Ah, how Christmas-time makes my heart leap with joy! O the gaiety! O the merriment! O the poor orphaned children begging in the street; how the pennies do flow into their threadbare caps via the hands of benevolent souls throughout the month of December! 'Tis enough to make one sing and weep with joy, simultaneously! And Dr Schultheiß says I am rid of my consumption! Can there be a happier lass on Papá's estate?

Whate'er reason I may have for ungratefulness, at the very least my Yuletide sha'n't be passed in the fashion of the waifs above! Hooray, I am wealthy!


A Light-hearted Tune

Music has eased my spirits as of late. I miss the dashing Horace and his Euphonium, but my nieces Millie and Fannie have visited me at the Glensheen estate, which we are currently renting from its owners, and brought the latest popular sheet music to play on the piano-forte. I am certainly not well enough to dance, or, verily, to sit upright; Papá would disapprove of such liveliness, even in times of health.


My Apothecary-Cabinet

Dr. Schultheiß has prescribed to me an array of compounds, tinctures, and patent-medicines to aid in my recovery. They are of the most modern extraction, using the latest technology: Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator, Dr. Guertin’s Nerve Syrup, Buffalo Lithia Water, Mug-Wump Specific, Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People, Dr. Morse’s Indian Root, glycerited asafœtida. He discovered that I was taking Dr. King’s New Discovery for Consumption (not under the advisement of any of my physicians; rather, this was brought to me by Nurse-Maid Tillie) and has insisted that I cease ingestion of this product. It is a wholesome compound of morphine and chloroform, and since I began taking it in aught-nine my inhalation and exhalation have been less laboured; nonetheless, Dr. Schultheiß tells me it is nothing but to my detriment.

A sampling of the nostra recommended for my manifold conditions.


A hiatus from Society

I am recovering from the awful restive lung cure; my convalescence is to be spent in the horrid town of Duluth, Minnesota. Dr Schultheiß insists that next to the Himalayan air, nothing can benefit my ill lungs more than the vapors of the great Kitchi Gami.


Shall I be Nepal-bound?

Dr. Schultheiß has proposed drastic measures in order to speed my recovery from the dreaded Consumption: either rest my affected lung by causing it to collapse, or undertake what he calls "the Himalaya cure:" 8 months' time passed in the culturally nefarious environs of Nepal. He assures me that the mountain air would cause the tubercles staining my delicate lungs to evaporate like morning dew. Papá did not waste time with equivoques: "NO" was his answer, and No it remains.

"Why not a Mediterranean cure?" Step-mother Celestine wanted to know, "Last year Katharina's physician said nothing could be more beneficial to her lungs than the salty air."

"Zat vass before recent developments in medical technology," saith Dr. Schultheiß.

"How about time in Colorado, or Wyoming?"

"I am afraid, Madam," the good Dr. stroked his beard, as Teutonic physicians are wont to do, "zat zee altitude is quite simply insufficient for vat vee are trying to accomplish."

In the end it was agreed that a surgeon shall rest my lung, a horrendous procedure that shall inflict upon me greater pain than the disease itself (much as my thrice-weekly vibratory treatment is more gruesome than my frequent bouts of hysterical fits). Should this fail to eliminate all sign of Consumption from my ailing body, I am afraid I have no choice but to make the arduous journey to the Orient.

Further ill health

I have spent an extended period in a medical facility off of the estate. My tubercular symptoms have worsened. Horace commented, during one of his frequent visits, that I never looked so lovely: all the rosy color has drained from my face, and my wrist circumference is so slight that Horace jested that I must be mistakenly ingesting Orpha’s daily ration of barley gruel. I could not summon the strength to titter.

Verily, my appetite is such that I no longer have appetite even for Cook Effie's sorghum gelatin mold, though Dr. Schultheiß cautions that I must eat, at the very least, a steaming bowl of veal consommé with soda crackers daily.

A doctor’s assessment of a consumptive patient ca. one century past; how medicine has advanced!


I adore ships

One of the great passions of my life has been sea-faring. One would not know this to gaze upon my pale visage and feeble constitution, but an adventurous streak runs through me as surely as the Mississippi River runs through some of the more pastoral of the 46 states of our glorious nation! I insist on being the first on the passenger list of any new ship that is christened; ‘tis fortuitous that Papá is none other than the eminent industrialist, Adolphus Hilliard van Seethinbottom III, for he is able to easily secure my passage on any great vessel which may sail the mighty seas (but not, dare I say, the vile Black Sea; once one passes through the straits of Dardanelles, one may witness a dizzying array of malfeasant activities committed by the various unsavoury peoples that populate her shores. Likewise, I should not like to travel too close to the horrendous shores of old Eire). By far the most exciting ocean liner I have sailed on was the RMS Mauretania. I insisted on journeying on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, a fetid, plebeian city which will never yield any productive or renowned citizens. The Mauretania’s interior was as stately as Mr. Rockefeller’s summer cottage; its meals as lavish as I could expect from the finest hotels of Paris or Monaco.

