I arrived today by carriage, in the pouring rain, at the Abbey which is now my beloved sister’s resting place. Upon approaching it, even in the dim light of the rain I could see that it was not a fitting place for so lovely a flower to wilt and die. I was greeted at the gate by a shriveled old husk of a woman, the abbey’s matriarch it seems, named Abbess Jutta. She showed little sympathy for my loss, but honestly I’ve no care for how much sympathy she may or may not have for me. I am here for my sister, nothing more.
On approaching the abbey and making my pleasantries with the old crone I was confronted with a young woman who I surely thought was Vissia’s spectre, come to haunt me. Just as I imagined Vissia might look now if I ever saw her again, the girl was very comely and kind spirited. I had the hardest time taking my eyes away from her, though I tried to keep my distance. It was quite a shock to come here, expecting to find my sister dead, and instead finding her doppelganger alive and in her place.
I knew immediately of course that it was Vissia’s friend Mina whom she’d spoken so well of in her letters, but it was still hard to address her as such. So similar, and yet so different. Perhaps I am focusing on the girl who is not my sister so that I may not have to focus on the fate of Vissia. Perhaps.
The rooms were accommodating, though old Wilfred, my manservant, seemed less than pleased. It is interesting how the hired help are always the first to spot a slight or inconvenience against their masters. As Mina showed us to our rooms I could not help but spot her reluctance to come near me coupled with her darting glances towards me. Perhaps I remind her as much of my sister as she does to me. I know that they were close, but I wonder how close they might have been. Love was one think Vissia never lacked, of that I am certain.
They tell me tomorrow that I may see the gravesite if the rain has stopped.
Wednesday, April 13, 1789
This morning I had the pleasure to sample the Abbey’s breakfast. It was rather lacking in what I am accustomed too, but it was hearty. The rain has not abated and the Abbess has informed me, in that reprimanding tone which I gather is the only one she possesses, that the cemetery will remain off limits for this day as well.
Instead they have given me a tour. I have grown restless.
Also, I notice that I have not seen Mina this day. I hope that the powers here are not keeping us from speaking. I have many questions to ask of my sister’s closest friend.
Thursday, April 14, 1789
Another day of rain and another rain of denial. I must admit that outside of this dreary context, the denial would almost come as a welcome diversion. It is not something I am used to but I accept it. Today I had more time to speak to Mina of current events as well as those long past. She still seems slightly uncomfortable around me but occasionally I see a warmth in her eyes.
It is her eyes, I think, that remind me so much of Vissia. Today, as we sat across from each other at one of the dining tables, itself made of rough hewn wood, weathered only by many years of sweat and skin, I noticed that she did not actually resemble my sister at all. So strange that I might’ve though such a thing.
But when I look into her eyes, in those scant moments before she turns away, I see Vissia. There is a kinship there and when I see this girl Mina I cannot help but see my sister, though they look so different in the flesh.
It seems that the Abbess Jutta has pledged Mina to me for the duration of my stay and I cannot say that I am displeased. She is a happy, flighty sort and not of the type one would expect to abide in such an establishment. She is quick to joke and poke fun but occasionally I catch her staring off into space. Also occasionally I catch her staring at me, mostly when she is unaware than I see her gaze.
It is a pleasant feeling.
Friday, April 15, 1789
Today I awoke certain that this would be the day I should see my sister’s final resting plot, but the Abbess Jutta, in all of her wrinkled, pernicious finery said that it would not be so. The rain has not stopped it seems. I have been too preoccupied to notice.
I have become inpatient, but I forget that in the presence of the girl, Mina. Until, that is, she asks me of Vissia. When she first asked I was not yet prepared to tell this soft flower of the history we had, not just as siblings, but as something more. That changed in time.
She is a persuasive one, for being so full of naivete. The only distraction I could muster was to beg of her to tell me the final hours of my beloved, how she may have suffered, or what she might of said in her final moments. What she might have said of me.
I became rather upset eventually, and I must admit that I was not aware of my telling of that grave secret until the deed had already been done and Mina was gazing at me, her mouth agape and her spirit sapped. I cannot imagine how I might have sounded in that moment and that fact that this girl stood by me even then is a testament to her will.
I must admit that I cried.
I must admit that I have never shed so many tears in my entire life that I have shed this day, in these last few hours before bed. I will admit, however, that those tears were stopped in the moments when she told me her own secret.
She believes my sister murdered.
Saturday, April 16, 1789
I awoke early this morning to the sound of pattering rain falling on the hand blown glass windows of the abbey. Another day of dreary wet and despair as well as another day I am certain the Abbess will turn me away from my purpose in being here. Wilfred, while having kept quiet for the majority of this endeavor, felt the need to express his indignation at this slight, this lack of respect, today. I brushed him away as best I could but he will not be persuaded much longer. He knows that if I do not return with news in the next few days there will be someone after me, checking for my safety. While I have no qualms of staying here, the family will need a report on this place. A report I am not ready to give.
When awakening early this morning, it was to the feeling of a cold wash cloth to my head, held in the soft hand of Mina. She informed me that she had heard screams from my room in the night and had become distressed.
She came to investigate and found me in a state of hysteria, or so she says, and had to comfort me, fearing a fever. No doubt her recent experiences have increased her unease.
Waking to find her there, crouched over me in concern, I must admit that I mistook her for my sister. I must admit that I was quite eager to make such a mistake as well, and that I took advantage of it. On this morning, staring into those eyes which are so much like Vissia’s, I could not help but ignore the fact that her ruddy lips are not like those pale pink ones I remember. I could not help but bring them to mine.
She did not resist the kiss, nor anything that came after, and though she was not Vissia, she is also full of spirit, just as Vissia was. I feel now that my heart is leaping toward this girl and I must fight the urge to let it leap further. I try to remind myself that my beloved is lying in that plot up the hill, away from me, deprived even of sight by this damned rain and sleet, but I most often fail.
It is much more convenient to imagine this girl Mina as a surrogate for my Vissia, but also I find myself longing for those aspecs which differ from her. I find myself falling into a deplorable state of love and lust for this girl with the light blue eyes of my sister.
Today Mina says that I must venture into town. She says that I must question people, in regards to Vissia, as she cannot.