the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

It has been put to me, by those that appreciate this account, that there are those that would desire these memoirs in a more compendious and portable form. With the inestimable services and skills of Mistress [personal profile] clanwilliam, Volumes the First to the Twelfth of these memoirs are now available as what are known among the cognoscenti as, ebooks.

These may be downloaded, by such as desire to read 'em, at Google Docs:

The Comfortable Courtesan: A Memoir by Madame C- C- (that has been a Lady of the Demi-Monde these several years)

Volume the First

Volume the Second

Volume the Third

Volume the Fourth

Volume the Fifth

Volume the Sixth

Volume the Seventh

Volume the Eighth

Volume the Ninth

Volume the Tenth

Volume the Eleventh

Volume the Twelfth


A key to the numerous characters may be found in this post, and [personal profile] threeringedmoon has created a GoogleDocs version that can be downloaded here.

Madame C- expresses herself highly indebt’d to those that find amusement, education, mayhap even edification, in these chronicles. Any particular appreciation may be expresst thru’ the good offices of PayPal.

She would also desire to remark that her devot'd amanuensis is about revizing this chronicle with a view to eradicating errours and making it more widely available to the cognoscenti. The amanuensis says, watch this space.

Madem C- also wishes to convey, to those that have expresst a desire to emulate her good friend that goes by the style of HotUtilitarian in writing what is call’d fanfic, that several works can now be found at AO3, and may indeed be added unto by those that so desire. Indeed, words can hardly convey her most exceeding gratification at being a Yuletide fandom.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

Please do let yr humble amanuensis know if there are any omissions or queries.

Volume 1

Madame C- C-: Clorinda Cathcart, the memoirist

Her household: Hector (Wilson), her black manservant; Seraphine (Pyecroft), his mixed-race cousin, the cook; (Thomasina) Docket, a lady's maid; Phoebe, Hector's sister, the housemaid, later advanced to housekeeper; Tibby (Phillips), a housemaid who aspires to become a lady's maid; Euphemia (Bennett), kitchen-maid; Prue (Brown), under-housemaid; Titus (Marshall), Hector's nephew, odd-job boy

The Reverend Mr A-: The Reverend Mr Armitage, parson in the London parish where Clorinda resides

Miss A-: Amelia Addington, actress

Bellamy: Lady Wallace’s lady’s maid

Miss B-: the late Miss Billston, a distant cousin of Lady Jane Beaufoyle, and her lover, a talented amateur composer

Mrs (‘Aunty’) Black: a midwife

*Mr B-: Mr Boxtell, a banker

Mamzelle Bridgette, a supposedly French modiste, real name Biddy Smith, an old friend of Docket

Mr C-: Mr Carter, surgeon to the antipodean expedition

Miss D-: Miss Daniels, a gossip of the demimonde

Mr de C-: Raoul de Cleraut, painter of French émigré origin

Dorcas (Chapman): a cousin to several in Clorinda’s household, maid to Miss Addington

The dreadfull crocodile: Old Lady Wallace, mother to Sir Barton Wallace

M. Duval: Lord Raxdell’s chef de cuisine

The Earl of E-: The Earl of Erringe, an elderly and debauched nobleman

Mr E-: Mr Evenden, FRS, a chemist

*Mr F-: Josiah Ferraby, ironmaster and civic improver; married to Eliza Ferraby; children Harry, Elizabeth (Bess), Margaret (Meg), Josiah (Josh) and Quintus

Frederique: Lord Raxdell’s valet

Mr G-: Mr Gaffney, a second-rate tragedian

Miss G-: Abigail Gowing, a courtesan, dear friend of Clorinda and a noted gamester

Mr G- D-: Mr Gordon Duncan, a singer

*Mr H-: Mr Hacker, FRCS, surgeon, anatomist and man-midwife

*Sir V- H-: Sir Vernon Horrobin, of the Embassy at Washington,

Lady J-: Lady Jane Beaufoyle, sister to the Duke of Mulcaster

*Mr J-: Mr Harold (formerly Hywel) Jenkins, an actor-manager

Dr J-: Dr Jessop, a physician at Harrogate

*Admiral, formerly Captain, K-: Admiral Knighton, RN

The K-s: the Knowles family: Miss Viola Knowles (little V), her twin brother Sebastian, her father, a wealthy City businessman, her mother, her elder half-sister Miss (Martha) Knowles, engaged to Jacob Samuels

Miss L-: Miss Lewis, a professional pianist, devoted friend of Miss McKeown

Madame Lisette, born Bessie Wilcox, another supposedly French modiste

Mr MacD-: Alexander MacDonald, MA, Sandy, secretary to Lord R-

Miss McK-: Miss McKeown, a professional singer, devoted friend of Miss Lewis, kept by Mr Boxtell

Duke of M-: see Lord S-

Maggy: Miss Addington’s dresser

Miss M-: Miss Minton, an actress

The Reverend Mr M-: Mr Morrison, headmaster of a boys’ school attended by the elder Ferraby boys

Mr N-: Mr Nixon, of the Home Office

Mrs O’C-: Mrs O’Callaghan, an Irish supposed widow, neé Mary Theresa O’Grady; Mr O’C-: Mr O’Callaghan, her scoundrel husband

Mr O’D-: Mr O’Donnell, a gentleman about Town with aspirations to Miss Lewis’s favours, under treatment by Mr Hacker for an unmentionable disease

*Mr P-: Mr Pargiter, a dramatic critic who publishes under the style of Aristarchus

Lord P-: The Earl of Pockinford, famed connoisseur of cows

Mr Q-: Mr Quennell, an attorney

*Lord R-: Gervase Reveley, Viscount Raxdell; aka Milord, G

*Mr R-/Sir Z- R-: Mr Robinson, RA, a painter, subsequently Sir Zoffany Robinson

*Lord S-, subsequently Duke of M-: Beaufoyle Beaufoyle, Lord Sallington, heir to the Duke of Mulcaster, succeeds on his father’s sudden death: Biffle to his intimates

Mr S-: Mr (Jacob) Samuels, a Jewish geologist affianced to the elder Miss Knowles

Miss T-: Miss (Katherine) Thorne, a not so very young lady having a London Season, a friend of Susannah Wallace

The Reverend Mr T-: Mr (Thomas) Thorne, a clergyman with scientific and mathematical interests

Signor V-: Signor Vivanti, an Italian violinist and patron of Miss Lewis

*Sir B- W-: Sir Barton Wallace, MP, man about town and gamester, a quondam favourite of Clorinda but enjoying the favours of Miss Gowing prior to his marriage to Lady (Susannah) Wallace

*Major W-: Major (Arbuthnot) Wallace, a cousin of Sir Barton Wallace, lately serving at the Cape

Williams: the Duchess of Mulcaster's lady’s maid

*General Y-: General Yeomans, of the Honourable East India Company’s Madras forces, retired

An as yet unnamed journeyman printer (Alf)

A wombatt, initially in the possession of Mr Thorne, but given by him to Sir Zoffany Robinson before setting out on the antipodean expedition

Volume 2: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 3: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 4: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 5: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 6: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 7: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 8: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 9: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 10: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 11: Changes in station and new characters )


Volume 12: Changes in station and new characters )



*Gentlemen who have enjoyed, or supposedly enjoyed, Clorinda’s professional favours at some time or other

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

The collated version of Volume the Twelfth is now available to those who care to download it, thanks as ever to the good offices of [personal profile] clanwilliam.

Any expression of appreciation may be made here: PayPal, tho' 'tis ever possible that you may wish to save your pennies against the appearance of the edited and revised version.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

Returning to the business of self-publishing these memoirs both in pretty bound volumes and as ebooks -

- yr amanuensis was looking over the Smashwords and Lulu sites yestere'en.

And thinking that there would be a fair amount of faff involved, and then noticing that Lulu (I may not have got that far with Smashwords) offers a package deal for doing the formatting &C, and that I am coming into a little legacy shortly -

But then thought, surely there are talented and competent people among my readers or their associates who would be prepared to undertake this for a fair price?

(It is the business of the wealthy man/To give employment to the artisan.)

I still have some final editorial touches to make to the Word documents, but if anyone is interested in this, or can recommend someone, please speak comment or DM me now.

I also revisit the matter of covers and whether there are any among the readership of artistick ability, or knows of any such, who would be interested in undertaking cover design for appropriate remuneration?

My latest thoughts on titles and covers )

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

Dearest Matty

Your excellent letter has finally caught up with us: we are now at Maraston Towers at His Grace of Humpleforth’s house-party. I am ever more persuaded that 'twas entire prudence to bring little Rollo with me, for gives me quite the finest excuse to leave the drawing-room or avoid some unwanted excursion, even tho’ there are some ladies in the company I daresay consider me most eccentrique, and even, perchance, a disciple of Rousseau. However, I am persuaded that Maurice’s fine gowns are by no means in that severity of style that the author of Emile would have approved. I wish I might have brought Cathy as well, but an infant still at breast is an easier matter to take about on visits than a bouncing girl of her years that will go explore her surroundings and get into places where she should not.

We were previously at Lord Pockinford‘s, where Biffle and I were obliged to hear a deal more about cows and dairying than we should entirely have desired, as he wished us to communicate his thoughts in the matter to Lady Jane - have you heard yet whether she and little Horatio are safe arrived in matrimonial harbour? If she has writ us, 'tis another letter that pursues us about the country.

However, 'twas not all bovine business - dear Agnes Lucas and her husband were in the company. 'Twas an entire delight to see her, so increased in confidence, both of them so well – and she whispered to me that she is in hopes of increase, and hopes to do somewhat towards filling up a rectory that positively demands a numerous brood. You will be most amuzed to learn that she and I propose a venture in authorship. Dearest Clorinda, that I hear came visit you in Hampshire beforehand, happened to mention to Agnes my essays in translating Turkish poetry, that I am no hand at all at turning into English poetry, and she was most interested in the matter, and has a very nice feeling for words, and betwixt the two of us we think we might make a nice little volume of it, though we do not intend to entitle it Songs from the Seraglio! – for Biffle, overhearing us, made the suggestion, saying 'twould be quite a sensation did we so. I said ‘twould be more like the Vice Society would bring a prosecution and we should find it burnt by the common hangman.

And on the matter of authorship, Matty dear, I wish you would think about publishing some of your charming accounts of your chickens, perchance illustrated with your delightful sketches. I read out some parts of your letter upon the topic, to a select group of friends, and this was quite the general cry.

On delightful sketches, I long to see the painting you say Raoul de Clérault has made of Deborah feeding the chickens. It cannot help but make a considerable effect. And I am glad to hear that he and his wife and child are again guests of yours. I daresay Phoebe de Clérault would not brag to you on the matter, but Papa has quite the highest esteem for her and will declare that it was a good day when he was persuaded to go into business with her over her polishes &C. She has lately shown him a powder against insects, very useful when storing items away for a prolonged period: he was most prepossessed.

Here at Maraston Towers one constantly observes that His Grace entirely doats upon dear Julia – has had one of the hot-houses turned into a little corner of Bombay with plants from those parts, and even some birds, and Julia quite delights to sit there with her mongeese - for I fear the poor creature misses the warmth of her native shore. And aside from any matter of climate, the Duke’s children behave with the chilliest civility towards her, for he never displayed the like attentiveness to their late mother: 'twas a very prudential match made up 'twixt the families in question. (This I learn from Clorinda, that has had it from Mrs Nixon, that entire compendium of scandals antient and modern.)

Another most amuzing thing. I am not sure you have ever been in company with His Grace of Humpleforth, that has many sound reforming ideas and is a great figure in anti-slavery, but has the most tiresome habits around young women of touching - tho’ not in any way that would transgress the bounds of good ton or violate modesty, so that they are oblig’d to smile and make civil does he pat them upon the arm, or put an arm about their waist, or stroke their hair &C – and paying embarrassing compliments. But I noticed that he has now almost ceased to do the like except to Julia.

I mentioned this to Clorinda, who smiled and laughed a little and said, o, I advised Her Grace to a little contrivance, with the collaboration of Lady Emily while she was visiting at Maraston Towers (there is a general supposition that there are hopes of making up a match 'twixt her and Lord South Worpley, tho’ I think they are misplaced). I told her, he will show his usual amiable fondling to her, and is she in the plot, will act as if 'tis most entirely agreeable and be most flirtatious, in some spot where you may observe them. Then, says I, later, when you are closeted with the Duke your husband, you must go show an affecting tearfulness and accuse yourself of being a wicked jealous wife, for when you saw him so cozy with Lady Emily, you were in great temptation to go slap the hussy’s face -

And now, Clorinda went on, he behaves himself a deal less annoying, even does he puff himself up about having a wife that so doats upon him as to be unreasonable jealous.

Ha, says I, I daresay we shall see some similar contrivance upon the stage quite shortly, at which she smacked me lightly with her fan and told me I was a great teaze.

I am still a little astonished that Julia seems so well pleased with this match: but after a private convocation we had I realize how very different her expectations were: no other wives, she remarked, with their jealous intrigues, scheming and spying, and no likelihood of being poisoned. And indeed one must consider that she will not in due course be required to cast herself upon her husband’s pyre, but merely to move into the very charming dower house. The lack of cordiality of the Duke’s children must seem a mere bagatelle - and indeed, they always manifest proper ton towards her. I also apprehend that the Duke does not require of her those positions that I observed in a little Hindoo book in Clorinda’s library, that she had from General Yeomans – with his years and stoutness I very much doubt he could contrive them. (Did she ever show it to you, my dear? 'Tis quite the revelation.)

Now Em is about in Society again after the period of mourning, and will no longer be obliged to keep house for her brothers now that Lord Nuttenford has married dear Rebecca, once they are returned from their wedding tour, mayhap she will finally favour one or other of her suitors, if not the Duke’s heir? The companionship of that excellent creature her cousin Miss Fenster seems to have calmed her wild ways considerable.

But I rattle on in gossip, when I should be about preparing myself to go take part in conversation among the company – after I have kissed little Rollo.

Your letters are ever exceeding welcome, even do they take so long in finding me.

My greatest regards to Jacob, and kiss Deborah and Jonathan for me.

Your affect: sister

Viola Mulcaster Little V

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

While I feel that a lot of loose ends got tied up in the final few episodes, I daresay readers may still have a few questions about how certain things turned out? Or indeed about things that happened in existing text.

