12 June 1906
Well, I am sure that keeping a diary is not something which comes naturally to me, but I have agreed to give it a decent try at Castile’s earnest suggestion. I do not understand what power that young man has over me. I pride myself on being contrary, and yet! Here I am. Journaling.
19 March 1907
I told you I would not be much for all this! I wrote one entry in this beautiful little book and immediately forgot it. You might never have heard from me again if I had not been sorting through my trunk with Mother’s things. It was folded into a handkerchief. I think she was keeping it for me.
I wonder if she was disappointed that I hadn’t written more?
Well, for her, then, I shall give this another try. My name is Hazel Elizabeth Lawley, I will turn fifteen next Saturday, I have brown hair and dark eyes (not hazel!), and I think my complexion is below-average but I am working on it as we speak. I am the older sister to the most infuriating girl in the world, whose name is Alethe. My dearest friend is Isabelle Madigan.
This is all between us, isn’t it? I’m trusting you! I harbor a secret affection for dear Isabelle’s brother, Castile. There. I have not told anyone, but he has come with Isabelle and I on our walks in the woods sometimes, and now that I am of an age to notice such things, I have taken note of his sparkling black eyes and delicate hands. His pitch-black hair has an untidiness to it I find rather charming. And he is so pale that it is easy to tell when he is even slightly embarrassed, because he turns as red as a tomato. It is so funny that I try to embarrass him all the time.
What? Am I not allowed to dream, just a little? He is only three years older.
12 April 1907
Isabelle and I misbehaved terribly last night. We decided to take advantage of the warmer weather these past few days to go on longer walks through the woods along Isabelle’s estate. We were deep in the woods when Isabelle took my hand and drew me along a path I had not seen before. When I asked her where we were going, she answered only with a wry little grin.
You should have seen us trotting through the filthy undergrowth in our bright white pinafores, laughing as we burrowed our way through thorn bushes and sharp-smelling rhododendrons, winding ever deeper into the woods. I was glad I was staying at Isabelle’s house for the night, because I think Miss Annie would have struck me if I returned home in such a state.
We finally emerged in a deep clearing all covered in brown pine needles and I could tell immediately Isabelle spent much of her time here.
Oh, I swore I would keep her secret. She showed me what grows deep in the woods, and now I know magic is real. Diary, it was so beautiful! I cannot say anymore than that. I will not betray her trust.
I am happier than I have ever been.
23 June 1907
Isabelle has the same tar-black hair as her brother. The same petal-white skin, the same delicate hands. But her eyes are blue.
We were in the clearing again, and she was braiding my hair. We were laughing. And then, in a way I cannot explain, everything changed. I thought I felt the ground shift beneath me. Things that had never made sense to me suddenly fit perfectly in place, parts of myself interlocking.
When I kissed Castile at the end of April and felt nothing, I thought it must be that I was too young for such things yet.
When I kissed Isabelle, I felt myself dissolve.
I always envied her beauty! She is so striking and I am so plain. She is thin and elegant and I have always been stockier than any proper lady should be. I thought I wanted to be her, but I was wrong. I only wanted to be with her. I wanted to sit and take in every little thing about her. She has freckles around her nose, you know, just three or four. Her lips were chapped. Her hair curls around her temples.
Oh, I could go on like this forever.