24th January 1812: Papa brought my poor darling Paul home this afternoon. The men carried him into the house on a chair. His face was very pale, but I think that Papa's was even whiter. Mama was hovering at the top of the stairs and I knew that she was on the verge of tears. Rosie and I were banished to the parlour, for Mama said that we must not upset Paul. I do not see why it would have upset us to see him - but Rosie was in tears.
Later, Mama said that I might go in alone if I was very quiet and said nothing to disturb him. Paul was lying with his eyes closed but he opened them and smiled at me. He said that he was very sorry to be in such poor form and I was to forgive him for not bringing Christmas gifts or a birthday gift for Rosie. I told him that the only present we wanted was to have him home.
'You are always so practical and good, Anne,' he told me. 'I do value you so much, my dear sister.'
His words almost made me cry but I held them inside for I did not want him to see that I was affected. I did not stay long for the journey had tired him, but I knew that he was glad to be home and I felt much better than I had when I saw him brought in.
4th February: Paul is a little better at last. I carried his tray up to him this morning but he said he was sick of the nourishing broth that Mama keeps sending him. I took it back to the study and stole some fresh scones and honey while Cook was busy. Paul loved them and ate every scrap that I buttered and broke off for him. He was like a child having a midnight feast and made me promise that I would bring him some meat and pickles the next day. I said that I would, though it will be more difficult.
At supper Mama scolded me for taking the scones. She did not think they were for Paul and said that if I continued to eat so much I should get fat and lose all my chances of marriage. I let her scold me for it did not matter and I knew that Paul had enjoyed his stolen meal.
10th February: Mama came in when Paul was eating his meat and pickles. We were laughing together and did not notice her at first. She looked serious when I turned to look at her and told me that she wanted to see me in her parlour in ten minutes. I sensed that she was cross with me, but when I went down later she merely scolded me for stealing the food. She said that Cook had blamed one of the kitchen maids and that I should be more thoughtful of others.
'Could you not have told me that Paul had asked for something more substantial?' she asked. I begged her pardon and she was very forgiving for she said that Paul was much better for my visits - and then she cried. It was very distressing to see Mama cry like that, but afterwards she blew her nose and said that her tears had healed her spirit. She told me that she had thought Paul would die, but it seemed that a small miracle had happened and the wound to his side was healing.
I kissed Mama and told her that I believed Paul would recover in time, and she said that I was probably the best judge of any of us, and that she was content to leave his nursing to me - but that I was to ask for help if I needed it. I thanked her for the compliment and said that I would do everything I could to help my brother. She said that he was in God's hand, but that he owed his recovery in part to me.
Mama has never said as much to me before and I felt very honoured to be given the charge of my brother's convalescence. I pray that he will soon be much better. When he tells me that he wants to get out of bed I shall know that he is through the worst.
Hope you enjoy this longer entry. I have recently reviewed Perfidy & Perfection by Kate Allen for the Historical Novel Society. I am going to give the book as a prize. Anyone interested should visit my website and contact me there. I want to know what it is about the Regency period that fascinates you. The offer will run until 8th June and then the names will go into a hat. The first out gets Kate Allen's hardback, the next three will get paperbacks from my backlist.
Visit my website at www.lindasole.co.uk