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Alicia’s Diary
by [?]

I fain would have gone with my father to escape the irksome anxiety of awaiting her; but somebody had to stay, and I could best be spared. George has driven him to the station to meet the last train by which he will catch the midnight boat, and reach Havre some time in the morning. He hates the sea, and a night passage in particular. I hope he will get there without mishap of any kind; but I feel anxious for him, stay-at- home as he is, and unable to cope with any difficulty. Such an errand, too; the journey will be sad enough at best. I almost think I ought to have been the one to go to her.

August 21.–I nearly fell asleep of heaviness of spirit last night over my writing. My father must have reached Paris by this time; and now here comes a letter . . .

Later.–The letter was to express an earnest hope that my father had set out. My poor mother is sinking, they fear. What will become of Caroline? O, how I wish I could see mother; why could not both have gone?

Later.–I get up from my chair, and walk from window to window, and then come and write a line. I cannot even divine how poor Caroline’s marriage is to be carried out if mother dies. I pray that father may have got there in time to talk to her and receive some directions from her about Caroline and M. de la Feste–a man whom neither my father nor I have seen. I, who might be useful in this emergency, am doomed to stay here, waiting in suspense.

August 23.–A letter from my father containing the sad news that my mother’s spirit has flown. Poor little Caroline is heart-broken–she was always more my mother’s pet than I was. It is some comfort to know that my father arrived in time to hear from her own lips her strongly expressed wish that Caroline’s marriage should be solemnized as soon as possible. M. de la Feste seems to have been a great favourite of my dear mother’s; and I suppose it now becomes almost a sacred duty of my father to accept him as a son-in-law without criticism.


September 10.–I have inserted nothing in my diary for more than a fortnight. Events have been altogether too sad for me to have the spirit to put them on paper. And yet there comes a time when the act of recording one’s trouble is recognized as a welcome method of dwelling upon it . . .

My dear mother has been brought home and buried here in the parish. It was not so much her own wish that this should be done as my father’s, who particularly desired that she should lie in the family vault beside his first wife. I saw them side by side before the vault was closed–two women beloved by one man. As I stood, and Caroline by my side, I fell into a sort of dream, and had an odd fancy that Caroline and I might be also beloved of one, and lie like these together–an impossibility, of course, being sisters. When I awoke from my reverie Caroline took my hand and said it was time to leave.

September 14.–The wedding is indefinitely postponed. Caroline is like a girl awakening in the middle of a somnambulistic experience, and does not realize where she is, or how she stands. She walks about silently, and I cannot tell her thoughts, as I used to do. It was her own doing to write to M. de la Feste and tell him that the wedding could not possibly take place this autumn as originally planned. There is something depressing in this long postponement if she is to marry him at all; and yet I do not see how it could be avoided.