To bring some order to my mind:
Money is getting complicated! Aidan receives 30 riders a year from his father, which makes 7/10/0 every three months. I receive 20 riders from the King, which makes 5/0/0 every three months. Additionally, we will be receiving money from the Síthi bath house, which seems to be doing very well. Still, I do not know how much this will bring in.
Opposed to this income is the expense of giving Erdan who is apprenticed to Rodan the cobbler a rider every three months: I have given his master the three riders for this year already. Also the money for Arvi, our maid, which is two shillings a week, or 5/4/0 a year. She will also, I expect, expect a present every festival. A rider should be appropriate. Plus, she eats at our table, which means we cannot easily economize by eating at school.
This means, from our income the coming five months, which combined makes 25/0/0 (because we have only just received our allowance), we will have to reserve 2/4/0 for Arvi, leaving us with 22/16/0 for our expenses for the rest of this year.
This is combined: but it is not clear to me what the Valdyan way is of handling the household expenses -- whether I should give all my money to Aidan and ask him to give Arvi a household allowance, or whether I should, on the contrary, expect him to let me manage his money. I also do not know to which degree my beloved lord and husband is prudent with his money: I do know that when we got to know each other, he was out of money, but that we very close to the festival of Timoine, and since then, he has never seemed to be out of money, which points towards prudence.
In any case, we have 20 riders to pay for our part for the celebrations, and no doubt I can add something to that from my account in the Temple of Mizran.
I have given Arvi the loose change in my pocket, at least, I have put it in a jar on a shelf next to the hearth, and told Arvi to use that for marketing, and to carefully keep book of expenses. This amounted to many pennies, several dozen shillings and even two riders. I have not received yet from Hinla the money that was left over after building our house, but it cannot be much.
With these notes, my (imprecise) book:
|+ 5/-/-||allowance for the festival of Anshen|
|+ 2/-/-||gains of betting on Ebru|
|- -/6/-||iron loops for hanging the curtains from|
|- 3/-/-||a present for Ebru|
|- -/12/-||A stout sieve for Halla and a sausage for her father, as a present|
Keeping a maid on our combined allowance is something of an extravagance, but to my shame I learned the very first morning we got up in our own house that I simply do not know how to prepare everything that is necessary, from tea to washing water, from breakfast to cleaning up. I had even forgotten to buy a gazunder (probably because we do not have a bed to shove it under), so we had to go out through our courtyard into the School's courtyard and make use of the common place. Besides, we do not have time for all this, I need to go to the hospital early in the morning, and Aidan to school, and we come home late and even so -- Aidan has to be with the regiment in the evenings. I had hoped that Lara would help out, but while she is living with Raisse, she now has her lessons at school and with Raisse and doesn't have time, either. So engaging a proper maid, while expensive, still is absolutely necessary.
About Arvi: when we returned from our dinner with Lord Radan and Lady Halla (princess Ayneth was also present, she has decided to learn how hospitals work to found a new hospital in Veray, with Lord Vurian's money, which is a good enterprise and very admirable), the rain was coming down almost as heavily as if it were the proper rainy season. Indeed, I was a little afraid that from now on it would rain until the winter began, which would, of course, make our wedding celebration impossible. But Aidan reassured me, and indeed, yesterday and today the weather is fine again, perhaps even better than before.
On coming home, we found a girl taking shelter from the rain. We have a little alcove (if that is the right word) next to the house: the wall between our house and Tylse's is a little recessed, and we have put up a wooden roof over that recess, because we intend to store wood in that place. There was not much wood yet, so there was place for this girl.
We weren't quite as wet, because we had a piece of oilcloth to shelter us from the rain, but the poor girl was soaked and chilled through-and-through, so I took her inside and put her in front of the fire. It's so much fun to have a fireplace of my own where I can light the fire with a flicker of my thoughts! I also rubbed her with my hands, and also semsin and made her warm again, while Aidan was putting on dry clothes -- my beloved lord and husband had given me the greater part of the oil cloth to cover me.
When we were drinking a glass of warm wine with cinnamon and honey (note: must buy dried orange rind, or, even better, oranges and dry the rind myself), she told us she lived quite close by, her mother makes cart-wheels, but she declared she had no aptitude for that work, but wanted to work as a housemaid in a big house, now that all the nobles are coming into town again.
Just yesterday morning, I had asked our neighbour Selevi whether she didn't know of a suitable girl, living in the neighbourhood, who could work as our maid during the day, perhaps learning from Hinla when Aidan and I were away. I asked the girl whether she would mind working in a small house instead -- I thought that it would be superfluous to tell her that she would be working for a prince, I won't believe for a moment that not everyone between the school and the town wall has already heard that prince Aidan astin Velain was coming to live in their neighbourhood, in this small house. Besides, we will very likely within a year or two, three need to move into a bigger house and live on a larger scale than we do now, and Arvi still needs to learn almost everything.
