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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 Seventh 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

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 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.

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'Tis of course not enough to reconcile with Lord D- in private, as his conduct at my soirée is doubtless gossipt upon and there may even be allusions in those low sheets that go record, or entire invent, scandals in Society.

We therefore go perform his apology and my forgiveness one fine day in the Park at the fashionable hour, where 'twill be markt: indeed I daresay those who observe Lord D- being driven in a fine open carriage with Lady D- and Miss S-, along a line that will take him exceeding close to where I ride my lovely Jezzie-girl, are watching with extreme interest to see whether there are cuts direct deliver’d.

'Tis all done quite theatrickal - Lord D- comes down from the carriage and stands at my knee, makes a very deep leg, holds up his hands, and is seen expressing contrition. I lean down and shake his hand - he then kisses mine very respectfull. I go make exceeding pleasant to the ladies, and I confide that the on-dit will soon be circulating that Lord D- has quite proper made apology for his coarse conduct at Lady B-'s soirée, and she has been most gracious pleas’d to accept it.

'Tis also put about that his abrupt departure was due to the extreme sudden onset of one of his megrims, that may render him temporary almost incapable of speech.

Next morn comes Miss S-, all smiles, and says, she does not know what I said to her brother-in-law, but Dora looks a deal happyer, they are to go to the play some time with Her Grace – provid’d 'tis not some vulgar matter that is perform'd – and he has contract’d with Mrs D- that when 'tis able to leave its mama, Dora may have a puppy from the litter late sir’d by Mrs D-'s fine fellow.

Well, says I, I hope 'tis better conduct’d than Miss R-'s little Puggsiekins, but I daresay Mrs D- will be entire happy to advize upon bringing it to a genteel mode of behaviour, for she wrought an entire revolution upon Puggsiekins.

Miss S- laughs. Also, he confides that a little light reading, even novels in moderation, cannot be harmfull if consider’d as recreation from heavier duties.

And, she goes on, he has receiv’d invitations to the Contessa di S-'s ridotto in the Neapolitan style, and confides that since she show’d so gracious towards him when he was in those parts about the Grand Tour, 'twould be most incivil to refuse.

I smile upon her and say, all falls out most excellent. But, my dear, look what I have for you here. I show her the parcel of her copies of her pretty volume of poetry.

She bites her lip and then is about opening the parcel.

O, she says, o, indeed this quite exceeds. She takes up a copy and turns it about in her hands, opens it, looks thro’ it, and says, Lady B-, do you have a pen and ink to hand, I should wish to inscribe this to you.

Which she does with a very pretty little poem compos’d quite impromptu.

The criticks, says I, go receive it very kindly.

She puts her hands to her mouth. The criticks -?

Mr P-, that writes under the name of Aristarchus, will never entirely praise the works of a modern, but has been pleas’d to remark that the prosodic facility that led criticks to rightly suppose the Vengefull Spirit no work from Mr W- Y-'s hand, is also demonstrat’d in the other works from this new acolyte of the muses. While it receives quite the accolade from Deacon Brodie. And there are others go praise the work and puzzle over who the author might be; and goes sell extreme well, the circulating libraries go purchase more copies, 'tis so in demand.

O, she says, o.

Dear Miss S-, sure I do not know what you might do with a crown of bay-leaves, or I would have gone about to have one made.

She goes sob a little upon my shoulder. I pat her, and desire her to sit down and take a little coffee, also I see there are some fine apple turnovers Euphemia has sent up.

After she has gone, quite wreath’d in smiles, I go turn to the correspondence that lies upon my desk.

I do not sit there long, however, as Hector says Lady W- comes to call.

I rise up and greet Susannah and say I daresay she does not feel like coffee - perchance a little tea?

That would be delightfull, she says, sitting down beside the fire. Well, my dear C-, I see you have brought Lord D- to heel.

Why, says I, I confide he is a young fellow of excellent intentions, but sure his papa can have give him no model of correct ton, and then he got into the hands of some strict Evangelickals, and this matter of his megrim attacks

Indeed, says Susannah with her crook’d smile, have heard tales of Lord P- rushing pell-mell from dinner tables about a sick cow. But on the matter of dinner tables, dear C-, that agreeable fellow Captain C- comes to Town for a little while – must go have physicians groan over him again, visit the War Office, &C – will come with us to the Contessa’s ridotto - and we purpose to hold a little dinner-party while he is here, and should greatly desire your company.

My dear Susannah, I hope you do not go match-make! Indeed he is an agreeable fellow, but I confide that I should not do well in Nova Scotia.

Indeed not! But I am greatly reliev’d that the crocodile has decampt to Tunbridge Wells, for I was in some suspicion that Mrs D- K- was casting her nets at him. So I wish to take him around where he can observe ladies of better ton, and provide somewhat in the way of comparisons to her charms.

Why, says I, 'twould be entire delightfull to think her at Halifax, but sure one would like a more agreeable bride for Captain C-.

'Tis so: sure she has shown better-conduct’d than one fear’d, but one must have doubts whether 'twill last.

We then go talk ridotto costumes. I am mind’d towards going as a Dresden shepherdess - do I have Sir V- P- trailing about after me baaing, I should have a crook to keep him off. Sir B- W-, says Susannah, takes a notion that they should go as ancestors of his: there are memorial brasses in the parish church that depict 'em, exceeding quaint.

We discuss a few further matters of interest, and she takes her leave.

I return to my correspondence.

As 'tis a fine bright afternoon, tho’ somewhat chill, 'tis a fine occasion for me to take Lady N- a little drive in the Park in my extreme comfortable carriage at the fashionable hour, for I daresay she would desire to see Society parading itself as well as the Serpentine Lake, the cows and sheep, &C.

I put in a deal of extra cushions before we drive round to N- House.

I have previous sent a little note by Timothy proposing the matter, and Lady N- is ready in suitable wear when I arrive. A footman lifts her into the carriage – tho’ she says, as we drive off, she is not entire paralys’d, can walk a little &C but that she becomes most extreme fatigu’d very shortly.

O, she says in a little while, this is indeed most exceeding comfortable, even upon cobbles. She looks about out of the window with an expression of delight. O, 'tis the same bustling streets - Sure she is like a young woman just come to Town as she gazes upon the passing scene - Has been so long, says she. Is ever so entire done up by the time they reach Town cannot bear to move even to glance out of the window.

My dear Lady N-! says I. Sure the science and craft of making carriages keeps pace with, even outreaches, the fine improvements in roads.

O, sighs Lady N-, in our grandfathers’ day they built carriages to last.

Aye, says I, because otherwise they would have been shook to pieces. But I confide this of mine is as well-made and will last as long.

She sighs again. And then says, perchance when U- returns, he can persuade his father.

We reach the park and she hangs upon the strap so that she may go gaze very thoroughly out at the passing show. O, the fine lake! O, the sheep! O, Lady B-, I do not know who even a quarter of these people are, I live so out of Society. Look at those fine riders.

Her pale thin face quite lights up.

Lady N-, says I, I perceive that you quite greatly enjoy this little excursion, but I am afear’d of overtiring you. We may come again another day, do you like.

That would be most exceeding kind, Lady B-, for I know how many demands there are upon your time.

O, pooh, says I, one may always find time for a friend.

She invites me to come take tea when we return to N- House, but I think 'twill somewhat overdo her, and say, perchance some other time?

I go home and sit beside the fine fire, and gaze about my pretty parlour. Look at my china cabinet and mind me that the charming Dresden shepherdess was Sir B- W-'s gift those many years since: but I daresay he will have quite forgot.

I am in some confidence I have now contriv’d somewhat to the benefit of Lady D- and Agnes S-; but sure there are still a deal of matters that I could be about. Now, C-, says I to myself, you should go about to discover does Agnes S- desire a husband before you go consider who might suit her – for she is well enough provid’d for that I daresay, unless there is some testamentary condition, she may prefer the single life, mayhap a pretty cottage, not too far from Town, where she might write her poems in peace. Sure you would not care to be thought like Lady J- in going manage others’ business will-they nill-they.

I know not how one may come at resolving the problems of the ladies in the Earl of N-'s family, but will go consider over it.

Comes Celeste with tea, and says there will be fresh macaroons exceeding shortly.

I smile. Sure I am quite spoil’d by my good people.

And this e’en come my darlings for triangle and a nice little supper.

I look upon Sir Z- R-'s fine portrait of me in my Indian rubies, and think how I should never have thought when it was paint’d to find myself in the condition I am in now.

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But, alas, I cannot go be a member of the family forever and once matters are in order in my own pretty house I must return there.

I am render’d almost tearfull the night afore my departure when I go be Flora’s sleepy wombatt, and am tempt’d to be quite excessive in my demonstration of affection. But I think 'twould frighten her, and desist.

I am not the only one is tearfull: my darling Eliza goes sob somewhat immoderate while we are together in my fine reserv’d chamber. Dearest, says I, I am not going to the antipodes or Ultima Thule, I am not even going into Surrey or Shropshire. Shall be in my pretty house near the Park – 'tis no distance.

Josiah and I sit up and put our arms around her and kiss and stroke her.

Indeed I am a foolish creature, she says, wiping her eyes upon the sheet, but 'tis so pleasant when our dearest third may be entire part of the family.

'Tis so, says I, but indeed, I think did we spend too much time in this happy state there might come to be gossip. 'Tis a shocking world.

We sigh. And then I think we all take a mind to distract one another from these heavy thoughts, and become most exceeding entangl’d.

But indeed, 'tis hard to leave, especial when my naughty darling clings at my skirts and pouts. I promise that she may come with her sisters for a chocolate party very soon.

But also 'tis agreeable to return to my own pretty house, to be greet’d by Hector at the door, to go into my pretty parlour – even do I sigh a little at the accumulation of letters and cards - and to be among my own good people. Dorcas comes report upon the state of housekeeping. Euphemia comes all smiles at the thought of the ice-house to consider culinary matters.

Indeed I must be about arranging another drawing-room meeting.

I am sat at my desk about my correspondence when comes Hector with a card upon a tray, very ceremonious.

I take the card and perceive 'tis Lord D- come call upon me, most extreme expeditious upon my return home.

I sigh. I daresay he decides he will go explain himself and perchance ensure that I am truly a penitent magdalene. Sure I should like to refuse to admit him, but I mind that I should desire to maintain, is't possible, some diplomatick relation for the benefit of Miss S- and the unfortunate Lady D-.

You may admit him, says I, but you need not go desire tea of Euphemia.

Comes in Lord D-, makes a leg, catches sight of the fine portrait by Sir Z- R- of Madame C- C- in her fine rubies, blushes a little, hems a little, and then says he confides that he owes me an apology for his very insulting behaviour at my soirée.

O, says I, seating myself and motioning him to a chair, I confide that the drama of Mr H- being sent for very urgent for Lady J- quite overlay’d the incident in everyone’s minds.

He clasps his hands in his lap and looks down upon them. Alas, he says, 'twas a matter of my own guilty conscience, that suppos’d some matter I desir’d to conceal was known and that there was mocking allusion to it.

Can I not look at a fellow and encourage him, quite without words, to speak on and disclose the inwardness of his heart, I shall have lost all my wont’d skills. I wait in silence.

Some few years ago, he begins, I was upon the Grand Tour, and in the course of my travels, went to Naples. I mind, he goes on, that this must have been about the time that you marry’d the late Marquess – for there were several remarkt to me that I must regret not having the opportunity to go visit him at his fine villa and see his collection of antiquities -

(Sure I am hard put not to laugh at the thought of Lord D- and the dear late Marquess’ antiquities, that mostly concern’d the worship of the generative principle, or show’d fellows very admiring of one another’s manly charms.)

- but I met that kindly old lady the Contessa di S- while I was there, and got in with a set of young fellows –

He pauses. Sure I was an unregenerate soul then, he says with a groan. They introduc’d me to this very renown’d courtesan of the place, that would wear the charming garb of the local peasantry but made up in silks and satins and sewn with jewels, and dy’d her hair yellow, and was altogether exceeding alluring. And I was a foolish sinner and fell.

He falls silent again.

And then on the voyage home, he continues, it seem’d to me that, that I had contract’d some - ailment - from her –

(I do not enquire whether he has heard of that usefull invention the baudruche, for I confide he had not.)

