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)

Dear readers, I have recently completed what I suppose, length-wise, amounts to a novella, i.e. long enough that I will be posting it in instalments.

It is set some 20+ years after Clorinda renounced writing her memoirs.

Content warnings: some character deaths, atypical behaviour while in the throes of bereavement, startling and unexpected revelations.

But some answers to questions about 'what happened to - ?'.

First episode coming shortly.

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

Lady Bexbury was dressed in what was probably the model of what to wear when making an informal friendly call during the unfashionable season in Town: nothing too ostentatious, a fine muslin, a set of corals…

Lalage remarked that 'twas a very close afternoon, perchance they might have lemonade instead of tea?

Lady Bexbury fanned herself and said with an agreeable smile that lemonade would be entire delightful.

Lalage went on, having summoned a footman to go fetch the refreshment, that she was somewhat surprised to find Lady Bexbury in Town – would have supposed her at house-parties throughout the summer months.

She gave a little sigh and her expression became more serious. Alas, she said, did you ever meet the Contessa di Serrante while she was here in Town? – Lalage shook her head, but Em nodded vigorously, murmuring something about a ridotto - very lately had the news that she died at Naples. She had took thought for the prospect, and commissioned me that I would undertake a few little matters on her behalf amongst her compatriots that live here when the news came, so once I had heard I came post-haste to be about 'em.

Lalage supposed that there might be family retainers or connexions that had determined to remain in England, questions of pensions and annuities and such.

But, my dears, said Lady Bexbury after the lemonade had come and the footman departed, I apprehend from Lady Emily that you find yourselves come to a happy declaration of mutual devotion?

Em leant over and took Lalage’s hand. O, she cried, I have been such a thoughtless foolish creature!

Lalage squeezed her hand.

She smiled at them. 'Tis a very pretty thing, she said.

And, said Em, you said the morn that 'twas not entire out of the common?

La, my dears, sure you must have heard of the famed ladies Ponsonby and Butler in their picturesque seclusion at Llangollen? And indeed, the matter of female devotion has been known a deal of a long time – there is that fine affection 'twixt Ruth and Naomi in the Old Testament, and among the antient Greeks there was the poetess Sappho, 'tis why the matter will sometimes be called Sapphic disposition -

O! Lalage put a hand to her cheek. Those pretty songs that Miss McKeown sings so affecting, that were composed by Lady Jane’s late cousin – is’t not give out that they are from the works of Sappho?

Entirely so – the verses were translated by Lady Jane herself, that is so very noted for her abilities in Greek.

But – Em began, frowning a little – sure 'tis give out that 'twas an old romance 'twixt her and Admiral Knighton – but indeed, her affection to Miss Addington is also much remarked upon – (Lalage tried not to smile. Had Em really not drawn the conclusion?)

Why, there are those may incline to men as well as women – there were those two married ladies of rank, lately conducted themselves shocking indiscreet, came to an entire open scandal and vulgar prints.

One would not, Lalage said, desire anything in the way of scandal -

Lady Bexbury smiled and wafted her fan a little. My dears, can be entire no scandal in the matter of two ladies that are relatives, both of 'em disappointed in love –

What? yelped Em.

Why, 'tis considered a most heart-rending tale about Miss Fenster’s affianced husband, that went to the South Seas and died of the fever afore she might join him in his missionary endeavours. Though, she went on, there are those, I apprehend from Mrs Nixon, that entire Encyclopaedia Universal of scandals and on-dits, whisper that he was in fact eat by cannibals –

O, really, said Lalage, Mr Derringe assured me 'twas an entire calumny that the fellows he intended go among ate human flesh.

- and 'tis remarked upon that Lady Emily showed a considerable liking to Captain Collins, would sit out with him at balls &C –

What? sure I liked to hear of his adventures and the places he had been, and sometimes he would find dancing tired him so would ask might we sit out instead –

- and then he was beguiled into an elopement by Mrs Darton Kendall, 'twas an entire blow - yes, my dear, I know 'tis an entire tale, but will serve exceeding well for a reason why you incline to none of your suitors – for 'tis not accepted as an excuse for not marrying that one’s aspirants are quite the dullest fellows in Society, but does it go around that one’s heart has been broke by a fickle wretch that fell to the wiles of a designing woman, 'tis considered most understandable that one does not incline to any of 'em. And sure your brother the Earl would not go force you to any match you liked not. Has indeed remarked to me that he hopes he is not obliged to go do the civil at family gatherings with Wayseth, that is even more of a tedious fellow about theological errors than Lord Demington.

