My own free time is for letter-writing, clothes-mending, studying, working in my personal garden, and caring for Flecha. Even if I didn’t have all these things to do, everyone talks about everyone else around here, so it’s important to work hard and keep a good reputation.
I’m working on the reputation thing. I made a serious mistake agreeing to help get Sam’s copper by force. I don’t think anyone here at Northwind knows I killed that man, other than Lee and Patrick, of course. And I don’t want it to get widely known. People will either think badly of me, or they’ll make me out to be some sort of hero, when I’m nothing of the kind.
So instead I’m trying to think of what kind of person I want to be known as, and I try live each day as if I were that person already.
It’s not easy.
I lose my temper over the math books Patrick gives me. It seems I no sooner figure out some complicated new thing like
And then there’s the riding lessons. I’m trying to be patient with the children. Really, I am. But it’s hard. They complain, they won’t wait their turn, some are scared to jump the low bars that are hardly jumps at all. Others are ready to charge their horses at the paddock fence and see how high they can leap. And I can’t get angry, I can’t even curse. I have to be patient and smile or Sabine will think I’m some sort of monster who hates children. I don’t hate them at all, but they really do drive me crazy.
I’ve also tried my hand at crocheting a sweater like the one Erica lent me for the picnic. The less said about that the better. I guess I’ll stick with knitting socks and winter scarves.
And then there’s church. If there’s anything duller and more annoying than church, I don’t know what it is. I miss my quiet Sunday mornings riding the fields with Flecha, going to the duck pond to watch the fish and see the ducks dip their heads below the water and tip their tails toward the sky as they search for their breakfast. I miss the mornings of working in the small garden by my barn, alone with my thoughts, grateful for the sun, the earth, and for simply being alive in the world, surrounded by growing things.
Now my Sunday mornings consist of putting a skirt or dress borrowed from a friend or traded for at the local co-op. I go to the church with Lee, sit in a pew and try to look like I’m not bored to tears. But everyone is very nice and they seem so happy to see me there that I hate to disappoint them. So I keep going. It will be winter soon, anyway, and then it will be too cold for much else on a Sunday morning. I suppose I’ll be glad for church, then.
I wrote about some of this to Auntie, but she didn’t have anything helpful to say except that I could’ve done all the things I’m describing right there at home. Of course she’d say that. But she’s wrong. Everyone wanted to control me at home. Auntie wanted me on her mountain, Will wanted me fighting for Unitas by day and in his bed at night, and Robert wanted. . . Oh, who knows what he wanted? If I had known that, things might’ve gone very differently. I'm sure he had his own agenda for me, just like everyone else. At least here I can make my own choices.
The one thing I’m feeling good about these days is the telephone company. Sam and his people got the first line hooked up. It’s between the police station and the mayor’s house. Sam says there’s a way he’ll be able to tap into the phone system soon, and that if some of his ham friends are successful in doing the same in their areas, I might one day be able to hear voices on the telephone from as far away as home. Great. Auntie will be able to fuss at me from over a thousand miles away. Won’t she be pleased! I guess when that happens I’ll have to set out on yet another journey, maybe to Canada.
I don’t know why I’m so grumpy today. Maybe it’s the pictures Auntie sent me, reminding me of what I gave up to come here.
Maybe it’s the first hint of coming winter, reminding me of death and other sad things. Or maybe I’m just a little bored. There is a definite price to safety and virtue. I’ve given up adventure. When I arrived here last spring, I thought the price was worth it. But now with the leaves turning and winter on its way, I'm not so sure.