So I was not surprised that she agreed to come back next morning with her mother, to discuss the details. As I wrote above, 2 shillings a week, and three meals, with lessons from Hinla during the day. She seems most willing, and quite competent, though she will have to learn our ways, that is, I get up only with difficulty and need my tea, and only then can think of making myself decent, and we will have guests more often than not.
All my neighbours seem to be in excellent health, and there are only three casualties at the hospital: two bricklayers who have had an accident, and a boy who has a children's illness that I should also get, but not right now, before our celebration. With Leva, we went to the building site, but everything seemed to be proper and as it should be, so very likely these men were just clumsy or incautious themselves.
Lord Moryn is looking very well indeed, he is painting his shop a bright yellow, and there was nothing to be seen of the old pain. He told me he had gone to the guild meeting, but had only partaken of a glass of wine and introducted himself before going home again.
We met Lady Ysella in Ram's warehouse, in the Síthi quarter. She was buying things she needed to make those scents with and has promised me that I will be allowed to visit her in her workshop when it's up and running.
I have given Ram a letter for Zahmati and Roushan, to introduce them to each other, hoping that they can acquire the blue fleck root and the dark spring willow bark for him, both are, as far as I know, only sold to noble Iss-Peranian families, maybe because it is very rare. I wrote this letter very carefully, hoping that Zahmati and Roushan would be able to divine who I am, while keeping it secret for others. Of course, I completely spoiled that by adding my old great seal, which I had cut from a turnip. My impulsiveness and lack of of intelligence will be my undoing, it was not very clever. I have not yet dared tell Aidan of this letter, and I am not sure I will ever dare to. But we do need more of these roots.
Tonight is the meeting of the Doctor's and midwife's guild. I will be wearing the clothes I have made in Gralen. It is very strange, because I will be going out while the house is full of guests: Leva and I went downtown this afternoon and one of our patients was a boy whose head was infested with lice. On speaking to his sister, I noticed that she, too, was not clean, and I asked to bring their parents.
Their father is a fisherman, and now that we have shaven him and his son and washed his wife and daughter (they, the parents, I mean, also had lice between their legs!), they are baking fish for Arvi and Aidan in our kitchen, while Leva and I are off to the guild meeting.
It's already Timoinei hanre! I simply do not have the time to keep up with my notes. Some important things:
The visit to the doctors' guild on Dochein Hanre was very nice. There were the following people present:
The meeting was very nice, but poor Lydan had to do all the writing. Rhanyn and I conceived of the idea to visit the temple school to inspect all the children for lice and other vermin, and the doctors and midwives thought this a very good idea. There is a custom where everyone puts money into a jar, and the first person who gets called away receives the contents, it is almost always a midwife.
There was also a lot of squabbling about boundaries and whether someone like Airath should be allowed to treat someone west of the market square. To me this was not interesting, but there was also occasion to share newly gained knowledge about treating illnesses, and we told about Kisif, which was very much appreciated.
On Nanei Hanre, Leva, Rhanyn and I indeed went to the Temple School. It was a bit uncertain whether we would be allowed to inspect all children, but fortunately my friend Senthi, who wanted to hear me sing Iss-Peranian mourning songs, was teaching, and she allowed us the use of a small room. We were busy all day long with the children.
There were about sixty children between, 6 and 12 years old. About twenty, maybe twenty-five indeed had vermin. The boys all wanted to be shaven, instead of washed twice with the evil smelling soap, but the girls preferred to hang on to their hair, which is very proper. So we shaved about ten boys, the rest were girls.
One boy had a beginning inflammation in his guts, in what Leva calls the appendix. She was wondering whether she would have to make a cut (which would have been in his side, I believe) or whether she could cure the inflammation with the power of her spirit, but we took him to the hospital in any case.
In the evening, we had Mernath and Maile as dinner guests, and we spent a very nice and quiet evening eating the excellent food Arvi had prepared and talking about all kinds of subjects. Mernath is doing very well as journeyman with a weaponsmith and has promised to forge us a good kitchen knife for our wedding celebration. He was also looking askance at Aidan's sword, which my lord and husband has had for four years now, and which apparently is not the right size anymore and should be replaced.
The next morning, that was Anshein hanre, Leva treated Faran with the inflamed appendix, as described above. It was very successful. In the afternoon we went downtown again. This time we could not occupy our usual room because a woman with her two sons and baby daughter were living there.
I was very surprised when her sister told us that the woman, Alaise, had been sent away by her husband. According to her sister, her husband had sent her away because she had committed adultery, but her sister immediately added that she thought it was the man who had committed adultery.
I went in to meet the woman and I do not believe her to be adulterous herself, rather, her husband must have been desirous of a younger and prettier woman, because she is already quite old and very plain to look at. But she also looks very strong and she has given him two boys and also a daughter! I promised her I would ask Lord Radan (who expects to be made captain of the town guard by his son very soon, so he must know the law) whether her husband was within his rights, or whether he had done her an injustice.