- so upon my return to Town I went at once to Mr H-, that is so well-reput’d in the management of such troubles. And told me 'twas no such heavy matter as I suppos’d, but a phthiriasis, that is caus’d by a certain louse that most particular infests those parts, for which he went treat me.

But, I suppos’d he had been about gossiping upon me, and went to confront him, at which he became so irate that I fear’d he would go throw me bodily out of his house.

Sure, says I, you are lucky he did not go about to challenge you or mayhap bring a suit for slander for the imputation.

- But I have repent’d, and been sav’d, and 'tis all behind me now –

Except, perchance, says I very gentle, that you had rather Lady D- did not know?

He blushes.

But because I was out of the country when you marry’d the late Marquess –

Excellent fellow that he was, says I.

- 'twas somewhat of a shock to me when I learnt what you had been before your marriage. And then there were those at my dinner-party gave themselves out most taken aback that I should have a woman of your antecedents at my table, and behav’d, I freely admit, in poor ton and somewhat unChristian. Indeed, one cannot but mind of the Pharisees, that are so spoken against in the Gospels: but, indeed, that gave me to suppose that you were about serving me the like.

But sure, you are widely given out a fine philanthropist, receiv’d in the best society, present’d at Court, and will have quite renounc’d that life, repent’d your sins –

Lord D-, says I somewhat frosty, I do not think the condition of my soul any of your business.

He casts down his eyes and says sure a sinner such as himself should not impertinently intrude upon others’ spiritual condition.

I am pleas’d to hear that, says I, for I was of the opinion that you do entire the like towards your wife.

He looks at me entire shockt.

Lord D-, says I, it does you most entire credit that you perceive that you have been in error and go apologize: shows you not stiff-neckt and obdurate. But has seem’d to me that altho’ 'tis clear that Lady D- loves you exceedingly, she is also frighten’d of you.

Frighten’d? he cries, my dear Theodora, that I would do anything for?

She is a very young woman, says I, and entire devot’d to you, but indeed is in the greatest terror of your disapproval because of the very many matters that you are extreme strict about.

Consider, says I, she is a very young woman, rais’d in the provinces, come to Town for the first time, and finds that there are a deal of metropolitan pleasures that you take a great dislike for, that she would desire to at least taste and judge for herself. She shows a serious interest in philanthropick matters, 'tis very pretty in her, and sure I do not think she would go entire wild after pleasure did she go occasional to the theatre – there could be no objection whatsoever should she be in the M- box under the eye of Her Grace – or even a little jaunt to Ranelagh or Vauxhall in suitable company.

Also, says I, I cannot suppose the reading of novels - in moderation, and provid’d does not distract from duties - to be at all deleterious. Indeed I surmize do you put such limits upon so many forms of innocent recreation, it may lead to most undesirable results.

I think, he says, of how easily I was led astray.

O come, says I, a young fellow, away from home upon the Grand Tour, new acquaintances, temptations – 'tis an entire receipt for youthfull follies. But a young wife, that is entire devot’d to her husband, that goes about in the company of other ladies that are in good Society in Town, where indeed one must be conscious that one’s doings are markt and may be gossipt upon: sure there are many entertainments that she may enjoy without the slightest hint of danger.

Indeed, he says in a considering tone, Her Grace of M- is everywhere consider’d an excellent serious young woman, entire devot’d to her husband, in quite the best of ton –

Entirely! says I. 'Tis not a set in which there is high play, or flirtations; you are more like to find her turning out a bluestocking.

Well, he says, I will go consider over these thoughts. For sure I have seen some little matters in Theodora’s behaviour, that I had suppos’d due to her condition, but very like 'tis as you say, that the fault is in me. I should go open my heart to her –

And 'twould do no harm, says I, did you allude, without details, to your own youthfull follies.

He bites his lip, and then says, you are so very kind, Lady B-, when I have behav’d so ill to you.

O, says I, there are those that have done a deal worse, and yet turn’d out excellent creatures in the end. I confide so may you.

He kisses my hand very fervent, and says that he hopes that I will continue to receive Theodora.

How not? says I. And sure I will come call.

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Your amanuensis wishes to inform you, gentle readers, that there will shortly be an intermission, but that 'tis anticipat'd that normal service will be resum'd as soon as possible.

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It so perchances that the R- House party goes to the theatre to sit in Milord’s box, and vis-à-vis we see Biffle and Viola in the M- House box along with the Earl of N-'s daughters, including Lady Louisa – she and Bess signal to one another with their fans - but not, alas, Miss S-, that I daresay does not want scenes with her brother-in-law.

I look about the theatre to see are there any others I know, and perceive, sitting in excellent fine seats, Thomas and Jennie, that I confide have been given free passes by a gratefull Miss A-.

Miss A- is entire at the height of her powers this e’en, most extreme enchanting.

During an interval, when there is visiting to and fro among the boxes, comes Viola to say, altho’ Lady J- is still pull’d down she comes round to much improv’d spirits, for she was lately very low-spirit’d indeed, which was most distressing. Now talks of going down to Hampshire for a spell, which one would be happyer about did one not suspect she will go be busy about all these improvements rather than rusticating for the good of her health.

Indeed, Viola goes on, will probably be up before dawn to milk the cows, and then about churning butter and making cheese. She sighs.

At least, says I, she will not be about running everybody else’s lives for 'em.

'Tis strange and unnatural, declares Viola: but smiles as she does so.

Lady Louisa comes up and tugs at her sleeve: Your Grace, may Miss F- come sit with us? Sure there is room.

O Mama, cries Bess, may I?

You may, my dear, providing you behave yourself.

Meg goes look over the side of the box upon the generality of the audience. Aunty Clorinda, why does Mr P- always look as if he goes bite upon a lemon?

Sure I know not, says I, 'tis his wont’d expression. Perchance 'tis being a critick makes him like that.

But is not Mr MacD- also a critick? – o, and is that not him over there? why does he not sit with us in the box?

I see that she is about to go ask Milord this question: so I say, he confides that 'tis of utmost usefullness to a critick to be in the midst of the audience and to feel how the play affects ‘em.

I see from the corner of my eye Milord relax. For 'tis entirely a habit that grew up in those days when Sandy did not go about in Society and they were oblig’d to be most carefull when together among company. Sandy is now so well-thought-of in Society that all say no wonder His Lordship values him so, shows him extreme favour, 'twould go hard with him to lose such an excellent fellow that serves his interests so well: and indeed he comports himself in the best of ton in any society. So 'twould be unlike to cause remark was he seen in Milord’s box.

I wave to the Contessa, that I have just observ’d, as we all compose ourselves for the next act.

In the carriage on the way back to R- House, Josiah says he ran into Mr H- at the club today, and he was in a most extreme taking: says this trouble about resurrection men was bad enough, but now he is accus’d of tittle-tattling upon his patients. While the Hippocratick Oath, he declares, most specifick excludes surgeons as pursuing a craft distinct from physicians, nonetheless, they recognize a similar obligation not to reveal any matter they learn in the pursuit of their profession. And indeed, 'tis entire sensible: did it get about that some practitioner gossipt upon his patients he would lose a deal of trade.

Why, says I, altho’ Mr H- has been known to discourse of matters not entirely suit’d to genteel company concerning his profession, he has certain ever been most discreet about particular patients. Even was it a matter of hoisting a quarantine flag over some fellow that was under treatment for the pox or a clap, I could not prevail upon him to make any revelation.

But, says I, could usually deduce such matters by having Hector go smoak and perchance take a glass of ale with his man and find out who had been calling upon him.

My darlings look at me. Why, says I, why do you stare? 'Twas a most material consideration in my former life.

O, cunningest of C-s! says Eliza.

We smile at one another.

But indeed this very happy state of affairs cannot last much longer. 'Tis report’d by Hector that the ice-house is nearly complet’d, and he would greatly desire Mr MacD-'s opinion upon the matter.

The next forenoon I am sitting in the family room with both my darlings and we discourse of lead and steam-pumps and smelting mills, for I have receiv’d a deal of reports on the matter from Mr M- and Mr McA-. There is also a letter from Mr R- concerning the dispensary.

We are about this matter and reaching most satisfactory conclusions when looks around the door Josh, with the air of one that desires convoke about some matter.

His mother beckons him in and says he looks troubl’d about somewhat: perchance he might sit down and tell us? He will surely not mind the presence of his Aunty C-.

Indeed not, says Josh, glancing at me.

He clasps his hands in his lap, looks down at 'em, and says, he confides from somewhat Miss N- said of late, that there is some matter of getting in a tutor so that he may continue upon the study of the classicks that he start’d upon at school.

He looks up and says, sure I was not in any great desire to do so! but I perchanc’d to mention the matter to Mr MacD-, that said does one go into any scientifick matter, 'tis still of great utility to understand these dead tongues, even has one no inclination to pursue the study for its own sake. So I confide I should go learn 'em.

He looks down again and says, but I am in mind that I have put you into a deal of expense with my animals, that sure go eat an immense amount, and I am indeed most exceeding gratefull; and sure a tutor must put you to some expense – and Harry said that just speaking to Mr MacD- helpt him more to understand certain matters with Latin than any class at school –

At this moment enters Sandy looking most extreme pleas’d, saying that he confides that the ice-house will entire serve its suppos’d purpose, 'tis a fine tight well-seal’d thing, though the test will come when 'tis fill’d with ice.

Come in, says Eliza, that also goes ring for coffee, we were just talking of you.

He raises his eyebrows and sits down.

Josh, says Josiah, I think is in some hopes you might convey to him the rudiments of classickal learning.

Why, says Sandy, I am extreme gratify’d that Josh has such a high opinion of my capacity, for I was never inclin’d to be a dominie - tho’ sure 'tis an entire different matter teaching some fellow that is keen and has sharp apprehension, rather than a pack of reluctant dunces.

Josh blushes somewhat.

But, says Eliza, I confide that you already have a deal of business on hand and that this would be an additional burden.

Also, says Josiah, we are not come to such penury that we cannot afford a visiting tutor.

I would also suppose, says Sandy, accepting a cup of coffee and drinking it very fast, that there are many fellows that would be glad of such a position. Indeed there are several that I know and would be happy to prefer to you.

He turns to Josh. 'Twould be an entire kindness to offer the post to any of these fellows, that do not have my fine comfortable position but go struggle for their existence.

Oh, says Josh, I had not thought of it like that. Only that I am a dreadfull expense -

Why should you suppose that? cries Eliza, when sure we did not have the matter of your keep all summer while you were at Captain P-'s, and as for the expense of your animals, 'tis no such great matter, when I think that there are two great girls go outgrow their clothes every matter of months –

Only, Bess said –

Eliza sighs. 'Tis thoughtfull of Bess, I daresay she took this concern from when I was going over the household books with her, but she frets quite unnecessary. Run along, Josh, I daresay Miss N- awaits you in the schoolroom, and we will consider further upon this matter of a tutor.

After he has gone Josiah turns to Eliza and says, well, my dear, they are not going to be those kind of young people that have no idea where the good things in their lives come from, and no notion of oeconomy, and 'tis a deal better that they are as they are. I had rather they were on the carefull side than reckless extravagant, and did not take things for grant’d, but sure we do not need to pinch pennies.

I remark that there are those that do not have the least need to that nonetheless pinch pennies (I think of Lord N-, that will not even purchase a fine comfortable well-sprung carriage for his wife to travel in ease.)

Just as there are those, remarks Sandy, that will throw about the money they should be putting to paying off what they owe.

I confide, says I, that you have been struggling on with the sad legacy of Mr D- K-.

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O, I am so exceeding happy to be with my darlings, to be in triangle in the exceeding large bed in my fine reserv’d chamber, to have the children come for the chocolate-party levée, to go play tiger in the nursery, to visit Josh’s menagerie and see him explain very gentle to Flora how she may play with the dormice without hurting ‘em, or where the badger relishes a little scratching, to have my dear hoydens go show me off to their friends that they invite to tea, to be my belov’d treasure’s sleepy wombatt at night. And there is fine converse with my dearest darlings, sometimes upon heavy matters and sometimes upon matter that is quite thistledown, and we laugh and sometimes 'tis because one or other says a thing that is extreme witty and sometimes 'tis merely because ‘tis so congenial to be together.

And there is company comes call and thinks it most exceeding in order that I should stay at R- House while there is noisy work going on in my own cellar, and will even remark what an excellent device it sounds, I must certainly tell them how it gets on when the ice-house is finisht and fill’d with ice.

