I will say that not all poor have my integrity. There are plenty of groups of poor children, mostly boys, that will gladly pick your pocket. There's also prostitutes; not courtesans, you understand; that will steal more bills from a man's wallet when he's asleep. They call it necessity while I call it a bad decision.
I may not be the most pious person, but I do agree with the age of reason. If you're reached seven or older and you've decided to steal, that is still fully your decision and I have no sympathy for you. Even children can find someone to hire themselves to as apprentices. Women don't have to resort to theft or prostitution to earn a living. Even the homeless don't have to be.
What I did finally do with that creepy old house that belonged to the doctor's mother was that I sold it. They were going to use it as an orphanage, but then decided to bulldoze it, probably after seeing it. They turned the new building into a much-needed hospital since they were so scarce in that region.
My household was very informal since it was just me and the coachman. Every time I'd read the newspaper, I'd hand it off to him. We'd even sometimes eat together in my house. I would even do the washing for the entire property and would put his clothes in with mine.
I had certain days I did different things. Mondays were for making new dresses and petticoats, and buying new fabrics for the next ones I'd make. Tuesdays were for making my tenant rounds. Wednesdays were for paying bills and visiting the bank if need be. Thursdays were for cooking for the entire property. Fridays were for making repairs in clothing. Saturdays were for doing the wash. Sundays were for leisure.
The most religious thing that I did was to visit my parents' graves every so often. I would always bring a rose for Mom and a clover for Dad. I would have envisioned my life having a husband and children more so if my parents had remained alive. Their example made me hope for it, but on my own I valued my freedom too much to cede it to any man.
A rabbit came to adopt a certain leafy patch on my property as his for eating. David, the coachman, was about to treat him as a pest when I held my hand up.
"I'm not using those. Let him eat them."
From then on, we enjoyed sitting on the front porch to watch him eat. I would occasionally place some bits of carrots for him.
On my Sunday leisure walks, I would bring a slice of bread to scatter for birds.
The first men to flirt with me had been the soldiers at the soup kitchen. I supposed they thought they'd get the choicest servings if they did. It was actually a deterrent.
The next to do so were the dates that Claudine and William set me up on. It was so forced though. Every time I'd visit them in Auteuil they'd have at least one new one for me to meet. I stopped visiting Auteuil after that.
The first time David saw me in my dressing gown, it didn't even faze me. Modesty is a convenience only the grander nobility allow themselves. I considered him such a friend, even a brother, at that point that it didn't bother me
He did pursue a girl once. She was of the same class as him and it was all very proper. She didn't have anyone she was promised to. The trouble was that she was very flighty. She eventually did find someone else. David caught her out to dinner with him and when he confronted her she said she simply liked the other one better.
"Yeah, thanks for telling me," David said and stormed off.
I saw his sad face on his returning home and gave him a hug. I sat him down in my parlor to some tea and biscuits.
He told me all about it. I agreed with him that she'd handled it badly.
"I know it hurts now, but you will get through this."
I sent him to bed with a last biscuit.
The next day, David wanted to help out more with the household chores, saying he felt it would do him good to tire himself out. I was fine with it. By nightfall, he'd filled the entire outdoor pile of wood, cleaned and fed the horses (even checking on their shoes), and cleaned the entire servants' quarters. I had to re-clean them because he didn't know how to clean. I fed him a hearty dinner that night that I shared with him at the breakfast table in the kitchen. I hated dining at the dinner table since I was alone. I only ever sat there when Claudine and William were visiting.
I would have loved it had I been able to house my parents there. Dad could've had the garden he'd always wanted. Mom could've taken the time off she wanted. There was even a separate bedroom off of the upstairs landing. It was the one Claudine and William stayed in when they visited. I would gladly have given it to my parents, especially since there was a downstairs guest room behind the parlor.
The dinin room was in front of the front right window as one faced in from the front door. Behind that was the kitchen one entered through an archway between the two. The breakfast table was to the left of the archway and the wine bar was in the right corner on the other side of the archway. On the left side of the house was the office/library, then the parlor, then the guest room. There was a small mess area behind the kitchen with the back door between the mess area and the guest room. My bedroom was upstairs onthe right and the other guest room was to the left with a little sitting area between them. The outhouse was behind the back right corner of the house. Most of the house I'd done in autumnal colors except for the kitchen I'd kept white-tiled and the parlor that was in more of a spring and summer theme. Everything was white in the servants' quarters. Everything was wood in the stables. The stables were attached to the left side of the house. The servants' quarters were in a separate building to the left of the stables. There were woods to the right side of the property and Marseille was to the left, down the hill from the house.
I don't know what I did to deserve that treasure. I didn't think the doctor had a system for good or bad in his mind since he seemed so deranged himself. I do look back at my life with no regrets, save for my parents' dying early.
Well, Elise has to be fed.