17 May 1796
I got this journal so that I can keep track of my life, when I grow older. So that I can look back on better days. I sometimes wonder what the future will bring. Everyday, we live in fear that the French will break through the barriers that our navy has created. Everyday we run from the press gangs. We all herald those in the navy as heroes, but we ourselves, never wish to serve.
My family is constantly on guard against the press. My son, Kenrick, has just turned thirteen. He is in danger of being pressed into service. My other son, Schyler, was lucky enough to join the shipyard, so he should be in no danger of being pressed. I still worry for him, though. He is only sixteen, and when one is walking home alone, in the dark alleyways, the press shows no mercy. All are taken.
I myself am thirty-four. I was married to my darling wife, Maria, at eighteen. She was at the tender age of sixteen. It was an arranged marriage, but unlike most, this one was by no means a mistake. Neither of us ever regretted our parents' decisions. Indeed, allowing us to grow up knowing each other, was a well thought out choice. Unfortunately, my darling Maria died last year, from a case of pneumonia.
I am not a rich man, nor am I poor. But I was unable to provide for my wife what she needed. She only wanted an apple. Nothing more, but alas, I was unable to provide. They were in season at the time, but being a time of war, they are rare, and far too expensive for a mere tailor's wage to afford. My darling Maria went without, and died, asking for an apple.
It was terrible to see her die that way. By the time she did die, she was seeing all sorts of hallucinations. The children did not see her in the last two days of her life. I chose to conceal it, as she was hard put to recognise even me. It would have been heart-breaking for them. Especially little Anna, as she was but ten at the time. I am constantly apologising to her for not being able to provide properly for a young girl. My wife was a genius at child raising. I am terrible, and will probably end up doing more harm than good. My darling Anna, is growing up in a house full of men. Fortunately, there is a family with girls about Anna's age, and they all seem to like each other. They're son seems quite interested as well. Perhaps... But I'm getting ahead of myself. She is only eleven.
Life as a tailor is interesting, at best. I have many a new naval officer come into my shop each day, requesting a new uniform, or sometimes even several. I always get the uniforms done by the time their ship is ready to depart. That's my guarantee. Unless of course they request several uniforms and their ship is leaving the next day. Then I tell them that I'll have two done, for that is how many I can make in one night. Many times they are affronted. It's not my fault. I'd like to see them find any tailor in any town who could make seven overnight. Yes, I was asked to do that once. That particular officer has never been back to my shop.
I know I lose money by being adamant about things like that, but I honestly can't bring myself to do that. It's wrong of them to ask me to do the impossible. I will not allow myself to be pushed around by those who are used to doing it every day of their lives. It's just not right.
The wind just blew in through the window. It's the middle of winter and here, in London, it is bitterly cold. There is frost on the inside of the walls. The wind keeps blowing through the window that the children accidently smashed today. I don't mind, it just means that I have to pile on extra blankets while in this room. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be Anna's room. I can't possibly make my little girl sleep in this cold, so I've sent her to my room, until I can get some one to fix the window. It will be several weeks yet, as I need to save up a bit of pocket money for it.
My fingers are almost frozen through, now. I think I shall turn in for the night, and hope that I don't freeze.