At the tea table

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Lord C's bedroom

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July 7th, 1763

I should have thought, that I couldn't hide anything from Harriet no matter how hard I tried. She knew immediately that something had happened in the garden. When Lord C left me at the Sweet William bushes, I was completely overwhelmed by his words. All Harriet had predicted was true. But I couldn't make sense of it. I went back to the house and run into my friend. She took me into my sitting room upstairs. There I retold her his words and Harriet smiled knowingly. We went to our rooms to change and met again to go to the dining parlour (since the second day the Osbertons stayed at Leyland, we decided that the dining room on the first floor was too formal for our small party and we then had our meals in the small parlour downstairs, where Lord c and I usually had breakfast.) the gentlemen weren't yet there and I got more and more nervous to see the man again, who nearly confessed his love to me. Harriet had no advice for me though; the hint to trust on 'what my feelings told me was right' was not really constructive. Then they came, Clive smiling affectionately at Harriet and courtly kissing her hand. Lord C doing the same, but holding my hand a bit longer and tighter than usual; as if to corroborate his words from/of (?) this afternoon.
Mr O took my hand and Lord C took Harriet's and the gentlemen lead us to our seats at the table. It was a very quiet dinner, as only the men spoke and the conversation mostly circulated around crop prices, land holders etc etc. Harriet flashed glances at me once in a while, but how could I have interjected anything into our husbands dialogue!? - After dinner I took refuge at the harp, my friend had no other choice as to continue her needlework and the men were either listening or talking to each other...
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July 6th, 1763

All of a sudden, Lord C decided to make my life with him more uneasy than before. I was in the garden with Harriet, for once not having to think or talk of this messed up alliance. Harriet was asked to see Mr O in the library and went away, while I kept tending to the flowers we actually wanted to gather for the dinner table. She wasn't gone for a moment when he came around a corner clearing his throat. Though it was very low I startled. He immediately apologised, but still came forward to stand close to me. Too close for my taste anyway...

"My lady, don't think me inhospitably, when I tell you that I am a little overstrained with your friends visit. Of course I won't send them away. I even like them very much and look forward to see them again any time." < I tried to interject something, which instantaneous slipped my mind, when came even closer and said > "But please, do not misunderstand me! I am very fond of them. < pause > "As I am of you and your being here... with me. Watching the Osbertons and seeing my friend Littledale enter such a happy union, is making me furious with me not to be able to give you the same; as I respect and esteem you so very much. < pause > "I am at a loss what I did wrong and what I should do to make your life with me more agreeable to you. I am here to ask you for your help, because I am desperate for you."

His pleading eyes nearly tore my heart apart, but at the same moment, that I wanted to give him everything he needed to be happier, I couldn't bring myself to speak a syllable. He knelt down and kissed my hand, lingered very long in that position, not giving it free. - I don't know if it was sort of salvation for me, but before I even could find anything to respond, someone called for Lord C to come somewhere. While my face was deep red and hot, my hands were cold as ice and he squeezed it in his hand before he stood and walked away - not looking at me.
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July 5th, 1763

Harriet is the most wonderful person I can imagine. She was in love with Miss Bentham from the first minute. Though I told her in my letters about her and she pledged she already knew her like a sister, the got along like they've known each other for years. I know Harriet to be someone finding friends very easily, but surely it is also Miss Bentham who cannot but be liked by everyone who meets her.
Miss Bentham came to call upon us and was determined to see another lady today as well, but we imprisoned her with us, making the sudden rain a very profitable excuse to keep her with us.
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July 4th, 1763

Harriets first week at Leyland is already over and I began to fear her taking leave for Wortham. The wedding at Littledale was a very fine one and impressing to both of us. Harriet had a very small wedding and of mine I won't like to think of. We didn't talk about any of it in the carriage on our way home yesterday. But when we were alone in my room to change and rest a bit, she immediately came upon the topic. Of course the Littledales wanted to show off. But what got on my nerves was the all over satisfaction; one both sides. It reminded me on my parents oh so urgent wish to see me tied to Lord C and gone.
Harriet told me to open up to him, to accept the fact that I am married after all and that, no matter what I think about it, Lord C seems to feel something for me.
- I couldn't argue with that. It is a fact nonetheless. I am just not getting why. Is he sort of masochistic in getting hurt by his wife all the time!?
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July 3rd, 1763

Today was the wedding at Littledale and I was more than surprised to see, that Lord C would be the groom's man of honour. I didn't expect this, though I should have had... The wedding breakfast was as fine as anyone could expect it to be, for the Littledales are very very wealthy. I didn't press any information of how much, but I daresay, they have about 15,000 a year...
The bride was more than lovely, the young Littledale even seemed to have cried a little. Their respective parents were very moved, her mother really crying as my mother did at my wedding. (Though I cannot imagine why! I should have been the one sobbing.) Lord C, next to the bridegroom, looked very handsome and maybe a little moved himself. - He didn't look at me for the whole event and only took my hand, when we went to the meal and later to our carriages. We haven't talked a single word since we're home.
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July 2nd, 1763

Today we had a picnic in the park. Only the young people. It was a welcome distraction of Mrs. Littledales babbling about the difficulty in finding trustworthy servants, how perplexing and time consuming a task it would be and that she was worrying about her future daughter-in-laws capacity in having her servants' appearance, behaviour and language reflect the image of her family for which she needed years to establish. For my part, I was wondering that this woman, though kind and amiable she was towards us guests, was doing anything else than what the usual genteel lady was supposed to do: arranging flowers, doing fancy needlework (we had quite a show the first evening we stayed here), distilling flower essences and making special confections.

She seemed to have given up all housewifely duties to her housekeeper. I could only perceive that competent woman running about and directing every body to their task and not Mrs. L, who had never even rose a finger since we're here. Not that I'm the picture of a wife, but I have no son to marry off...
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July 1st, 1763

Today was a day full of activity. The Littledales buzzing like bees to get everything done for the wedding. The bride busy with being nervous, the groom even more of that. Harriet and I stole ourselves away into the park to talk and have a little peace. The other men went riding and some I think fishing... The bride's father priding himself to have his last daughter married so well and the groom's father wishing all the trouble to be over with.

I stayed in my room all morning, not wishing to see anyone, neither Harriet nor her Clive. I am sort of sick of all this love around me. It's not even my friend, but also Lord C's friends and the newly-weds to-be. All this happiness about the wedding. It makes me envious on one hand, because I didn't feel that way when I got married, and furious with myself on the other hand, because I am not the wife my husband deserves. I could see him eyeing his friends at last nights ball and how contented the young Littledale seemed to be.
Still the whole time he was very gracious and not a soul would think him unhappy. Nor me. As it is usually uncommon to show marital felicity, we are not supposed to radiate happiness.
For the young couple here it is a love match, their families very modern and not opposed to see them flirting and though Harriet and Clive don't show their mutual love for each other like the bride and groom do, it is plainly visible how they feel. I wonder if Lord Cs friends asked him about how he likes to be married. (Harriet told me, that one is not truly married after all, when there wasn't a wedding night... - So THIS is still to come.)
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A wonderful Christmas to all!

Happy Christmas to all you readers of this diary
and to all who stumbled upon it...!

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July 1st, 1763, morning part 3

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July 1st, 1763, morning part 2

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