With a proviso that in some cases there may be [spoilers] involved with respect to snippets in process or projected.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
Eliza sits up in bed. She is usually a sound sleeper, but tonight – She hopes her restlessness does not disturb Clorinda, sweetly slumbering in the other bed. She looks over to the carefully braided golden curls on the pillow. Surely she should be tired, after that fine long walk with the Samuels? Perchance – perchance ‘tis just that she misses Josiah, most especially now their conjugal pleasures are restored? Clorinda stirs, murmurs something in her sleep, turns over, disarranging her bedclothes. Eliza jumps up to pull them over her again, and finds her hand hovering, not quite touching a bare shoulder.
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (fan)

My dear Viola

I would urge that before you fret yourself over the proper ton to manifest in a situation, you should be sure that it is a situation, and not your brother jumping to wild conclusions upon very little evidence. What if the Hahns display new curtains and paintwork about their house: now that Frau Paffenrath is no longer subject to her husband’s edicts and able to earn once more, I daresay they find they can afford to furbish up the place in the style they would wish – one fears that Herr Paffenrath was the kind of fellow that deems such matters unnecessary expenditure, womanish fal-lals.

Does your papa linger at their house rather longer than one might expect was he merely instructing Frau Paffenrath about the correspondence he wishes her to undertake, it may be that he relishes a little feminine domestic pampering of the kind that I am sure Frau Hahn dispenses to any visiting gentleman.

And my dear: would it be so very terrible if Mr Knowles had took Gretchen Paffenrath as his mistress? She is a good respectable young woman that has had the most atrocious fortune with men, between that monster of a fiancé and her dreadful husband: I am sure your papa would behave entirely well towards her, do the thing properly, and above all, manifest discretion. You and Sebastian might find that answers a deal better than had she become your stepmama. (Or perchance than that he gave you a stepmama at all, that is something he may yet do.)

Do you wish to ascertain whether there is indeed a situation, I confide that Clorinda would be able to sound the matter out – is not Mrs Lowndes still the bosom confidante of Frau Paffenrath? And Herr Hahn may have let somewhat drop in conversation. Or Mrs Nixon may have her sources of intelligence.

But indeed, my dear, I think you worry yourself unnecessary. I cannot suppose she will suddenly turn into a designing grasping harpy, though I concede it might create some awkwardness in German reading circles and the like.

By the bye, do you know any that has a genteel poor relation that would wish for a companion’s post? The crocodile has sent yet another one packing - and, sure ‘'tis distance lends enchantment to the view’, regrets the days when she was so well-served by Mrs Darton Kendall, and quite curses poor Edwin Collins for beguiling her to the Nova Scotian wilds.

Sir Barton and I go hold a small dinner-party very soon to convoke over the various matters that go forth in Parliament, and the presence of you and His Grace would be quite essential, so do you let me know what might be a suitable day.

Your affectionate friend

Susannah Wallace.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

[After a couple of blank pages in the final volume of the memoirs so far discovered, there is this entry, written in a somewhat shaky hand that nonetheless resembles that of the foregoing.]

Hannah came to me t’other day to say that Beatrice had been turning out the attics, and had come across two stout chests, firmly lockt, right at the back. Did I know anything about 'em, or had they been left mayhap by the U-s, those excellent people.

La, says I, had almost forgot those chests, that I askt the dear good U-s to store for me in the attics, a deal of years ago.

For now 'tis brought to mind, I collect that was a time that tho’ 'twould have been prudent, I could not bring myself to destroy these memoirs utterly, and yet 'twas an immense concern to me that might fall into the wrong hands, and contain’d a deal of secrets that were not my own. And tho’ I had endeavour’d conceal the identity of my friends and acquaintances, yet upon reflection I fear’d I was most unsubtle in the matter and anyone with some knowledge of Society and the demimonde could have readyly seen thro’ my devices. (O that I had had the dear Contessa’s ability with cyphers, that she could quite dash off as I might scribble a note.)

So I had another chest made of the same dimensions as the one I had already provid’d myself with, and laid at the bottom of each some several volumes of these memoirs, and then plac’d on top of 'em the books in which I had made the first essays at my novels and plays and tales, in hopes that did any come across 'em, would look into one or two and see ‘twas Gothick matters of ghosts and curses and witchcraft, and while I had rather not have had authorship prov’d upon me, 'twas a revelation I could bear did it come.

And then I wrote to the U-s saying that I would be most immense gratefull might I send some matters out of my Town house to be stor’d at the place in Surrey, would they not be in their way. They wrote back to say I was entire welcome to do so, and so I sent the chests and some other matters into Surrey, and made myself renounce the habit of writing up these journals.

But, o, how agreeable it has been to look thro’ 'em, even if has also made me extreme tearfull when I read of the happy times I had with my dearest loves, and the fine conversations I had with dear Sandy, for tho’ I have friends and acquaintance enough, there are few indeed of my own generation left and sure I become some historickal relick, that young people come and view as a piece of antiquity in a cabinet of curiosities.

Indeed, the young people are not so young, and my belov’d tiny perfect baby Flora is a fine woman of middle years that has a little grey come to her hair.

I was a little mind’d to say these volumes must be burnt, but then I mind upon what Flora and Hannah will discourse of, that too much of history is the tale of men writ by men from such records as men have left behind, and that, mayhap, the writings of a silly creature about herself and her circle may have some interest to some historian in future time. Have I not heard young fellows talk of our set as tho’ there were no women among 'em, when Susannah and Viola were its bright shining lights, and their opinions consider'd of great weight? Do I but show posterity to the contrary, 'tis somewhat.

So I will put 'em back in the trunk, and have 'em sprinkl’d with Phoebe's fine powder against insects, and put in a good dry part of the attic, where they may be safe. I daresay is much in 'em would shock the present time, but may come around again some day when manners are freer once more, like unto the Restoration after the Commonwealth.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

'Tis so very agreeable to be with all my dearest ones at R- House, but sure, I know cannot be a permanency, and indeed I am very fond of my pretty house and my good people. I am in so happy a case that I should not complain that 'tis not entire perfection.

Even so, I sigh a little.

And one morn as I sit in the small parlour with my traveling desk, 'tis Hector comes with my letters &C rather than Timothy, and says that he confides that they have now establisht good practices about the new members of the household, for sure, there is that gaggle of girls that consider it an entire delight to be desir’d mind the twins, and walk up and down with 'em do they cry, and 'tis present’d to 'em in the light of a reward for doing their proper work well and without dillydally.

La, says I, could not have contriv’d better myself. And how does Euphemia?

Entire thriving, says Hector, and in somewhat of a fret to be up and about once more: but she will go mind Aunty Black in the matter.

Why, says I, I hope once she is upon her feet she will take matters a little easy, and not try over-do: but sure, 'tis coming upon the end of the Season and company will shortly be going out of Town, and I am in no pressing necessity to go give any dinner-parties or hold a soirée the while.

Hector nods and says, he confides she will be as a giant refresht by the time company returns to Town.

I tell him that I will be coming home within a few days, tho’ I anticipate that all is in such order that I might come at once.

Hector looks somewhat offend’d that I might even imagine that matters could be otherwise.

I go address myself to my correspondence, and there are notes from Hester and Sir C- F- that quite bubble with their mutual happyness: have determin’d to marry very quiet as soon as maybe, and go rustickate in Herefordshire; and Miss Millick goes as Hester’s companion. And while little Lou is nearly out of the schoolroom, Hester wonders whether she might not come share in Bess F-'s lessons, for otherwise 'tis a sad dull time for her. She also adds, desir’d Her Grace to bring Miss G- to come call upon her, and what a very delightfull young woman she is, she has entire confidence in the wisdom of Lord N-'s choice.

There is a letter from Miss A-, that also quite bubbles - o the exceeding gracious kindness! she writes, was entire invit’d go call upon her dearest Lady J- while she lyes in, it entire set her worry’d heart at ease to see her, sure she was very done-up from her ordeal but otherwise quite entire in health, and such a fine lusty babe, that has a considerable look of the good Admiral. She goes on to say that she has been grant’d the entire entrée to go call, when she may – for, she continues, there are a deal of plays in rehearsal for their purpos’d season at Harrogate during the summer months – and o, Lady J- was so entire prepossesst with the place after her previous sojourn there, purposes go recruit there with little Horatio once the lying-in period is done, summers in Town being so unhealthful for infants. Will that not be entire delightfull?

Indeed, thinks I, quite entire delightfull, I am exceeding happy for 'em, and the dear Admiral will be quite ecstatick at the news, the dear good fellow.

There is a letter from Viola conveying an invitation to come to their house-party at Q-. And, she adds, she dares say I have seen the announcement that the Duke of H- is to wed Julia P-? She made occasion to convoke with her to ensure that she was not being forc’d, but indeed she has a pretty desire to gratify her papa by such making a remarkable fine match, and allows that he would permit her to refuse did she have a real distaste, but sure the Duke is a kindly old fellow. Sure 'tis not the most romantick matter, but as she imply’d that her own mother had been purchas’d - tho’ there grew great affection – and he is not the like of that dreadfull fellow that made suit to herself – may well turn out an agreeable prudential union.

I think to myself that, as the proverb goes, better an old man’s darling, most particular is the old man – tho’ indeed the Duke is not that old, not yet sixty I hazard – able to make one a Duchess.

A footman comes and says, Mr S- wonders if Lady B- be at liberty for a few words?

Indeed, says I, show him in.

In comes Jacob S- beaming mightyly, and says, dear Matty is safe deliver’d of a fine if somewhat small boy, that we shall call Jonathan, 'twas quite entirely less of an ordeal than when she bore Deborah.

Why, says I, that is most excellent news and I shall come call at M- House very shortly to see her and also Lady J-.

But, he says, understand that there is some matter concerning the late Marquess’s estate at T-?

I open the matter to him and say that there is a quite excellent agent to the place but has had his hands ty’d: but now it would seem that Chancery may be prepar’d authorize taking the place in hand before entire tumbles to rack and ruin and all the tenants – that are give out excellent fine tenants – leave. And took the thought that would be entirely desirable did one that has such a fine reputation in the business as himself take a look over the place and advize the agent on what might be the best way of going about matters.

Why, he says, sounds a most agreeable task. For 'twas once give out a very fine property indeed, and I am like to think may be brought round once more to something of what it was.

So after he has gone, conveying my very hearty congratulations to Martha, I go write little notes concerning the matter to Mr Q- and Belinda, and writing to her mind that shortly will come Derby Day, that will be an agreeable rencontre. And surely Euphemia will be about and able contrive somewhat in the nature of a nice little dinner while they are in Town.

I return to my correspondence and find a letter from the Countess of I-, that extends an invitation to their house-party during the summer. I look at it and raise my eyebrows somewhat. Perchance the Earl of I- has not yet give up hopes that he might recruit me to his forces, tho’ I thought I had shown him quite entire clear that I am no friend to tyranny: but I daresay he does not think of what he does as tyranny but as a necessary matter in the defence of the state.

Mayhap I should start some new embroidery – for the piece I have been working these many years is like unto Penelope’s web and I doubt will ever be finisht – that will be a sampler that bears the motto Confusion to Tyranny workt very elegant in the finest silks and stitches, with revolutionary symbols about the corners.

I am mind’d to think however that I should accept the invitation, if only that I might discover what he is about.

I sigh and determine that I will go walk up and down upon the terrace for a little, to clear my mind.

’Tis an exceeding fine day and the nursery-set goes romp upon the lawn, 'tis a most delightfull agreeable sight. And there is Milord, goes instruct Quintus along with Essie and Julius and Bobbie W- in the rudiments of cricket, that my sweet jewel also desires learn.

And I observe upon the terrace of the west wing, Sandy, that leans upon the balustrade and smoaks a cigar.

I go over to him and say, what, idle, Mr MacD-? as I lean on the balustrade myself observing the pretty sight upon the lawn.

He snorts and says, does not need to stay indoors chain’d to a desk, has instruct’d the clerks he now has at his disposal as to the letters they should write, and comes out enjoy this very fine day.

And, says I, admire the view.

There is a slight appearance of dour Calvinistickal glare and then he smiles and says, 'tis a very fine one.

But, says I, my dear, as I find you here and not in the midst of more important business, mayhap I might open to you this little puzzle I just have.

So I go tell him about the invitation to Lord I-'s house-party, and he frowns. Perchance, he says, he has not give up any hopes of turning you to his purposes –

'Tis a notion crosst my own mind, says I. But, I go on, has come to me that I might turn that back upon him, by going see whether I might discover somewhat about his own doings –

C-, says Sandy with a very worry’d expression, Lord I- by no means considers you a silly mad Englishwoman, I beg you, do not be reckless.

Hmm, says I, I was in some mind that Matt Johnson might put one in the way of some fellow that could teach lock-picking -

No, my dear, says I to Sandy’s expression of entire horror, sure Mr J- might take it as a model for Hamlet upon perceiving his father’s ghost, I fancy that would be entire too much of a risque. But I may keep my eyes and ears open.

He sighs and says, indeed might be usefull. But do you not have contrivances enough upon hand?

La, says I, I find myself in a most unwont’d state where I do not. There are a deal of matters have come about very happyly without I even lay a finger upon 'em: for one observes that Herr P- was like to be hoist with his own petard, tho’ I hope I may have preserv’d the H-s from taking any hurt by it. So, am I able to bring a little confusion to tyranny -

At this moment my precious Flora observes me and beckons me to come over join in their game.

Sandy begins laugh. O, he says, dearest and wisest of silly creatures, you will cry confusion to tyranny until it comes to that little tyrant.

You have the right of it, says I, as I step down onto the lawn where my dearest jewel comes running towards me.

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I do not feel oblig’d to stay very late at the Bavarians’ ball, and the next morn there is the wont’d chocolate party levée. My darling Flora comes snuggle in the fashion of a wakefull wombatt, 'tis quite entire charming.

She is permitt’d remain while I go about my toilette, for I observe comes about that even Docket goes doat upon her, while Sophy is quite entire besott’d.

When I go breakfast, my darling desires know what devastation I caus’d among Bavarian hearts at the ball, for here is a little note came the morn that looks to be writ in a Germanick hand.

I take it and break the seal: 'tis from Herr H-, that writes that Herr P- has took the earlyest stage he might to Liverpool, his trunks to be sent after.

I give a little vulgar snort of laughter, and go disclose the matter. And, says I, should at once write to convey this intelligence to His and Her Grace.

My darling says a little tart that perchance I might go wash my hands first, unless I desire to leave buttery finger-marks upon the note.

