March 17

Today marked the finest day of the season I have experienced yet. The sky was clear as anything and a steady breeze kept the conditions comfortable, if not a bit treacherous for hats and feathers. Two days previous, I had received a note from the Doctor inviting me out for a picnic on the grounds of his neighbor Daniel Smith, and to introduce me to his lovely daughters! Of course I wanted to immediately agree, but as the Hegwoods and I are still residing in temporary lodgings, I feared Mrs. Hegwood would need me too much for her comfort to consent to let me go. I sat at the window for the better part of two hours, The Doctor’s note in my hand, wondering how I would be able to decline without him thinking ill of me, or how to broach the topic with Mrs. Hegwood without inducing some sort of fit. At length I approached Mr. and Mrs. Hegwood who were having tea with the windows thrown wide, Mr. Hegwood laughing with his wife, looking almost as he had when first I came to them. What a wonderful effect the climate has had on his health. Though he is still in some types of pain, it is not at all near the condition he was in when we left Albany.

Mrs. Hegwood saw me approach and beckoned me to join them, crowing, “Come my dear Emily! Come and listen to this nonsense Mr. Hegwood has been telling me!” I smiled, and complied, setting the Doctor’s note on the table to rearrange my shawl. True to her form, before I could put it safely back into my hands, Mrs. Hegwood’s eyes caught the handwriting and quick as anything she snatched it up off the cloth.

“My dearest! The Doctor has finally sent her a note! How long he must have known she was in town, yet he waited until this moment to call upon her! Such odd behavior, I declare.”

I only could smile mildly as she scanned over the contents. When she had finished she looked over the paper at Mr. Hegwood who was patiently waiting whilst sipping his tea and looking between Mrs. Hegwood and myself.

“Well my dear, obviously something is on your mind. Do have the courtesy to share it with the rest of us lest you positively pop for containing it,” Said he, with a wink in my direction. “Well Mr. Hegwood, if this is not a declaration of some sort of intent to have her, I know not what is! He has invited her to picnic on the grounds of a notable family in the area with him and his children! What do you make of that!”

I opened my mouth in shock and could not contain the noise of astonishment that escaped me.

“Mrs. Hegwood, I beg you reconsider! It is only an innocent plot to bring me some enjoyable diversions in this rather trying time. As much as I admire and respect your imaginative tendencies, do have a care that you do not run away with it, or it with you,” said I with a laugh and a blush.

Mr. Hegwood put down his tea and set to quite a roaring bout of laugher. When he was able again to speak, said he “Well put dear Emily! Well put! I dare say against any of the snobbery of refined society here or in England you will hold your own! I have no fear of losing you to their insensible games.” He took my hand in his and gave it a warm squeeze. I returned it with a smile and looked back at Mr. Hegwood, who was still grinning in mirth, being entirely unaffected at my kind censure. Before I could even ask, Mrs. Hegwood declared excitedly that of course I was to accept his invitation, and was commanded by her to enjoy myself to every possible route and to not come home until completely satisfied and exhausted with the diversions. I thanked her as warmly as I could, kissed her cheek, and wrote back to the Doctor as hastily as I could, sending it by the quickest man at the Inn.


When today finally arrived I was up before the sun, pouring over my gowns, hats, and spencers, holding one up then tossing it aside unsatisfied. I finally decided on my favorites, and it was highly admired by Mrs. Hegwood. As the time approached for my departure I became more and more anxious to make the proper impressions, I was, afterall, to meet his children!

I could not, though I wished it, postpone the time any longer, and I was placed in the carriage and sent along my way, with loving farewells from Mrs. Hegwood, and even Mr. Hegwood came down to see me off, supported on his valet’s arm. I feel I ought to be suspicious of Mrs. Hegwood’s excitement, but other feelings were too crowded in my heart. Finally I arrived at the beautiful grounds, and there I saw the Doctor seated with four beautiful little girls, all in white with different colored sashes about their waists. One by one I was introduced to the sweet creatures, and never have I encountered such a set of well-behaved and fine girls of such varying ages. At last I was allowed to sit with the Doctor, and enjoy the time. We ate cheese and apples, grapes, and sweet fruit jellies.

