and has the nerve to enter it into our contest Once Upon a Time! You’d think she wrote it herself!
Wendy Joseph is a frequent visitor here at The Word, so we will forgive her the sin of actually entering someone else’s work into our contest. The rules require that you submit a prologue to a work in progress. I should have specified it had to be YOUR OWN work. She’s got a lotta Gal(way)!
Never-the-less, here is the prologue to
The Diary of Bobbie MacBride
As discovered by Wendy Joseph
Being the Journal of
Robert MacBride, née Barbara Brigid MacBride,
The original leather bound manuscript
of this diary appears to have been written
with pine tar ink and a feathered quill pen.
Friday, 2 September, 1814
My Johnnie has not, as he promised, returned in the fortnight he said would see our reunion; I therefore am taking some pains, and no little expense, to find out his whereabouts. It is indeed a hard task to find one man in a city of many hundreds, yet I shall persist until my goal is accomplished, for my heart will not allow me to rest till I have determined the fate of the one who is my reason for being. And little does it trouble me now that I shall miss the wedding at Coole tomorrow, for in my present state it could only cause me grief.
May God grant my John Donnelly is still alive, and failing that, may He give me the fortitude to withstand the worst.
Sunday, 4 September
My inquiries have met with repeated answers in the negative, the bleakness of which increases the weight on my heart daily. The journey here was more costly than my ciphers had taken account of, and that, plus the amount for food and lodging, added to the cost of the advertisements I have placed in several papers here, has seriously drained my resources. Having taken leave of my dear home without permission, not to mention having stolen some of Auntie O’Shea’s jewelry to pay for the journey here, I cannot now return home without some misgivings. But how could I stay there when every thought goes with my dear John Donnelly, whose loss far outweighs every person or thing of value in my life?
I pray my family forgives me. I doubt that they can, or will.
Tuesday, 6 September
I am resolved, having come to the end of my fiscal resources, to cut every link with my past and start anew. I have determined to ship aboard a brig here, bound for Boston. To this end I have bought all the necessary materials to fit myself out as a ship’s boy, trusting that this disguise will suffice to maintain and uphold my virtue. The ship is an American privateer, moored quietly for provisioning in a cove nearby, as we are at war with that country. She would seem safe enough, as there are no English warships here. I think they are all in France, fighting Napoleon, or to the war in America.
In four days this ship, the Freedom, leaves this port for the New World, and a new country, barely thirty-eight years in being. Lately His Majesty’s colonies, they are now the United States of America, or perhaps it is States of United America, I am not sure. Still, it is a wonder to me, after having declared their independence, that they have survived so long without the King’s protection. What manner of people will they be? Will Red Indians wait to attack us as we approach shore?
I have spoken to the Master of this vessel, Captain Deerfield, who seems a decent sort, and appears to know his business, though I, with but one voyage in a small boat with but one sail, would be a poor judge of that. There is a berth available for a novice sailor, however, since good hands who indulge in not many vices, as drinking, gambling, fighting and debauchery, are few and hard to find. Indeed, among all walks of life, I have seen few men more representative of these vices than the seafaring men I have encountered here in Galway. May the Holy Virgin protect me!