March 11, 1896 - Charles Birchwood's Diary

I received good news in the post today. Although it was raining all day, I cannot help but feel the sun has finally come out. Months ago I interviewed with the board of Primrose College in Providence, Rhode Island. Having heard nothing in the interim I concluded it had been yet another wasted trip. That was until today's post.

The letter formally offered me a tentative appointment to the college's esteemed position as head of the music department. As soon as I was back at my desk I wrote my reply graciously accepting the position and confirming my summer arrival to begin preparations for the new school term. My letter of resignation to the St. Francis Music Academy (for the tone deaf) was hastily written and noticeably lacking in grace. I felt my step lighter and my mood decidedly brighter as I made my way home in the cold rain.

Sadly my good mood didn’t last long upon returning home. The children were pleased to see me as usual and Caroline was once again sour faced and grumpy. I had not intended to let her mood tarnish my own but she has a singular way of spreading her misery.

Settling down to dinner, we were treated to her now infamous split pea soup for the 8th time this month. A splendid addition was the freshly baked corn bread of last week. The moans from my children as supper was placed in front of them was heartbreaking.

Whilst the children cleared away the remains of dinner for another day, I decided the timing was sufficiently inappropriate to inform my loving wife of my new position. Imagine my surprise when instead of elation she responded with venom. Oh how I enjoy a solidly illogical debate on the merits of a new teaching position paying more money based on the lack of money paid by my now obsolete position.

“A $1.50 more a week? We might afford carrots for the soup!” Caroline said excitedly.

“We might afford more than that if you managed the grocery budget half as well as your wardrobe.” I replied.

“Would you rather I walked around naked?”

“It would certainly improve my mood.”

“You have some nerve, Charles. This is not about me and you know it. Every time I get the children settled into a new home you come right along with another move into a better opportunity. Only the better opportunity never is better than the last one. We are still poor, we will always be poor. You are a miserable failure of a man. I wish to God I had listened to my father and never married you.”

“That’s at least one thing we can agree on!” I left the room.

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