Wednesday, June 23rd, 1869

Dear Diary,

Mary lives. She still does no better, however, and seems barely to cling to life. I find myself so overwhelmed with grief that I can barely bring myself to get out of bed to tend to the dear girl, let alone focus on the store.

Having earned above $300L in tips for my last lecture, which is more than my little store has earned the entire time it’s been in business, it occurs to me that a sudden influx of wealth is necessary in order to maintain my estate — and Mary’s attendance by the physicians. My dance with the burlesque troupe also earned a good deal of money, albeit for charity. Propriety begins to appeal less and less. I see no reason why I might not earn more money dancing from home or in small private parties in addition to my position with the school. I believe it is time to admit defeat. I’ve no head for business. My other charms have their appeals, though, and the matter could be handled very discreetly – by invitation only. If nothing else, I could at least pay my debt to Mr. P. and be free both of that tyranny and of that tier payment.

I shall sleep on the idea before I decide. Mr. P.’s contract entitles him to a share of the store profits, after all. Without a store, I will be in breach of our contract. I fear his reaction, but not so much as I fear the effect that poverty may have on my dear girl.

In other news, dear Diary, I recently learned that the captain and his cousin have broken with Miss Dragonash and Mr. Wellesley, respectively. While my heart aches for my friends, it trembles at the consequences that this may have for me. Divide and conquer, the old saying goes. Could not this dispersion of my allies threaten any leverage or surprise I hope to use against Mr. P?

Oh, Diary! What ever is a woman alone to do? Truly, this is a dreadful world.

Your dejected,

–Miss Palabra Puddlegum–

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