At this moment in Britain the White Star Line has undertaken the daunting task of constructing three ships that shall rival even the largest and most opulent liners of the grand Cunard Line. The RMS Olympic sailed on her maiden voyage last month, and I threw a fit unbecoming of a lady when Papá refused to grant me permission to be the first to board, due to my recent psychic maladies. However, White Star is working on two sister ships, the RMS Gigantic and the RMS Titanic, the latter of which was launched earlier this year and shall embark on her maiden voyage in the spring. Certes, to be seen on her hull as she departs the brackish waters surrounding Merrie Olde England will be the society event of the year. In addition to being the most luxurious of ships, pioneers of seafaring technology are deeming these ships positively unsinkable, due to their extra-ordinary engineering. It is my greatest hope that Drs. Weißmüller, Frankenthaler, et al. pronounce me well by April of next year so that I may participate in this historic event.

The grand RMS Olympic leaving port.


About the good Doctor F.

Dr. Frankenthaler has proclaimed that after 12 fortnights of hypnotic therapy, I have made a breakthrough! He would not divulge to me the nature of the breakthrough; when I made a feeble inquiry, he merely stroked his straggly beard, continued to jot in his ledger-book, and grumbled in his Teutonic dialect, "Hmmm....Perhap a mere 182 fortnights remain in your hypnotic treatment. By zen I believe we shall have made real progress. Good-day, Miss Seezinbottom."

Dr. Frankenthaler never looks me in the eye, or so I assume: a lady of my stature must never look at a distinguished psycho-analyst anywhere other than his wrists.


A Letter for Orpha

The wretched servant girl, Orpha, was filled with glee when this arrived for her in the post-box morning last:

"A postal card? For me?" We were all of us shocked and gathered in the foyer to examine the mysterious arrival.

I simply could'n't help myself: I burst into laughter! "Why, whoever would want to correspond with an illiterate scullery maid?"

"I'm afraid I don't know, madam," she replied in her lower-class brogue. "Mail has never arrived for me before. Please, tell me what it says."

My sister Marguerite quickly snatched the thing and began to peruse it. She tittered, then announced, "I'm so terribly sorry, Orpha, but they seem to have reached you in error. They were looking for one Orpha O'Callaghan, to be sure, but certainly not you. Your name must be common enough amongst the race of Irish-Iberians to which you belong."

Orpha looked crestfallen. Meekly, she stammered, "Well -- may I ask, Miss Marguerite, what the letter says?"

"Er...I shall read it verbatim. Dear Mrs. O'Callaghan -- you are certainly not married, are you, Orpha?" Marguerite teased.

Again, my laughter could not be contained. "The very idea!" said I, "A suitor willing to offer a hand in marriage to Orpha? Why, he would have to be a Scotsman!"

"Quiet down, Katharina. You are such an impetuous sort!" Marguerite continued: "We had occasion to visit Galway Inn and Stables in May and are writing to extend our thanks anew for your gracious hosting of us in your fine inn whilst we journeyed in America. The next time we find occasion to cross the sea, we shall certainly remember your establishment, and we shall recommend it to all our acquaintances. Sincerely, Lord Ashby Clive Mortimer Hollingberry and Lady Philippa Hallybone Hollingberry. Why, Miss Orpha!" Marguerite feigned shock, "You didn't inform us that you were both an equestrienne and a proprietress! And that you are hosting the British nobility at your inn!"

Miss Orpha! Imagine! Marguerite has always played the rôle of the clown, and her reversal of the polite address system in this instance made me nearly fall to the hand-woven Constantinople carpet in hysterics!

Orpha, in her simple Gaelic mind-set, was unable to grasp the nuanced humour. She continued to look dejected. "I ... I s'pose they had in mind a different Orpha O'Callaghan..." She shuffled off, the limp in her left foot taking on a pronounced stagger. (The limp is a relic of a childhood injury; Mamá, furious with Orpha for not properly curling my ringlets, pushed her out of a briskly paced buggy.) Poor wretched Orpha!


Spring is upon us.

The cherries in Papá's orchard are blooming, hurrah, hurrah! On such occasions I imagine I am in old Toke-yo.


A tragic event in the city

A horrible tragedy this week in Man-hattan. Fire consumed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, located in the Asch Building near Washington Square. Scores of Germanic, Slavic, and Italic girls perished in the inferno; a goodly number jumped to their deaths. A witness described the frightening thud of bodies on the pavement as some sixty girls jumped 9 stories to their death. Some were as young as 12; they died fifteen years before their time. Horrors!

Despite the tragedy, one must remark on how the downtrodden often bring such misfortune on themselves through their heedlessness and haste. Witnesses remarked that the factory was in a disarray, with scraps of fabric and paper patterns strewn about the floor. It is speculated that such conditions contributed to the fire's fierce and rapid spread through the upper floors of this building. Compounding the difficulty of escaping, one of the exit doors was locked to bar union organizers from entering. It is my hope that union officials note with great sorrow and shame the way in which they have contributed to many more deaths than were necessary.

A moment to remember those who died such brutal, senseless deaths.


