It occurs to me that I have kept a journal now, on and off, for nigh on 30 years. I had scribbled bits here and there before that, but it really started when Mother presented me with a handsome, leather-bound notebook for my 12th birthday. As I recall, my first entry was very self-important, with delusions of some day being a celebrated diarist like Samuel Pepys. Somehow I doubt it. I scarcely look over them myself, let alone having anybody else read them. Even if I did, there will be gaps. My teenage years are probably still up in the attic of the family home somewhere. Some of my adult years are most likely stored away somewhere in Alexandra’s parents’ house, or went with my son Arthur to my brother’s house. Some, detailing the later years, are almost certainly lost, to be read only by the fish in the sea. A few bits and pieces survived with me. As for the rest; maybe some day, I will try to reconstruct those years from memory. That is probably an exercise in narcissistic vanity, for I doubt they will be ever read by others.
I did have cause to read over my most recent entry, if only to remind myself of the folly of making assumptions, particularly about my sanity. For the events of this night were to deliver yet another blow, albeit a pleasant one. Today, I returned to the tavern to find Senna struggling with some deliveries. She was not best pleased with this task, or with the absence of Aoibheann. I took it upon myself to take charge of the deliveries, deciding to regard them as part of my accounting duties. Senna was quite content with this arrangement and more than happy to leave the goods in the care of “you two.” Just as I was about to query her estimation of numbers, a soft voice, in a familiar French accent, came to my ear.
Brigitte! I could do naught but stand and stare, for it was she. Her hair was arranged very differently and her dress was strange to my view, but there was no mistaking her eyes, her voice, or the smile of recognition. Comtesse Brigitte de Champagne, standing there in an abbreviated version of a man’s suit, quite unperturbed to find me there. In my stupefaction, I could only make some comment about her having changed her hair. Her next comment did not help restore my sanity, as she referred to Justine having coloured her hair brightly in the 1990s. I queried this in case I had mis-heard, but she did not elaborate further, save to say that Justine was not here. This thought seemed to sadden her, but I felt it wise not to pursue the matter. For all that we had not seen each other in months; we did not seem to have much to say to one another. Her attention was taken by some strange device she held in her hand. She did not vouchsafe what it was, but I could see images, and print, moving on its surface. Perhaps it was some miniaturised version of those moving picture machines that I have seen at fairs and exhibitions.
In the absence of conversation, I took stock of the supplies, recorded them, and moved them into the store-room. It probably doesn’t count as accounting, but, if nothing else, I am a helpful soul when I want to be. At least Senna, when she reappeared, was happy that it had been taken care of. She left, then, with the declared intention of trying out the facilities of the nearby bath house. A few moments later, Brigitte headed in the same direction, and I fancy I caught a glimpse of predatory intent in her eyes. Some things, at least, do not appear to change.