Horatio and I were sitting up last night, in the castle battlements; the air had the same frozen bite of the night we saw my father.
I am rarely cold - well, 'tis foregone, as I am a prince. As a child, they feared sickness in me when the years stretched thin after my solitary birth. I remember being bundled up with such severe affection in winter that my breath against the cloth rebounded. 'Twas as if I had broken every bone in my soft body, though mother says I was all hard elbows and stiffness from four onwards. Perhaps this bundling and protection worked on my bones too well. I am often called wiry now.
Only in the happy instance of my father's grasp (here my father again, I cannot cease the thought of him)was I supple. He rarely reached for me, though I did constantly for him - I used to think romantically that I could not be seen from the adult's heaven above their waists. I pretended, sometime against the castle stone, and peering through bar-like legs milling, that I was captured in a dungeon. And my father, though his legs made up my prison, was above, negotiating my release. Wherefore? There was rarely reason for my acts and one-boy scenes, though I do think the most sombre of my games derived from loneliness.
I remember the games were better when I was slow to understand the conversations as they progressed. A steady rumble from above was all I needed to create in my mind more fanciful dialogue. When I tired of this, and came to the point of my rescue, I whined for him to pick me up and perfect the ending. But though father perhaps indulged me when I was young, as I grew older - perhaps around ten - he became distontented and insisted I spent my time less wastefully. But, as I was a child, I stubbornly tried to resist more serious pursuits. I remember father often becoming annoyed when uncle or mother tried to play with me, especially uncle, who, he said, should be setting a more fitting example. But uncle loved games, and often could even be seen rolling about on the floor with me in some flap, unmindful of all eyes. Even now, he speaks to me like a child, yet more disrespect to my father and his intents.
But not, of course, when the court is watching. He has a precarious position to maintain, and may only mildly condescend to me, as I am near twenty now, an adult. "Unmanly grief", of course, was tailored to mirror father, which he would at all other times balk at. He found father to be a stuffed dullard, and in particular abhorred what he saw as neglect of mother. Which is ridiculous; father loved mother, but simply did not see fit to fawn about her in the midst of the court. 'Tis when this is not done that my uncle feels she is neglected; he must think her a lustful creature! Though, since they have married, so have I come to think the same.
"Unmanly grief"...as though the right is his to call me childish; he should observe himself amongst his family and close friends! Such frolic, and frivolity, and rambling discourse with himself in moments of quiet I have never seen, though these are named traits of mine. By others. I do not think it so; I follow my father's example, not mine uncle's.
I lose all record of events in such tangents and memories. Here it is in short, lest I break halfway again: Horatio and I sat yesternight on the battlements, and watched for father, but he did not come. I should hardly fain hope of it, and yet I did - and clutched all of me in fervour until dawn. Ay, til the very moment of it, as even as I felt light coming I hoped for him. Father knew, perhaps, of my procrastination, and that he would worsen it. But father - as I feel you might see these pages also - your face is a vast realm of comfort to me; I will be up tonight, please come.
Little Hamlet crying out again for his father. I am nineteen now; if he would not come when I was a hapless child of ten, wherefore now would he appear? Yet I feel now more alone, more in need of him, than ever I did as a boy. Even within the rank despair of my dungeon, where father would now be below rather than above.
I have Horatio yet, and some small corner of Mother, I hope, retains sense and memory. Perhaps I should ask her accompany me tonight, if only for a time. What changes could be wrought from her conscience, if only Father was here to kindle them.