'Tis true, said Em, has entirely promised me that he will not. And indeed they are a pack of sad bores that I fear did one bring any of 'em into the family would be complaining about our amateur theatricals and wild ways and find themselves being twitted by Eddy and Geoff &C.

And in a few years, your sad stories will be told, but 'twill be said that you find a little consolation in your companionship with one another, and mayhap some matter of pet dogs, or gardens, or some interest that you share and undertake together –

'Twas really very often remarked in their set that sure, Lady Bexbury should go write novels, but Lalage considered that 'twould be entire trite to do so now.

'Twould answer, then? she said.

I confide 'twould. You might go tell somewhat of the matter to the Earl – sure might there not be some pretty dower house or cottage somewhere among his estates that would be entire suit’d for two ladies?

They looked at one another. Sure, said Em thoughtfully, I can never like Monks Garrowby, but Attervale is give out a very pretty little place.

You need not, went on Lady Bexbury, tell him the entire matter. Merely that you find yourselves such congenial companions that would wish continue in that state.

Lalage raised her eyebrows.

O, said Em, blushing, I said somewhat to Lady Bexbury of the delight I found in kissing you &C.

'Tis supposed, murmured Lady Bexbury, that ladies can enjoy no carnal pleasures without there is manhood somewhere in the matter. 'Tis a prudent protection to the amour-propre of the entire male sex does one not reveal to the contrary. Pretty romantic devotion is admirable, entire a manifestation of the most exquisite ladylike sensibility.

They both stared at her. Lalage, with the sensation that her whole body was a-blush, wondered – sure one could not be ignorant of Lady Bexbury’s history – might it be there were ladies as well as gentlemen went patronise courtesans? Had she not heard some rumour that Miss Addington had once been most desperate in love with her, before her elevation?

Well, my dears, said Lady Bexbury, rising, you may ever call upon me is there any matter upon which you might require my advice – for sure, I never had the benefits of any fine education, but I have seen a deal of the world in my time.

She squeezed each of them by the hand as she kissed them upon the cheek, and glided from the room.

Oh, cried Em, flinging herself impetuously to her knees beside Lalage’s chair, did I do wrong? But when I kissed you the only thing I could think of at all the like was that time we went to that demonstration of electricity. And I remembered that Nan told me once that she was in a great fret on her wedding eve, and Lady Bexbury was quite the kindest of counsellors to her.

I am, she went on, a sad badly-brought-up creature. Mama was so poorly, and Milly could do naught with us, and of course Papa did not care what we did so long as 'twas out of his way and he did not need be bothered, we grew up quite as savages.

Lalage stroked her hair and said, Or unspoilt children of nature?

But – Em straightened up and looked Lalage in the face, Intreat me not to leave thee?

Oh my dearest Em, said Lalage, pulling her up to sit more comfortably upon her knee, whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.

And kissing her, thought that the comparison to electricity was entirely apt.

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

Lalage Fenster thanked the footman who admitted her to the house, and asked for lemonade to be brought to her in the small parlour.

Nuttenford House was hot and stuffy in the torrid summer weather, and deserted by the rest of the family: the Earl and Countess at Monks Garrowby hosting a house-party, Louisa paying a visit to Bess Ferraby, Eddy in Herefordshire with his mother and Sir Charles, and Geoff – Geoff upon a walking-tour with philosophers. She envied the orphans whose conveyance to the seaside for a few restorative weeks in the sanitive sea airs she had just been supervising. They had provided an entirely legitimate excuse for not accompanying Em to Maraston Towers.

A footman brought the chilled lemonade.

She sipped it and sighed. It was doubtless wrong of her, but she was becoming most exceedingly weary of observing Em’s enthusiasms for other young women. At present she had been lured to Maraston Towers by her current favourite, the Duke’s second daughter Lady Mary Dallistet; though, Lalage reminded herself, Em’s friendship for the current Duchess, Lady Mary’s stepmother, had surely played some part.

It would have been a deal less irksome had Em manifested similar besotted feelings towards men: for then she could have entirely given up any hope. But that Em continued to chase after young women entirely indifferent to her, oblivious that there was a heart that yearned to her and would have returned the passion she spilt like precious ointment at those feet: oh, it was quite exquisitely painful.

There was a sound of someone being admitted at the front door, feet running along the corridor, and Lady Emily burst into the small parlour.