I lick my fingers and say, indeed she has the right of it, and I will be about it.

So once my hands are clean I take up my traveling desk and write in somewhat covert and discreet terms to Viola and Biffle, and Eliza rings for a footman to go take the note to M- House.

And now, says I, I will apply myself to these very serious works of history.

So I do so, and sure I come to many matters I might use in my tale, and notions for other tales, and make a deal of notes in my little memorandum book, and occasional read out passages to Eliza, that remarks that she must go instruct Docket to dye my stockings blue, and all is entire pleasant.

Then returns the footman having deliver’d the note, and conveys one from Viola, that writes in great haste that they are indebt’d to me for the intelligence, but are at present most greatly preoccupy’d over Lady J-‘s lying-in, Mr H- having been sent for the previous e’en, and does not expect a conclusion for some while yet.

Eliza and I go express some concern over the matter. But one can do naught but wait.

'Tis not a day upon which either of us is in anticipation of receiving calls, and we are sat in the family room very content’d about our tasks, when a footman come to say Lady T- has call’d to see Lady B-, if she be at liberty.

Eliza looks at me and says, why do you not go see what’s ado with her in the little parlour?

I nod.

She adds to the footman, tea for Lady B- and Lady T-.

So I go down to the little parlour and Lady T-, that is in a state of some agitation, is shown in. I desire her to sit in this very comfortable chair, and say that they will bring tea very shortly.

But instead of sitting she clasps my hands and says, O, dear Lady B-, 'tis all a terrible imbroglio! Did you have any apprehension of what was afoot? Indeed I find it hard to blame her in my heart, for sure he has been conducting himself exceeding tiresome –

La, says I, Lady T-, what has happen’d (tho’ sure I have a considerable notion as to what 'tis)? – do sit down –

At this moment comes the tea, and she sits down as one that minds that 'tis most undesirable to provoke gossip amongst servants, and shows calm until we are alone again. I hand her a cup of tea, in the hope that 'twill have a restorative effect.

Have you not seen the announcement? she asks. A marriage has taken place 'twixt Barbara, wife of the late Mr D- K-, and Captain Edwin C-, late of the –th. K- saw it the morn and has been in an entire state ever since.

Why, says I, they had been somewhat thrown into one another’s company at Sir B- W-'s – and one must mind that there is still scandal repeat’d concerning the shocking practices of her late husband, such that she might have considerable qualms over taking a place in Town Society, and going away such a great distance might seem entire preferable –

Indeed so, says Lady T-, sure we were in readyness to face it out but should prefer that 'twas not necessary, tho’ she display’d herself a deal more proper behav’d than one would have anticipat’d. She sighs. Well, I must hope that now his mind has at last been turn’d to marriage he will be about the business.

She sighs again, and here we must be at the Duke of H-'s ball the e’en and looking as if we had not a care, to defy any gossip.

I kiss her upon the cheek, and say that I am sure that she will bear herself in a matter entire fitting to her rank.

She squeezes my hand and looks a little tearfull as she takes her leave.

And then comes Docket in a great taking to say 'tis entire high time I went lye down in preparation for the Duke of H-'s ball. I say, indeed I shall need to be rest’d to make sure I evade His Grace’s hands.

We are an entire party departs from R- House to H- House. And, I think, looking about my dear friends, a very fine-looking party indeed, and smile upon 'em.

And what, says Sandy, is our dear spymistress general about the e’en?

La, says I, I do not have any particular matter upon hand, tho’ do I encounter the Freiherr shall see how matters go concerning Herr P-. But I confide none would have been calling upon him very early the morn.

Does not our busyest of bees have numerous contrivances upon hand? says Josiah.

Fie, says I, I do not think I have any urgent matter to contrive just at present. I had some little worries concerning the late Earl, but the intervention of the bear has quite entire dispers’d 'em. And sure I have anxieties over Lady J- and dear Martha, but 'tis naught I may do aught about, alas. There are already a couple of fine marriages being made up among Her Grace’s flower-garden -

Milord laughs and says, Lord V- goes show impatient over the progress to his nuptials with Miss C-, I never thought to see the day.

Josiah smiles and says, and had Jacob S- call the afternoon, was sorry not see Lady B-, but 'twas while you were closet’d with Lady T- -

Alas, says I, I am in the greatest desire to open to him the matter of T-, now Chancery begins stir upon the matter –

Josiah laughs and says, was quite elat’d that his niece has a very fine match indeed in prospect, could hardly talk of anything besides, except that Lady J- was still not deliver’d –

We all look somewhat worry’d at this intelligence.

And then the carriage arrives at H- House and we must alight.

Am I flankt by Josiah and Milord, with Sandy behind looking dourly Calvinistickal, the Duke does not essay more than a civil bowing over my hand, 'tis most agreeable. He is looking in most exceeding good humour.

His son, however, Lord S- W-, looks not entire pleas’d as they go receive their company.

We go upstairs and make civil greetings to our acquaintance as we encounter 'em. I observe, somewhat to my surprize, Viola, but then mind that she may feel her duty lyes with the young women she takes about in Society, and that Lady J- would entirely exhort her to the matter.

I go up to her and say, I hear is no news yet concerning Lady J-? She shakes her head. But Mr H-, she says, is not in any great concern yet. But, my dear C-, there is another most exceeding startling piece of news.

I raise my eyebrows. 'Tis not, says I, this matter of the quondam Mrs D- K-?

Fie, cries Viola, 'tis entirely stale by now! No, 'tis the Duke! Only t’other day made Julia P- a gift of a pair of mongooses, and has been in convockation with her father.

Well! says I, saw him look upon her with considerable favour t’other day when she came visit Josh’s mongoose.

But, goes on Viola in lower’d tones, Biffle says, that in the wagering upon matrimonial stakes that goes on about the clubs, ‘twas Lord S- W- was one of the runners for that prize.

La, says I, similarly sotto voce, even had he not had interest himself, I am not sure His Grace would have conced’d to such a match.

We look at one another and altho’ none will go gossip to us on the matter, I daresay there is at least some matter of speculation that Julia P-'s mother was a Hindoo bibi, even, perchance, a nowtch girl. Sure 'tis some while since I have sent Mrs N- about gathering up scandal.

We sigh a little, and then she says, and t’other thing? Lady Rosamund came in from taking the air on the balcony with Lord K- with a look of entire triumph upon her face; and Lord K- went at once address himself to Lord D- as to whether Lord P- comes to Town shortly or whether he will need go visit him in the country.

I shrug and say, I am sorry for Lady T-. But indeed, we must not linger here gossiping.

We smile a little melancholick at one another and I go into the ballroom.

I encounter Lady G-, that is looking exceeding benign at where Lord V- dances with Frances C. Has addresst himself to Lord C- and the announcement will appear very shortly, she says with great gratifickation. 'Tis extreme delightfull – such a good match, and in her first season.

Lord D- comes up to me desiring a dance – I see that Lady D- is dancing with Sir H- Z- - and we step onto the floor. He expresses some reserve about this sudden declaration by Lord K-, that all knew was hanging out after the dread – Dowager Lady W-'s - companion. Rosey is quite ecstatick, but –

At this moment there is a little flurry and I see Thomas from M- House making his way towards Biffle. O, says I, perchance 'tis news of Lady J-, and move in that direction.

Biffle looks at me with a great smile and says, a healthy boy that will be nam’d Horatio, and m’sister doing well.

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'Tis most exceeding agreeable to be woke the morn by the chocolate party levée and in particular my sweet wakefull wombatt Flora. 'Tis also agreeable to enjoy a nice little breakfast in the company of my darling wild girl that is already about her business – for I am a sad slugabed C- - and talk of a deal of matters.

Has dispatcht Mrs L- about sounding out the matter of Frau P- and little Wolfgang’s fretfullness, but waits upon report.

As I finish my coffee, I mind that I must indite a little note to Lord N- that he may consider himself happy in the affections of an excellent young woman, and should proceed to opening negotiations with her papa.

As I am at my traveling desk about this very delightfull task, comes a footman that says, was sent from O- House, has been told at Lady B-'s house that she at present stays here? (I confide he is somewhat resentfull of this extra exertion.) Has a note for her from Lady N-.

I take this at once, for I take some concern that perchance Hester takes some turn for the worse; but when I open it and read it 'tis that she would desire convoke with me privately upon a matter that she will not write down, as soon as maybe, tho’ she dares say I have a deal of matters upon hand.

I turn back to the fellow and say, will come to O- House this very afternoon. ('Twill mean I must cut the orphanage ladies, but I confide that Lady D- now has 'em well under hand.)

I wonder what can be, says I to Eliza. Sure I am like to suppose that was it some concern about the baby, 'twould not be me she apply’d to. Mayhap Lord N- has open’d to her his thoughts upon marriage.

Such an excellent young fellow, remarks Eliza.

Indeed so, says I.

I then say, should go earlyer in the afternoon rather than later, for I confide that Docket will wish me to lye down with cowcumber slices upon my eyes &C so that I will entire ravish the company at the Bavarians’ ball.

As if my darling would not do so anyway, says Eliza.

O, mayhap and perchance!

So I go call at O- House, and am shown to Hester’s parlour, where I discover her in a considerable state of agitation, looking exceeding flusht, I hope she does not take a fever.

My dear, says I, leaning over and kissing her cheek, what’s ado? (I wonder whether turns out 'twas a false report of the Earl’s death.)

O, dearest C-, she cries, clasping my hand, 'tis Sir C- F-.

I sit down beside her couch and Selina comes make civil to me.

What, says I, already come to Town?

Indeed, says Hester, and when I apprehend 'tis a busy time on his estate. 'Tis indeed most exceeding good of him to come advize N-, 'tis surely more than most godfathers would do. But, dear C- - o, I can hardly tell it – came see me yesterday and desires that I may make him the happyest of men.

(Why, thinks I, he does not let the grass grow beneath his feet.)

Why, says I, has his heart not been give to you these many years?

She dabs at her eyes with a handkerchief and says sure she does not deserve such devotion. And, she continues, he does not see why we should wait out the mourning period before we ty’d the knot –

La, says I, shows very impetuous for a sober middle-ag’d fellow.

Says he would desire to have the right to cherish me as soon as maybe.

And very pretty-spoken, I remark. But, dear Hester, do you incline to him?

O!, she cries, have I not made comparisons these many years? Have I not oft thought what a foolishly meek and obedient daughter I was to concede to my parents’ urging to marry Lord U-, as then was? But, she goes on, making a gesture at her person, now I am a wreck of a woman, a helpless cripple, how could I make him happy?

I squeeze her hand and say, indeed you are not helpless, does any take a little time to consider how matters may be made easy for you, as I confide he would do. And you are by no means a wreck, you are still a handsome woman –

But - she says, and then falls silent while blushing greatly. But, how might I be a proper wife to him?

I look at her very fond and say, I am sure Sir C- F- would consider you an entire proper wife, and that there would be mutual aid and comfort, but I daresay you think upon conjugal duties?

She nods but says nothing.

(Sure I know not whether 'tis her physical state and the condition of her bodyly parts might preclude the usual intimacies, or whether 'tis that her associations with the matter are very unhappy and she goes find herself flinching at the prospect even with one she has such warm feelings towards.)

(Perchance 'twould not be proper to mention that I can entire truthfully testify to his great competence in the arts of Aphrodite.)

La, says I, cannot suppose he would force you to any matter you lik’d not whilst prating of wifely obedience.

O, indeed not! she cries. But, sure, men have their needs and I would not deprive him of his lawfull pleasures: only –

I pat her hand and say, do not trouble yourself overmuch in the matter. I will go think upon it, but indeed, I am like to think you are favourably dispos’d to his offer. If 'tis so, then I confide 'twill all come right somehow.

She gives me a somewhat tearfull smile and says, o, I am indeed.

I kiss her and say, sure I should like to remain longer and talk over how matters do, but Docket has decree’d that I must go rest to be fresh for the Bavarians’ ball.

And indeed, when I contemplate myself in the fine pier-glass in my dressing-room at R- House, I am in considerable looks thanks to Docket’s carefull tending of 'em.

'Tis a most exceeding fine occasion and the Freiherr von D- makes exceeding civil, desires me to save the supper-dance for him, &C. I concede this, and proceed into the throng.

Somewhat to my astonishment, I perceive Sir C- F- is of the company. He observes me and comes over at once to make a leg. La, says I, did not expect to find you in this company.

Indeed did not anticipate to be here, he says, but met at my club the Ritter von T-, that is a not’d proponent of agrickultural improvements that I have visit’d several times and has also come see how we go about matters in Herefordshire, and was most insistent that I should attend. And, he says with somewhat of a sigh, 'tis a distraction to my mind.

I take and squeeze his hand and say, I apprehend something of the matter, call’d at O- House this very day.

Let us, he says, go step out onto a balcony so we may discourse more private of the matter.

We do so, having acquir’d glasses of wine upon the way, and I say, I confide that the lady of his heart entirely inclines to him, but –

He says, 'tis quite entirely with him as in the words of the song concerning endearing young charms - and indeed she is not yet a dear ruin, is she?

Sure she is not, says I, 'tis quite remarkable how making her life more agreeable has restor’d her looks. But, says I, looking about to assure myself that we are indeed alone and unobserv’d, you must mind that she was marry’d to one that I am like to suppose consider’d conjugal embraces in the light of a husband’s right and a wife’s duty -

I hope, he says, I may contrive to alter her mind a little upon that. He adds, with a little smile, sure I have been well-tutor’d as to the very many ways in which one may please a lady.

O, fie! says I, tapping him with my fan. You had a deal of natural talent in the matter. But 'twill require, I confide, a deal of patience.

He smiles and says, sure he has been school’d in that these many years.

I say, but sure we must not linger here too long or there will be gossip. I am at present to be found at R- House while my cook lyes in with twins - Twins! – do you need communicate with me.

I go out and am quite immediate solicit’d to dance by some several Bavarian fellows. As I confide that any rumours that I am in a decline are quite squasht, I then spend a little time recovering in the musick room, where I observe Herr H-, that has his flute with him.

But I must go undertake my promist supper-dance with the Freiherr, that I discover in converse with some fellow of his own nation. O, he says, sure Lady B- has an extensive acquaintance, perchance she knows of the fellow?

I raise my eyebrows. Perchance, says I.

