May 20th, 1875

Dear Diary,

It was just a glancing blow. In all honesty, I do not believe Thomas meant to strike me at all. I was making him dreadfully angry with my constant wants and needs. Poor Thomas! It must be awfully bothersome to have so many responsibilities! I almost wish he had not sent Edward away, but then again the old fool was giving me lewd glances when I passed him in the halls. He had it coming to him, that he did.

I write this by candlelight and with my left hand holding a cold cloth to my cheek. It still throbs dully, but the most prominent of the pains has receded. Thomas is, thankfully enough, still out of town. I would not have thought that picking up timber for the addition to the house would take so long, but I am thankful for it. After all, I shudder at the thought of what Thomas would do if he found me writing in this diary against his wishes. I know it is not good for me to disobey my husband so, but putting ink to paper is where my heart's joy lies. Before I married Thomas, I had hopes of becoming a celebrated author. Now I am content to raise the children and keep a small journal in my spare time, and Julia really handles the former quite well on her own.

Oh, Julia! My baby sister! Such a spit-fire of energy and radical ideas! Oh, lucky Julia! I am so glad that you love Tobias and Tobias loves you. It is like being made sister again, marrying such a fine pair of brothers! But, may I ask, why do you demand to retain your maiden name?

Speak of the Devil! Julia calls.

It was one of the children. Little Sebastian took a tumble while chasing after Robert and Lydia. He was alright, but for all her love and tenderness, Julia could not stem the flow of his tears. He needed a mother's touch. Precious Amy presented me with a creative painting on my way back up the stairs, and it now sits on my nightstand. It is beautiful to look at -- I believe Amy has the makings of a fine artist in her, just like her uncle Dominick! The painting sits next to a flower I pressed in my teenage years and the first gift Thomas ever gave to me. I am ashamed to admit that I rarely look at either of them now. The flower is just a faded memory of folly and irresponsibility, and the gift from Thomas is...

Well, I suppose I cannot exactly recall why it means so little now. It is a dainty silver locket, and the chain appears to be too thin to bear even that minute weight. It is surprisingly sturdy -- I have not broken it in eight years of ownership. I suppose that is why Thomas chose it in the first place. I can be a trite clumsy at times.

News arrived early today from my little brother Dominick, who lives in Louisville. He is my lifeline to the outside world. It is not that I do not love Paducah. I simply find small town life to be lacking in adventure. Heaven forbid, however, that anyone think I am complaining!

Ah, but back to the news I was mentioning before I was distracted. Dominick wrote of the first Kentucky Derby on May 17th. It is a race of thoroughbred horses, he explains, and the winner was a horse by the name of "Aristides." The winning horse was ridden by Oliver Lewis, a man of African decent. I believe that is the polite term now-a-days. I do not wish to offend anyone. We have employees of color here, and I cannot see why anyone -- Northern or Southern -- would think that they are below whites. Anyway, Dominick says he placed a bet on the horse that placed second to last, and will be coming to visit and to "recuperate from his loses." In other words, he wishes to consume our alcohol and tell outrageous stories of city life. Perhaps that sounds a bit cynical -- I do not mean ill of my little brother. I suppose I merely wish that he would slow himself down a little, settle down with a wife.

No need to hurry, after all.

I can hear the "clack-clack" of Thomas' horses on the cobblestone drive. I will hide this diary in its customary place. Until next time, dear diary...