March 31, 1896 - Elizabeth Basset's Diary

Saturday afternoon the train arrived. The dormitory has been so peaceful for the last week with most of the girls away. Within an hour of the train arriving, the dormitory was a madhouse. Everyone seemed to have their little piece of good news from home. Everyone except those of us who stayed behind.

I tried to stay and listen whilst giving supportive smiles. I was wholly unable to share in the enthusiasm and after a half hour, I had to leave. I walked toward the city with no better place to go in mind. Before I realized what I was doing, I was inside the tavern Penelope and I had snuck off to so that I might learn to play billiards.

“I remember you.” A friendly male voice said.

I turned around to face the speaker and saw it was the tall, slender man who had been so instrumental in my billiard lessons.

“Hello again.” I smiled.

“Back for more billiards or were you looking for something different today?”

“I believe it’s my turn to break.” I answered.

He smiled. We walked over to one of the tables and he began setting up the balls while I chose a cue stick from the rack on the wall. A waitress came over to him.

“Want a thing to drink, darling?” He asked me.

“A tall glass of beer is sounding tempting.” I winked at him.

“Make that two tall glasses.” He said to the waitress and she scurried off.

He finished arranging the balls to his satisfaction and gestured for me to break. I positioned myself at the end of the table and started to take aim although I am fairly confident luck plays a larger role in a successful break than aim.

“It occurs to me I don’t know your name. Mine’s Stanley.”

I looked up at him from where I was leaning over the table. I considered for a moment whether to tell him my name or not. He appeared to read my mind.

Hey, it’s fine with me if you want to remain anonymous. I’ll just call ya Darlin'.”

His easy going manner set me at ease. I laughed a little and smiled again.

“You can call me E.B.”

"E.B. Hmmm. I like it."

Stanley kept the beers coming while we played. By the time we started our third game, I was drunk. Stanley was still going strong and he kept my glass full. By the time we started our fifth I could barely stand and Stanley was helping me take my shots. I may have technically been there but Stanley was really playing with himself by then.

He kept the beer coming and I did not have the good sense to stop on my own. I cannot remember if there was a sixth game or not.

The next thing I remember was a fight. I have an awful feeling it was over me. Stanley and Jonathon were squared off. I knew the situation was far from funny but I laughed anyway. The two boys wrestling, swinging fists and shouting confused words whilst red faced tickled me to no end.

Somehow Stanley ended up face down on the billiard table. I remember wondering if he was as sleepy as I was. I decided I would crawl up on the table and nap with him. I have no idea why I wanted to do that but I did. Fortunately, Jonathon stopped me. He picked me up, threw me over his shoulder, and walked us out of there.

The world went black.

I awoke Sunday morning in my bed. The ringing of the morning bell was a whisper compared to the ringing in my head. I sat up too quickly and the room did a complete turn in both directions at the same time. I barely got hold of the bowl under my bed before I retched.

My roommates decided to say nothing to me. I suppose there was really little to say. I was mostly curious how I ended up in my bed but I had a sinking feeling I really did not want to know yet.

Breakfast was the last thing I wanted but I arrived on time and neatly dressed for church. Whatever had happened the night before must have been secret from most of the girls because none of them were treating me any different than normal. Even Mrs. Carrington was smiling and carrying on like nothing had happened. If I had not been feeling sick I might have passed the whole thing off as a vivid dream.

After church though my memory of events was affirmed when Jonathon approached me.

“Are you all right?” He asked, offering his arm.

I took his arm and began walking with him.

“Yes. I think I owe you my thanks.”

“You do.”

The abrupt response caught my attention and I would have let go of his arm but he had a firm grip on mine and it would have been of little use.

“Thank you.” I said as sweetly as I could manage.

“Do you have any idea how dangerous that was?”


I turned my head to look him in the eye. He stopped walking.

“Then perhaps you would care to explain yourself?”

"No, I would not.”

He stared back at me. I think he wanted to strike me. He thought better of it though and released his hold on my arm.

“You were lucky this time, Elizabeth. I would be most unhappy if harm were to befall you.”

“Do you think I am an idiot?”

“Of course not. Why would you even ask such a thing?”

“How can you stand there and act as though you care about me?”

“I do care about you. I care about you more than I should.”

“I saw you with Penelope.”


“Do you deny it?”

“I may have been with her but it is not what you think.”

“Save your lies for someone who might believe them.”

I turned and walked quickly away. I could feel tears coming and I could not bear for him to know he had made me cry.

Thinking back on it today, I feel I was to harsh with Jonathon. I was angry because I felt betrayed by him when I saw him with Penelope. In truth I have no cause for anger. He is not courting me and has every right to court whomever he wishes.

He did rescue me from an awful situation and somehow managed to sneak me into Carrington Manor without drawing undue attention. Perhaps I should seek him out and apologize. If only I knew what to say.

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