Aug 9.—The mood here in Whitby has been chilly of late, as there has been a terrible storm brewing away. Last night it finally did pass, though I being deep in uneasy slumber, have only vague memories of a sound like a gunshot piercing the thick night. And it was much a terrible night too, for I was plagued by nightmares that have become all too usual. My dreams are very murky still, and I cannot recall much at all, but I think that even if I were to recall them, I would not dare write them down. I just wish that Mina will not fret too much over me; I can see that she is worried, the poor dear. Goodness! She has enough to fret over, with Jonathon’s trip being so overly prolonged. But she is so wonderfully brave; I believe I would fare far worse than she had Arthur been away for so long (and without any note as to where he was).
But anyhow, I am getting quite off the topic. Of the storm again, my only account is the experience of Mina and an article clipping she has pasted into her journal. This she showed to me earlier to-day, and I am very glad that none of my loved ones were upon the sea in the heart of the storm. However, it is recent news that a ship was capsized in the tumult, the only body found being that of the Honourable Captain. It is very dreadful, and I mourn for the families of the others who were on the vessel. I am relieved— and a bit ashamed that I house these feelings—that it is better the death of those sailors than that of my close family or friends or my dearest Arthur (Oh, how it cheers me inside to think of him). Once again, I chide myself, “Lucy, you must not think these morbid thoughts!”
I have observed Mina write, and I feel that I might do the same, though I do not believe I can develop her habit of writing dutifully everyday. Once, I have caught a small glimpse of her pages as she was jotting down her thoughts, and I saw scribbled in her journal a peculiar yet very dear short-hand. She told me it was so she could practice for her beloved Jonathon. While I will neither write in short-hand nor write daily, I shall try hard to put my thoughts down in here. That is all for now; more to come later.
Aug 10.—Just finished supper with Mina, Mother, and a curate whom Mother asked to stay to sup. Mina and I tried our best to smile and make polite conversation, but we were both so tired and worn that it was difficult to do so.
Our happy fatigue came from the delightful walk to Robin Hood’s Bay that we took in the afternoon. It was dearest Mina who suggested the lovely idea, and we eagerly set off as soon as she had said it. The weather was beautiful as we strolled about the cliffs to the bay, and the sun threw warm, lazy patches upon the grass. I am glad to say it was enough to set my spirits at ease. One exciting happening in particular helped me to forget my troubles. We were nearing the lighthouse when I heard a low snort that seemed to come from just behind our backs. Mina gave a cry, for she suddenly felt something wet and velvety nudge against her ear. We were frightened out of our wits at first, as we had not an idea as to what had snuck up behind us, but I tripped over the end of my skirt as we were about to run (luckily I fell only on grass and did not manage to hurt myself), and we remained in the spot. When we looked behind us we discovered only three spotted cows ambling towards us. The sight of them warmed my heart, and it was so comical that Mina and I laughed all the way to Robin Hood’s Bay. There we satisfied our voracious appetites with cups of tea and lovely little cakes at a nearby inn. It was all such a delightful, warming experience that I now feel quite relaxed and happy.
A less cheering event: there took place to-day the affecting funeral of the poor ship captain. I truly hope I did not appear anxious at all during the time. I fear I was still thinking back to my dreams, which have escaped from their nightly throne only to mock me in the light of day. Mina tried much throughout to comfort me—oh the blessed soul—she is a true friend! But I would answer none of her questions pertaining to my mood, as I was worried to frighten her. She has enough to make her anxious. Also, Mr. Swales has just passed away as well, and found lifeless right upon his cherished seat too! However, both the funeral and Mr. Swales’s death are much too sad and distressing to write about, and as I prefer to end on a happier note, I shall close for the day.
Aug 11.—I am now well and refreshed, though I will say that I was not earlier to-day. Thank goodness, thank goodness that blessed, dear Mina found me last night! Oh, where to begin? This is an odd subject to write of, but as I do so wish to commemorate Mina’s gallantry, I shall start someplace now.
