Eleanor and I are subject to fads. Indeed, it is a family failing. (By the family I mean our household, for Eleanor and I are not, even distantly, related.) Life would be comparatively dull, up away here on the moors, without them. Our fads and the boys’ fads are sometimes the same, but oftener distinct. Our present one we would not so much as tell them of on any account; because they would laugh at us. It is this. We purpose this winter to write the stories of our own lives down to the present date.
It seems an egotistical and perhaps silly thing to record the trivialities of our everyday lives, even for fun, and just to please ourselves. I said so to Eleanor, but she said, “Supposing Mr. Pepys had thought so about his everyday life, how much instruction and amusement would have been lost to the readers of his Diary.” To which I replied, that as Mr. Pepys lived in stirring times, and amongst notable people, his daily life was like a leaf out of English history, and his case quite different to the case of obscure persons living simply and monotonously on the Yorkshire moors. On which Eleanor observed that the simple and truthful history of a single mind from childhood would be as valuable, if it could be got, as the whole of Mr. Pepys’ Diary from the first volume to the last. And when Eleanor makes a general observation of this kind in her conclusive tone, I very seldom dispute it; for, to begin with, she is generally right, and then she is so much more clever than I.
One result of the confessed superiority of her opinion to mine is that I give way to it sometimes even when I am not quite convinced, but only helped by a little weak-minded reason of my own in the background. I gave way in this instance, not altogether to her argument (for I am sure my biography will not be the history of a mind, but only a record of small facts important to no one but myself), but chiefly because I think that as one grows up one enjoys recalling the things that happened when one was little. And one forgets them so soon! I envy Eleanor for having kept her childish diaries. I used to write diaries too, but, when I was fourteen years old, I got so much ashamed of them (it made me quite hot to read my small moral reflections, and the pompous account of my quarrels with Matilda, my sentimental admiration for the handsome bandmaster, &c., even when alone), and I was so afraid of the boys getting hold of them, that I made a big hole in the kitchen fire one day, and burned them all. At least, so I thought; but one volume escaped the flames, and the fun Eleanor and I have now in re-reading this has made me regret that I burned the others. Of course, even if I put down all that I can remember, it will not be like having kept my diaries. Eleanor’s biography, in this respect, will be much better than mine; but still, I remember a good deal now that I dare say I shall forget soon, and in sixteen more years these histories may amuse us as much as the old diaries. We are all growing up now....