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Diary of Remember Allerton

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Sunday, 21 August
1633 In the Year of Our Lord
Dear Diary-

As I write to you I lay at the base of a magnificent apple tree, planted this summer past by the brothers Thompson; a truly beautiful work of our Lord’s hands. It has bloomed rather slowly over the passing year, ‘tis true, but its flowers have come forth at last in sufficient course to regale us with their vivaciousness. How I yearn for such color and fragrance to fill my days; a welcome change twould it be, indeed.

I should not utter such complaints, diary, but surely to you at least I may speak my mind. On e simply cannot go on for such lengths of time without once relieving her heart of the burden it bears. Indeed, I have so little leisure in which to pen my thoughts to you, I fain could bear it should I have delayed any longer. My days are brimming over with chores and errands to be run. Summer tide is ending; the days of warmth and glorious sunshine are slowly coming to a close, whilst the time for winter fast approaches- and with it, something that I fear most inexorably.

For the last five years I have been betrothed to a gentleman called Mr. Moses Maverick. We were promised when I was young and our families both resided at Loxley, England. Although I was ignorant of it till I became a young woman, our families’ union has always been expected. My thirteenth year Mother began preparing a trousseau for my wedding day, full of fine linens, silks, lace- all beautiful things she told me were from England. How I love to see them all, sparkling white and glistening, like the snow on a clear winter’s eve when the full moon shines. I love it- and yet I fear it. I fear the opening of that trunk as I fear little else, for the day approaches when it shall open at last, and upon its closing it shall lock within it every remaining shred of my dreams, my loves, my- illusions! Call them what you will, they are a part of me; and sinful or not I can scarcely bear to give them up.

This man, this Moses of Maverick- I have never met him. Who is he? I know not who he is, nor does anyone else in Plymouth, I daresay. He currently abides in England, working to furbish a home for me, as he says, or so say his letters. Twill be a lovely home, the likes of which Plymouth has never seen, he boasts. Yea, a home, I think, but nor mine. For how can a woman call a house her own if she is never permitted to live in it? She has been bought with it, purchased as a horse and carriage are sold together that they might fetch a higher price. If a man builds a house, he is thought to be estimable and wise; if he also possesses a wife, he is hailed wealthy and blessed among men- but a woman? A woman is counted fortunate if she chances to find a man who fancies her.

Nay, I do not wish to be an old maid. I like not the harrowing image of being left alone to care for my parents until they have been sent heavenward. But I say- and there does yet within me rise a protest- but is it truly so much to ask that I not be pressed- nay, forced into a marital agreement without so much as a “by your leave”?

I am not to be here, now, penning such blasphemous thoughts in this journal. Were Father to catch a hold of this little black book, he would surely consign it to the flames, for it rebels strongly against his ideas of God’s consecrated design for man and woman. And yet I think in my secret heart that if he were to search for any length of time in our small settlement, he would discover several women whose sentiments share similar notes of incredulity that we are made to endure such customs as these. However, I daresay in contrast he could find as many girls who would rather relegate their own words to the fire before deigning to confess any of them aloud.

And so, diary, does my soliloquy end. The sky begins to dim; dusk is creeping upon the hills beyond. I cannot stay longer; Mother will miss me at the house, even if Mary has not already reported on my absence. I long to linger just a moment more; perhaps I too might vanish like the rays of the sun into the night, reappearing as a brilliant speck of infinitesimal light in the never-ending sky.



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