Esther, Wednesday 22nd January 1851

Wednesday 22nd January

Lambert Place

My chamber


Mr Samuel Brockwood: young, handsome and undeniably charming. Irresistibly, ought I to say? Why, not at all… I was merely using his charm as a weapon: a weapon for renown and therefore for remark.

Oh, do not think me evil and wild! I cannot be the only villain, for he was using me, too, in a similar way. I noticed how he led me always to the North corner of the ballroom, whenever the dance permitted wandering, for Miss Priscilla Greening-Clarke was standing there with her brother. In turn I know he saw me glance over his shoulder, this way and that, till I had noted the presence and position of my own quarry—and oft did I check his pose after that. No; Mr Samuel Brockwood is of little interest to me.

He is a kind enough man, but little more than a lad. He is frivolous and opportune, as young men are apt to be, and has no intention of marriage till he is at least twenty-five. Young men will woo and laugh and drink; settling is the never-ending nightmare to a man such as Mr Samuel Brockwood.

I prefer a man who can think and dream to wholehearted avail…

Oh, and Mr Brockwood does brag so! As in a circle of children, there is always one who will voice a personal—and yet most impersonal!—anecdote at each and every idle remark, however dry. There the child, like a lizard with the thickest scales, induces for himself all the interest and glory of the discussion. Thus care is detracted from that matter with honest importance which was first bravely divulged, and in the thwarted are inspired feelings of insignificance.

‘Tis a technique of thoughtless conceit; and one which Mr Brockwood delights to employ.

Samuel Brockwood: not man enough for I! Yet if only it were so that I could pick and choose as I will…

I believe Elizabeth may be jealous of my flirting! Why she does not find a partner, I surely don’t know. If she asked me, of course, I would be quite delighted to give her tips on how to make a man ask one to dance, but she merely gives me sour stares from across the ballroom, and those I disdain to heed. I do pity her, trailing after Mother like that.

I worry about Abbie yet more. She must be even more jealous still—and not because she isn’t practiced at coquette. Oh, no! Because she’s only thirteen, and is not permitted to come to parties, nor balls, nor flirt with any men at all! Elizabeth and I will have seen it all before she’s allowed to meet eyes with a man of marriageable circumstance. I don’t blame her; if I were not the eldest I would begrudge the same.

I wonder if Elizabeth would take Mr Samuel Brockwood off my hands next time we meet him. He’s a rich creature, for sure—whatever she looks for in a partner, wealth must always be fundamental.

Oh, how I giggle when I recall how she glared at us! She knows only too well I have no thought of Mr Brockwood, however many times I may batter my eyelashes and flatter his talk.

Our birthday approaches…

The End

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