O, Lalage, she cried, I am so glad you are returned and here, falling to her knees beside Lalage’s chair and resting her head upon her knee. O, that wretch. 'Twas entirely a plot to advance her dreary brother’s suit yet again, to lure me to Maraston Towers so that he could make me a declaration.

'Twould be an excellent match, said Lalage, stroking Em’s hair as she began to sob.

(But really, it was unfortunate that Em’s most eligible suitors were among the most tedious prospects currently hanging out for wives; not that she showed any inclination, either, to the penniless but besotted Lieutenant Horrocks, or any disposition to run off with a groom.)

Em continued to weep, as Lalage continued to stroke her hair and the back of her neck in a soothing fashion.

Why are women such beasts? sobbed Em.

Perchance, Lalage said after a pause, they are the wrong women. She was most greatly tempted to remark that there were ladies known to them who manifested the finest mutual devotion; but she feared to expose her own feelings did she do so. Had Em even noticed those examples among their circles?

Oh! cried Em, looking up, might it be so?

Lalage looked at her. She could not prevent her face from softening.

Em continued to look at her. Oh, Lalage, she went on, you are so very good to me and I am a tiresome creature that gets into these takings -

And leant forward and kissed her.

O, breathed Em very soft, leaning in to kiss her again and more fervently.

She could not resist responding to the kiss.

O, Lalage, murmured Em, drawing back a little, why did I not see what was before my eyes?

Somehow, she was now sitting in Lalage’s lap, kissing her, stroking her hair, whispering endearments.

And Lalage could not resist reciprocating. But after a while, finding herself kissing Em’s neck, she drew back and said, dear Em, you are entirely over-set, between the injury to your feelings and the wearisomeness of the journey. You should go wash and change, rest a little.

Em scanned her face. But, she began.

Dear Em, said Lalage, let us not rush headlong – may be but a moment’s excess of feeling –

Em looked for a moment as if she might contest this. Then rose from Lalage’s knee and pushed her hands through her hair. I am a sad creature for rushing headlong into matters, she said with a little quirk of her lips. I will go do as you bid.

Lalage sat pondering, her hands idle, for some considerable while, until Moffat, that acted as lady’s maid to both of them and for such requirements in that sphere as Louisa had, came into the room.

Her Ladyship, she said, is entire done-up; goes sleep a little. I go ask the kitchens to put up a light supper on a tray for her does she wake and feel hungry.

'Tis well, said Lalage. 'Tis a tedious great journey from Maraston Towers, particularly in such weather. While you are in the kitchen you might ask them to make up a like tray for myself – I will sup here.

The next morn she was at her desk wrestling with the orphanage accounts, and finding her mind sadly distracted by the memory of Em’s embrace. No sign yet of Em the morn, but perchance she was still asleep, or having a breakfast took her in bed.

Lalage shook herself. She was doing no good with the accounts, but what else might she do?

There were footsteps outside the door and Em came in, dressed in her riding habit and looking as if she had just come from a ride in the Park.

She hesitated for a moment on the threshold, then squared her shoulders, crossed the room, and came to kiss her cousin.

Oh, Em.

Em perched upon the arm of the chair and said, Quite the greatest good fortune – Lalage made a small noise of query – indeed, one would not anticipate her to be at home during this season, but I thought I would just see, and even was she not there, her people might know when she might be, or where she was – but for some reason, she was in Town for a few days, and was about her breakfast –

Em, what have you been at, going troubling people?

But 'tis Lady Bexbury! cried Em, that is entire the fairy godmother to our family.

Lalage swallowed. There had, indeed, been disclosures she had made to that ever-sympathetic ear…

So I told her what a fool I had been, not noticing what was before me, but that I had come to a realization concerning you, and she gave a little smile and said, About time, and laughed a little.

And so she poured me coffee, and desired me to help myself to some breakfast, and said, she hoped I did not go toy with your affections –

Lalage raised a hand to her burning cheek.

- and she will go come have tea with us this afternoon.

Oh, Em.

But sure she brought me to a better understanding.

I am glad to hear it, said Lalage. 'Tis quite the beginning of wisdom.

O! cried Em in delight, you go teaze me. I am a foolish creature, I know, and do not deserve your affection.

Lalage looked up at her affectionately. Kissing goes by favour, and not by desert, she said, and you are my dearest Em.

Oh, am I? Truly? She slipped down from the chair-arm into Lalage’s lap.