And Milord and Sandy are ever in and out, and come to family dinner have they no other engagements.

And there is another fine tiffin-party, but this time Seraphine has gone bid Euphemia to come and undertake it (for, she says, 'tis heavy work for one that is increasing as she is: but I think 'tis a kindness to Euphemia). All goes exceeding well and there are no odious comparisons.

Also I find my pen exceeding apt at inditing tales rather than letters upon philanthropick business or pamphlets.

But I do not neglect my social duties, and go make calls, sometimes with Eliza and sometimes alone.

Hearing from M- House that Lady J- is, if not out and about upon her usual round of activities, no longer completely bed-rid, I go call upon her with a little note from Bess and Meg and a nosegay they have made up for her.

Altho’ she is not bed-rid, I find her in her parlour resting upon a chaise-longue, not in her office, which does not surprize me. She looks unwont’d pale and languid, but smiles to see me.

Lady B-! such a pleasure.

I go over and say that I confide she is feeling a little better, and give her the girls’ note and posy. She is so toucht by this that she become a little tearfull - but sure 'tis a time when the humours are exceeding disturb’d.

Alas, she says, not as much better as I should like, 'tis exceeding tiresome. Now I perceive the sense in all those warnings not to overdo. She sighs.

Sure, says I, the like happens to many women, 'tis of frequent occurrence, and oft-times has naught to do with any manner in which the woman conduct’d herself.

'Tis kind of you to say so, says she, but I fear 'twas my vanity to suppose that I would not let the matter of increase hinder me.

Sure this is unlike Lady J-, but I think she is shockt at how her body has gone betray her, for she has ever enjoy’d quite abounding health.

I pat her hand.

And, she says, I must go write to the Admiral – he will, she says with a sob, I daresay just have had my letter with the former glad news.

(O, I can quite imagine it: the dear Admiral serving wine to his officers so that they may toast his good lady, his great joy at the news; and now this.)

There is a little silence 'twixt us and then she reaches out to take my hand, clasps it very hard for one that looks so weak, and says, O, Lady B-, you are so very skill’d at contriving matters – I find myself in the most desperate longing to see my dear Miss A- - and sure I fear that she goes fret about me, the tender-heart’d creature – and yet one sees that there may be adverse remark is she seen openly coming to M- House –

I pat her hand and say, I will to her as soon as maybe and convey the intelligence of your recovering health (for I had some such plan in mind already). And sure I think that a meeting might be contriv’d. Is there not a discreet side-door and stairway to M- House –

- Lady J- gives me a sharp look quite in her old style -

- and I confide that there are those in the household are dispos’d to be discreet and could conduct one that came to that door to your parlour.

Why, says Lady J-, rather dry, you know a deal about the inwardness of M- House. But, can you bring this about, I should be quite infinite gratefull.

Dear Lady J-, says I, do I not owe you infinite gratitude? Sure I doubt that the Dowager Marchioness of B- would have been quite so well-receiv’d in Society had it not been for your patronage. Also, the dear Admiral is quite one of my oldest friends and I confide would desire me to do everything I might to assist your recovery, and keeping up spirits is a most important thing in convalescence.

So when I leave her parlour, I desire the footman to take me to see Phillips, in whom it is known I take interest.

'Tis entire helpfull to my plans that I discover dear Tibby has Jennie with her for a little instruction in the mysteries of her art. They both perform little dips – Jennie does this very pretty – and I say I have a little matter they may assist with.

I go open the matter to them, and they nod, and look to one another, and I say, Thomas is well-acquaint’d with the secret stair, and is a fine discreet fellow.

They declare themselves entire eager to oblige Lady J- in this matter. I say that I will be about visiting Miss A- the morn – for I do not wish to take the matter to her when she is preoccupy’d by the forthcoming performance - and can she come, will send a note of the hour.

I see that Jennie is quite delight’d to take part in this somewhat operatick plan.

So, the next forenoon, I go visit Miss A-. Rose lets me in, takes me into the parlour where Miss A- sits gazing into the fire (for there is now a little chill to the mornings), but leaps up to greet me, coming and taking both of my hands. Rose, she says, please to bring coffee for Lady B-.

I see the questions that tremble upon Miss A-‘s lips, but she contrives to control herself until Rose has brought the coffee, then throws herself at my feet and buries her head in my lap, quite in the old style.

I stroke her hair and say, dear rogue, Lady J- is not yet quite recover’d, but shows entire like to pull round, and 'twould be most material to her recovery to have a visit from her dear Miss A-.

O, cries Miss A-, looking up at me with a tear-streakt face, I have thought and thought how I might come about that. That I might disguise myself to get into M- House – but the plan will ever fall down because I would not know how to find her was I inside the place.

Dear rogue, says I, I know somewhat of discreet entry into M- House – tho’, I add, have not need’d any such thing these several years – and there are servants in the household in whom I repose trust, that are willing to conduct you to Lady J-. But disguise is a happy thought, for I daresay 'twould be best that none remarkt Miss A- lingering about in the vicinity of M- House.

I might even, says Miss A-, disguise myself as a boy - o, do not look at me like that, I am well able to contrive the effect, and 'tis an entire different matter from acting Rosalind or Viola, that must be present’d as a young woman that masquerades as a man. But when I was younger in the art, was often call’d upon to take boy’s parts.

Why, my dear, that is a pretty and subtle thought about Rosalind. But when might you contrive this?

She takes thought and says, tomorrow is not a day when she goes to N- House, and there is no rehearsal call’d for the afternoon, 'tis probable the soonest can be manag’d.

Well, says I, I must send a note to Tibby - I will go send it by Timothy, with some little package, that may be given out a lotion or wash Docket goes send her.

So I go to my own dear house – where indeed there is a noise of banging and a certain amount of dust hangs about the yard – and where Pounce and Dandy, that both look very plump and sleek, endeavour to persuade me that they are shockingly starv’d and abus’d, will I not take them away from this dreadfull place? - and write a little note for Tibby and make up a little package with some old pamphlets - and send Timothy to M- House.

I go look at the cards that have been left while I await his return, go consider is there anything I might take back to R- House with me, look at my pretty china collection, and try not to wring my hands.

Once he returns with Tibby’s note as to where and when Miss A- may come, I send him off with a note conveying this intelligence to Miss A-. Sure I should like to see her go personate a boy, but I confide I should let this plot run its course without I stand by directing it.

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O, 'tis most exceeding delightfull to be with my darling F-s and the family and to be for a little while entire part of the family.

My darlings come to my fine reserv’d chamber in the night and there are many fond foolish things said and a deal of triangular matters.

Next morn come the dear children for my chocolate-party levée. Indeed Bess seems in entire better spirits, even if 'tis only because Town life affords her many distractions from thinking upon disappointment in love. There is a deal of dancing-class gossip. Meg, with a sly smile, says 'tis notic’d that Tom O- will be very beforehand are the gentlemen requir’d to solicit partners, by finding himself exceeding near Bess. Bess colours a little but I think she is not displeas’d at his boyish admiration.

My naughty darling Flora snuggles very close to me, presses kisses upon my arm, and also desires to help with the task of consuming my chocolate.

Josh sits at the end of the bed holding Mittens, that purrs exceeding loud for such a small kitten.

Meg says, Mrs D-, that nice lady with the pug, says that the pug late contract’d a marriage with a fine lady-pug and there are puppies. O, do you think we might have a pug?

I say that I confide that Mittens might have some objection.

Josh says that Captain P-'s dogs were entire afear’d of the stable-cat.

Indeed, says I, but it has seem’d to me that the stable-cat had a wild fierce nature; I am not sure that Mittens is of a like character.

Do you go hold another drawing-room meeting, Aunty C-? asks Bess. Dodo says she and her sisters thought the last one was excellent fine.

I say that I purpose holding one for the work of the T-s among the convicts within a few months: had thought to wait until the New Year but took the consideration that once the Season begins there will be a deal of other matters happening.

Meg says she is learning several fine new pieces for the piano. And does Lady J- go to hold her musicales again?

I sigh and say that Lady J- has lately had a deal of matters upon hand, and now this sad accident, I doubt they are the first thing upon her mind.

Mama, says Bess, said somewhat to us of the matter. Would it be exceeding forward did we send Lady J- a little note wishing her a fine recovery, and mayhap ask Roberts could we send some flowers?

Why, says I, you are both such favourites with her that I am sure she would greatly appreciate the gesture. I purpose to go visit her in a day or so, when she may be receiving callers: do you write a note and go about making up a nosegay, I will take them with me.

They go nudge one another very sisterly. Bess then says, will this make a difference to the theatre-party Her Grace has arrang’d? Has invit’d her and Meg to go along, is also taking Lady Louisa and her sisters.

I say I daresay she will, Lady J- is given out in no danger, only pull’d down, and Her Grace has undertaken to take the Earl’s daughters about in Society a little.

Why, says Meg, is she the daughter of an Earl, does Lady Louisa have such shabby clothes?

Why, says I, she is not out in Society yet, and I daresay her sisters’ hand-me-downs are consider’d quite in order for one that is still a schoolroom miss. I daresay she has some fine gowns for wear in company (tho’ indeed I wonder about this), that she would not hazard did she come here and go romp about playing cricket or help in feeding the ferrets or suchlike.

'Tis sensible, says Bess, but I have seen her look at my wear and Dodo’s and sigh a little.

May also be consider’d, says I, that those that are of antient aristocratick rank do not require to manifest their consequence thro’ fine fashionable dress.

But -, begins Bess, that I daresay thinks of how in the crack Viola is dresst.

O, says I, 'tis not a universal rule, and I do not say that 'tis even sensible, but 'tis one of those quirks of social usage. (And I daresay that there are those consider that Viola goes manifest her origins in trade.)

Comes Miss N- into the room, and says, Hector has just arriv’d with Lady B-'s letters, and says that he may stay a little to give Josh and Quintus some instruction in the pugilistick art should they care for it – and your mama says you may, if you like.

O, prime! cries Quintus. Josh gives Mittens to Flora, with instructions about not pulling her tail or whiskers, and jumps off the bed. Come along, then, he says.

But 'tis time the girls were in the schoolroom, she goes on. They groan a little but do not protest.

Miss N- is looking exceeding well: I daresay now the household is back in Town she has more opportunity to see Mr L-.

After they have gone I still have my belov’d child with me, that sits with Mittens upon her lap, stroking her very gentle and singing softly to her. Sure I am almost tearfull.

But soon comes Patty to say that Miss Flora’s company begins arrive, and she should be in the nursery to receive ‘em.

Flora hands Mittens to me very ceremonious, bestows several kisses, and climbs down from the bed to follow Patty.

Comes in Docket and looks a little askance at Mittens. O, says I, perchance Sophy might convey her to Mrs F- in the family room, and say I shall be down as soon as maybe.

Sophy is quite delight’d at the task.

When I am dresst for the day I go down to the family room, where my darling is about business as I daresay she has been for several hours. We kiss very warm, and she rings for a nice little breakfast to be brought for me.

I go look at the post that Hector has brought. I see that there is a letter from Martha, that I open at once.

O, she writes, this terrible sad news concerning Lady J-. Perchance when she is on her feet again she will come down into Hampshire, sure 'tis a fine sanitive place, has done her a deal of good and little Deborah flourishes.

They late had a visit from the U-s, those very excellent people, and Mrs U- had some exceeding fine notions concerning the gardens and how they might be put in order and improv’d. 'Tis not the time of year to be greatly about these matters, she confides, and perchance they might also take a little advice from Roberts before putting any work in hand.

She has now a few commissions upon hand for drawings. Has decid’d at least for the present to abandon any thought of studying engraving, because necessitates very sharp instruments that she would be worry’d about Deborah getting into.

She misses the company of friends in Town somewhat. Hears that little V is doing most exceeding well, and that Sebastian will be coming home.

Dear Martha, says I, folding up the letter and putting into my travelling desk in the compartment for letters that I desire reply to at length, sure one quite misses her.

