Just So You Know
(The Vance Legacy begins in 1832 and Lillian is a slave. She is unable to read or write at this time. However, her diary is based on what she would have written if she had a diary and was able to read and write.)
I woke up this morning with a strange feeling. I had no pain in my limbs and no queasiness in my belly but I felt ill in my soul, as if I had lost something. But as usual, I kept my feelings to myself. There ain’t no one who would help me anyway.
Pushing my bad feelings to the back of my mind, I prepare to serve breakfast. Miss Beth sat at the head of the table with her head held high and her chin lifted as if she were a queen. I didn’t want to look at her but I just couldn’t stop myself. Massa James and David never came down to breakfast. It was just the two of us women there in that big room. We were just looking at each other while I tried to hide the bad feelings welling up inside me.
When she finally finishes her meal, she politely announces to me that she is going to be Massa David’s wife soon and that will make her mistress of Gloria Plantation. This news is hardly new. It had been whispered all over the plantation for the past week. Then she says that there is no need for me to plan the family meals any more.
Suddenly, my bad feelings threaten to overtake me so I put my hand out and took hold of the sideboard to steady myself. My head swooned. As soon as Miss Beth dismissed me, I ran to the back door to throw up. This sickness may be coming out of my belly but I know that I am heart sick.
I haven’t seen David since the first night we were together. He is trying to stay away from me, I think as I retch. Maybe Bell is right and I am foolish to ever believe that we could be together as I had hoped. Bell said he needed a wife and now he will have one.
It will not be easy for David Vance to just put me aside. When he realizes this, he will come crawling back and I will be here waiting for him. This thought seemed to move the sickness inside of me. Miss Beth may think that becoming Mrs. David Vance will keep him but David and I both know better.
I went to the kitchen house and splashed some cool water on my face. As I stood, I could feel the sickness leave me and my fortitude rise up in its place. She can’t hurt me, I thought as I went back into the house. She can’t hurt me and she can’t take David from me.