IMG_3229Kis Adriai carried her hornbook against her ribcage. Literacy was something she had taken easily to in the grammar school erected for boys. It’s the first thing I remarked upon when someone asked: the item about the boy’s grammar school. It worked quite well, really. I was her tutor. She had other tutors and masters, but I was the first woman. The poor girl didn’t know a thing about me. I had taken her as one of my own after a piano recital in Vienna. She was very young then, but you could see that she had very fine skin. It was in her blood. I had exclaimed this very thing to her mother, who was listening to the piano. The mother had very fine skin as well.

My maids and I, we call her Kis Adriai, because of her origins alongside the sea. Her skin’s supple quality was of the Adriatic salt water air. One of my maids had suggested to me that we send scouts along the shores of Venice where favors requested in my name would be most kindly greeted owing to family ties. Though I thought this too immense an undertaking at first, I have since noticed failures of red ochre in purple divots below my eyes, and even though my maids fear to see it, there are lines growing steady on my forehead. Naturally, I had sent the scouts. Since, I’ve been sent news of six more, just like Kis Adriai.

Keeping the carpenters at bay has been a task of supreme urgency. The design of the etiquette chair has become something of an enigma for those with the skill to construct it. Truly, it is a very simple device. It is important that bona fide purpose accompany every strap and belt, and so I formulated the apropos curriculum. Since completion of the etiquette chair, my curriculum has relieved our high quarter maids of having to ramble incomprehensibly when mystery arises. Such mysteries have increasingly arisen.

It is unclear when the foreign disputes will end. It matters little for me. Csejte Castle is a place of much activity. As I begin to recount all of the beautiful young faces I had seen join us at the gynaeceum over the past holiday, I am overcome with exuberance at the thought of being one with their youth. I have rubbed so much of them onto my body. Tutoring and suppering and slicing and crying and filling their mouths with the silk from their tulle dress as Miss Zsuzsanna and the fat one slide the buckets below their toes – it requires great rigor. Improvements can be seen in the silver mirror.

Today was another birthday. I have eaten a full meal and plan to tutor a serene young girl with skin like child. I will likely share some of what remains of my dessert. I am so happy to see them happy. I will suggest Tokaji for tranquil shoulders. For posture, she will begin to strap herself in, declothed for the observation of the spine. She will be drained while I prepare to bathe.