Indeed, says my darling, such an excellent creature. But sure I confide 'tis better for Deborah that they continue in the country at present, for their house is in a very smokey part of Town and Town is greatly unhealthfull generally for very young infants. 'Tis not so bad, perchance, somewhere like M- House with its fine grounds -

Comes in Josiah, very brisk, and says, somehow he forgot to remark upon the matter yestere’en –

- Eliza and I laugh somewhat immoderate –

- but His Grace contriv’d a most harmonious meeting with Mr K- about Phoebe’s polishes. Indeed has a fine property in Southwark that would entirely suit the matter of a factory, and also confides that he may put us in the way of entire superior ingredients. Has the prospect of being an exceeding good thing.

Sure, says I, 'tis extreme gratifying, for Mr de C- is a fine artist but nothing at all of a businessman.

'Tis fortunate that he has Phoebe to keep matters under hand, says Eliza.

Josiah then smiles and says, 'tis a charming sight out upon the terrace: Hector goes instruct our boys, along with Julius, and Lord S- and Bobbie W-, in the pugilistick art.

O, says I, sure I long to go observe it, but fear 'twould embarrass 'em.

Why, he says, do you go into the conservatory you may peep out unobserv’d.

Eliza and I look at one another and go at once to the conservatory, where indeed we may look out, concealed by the leaves of the plants that flourish there, and see the entire delightfull sight of Hector teaching the pugilistick art to the little boys.

Not, says I, that any of 'em will need to go be prize-fighters, but 'tis consider’d quite suit’d to gentlemen and may indeed be of use.

Eliza sighs and says she hopes the girls do not go desire to learn the matter as well.

We return to the family room: my dearest goes sit down again at her desk, and I commence upon writing a new tale. I mind me of a tale Sir H- Z- told at the house-party at A- concerning Cornish wreckers, that I think provides a seed that I may grow.

From time to time we look up at one another and smile.

Mittens goes endeavour to distract us by jumping upon our laps, seeing whether there are mice conceal’d in our slippers, &C.

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Next morn comes a hasty scribbl’d note from Viola to say that Lady J- miscarry’d but is not suppos’d in danger.

The poor thing, says I, for I know how great were her hopes of bearing a child, and sure must be some while before she can be about the business of begetting another, even is the Admiral not sent to the China Seas or the West Indies or upon some enterprize of Polar exploration. 'Tis a very sad matter.

But sure, I cannot find myself melancholy, for I am in prospect of a little sojourn at R- House with my darlings and the family, which does a deal to elevate my spirits. I daresay the events of my soirée are the subject of much gossip the morn, but I confide that most speculation will be upon the very peculiar behaviour of Lord D-. Also the news about Lady J- may take precedence.

I am about seeing what correspondence and other matters I should take in my pretty travelling desk so that I shall not be entire idle. I have a notion or two for new tales.

Hector comes and says Miss S- comes calling. O, says I, show her in, and desire coffee brought.

Miss S- enters in somewhat of a taking, goes sob upon my shoulder. I pat her and say, sure, she will feel a deal better does she take some coffee, and perchance a piece of the fine shortbread that Euphemia has sent up.

I cannot stay long, she says, but indeed, I wish I might apologise for Lord D-'s behaviour, which is quite bizarre, I cannot comprehend it, he is most exceeding put about –

Was it the gaming table? says I.

I apprehend not, she says with a frown – something about plots and mockery and I know not what. Dora was quite terrify’d at the taking he was in. But says we will no longer frequent these circles, and in particular were are to eschew the company of Lady B-.

I sigh and say, I daresay this matter would be extensively gossipt upon today, was it not that a little later, came one in great urgency looking for Mr H- to attend upon Lady J-.

She puts her hands to her mouth. O! Oh, how is she?

Not in danger, I confide, for I had a note from Her Grace to that effect.

Oh! cries Miss S-, Oh, was it not for Dora I should most certainly quit his roof. Am I to go cut Her Grace? Am I no longer to go to N- House? Sure 'tis quite entire unreasonable, 'tis a deal beyond not approving of novels or the theatre.

Indeed 'tis, my dear. Now, drink your coffee. I am about making a little visit to R- House while there is some building work done here. While I am there I will consider over this brangle, and see if my friends have any thoughts upon the matter. Perchance there is one might go talk of the matter with Lord D- and sound it out.

Sure, she says, I must not linger. I confide my groom will not betray me, for I discover he runs a betting book -

O, fie! says I, quite shocking, I confide he goes quiz Ajax so that he can find out the best odds.

I kiss her very warm and say, she knows I stand her friend, does she feel oblig’d to quit P- House she may come to me, aye, and bring her sister too at necessity. And am I still at R- House, they may come there, there is a deal of room.

She thanks me very effusive and hopes 'twill not come to that, and leaves.

I continue about gathering up matter that I may require during my stay at R- House.

I am just waiting for my trunks to be carry’d down and convey’d into the carriage, when comes Hector to say that that clergyman fellow is at the door.

What, the Reverend Mr L-? Show him in, and desire Euphemia to send up some tea

I shake hands with him. He seems in somewhat of an agitation. Celeste comes in with tea – and contrives to prevent Pounce from joining the party – and I pour him a cup.

He thanks me very effusive for inviting him to my soirée, adding that he hopes that the news from M- House is good?

Why, says I, 'tis rather melancholy to report that Lady J- miscarry’d, but she is as well as one may expect after such an event.

He pauses, drinks some tea, clears his throat and says, it seem’d to him that when Lord D- storm’d out yestere’en he was in some distress, and therefore he went to call at P- House to see might he be of any assistance in the matter, tho’ he dares say Lord D- will have his own spiritual counsellor.

I daresay, says I, he is part of a very Evangelickal set.

But when he call’d, Lord D- was report’d abed with the megrim, and Lady D- lying down for her accustom’d rest, but he was able to see that very fine young woman, Miss S-, to convey his concern. But she has no notion of what might be at the root of the matter, only that Lord D- was talking very wild and angry about scandalmongering -

As far as that goes, says I, I am most given to suppose that when I was late at a dinner-party there at P- House, there was some scandalmongering upon myself by certain of the Evangelickal set, on matter that I would have consider’d exceeding stale news and indeed, do not keep as a secret. But 'twas not Lord D-'s fault, for I confide that he had escapt hearing the scandal that attaches to Lady B-'s antecedents and came as somewhat of a shock to him. But indeed I know of no scandal that pertains to Lord D- save for the perchance excessive strictness of his conduct. (I do not say: but I am now given to make guesses.)

Sure 'tis extreme vulgar and even unChristian, says he, to advert to Lady B-'s earlier life.

I smile upon him and say, alas that not all are of his opinion on the matter.

He remarks that there is Biblickal authority that Our Lord preferr’d sinners to the self-righteous.

So 'tis given out, and sure I wish you might meet the Reverend Mr T-, that is at present in New South Wales, for I am inclin’d to suppose that you would be of one mind on the matter.

We smile at one another and he says, he must not take up more of my time, but that he is concern’d for the ladies of Lord D-'s household.

As am I, says I, and go about to see how one might go improve matters.

We part with great good feeling, and I desire him to convey my warmest regards to the U-s.

And then I take myself to R- House.

The footman informs me that all are in the garden, and my trunks will be attend’d to.

So I go into the garden, where the nursery set are playing, Josh romps with the wombatt, and Bess sits upon a bench with Lady Louisa to one side and Dodo B- to the other, their heads together in girlish whispering. I can hear that Meg is about piano practice.

My dearest Eliza stands smiling at the nursery set, as Quintus goes guide them thro’ some singing game, and then my lovely treasure observes me and comes running to desire to be pickt up and to exchange kisses.

I see an expression of somewhat like pain upon my darling’s face, and consider that, was I consider’d the mother of a child, 'twould be a hard thing to see her go convey such affection to one that was but an occasional visitor.

But sure I cannot resist Flora’s demands, for I love her most exceedingly.

But later, when I am in my fine reserv’d chamber, comes my belov’d Eliza, and sits upon the bed while I go tidy myself a little.

Dearest, says I, I thought you lookt a little distresst, just now, in the garden. Is it not hard to see Flora come embrace me, a comet and no fixt star, when 'tis you that looks after her daily, kisses her bruises to make them better, comforts her when she is sad, chides her for naughtiness, &C.

My darling stands up and comes embrace me. Dearest of C-s, she says, perchance there is a little of that, but then I think how much of our treasure’s life you miss -

Indeed, says I, ‘tis so.

- but, far more, she continues, do I envy Flora, that may run to you, throw her arms about you, give you kisses and demand kisses in return, and all think, what a sweet affection she shows her Aunty C-, sure Lady B- shows a great warmth towards the child, and say what an exceeding pretty thing that is. And I most greatly desire to do the like whenever I see our very best of C-s, but 'twould be a great scandal did I so.

Alas, says I, 'tis indeed the way of the world. But sure, do I see my dearest of wild girls in company, 'tis a great effort not to kiss her, and say go hang! to gossips.

We kiss very passionate.

At length we break off, and Eliza sighs and says she is greatly tempt’d to be a most wanton wild girl, but she confides that tea will shortly be serv’d in the parlour, and Bess wishes show off to her friends.

I am glad, says I, to see she goes make friends in Town.

Excellent girls, says Eliza. 'Twill do her good – already somewhat less mopish.

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Arrives the day for my soirée and I find myself in somewhat of the frets at the prospect. There are several that have been invit’d that have not been before, which is ever some cause for concern, as to whether they will fit.

Sure indeed there are all my wont’d old friends – Jacob S- indeed has stay’d over in Town a day beyond his original plan so that he may attend, which is very kind in him. Tho’ 'tis a great pity that Martha will not be among us. Mr de C- and Phoebe, however, are promist to come and I am in hopes of advancing his interest by introducing him to several that may desire portraits.

And there will be all of the old set, that long acquaintance makes dear. Sure 'twould scarce seem one of my soirées was Mr P- not looking disagreeable somewhere among the company, or Mr N- not informing someone at great length about somewhat.

Tho’ I find myself greatly wishing that the dear Admiral could be present.

The musicians are already arriv’d and stand about the pianoforte.

Very shortly after come Mrs O’C- and Mr P, with Mr and Mrs N-. Mrs O’C- goes to the card-table at once so that she may be sure she has counters and cards all ready for those that desire a little mild play. She seems a little agitat’d, which may be the prospect of seeing her antient admirer, Mr O’N-.

The R- House party arrive almost upon their heels.

Timothy goes about with glasses of wine.

Sir B- W- and Susannah arrive at the exact same time as Biffle and Viola, with Jacob S-. Alas, says Viola, Lady J- is not feeling quite the thing and sends her apologies for not being here.

Why, says I, sure we shall be sorry not to see her, but her health is more important – please convey to her my best wishes and hopes that she soon feels more herself.

Miss L- goes sit at the pianoforte to play some agreeable welcoming musick.

The V-s arrive, and then Mrs P- and Miss W-, Sir Z- R- with Mr van H-, Mr B- and Mr H-.

There is an agreeable buzz of conversation, as Lord N- arrives, with Lord Geoffrey. The Earl spots the V-s and immediate goes indulge in botanickal discourse with 'em. Lord Geoffrey accepts a glass of wine but can scarce take his eyes from the painting of myself deckt as a Neapolitan peasant.

The O- B-s come in, with Charley and Cissie (Dodo is still a schoolroom miss), and, very apt upon their heels, Mr de C- and Phoebe. I make introductions, and Mrs O- B- remarks that they are mind’d to have their girls paint’d.

Enters the Reverend Mr L-, shakes my hand most hearty, looks about the room, and goes continue his learn’d conversation with Sandy.

There are a number of others of the philanthropick and scientifick sets join us.

I am in some concern that the P- House party will not attend, but at length I see Lord and Lady D-, with Miss S-, come thro’ the door, go over to greet them and make introductions.

Agnes S- observes the Reverend Mr L- and says, sure she never told him how very greatly she was impresst by his fine talk 'tother day, she should go do so.

I say to Lady D- that alas, Lady J- is unwell and does not come this e’en, but I may introduce her to some several others of the philanthropick set.

Sir H- and Lady Z- come in – she looks exceeding well, and indeed, he manifests very attentive towards her, guiding her towards a chair, quite the devot’d husband.

And the Contessa makes an entrance, the dear creature.

I see Lord D- looking about the company with a slight frown. Sure there is nothing to which he might take exception?