I read to the children a bit out of the novel I had brought; ‘Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded’ and they were very attentive and interested in the story. We toured the beautiful grounds and a small trail that lead to an old Indian encampment through the woods. We investigated the herb garden, and wondered aloud when the plants would finish growing, admiring the soft lambs ear and speculating how near to a lamb it felt, as none of us had at all a clue. We took turns by the lake and admired the waterfowl that surveyed their domain in their stately waddling manner. I could not have imagined a better way to spend the afternoon, and the Roberts daughters were positively loath to part with me, and to be entirely honest I was loath to be parted from them as well. I had enjoyed the time talking to them greatly, they each had opinions and personalities entirely their own, untainted by society entirely, and an intelligence beyond each of their respective years. I have no doubts at all that they will all grow into very fine young ladies, and will be the pride of their dear papa.

Long before I was ready, it was my time to depart and join the Hegwood’s for supper. The Doctor and I exchanged out parting salutations, and he warmly gave his greetings to the Hegwoods, and graciously offered his skill if ever we needed it, and knowledge of the area and families. He lifted me into my carriage, and I thanked him most ardently for his unwavering kindness and attentiveness to our situation. We parted finally with his promise to write to me, and to invite me to further outings should he find himself invited to them.

I was full of a blissful glow when I finally returned to the Hegwoods, cheeks pink from pleasure and a touch of sun. Mrs. Hegwood promised over supper she would allow me a night’s sleep before prying every detail of the event from me. Mr. Hegwood countered with a wager she would not be able to, and a friendly banter was tossed back and forth the whole of the meal on Mrs. Hegwood’s character and Mr. Hegwood’s heartless attacks upon it. There was merriment and laughter that I had not known I missed until I realized how long it had been since the three of us enjoyed it, and I sit now warmly reflecting upon it, my heart glowing and my mind unable to settle. The clock has long since chimed midnight, and I cannot bring myself to close my eyes and sleep. I sincerely hope that now we are so much closer, I may see more of the Doctor, until I can no longer tolerate his company!

February 26

t seems that months of diligent patience and the distraction of having to carry my new family from one place to the next over hundreds of miles, (admittedly for the reason I seem to be the only one with sense in this turbulent time), has at length been rewarded. Since we have arrived nearby to the city of Nashville, I have had not a moment's peace between long days spent searching for a suitable residence for the Hegwood's and myself, and seeing that where we currently reside at the Black Horse Tavern provides every sort of comfort required. I do not reproach Mrs. Hegwood for her occasional and often extravagant needs and my having to satisfy them, only I wish them not so frequent in nature.

Today, to our collective joy, Mr. Hegwood was finally able to be removed from his bed and placed in a comfortable chair by an open window. The day was a beautiful mild one, with a gentle breeze completely devoid of the sharp bite I have been so accustomed to. It feels as though we may be very close out of this dark winter, and of that I could not find more pleasure. The good weather and warm sun put all in a generally fine mood, and Mrs. Hegwood was gracious enough to allow me an evening to do with as I pleased, as she would tend to her husband. I took the opportunity to go down into the Tavern with Abigail to enjoy some society, if not limited and at times not entirely desirable. We had stayed some time, taking occasional turns about the room and about the bit of green just around the Tavern before we retired to the small front porch of the building on comfortable chairs to watch the sun dip below the horizon and listen to the few birds brave enough to continue to chirp. Guests of the Inn and Tavern came and went with very little notice from either Abigail or myself, until at one point I found myself pulled from my daydream by a voice dearly familiar to me. I quickly looked to the stairs of the building to see the tall straight back of the Doctor, talking merrily to the Tavern keep. He had made no notice of me, perhaps for the best, as I felt my face flush dreadfully, and immediately my hand went to cover the portrait of his that hung at my breast. Abigail took quick notice, and I saw a knowing and impish smile cross her face. Of course she knew everything, for she has traveled about all over with me these past few weeks, and to fill the time we have talked of nearly everything I have written in these pages. To her credit, she said and did nothing, but gave me enough vexatious sideways glances to put my heart mind in no small amount of stress.

