Wednesday September 21, 1836
This is my birthday present from Louis. Use as I like, he tells me. But perhaps I should like to copy into it those occasional poems which strike my fancy, and read these to him now and then?
I do not understand entirely what is meant by birthday. Was I born into this world on the 21st of September or was it on that day that I departed all things human to become this?
My gentlemen parents are forever reluctant to illuminate such simple matters. One would think it bad taste to dwell on such subjects. Louis looks puzzled, then miserable, before he returns to the evening paper. And Lestat, he smiles and plays a little Mozart for me, then answers with a shrug: “It was the day you were born to us.”
Of course, he gave me a doll as usual, the replica of me, which as always wears a duplicate of my newest dress. To France he sends for these dolls, he wants me to know. And what should I do with it? Play with it as if I were really a child?
“Is there a message here, my beloved father?” I asked him this evening. “That I shall be a doll forever myself?” He has given me thirty such dolls over the years if recollection serves me. And recollection never does anything else. Each doll has been exactly like the rest. They would crowd me out of my bedroom if I kept them. But I do not keep them. I burn them, sooner or later. I smash their china faces with the poker. I watch the fire eat their hair. I can’t say that I like doing this. After all the dolls are beautiful. And they do resemble me. Yes, it becomes an appropriate gesture. The doll expects it. So do I.
And now he has brought me another, and he stands in my doorway staring at me afterwards, as if my question cut him. And the expression on his face is so dark suddenly, I think, this cannot be my Lestat.
I wish that I could hate him. I wish that I could hate them both. But they defeat me not with their strength but with their weakness. They are so loving! And so pleasing to look at. Mon Dieu, how the women go after them!
As he stood there watching me, watching me examine this doll he had given me, I asked him sharply:
”Do you like what you see?”
“You don’t want them anymore, do you?” he whispered.
“Would you want them,” I asked, “if you were me?”
The expression on his face grew even darker. Never have I seen him the way he looked. A scorching heat came into his face, and it seemed he blinked to clear his vision. His perfect vision. He left me and went into the parlor. I went after him. In truth, I couldn’t bear to see him the way he was, yet I pursued him. “Would you like them,” I asked, “if you were me?”
He stared at me as if I frightened him, and he a man of six feet and I a child no more than half that, at best.
“Am I beautiful to you?” I demanded.
He went past me down the hall, out the back door. But I caught up with him. I held tight to his sleeve as he stood at the top of the stairs. “Answer me!” I said to him. “Look at me. What do you see?”
He was in a dreadful state. I thought he’d pull away, laugh, flash his usual brimming colors. But instead he dropped to his knees before me and took hold of both my arms. He kissed me roughly on the mouth. “I love you,” he whispered. “I love you!” As if it were a curse he laid on me, and then he spoke this poetry to me:
Cover her face;
mine eyes dazzle;
she died young.
Webster it is, I am almost certain. One of those plays Lestat so loves. I wonder…will Louis be pleased by this little poem? I cannot imagine why not. It is small but very pretty.