But, at this moment, Miss L- ceases the pretty tinkling with which she has greet’d the guests and we are in prospect of some singing and Signor V-'s performance upon the violin. This leads the company, which has been somewhat crowded together, to go dispose itself more suitably to enjoy this entertainment, which reveals to Lord D- that there is a card-table set up at which Mrs O’C- is dealing to Mr N-, Mr P-, Milord, Mr B-, and Mr H-.

He glares at me, goes take his wife’s arm, beckons to Miss S-, that is in animat’d converse with the Reverend Mr L- and Sandy, and says, they are leaving.

This causes a shock to ripple thro’ the company.

Sure 'tis a most insulting thing for him to do – and I see both Lady D- and Miss S- look over their shoulders to me with speaking expressions of distress as he almost drags ‘em out – and I can hear from the whispers that arise that this behaviour is consider’d quite in the worst of ton.

Lord Geoffrey looks as tho’ he would desire issue a challenge to Lord D-.

O, thinks I, is’t the play Lord D- so dislikes, or, is’t, mayhap, that he has some acquaintance with Mrs O’C-?

But I may not meditate upon the matter long, for in comes Mr Miles O’N-, apologizing for his tardy arrival and remarking that he was almost knockt down upon the doorstep by that fat little fellow Lord D- that came rushing out with his womenfolk behind him as if the house was afire.

I greet him very amiably, beckon over Timothy to offer him a glass of wine – for I do not suppose him a lemonade-drinking fellow – and also gesture to Mr G- D- to bring on the musickal entertainment.

I go sit, and smile, and wear an expression of listening very attentive to the musick, and find myself not so much inclin’d to tears, as I might have suppos’d, as exceeding angry. Sure even in former days, my soirées were consider’d most exceeding genteel, nothing at all of the coarse or vulgar or improper.

And I am very sorry indeed, yet sorryer than I already was, for poor Lady D- and Agnes S-.

I am a little sooth’d by Mozart.

After this agreeable musickal interlude a fine supper is laid upon the table and Hector and Timothy go about with more wine and lemonade.

Several come up to me to exclaim upon Lord D-'s most unmannerly behaviour, and one or two also remark that sure one might expect the Earl of P-'s heir to have been brought up in a cowshed, for his papa is seldom out of one.

The Contessa pats my arm and says, when that young fellow was in Naples about the Grand Tour, he show’d somewhat awkward, but not entire incivil. Perchance he goes run lunatick? – a sorry thing for his lady if so, for one perceives that she increases.

I am much comfort’d by the condolences that are expresst to me for such a disagreeable disruption to one of Lady B-'s fine soirées.

I observe Mr O’N- in close converse with Mrs O’C-, that positively blushes and flirts with her fan. Mr P- stands scowling but 'tis his habitual attitude.

'Tis time, I think, for a little more musick, and I go signal to Mr G- D-, when there is a tremendous knocking at the street door.

Sure, thinks I, remembering the coarse behaviour of Mr E-, I hope 'tis not Lord D- come to denounce me as a Scarlet Woman and Whore of Babylon.

Comes Hector very precipitate to say, 'tis Thomas from M- House, learns Mr H- is come here and thinks he should come at once to Lady J-.

Viola clutches at Biffle’s arm, and Biffle bites his lip. They look at one another, over to Mr H-, that has already risen, and all three depart with extreme expedition, barely staying to make mannerly farewells.

'Twould seem unfeeling to continue the entertainment after this, I confide, and the company goes depart, shaking my hand very warm and saying they hope to come again, and hope that the next time will not be so dramatick.

I throw myself down in a chair, and look about at my good friends from R- House that remain.

O, cries Eliza, was it not for company manners I could have scratcht that fellow’s eyes out.

I am somewhat surpriz’d, says I, that he was so put about that there was playing at cards – 'tis well-known, tho’ perchance not to him, that there is a very strict limit on how much they may lay, and all is entire polite, has never come to a quarrel.

Perchance, says Josiah, 'twas not the gaming-table that upset him, but the fine painting of Lady B- as a Neapolitan peasant that is immediate behind that table, tho’ unless one objects entirely to the depiction of the human form, there could be no objection by the strictest moralist.

O, says I, the Contessa said he was in Naples upon the Grand Tour – perchance he fell into some misadventure in those parts and 'twas a painfull reminder? But sure, tho’ the costume I think becomes me considerable – my friends give a gentle laugh – I do not look in the least like the women of those parts, that have very fine looks but in an entire different style – somewhat indeed like dear Miss G-.

I do not think, says Sandy, it was the painting he was looking at. Sitting at that side of the table was Mr H-, and seem’d to me that he look’d up with a start upon seeing Lord D-.

We fall silent in contemplation of what that might purport.

But indeed one is sorry for Lady D- and her sister, says Milord. Is there any might go talk to Lord D- -?

I remark that does one desire diplomatick tact, His Grace is quite the epitome, but at present he must be greatly preoccupy’d.

We fall silent again, in great concern about Lady J-.

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Next morn as I take my breakfast comes Hector, and expresses himself very regretfull over the scene yestermorn. He has now took occasion to talk to Titus and sound out his account of matters and indeed he shows himself entire conscious of the need for prudence. Does not Tibby come take tea with Docket today? He will go about to ensure that she is not being taken advantage of, tho’ from the manner in which Titus speaks of her he confides 'tis most unlikely.

(Sure I do not suppose he apprehends the fashion in which they are being prudent.)

He then clears his throat and says, with the aid of Mr MacD- he has come about to a notion of how one might contrive an ice-house in one corner of the cellar. And if we are to have one, 'twould be advisable to be about the construction very soon, so that it may be fill’d with ice when winter comes. My Ladyship might find the work somewhat of a disturbance –

O, says I, I apprehend that you think I should go be out of the house while 'tis in train.

Exactly, says Hector.

Well, says I, I should not like the work put in hand until after my soirée, but after that I daresay I may take refuge at R- House, or perchance go visit 'tother Lady B- in Northamptonshire, tho’ I am like to think that 'twill be the hunting season and I should be requir’d out of civility to follow hounds, a matter about which I have some reluctance.

Sure, he says, 'tis not a matter of immediacy, but should be put on hand expeditious.

Very good, says I, I go leave the matter in your hands, and you may tell me when I must decamp, for sure I am not mistress in my own household.

I spend the morning about correspondence and looking over my accounts: indeed, we can well afford to install an ice-house. Also I write a little note to my darlings to ask would they take in a poor widow’d creature that will be driven out of her own home during improvements? sure we may convoke this e’en over the nice little supper that Euphemia has in hand, and dispatch it by Timothy, that is looking very cast down. I am like to suppose that 'twas he mention’d the matter of Titus and Tibby to Hector when being caution’d about the luring ways of strange women and did not know this would produce such an explosion.

Today is the occasion of the Reverend Mr L-'s lecture upon Hebrew manuscripts at the antiquarian society: as Docket arrays me suitable to the occasion, Docket, says I, would you think it likely that a fellow could take advantage of Tibby?

Docket snorts in a positive vulgar fashion and says that she confides that Tibby would deliver an entire set-down to any fellow that made the essay.

Sure I thought as much, says I.

She goes on to say that she apprehends that Hector was put about somewhat concerning Tibby and Titus, but as it was in the nature of family business she did not wish to interfere.

Very prudent, Docket, says I. Should Tibby still be here on my return I should desire a little word with her (for I should advance Thomas’s Jennie’s interest to her).

Sure antiquarians are an antique set of fellows, but there are a number of guests for this conversazione, that takes place in a chamber that has many antient objects about and shelves of exceeding old books.

I observe Viola with Lady D- and Agnes S-, also Jacob S- that I did not know was in Town. I go over to greet him and ask how Martha and Deborah do. Quite flourishing, he says, but remain down in Hampshire, while he comes to Town about some matters upon which he requires to convoke with Lady J-; he does not like to drag her down there in her present condition.

Do I not think, he goes on, that she looks a little pull’d down?

I smile and say, I confide that 'tis a matter of Lady J- supposing that she may be about the usual deal of matters she has on hand in her usual way.

Doubtless, he says. Sure was the Admiral here he could invoke husbandly concern - for he doubts even the Admiral would be bold enough to invoke husbandly authority - we both smile – in order to persuade her to rest and that 'tis not a sign of weakness.

(I wonder, thinks I, whether one might go about to see if Miss A- can plead this desirable course to her? I will go ponder upon it.)

I go greet Viola, Agnes S-, and Lady D-, that looks at me with some apprehension, I daresay from her husband’s interrogations. Lord D-, says Miss S-, would greatly have lik’d to come, but goes to a meeting of the Vice Society. (Indeed this confirms my suspicions.)

I observe that Sandy has arriv’d and appears to know several of the antiquarians, for they are in deep converse together.

Viola smiles and says she askt Lady J- did she wish to attend, but sure, one knows Lady J-, she had some philanthropick meeting to be about and would not go indulge herself, very dutyfull. Tho’, she adds, I think had it been a matter of Greek manuscripts she might have conced’d to the matter.

Sandy comes over and shakes hands.

An elderly fellow totters up to me and says what a sad loss the late Marquess was. What happen’d to his fine collection of antiquities? I tell him that they were bequeath’d to the British Museum – Very proper, he says, I was afear’d they might have remain’d at Naples. Sure I will to the Museum and ask to see 'em.

There is a little flurry and then all sit down as comes in the Reverend Mr L- along with some fellow that I take to be the president or such of the society, introduces him very fulsome, he clears his throat and commences speak.

'Tis not exactly dull - sure there are those in the room listen most exceeding attentive – and Mr L- speaks very pleasing, and not in some droning sermonickal manner, and has made some large drawings of certain matters of interest that he holds to up to illustrate his points – but I am a silly uneducat’d creature that cannot entirely follow.

Afterwards several of the antiquarians address questions to him that I can comprehend even less; sure, C-, says I to myself, you will not make a bluestocking, but 'tis agreeable to see that the matter is well-receiv’d.

Tea is serv’d and there is a general mingling. I go up congratulate Mr L-, and say I would desire to introduce him to some friends of mine. I take him to where Viola and Sandy are in converse, watcht by Lady D- and Miss S-, and go make introductions. Mr L- looks somewhat taken aback to being introduc’d to a Duchess, but Viola has a deal of address these days and goes about to make pleasant to him. Sandy goes ask inform’d questions and they embark upon a conversation that is quite impenetrable to the rest of us.

As the conversazione breaks up, I say to Lady D- and Miss S- that I hope I shall see them at my soirée - for I am in some concern that Lord D- will now consider my elegant reception room to be a haunt of vice and debauchery and refuse to darken my doorstep - O, indeed, says Lady D- with an expression of pleas’d anticipation, sure we should not like to miss it.

I also make the occasion to hand the Reverend Mr L- a card for the soirée, saying that does he remain in Town I should be delight’d to see him there.

When I come home I find that Tibby has not yet left and ask that she may come have a word with me before she goes.

She comes in, most exceeding stylish dresst, and says sure Hector goes make a ridiculous brangle. Titus take advantage of her – she should like to see the day!

I smile and say, so should I. Then I open to her the matter of Jennie, the M- House sewing maid that desires advance herself to lady’s maid.

Tibby puts on a considering expression. Jennie, she says, I mind me, has an exceeding hand with fine sewing, a nice clean girl, well-turn’d out tho’ quite suit’d to her station. Sure I will go see whether I might bring her on a little. For with the season coming along, and Her Grace acting the mentor to these several young ladies, there will be a deal on hand.

She then says, about these pieces she writes for the newspaper, that pleasant fellow Mr L- that is the editor has sent on to her letters he has had from readers desiring advice in matters of dress and he wonders whether she might go answer ‘em in print.

Why, says I, 'tis a most excellent notion.

Tibby smiles and says, she will be about it. She rises to go, and then says, is not Docket looking well? Greatly relieves her mind.

We part with great amiability.

I go stretch, and smile, and think with great contentment that my darlings will be with me this e’en, and there will be triangular matters, and a fine supper, and a deal of matters for us to convoke about. And I daresay fine news of our darling pretty treasure and the other dear children.

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When Sophy brings my chocolate she looks somewhat distract’d. I wonder if 'tis any serious matter that’s ado, but she goes before I can interrogate her. I sip my chocolate and mind that 'twould be entire prudent to go see Mr H- concerning his friends in Sussex for 'tis high time to replenish the cellar - Hector has remarkt upon the matter to me – particular do I intend a soirée.

