At precisely Nine of the clock the Hegwood's carriage arrived at a perfectly charming home and beautiful garden with large trees casting cool shadows across the lane, and there was the Doctor, waiting by with a lovely coach pulled by a team of beautiful bays.
I was fortunate enough to have glimpsed him before he noticed my arrival, and this allowed me to formulate an image and impression of him unhindered. I found him to be not at all what I had previously imagined in my mind, though I cannot truly say what it is I had imagined in the first place. At first I was surprised to see how youthful he struck me. With four children I expected a man of greater years, or at least the impression of such. Secondly, I was struck immediately by his eyes. I had never seen eyes such as his, so deep and clear, full of a something I could not place my finger upon. They held my attentions as I tried to decide in my head what it was that captivated me so, I fear I let my glance linger too long and he noticed my stare when finally he was notified of my arrival by my coachman.
However fine his features, though, I was to discover his personality was not matching. He was quite polite and courteous to me, of that there was no doubt, but any warmth I had detected in all of his correspondence must have been entirely imagined Regardless, I did my best to put it out of my mind as he informed me there were to be many introductions to many different people and to prepare myself if necessary.
The time passed quickly in his coach, despite the lack of conversation as we sat facing the other in an awkward silence, and when it was safe i snuck as many glances in his direction and came to the conclusion quickly that he was indeed handsome, strikingly so I would even venture to say, and not a finer gentleman could be found in this country and would easily rival any man I knew back in England. Though, he was no match or Mr. Brennan. I will say, despite myself and despite his rather cool and distant demeanor, I felt fine to be in association with him.
When finally we did arrive my breath was all but stolen away by the charm and beauty of the location in which we were to spend our next few days.
the quaint and charming house was located on the banks of a wonderful and quiet river, with a charming garden to one side and sprawling grounds as far as the eye could see. Near to the house were rows of charming little tents set up to provide guests with sleeping arrangements as part of the weekend's attractions, and the Doctor presented me with my very own! What a novelty, to sleep in a tent.
After these arrangements were made I was obliged to accompany the Doctor and sit by while he demonstrated his practice to many large and sometimes unruly groups of school children. During the first wave I was too entranced and often horrified by what the Doctor described to pay attention to anything around me, but after his first presentation concluded I took the liberty whilst the Doctor spoke with Captain Cushing to peruse the strange implements and possessions he has strewn across the table. Two things almost immediately stood out amongst the rust and metal; the first being a small portrait of a beautiful woman who I could only conclude as his lately departed wife, and a stack of letters, the top most being a letter from my very own Aunt Elizabeth! I could hardly believe my eyes, yet there it was, as if to mock me.
By this time I could feel the Doctor's eyes upon me and I broke my attention from the letter to appear as if it did not hold my interest at all, yet I knew by his look that he had seen me discover the letter and I noticed thereafter that my hand had reached for it and was almost atop it by the time I realized what I was doing. With nothing else to lose, I asked as frank as I could "Doctor, is that a letter from my very own Aunt Elizabeth, or am I mistaken?" My hand had still remained over it, and slowly I withdrew it. The Doctor watched my hand, and seemed to weigh the wisest thing to say. He responded with only "It is, and is my own personal correspondence." To that, I could say no more, and he offered no more, only instead he changed the topic in an effort to distract me and direct my attention to elsewhere. I, too meek towards him to be stubborn, obliged, though my mind boiled with speculations and suspicions. He was no longer in my eyes a poor hapless pawn in my Aunt's devices, but now an accomplice.
Suddenly; I could no longer bear to be in the Doctor's presence and asked that he excuse me to take a turn by the river. He regarded me with a crooked brow and expressed his uncertainty in letting me go unaccompanied. I politely pointed out to him that from where he stood in the pavilion I would not be out of his sights. He found no fault in this argument, and released me.
I enjoyed the quiet moments near to the river, and when that no longer suited my attentions I found for myself a pleasant bench to sit at and watched for a spell the birds snatching insects out of the air and in my own silent way I raged. For the next three days I was bound to my Aunt's handsome and cunning accomplice, and felt so ill used against my own will and above my knowledge.
I was not given much time to brood as the Doctor found himself with time for leisure and bade I take a turn with him through the grounds. Attempted polite conversation was had regarding the weather and the current surroundings and all that occupied it. I endeavored to remain courteous as I could and before long we were approached by a couple who were introduced to me as Mr. and Mrs. Cooper. Mrs. Cooper and I took leave of the gentleman for quite some time and I found her company to be refreshing and entirely charming.
When finally we did cross paths with Mr. Cooper and the Doctor, Mrs. Cooper informed me that tomorrow there was to be a lady's only archery competition. This positively delighted me and Mrs. Cooper suggested that we take a bit of practice as the weather had cooled down enough by that time as to allow for such vigorous activity, and we were graciously presented with an amusing portrait of Cupid with which to take our aim, painted by the Doctor himself. I report with much pride that I was the first to strike Cupid, and with such a blow as to cause the gentlemen to laugh uproariously and myself to blush. Only one arrow was lost by myself; yet I was not at all feeling confident about my chances of performing well tomorrow.
By this time it was suggested that a small group of us dine together and such a charming meal I have never had. I sat across from Mrs. Cooper and the Doctor sat immediately to my right but it was the wonderful Mrs. Cooper who gained all my attentions through the meal.
By the time we returned to the neat little area of tents the sun was beginning to set, and I spent the last moments writing in the fading sunlight in the company of the Doctor, Captain Cushing, and Sgt. Williams, who put me terribly ill at ease with his comments and looks, but as the Doctor showed no sign of discomfort by him I said nothing.
The Doctor was even kind enough to let me use his lovely mechanical quill which I found was an absolute delight to write with and will be making a purchase of one upon my return to New York.
As my candle is now burning low and I can hear the Doctor approaching to no doubt insist upon my gaining rest, I will finish with the promise to report again tomorrow evening with the day's activities, and there promises to be no shortage of them.