Herr M- here, says the Freiherr, reports that his business partner in Frankfurt has been approacht by one Herr P- that does business in London, but I know naught of the fellow, has not left his card at this Embassy. One wonders, he goes on, is he some connexion of the wild revolutionary fellow of that name, that was reput’d fled to the American wilderness, but that the state continues have concerns about, should like discover what he does.

I make a considering face and say, let me go think upon this, may be those of my acquaintance have some knowledge of him.

I am then oblig’d to waltz with the Freiherr, and go take supper, and flirt, altho’ my mind whirls quite furious as to what I may do about this.

Most exceeding fortunate, when I next enter the musick room, Herr H- is delighting the audience with some Mozart. After he has done, I wave at him and pat the seat next to me.

When, says I, does Herr P- leave for Boston?

Not for a se’ennight yet, says Herr H-.

I open to him the very pressing reason why Herr P- should leave most immediate for Liverpool.

Herr H- nods, and says, will go home at once to be about the matter. The singer looks exceeding affront’d as he departs without waiting for the song to be over, tho’ he is not the only one does so.

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Alas, my dears, we come towards the end of the last volume that has yet been discovered of these memoirs. While 'tis ever possible that further episodes may emerge, it seems as if there is a natural break forthcoming.

And after a million +/- words, 'tis perchance a suitable occasion for a rest.

We confide, however, that there will still be some snippets and treats for the devot'd followers of Lady B- and her circle.

(And your amanuensis will then devote herself to the business of self-publication in the hopes that a wider audience may come to an appreciation of these memoirs, and that, perchance, felicity may be further maximiz'd.)

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O, 'tis quite delightfull to be at R- House with my darlings and the dear children, would that it might always be thus.

Mrs L- has took Meg to visit the school at Hitchin, and Meg returns most exceeding prepossesst, and indeed chatters about it constantly. O, the fine gardens, and each of the girls has a little plot for her own! Miss Harriett is a fine pianist and the piano is exceeding fine, 'twill be entire ideal, there is even a prospect of playing duets! Such pretty countryside where they may go walks! The girls put on plays! She quite longs go there.

Renders Bess somewhat sulky: comes up to me one forenoon in the conservatory, where I go feed the fish in the fountain and feel 'em nibble at my fingers. Why, says she, was there never any proposal that I should go to school? Why should Meg have this chance?

I desire her to sit down beside me and put my arm around her. Why, says I, you would not have want’d Mrs L- to be out of a place, would you? But now she has the nursery-set learning their letters and numbers, and such matters with Josh as he does not have tutors come for, and you, my dear Bess, nearly out of the schoolroom and thinking about making your debut in Society –

Bess says that she confides that one does not cease learning and studying just because one is consider’d a great girl, nearly a woman, that passes out of the care of a governess. Does not Lady J- still go study the classicks? Is Her Grace not ever about learning some language?

Well, my dear, sure you may pursue any kind of learning you wish, and I am sure Mrs L- is entire capable of directing any studies you may desire take up, but 'tis no longer a matter of formal lessons in the schoolroom. And I daresay you still go study upon matters of business with your Mama.

Indeed, says Bess, one could not do that was one away at some school. And one would not be able go to the theatre &C.

And, I go on, sure you have your own set here that keeps you company.

'Tis so, says Bess, but is’t not the most tedious thing for Lou, to have to go be in mourning this long while? She says 'twill be entire ennuyant.

Poo, says I, while they are in Town they must behave so that all consider they do the proper thing, however much there is a deal of reviv’d gossip about the quite shocking reason why the late Earl came to find himself in America in the first place: but they will be going down to D- Chase for the summer, and I daresay there will be invitations for you and Dodo to go visit.

Lou was saying she fears they may be oblig’d go to Monks’ G-, that gloomy place –

I daresay Lord N- will be oblig’d to go and receive the condolences and congratulations of the tenantry and so forth, but I confide he would not oblige any of his sisters to accompany him. Tho’, I go on, I mind that altho’ the house is indeed somewhat gloomy - but I daresay might be brought about to be somewhat more chearfull – the grounds are exceeding fine and contain the ruins of the former monastery.

O! cries Bess, that is most exceeding romantick! I must ask Lou are there ghostly monks that walk among the ruins.

La, says I, I confide you should write Gothick novels.

But would it not be entire prime was there ghosts?

I shudder and say, I will mind my business and hope ghosts would mind theirs. But, I go on, looking out through the glass of the conservatory, is that Julia P- with Josh?

Bess laughs and says, O, she was very desirous make the acquaintance of the mongoose, and Josh thinks any lady a most bang-up creature does she admire any of his menagerie.

I observe that Julia P- is being climb’d upon by the mongoose and laughing considerable, and Josh goes point out its excellent features.

Sure, says I, Sir Z- R- should paint her with a mongoose, 'twould be entire out of the common. I should go make civil to her.

So I step out into the gardens, that are exceeding fine for the time of year, to where Josh sits on the lawn with the badger, and the wombatt takes advantage of his inattention to go browse a little about the flowerbeds, and Miss P- talks to the mongoose in what I suppose to be Hindoostanee.

O, Lady B-, she says, is this not a very fine mongoose? Quite puts me in mind of home. Do you think I might go acquire one for my own?

Why, says I, I apprehend that there are sailors from East Indiamen hawk 'em around the docks, but 'tis no place for a young woman.

She sighs, and says that mayhap her papa might be able to come at it, has a deal of connexions still with the Company.

(I confide she is somewhat homesick for Bombay.)

Bless my soul, says a voice upon the west wing terrace, is that a wombatt?

I turn around and observe 'tis the Duke of H- with Milord: I am a little surpriz’d and then I mind that, altho’ the Duke is somewhat of a nuisance about young women – no matter of virtue in danger, but taking opportunities that arise for patting and stroking 'em in such fashion as 'twould seem poor ton to object, so that the only remedy is to remain at arm’s length, that cannot always be contriv’d – is a not’d ally of Milord’s in matters of anti-slavery, that I daresay have been convoking about.

The exquisite Lady B-, he says, making me a leg, and I mind also that I am not so fad’d as to be spar’d his fondlings. I make him a curtesy. Your Grace.

His gaze falls upon Julia P-, that clasps the mongoose in her arms, 'tis a most exceeding fetching sight such as Sir Z- R- would quite long to paint. Why, 'tis Miss P-, is’t not? I see him about to do his wont’d patting upon the arm or laying of hand upon her shoulder or waist, and then mind that the mongoose may bite or scratch and withdraws his hand somewhat hasty, asking what kind of beast is that?

Josh is entire delight’d to instruct him at great length about mongooses, to which Miss P- adds her reminiscences of Bombay.

I see him looking at her very attentive, and mind that he has some several children by his first wife, and that altho’ he is by no means pockets to let and does not go hang out for an heiress, indeed has been showing interest in Em, whose portion will be but modest, 'twould be entire agreeable to him to wed into the wealth of the Indies that is reput’d Miss P-'s dower. And that if 'tis a second marriage and he is already well-supply’d with an heir and, I collect, two younger sons in reserve, may think antient aristocratick breeding less of a concern.

Why, she says, with a quite enchanting smile, I must return you your mongoose, as she hands it back to Josh. Sure I am quite tempt’d to make off with it, 'tis like a little piece of home.

His Grace remarks that surely England is her home.

She gives a lovely wistfull smile and says, but spent so many years in Bombay.

And then says, but sure she must be away, Papa will wonder what has come to her, and she must prepare for this excursion to Vauxhall the e’en.

The Duke watches her go, and says, most out of the common lovely – somewhat of the odalisque, eh? he nudges Milord in the ribs.

Milord says, indeed, but – he gazes at me as one who implies, sure there can be no comparison, none at all. I lift my fan to my face and look at him flirtatious over it.

Must make sure she is sent a card for our ball, he goes on. You will be coming, will you not, Lady B-?

I smile and say, but of course, Your Grace.

Milord contrives steer him away and about his business and I desire Josh to show me how his menagerie does, that is an agreeable matter.

But I may not linger a-playing with the pretty dormice, for there is Viola’s jaunt to Vauxhall the e’en and Docket will require me to lye down for a few hours with cowcumber upon my eyes, composing my mind, whilst Sophy endeavours pumice the ink from my hands. I have endeavour’d convince Docket that I am quite entire in the character of a chaperone for the occasion, at which she snorts.

You shall not mind the boat’s motion? I ask Viola as we wait to embark beside the river.

She smiles and says, 'tis only of a morn she is troubl’d.

Lady D- is of the company, and shows some disposition to tuck her hand into my arm and prattle a deal about the philanthropick set, and Lady J-, and little Arthur, but while she is distract’d by the sight of the wire-walkers, I take the occasion to go over to Rebecca G-.

O, Lady B-, she says, I wisht your advice on whether ‘twould be proper to write some note of condolence to Lady Emily and her family?

'Twould be a very pretty thing to do, says I. But, says I – let us withdraw just a little further into this alcove - 'tis of that family I wisht have some convockation with you. The new Earl has askt me open to you – for he may not at present ask himself, as he is not going about in Society – whether 'twould be agreeable to you did he approach your father about paying his addresses to you.

O! cries Miss G-, O! quite overcome and says nothing for some several minutes. Oh, she says at length, indeed I have come to like him exceedingly, but I said to myself, Rebecca, the sons of Earls do not marry the daughters of Jew-merchants. Can this be so?

Indeed 'tis, my dear. Sure he was in concerns that his late father would not give approval, but now he may please himself.

She sheds a few happy tears upon my shoulder. O, she says, you may tell him yes and I am entire sure Papa will be agreeable.

And now, says I, so as not to look particular, let us go view the fireworks.

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I go ride out early of the morn so that my sweet Jezzie-girl may kick up her heels a little in healthfull exercize, for do I venture out at the fashionable hour will ever be stopping and standing by those that wish discourse a little, or, at the least, be seen in converse with the fascinating Lady B-, and I confide 'tis not very agreeable for her.

So we take a fine brisk canter about the Park, on a fine spring morn, and I feel the better of it myself.

And in due course, I bring her back to a sober walk to cool her, for tho’ Ajax would not chide me, he can give very speaking looks does he have some adverse opinion of my handling of my lovely mare.

As I tell her what an excellent fine Jezzie-girl she is, and I daresay she feels a deal the better for this little excursion, I see one clad in black upon a steed I recognize as Orion, and wave my whip in salutation. Comes trotting up to me Lord N-, as he must now be styl’d.

We make civil to one another, and then he says, he knows 'tis an entire imposition, but would be most exceeding glad to have an occasion to convoke with me upon a delicate matter.

La, says I, you are entire welcome to come take breakfast with me, tho’ may not be quite as sumptuous a feast as usual as my cook lyes in with twins, but has brought on the kitchen-maid to manage simple matters.

He says that 'tis my prudent counsel he hungers for.

So we return in company to my pretty house, and indeed matters are a little disorder’d, for 'tis Timothy comes answer the bell and takes my message to Celeste. But very shortly comes Nell with coffee and muffins and manages the matter entire handyly, sure one sees that she quite entire gets into good practices. She says there is more to come.

After we have eat sufficient and linger over our coffee, I proceed to ask Lord N- what’s ado.

Why, he says, are a deal of matters on hand and is oblig’d to spend more time than would like closet’d with men of law and business, but has been able defer certain matters by saying he waits upon the counsel of his godfather, for Sir C- F- has most kindly said he will come to Town once he has put a few matters in order.

He is an excellent fine fellow, says I.

Indeed, says Lord N-. The Marquess my brother-in-law is a support and a stay, but because he was so long out of the country and did not anticipate to inherit knows less of the ways in which things should be done.

But, he says, it was not such matters of business that he wisht open to me – tho’ all speak of Lady B- as a lady that has a deal of skill in managing her affairs –

O, poo, says I, I am well-adviz’d by my friends.

- 'tis a matter of the heart.

I put on my listening face.

Sure, he says, I have two brothers in quite the heartyest health, there is no urgency over the matter of marrying and begetting an heir, and yet –

Yet? says I.

He sighs and says, has been most greatly inclining to Miss G-, that is a very fine young woman indeed and has a deal of apprehension along with those charms that make her consider’d one of the belles of the present season: but was in some concern that, for all her merits, and what is anticipat’d to be an exceeding generous portion, was alas unlike to gain his late father’s approval. But now that need not be a consideration.

He pauses and then goes on, but, of course, 'twould be consider’d in somewhat poor ton to go marry until the family mourning be up. However, I should indeed not care to leave the matter over until then, because she is such a fine matrimonial prize that I confide will be a deal of offers -

Why, says I, I cannot see that there could be any harm in discovering whether Miss G- might incline herself to your suit (I am greatly of the opinion that she already does) – for I would confide that you are not a fellow that would proceed without some apprehension that the lady felt she could happyly look upon you in the light of a husband –

Indeed, he says, cannot expect that matters usually fall out as well as they did for Nan.

- but was you assur’d of that, I think 'twould be entire in order to write to her father asking permission to pay your addresses, once your mourning period is over.

But, says he, since I shall not be going about in Society, how may I come at ascertaining Miss G-'s sentiments in the matter?

La, says, I daresay ‘tis a matter I may sound out on your behalf.

Oh, Lady B-, he cries, could you but do so!

Why, says I, Her Grace purposes a jaunt to Vauxhall now 'tis come its season, and the e’ens are so mild, and 'twill, I confide, provide some opportunity to have discourse with Miss G-.

'Tis most exceeding good of you, he says.

I am silent for a moment and say, sure I apprehend that he has already promist not to advance any of those elderly suitors favour’d by his late father to Lady Emily’s favour, but I know that in his station, daughters and sisters are consider’d as pawns that may be put into play to advance the interests of the head of the house -

He sighs and says, he quite sees why 'tis so, but has promist Em and Lou – tho’ will be some time afore Lou is upon the marriage market – that he will not marry 'em against their inclinations.

'Tis exceeding good in you, says I.

Why, he says, do I desire marry where my heart leads rather than where the custom of society would compel me (I take this as meaning, that little b---h Lady Rosamund), 'tis only fitting that my sisters might do likewise.

I smile upon him and say, 'tis a very pleasing sentiment and does him great credit. He blushes, and says, must be about his business, but has greatly reliev’d his mind talking to me.

After breakfast has been clear’d away, I go address myself to my correspondence. There is a letter from dear Belinda, that conveys that Mrs D- K- is safe arriv’d with 'em. Why did I not mention what a very fine horsewoman she is? Has been conveying to her a little understanding about schooling so that she may be of great assistance to Captain C-'s enterprize, but indeed she already shows off a fine mount very pleasing.