But when she had spoke to Lady Bexbury about mutual devotion 'twixt women, she had not even imagined this pleasure of bodies close to together, of Em’s kisses upon her lips arousing sensations she had never experienced from the few chaste pecks Mr Derringe had given her during the course of their engagement.

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

To the marchesa bellissima di Bexbury

Dear Lady Bexbury

How entire infinite was my gratitude for your letter condoling upon the sad loss of my dear zia. She ever expressed a fondness profound towards you. Indeed my own sorrow is immense.

I am of a most particular regret that she died before I could make known to her my wife. For I have married in Boston a young lady of the most excellent, Priscilla Purdew, that is of what the commonalty refer to as Quakers, but call themselves Friends. She is entire after the heart of my zia, passionate against tyranny.

She has turned me quite aside from that notion of Herr Paffenrath’s, arguing with an eloquence admirable that 'twould be a thing entirely wrong to turn one’s back upon the evils of society, in particular that evil that she will describe as a foul stain upon her nation, slavery. Can I do aught but join with her in this struggle? No, no, I cannot, 'twould be the entire act of a coward to turn away from it.

Herr Paffenrath himself has lately been in Boston, but preaches no more that gospel of his concerning a simple community in nature. Has undergone some great change and argues that business and commerce are the foundations of society. My carissima sposa, that is most exceeding charitable towards all, arguing that even slave-holders may yet be led to the Light, takes him in exceeding dislike.

Mr Swann, that I apprehend you are acquainted with, gets on exceedingly in society here. Has lately lectured publicly upon the poets of the modern day to audiences most enthusiastic. 'Tis supposed he will shortly be offered a post at Harvard University, that is of some antiquity as that counts in this land.

Dearest marchesa, have you opportunity I should be exceeding obliged for the conveyance of my news to a certain lady, assuring her that my heart ever holds a most especial place for her, and that I honour her maternal dedication.

Believe me, esteemed marchesa, ever your humble and devoted

Reynaldo di Serrante

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

Pursuing political ladies, continued: with shoutout to [profile] gothickess

Another day nose-down in the Wallace papers, surrounded by that typical local record office buzz of family historians, clattering microfilm readers, etc. How very different from the rather sinister solitary sepulchral hush of the Mulcaster Muniments and its soft-footed and decrepit curator, straight out of a gothic novel (I was in constant anxiety that the strain of fetching files would do for him, probably on the wrong side of the door, leaving me locked in: no wifi, no phone signal).

Today’s box turned out to be pure gold: those copies of The Intelligencer in which Susannah Wallace’s political journalism appeared – marked up and annotated in Sir Barton’s hand with comments about his ‘clever wife’: Awwwwww, ded of kewt or what?

Furiously snapped away at these for future perusal in detail, but got distracted by the other contents of the paper: surely there must be historians who would be fascinated by ‘Sheba’s’ fashion tips? And, the fiction!

Particular shout-out here to [profile] gothickess: There is a serial ‘The Silent Simulacrum’ by ‘the author of The Gypsy’s Curse’ that I’m pretty sure you’ll be interested in for your project: intriguing conflation of the gothic, social comedy and feminist critique.

Alas, the final episode must have appeared in an issue to which Susannah did not contribute, so I can’t tell you how it ends, but, the story so far:

Our heroine is a lovely young widow so widely accepted in Society that she finds herself overwhelmed with invitations to the extent that she is in considerable concern that her inability to be in two places at once will give offence to those holding social occasions that she is physically unable to attend.

Enter her brother-in-law, a mad scientist and inventor. She unburdens herself to him, and he proposes to make a simulacrum of her that she can send to those events that she herself cannot attend. But, says he, the problem is that although he confides that he can construct a simulacrum that will move, and even dance, he cannot see any way in which it might be made to speak.

Our heroine responds with a laugh that so long as it can look very intent at any that addresses it, she doubts any will notice.

The simulacrum is constructed, and indeed, no-one notices that it is not very conversational when it goes into society.

Our heroine sends it particularly to those occasions where her very unwanted, most objectionable, suitor will be present –

I suspect that there will be some horrid outcome involving him (castrated perhaps by the inner mechanism of the simulacrum when he endeavours a rape?), but this would need following up – have a nasty feeling that this would involve microfilm, don’t think The Intelligencer is yet available in any online databases. (Which was why I was massively chuffed to find these copies, even if they hadn’t been so usefully marked up.)

But, anyway, back to the correspondence files (Y O Y did they not date letters properly? ‘Tuesday’ is really not very helpful.)

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

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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.

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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.
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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.

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[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.

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'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?

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

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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