June 28, 1812

y days have been such a level of activity these past weeks I cannot even begin to properly describe them. I shall start with the evening gathering I last mentioned.

At the beginning I found myself incredibly out of place and awkward but dear Madeline, always so obliging with my rather pathetic public inadequacies, brought me around to each and every person there who I was not yet acquainted with an did not once leave my side. If she was called upon to dance she would immediately secure me a partner and position nearest to her. Due to this wonderful show of friendship and loyalty, I spent most of my evening on my feet and quite in a merry state.

Even more pleasing, the general approval and praise of my newest frock received put my spirits on their highest level though as the usual situation, I was no match for Madeline. She is by far, and always is, the loveliest of creatures in every regard, and this was no exception; floating about the dance floor in a gown of silk gauze in the palest of greens with ribbons of the richest gold silk. Her jet hair was adorned with pink silk flowers and the most delicate strings of pearls I had ever seen. I am of the opinion that every man in attendance fell madly in love with her the minute they laid eyes uponher.

Mr. Brennan looked his usual handsome and charming self. I previously though him unable to be more so, but was pleasantly proved otherwise. He even honored me with two dances, and was as graceful as I ever imagined him to be; and so polite and understanding of my inexperience.

However much I enjoyed myself, though, I was constantly plagued by a lingering shadow; Aunt Elizabeth was my chaperon, and trailed me like a hound, watching my every movement and hearing my every word. I scarcely had a moment's peace! Her behavior was very distracting, and I fear that she has confirmed her own suspicions in my affections of Mr. Brennan. She will find some way to shine an ill light to him if he is not to her liking, and my dear father, bless him, is perpetually at her mercy, and her hold over my dear mama no better. How Kathryn escaped her matchmaking devices remains a mystery to me still.

The sun finally broke through the prison of clouds over our humble home, and I am feeling in lighter spirits because of it. I have been able to restart my daily walks among our gardens again. I discovered a nest of ravens in our hedgerows just yesterday and am slowly gaining the trust of the lone parent. Mama more than once tried to dispose of them, claiming them to be an ill omen, but each time I have luckily usurped the servants and sent them off. I am hoping my good fortune in the matter can continue until they have fully grown and I can, in the mean time, continue my study of them without bother.

I have tried to discuss all manners of nature with Mr. Brennan, though I am sensing it is a lost cause. He is entirely disengaged with the subject, and seems to bore quickly. It is disheartening, I will admit, though I know that not every person is exactly alike in interests and temperment, and we must choose which in a person we desire most. Madeline thinks that ideal silly and depressing, but I know better than to get my hopes up too highly for perfection in a partner.

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