While ladies are not suppos’d to call upon gentlemen, 'tis an entire different matter when the fellow is a medical man, for 'twill be suppos’d that she goes consult him about some matter of health.

I get up and Docket helps me into my peignoir.

I go down to my pretty parlour and am most astonisht to discover that my breakfast has not been laid ready.

I wait some little while and it still does not appear.

I ring the bell, and comes in after a little delay, Celeste, wringing her hands in her apron.

O, Your Ladyship – indeed, 'twill be coming very shortly, we are most heartily distresst by this delay –

I know, says I somewhat frosty, that I am not mistress in my own household, but I should wish to know what is ado the morn.

Celeste continues wring her hands in her apron and then says in a small voice that Hector is in a great taking -

Hector? says I. Have we been robb’d? has there been some disaster?

O no, nothing like that, she says, 'tis somewhat about Titus. And Tibby.

Ah, thinks I, I wonder does he consider Titus a vile seducing wretch, or Tibby a naughty beguiling trollop.

And where is Hector? I ask.

Striding about the kitchen shouting so that we daresay the whole mews can hear, whispers Celeste.

Sighing, I say I will go down to the kitchen myself about this ado.

I go down to the kitchen, wishfull that I might have had some coffee afore I was oblig’d to tackle this brangle.

Hector is indeed striding about the kitchen, shouting, but also Euphemia is stood there with her hands upon her hips, shouting back. Dorcas makes little darts towards them – I daresay she tries to come at pouring oil upon troubl’d waters - while Prue cowers in a corner, and I see Timothy almost outside the backdoor.

How now, says I, is this the good practice of this household?

A silence falls. What is this brangle? I go on.

All start speaking at once. I hold up my hand. Just one, please – Dorcas?

Dorcas looks somewhat distresst. Hector, she says at length, has discover’d that Titus goes walk out with Tibby.

And, says Hector like a kettle that comes to the boil, all knew of this save me.

Indeed, says Euphemia, jumping in upon the heels of this remark, 'tis entire not at all that he goes about to take advantage of her. I think you forget the like of how Tibby is: 'twould take one getting up most extreme early to take advantage of her.

And, resumes Hector, even does he have some honourable intention, 'twould be entire ruination – when they are both got into such good situations – did they go marry. 'Twould be most imprudent.

(Sure the matter of spunges is not my secret to disclose.)

Why, says I, Hector, your concern for the well-being of those of your connexion does you very great credit. But you must consider that Titus and Tibby are now gone out into the world and making their fortune; what goes on 'twixt 'em is their business.

But to keep me in the dark -

Why, says Euphemia, I daresay they did not desire a lecture upon the imprudence of their course or accusations of taking advantage.

Hector looks at his wife: they scowl at one another.

He then clears his throat and says, perchance his concern for the good repute of their connexion makes him over-carefull, but –

Indeed 'tis an excellent thing, says I, but sure Tibby is a young woman of most excellent sense and good judgement.

Hector says, a deal more calmly, that he cannot forget how Seraphine was beguil’d by that chymist wretch.

Why, says I, I confide that circumstance was quite entire different. Had Titus not been yearning after Tibby since he first came to this household? Did she not prove quite adamant until such time as she could see that he had acquir’d sense and polish?

'Tis true, concedes Hector. But, he adds, he will go have a word with Titus anyway –

Sure, says I, walking out with a young lady like Tibby is a great protection against ladies that send little notes, &C.

He nods, and then says, they will have My Ladyship’s breakfast in the parlour most immediate.

He looks about and all start about the business they should be about – Timothy to sweep the yard, Dorcas and Prue to be about dusting &C , Celeste with the china and silver to lay my breakfast table – I turn to go, but from the corner of my eye observe that Hector and Euphemia go embrace.

So I make a somewhat belat’d breakfast and then go about my correspondence.

'Tis somewhat later that I dress in somewhat suitable for a visit to a surgeon, with a veil, and go to call upon Mr H-.

He has no other callers, tells his man to give him out not at home unless 'tis some emergency, by which he means one bleeding or with broken bones, and desires me to come sit in the parlour with him. He confides 'tis not a professional visit.

Indeed not, says I, I find myself at present in excellent good health.

He looks at me and smiles a little and says, indeed 'tis pleasing to see one that is.

Tho’, he goes on, business is a little slow. Sure there is always plenty to do at Barts, but he fears that this late scandal about body-snatching harms the carriage-trade.

Sure has affect’d a deal of his profession, he adds somewhat dolefull. Was a time he thought he might be oblig’d to prevail upon his Sussex friends to convey him to France, for there were those went turn informer in hopes of evading the worst penalties, and they would name names most exceeding wildly whether they had done business with 'em or not. But in the event his name was not mention’d. But the court of gossip is one that does not allow a fellow a defence, and any that are known to practice dissection are whisper’d upon.

He goes on in similar tones that was there some legal way to come at bodies so that they might advance knowledge there would be no need for resurrection men, which is indeed a low trade pursu’d by dreadfull fellows.

I say 'tis a very hard matter, and I hear that there are some Utilitarian free-thinkers that would go leave their bodies for dissection and the advance of knowledge.

Mr H- sighs that there are few enough of those fellows that take such a sensible line. But sure he did not mean to tell me his troubles, but indeed, Lady B-, you were ever a good listener. I confide your visit concerns Sussex business.

Indeed, says I, now that Society returns to Town and I receive company and go about to hold a soirée, 'tis high time to replenish my cellar.

Sure I am a poor host! he exclaims. Will you take a little madeira?

So I take a little madeira, for 'tis entirely sanitive and can do no harm, and he confides that the gentlemen of the Trade will be entire able to fulfil my requests.

Once that matter is dispatcht, I go thank him for the recommendation of Mr R-, that goes run the dispensary at my lead-mine along with his wife.

An excellent fellow, says Mr H-, will do very well in provincial practice. And sure one may see a deal of interesting cases in industrial districts.

He falls silent and still seems a little melancholy.

I ask does he find those that can contrive to personate Leda &C?

He sighs and says, indeed, Lady B-, in former times you had a most unique talent for the matter.

Why, Mr H, says I, do you still have your stufft swan and your portfolio of portrayals of Leda, I will go enact a few for old times sake.

He is a deal more chearfull at my departure.

I then go take my dear Jezebel for a little ride in the Park, for 'tis the fashionable time of day to be seen.

There is a deal of company about, including Agnes S-, that rides very sedate accompany’d by a groom.

She draws next to me and say, she does not know what those gloomy fellows 'tother e’en have been telling Lord D-, but he goes about to interrogate Dora and her about me –

Which, she adds, she confides leads all into confusion for he fears to say something unsuit’d to their ears, but as that is the matter he is concern’d over, winds himself quite in knots. She dares say Dora has no idea what he goes about.

O, says I, I confide has been appriz’d of my past, that I suppos’d he knew of already. Well, this is a tangle, for I thought he consider’d me in the light of a penitent magdalene that he should show forgiving towards.

And, she says, I fear that do I go be vehement in defending you, he will ask me to depart from under his roof as a deleterious influence upon Dora.

'Tis most particular unfortunate at present, says I, for I have a parcel of pretty volumes of poems for you. Let me go consider at the matter – you still go visit at N- House, I confide? And you are not forbid the company of Her Grace?

Yes, and no, but I should not like 'em to know of my poems.

Well, I will go about to contrive.

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Making calls may be somewhat in the nature of drudgery, but there are some calls that are agreeable to make and where 'tis no longer a matter of staying the precise proper time and then rising to leave.

I have become wont to leaving calling upon Lady N- to the end of my rounds, so that I may not feel oblig’d to be up and gone very expeditious, for I find a great liking for the lady and also fear that, because she may not be about making calls herself, there are many neglect to call upon her. 'Tis quite entire their loss.

So I call upon her one afternoon and find her about working upon Lord N-'s hortus siccus, which she puts to one side as I am shown in, I apprehend, with a certain amount of relief. O, Lady B-, what a pleasure to see you! Sure you are looking exceeding well.

I remark that there is a pleasing autumnal crispness to the air today, very agreeable.

I go sit down and Selina shows me markt favour by jumping into my lap and purring.

Lady N- sighs a little and says 'twould be agreeable to be driven out into the air is the weather fine, from time to time, was there a carriage that would not jounce her around.

Why, says I, do you not find that the art of carriage-making has reacht a fine state in this present age? One may travel in quite remarkable comfort.

Indeed, she says with a smile, my girls came telling me of how exceeding comfortable Lady B-'s fine carriage was. But sure, 'twould be quite extravagant to have a carriage made just so that I might drive out very occasional.

(I consider the amounts that Lord N- must disburse upon rare plants, fine volumes of botanickal drawings, upkeep of hothouses &C: but I confide that husbands will be whimsickal and unless a wife opens the matter herself, 'tis good ton not to remark upon these whims.)

Perchance, says I, you might care to drive out a little in my carriage some day?

That would be entire delightfull, she says, sure I have not driven in the Park this age, is it still the same?

Indeed it does not change much, still the gathering place for Society to see and be seen.

She says, but she has very fine news, has lately had a letter from U- and Edward – that are upon their Grand Tour, U-'s godfather kindly acts their bear-leader - that they confide that they will be home by Christmas, which will be the very delightfullest thing. And if they are in Town once the Season is begun, I daresay we may persuade Lord N- to give a fine ball here, as Nan and Em have begg’d me.

I ask how they get on on their Grand Tour, which she tells me at length where they have been and what they have seen, and then says, o, and lately in Prague they met Her Grace of M-'s brother, that they took to most extremely – sure one must suppose that her brother is quite as charming as she is?

Why, says I, they are twins, and their mama nam’d them Viola and Sebastian because she had lately seen Twelfth Night at the theatre – tho’ sure I do not think they could change places or be mistook for one another as in the play. But he is a very well-conduct’d responsible young fellow – I hope he goes kick up his heels a little, for he was a very dutyfull son in acting his father’s deputy in business, quite the old head upon young shoulders.

Entirely the kind of friend one would want for them, she says. Just as Her Grace is such a good influence upon the girls. And sure I was a little concern’d when Geoff turn’d up with Mr MacD-, that he had met quite entire by chance at W- Hall, but one hears that he is everywhere well-spoke of, and he has encourag’d Geoff to read and think - there was some talk of sending him to Oxford but he had no inclination to it, but 'tis most agreeable now to see how he applies himself to his books. And sure there are far worse amuzements for a young man than amateur theatrickals -

She pauses for a moment and says that she did take some little concern about Miss A- coming instruct them, but indeed, she has an entire air of refinement, and sure one can quite see why such a discriminating lady as His Grace of M-'s sister is her patron.

O, the finest of creatures! says I. Most extreme dedicat’d to her art.

The girls are quite entire in love with her, but I confide that Geoff’s heart is still given to the lovely Lady B-: sure you are most exemplary patient with him.

Why, says I, I confide that any faults he may have at present are entirely those of youth in generality, and that he is like to show impressive when he comes to older years.

'Tis most beneficial to him, she remarks, that his elder brothers are away, for altho’ they are very fond of him, are apt to treat him as very much their little brother.

'Tis also quite entirely beneficial to the girls that they are now in a good younger set: Laetitia was always one to be suspecting encroachment and telling them they should hold themselves high. Lou also goes make friends – is quite enamour’d of Miss F-.

I laugh and say that I fancy the thing goes both ways.

O, indeed, those girlish friendships!

We smile at one another, tho’ I confide that my own girlish friendship with my dear Abby is a deal of a way from her own memories.

Alas, says I, 'tis most agreeable to sit here and gossip, but I am bidden to a dinner-party at P- House and must go prepare myself.

Sure indeed 'tis somewhat of a puzzle as to how I should array myself for a dinner-party with Lord D-, that is both suit’d to such an occasion and will not offend his sensibilities, but I confide that Docket has the matter entirely in hand.

So I am dresst somewhat quiet but exceeding stylish, with a very becoming cap, and my pearls. I can suppose no objection at all.

I find that the guests include Milord, that is similarly dresst in sober yet stylish fashion, and several that I apprehend to be part of Lord D-'s Evangelickal set.

Lady D- and Agnes S- are array’d so extreme sober that they might cause remark in a Quaker meeting, and Lady D- looks a little nervous, tho’ perchance this is an effect of her condition.

