October 9th, Thursday.
It is astonishing what a quantity of fresh air has been consumed by me since I formed that wise resolution. The supply must be largely increased, to keep up with the demand; perhaps that is the cause of all these clouds and showers; I must be making a severe drain on the economy of heaven. From breakfast to dinner I remain on the balcony, and read aloud several chapters of the “Mémoires” of Dumas, by way of practice. A dictionary lies by me, and I suffer no word to pass without a perfect definition. Then comes my French grammar, which I study while knitting or sewing, which takes very nearly until dinner-time. After that, I do as I please, either reading or talking, until sunset when we can ride or walk; the walk being always sweetened with sugarcane. The evening we always spend on the balcony. Is that grand air enough? O mon teint! je serai joliment brume!
We three girls occupy the same room, since Gibbes’s arrival, and have ever so much fun and not half enough sleep. I believe the other two complain of me as the cause; but I plead not guilty. I never was known to laugh aloud, no matter how intense might have been my mirth; “it won’t come,” as Gibbes murmured last night while reading aloud Artemus Ward’s last letter, when we discovered it was suppressed laughter, rather than suppressed pain, that caused him to writhe so. On the other hand, Anna and Miriam laugh as loud and lustily as daughters of the Titans — if the respectable gentlemen had daughters. I confess to doing more than half the talking, but as to the laugh that follows, not a bit. Last night I thought they would go wild, and I too laughed myself into silent convulsions, when I recited an early effusion of my poetic muse for their edification. Miriam made the bedstead prance, fairly, while Anna’s laugh sounded like a bull of Bashan with his head in a bolster case.