A debutante’s diary: Alice faces a man ban

Tuesday September 29th, 1868

Alice bade a reluctant farewell to the Manners Suttons and departed for Leigh Court in Somerset, her grandfather’s home. After anything-goes Kelham, the staid atmosphere came as a disagreeable shock to the system. Alice’s misery was compounded by her grandmother, Lady Miles, forbidding her from having a certain gentleman to stay.

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I wonder if in another world I shall discover of what use one’s relations were to one, for I don’t see the faintest likelihood of my solving the mystery in this. I labour at present under the idea that they are a species of penance imposed upon us by a far-seeing Providence, to punish us for all the misdeeds of our life, past, present and to come. Certainly if this be really the case they carry out the role imposed upon them most admirably: see their present conduct for proof. But though abusing them is a slight relief to my mind and I therefore indulge in it-I am sorry to say it does not in the least hurt them, or remedy the hopeless existing state of affairs.

Oh-! I shall probably never see you again now! And I had been looking forward to this meeting more than words can say. When I think of it I could sit down and cry myself into a hopeless state of imbecility, if it were not for the reflection that such a proceeding would materially damage my personal appearance, and thus preclude any chance of finding consolation elsewhere.

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