The Doctor went inside carrying a box under his arm, still chatting in such a blithe manner I was almost convinced I had mistaken him for someone else, but there was very little mistaking his carriage and voice, and I knew it to be him, even if he was uncharacteristically energetic. I made no move to follow him, only reaching across to grab Abigail's hand in mine. "My dearest friend," said I, "grant me the strength to get through this evening, for I fear without you I may not!" She patted my hand in a motherly way and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "My dearest Miss Waterman, think of what you have made it through until this point. One accidental, and if I may say fortuitous, meeting with your favorite will certainly not do you in." I quickly hushed her as the Doctor stepped out onto the porch again, seeming to take in and relish the evening. I attempted to act composed and indifferent, rising slowly and as silently as I could to make a retreat into the Tavern, but was betrayed by the rustling of the silk of my garments. The Doctor looked over, unaware it seems he was not alone, and entirely bewildered could but stare for a few silent moments before giving me a hasty bow, which was returned by myself and Abigail. I could just manage to squeak out a "Good evening, Doctor" before being overcome with a dark blush that the diminishing light was so good as to conceal. The salutation was returned and I was invited to follow him inside and enjoy some amusement, his ease returning and cheerful countenance putting me instantly in a more comfortable temperament. He and I played multiple rounds of 'Shut the Box' as well as 'Beggar My Neighbor'. The evening was passed with great levity, and the time was very much neglected by myself, and Abigail as well, though I can be at least partially sure she made a point of ignoring the clock entirely for my benefit.

Towards the end of the evening, the stifling heat of the small room inspired the Doctor and myself to take a turn about the property, enjoying the quiet evening and the lovely stars above, and for my part the entire lack of bitter cold. Even though the sun had sent long ago, the night still carried its gentle warm touch, and small breaths of wind tugged at my hair, and pulled my feather back and forth. I spent the majority of the turn explaining to him my unexpected presence in the area of Nashville, retelling the condition of Mr. Hegwood and our traveling southward to escape the conditions of the north. He said very little during the time, but did assure me my letters and gifts were received. Said he after a pause "I also took notice that my package was delivered safely to you, as well," looking pointedly at the miniature which I still wore. I could produce no suitable response, and smiled awkwardly with a mumbled "Indeed, very safely." We turned our direction back to the Tavern, and I stopped on the pathway, internally debating with the bravery of my tongue. The Doctor, confused, waited patiently before I quietly asked "Would it be too bold of me to admit to you, Doctor, that you were very much missed in your absence?" He was silent as we began to walk again, and said only "Indeed, that is very bold." Nothing more on the subject was said, and we returned to the Tavern having neither gained nor lost any idea of his feelings.

Guests soon started to drift back to their various locations of residence, be it nearby or in the Inn itself, and few people were left. The Doctor played a few more card games with various gentlemen, and I began to grow tired, and made my farewells and gave my thanks to the Keep for his hospitality towards Abigail and I, bid the Doctor farewell, and let him know where he may find the Hegwoods and myself, should he need to, and departed to my room. Abigail watched me the entire time in the mirror as she took down my hair and helped me out of my clothing. I gave nothing away to her, though I knew she wanted nothing more than to know my thoughts of the evening.

I sincerely hope she does not tell Mrs. Hegwood, for the last thing I could possibly tolerate from in the current state of my mind is dear Mrs. Hegwood's prattling on about the interaction, and Mr. Hegwood taxing himself worrying for my heart. I shall, for the moment, keep the entire incident to myself, until of course the Doctor comes to call, as I do hope he will soon.