I was quite tired, I suppose, last night and must have fallen asleep early. However, it seemed that repose had hardly grasped me, when I felt something like an ominous fear enclosing all around. It was as if an irrepressible voice lured me to safety, and I could do naught but oblige. I remember walking in a rush all across the streets to the East Cliff, where lies mine and Lucy’s favourite seat by St. Mary’s Church. The things that happened are strange, as in a dream, yet it all felt quite real. I can recall that I was in fervor, and that there were a multitude of dogs howling all around me until the little town was alive with them. There is a bridge before the old abbey. An odd fish was just then leaping past, and I bent to get a better look; but then I was sitting upon the seat, and I saw a dark, oblong figure, with brilliant blood eyes tower over me. All at once there was a besetting sweetness around me, though it was all the same very bitter. I felt that I was sinking in whirling green water, and that I was drowning in the Thames, for I heard the chilled music of sirens, like that which is chorused to drowning men. My soul floated from my body and grazed the air. I had just caught sight of the West Lighthouse below me, when an agonizing earthquake shook all the earth, and I saw Mina shaking me till I awoke.
I woke from sleep with Mina on the seat beside me, and a warm shawl pinned across my shoulders, and sturdy shoes—Mina’s own shoes!—upon my feet. I clung to her, and I’m sure I must have been trembling a little. She said to me very sweetly, “Lucy, dear, come home with me at once!” I was only too glad to take her hand and follow her across the paths. Halfway, I noticed that she winced at the rough chafe of gravel beneath her unshielded feet, but she would not take back her shoes, no matter how much I insisted. What a dear soul! We arrived home well, though shaken. I am too thankful to God and to Mina to-night, as I feel that I have had a harrowing experience with the likes of death.
To-day Mina apologises for two red pin-pricks upon my neck. She says she was hasty with fastening the shawl around my shoulders, and that she must have pricked me upon the neck. This is silly in that I cannot even feel the little wounds, and that the poor dear apologises when it is she who has saved my life!
Aug 14.—To-day, Mina and I walked to the East Cliff and spent a lovely day there, though on the trip home for dinner in the afternoon, I was perturbed. As Mina and I stood to admire the vivid tones of sunset from the steps up from the West Pier, we could see that across the pretty landscape, there was upon our seat a man in dark garb, with ruby red eyes. The same bitter-sweet stranger that has been in my dreams! I am afraid I might have stared at him strangely, for Mina woke me from my slight trance. She gestured her hand in the direction of St. Mary’s Church and explained that the red glow of setting sun upon the glass windows caused the effect of the moving light. Oh, to believe in such logic as her! It saddens me that this image represents not scientific observation, but a sort of fear and regret that is difficult to face. Mina is sweet, she does not talk about it for fear of upsetting me. But in truth, I am not sure what this fear is or what it means. Perhaps it is better that I accept Mina’s explanations and not trouble myself so.
I have a headache, so I will to bed early.
Aug 15.—Very tired, and my throat pains me, yet I my whole heart is content with happiness. Arthur’s father has been feeling much better, and he wishes that Arthur and I marry soon. To think of that! Arthur and I, husband and wife.
Aug 19.—The weather has been nice, and I am feeling much, much better! I feel that life, if even just a little of it, is slowly seeping back into me, and I no longer feel as fatigued as I used to. There is good news for Mina, as well—her Jonathon is safe, though ill. That is the reason he was not able to write Mina. Instead, his employer has kindly done so. Mina has been weeping with quiet joy all day, as she clutches the letter against her bosom like a mother hen would to her baby chick. She is leaving to meet Jonathon soon and has already packed. I am to keep her trunk in London. While I am sad that my dear companion is leaving, I am cheered to see Mina so full of joy, so full of love for her cherished fiancé. Oh, another thing that I have forgotten to write—she and Jonathon are to be married soon. I am thinking of a day, when we are all aged and wise living side-by-side as two happy couples.
Aug 20.—I am worried that I have misplaced my diary. Before I slept last night, I left my notebook beneath my pillow, and now it is missing. I wonder if it has been taken, which would be strange, since no one has seen me write in it. I shall start a new notebook as soon as I can buy a new one. I will then paste this entry into my new book, if I do not forget or lose it. In the meantime, I do not much feel like writing. I shall pause my diary for a time.