Olive Higgins was a 16-year-old English girl who began writing her diary as she set off to school in Paris in January 1914. Tragically, eight weeks later she died. Her last words echo here exactly a century on...
feel a bit homesick. going to school. Lily + Molly very kind and nice. loose our way but manage to find school at last. say good-bye till Thursday shall see them again then. feeling brighter go upstairs + do some work. recreation. practise for hour + half then go to tea. more work. recreation. hem new serviettes that asses at Bon Marché forgot to hem. go up to bed
fel feeling splendid.
rolled out of bed at 7 o’clock, very sleepy + cold! premier dejeuner, after, sit in infirmary till girls come up from mass. 9 o’clock study french, later go to drawing. dejeuner, more french, till tea, french again, dinner, recreation, more serviettes to hem. talk of Bon Marche in not over polite english!! feel fairly tired + possess a very comfortable bed to which I wend my way with joy at 8.30, 9’o. Snore!!
wake up with rotten feeling of homesickness! seem to get attacks this way, read in infirmary till 9’o, go to music lesson with old girl who cannot play a note! practice, french, recreation. still feeling rotten! if not worse, a call from Father MacCarthy quite restores me, work, recreation, dinner, recreation, more serviettes. bed.
feeling quite well, am going out with Lily + Molly, work + practice before déjeuner, get ready to meet Molly at 11.30, Oh the joy to be out! only one thing wanted complete the day, that is Dad + Peggs, go to Pathé Frères + have 3 [hours?] of music, very nice place, can laugh a good deal, go to Chateau to tea, meet american priest Collins whom we met before, feeling rotten at having to go back, arrive at school, dinner, bed.
frightfully cold getting up, had rotten dreams, talk to Spanish girl in infirmary till after mass, like her very much indeed, go to practise 9’o. learn some french before dejeuner, fitted for
e black dress. feel as though am going to my own funeral! more work. tea. recreation, french lesson, letter from Peggs, hurrah!!!! feel quite gay for a minute, dinner, read for an hour then bed, hurrah! another day gone, only 79 more!!!! [Olive circles and stars 5th April, the start of the Easter holiday, 79 days hence]
rise 7 o’clock colder than ever! only one more day and shall be going out again! french, french! all day, oh! how sick of it, I am, will april never come? practise 2 hours + have another lesson with the old frump who nearly drives me mad at the piano. tea, recreation, study, at least try to work out american [?] puzzles, dinner, recreation presided over by old “beery nose”, I loathe her + know its mutual! bed at last! thank-goodness. 78 more days.
get up usual time. mass, go for walk with girls, see cathedral Notre Dame, go to school again. Lily late feeling rotten, why doesn’t she come? comes at last, been waiting an hour for me, awfully annoyed, both of us. late for déjeuner, go with Louis Jamais to visit Père Lachaise, very wonderful, but creepy!!! all feel very cold, go to visit american priest at Rennes, return to No.10 for dinner, get in wrong train 15 minutes late! Beery-face in a temper, don’t care, because can’t understand her. Bed.
rise same hour, another monotonous day! same thing, same people, same everything. Ah! for Easter,
qu great excitement among the girls preparing for the fête, whatever that may be! I don’t know + don’t care! lessons just the same + music, am so fed up with everything! cheer up a bit towards evening, always do, end of another day! nothing happens worth relating, do another beastly serviette (blow the Bon Marché) + go to bed. 76 more days.
The famous fête-day dawns, at least it means no work + extra special food, although that item is always decent, girls rehearse all morning, I look on or read, have two letters from home, glorious! get quite lively! answer them + watch girls hopping about with bits of red paper on their heads imitating Chantelair [Chantecler]. have extra nice tea (blessings on the fête) work! (horrible word!) dinner, recreation, bed. 75 x 48 hours more, feel to fed up to work it out! so sleep instead.