Saturday, 29 March 2014

A young lady's diary

If there was only one chance in a lifetime, one opportunity and the rest of life was a barren waste, what would we be?

And the end of each day I meticulously record my thoughts, feelings and dreams - it was a habit I adopted as a child and have been burdened with since. Many times I consider re-reading my own creations, but the time required to work my way through the accumulated dross of the years leaves me with little incentive.

This I do know: in all of my writings I reflect endlessly on the mistakes I have made as if it is to some purpose! What does it matter if I tripped whilst waltzing with one gentleman? What does a full record of the mortification and regret achieve? Should I ever peruse these volumes I shall doubtless be mortified again by accidents, mishaps and slips long forgotten but to what purpose?

These moments cannot be undone. They have happened once and forever. So why leave this lurking memory committed to paper for any to read now or at an indeterminate point in the future?

I have a fancy that I could read through and pinpoint the moment at which my mistake caused my life to fail and diverge from its proper path. In all these musings and meanderings there is a single moment, fractured and recorded for posterity that tells simply how I missed my one opportunity through my own mistake.

Perhaps I slipped and my head dipped in the crowd at the precise moment the love of my life would have seen me. He instead perceived a peer at the moment Cupid's dart penetrated his heart and that moment is the reason why a beautiful, wealthy and reputable female is still unwed after 18 months of parading herself around Almacks'.

More likely the one point of divergence in my life was so innocuous and banal that I haven't recorded it at all. I would happily wager my earrings that the moments of shame so faithfully described herein were written off by others as unimportant and yet I torment myself; where in fact the one thing that has caused sensation and gossip in my small life hasn't earned a spot on these pages.

Today I learned that my "dear friends" have been in earnest consultation for weeks as to whether they should or should not share with me the truth of my recent notoriety. I do not recall the moment they described, but the surrounding circumstances were recognizable. A month ago I tilted my fan towards Lord Marksham and have been commonly held to be attempting to entrap the gentleman.

Every time I enter a room, whether it contains the gentleman or not, all occupants are in earnest discussion and supposition of my feelings on the matter of his attendance and the encouragement I am given or denied by such an event.

Such a petty thing. Such a misunderstanding.

And such a legacy I have been left with.

My mother has suggested a return to the family seat. Perhaps that would be for the best. I am not overly enthused about remaining for the rest of the season and although several individuals would be deprived of the entertainment I have provided them, it may at least allow me the opportunity to recover my own composure before I am obliged to repeat my role as prima donna of the evening.