California, July, in the Year Of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Twenty-Nine
I am ever mindful that Your ways are mysterious and not prone to understanding by mortal men. What other explanation for the events of these weeks past? That You saw fit to deliver me from the duress of the Ottoman and unto these shores is a boon of such graciousness as to make of me Your most obedient servant. I am mindful of my prayers, and I hold my oath as sacred. Thy will be done.
Would it be impertinent of me to ask that You render Thy will somewhat clearer to my eyes? Who is this woman, this child? That she is Your task to me is undeniable for while at first I was uncertain, as the hours went by the more I saw mysteries in this one that I was meant to uncover. There were so many roads open to me, so many opportunities to turn this way or that and avoid the meeting of her, yet never has a woman been such a distraction to my soul.
She is so much the enigma. What was first to my eyes a lost and helpless girl, adrift in a world of hard and uncaring fates, revealed herself to be as a Fury. There are deep currents behind those emerald eyes. She is deft at concealing them, playing at her part with such ease, readily fooling other men yet somehow her facade seems clear as glass to me: she looks about her with disdain for those who would think themselves her equal and is unmoved by currents that frighten or bewilder other women. Her speech is carefully constructed to fall upon the ear as she desires yet when her guard lowers it strangely whipsaws between gutter whore slang and aristocratic airs in such a bewitching manner I am nearly moved to laughter.
With all of this she could easily be a demanding and difficult creature, so much so that I felt moved to put her off her desire to accompany me into the wilderness. Yet we shared a common need to be shut of this place, and a common lack of resources. Together there was the chance to acquire those goods to make such a journey conceivable; however, even with that I found myself reluctant to have her life in my hands. You know my heart, Lord. You know my willingness to take any risk upon myself and trust to my wits and Your grace to make my way. What of hers?
Such a glorious creature she is and not one to be put off. She placed the planning and provisioning squarely in my hands whilst she set about gathering her own kit. I have never made hard travel with a woman; I had no inkling what I might expect. She bustled about with such energy and enthusiasm as to lighten my mood as we prepared to depart, and then she shocked me so thoroughly: she cut her hair.
She is a beautiful woman, sturdy but not stout in stature, clean-limbed almost like a boy and yet very feminine, and her hair is a glorious mane of scarlet curls, falling unbounded to her feet. She retired to her room to gather her last belongings and don her traveling clothes. When she returned her hair was bobbed to her shoulders and tied back. I was nearly agog at her loss, even as I admired her sensibility, yet there was naught but pleasure in her and an eagerness to be on our way.
What have I stumbled upon here, Lord?