'Tis excellent good news to have.

I am considering up this when Timothy comes with a note from R- House, saying that the footman stays for a reply.

'Tis my darling Eliza’s hand, and I open it very expeditious, in considerable anxiety that may be some ill news concerning Flora or one of the others. But 'tis her thought that, as matters must be a sixes and sevens with Euphemia lying in and Hector doubtless distract’d by the newness of fatherhood, perchance I might come stay a little while with 'em? Sure 'tis an excellent fine notion, for indeed I can see that matters go a little awry until Hector and Euphemia have become more us’d to being parents.

I therefore scribble a few lines saying I shall be entire delight’d, and will come as soon as I may get my bags packt – and sure, is there aught I may need, may always send for it.

I go ring, and 'tis Timothy comes again, so I say I should be oblig’d for a word with Hector.

And in due course comes Hector, that holds in his arms one of the infants, I know not which.

How now, Hector, says I, what is this?

He looks unwont’d distract’d and says, he walks up and down with Patience, so that she may not cry and disturb Euphemia, that needs her sleep. He looks down and says with a worry’d frown, they are very small.

La, says I, 'tis the common habit of babies, and Mrs Black convey’d that twins are like to be a little smaller than single births. But, anyhow, I have been invit’d go pass a little while at R- House while the household is in disarray, and purpose go as soon as maybe.

Hector looks extreme reliev’d. 'Tis an excellent notion, says he, just until we get us’d to these new circumstances and establish the necessary good practices.

Quite so, says I. And you may send Timothy each day about any messages and to bring letters. So I go now to instruct Docket and Sophy in the matter.

I go up to my dressing-room, where Docket and Sophy are about various matters of mending and tidying &C, and say what I purpose, and Docket gives a little sniff and say, 'twill be a deal more answerable. Sophy looks a little regretfull and I daresay would wish stay about these fascinating infants.

We convoke as to what will be needfull to take for this short stay with a view to such engagements as I am like to have.

I am a-waiting for my trunks to be loaded on the carriage and moving around my pretty parlour in somewhat of a fidget until I may be gone, when comes Timothy with a card upon a tray. 'Tis Captain C-'s, that has PPC writ in one corner.

La, says I, show him in that I may wish him well in this new venture he embarks upon.

Comes in Captain C- and I say, as you can see, we are in upheaval here, I go make a little visit while my cook goes lye in with twins –

Twins! exclaims Captain C-, indeed that must bring about some upheaval in the household. But I came to thank you quite exceedingly for your good offices in this business of ours; I have now got a licence in hand and propose marry my dear Barbara as soon as maybe, Captain P- has offer’d stand up my groomsman, says their parson will undertake it.

I wish him well in his marriage, and in his endeavours in Nova Scotia. He says do I ever find myself in those parts I should be exceeding welcome. (But I think this an unlikely event.)

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I confide 'twould be a little vulgar to go call upon Hester quite immediate, with O- House, I doubt not, in turmoil, and all the business of mourning to be contriv’d on top of everything. But 'tis but a day afore I go there, for I wish to find out how Nan does – 'tis give out has borne a fine girl - and also how Hester bears with this sudden shocking news.

When I arrive the morn at O- House, that is very proper deckt to demonstrate its mourning condition, I am shown to Hester’s sitting-room, where she is dresst entire proper as a recent widow, but her face tells an entire different story.

O, dearest C-, she cries. Quite the prettyest infant, that will be christen’d Diana, and Nan doing so well, says 'twas less of an ordeal than she fear’d. And, oh my dear, is’t wrong that I cannot feel that sorrow that society would expect?

The wrong, says I, is on the side of one that was such a husband as any would find it hard to mourn. But I daresay you may contrive to look suitable sober when callers come condole.

She laughs, and says, there is a hymn that Little Lou pickt up from being in the kitchens learning cooking from Arabella: my chains fell off, my heart was free -

Do I not know it myself? says I, 'tis an entire favourite with Dorcas and Prue, will go singing it about their work.

She smiles, and says she doubts not that Lady B-'s servants go singing about their tasks.

But, she says, this will all bring about a great change.

Why, says I, I confide that Lord N-, as we must now style him, will entire adorn his station, is very well-spoke of in our circles –

She dabs at her eyes with a lace handkerchief and says, he is quite the best of sons. Has already writ to his godfather, that he would wish advize him at this time, and has gone assure Em that he will by no means force her to marry some hideous old hunks: but sure would be most improper to go talk of matrimony at this time anyway.

Quite so, says I. And does she continue purpose keep house for him?

Indeed, says Hester, along with that dear good creature Cousin Lalage. She sighs. Would have wisht to do somewhat for her before – but I was in no position to take her about in Society and give her a season when she was younger, and did not then have any friend that might have done so. But perchance now - for she is not at all gone off, is she? –

('Tis by no means the occasion to enlighten dear Hester upon Cousin Lalage’s disposition.) I say that she is a fine-looking young woman, and has a very nice taste in dress.

Hester smiles a little and says, sure you are not so old yourself, dear C-, and I hear are ever in demand at balls &C.

O, poo, says I, once one has the reputation as the exquisite or the fascinating Lady B- there will be a deal of fellows come about, so that they may go say to their friends, not so remarkable as give out, mayhap in her hey-day 'twas another matter.

Hester laughs a little. 'Tis not what I hear, she says. But, my dear, I daresay you will like to go see Nan and Diana?

Most certain, says I, so she rings for a footman to take me to the lying-in chamber, where I find Nan sitting up in bed with her child in her arms, talking nonsense to her.

O, Lady B-! she cries, how good of you to come. Do come look at my sweet Diana, is a most amiable infant and takes the breast entire well.

I say the proper things – tho’ indeed, have never seen any infant as lovely as my sweet Flora, so tiny and so perfect – and remark that there are a deal of babies at present, my cook has just had twins, I hear Mrs S- is come up from Hampshire so that she may have her lying-in at M- House, and sure 'tis give out that any day now Lady J- is like to present the Admiral with a pledge.

And, Lady B-, I should very much like it would you concede to be one of her godmothers.

That is most exceeding flattering, says I, but sure there must be other ladies –

I was intending asking Her Grace as well, but sure, you have been such a fairy godmother to us – I observe that she demonstrates that volatility of the lying-in time by becoming a little tearfull.

Why, says I, do you put it thus, I shall be entire enchant’d.

She smiles and then says, 'tis a pity she must come into a house that we must shroud in entire hypocritickal gloom for the proper period. But we are still oblig’d to be most exceeding particular.

Fie, says I, I confide that you will be going down to D- Chase afore long, and 'twill be entirely Liberty Hall.

She smiles down at Diana and says, sure you will like that, will you not? and then sighs a little and says, she supposes U-, she means N-, will be oblig’d go to Monks’ G-, poor thing.

I say that I will not linger and tire her, but 'tis good to see her in such health and spirits and with such an excellent fine daughter, and how does her husband?

O, entire delight’d, is not like to groan over her not being a son. I am sure he would have lik’d to see you, but N- desir’d him to go over to N- House to give some brotherly advice.

I take my leave and look in again on Hester, that has Selina upon her lap, purring mightyly. I say that can I be of any service, I am quite entire at her disposal, and will call again.

I also look in upon Mrs Atkins, that has lately heard from her husband in the antipodes and is in very good spirits as a result.

In the afternoon I am bidden to a convockation at M- House concerning what might be done about Herr P-. 'Tis a somewhat formal matter conduct’d in Biffle’s office, with Viola and Mr K- in attendance.

Mr K- makes most exceeding civil to me, remarks upon the exceeding good business I have put him in the way of with Phoebe’s polishes and Seraphine and Euphemia’s preserves, and then we all sit about a table and tea is brought.

Well, says Biffle, this is somewhat of a tangle and we do not quite see our way forward yet.

Mr K- says, he would be entire reluctant to go to law over the matter: lawsuits are very uncertain things, can come at a very high price even does one win, and may drag on for inordinate long times. He hears that there are those in the Bavarian government would be exceeding eager to talk to Herr P- -

I confide, says I, 'tis entirely so, but I am in some concern that, in such a case, he would rat and go inform upon his former comrades.

I observe that Mr K- is perchance of the opinion that this would be none such a bad thing, but fortunately, Biffle and Viola consider 'tis not an acceptable matter.

There is a general pause of silent cogitation and then I say, I am like to suppose that we may entirely punish Herr P- by giving him what he formerly gave out as his highest desire: a passage to America where he has a deal of disciples, or so 'tis give out, most entire eager to go live close to nature in an ideal community such as he has describ’d so very telling.

And sure, has not Reynaldo di S-, his great acolyte, gain’d a very great number of admirers in Boston and the parts thereabouts? The soil is, as 'twere, prepar’d in readyness.

I go on, and sure, at this early stage of such an enterprize, 'twould not be prudent to take his wife and a babe still at breast –

They all look at me and I see that Biffle is endeavouring suppress a grin.

But, says Viola, how will his wife and her family live?

Why, says I, Herr H- makes a more than passable living with his flute, and, was she not prohibit’d by her husband’s edicts, I am sure that Frau P- would be able to pick up her connexion in German lessons, making translations, &C.

Mr K- interjects that he ever found her work as German correspondence clerk quite entire satisfactory and would have no objections to putting her in the way of such work. (I think he may still have a little hankering for the fair Gretchen himself.)

Why, he says, after we have all turn’d over and consider’d the plan, when I consider how much I was like to lose from his shocking sly behaviour, the fare to Boston is an entire bagatelle.

We are agreed, then? asks Biffle. I will go instruct Fosticue to present this matter to Herr P- -

Perchance, says I, with his authority to sail ready in his hand –

Thus we are come to a very agreeable conclusion over the matter, and 'tis with a sense of some satisfaction I go call upon Martha S-, that is now ensconc’d in a suite of rooms in M- House to await her lying-in, that she does not anticipate yet a while, but has been thought entire prudent for her to travel now rather than later.

I find her in an agreeable little parlour with her feet upon a footstool and Deborah playing about and chattering on the floor.

I beg her not to get up, and mayhap I might ring for tea? And what a fine girl Deborah grows.

Martha looks at her extreme doating and says, she does that. She then sighs a little and says, she sees the sense in the matter, and that 'tis entire prudent an undertaking and sure Little V shows most extreme hospitable, but she was a little sorry to leave her hens, tho’ has left very carefull instructions about 'em.

La, says I, you become the entire country-woman.

She laughs and says, but 'tis an entire age since I saw you, dear C-, how are matters with you?

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I put on the shoes and Docket helps me into the cloak, and indeed 'tis a fairly mild night, so I daresay I shall not catch my death by going out into the mews thus array’d, so Celeste and I go out of the backdoor, and she takes the posset into the mews cottage.

I observe that Hector is indeed pacing up and down along the mews, and I go up to him.

How now, Hector, says I, how do you?

He turns around and says, Your Ladyship, sure I regret that you have been disturb’d –

O, poo, says I. This has never been a household in which above- and below-stairs go on in mutual ignorance.

I take his hand. I doubt not, says I, that you are exceeding worry’d over Euphemia and how she does, but she is a very healthy young woman and has your Aunty Black, that is the most skill’d of midwives, attends her. Sure childbed is ever perilous, but has not shown any of those symptoms that would give cause for particular worry.

Hector looks at me a little sceptickal, as if to say what should I know about childbirth.

La, says I, may not be the mama of a numerous brood myself, but does one sit listen to ladies chattering will hear a deal about the matter of childbed. And there will be those recount the most Gothick narratives of their torments when they bore such and such a one of their brood, and yet, there they are, sipping tea and in fine health and telling the tale.

What I confide you should do, says I, is not wear yourself out pacing up and down thus, but sit down and smoak a pipe or two.

He gives a little smile, and says, as Your Ladyship orders.

Fie, says I, 'tis not an order, 'tis a recommendation I would make to any fellow that is in the like position; sure was the Admiral return’d to Town in time for Lady J-'s lying-in, should give him the same advice.

So Hector perches upon one of the windowsills of the mews cottage and smoaks a pipe, and I wrap the cloak about me.

Madame, says Hector, I mean, Your Ladyship – I smile – you need not stay out here.

Fie, says, I, I watcht for Seraphine and I will watch for Euphemia.

We are silent while he smoaks another pipe and says, 'tis uncommon quiet. Did not Seraphine groan exceeding loud, and – he pauses -

O, says I, I am a weak timid creature, you must not suppose all women are of the like.

He smoaks on a little while and says, I never anticipat’d to have a wife the like of Euphemia, has ever been a fine daily surprize to find myself wedd’d to her –

There is of a sudden a very loud groan from within the cottage. Hector drops his pipe and it shatters upon the cobbles.

We both stand stock still, listening, for some several minutes. There is another groan, and, shortly after, a little wailing cry. We look at one another.

Your Ladyship, says Hector, might you go in and see how matters do? Aunty Black will ever say 'tis women’s business and go snap at men poking their noses in.

Why, says I, do you wish it, I will do so.

I push open the door and go in, and up the stairs to the lying-in chamber, where I knock gently upon the door.

Mrs Black looks out. A fine healthy boy, but there is another one a-coming.

Twins?! I cry.

She nods. Thought it might be so, she says. Inside the room I hear Euphemia cry, O, o Aunty – and Mrs Black turns back, saying, must be about this business.

I go out to where Hector is standing looking exceeding agitat’d, and tell him what’s ado.

I tell him, and he looks quite stunn’d.

'Tis indeed not long afore Mrs Black comes to the door and says somewhat grudging that Hector may go in, has a fine pair, boy and girl. She stands outside the door and says, she takes it exceeding easy, fine wide hips, but two at a birth will come tiring, he should not linger with her overlong. She stretches herself and takes a little nip from a flask she carries in a pocket. Would they were all such little trouble.

Might I, I ask a little timid, go see her?

Mrs Black nods so I go in and up once more to the lying-in chamber and knock upon the door. Euphemia calls to me to come in.

She sits up in bed with one of the babes in her arms, while Hector holds the other, gazing down in wonder.

Are they not the most beautiful of babes? she asks. This is Benjamin, that is the boy, and Hector has Patience.

I look at 'em and say all the proper things, and that she must take a good long rest and obey Mrs Black and not try get up and be about her business, we shall come about to contrive somehow, sure there will be no occasions of grand company, daresay Celeste can manage cook for the household –

And then comes Mrs Black and says indeed she must have quiet now.