Her children were very nice, and for the rest of the afternoon I was treating people and helping Leva with a small baby on my arm and with the eldest son, Ferin, to help me, which he did admirably, but he wants to become a carpenter. I had to give the baby back when she began to become hungry, and though I should have had milk aplenty at this moment, there was none. Thinking back on my lost daughter made me very sad for a moment. I wonder whether Aidan would still have loved me had I had a loving first child from another man?
On the whole, I think yes. He is a very sweet and tender husband and he is never vexed with the children of Selevi and Aldin, the tinker -- even though they often make a lot of noise in the street! And I have seen him play with Lady Rava's children. It is good to be married, though a bit strange, also -- we make love every night and often in the morning, when we can manage before Arvi comes in (like last night, when it rained, but fortunately the roof does not leak any more). Arvi is quite used to seeing me come down from the attic with a rag between my legs, and also doesn't mind me washing Aidan when he comes back from fencing.
One very good moment was when we came back from the dinner with Lord Radan and all other just-married couples, when he had to do paperwork for the regiment, and we opened the door between the weaving workshop and our house, and I was weaving, and he was plying his pen, and we could hear each other working, and were still together.
The afternoon Leva and I were downtown, also a woman came to see us, she suffers from a malignant growth on her liver. This is very likely incurable, though I think that Leva and I might have a chance still. She is now thinking on whether she wants to die for sure in a year or two, or has one chance in three of surviving our attempt to cure her. And of course, if she is cured, she might never be completely hale again.
All preparations for the celebration are being made: we have collected the money and divided the tasks. There will be many guests: we will bring people from the hospital, the doctor's guild, the regiment, the school and downtown, Radan, Arin and Arin will bring the nobles who are their friends and family, Halla the apothecaries, Ceti the Síthi, Selle the whores, Hinla and Jeran their friends and family from all over Turenay. There will be music, the Apple and the Tin Pitcher will provide wine, beer, plates and cups.
Arvi is keeping a list of things we need in the house and showing everyone who wants to know what they might give us that list. And I am sewing and embroidering with tiny beads neat little purses for Halla, Selle, Hinla and Ceti, each made to match their beauty.
On Naighei hanre our house was so wonderfully filled with guests: In the morning, Leva had given me a suckling pig to experiment with cauterizing, suturing and cutting with the fire of my spirit. This was very interesting and I learned a lot, also how I might successfully treat the poor woman with the liver growth, namely by removing the tendrils with semsin (and asking help, I might have to ask Aidan's classmates again to help me, to hold them up), and then cutting the growth with fire, upon which Leva would make the cut and remove the growth.
But the pig was big and Leva had given it to me for dinner, so I invited Leva and Torin to dinner. When I brought the pan with the pig into Hinla's kitchen, to show it to Arvi, I also invited Hinla, Raisse and Orian.
And because I had been given the afternoon off by Leva, which I spent with Rhanyn in the Síthi bath, where we met Alyse astin Hayan, a soldier who has fought under Lord Vurian in the civil war, I invited those two, too -- in the end we sat down eleven! We had to get apple wine from the Apple, because the cask Lord Vurian has given us was almost empty already.
Together with Rhanyn and this Alyse (who has turned her husband away because he was always sleeping with other women), we visited Mernath, the former bath house attendant. He looked very ill-kempt and unhealthy, but Rhanyn recognized his ailment, and will ask her master to treat his mind.
In the evening I went down to Alaise with Lord Radan, and indeed, the woman in all likelihood has the right to their farm in Tal-Vauryn, and her husband must move out. It seems it is possible to remarry without explicitly dissolving a previous marriage; the kingdom is not interested in marriages, though inheritance does depend on it. Being married in the eyes of the neighbours is enough, apparently.
Also, and I am quite satisfied by this: I have finally managed to write a letter to the queen, in which I have very honestly apologized for the smaller quantity of cloth I sent her than I had written in my previous letter, and told her about our marriage.
Finally, tonight, we are going to hang the tapestries Erne has given us. I visited Erne this afternoon, because there was not much to do in the hospital, and found her very busy. But many of her patients are not really ill: they seem to come just to be away from their work for a short moment, or because they imagine they have something bad, like this girl who had a headache, caused by over-indulgence in wine (in two ways, namely directly, but also because the wine had made her reckless, and she bumped her head on the headboard of her bed when she was doing perhaps more than her job. And some of these women need shoes with very high heels to walk in a way that is attractive and seductive, instead of having properly learned this, so there is a never-ending stream of people with twisted ankles, or, even, broken arms from falling.
I am also not so much behind with making seals as I feared: I had lessons with Lord Vurian this morning. (And Ceti, it was very good to have lessons with her again, since we work and learn very well together, we also never finished our translations, and I haven't done anything with poetry ever since!). But I remembered Raisse's lessons, and I have, of course, made many, many seals since then.
Tomorrow is the day Kancho and I swap!