March 27, 1896 - Penelope Sumter's Diary

For once I suffered through a normal Thursday. I have become so accustomed to my renamed days of the week I had nearly forgotten what a normal week was like. I was slightly sad not to be able to return home for Easter, but the Carrington’s made it as painless as possible. The twenty dollars father sent in the post helped as well.

I went on a shopping spree this week. There was little better to do as most of the boys from Brown are as absent as the girls from Primrose. I did however cross paths again with Jonathon. I believe he has come under the impression, Elizabeth and I are best friends. While I share a room with her and have no dislike of her at all, we are not especially close. Our shared outing to the billiard room not withstanding, we have socialized very little in our months together.

I suppose it is the frequent rides to and from school we take in company of each other which has led to the false assumption. The coincidence is easily explained as our year of class is identical and our parents enrolled us in nearly an identical curriculum. Undoubtedly, a result of fatherly pride in demonstrating we are intelligent as well as attractive and available. Elizabeth would be even more so if she would use a mirror in the mornings.

I do believe we may have even more in common than the surface reveals. I have little doubt Elizabeth is hiding her thirst for knowledge from her family as I hide my own from everyone. She is brave to openly display her intellectual interest at school. I worry constantly my father will discover I enjoy being at college for more than the opportunity to marry well. I do sense she is hiding something from the rest of us at Primrose as well though.

I saw her open a letter from home on Friday. Her reaction led me to look for the letter later. By her facial expression and the tears welled in her eyes, I was certain she had received most horrible news. When alone in our room I quickly searched for it and came up with only ashes. Whatever, the letter contained is known only to Elizabeth for I am certain what she shared as contents at dinner was as false as my Remington.

But, I was talking about Jonathon and Elizabeth before I segued into Elizabeth and I. Jonathon is one of those proper gentlemen. He feels he must court from a distance and avoid making his feeling to well known. A silly custom if you ask me but he did not. He walked with me for several blocks in Providence yesterday. If there was anything I knew about Elizabeth I failed to tell him it was not for a lack of thoroughness on his part. More likely it was a result of faulty attention on my part. How could he possibly expect me to focus on Elizabeth whilst shopping?

I did at one juncture, comment on his antique ideas of courtship.

“You are aware Elizabeth is reserved are you not?”

“I am.”

“Then surely you are aware your aloofness will be interpreted as disinterest?”

“I have refrained from commenting on your frivolous frolicking, I would appreciate a similar courtesy from you in regards to my courting of your friend.”

I laughed. Jonathon can be so prickly. He frowned.

“Forget I mentioned it.” I said at last and handed him another pair of shoes to hold for me.

Two pairs of shoes and four dresses later Jonathon left me at the steps of Carrington Manor. I feel sorry for him. He is clearly more lost than a puppy in matters of love. If I have the opportunity I must let Elizabeth know just how turned Jonathon’s head is toward her. Perhaps such news will brighten her spirits.

Speaking of spirits, Edith has been acting strange since Good Friday. I have caught her staring at me several time. She seems jittery and nervous. If she were me, I would say she was expecting to be caught for some indiscretion at any moment. Thankfully, she is not me.

Edith is a strange one on a normal day. She socializes with the Carrington’s as though they were family. For as much as I know about her personally they might be. She gives off an air of superiority most days. I find it annoying as I am quite certain her social standing is somewhere around my family maid’s. Most days I ignore her as such.

Her sudden interest in me brings a feeling of dread. I cannot say exactly why but I do not believe her intentions are favorable. I wonder if she has discovered my late night studying or perhaps she has read from my journal? Edith may seem sweet and innocent to most but I see her for the shark she is. Given the opportunity to climb the social ladder, I have no doubt there is little to which she will not resort.

I have noticed her attempts to sequester me alone in the house. Thus far, I have avoided her gracefully. I am quite certain her attempts are a clear sign she wishes to blackmail me in some manner. To openly discuss whatever it is she has learned would clearly negate her advantage. I have decided already that whatever it is she wishes, she will not receive. I would rather face Mrs. Carrington or my father or both than let her win at treachery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy these strong female personalities, preparing for what seems bound to be the inevitable catfight. Sharpen those claws and bring on that denouement!
Mr R Fane