Hector says he will go sleep upon the truckle bed in the small chamber, and then says, Twins. Are they not a fine pair, Your Ladyship?

Excellent fine, says I, and find myself yawning. I do not have my little watch about me so have no notion of what hour it may be.

When I go in I find Docket sitting up and convey the news to her before asking why she goes sit up. She scowls and says, Sophy is a young thing that needs her sleep; and begins brush and braid my hair for bed. And, she says, will instruct her to let you sleep in somewhat the morn, tho’ you must be up in time to go to the R- House tiffin-party.

So I must, says I, yawning, as she puts me into my nightrobe.

’Tis considerable late of the morn when Sophy comes wake me with coffee and a light breakfast of muffins and an egg, since they would not send me out upon an empty stomach.

But when I have been array’d for company, I look at myself in the pier-glass and sure I do not look as tho’ I was up 'til all hours. Docket gives a pleas’d nod and says, indeed Your Ladyship does not require rouge.

When I arrive at R- House I am told that, the weather showing so fine, the tiffin-party takes place upon the terrace. When I am come there, I see that I am somewhat late, for there is a deal of company already there enjoying currie puffs, kabobs, pillows &C. I look about to see who is there.

I observe Lord U- and his brothers with Em, Cousin Lalage, also Lady Louisa that is spending a few days as Bess's guest at R- House, and Hester in her invalid carriage, but after a further scrutiny of the company do not observe Lord and Lady O-. I also perceive that Mr H- is absent.

I am about to go over and enquire whether my surmize that Nan has been brought to bed is correct, when Sir B- W- comes up to me and says, understand that Lady W- has already inform’d you that Mrs D- K- has levant’d - and would you believe it, m’mother took a notion 'twas some deep plot to inform robbers when they might come about the house and burgle and went agitate the Runners in the matter. Sure we told her that she had left a note, but she would have it that was to mislead and beguile us.

But we had just got her calm’d, by the application of sal volatile and tea with a little brandy to’t, that she deems entire medicinal, when comes Lord K- fussing about the matter and considering one had kidnappt her and also having set the Runners about the business and desiring us to let 'em search her chamber for clews.

La, says I, Mrs D- K- is a freeborn English gentlewoman and I confide may go where she likes.

Sir B- W- laughs hearty and says, indeed, 'tis entire foolishness.

Entirely, says I, I daresay the Runners have more pressing matters to be about. But, says I, I see Lord and Lady O- are not here, will go enquire how they are.

Sir B- W- informs me that Mr H- was summon’d to O- House early the morn, we may apprehend what that signifies. I nod.

I move on thro’ the crowd, come to my belov’d Eliza and tell her what has come to Hector and Euphemia, at which she is quite delight’d. Twins! she says. Dares say that 'twixt Phoebe and Seraphine will be well supply’d with the necessities for 'em, but –

We are about to convoke further over this when an officious fellow comes and says, was sent here from N- House, told that Lord U- would be here.

Lord U- steps forward. The fellow says, 'twas a matter convey’d in an official dispatch from Washington –

There is a faint groan from Mr Edward and Mr Geoffrey M- and the latter says, not quite sotto voce enough, what is he at now?

The fellow hands a letter to Lord U-, that in his surprize at the suddenness of the matter goes open it at once, when I confide with a little forethought would have desir’d Milord to show where he might peruse it in privacy.

He looks up, rather pale. My father, the Earl of N- is dead, he says.

What, dead? cry his brothers and come look over his shoulder at the letter. A bear? cries Mr Geoffrey. Kill’d by a bear?

Em gives a little hysterickal giggle: Cousin Lalage puts an arm about her, and she calms.

Lord U- straightens up and says, Mama, you should see this, and goes over to Hester. Seems, he says, that my father was hunting plants in the forests of Virginia and came upon a bear, that attackt him, and before could be driven off, had become a fatal matter.

(La, thinks I, 'tis a most Shakspearean end, and comes very pat upon Nan’s being brought to bed – now bless thyself - things dying, and things newborn.)

He looks down at the letter again. But, he says, they write that will be about sending the body home so may be interr’d with his ancestors in the family vault.

Oh, cries Em, lifting her head from Lalage’s shoulder, does this mean that you are the Earl now?

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Comes the next morn desiring to speak with me, but will not come to the parlour, so I go down to convoke with her in the servants’ sitting room, Mrs Jupp, that is quite tearfull in her gratitude. I beg her to drink the good tea that Euphemia has provid’d, and take a little of this excellent fruitcake.

O, says she at length, 'tis like a dream come true. Sure I thought we should be oblig’d to pack our traps and go, and where might we go? Sure Mr W- was a-offering of characters so that all might go seek out new places, but –

I offer her a handkerchief.

But is’t true, she asks at length, what Jupp told me, that you offer’d undertake repairs to the apartments over the stables?

I concede that 'tis so and she recounts a tale of leaks in the roof and windows that are broke, and chimneys that will not draw, so that I am oblig’d to take out my little memorandum book and make notes of what will be necessary. 'Tis little enough but shows Mr W- a somewhat neglectfull landlord.

Is that all? says I, no improvements you might desire?

She heaves a great sigh and says, would not go be like the wife in the tale that wants this and then 'tis not enough and wants that – but o, Your Ladyship, I have been in great envy of the fine range in the kitchen here.

An entire matter of prudence, says I. A deal safer than an open hearth.

She then says she has took up quite enough of My Ladyship’s time, and I say does she have any concerns, she must come open 'em to me, and she rises, bobs to me, and leaves.

Have a deal of dull calls to make the day, but 'tis a necessary matter is one in Society.

'Tis an e’en when I am not invit’d about anywhere, for a wonder, and sure I am extreme tempt’d to go sit in my fine library and peruse the books upon the Middle Ages that Sandy’s learn’d friend supply’d. But I mind that I should be dutyfull and address my correspondence afore I am found bury’d beneath a barrow of letters.

So I go ring for Hector to desire Euphemia to send me up some light supper, and a little sanitive madeira, and apply myself to the matter.

The matter is beginning to come about, tho’ by now my hands are in a state that will greatly offend Docket, I am quite ink to the elbows and I am resign’d to a scold, when comes Hector to say, Mr Johnson calls at the back door and would be oblig’d for a word or two with You Ladyship.

Why, says I, send him up, and see would he care for some ale or somewhat stronger, and perchance some other refreshment. Hector nods and goes about this.

A few moments later he shows in Matt Johnson, that 'tis very agreeable to see, and I desire him to sit down, and apologise for my dishevell’d state, but sure I am greatly behind upon a deal of business and must try catch up.

Comes Celeste with ale and a platefull of bread and ham.

After he has consum’d the latter, I say that I hope 'tis no heavy matter brings him here?

Why, yes and no, says he. 'Tis something that we have been solicit’d to investigate, by persons of standing, so we may not consider that they go fret unnecessary, but assure 'em that the Runners will sound out the matter and find out what is behind, is there anything behind, that sure we are inclin’d to doubt.

La, says I, 'tis not some lady whose lapdog has run off, and she immediate supposes that that dog-stealing gang is about its nefarious undertakings again, whereas 'tis the joys of spring rise in her dear doggie’s blood?

He laughs and says, not quite so slight a matter as that, but indeed I think they do not need worry. But when two persons come quite separate to Bow Street concerning a lady that has disappear’d from the household in which she resid’d, and one is a lady supposes she was in league with a set of thieves and goes disclose the secrets of the place to 'em so they may sneak in and rob if not murder; and t’other is a gentleman of rank that is in great agitation that she may have been kidnappt; 'tis entire prudent that one goes do somewhat in the way of looking in to the matter.

O, says I, I have some apprehension of what it might be. Did not the lady that suspect’d some burglarious conspiracy look most exceeding like unto a crocodile? – Matt grins and nods: very like unto a crocodile – And the gentleman was a mopish fellow, a very Knight of Dolefull Countenance, somewhere 'twixt thirty and forty years of age, hair thinning?

Matt laughs and says he is not surpriz’d to discover that Lady B- is quite entire beforehand of him in the matter.

Why, says I, I know a little of the business, and I confide that Old Lady W-, the mother of Sir B- W-, that is known quite universal as the dreadfull crocodile, makes a great pother because her companion is run off, after staying with her a deal longer than any predecessor, and makes up this Gothick imagining of thieves and confederacies &C. And has been observ’d about Society that Lord K-, that is the heir of Lord T-, has been making suit to the lady in question, by means of pursuing her very particular and putting himself in her way, and going gape upon her in hangdog fashion when they were in Society together, and looking exceeding resentfull did she give any other fellow a civil word. Was quite tiresome exigeant.

I confide, I go on, that the lady has crept out of Town very surreptitious and gone stay with friends in rustick seclusion. I daresay, I continue, that you might, did you ask about the coaching stations, find one or other that remember’d her – for is a lady of quite striking looks as I daresay you have been inform’d – and where she was bound.

But, I say, as she was by no means under any duress to quit the household or depart from Town, and I am like to suppose has no intention to communicate to any criminals how they might break in upon and steal from Sir B- W-'s fine mansion, I do not think her proceedings fall within the purlieu of the law – a lady’s companion is not a servant that might be took up for breaking her terms of service.

Hah, says Matt, I confide you know a deal more to the matter than you have told, but sure, does a lady of her own free will determine to quit Town and rustickate, there is no law against it. Perchance I might ask about at the coaching stations, but I daresay if any do remember her, they will confirm your story.

I add that 'tis possible that there may have been some gentleman with her help’d with her bags and saw her safe onto the coach, but entire out of kindness and gentlemanly feeling.

Matt chuckles and says, sure you should write plays, Lady B-, 'twould be quite as good as anything at present upon the stage.

O, poo, says I. But, since, I hope, I have set your mind at rest that there is no dread crime at the bottom of the lady’s disappearance, I daresay you may find yourself at leisure this next little while?

We look at one another with amiable affection. Why, he says, 'tis no hour to be going calling at the coaching stations, will wait until the morn.

I stand up and go over to him and hold out my hand. Then, says I, are you not exhaust’d by your exertions in this matter, I would very happyly to bed with you.

He looks up at me with a smile and says, why, he is not so tir’d that he would refuse such an invitation.

So we ascend to my boudoir and pass a very agreeable while there, and we are lying in a pleasing languor and saying that we must rise afore we fall to sleep, when there is a sound of a great to-do and coming and going belowstairs.

O! I cry, ten to one 'tis Euphemia brought to bed, indeed I was in concern her travail would come upon her during my soirée but she would not have me put it off.

Why, says Matt, indeed I thought Hector had an air of preoccupation about him, most unwont’d.

We rise and he dresses and I put on my wrapper, and he says that he will let himself out discreet, confides that the household is in no condition to notice comings and goings.

'Tis so, says I, I mind when Seraphine was brought to bed of Julius.

So I go down belowstairs while Matt makes his departure, and find all in a great taking, except for Dorcas that endeavours calm 'em and suggests a prayer, and then all should go to bed as usual, for 'twill not aid Euphemia for 'em to wake all night.

How now, says I, has Mrs Black been sent for?

Indeed so, says Dorcas, some little while since when Euphemia began feel pains, would have it 'twas naught, but Hector was entire insistent that Aunty Black should look her over, and sent Timothy, and 'tis entire as well, for she is most certain in labour. Celeste goes make up a sustaining posset to take over to the cottage.

'Tis all well, says I, will not go trouble 'em –

Dorcas, that has succeed’d chase the young women off to their bedchambers, then says, but there is Hector goes pace up and down the mews in a very great taking, perchance did Your Ladyship go speak to him –

I mind that I am barefoot and in my wrapper, but at this moment comes Docket with a cloak and shoes to say she dares say I would wish go see that all is in order, and that 'twould be entire advizable did I not stay up all night, but she confides I will not hark to anything I am told in the matter.

Why, Docket, says I, I will mind on your prudent advice, but I will employ my own judgement.

Docket snorts.

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O, 'tis most exceeding delightfull to rise the morn with my darlings and go breakfast together.

I look at my belov’ds and sigh a little wistfull that we may not do so every morn.

Our lovelyest of C-s seems a little sad, remarks Josiah. I hope 'tis no deep trouble she goes conceal from us.

O, poo, says I, I am not the only one here conceals secrets . But, my loves, 'tis only that 'tis so very agreeable to be together.

They sigh, and concede that 'tis so.

Tho’ says Eliza a little tart, seems that whatever one does or does not do, there will some malicious tongue about Town goes make gossip and scandal.

My love, says Josiah, was’t not quite the same at home with that spitefull cattish set?

Indeed 'twas, and I hope they do not go trouble Lavinia D- as they did me.

There is, says I, one small matter that I might open to you, that is that Gretchen P-'s infant, tho’ seems healthy enough, is a very fretfull child, I wonder is’t some matter that my darling’s maternal experience might come about to remedy.

Eliza looks considering and says, mayhap some matter of wind. But sure I should not like to go call unsolicit’d like some busybody.

Why, says I, I confide I have a contrivance for that – My darlings both laugh and look at me very fond – Was she not quite the greatest friends with Miss N- as was? Sure 'twould be quite usual did Mrs L- as now is went call upon her in her new station, and mayhap might also desire open the matter of German lessons and that if she no longer goes out about the matter herself, may have connexions she might recommend. And might get into conversation about little Wolfgang, and how reassuring she finds the thought does she have increase, will ever have Mrs F-'s wise counsel to hand over any little troubles –

Eliza by now is quite helpless in the giggles and Josiah looks most exceeding amuz’d. O, cries Eliza at length, gasping, 'tis indeed a fine contrivance, and she will go put Mrs L- to the task as soon as they have return’d to R- House.

'Tis also a consideration, says I, that Frau P- should know that she has friends.

Josiah nods and says, dares say has not heard the all of the matter, but is like to think that somewhat may come to Herr P- that will leave the family in need of friends.

Am like to think so, says I. Wretch’d disagreeable fellow. I would go see might Major S- lend me one of his venomous darlings, but that I think did a snake bite Herr P-, might be the serpent that dy’d. O, I go on, and that minds me that Julia P- was in great longing to see Josh’s mongoose, was us’d to have a deal of the creatures about her home in Bombay.

Josiah concedes that Josh is ever delight’d to show off the inhabitants of his menagerie to admirers. But, he says, pulling out his watch, 'tis very high time we were on our way.

We all sigh but 'tis indeed high time they were.

Sure there is almost an embarrassing rencontre, for scarce have my darlings left than Hector comes to say Lady W- is at the door, am I at home to her?

