Stephanie Mesler
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The Virtual Diary of Fanny Burney In Italy

user image 2014-08-22
By: Stephanie Mesler
Posted in:

1784, 23 August

I find that I am awake at an absurd hour, it being sometime later than midnight with many hours remaining before the sun will shine through my windows. I will most certainly regret this wakefulness tomorrow when I wish to be out among the people of Sorrentina, socializing, procuring a small gift for Susan's birthday which is coming soon, and posting a letter to Marseilles.

Being awake, one should put the time to good use. There are manuscripts to be edited, correspondences to be kept up. Just today I received a lengthy letter from our dear Dr. Johnson, who it seems is somewhat downtrodden. His letter was not in his usual tone and I begin to worry that he will soon be lost to us. I can only determine myself to remember at all times those wonderful conversations at Streatham Hall, those joyous jaunts to Brighton and Bath, the Dr. reciting Chaucer as no one but he is able. (Oh, I know Chaucer is not suitable literature for a young lady of good name, but I could not help but laugh along with the Dr. and the rest of our party.)

I should make productive use of this quiet time but find my mind distracted from the tasks that deserve, actually demand, my attention. I think of Henri -- yes, I have taken to referring to him by his Christian name, though only in the privacy of my own thoughts and on the sacred pages of this diary. I do hope all is as he told me it would be, that he is off with his regiment serving King and country and that we will soon see one another again, and of course I hope and pray that he is kept safe from harm until the time of our reunion.

Of course, I cannot help but worry that I am misguided in trusting such a man. Is it possible that I am blinded by love (for love I believe it is)? Could this be just another infatuation, a mere reverie of one so inexperienced as to be taken in by the pretty words of a pretty man?

NO! I don't believe that. My heart tells me his words can be trusted.

Of course, my heart said the same of George Cambridge and, in that case, my heart was wrong and led me into much suffering and folly. It is in fact what drove me away from my dear home and all my dear family. It would be comforting to believe that in my first 32 years on this Earth I have learned to tell the difference between truth and falsehood but I am realist enough to know that, when love is involved, clear vision is often clouded, if not completely obliterated.

The bell tolls now on the lovely gold clock that decorates a table in my room here at the Villa. If I were a sensible woman, I would close these pages and take to my bed, where I should will myself to sleep. Instead, I will walk in the quiet of the night. That is one of the joys of Rocca Sorrentina. Here, a lady can walk without fear at any hour of night or day. Perhaps taking in the sea air will act as a tonic for sleep. The good Dr. Greymoon is soon to open an apothecary in the village. Perhaps he will stock something to empty my mind of the distraction of Henri, who crowds all logical thoughts from my consciousness. Perhaps something to make a woman sleep even when visited by so many worries.

938_blogs.jpg?width=750 In the hours before sunrise, Fanny Looks to France.

Aldo Stern
24 Aug 2014 04:28:30PM @aldo-stern:

nicely done. I enjoy the internal dialogue you're having with yourself.

Tiamat Windstorm von Hirvi
25 Aug 2014 02:08:32PM @tiamat-windstorm-von-hirvi:

Dr. Greymoon has told me some very encouraging things regarding the powers of laudanum. He is in the habit of maintaining a supply of useful size. If that fails, I believe there is a new discovery, something called coca, originating in the wilds of the South American continent. Dr. Greymoon is always in the forefront of exploring new discoveries, so if laudanum proves not to be the specific for your personal complaint, he may be able to obtain for you a sample of this new marvel.

Stephanie Mesler
25 Aug 2014 03:08:34PM @stephanie-mesler:

Why thank you, Lady Windstorm ( or is it MIss? Being a commoner, I am never sure about honorifics.) I plan to seek out the doctor for advice on this and another matter. I had hoped to so so today when I attended the opening of his new apothecary, but was called away unexpectedly. There were possibly too many persons present to have a moment for private consultation anyway.

I was most impressed with the doctor's collection of medical books. The residents of Sorrentina are lucky to have him in our community.

I am sorry I missed the opportunity to speak with you today. Perhaps we shall meet face to face one day soon.

Frances Burney

25 Aug 2014 04:14:23PM @williamhgreymoon:

I will havea doctor advice hour for the ppl in Rocco Sorrentina to ask me for personal health matter.

It willbe 2 times a week for Private Consultation.