I am taken in by Lord D-, which is quite entire proper according to the Order of Precedence, but I see some slantwise glances from the Evangelickals. His lady is taken in by Milord, that is also the proper thing, and I am sure he will be kind to her shyness.

There is an exceeding fine first course laid – I collect that Agnes S- remarkt that Lord D- had no objections to the pleasures of the table - and I compliment him upon his cook.

He says that indeed, their kitchen is very well, and goes on to wonder whether His Lordship’s cook might communicate some of the receipts for those very fine Hindoo dishes that were serv’d at the tiffin-party.

I say that I confide that she would be quite delight’d, or indeed, my own cook has the same receipts, having learnt her craft under Seraphine.

He then goes talk about an enterprize to go settle Africkans that at present reside in England in Africa, where 'tis hop’d that they will evangelize and civilize the native population.

Why, says I, as you know my household is mostly of Africkan descent, but sure their families have liv’d in Town these several generations, they feel themselves entirely freeborn English. (For I fancy that they would desire to go live in the Africkan jungles as much as I should desire to go live Herr P-'s ideal community in the American wilderness, viz: not in the least.)

'Tis very creditable in them, he says, but would it not be a most excellent thing for them to go bring the notions of civilization to those parts?

Sure, says I, I know nothing of Africa, but for reports from friends that have visit’d the Cape, but the late General Y-, of the Madras service, would opine that one could not term the Hindoos unciviliz'd, tho’ their ways are so different from ours.

Lord D- commences to grumble about the Hon Company’s dislike to missionaries, 'tis a most shocking thing. There is that vast land, mir’d in heathen superstition, and they will go be entire indifferent to religion, for fear 'twill interfere with trade.

(I am like to suppose that 'tis no time to remark what fine devot’d creatures were General Y-'s Hindoo servants, that serv’d him most excellent well, even leaving their native land to do so.)

'Tis most agreeable when the first course is remov’d, and he goes talk to the lady on his other side.

I go turn with a smile to the fellow that sits at my other side, that looks at me with an expression that sure I know well, which is that of a fellow that is determin’d that he will not be beguil’d by my seductive wiles.

I therefore go talk to him about the optickal dispensary, taking Mr N- as my model.

'Tis somewhat of a relief when Lady D- is seen to bite her lip, recall to herself that she must withdraw the ladies, and rise to her feet to do so.

Tho’ in the drawing-room 'tis most exceeding noticeable that several of the ladies keep almost the entire breadth of the room away from me as if I had some contagious fever.

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Sure I have a deal of business upon hand such that I find that I do not have a moment to give to the composition of tales or to think upon a new novel; 'tis somewhat irksome, in particular when I think that the profits I have from my pen are dedicate to Dolly Mutton’s excellent enterprize, that I should not desire to stint at all.

I am about arranging to hold a soirée, so I am oblig’d to meet with Mr G- D- and the devot’d ladies concerning the musickal entertainment, that indeed they are quite delight’d to provide, adding that Signor V- will surely be entire eager to join 'em, and Titus will be the same.

That is very gratifying, says I, and of course you may come rehearse here.

Miss L- consumes the last muffin, finishes her coffee, then looks at Miss McK- and says, sure, 'tis time they went about their affairs. (In front of Mr G- D- I do not hazard an enquiry as to whether these affairs are to be undertaken in picturesque Welsh seclusion.)

Mr G- D- says indeed, he has matters to be about.

I ask after his wife – I am in some concern that the poor creature goes increase yet again – and he looks exceeding chearfull and says, she does very well, no immediate prospect of a further pledge. (I am like to wonder whether Tibby has gone about in some fashion to convey to Mrs G- D- the understanding of the use of spunges &C, for Titus is most exceeding fond of that entire family.)

I return to my pretty parlour, minding me that I must find out when Tibby next comes drink tea with Docket, so that I may advance Thomas’s Jennie’s suit to her.

I find that Sandy is already sat in the parlour with coffee and muffins, and parcels beside him.

Good morning, o bello scozzese, you come a little later than you are wont.

He says that he call’d to see was my novel now put up into three pretty volumes ready to go out into the world, and indeed 'tis, and here are my copies, also he has the volume of Miss S-'s poems, very pleasingly done, and confides that 'tis for the best to bring her copies here.

I sigh and say, indeed.

Also, there was some game from when G- was lately down at A- for a little shooting, that he gave to Hector to convey to Euphemia. He also has an intention of convoking with Hector further about an ice-house, for he was late struck with a notion that might be answerable to construct one in the cellar.

Excellent, says I. And how was your goff with Lord A-?

He raises his eyebrows. Entirely agreeable, he says, tho’ 'tis by no means as fine a course as one will find in Scotland - why, says I, 'tis no surprize to me that you found it so – and Lord A- plays remarkable well for an Englishman.

But, he goes on, he confides that there was something behind in this invitation: for Lord A-, that is not very subtle in the matter, was about endeavouring to discover how matters stand 'twixt you and G-: I am inclin’d to suppose that he has a mind to you himself.

Oh! I cry, I know he is on the catch for a wife that will bring a comfortable portion with her, but I did not suppose that he had set his sights upon me.

And why not? 'Twould be more remarkable, says Sandy with a grin, did he not aspire, for – sure I would not know aught of the matter myself - 'tis most widely given out that Lady B- is quite the most fascinating of women, and great numbers sigh for her favours.

O, pooh! says I, I daresay 'tis fashionable to say so and to declare themselves entirely at my feet, but such things are fickle and may change with the wind, and all will go around saying, sure Lady B- is quite gone off, or, sure her charms were quite exaggerat’d, &C.

Dearest C-, I confide that you do not even believe that yourself.

No, indeed, favour is fickle. And I am like to believe that they hope 'twill come around to me how quite desperate in love with me they are, and 'twill advance their interest with the well-left widow’d Marchioness does she know of their devotion.

Really, he says, dear C-, perchance you should abandon the Gothick strain and take to inditing novels on Society and its ways.

Alas, says I, I confide that 'twould entirely turn into bitter reflexions upon the marriage market and the situation of women: better that I stick to my last in writing the horrid.

Sandy sighs, and says, while he is sure Lord A- would quite entire give me the preference in his matrimonial designs, was also sounding out the situation of Miss S-. And I will say, he goes on, that altho’ I daresay her exceeding large portion plays a very great part in his considerations, he has also been very prepossesst by her skills as a horsewoman and how well she shows upon a dance-floor.

I cannot, says I, see him as a suitable parti for her, but indeed I am hard put to imagine who would be. But on other matters, my dear, should you be interest’d in a conversazione of antiquarians with a lecture upon Hebrew manuscripts? The Reverend Mr L- comes up to Town shortly to undertake this and I go about to advance his interest. Indeed, I might invite him to my soirée so be he remains in Town for a while.

Sure I should! exclaims Sandy. Since you have forbid me to go into Surrey for fear of being recogniz’d as the late sea-captain’s friend, I should greatly like a chance to make the fellow’s acquaintance.

Well, then, I will give you this card for the occasion, and I daresay 'tis high time you went convoke with Hector upon this matter of an ice-house.

We are, I confide, in great good humour with one another when he departs.

As he goes out of the door comes in Pounce, that sees that I am about unwrapping my parcels and desires to help by fighting the paper until 'tis quite entire subdu’d, chasing the string about the floor as it endeavours make an escape, &C.

I look with considerable satisfaction at the pretty volumes of The Hidden Door and mind that I must go send copies to Martha, and to dear Abby, and perchance Belinda, tho’ she is not a great reader of anything that does not concern horses, might care for the thing? I may take a set for Viola next time I go to M- House, or give 'em to her when she calls upon me.

I take a quick look at Agnes S-'s volume of poems and am indeed prepossesst at how pretty the thing looks – for indeed, 'tis entire necessary to attract the readers’ attention. But then I go tye the parcel up again before Pounce goes see do any mice lurk within.

I pick up Pounce and go to the kitchen to convoke with Euphemia about what might be serv’d at my soirée.

She is contemplating the fine gift of game that Milord has sent. O, Your Ladyship, she says, do you intend having company for supper any time soon? Sure I could put up a very fine supper, tho’ I am also in contemplation of potting some of this.

I mind that 'tis some little while – for any while is too long – since my darlings and I were in triangle, and sure I might ask them to come visit for a nice little supper within the next day or so.

I dispatch Timothy with a little note to R- House.

Hector comes in as I go about this matter, and frowns a little as Timothy departs.

Is somewhat the matter? I enquire.

Hector sighs and says seems to him that Timothy, that has grown so much in the past year or so, and has had to have some several new sets of livery, is come to that time when he is like to be pester’d by young women, such as the maids at R- House – and sure he has seen young Nell finding somewhat to do about the mews when she sees Timothy upon the step polishing boots or such – aye, and by ladies of years to know better. 'Tis time to have a serious talk with the boy so he is not led astray.

You do not think, says I, that 'tis Timothy may undertake the leading astray?

Hector looks somewhat frowning and says that Timothy may sometimes show somewhat idle and silly, he is at that time of life, but he is a good boy. He is given somewhat to further worry as he is like to suppose that Titus is caught in some woman’s toils; he does not speak of the matter, but there are signs. Perchance he should speak to him, for 'twould be a great shame to ruin this fine career he is set upon.

I look at Hector with a very straight face – for indeed the secret is not mine to disclose, if neither Titus nor Tibby have inform’d Hector of their liaison – and remark that Mr G- D- will always be praising Titus’s prudence and good sense and his level head.

I go on to remark that Hector himself was not led astray in his youth by feminine beguilements.

He gives a sudden smile and says, he cannot help but want that in due course Titus and Timothy should win the affections of women as fine as Euphemia and be entire deserving of such a prize.

You should, says I, bear in mind that they have you before them as a good example.

He goes turn the subject by saying, but I came to talk to Your Ladyship concerning this matter of an ice-house.

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I go call at M- House – the footman says that Her Grace is at home to you, Lady B-, which I take to mean that she is not at home to the generality of callers.

I am conduct’d to her parlour, where I find both Viola and Biffle very merry playing with little Lady Cathy.

How now, my dears, I interrupt a domestick scene.

Biffle, that has been swinging his daughter up and down, passes her to Viola and says, he regrets that he misst this with Essie – for altho’ he made time to spend with him, he was still too low-spirit’d for such play. But indeed, does he not grow a fine boy?

'Tis so, says I. I am like to suppose that when he was first introduc’d into the R- House nursery set, he was a little shy, but now he is entire at ease there and will not be impos’d upon by that pretty tyrant Flora F-.

'Tis a most excellent set, says Biffle, tho’ I think 'twill be some little time before Cathy may make her curtesy there.

A footman comes with tea, and we all go sit down very amiable.

Viola says that they apprehend that Sebastian will be making his return before Christmas: sure he has done a deal of good things for Papa’s business in those parts.

On the subject of Mr K-, says Biffle, I have invit’d him to a small private dinner at one of my clubs, along with Mr F-, so that he may open to him this proposal to manufacture polishes &C.

I look at him and smile and say, sure you are entire a diplomatist.

Viola looks at him very proud and says, is he not? Tho’ indeed, dear C-, when I see you go about and how you mollify such a dragon as Lady T-, I am in some wonderment that they do not appoint ladies to the Diplomatick.

I laugh and say sure she flatters me. But indeed I am in some concern that Lady T- goes consider me as a second wife for Lord K-: fie upon the thought. Anyway, dear Viola, how do matters go with the chickens you take about Town?

Why, we come along. Is not Miss S- most exceeding well dresst now? I confide you take her to Maurice at Mamzelle Bridgette’s – Indeed I do – and that, along with her very fine dancing, gives her more success than one might at first have anticipat’d. Of course, we are not yet properly into the Season –

Once the Season is truly underway, says Biffle, we purpose a grand ball here at M- House.

I take a little concern for the Earl’s daughters, goes on Viola, for there does not seem to be a similar liberality in the matter of dress. There are a deal of made-over or hand-me-down gowns, that moreover they had first made when they were under the tutelage of their aunt, that one apprehends had somewhat fusty notions as to what young girls should wear. Surely Lord N- cannot be in straits.

Certainly not, says Biffle, among his other extensive holdings is a most substantial coal-mine. But while one would not call him miserly - sure he will spend huge sums upon plants and hothouses and fine volumes of botanickal drawings &C – he does have a reputation of being carefull over expenditure.