Why, indeed, says I, show her in, and go desire coffee of Euphemia.

Comes in Susannah in a most unwont’d fluster. I beg her to sit down and calm herself.

My dear! she cries. Do you know aught to the matter? Mrs D- K- has levant’d - taken her congé without leaving cards – tho, she says in calmer tones, did leave us a very civil note thanking us for all our kindness, that she hopes some day to repay. But do you have any notion what’s ado?

Comes Celeste with coffee and shortbreads and I busy myself about pouring out. Once we have cups in hand I say, Seem’d to me that, altho’ at first she felt some inclination to him, was showing somewhat irkt at Lord K-‘s obsequious attentiveness.

Indeed, says Susannah growing thoughtfull, show’d signs of becoming a most possessive husband. And sure he is somewhat of a tiresome fellow, ever fussing about his food and whether he is sat in a draught. But in her position –

La, says I, was it not give out that Mr van H- was a-painting of her?

Susannah takes a sip of coffee and frowns a little. Sure he certainly admir’d her looks, but I had thought 'twas because she fitt’d some conception he had for a painting. Also I have heard that he left a wife behind in, I think 'twas, Delft. But one might go ask him, for even has she not elop’d with him, may have said somewhat of her plans whilst sitting to him.

Did she take her trunks?

Had packt up her traps and left nothing behind, but there was little enough. She sighs. Would have hop’d that she could have told us what was the ado, and where she was going. Well, perchance she will write and let us know how she does. She adds with another sigh that the crocodile is in quite the greatest of takings in the matter. But, she goes on with a smile, I daresay the distress will affect her so adverse that she will have to go take the waters somewhere.

She takes a shortbread and nibbles upon it. Was another matter I wisht mention to you – that fellow Mr L- solicit’d me that I might write politickal notes for his newspaper. Sure I never thought of such a thing – and yet –

Why, my dear, is not your acuity in politickal matters, and in sounding out the inwardness of parliamentary business, very much valu’d in our circle? And sure must be of considerable wider interest.

She blushes a little, but looks exceeding gratify’d. Well, she says, I will go consider upon it, for indeed he publishes a most excellent paper, and his views are very sound.

After a little discourse of more general matters, and her praise for my soirée, she departs.

I go to my desk, where a deal of correspondence awaits me, but I have been at it a very a little while when comes Hector desiring my attention. Ajax, he says, has had Mr Jupp come call upon him in something of a taking, and thinks 'twould be entire desirable did he speak to Your Ladyship. But the fellow shows extreme shy and would not come into the house tho’ desir’d to do so, so perchance Your Ladyship might condescend to go speak to him in the stables?

La, says I, I am not proud, tho’ I see you consider it ill-befitting my station, and does he feel uncomfortable about coming indoors, 'tis the highest civility to make him feel at ease, so does that mean convoking with him in the stables, I will be about it. And indeed, mayhap Euphemia can provide me an apple or two for Jezebel.

So I go to the kitchen and find Euphemia sitting down grumbling somewhat to Celeste that, did the fellow not wish to take his dirty boots into Her Ladyship’s fine parlour, might have been contriv’d that she could speak to him in their sitting-room. I desire her not to rise, and ask for apples for my Jezzie-girl.

I go out into the stables, and see Ajax seat’d on the mounting block conversing with Mr Jupp, that I see stands considerable straight and sure must have little need of the stick he carries by now. I go over to my lovely Jezzie and give her an apple and we display affection to one another according to our kind, and then I turn around and say, How now, Mr Jupp, I am pleas’d to see you looking so well. And sure you need not think I have any resentment should you wish to avail yourself of Ajax’s wisdom in matters of horseflesh.

Mr Jupp bobs his head and shifts a little from foot to foot and says, Mr W-, that was the owner of the stables, came by yestere’en to say that the sale has been made and that Your Ladyship has gone buy the stable?

La, says I, have not yet lookt thro’ all my letters the morn, I daresay there is one from Mr Q- upon that very matter. I am glad to hear that he was able contrive the business.

I see that Mr Jupp continues be troubl’d.

And, of course, I continue, I should keep matters on as they are now, but that I should be exceeding glad of any intelligence you might provide me as to improvements that might be made, both in the running of the stable and in the lodgings above.

I observe Ajax endeavouring keep a straight face at Mr Jupp’s expression, and I confide that has been about endeavouring convince Mr Jupp that I will not be quite immediate about throwing 'em all into the street.

Sure, says I, I know little enough about running a livery stable, but has seem’d to me that in the years you have been head groom there, has ever been most well-conduct’d, and indeed, I would leave the business entire in your own hands.

Mr Jupp is silent for some several moments and then says, Your Ladyship, 'tis an extreme handsome thing you do. For indeed, 'twould have come hard to leave, and perchance break up the family.

After a pause he goes on, and do you talk of improvement, there are some little things I would have wisht do, but could not get Mr W- to approve. And as to the lodgings, mayhap Mrs Jupp would be able to speak better to that.

Why, says I, perchance we might talk woman to woman on the matter at some time. And, says I to Ajax, does Mr Jupp not wish to go into the kitchen, you might go see can Euphemia provide a mug of ale for him.

After Ajax has gone Mr Jupp expresses what a benefit 'tis to have him so near at hand, with his skills at horse-doctoring, and also that he is able warn those silly lads concerning the cheats and tricks that go about at race-courses, and he dares say has sav’d 'em losses.

'Tis indeed well, says I.

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I address myself very conscientious to various matters of correspondence, in order that I do not go get into a fret over my soirée that comes about the e’en, and I am just at writing to Mr M- over some matters to do with my mine (that indeed does exceeding well), when comes Hector to say that Lady Emily M- comes call.

Oh, I cry, indeed I said she might, show her in and go desire coffee and whatever Euphemia may have upon hand in the matter of refreshment.

Comes in Em and looks about and I see that she manifests the eye of one that considers upon furbishing up a house. I gesture her into a chair and she sits plump down in it still looking about. O, says she, 'tis ever so charming here, I doubt we can attain to anything the like at N- House.

Why, says I, I confide that one might come about to achieve some very pleasing effects at N- House, there are excellent fine proportions to the rooms.

And, says Em more chearfull, Cousin Lalage has most exquisite taste.

I say that I should have guesst as much from her dress: sure 'tis not fine and I daresay she is oblig’d to have her gowns made over from year to year, but one may see that she has an excellent fine eye for colour and line even is she not entire in the crack of the mode, that indeed she may think improper in a daughter of the parsonage.

Em says sure Lalage gives 'em the most usefull thoughts upon dress, 'tis quite entire the reverse of Aunt Laetitia. And she wonders, do they go live at N- House – for at present they are to and fro 'twixt the two establishments – should they be about finding a lady’s maid.

Comes Celeste with coffee and some very fine little buns.

When Em has drunk a cup of coffee and eat several buns, she says, but indeed I did not come here to discuss these matters to do with our domestick establishment, and –

She puts down her coffee cup with a little chink, and I see her look distresst.

Sure, she says, I think 'twould be most agreeable to go keep house for U- and the boys, but –

But? says I, tho’ I have some notion of what the matter may be.

Oh, she cries, bursting into tears, Papa goes write to U- and to Mama complaining that I am not yet marry’d and why they do not go make a match for me and putting forward some of the horridest fellows in Town as desirable husbands – that tedious hypochondriackal fellow Lord K-, that Evangelickal bore Lord W-, and the dreadfull old Duke of H-.

And there is none of your many admirers that you incline to?

Em blows her nose very ferocious and says, O, Papa has heard some gossip that I incline to Lieutenant H- or this one or that one, merely because I show civil upon some occasion or because they are fellows that make interesting conversation. But indeed I do not wish to marry any of 'em – have never lik’d the thought of marriage, mayhap because I saw how little Papa car’d for Mama or consider’d her desires.

Why, says I, not all marriages are the like of that: even is’t not some great love-match as your sister enjoys, there may be mutual respect and agreeableness.

She pulls a face. And goes on, I know 'tis suppos’d to be the proper thing in our station in society, but did not Lady J- live quite independent for many years – tho’ I suppose 'twas a different matter, with Admiral K- but a poor Naval officer and the country then at war, so they could not marry.

'Twas more material, says I, that Lady J-'s uncle left her an independence so that her family could not force her into some other match that suit’d their interests. (For there are secrets that are not my own to disclose in the matter that I daresay I should not communicate to Em.)

Em buries her face in her hands.

But, says I, my dear, your father is in Washington and I confide has no immediate intention to return, and I do not think Lord U- or your mama would constrain you to matrimony if you lik’d not the prospect.

Oh, indeed they would not, she says, but he goes make threats about cutting off money or taking the control of the estates back into his own hands, 'tis very troubling.

Why, says I, I think he would find that a tiresome task being so far away, but yet, does he wish to be disobliging, he may do so. But let me think upon this matter.

I go ring for fresh coffee, for has grown entire cold in the pot. But, says I, was’t not for this freak of the Earl’s, the plan concerning keeping house for your brothers and Miss F-'s chaperonage would answer?

Entirely! cries Em. 'Twould be entire delightfull, is she not a quite wonderfull creature? She goes expatiate considerable upon Cousin Lalage’s virtues. I am pleas’d to see her take such an inclination towards a lady of merits that far surpass any that Lady Rosamund might claim.

So when she comes to depart, making effusive apologies for bothering me, I say I will go consider over the business – for indeed, I mind that there is a deal more scandalous matter I might reveal about the Earl of N-. Even did I not disclose his endeavour to use the serpent he stole from Major S- to assassinate myself, I daresay there are low scandalmonging fellows that would be most extreme interest’d in anything Molly Binns might have to say about the quondam Mr Perkins. Perchance I should go write him a letter that, while I would not go explicitly mention these matters, might imply that I am still able to harm his already damag’d reputation. But sure 'tis troublesome when 'tis action at such an exceeding distance. Sure 'tis not as far as the antipodes and the posts are a good deal more expeditious but communications are still exceeding slow.

In the afternoon I go ride in the Park upon my lovely Jezzie-girl, and observe Captain C- taking his constitutional stroll. I dismount so that I may go greet him and find out how matters go. He quite wrings my hand in gratitude, murmuring that Mrs D- K- is entire the finest of women that has been shamefully misus’d.

'Tis so, says I. Tho’ I mind Sir B- W- saying that she was like a dog or horse made vicious thro’ ill-treatment, and that while we see the excellent effects of kindness, yet there may be occasions upon which some startlement will remind her of adverse times – sure, says I, here is my sweet Jezebel, ever treat’d in the gentlest fashion, but took the poor creature a while to recover from when that mad Bavarian fellow went wildly shooting in the Park, would go shy a little at the spot for quite some while.

Captain C- says he heard somewhat of that. And, he says, 'tis exceeding prudent advice. And so, he goes on, is your notion of where she might take refuge - quite the most excellent people.

We part with great good feeling.

But I still have a deal of time in which to go fret concerning my soirée before 'tis time for my guests to arrive.

But at last comes round the hour when my dear musickal friends arrive, and go over to the piano and look over their musick - Herr H- holds back a little so that he can say to me, he knows not what I said to Herr P-, but he at least goes try hold in his temper, and act more civil, and no longer tries convince him to take a clerk’s place.

'Tis well, says I. Also I mind’d that Frau P- might like convoke with some lady that has a deal of experience with infants concerning little Wolfgang’s fretfullness?

He says 'tis an excellent thought, for Mutti will ever say they were the peaceablest of infants, had nothing similar with 'em.

Come in Mrs O’C- with Mr P-, Mr and Mrs N-, and Mr H-. The gentlemen go talk together, Mrs N- goes see whether the devot’d ladies have any gossip to communicate, and I go talk to Mrs O’C- as she lays out counters &C at the gaming table. She looks about, lowers her voice, and says, she knows not what is ado with - a certain lord of our acquaintance - but comes quite demanding her services at an unwont’d time, but indeed, she has a deal of business upon hand at present, cannot just drop everything for his whim.

Arrives the party from R- House – Mrs L- looks a little over-aw’d, but is dresst entire suit’d to the occasion, and wears her pearls. Mr L- stiffens like unto a pointer at the sight of Mr H-, and says to me, would be exceeding glad of an introduction, has long wisht have someone write for the paper upon anatomy and whether are measures might do away with the dreadfull trade of resurrection men. I take him over.

I look at my darlings and hope that my expression does not give away my feelings for 'em.

Next arrive Sir B- W- and Susannah. O, says Susannah, raising her lorgnette, I apprehend that that gentleman discoursing to Mr H- is Mr L-, the editor? I should very much like to talk him about the excellent politickal reporting in his paper.

I am entirely agreeable to making this introduction, for Mr L- has expresst that has heard a deal of Lady W-'s acumen over politickal matters.

Come Biffle and Viola, that communicate to me sotto voce that Mr K- had already had troubling letters from Cologne and Dresden concerning Herr P-, and will go convoke over what may be done. Would not care to go to law.

I smile and am mind'd to say, why, give him what he once desir’d, passage to the Americas to go found an ideal community in the wilderness!

But then there is a great number arrive, and must be greet’d, and serv’d wine or lemonade, and introductions made.

And sure it begins to go, and Miss L- plays some pleasing tune upon the piano, and there is a pleasing buzz of agreeable conversation.

Has been agreed with my darlings that they will linger after all depart, 'tis a most delightfull prospect.

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I am about my correspondence one morn when comes Hector to say Mrs D- K- is at the door, seems somewhat agitat’d, am I at home to her. Why, says I, send her in, and go desire coffee and any buns or so that Euphemia may have about.

Enters Mrs D- K- that indeed looks exceeding agitat’d. I wave her into a chair and go sit down vis-à-vis.

Arrives Celeste with coffee and some fruitcake.

I pour coffee and desire Mrs D- K- to help herself to cake.

Well, says I, what’s ado?

There is a silence and then she says, she scarce knows how to begin upon what has fallen out.

I put on my listening face.