The astute reader will recall that garment workers from this very factory instigated the Uprising of 20,000 in 1909; slothful seamstresses walked off the job en masse, indignant at having to work a mere 14 hours a day. I asked at the time and I ask now, if they were to work a 12-hour day, as they demand, how exactly do they plan to while away the remaining 12 hours? "The devil makes work for idle hands," and this phrase applies doubly to the impoverished.


A day of modern psychiatric treatments

During a recent hypnosis session with Dr. Frankenthaler, it seems I mentioned the shocking scene I witnessed at the lowly jass-hall. Dr. Frankenthaler, a colleague of Dr. Freud himself, is opposed to sharing with me the revelations I confess to during hypnotherapy, believing my statements to be his intellectual property. However, he was intrigued by my admission of having personally heard jass music. He inquired where he might listen to such music. I gave him an approximate address and asked whether viewing such a depraved sight may have contributed to my breakdown. He murmured that the precise causes of my condition can only be determined after many grueling months or even years of hypnosis and various other therapies.

The rest of the therapeutic session passed as usual; I endured hydrotherapy to assuage neurasthenia and vibration therapy to remedy congestion of the genitalia. Dr. Weißmüller assures me that the vibratory treatment will no longer be necessary once Horace and I have consummated our marriage.

Ah, the treatments I must endure to be well again!

A sampling of my gruesome treatments.



This eve, my first return to the isle of Man-hattan since my psychic calamity. Dinner at the charmingly workaday Delmonico's. I did not save a current menu, but here is one Mamá had saved from a similarly impoverished dinner many years ago:

I am on a strict diet and so nibbled only on the nonpareil salad. Yet, when Papá and nurse Beulah were'n't looking, I enjoyed several nips from cousin Roscoe's Palmettes of Snipe à la Osborn.


My literary return

My team of physicians has granted me tentative permission to use pen and paper.

They have not, however, granted me permission to keep a diary, especially not one allowed into the public via this perilously revelatory forum. Thus, I pen these words in secret, early in the morn -- only the servants are awake at this dark hour, diligently preparing today's bread and terrine of Rouennais duckling.

Papá has said that all the romantic literature I read goes to my head -- I previously scoffed at this notion, but perhaps there is some truth in his pronouncement. 'Tis not only a well-accepted tenet of decent society, but a fact reinforced and documented by modern psychiatric science, that the female mind is more excitable than that of her sterner counterpart, that it is more easily swayed by passions, more easily tempted by evil, less able to comprehend what is in her own best interest; the female is more apt to be tantrum-prone, and to overestimate her own capacity to cope with matters intellectual. Exposure to ideas and theories is likely to reduce her to a sobbing heap of neurotic flesh and hard, arid uterus. None of this is in dispute; both convention and empirical evidence are in agreement on this. The dilemma arises from attempting to quell the thirst within me to learn, to explore the unsavory areas of life and the mind. It is not a healthy thirst, merely a natural one. Yet man (and woman, dare I say) has conquered nature before. If the hand of man can craft the gleaming metropolis of Man-hattan out of nothing but savage wilds,

then why shouldn't I be able to suppress my inherent urges? I can find solace in the fact that Horace is a bold navigator of the mind, and that I am a part of him. I may allow him to delve into literary matters, while I step aside and tend to the partaking of petit fours with other society ladies.


Love doth conquer all

In spite of my manifold dolorous ailments of body, mind, and spirit, I at the very least have a suitor.

How wonderful to have a Gentleman like Horace as my protector!


A mental calamity

Most heartfelt apologies, loyal readers, on my lengthy absence. I suffered a nervous breakdown after my return from Old Europe and have not fully recovered. I have spent the last three weeks in an asylum...er, rest château. It was all the excitement of seeing Horace again, combined with the horrid memory of the scene I witnessed in the jass hall. This shocking painting that I viewed in one of Europe's fine musées also contributed to my breakdown:

I am still not fit to write; the physicians have said that it is most detrimental to my psyche and Papá does not approve, thus, I must compose these sentences in private.


Merriment in l'Éurope, and Wishes for a Joyous New Year

After a hiatus in Biarritz, Monte Carlo, and Lido over the holidays, we have arrived safely back in our stately estate along one of the great rivers of our splendorous nation (I am afraid I may not name my exact location; one must’n’t tempt destitute factory workers intent on capturing Papà’s fortunes). Welcome back to me! I did not want for attention whilst abroad, attracting many potential suitors as I strolled feebly through hotel lounges and along beaches. The briny air was beneficial for my consumption, I was able to hone my skills in the French language, and my neurasthenia dissipated into imperceptibility! I did so miss Horace, but now we are back together, spending evenings a comfortable eight feet from one another in the parlor, Horace serenading me with his euphonium.


En Lido, nous sommes restées ici, à l’Hôtel Excelsior:

Un souvenir de Biarritz:

Une image de Monte Carlo:

Et une peinture du Ballet Russe que nous avons vu à Monte Carlo:

Et enfin, (je ne dois pas oublier):

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Nouvelle Année!