grandmother had arrived, accompanied by a veritable caravan of gifts- my sister's wedding was mere weeks off- a surprise arrival, and all I knew was that there would be company for dinner and I didn't wish to have my hair curled. "Little idiot," he called- such was his pet name for me because I willfully escaped our tutors and the classroom at every opportunity- "little idiot, come down from there. Don't you know you're only harming yourself?" Of course I didn't know; I seldom do. In the end he carried me down as I had intended. How much for granted did I take his patience, his strong arms, his caring, his very presence! How much I would exchange for the chance to hear his scolding now. Last night I climbed down by myself as the last of the orchestra's music died away, the three days of sleeplessness slamming into me as suddenly as if I'd lost my grip and fallen to the ground. My own reproaches will have to serve, however inadequately; grown up too soon, I believe in some ways I've failed to do so at all.