'Twas only yesterday, she says, and yet - She takes a drink of coffee – I had gone out, she goes on, about an errand for the old b---h, and as I came back thro’ the square, there was Lord K-, that goes about dogging my heels, and I am so weary’d by this pursuit that I went be very short with him and said somewhat about finding him underfoot wherever I go –

And he became very strange in manner, declar’d that he had offend’d me, was a wretch’d fellow should be punisht, I was in some concern he would make a publick spectacle by falling to his knees and begging forgiveness –

And I quite ran back to the house, in a considerable state, and arriv’d just as Captain C- was about to go out, for is us’d to go take a constitutional stroll in the Park at about that hour. He perceiv’d that I was in a considerable taking, and drew me aside into the small parlour, that was quite desert’d, to ask me what was ado, and whether some fellow had insult’d me. Sure I was in such upset that I commenc’d weep upon him and told him somewhat of how I am so beleagur’d by Lord K-'s attentions that I know not what to do.

So he rang for some tea, and made me sit down, and provid’d me with a handkerchief and said that has heard whispers that Lord K- has curious tastes and was in some concern whether he should go disclose the matter to me, or mayhap see could he discover more on the subject –

La, says I, is the cat out of the bag thus far, I will go say that has come to my knowledge that he is a patron of a certain lady not’d for the provision of special pleasures to gentlemen.

Oh, says Mrs D- K- with a somewhat bewilder’d look. But, as I became calmer, Captain C- said, he confid’d that the middle of the afternoon with the household in a bustle around us was not the time to discuss this business, and might we contrive to some occasion when we might be assur’d of a little privacy? So, we arrang’d that we might convoke at night after the old b---h was abed, and Sir B- and Lady W- would be out at a party.

And we therefore met together as had arrang’d, and –

She falls silent again and then says, o, what a very fine man he is. Said he was like to suppose that Lord K- was not like to make a wife happy, but indeed, sees that he is what is consider’d a very eligible match on account of his rank and position. Says he has come to great admiration for me, but consider’d that he is but an invalid’d officer, that is dependent upon his own efforts for a living, has an independence that would enable him live in reasonable comfort in Nova Scotia, but did not feel that he could offer -

So, she says, I know not how 'twas, but I felt myself able to ask him, had he not heard the gossip about me in my marriage?

And, she goes on, he spoke so very kind of what I must have suffer’d with such a wretch as my late husband, that none has a good word for, and should not like to see me make another marriage that might be equally unhappy tho’ he supposes Lord K-‘s defects considerable dissimilar. Dares say I might have come to an entire disinclination to marry at all, but, could I look on him with any liking, would be most delight’d to give me the protection of his name and a refuge in Nova Scotia.

She raises her head from where she has been gazing up upon her hands twisting together, and says, 'twas so decent, so honourable a proposal, that I felt I could not conceal the truth, and told him of how my husband’s death came about.

And o, he said that 'twas no more than the fellow deserv’d, and that he would hope that he would never put a wife into such desperation that she struck out blindly.

So, she says, the outcome is, that we purpose be marry’d and go there together, but we are both sensible that 'twould be prudent go about the business exceeding discreet.

I rise and go over to my pretty desk, and, concealing how I do so, open the secret drawer and take out the hatpin.

Here, says I, offering it to her, you may wish dispose of this yourself.

She looks upon it with a little shudder, and looks at me and says, might you do so, Lady B-?

I nod. I also desire her to consider me entire a confederate in making their plans for escape. Why, says I, perchance you might go stay in entire secrecy with Captain P- and his lady, that I apprehend are about gathering up the wherewithal for Captain C-'s purpost horse-farm, until such time as the two of you make take your passage to Halifax. (For Belinda knows a deal about having a bad husband.)

Might I so? she asks. For do I remain in Town I confide that Lord K- will still be about a-bothering me. And 'twill be hard to be about the W-s and not let anything slip as to how matters stand.

I say that I will write post-haste in the matter, and, sure, I wish her happy, Captain C- is an excellent fellow.

After she has gone – after sobbing a little upon my shoulder – I go at once to my desk to indite a letter on the matter to dear Belinda, sand it, seal it, and ring for Hector so that I may desire him to send Timothy at once to the post office. Sure I think this propos’d match will answer very well.

In the afternoon I go take my promist ride with the F- children in the Park, along with Milord that has desir’d accompany us. 'Tis the entire prettyest sight: Bess quite queenly upon Radegund, but holding very firm to the leading rein of Mouse, that my sweet Flora sits upon quite as if born to’t, and looks around at the company that is about, but minds where she is and that she should show attentive. I observe that there are some fellows that already mark Bess, that is become a fine well-grown girl.

Come trotting up to greet us Lady Louisa along with Em and Cousin Lalage, that says, are these all the F-s’ brood? At which Lady Louisa tells her that there is also Harry that is learning be an engineer in Leeds, and Bess goes say somewhat of how he does.

And then comes up to us Tom O-, that is still Bess’s devot’d boyish admirer, and there is some general exchange of gossip about how matters go among their dancing-class set. Milord shows an example of excellent ton by engaging Cousin Lalage in conversation, and she comes about to mind that Eddy and Geoff are ever speaking of him, and that is no doubt where they have had their manners polisht.

While all are engag’d in agreeable converse, Em brings Blackthorn up beside me and says in lower’d tones, might she come call upon me one morn? Indeed you may, says I.

We all return to R- House, where I have been bidden to come to family dinner the e’en, and I go to my fine reserv’d chamber where I have a change of clothes kept so that I need not go around in my riding-habit, and Williams comes along to assist me and to furbish up my hair &C.

I go along to the school-room, where I find Mrs L- alone about the task of marking lessons. She jumps up, saying, O, Lady B-, did not expect you here.

I wave to her to be seat’d again and say, just came by in order to give her these, that is cards for Mr L- and herself for my soirée.

O, Lady B-, she says, sure we could never have anticipat’d –

O, poo, says I, should have wisht to have invit’d Mr L- afore now, but consider’d that as he was not living in Town, might pose difficulties for him. And sure you have been about a deal in the scientifick set, and I have heard several of 'em speak very favourable of your columns conveying scientifick knowledge to the publick.

But – she continues.

Tush, says I, 'tis a free and easy occasion for my friends, among whom I hope I may include Mr L- and yourself?

O- ! she cries, blushing very pretty. 'Tis most exceeding kind.

'Twill be an entire pleasure to see you there, says I. O, hark? Is that Meg goes practise?

Mrs L- nods and I say I will just go have a word or two with her (for I have been askt to sound out how she considers this school proposition).

So I go to where Meg is very conscientious undertaking exercizes, and say, how now, and how do matters with her?

O, she says, has Mama told you this notion that I should be sent away to school?

La, says I, I do not think 'tis a matter of sending, but ‘twas thought you might like it.

She looks at me with a little quiver of the mouth and says, 'tis not to get me out of the way while Bess makes her come-out?

O, poo, says I. I daresay there may be some thought that Mrs L- now has a deal on her hands with the nursery-set – Meg nods – and that you might find it agreeable to be somewhere where you are not the middle F- sister but Meg F- in her own right.

She jumps up from the piano-stool and comes hug me. 'Twould indeed be so, she says.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

A day or so later, I go one forenoon to call at M- House to visit the library: I have with me an entire new little memorandum book and several pencils. I am expect’d, and Thomas shows me to it very expeditious.

I find that dear Viola is already there, has lookt me out some promising works, and goes study there herself upon some matter. I ask what 'tis, and she says, with somewhat of a blush, that she goes apply herself more serious to the study of Turkish; for when Selim Pasha was visiting, quot’d some poetry in that tongue, that sound’d exceeding mellifluous, but altho’ he convey’d some of the sense in English, must be entire different can one appreciate the original. So she treats herself to a study of the matter when she has a little time to spare, among her duties.

Why, says I, one sees how exceeding conscientious about your duties you are, and you deserve a little recreation.

She smiles, and then grows more sober, and says, but what is this matter about Frau P-?

I take the letters in German from my reticule. I was inform’d, says I, that Herr P- goes conduct himself somewhat tyrannickal in the household, so I went call upon 'em, to see might I bring him to a better understanding of how matters go in England, and while I was there I discover’d that he employs his wife as his correspondence clerk, and she was there toiling over the matter whilst minding the child –

Viola goes look shockt.

But what seem’d strange to me, I continue, was that the writing upon her desk was entirely in German, and I was in some supposition that he might be about keeping up his revolutionary connexion by her hand, and this gave me some concern –

Indeed, cries Viola, 'twould be most embarrassing for Papa was that the case and ever discover’d, now he takes Herr P- so much into the business.

So, says I, I was able abstract two or three letters while she was somewhat distract’d, but as I read no German I could not make head nor tail of 'em, and thought I should bring 'em to you. Sure, I would not have wisht to agitate you in your present condition might it be avoid’d, and had your brother still been in the country would have open’d the matter to him, but I apprehend he is now depart’d for the Baltic, so I bring it to you.

Why, says Viola, let me look 'em over.

I hand the letters to her and go dispose myself at the table where the books are laid out ready for my perusal. But I have not been at my own studies above five minutes when Viola quite explodes, crying out, O, that reptile! That scoundrel! The ingratitude! She looks up and says, sure one might have some sympathies with revolution, even did one think his proceedings might be somewhat improper, but this? 'tis entire scoundrelly poaching of business and setting himself up as a competitor to Papa.

Why, says I, your brother said somewhat that led me to suppose that Herr P- develops a considerable conceit of himself as a man of business; but this shows a very sly underhand way of demonstrating his capacities.

Viola sighs and says, indeed, Sebastian did not like the fellow, that has been wont to dismiss him as a mere boy, and had also shown not entire civil to the senior clerks, but I was like to suppose that 'twas just his manner, and sure his acuity greatly impresst Papa.

Entire shocking, says I. But indeed I am not surpriz’d when I consider his conduct towards Fraulein H- as was, show’d a lack of scruple - tho’ sure there are many fellows that will manifest the utmost probity in their business dealings but entirely the opposite in their conduct towards women.

They suppose, says Viola very thoughtfull, that honour can only exist between men, and not 'twixt men and women.

That is an excellent fine way of putting it, says I. But I mind me that in this matter, might be prudent to ask the Duke your husband to take it in hand, for is he not fam’d for his diplomatick skills?

Why, 'tis an excellent notion! cries Viola, for Papa has come to look very favourable upon Biffle’s capacities, and will say was he not oblig’d to be a Duke, would doubtless have done exceeding well in some other sphere.

'Tis so, I agree.

I will go open the matter to him at once, says she. But do you make free of the library, dear C-.

I sigh and say, somehow I find myself too distract’d for study: perchance I will go look in upon Lady J- and see how she does.

She will be entire delight’d to see you, I confide.

So Viola goes convoke with Biffle, and I find a footman to guide me to Lady J-'s sitting-room, where I discover her with her feet upon a footstool, engrosst in some work of classickal learning. I desire her not to get up, and she asks me to ring for 'em to bring some tea.

I ask how she does, and she remarks upon this very tedious part of the business, one feels 'twill never be over. But as these matters go, she is well enough, and Mr H- is entire happy about her condition.

One comes with tea, and she desires me to pour out. I hand her a cup, and say somewhat of how very well Lady D- comes on as her deputy among the philanthropick set. She smiles and says, 'tis a good dutyfull young woman, very pretty-behav’d, shows a very charming desire to be of use.

And greatly admires you! says I.

Lady J- smiles and says, O, young women will take admirations, as you must surely know. Is there not ever give out some young woman that is quite in love with Lady B-?

O, poo, says I, 'tis a mere manner of speaking. And do you manage to see aught of Miss A-?

Lady J-'s expression softens and she says, the dear good creature comes call as often as she can, even tho’ I am oft a tir’d grumping wretch to her, and will sit and rub my feet, and sure our fondness does not fade.

I am sure, says I, that the Admiral would be glad to hear it.

Such an excellent fellow! says Lady J-. I am glad you were able to see somewhat of him when you were in Naples.

'Twas an entire pleasure, says I. We smile at one another.

She remarks that she greatly regrets that she cannot go to the theatre at present, but that Miss A- has told her a deal of this new comedy and has present’d parts for her.

We part with great good feeling.

In the afternoon I go call at O- House, where are assembl’d Em and Cousin Lalage along with Rebecca G- and Julia P-, to go with me to Sir Z- R-'s studio. I look about 'em and consider that they are a very handsome group of young women. They are also a lively chattering set: altho’ Rebecca G- never says anything that might be record’d as great wit, she has the talent for, in the course of more general conversation, interjecting a few words that will cause the company to laugh considerable. She also mimicks very effective.

We come to the studio and I lead 'em in. There is already a considerable company present, but all turn to look as we enter, and quizzing glasses go up.

Sir Z- R- comes up and takes my hands, desiring me to introduce him to these beauties with whom I surround myself, and sure I need fear no competition. I smite him lightly with my fan saying that he was ever a flattering wretch, and I confide that he is already known to Lady Emily, but then go introduce the others to him.

He looks with particular appreciation upon Julia P-, as I had anticipat’d he would do, but makes most exceeding civil to all of 'em, says they may care to go make the acquaintance of the wombatt, see his gallery of Old Masters, 'tis entire Liberty Hall.

They are most extreme eager to observe the wombatt: tho’, says Em, 'tis an exceeding haughty creature, goes deliver the cut quite wholesale.

And indeed 'tis so: when we go out into the garden, it quite declines to know us.

A little mizzle of rain comes on and we go indoors: the wombatt goes sulk in its shelter.

Cousin Lalage says that she has a great notion to go look at the gallery, but would not oblige anyone else to go with her. There are a deal of fellows come make very civil to Em and her companions: indeed the three of 'em are consider’d quite the belles of the Season.

Seeing 'em all happyly occupy’d I go converse with Sir Z- R-, remarking that I go hold a soirée shortly and hope that he will come. Indeed so, says he, would not miss it. He looks over at Julia P- and says, exceeding handsome young woman, should greatly like to paint her, very out of the common looks.

I smile and say, I quite confid’d he would be of that opinion. Her father shook the banyan tree in Bombay and I am like to suppose would show generous in the matter of a portrait.

He goes over to 'em and I daresay opens the matter to Miss P-.

I go look at of Sir Z- R-'s recent paintings, and sure there are several fellows come up wish show civil to me, tho’ also I daresay to observe my state of health more closely than they might thro’ their quizzing glasses.

While I am thus engag’d – perchance I go flirt just a little – I see Em endeavour catch my attention, excuse myself and go over to her.

Look, she says, here comes that dreadfull old fellow the Duke of H-, do you think we might go?

I mind that he is consider’d a most eligible parti, especial by the Earl of N-, and has, I fear, a notion towards Em.

Why, says I, have you seen enough of the studio, we might go take tea at my house?

She gives a little reliev’d sigh and says, she will just go find Cousin Lalage.

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