Jinn Nee, Personal Diary

Siam, Royal Palace, February 1st, 1863

It has been very difficult to continue in this journal. I think that in many ways up to this point I was a child, and very naive about the world around me. Now I have seen much and.... I am no longer a child.

About a week ago, only a few days after my last entry, I bore a second daughter for the King. Suk Suni has not yet been presented to her father. I do not know when the King shall see her. Lately, he has remained in the Great Room and will not leave. I have heard he will take no nourishment or rest.. he merely studies his books and ignores the rest of the world.

I wonder what he is doing, what he is thinking. Does he think the world has gone on without him? I have been excused from many of my duties due to the birth of my daughter, and I find that I think about him often. I wish I could go to him, but the guards will not let anyone disturb him - especially someone as lowly and nameless as myself. They wait for the King to call for someone... but I know my King will not call for someone. He thinks he can do everything alone.

And it is killing him.

Siam, Royal Palace, February 3rd, 1863

I am back on my feet and moving about the palace again, though it is harder to listen with an infant daughter. I think she is like me, though. She is a very quiet child.

Yesterday I heard Lady Thiang talking to Missus Anna. After the... incident a few weeks ago, Anna decided she needed to leave the palace. Even after what she has done to my King, I do not want her to leave. She has taught us so much in her time here and I do not know what we should do without her. I did not catch the whole conversation, because Suni began fussing, but it sounded like Anna will go see the King. Chululongkorn sounds to be very frightened. I do not blame him. He is to be the next King, after all.

Listening to the conversation made me curious. Chululongkorn is only a few years younger than myself. There are many things I would like to ask him about life.

Siam, Royal Palace, February 4th, 1863

I left Suni in the care of others today, and managed to hear a lot more about my King's predicament.

I need to go to my King! He will not eat, he will not sleep. He wastes away beside his books. He needs someone with him. Someone to reassure him. Someone to tell him he is smart, kind, wonderful.

I do not care anymore what I witnessed some time ago. I do not care what happened to Tuptim. My King was right. He was right because he is the King! He can do no wrong. Oh, if only someone could make him believe it! He needs someone to love him.

I thought that someone might be myself. The guards permitted me to look into his room. I imagined him turning his head. I imagined his eyes lighting up, life coming back into them. I imagined him raising a hand, imploring the guards to let me in. I would rush in and fall to my knees next to his sickbed. He would raise himself and take me in his arms. I would bring him out of the stale room, into fresh air and sunlight. He would go on living, because I was there.

What I saw was Lady Thiang kneeling near his bed, head bowed. He did not look my way, he did not even open his eyes. No one saw me.

Later tonight the wives will maintain a vigil near his bed. All of us. The nurses will bring the children. Perhaps my King will finally see his daughter. I have heard that Missus Anna will see the King tonight.

We shall see. I almost do not want her to see him. I do not want things to get worse.

Siam, Royal Palace, February 5th, 1863

Last night we kept a vigil near the King's bedside. Missus Anna was there, also.

The King saw my daughter. The children were presented to him, and as the nurse held my infant daughter, I thought I saw him smile. No - I am sure I saw him smile. He smiled at me.

It was a weak smile. I had dreamed of rousing my King from his depression. I knew then that he was beyond even the greatest reaches of love. My eyes met Lady Thiang's, and her look told me that she knew, and understood, and had tried as much as I wished I could have to bring back our King.

The King presented Chululongkorn to us. He made his first proclamation as King-to-be.

He proclaimed that we shall crouch no more to show respect for our King! The men shall bow as the English gentlemen do, and the women shall curtsy. I watched my King all through this speech. I saw the effect on him. His wishes to rule Siam in his own way were surely being broken right there. Were we to become only another extension of the English?

We were all shown how to show respect to our new King. I merely went through the motions. My eyes were on the bed.

My King, was on the bed, head back, eyes closed, muscles slack.

My King was dead.

And who was beside him, weeping? Missus Anna! Not myself, not Lady Thiang, but this English lady in whose desire to change my King had killed him!

I wish Siam had never seen this English woman. But then, if Siam had never seen her, what would my King be? Just another King in the line of Kings?

Or the King who brought Siam into the modern nations of the world? I shall never know. I do know that in my heart he will always be my King. And as the whole room sank down into a final kowtow, I knew that everyone else felt the same way.


[author's note:] What, you thought that was the end? Updates soon, with a sequel! I'm going to post it under the same story as new chapters, just so people can read it. Stay tuned!