The fictional diary of a 14 year old noblewoman in medieval times.
|Good Morning, Diary!
It is nice to meet you! I was searching through my father's books yesterday and I was lucky enough to find you! Your leather binding caught my eye first, with its rich decorations and soft feel. I loved you as soon as I held you in my hands and picked up a quill pen. I decided that it would be better for me to wait until morning when there would be natural light for me to see you better. (I certainly did not want to ruin you with messy writing and misspellings!) So now, diary, without further ado, I shall begin describing my morning.
When I awoke, I got out of bed and was greeted by the biting cold. The castle was never warm in the winter. I wished to get back into my bed and prolong the time before I had to go to breakfast but I knew I could not. Father wanted me to meet a new suitor at breakfast and would be very angry if I was late. At 14, I was old enough to marry but I did not want to. I groaned and put on a linen shift. On top of that I wore a warm velvet kirtle. On my feet I wore stockings held up with leather garters and buckled shoes. I put a gold net on my hair and proceeded to breakfast. I greeted my father and mother and curtsied to the suitor.
"This is Sir Charles, darling Aliana," my father said. I knew that to be polite I had to address him, although I knew already that I would never love him. Not that I had to love him to marry him. I mean, he was about 35 years old.
"It is a pleasure to be in your company, Sir Charles," I said. "Why don't you sit down to breakfast."
I followed him to the table and sat down. On the table there was bread, some dried fruit, nuts, ale, and some roasted meat. Sir Charles sat down across from me, with father at the head of the table and mother next to me. I added as little to the conversation as I could without seeming impolite. After breakfast, he said farewell to my father and mother and kissed my hand. When he left I breathed a sigh of relief. His conversation had been dull and I was tired of him already.
"Go upstairs and change into hunting clothes Aliana, and we will speak of Sir Charles on your return," said my father.
I hurried up the stairs as fast as could be considered gracious. I then ran flat out to my room. And now, here I am diary, telling you of my terrible start of a morning.
Oh yes, diary, I forgot. You do not yet know who I am. I am Aliana, daughter to Sir William and Lady Marie. I must go change now, diary.
I presume you are wondering why I am back so early. I did not go hunting as planned as father told me that my "suitor" was not a suitor after all! Father has arranged my marriage with Sir Charles! And Sir Charles is the most boring "suitor" I have met! He was also the most polite, but I would prefer interesting to polite. Can you imagine, diary, getting married within a week of meeting your future husband!
Oh, yes. I forgot you didn't know that little detail, diary. Well, since you weren't there I will tell you what happened:
I went downstairs slowly after changing and sat in front of my parents.
"Well, Aliana darling, what did you think of Sir Charles? A charming young man, I thought," said my mother.
"Young?!" I said. "He's 21 years older than me."
"Ali, he is young all the same," replied my mother.
"You avoided her question, Aliana," said my father sharply.
"Well, father, I thought him rather dull," I said. I said this of most of the suitors that I was forced to listen to.
"Ali..." said my father slowly.
"Well, I hope your view of your Charles changes as you get to know him, darling," said my mother quickly.
"My Charles," I answered. "Why did you call him my Charles?"
"He's your suitor, Aliana," said my father, but I wasn't going to let my parents get off that easily.
"Please don't take me for a fool, and tell me what is going on."
"Well, Sir Charles is not the heir to a manor, he is the younger son, and his father and himself want him to inherit land," my mother explained.
"And I do not have an heir, Ali, so he is a worthy candidate. We have agreed that he will marry you and inherit my land when I die."
At this I wanted to jump up and run from the room but I wanted to know something first.
"When will I marry him?" I asked, trying to keep the tremble out of my voice.
"In about a week, darling Aliana," my father said, relief in his voice that I hadn't run out of the room.
At this, however, I stormed out, not bothering to be polite. To tell your daughter who her husband is only a week in advance, I ask you? Not such a good idea.
Well, here I am diary, trying to keep back tears now that my anger has lessened enough to write this down.
Please, god, make father change his mind. Make Sir Charles change his mind. Let me not marry him. Please.
Now someone is knocking on my door. I will tell you more of my terrible day later.
It was mother knocking earlier. She asked me if I wanted to go hunting. I said no. She asked me if I wanted to talk to her. I said no. She then asked if I wanted anything at all. I said, "I would like to not marry Sir Charles."
"Ali, come hunting with your father and me and we can discuss it."
I sighed but gave in. At least I liked to hunt.
The "hunting" part was fun. We hunted game on horseback using bows, arrows, swords, and dogs to catch the prey. The "discussing" part was as dull as Sir Charles was. Basically, mother and father listed good qualities of Sir Charles and most of them weren't personality traits. Well. Actually, that makes sense, as he probably doesn't have very many good personality traits.
A serf has just come in and told me that lunch has been served "if miss should wish it." I must go now, I'll tell you more later about the rest of my terrible day.
I'm back, diary.
After a filling lunch, I had to weave with mother and other girls that she is teaching. I also had to spin wool and practice sewing. When I finish the tapestry that I am making it will be hung on the wall of my room to keep it warmer. When we were done working and the other young women had left, mother told me to change, again, because Sir Charles was coming back. So now I must choose a "nice silk dress to show of" and talk to Sir Charles. Goodbye for now, diary, and I hope my terrible day gets better.
As it turns out, I may not die of boredom every time I am in the company of Sir Charles. Below is a transcript:
Me: Hello, Sir Charles, mother, father.
Mother: We'll just leave you two to talk.
Exit Mother and Father.
Sir Charles: Why don't you sit down, Lady Aliana.
Me: (stiffly) Yes, Sir Charles.
Sir Charles: Please call me Charles.
Me: Then you must call me Ali, Charles.
Charles: Of course I will, Ali. (short pause) Do you like to ride, Ali?
Me: Yes, why do you ask?
Charles: Perhaps we can ride together tonight, after supper?
Me: If mother and father let me. And they never let me do anything.
Charles: Don't be hard on them. They have difficult lives as well. You should put yourself in their shoes and think before you get angry with them, Ali.
Me: (blushing) Well, I try. Um, Sometimes.
At that point I had been surprised that he wasn't as shallow as he had seemed at breakfast. He continued to prove himself throughout our conversations about hunting, riding, church, land, and many other things. This has taught me that there is a difference between politeness and dullness. And that I might not have been able to discern between the two. I shall now say goodbye for a while for I must go to supper and hopefully to ride with Charles. This day has not been as awful as it at first seemed.
A long day is coming to a close. I ate a delicious supper listening to Charles' "polite talk" and added some "polite talk" of my own. Then we brought up the subject of an evening ride. To my surprise, mother and father appeared pleased that I wanted to go and let us go as soon as we suggested it. We rode for a long time, me on my favorite horse, Sugar, and Charles on his horse, Duke. We talked of more things, but mostly we just rode as fast as we could. It was very cold but we dressed warmly and had a lot of fun. I am sorry it is over but I suppose we will do that again when we are married.
Tomorrow will be another day, diary. Another wonderful day.