As, says I, in thinking their carriages will do very well for they do not yet fall to pieces, even tho’ they are greatly behind the style and exceeding uncomfortable?

And poor Lady N- such an invalid! cries Viola.

Very much that. Oh, will give it out as 'tis only vulgar parvenus that must ever have the latest thing, what was good enough for his grandfather, and so on and so on.

I sigh. They look at me and laugh a little and say, they confide that I go find some contrivance to make the Earl unloose his purse-strings.

Alas, says I, I cannot work miracles. But, my dear, in among all this frivolity that you undertake, would you care to go to an antiquarians’ conversazione at which there will be a most interesting account of some Hebrew manuscripts?

Viola says she should quite delight in any such occasion, and confides that, altho’ she doubts it would interest the Earl’s daughters, Miss S- might find it interesting, and also Lady D- might like to come along, sounds an occasion to which Lord D- could not possibly object. But how, dear Lady B-, do you come to know of such a thing?

There is a young clergyman, says I, lately preferr’d to the cure of the parish in Surrey where my pretty country-house lyes, is a great scholar of Hebrew, believes himself to owe me a favour, I know not why, and has sent me a few cards for this business.

Biffle laughs a little and says he doubts not that Viola will come back in quite a passionate desire to begin study Hebrew.

No, she say, also laughing, I confide that first I should go master Greek and Sanskrit, now that I have so much else upon hand. But we do, she adds, get on with our German reading circle.

She then sighs and says, she confides Fraulein H- is in love - that sickly German fellow that stay’d some while with Martha and Jacob. Sure he is a very different fellow from that nasty violincellist, but I am not sure he is like to make her happy.

Indeed, says I, I fear he will be about prevailing upon her to go with him to the American wilderness in order to establish an ideal community -

Would this be the fellow MacD- was telling me of? asks Biffle. We quite concurr’d that 'tis a far harder but more usefull task to remain in civilization and endeavour to improve it than to run off into the woods and encamp there.

He then sighs and says, sure he doubts not there are many fellows – aye, my dear, and ladies too! he adds to a look from Viola – far better equippt than himself to be about the matter of governing the nation, but since he finds himself in this position, well, he must take up the post assign’d and take the advice of those that are wiser.

I look at him with great affection: sure he is a greatly different creature from the foolish young fellow I found puking in a gutter those many years ago.

Viola looks at him very fond and says, perchance he is better-equippt than he supposes, sure he is greatly valu’d among our set – no, she says, you will ever be telling me that 'tis merely that being a Duke gives a cachet, but is he not, Lady B-, the necessary diplomatist?

O, quite entirely! says I. 'Tis a most essential skill.

He laughs and says he will not go argue with two determin’d ladies.

I ask how Lady J- does.

Biffle laughs and groans and says, when he thinks of how she is always about trying to make any other lady that is in that condition go lye upon a sopha, and then considers how she goes run about on all her normal courses as well as being up and down to the Admiral’s estate, sure he wonders whether she should take her own advice. For indeed, she is not young.

But sure, says I, has she not always been a lady in quite abounding health?

Exceeding abounding, concedes Biffle. Unlike that hag Miss B-, tho’ I ever thought a deal of that was show.

Viola remarks that sure she must have had some good qualities?

Mayhap, says Biffle, but I saw none of 'em. You think m’sister has no great opinion of the male sex, 'tis nothing to that harridan upon the topick.

To turn the subject, I ask Viola when the S-s purpose to return to Town.

Why, she says, Lady J- is so very delight’d with the way things come on under Jacob’s hand, and because she herself will be increasingly less inclin’d to the journey, she has quite begg’d 'em to remain there for the present. And sure 'tis quite the best thing for Martha and little Deborah that they should stay in such sanitive surroundings. Tho’ she is a deal better than she was, I confide 'twould be greatly to her advantage to continue to rusticate.

'Tis prudent, says I, tho’ sure we shall miss their company.

After a little further conversation I take my leave. The footman that escorts me to the door is Thomas, that hems and haws a little and then wonders may he beg a favour?

Why, says I, speak on (for I am conscious that was a time when Thomas act’d the discreet go-between 'twixt Biffle and myself when we consol’d one another’s bereavement, and that has never taken advantage).

'Tis my young lady, Jennie, he says –

That is a sewing maid in this establishment? I ask.

She is. But would wish to advance herself to become a lady’s maid. And knows that you have a deal of interest with Phillips, that she would greatly wish to have instruction from in the matter, for one can see how well she understands the business of her trade.

Why, says I, 'tis a commendable ambition and sure Phillips is a very fine example. I will go advance Jennie’s interest to her, tho’ I know that she is most particular busy at present.

He thanks me most effusive, and I convey him a generous compliment so that he may go treat Jennie.

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Some few morns later comes Agnes S-, that says she took the occasion of going riding in the Park while 'twas quiet: sure she was oblig’d to have a groom with her but he is quite entire delight’d to have the chance of talking to Ajax, that is known for the excellence of his inside information upon racing matters.

La, says I, I am entire shockt that the grooms at P- House go gamble upon horse-races.

As ever, she is drawn by some magnetick force towards my bookshelves: I am like to suspect that she has some apprehensive feeling over looking at her proofs and makes this delay.

Comes Celeste to lay my breakfast, that I invite Miss S- to share with me.

She turns round and says, o, that will be delightfull, and then, did Mrs Aphra Behn write more than Oronooko, or the royal slave, for I see you have several volumes of her works?

Indeed, says I, she wrote a number of entertaining plays and poems and other works, but altho’ they were quite entire the crack when she was writing, during the Restoration, that is give out a time of considerable licence, they would not accord with the more refin’d taste of the present day, and, in particular, I confide that they would not meet with the approval of Lord D-.

She sighs.

My dear, says I, I apprehend that you are under no obligation to reside with your brother-in-law. From things you have said I take your guardian to be the most liberal of bankers to you, that, did you desire to set up independent with some well-bred but penurious older lady to act the chaperone, he would quite entire understand. Or, did you go reside with one or other of your friends.

She sighs again and says, indeed that is a pleasing prospect, but she cannot feel that she should leave Dora.

Dear Miss S-, says I, that conveys to me a most ominous impression of Lord D-.

O no, she cries, 'tis not that I must defend Dora from matrimonial violence, but that 'tis very hard for her to live up to Lord D-'s requirements of his wife.

(This does not surprize me in the least.)

She was only just out – having her first season in Buxton with our aunt as chaperone – and Lady P- was at that time taking the waters there, with Lord D- in attendance out of filial dutyfullness, since his father could not be with her, as there was some matter of the accouchement of one of his finest cows - of course he did not go to assemblies or anything of the sort, but he met her at a tea-party that he accompany’d his mama to, and was quite immediate smitten. And of course our aunt was delight’d.

I sigh myself, and say sure I think 'tis a most misguid’d thing that 'tis suppos’d to be quite the greatest success for a young lady if she makes a fine match in her first season, that is a time when she will have had very little experience of the world or encounter’d many gentlemen.

Agnes S- looks at me and says, that is a very sensible way of looking at it. But 'twas such a fine match – and he is not some dreadfull old fellow – and sure he has quite the greatest affection for Dora –

Indeed, says I, I do not doubt that he has a fine affection towards her, but he has such notions of conduct that must be exceeding tiresome to a lively young woman –

'Tis true that she longs for pleasures that are enjoy’d by others in her set that he disapproves of, but also, she is in great fear of disappointing him by her light ways.

By which, I say, I daresay you mean reading novels, desiring to go to the theatre and other entertainments, and other innocent pastimes, rather than engaging in flirtations with detrimental fellows?

Quite exact, she replies.

Well, my dear, this is a matter I will go ponder, but meanwhile, let us to this excellent breakfast before it gets cold.

She makes an excellent breakfast and also remarks upon the very fine tiffin-party at R- House. Sure, she goes on, at least Lord D- does not despise the pleasures of the table, or insist we all go fast upon bread and water.

Is that not a dangerously Romish practice? say I.

Most like! she replies.

I remark that Euphemia would like me to undertake a tiffin-party - there is somewhat of a friendly competition 'twixt her and Seraphine. But indeed at present I am too busy arranging a soirée.

O, that must be an excellent occasion!

I shall send cards to P- House, says I (tho’ I am in some concern that Lord D- will find objections even to my well-regulat’d card table).

But, I go on, have you entire finisht breakfasting, there is this matter of proofs - I observe that she bites her lip as I go to my pretty desk to take them out - that look excellent fine, but you should look them over to make sure there are no mistakes. Also, I add, there should be some style for the poet, even does it preserve anonymity. Perchance initials?

Might, she says, I go by the style A. M.? my middle name is Mary.

Why, will answer exceedingly. The Vengefull Spirit, and other poems, by A. M. sounds very well.

I hand her the proofs. She reads over them for some little while, and then looks up and say, o, to see them in print -

Quite exceeds, does it not? says I.

There are a few little corrections she desires to make and I explain how to mark the pages for return to the printer.

O, she says, looking at the set that she keeps, I dare not take this back to P- House –

I will keep it safe in my desk, says I.

After she has seen me lock these away very secure, she sighs and says, sure she should return to P- House, but she is quite infinite gratefull, dear Lady B- -

I take her hands and kiss her and says, sure, I am entire the acolyte of the Muses. And to convey my best regards to her sister.

After she has gone Celeste comes clear the table: Dandy comes slipping in at the door and comes inform me that those cruel people in the kitchen go starve him: will I not have pity?

Celeste, says I, I confide that both kittens are quite entire well-fed and that they are not kept on short commons?

O, she cries, the ingratitude! Has only just consum’d a fine platefull of scraps.

I laugh and pick up Dandy.

She does not go, but says, Phoebe has come and sits in the kitchen very distresst on some matter, that Hector cannot sound out.

Why, says I, send her up and I will see if 'tis some matter I may help with.

Some moments later comes Phoebe, looking woebegone, but says somewhat indignant, that they do not need charity.

Why, says I, what’s this ado, you had better tell me the matter.

She dabs at her eyes with a handkerchief, and then folds her hands in her lap, and says, 'tis very kind in Mr F-, but sure they are not objects of charity.

What, says I, I think there must be somewhat misunderstood here.

So Phoebe commences tell me the tale, that dearest Josiah went call upon her about the receipts, and went to offer her a considerable sum, but –

Oh, I cry, did he go about taking an option?

’Twas some such word, says Phoebe.

Sure, says I, that I confide means that he considers that 'tis possible to make a very good thing out of your receipts, but that they cannot put the matter in hand quite immediate, for they need to find investors, and I daresay go about to find some place that could be a factory, and have machinery made. There must be some concern that you might, before that is come to pass, be beguil’d into selling your receipts to some other for his own gain, whereas does this enterprize come to pass, 'twould, I am like to think, be a steady income for you.

O, says Phoebe, is’t possible?

Why, says I, Mr F- is given out a sound practickal man of business that knows what’s what, and this matter is somewhat the like to what goes forward concerning my lead-mine, where he and Mr D- invest so that there can be improvements made, but 'tis all a most business-like matter with papers drawn up and we shall all be gainers by it.

Indeed that makes the matter a deal clearer, she says, and I should be sorry did Mr F- suppose me incivil concerning this fine proposal. I will go write him and say that you have explain’d the matter to me very clear, and indeed all seems most answerable.

And, says I, did they find that this scheme did not come to pass, after a year or so you would be free to offer your receipts elsewhere. But I am in the greatest supposition that by the completion of a year the thing will be already in production. I will write you a little note for Mr Q-, that I have ever found most exceeding helpful in such matters in getting all the legalities set down aright.

O, says Phoebe with a dawning smile, o, Your Ladyship, I am most immense gratefull about this. For I was in some little concern, that altho’ Raoul comes about to get some very fine commissions of late, there is a little matter of paying off outstanding bills for colours &C.

She rises and says she will go home at once to be about it.

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My correspondence of late contains a deal of letters from philanthropick ladies that write congratulating me upon the success of my drawing-room meeting, and then going on to ask if I could be so kind as to tell them how they could do the like? Sure I daresay I have some advantages in friends and acquaintance that will provide agreeable entertainment for the occasion, but do not they not have friends that may undertake the like?

I sigh. 'Tis much in the same line as O, Lady B-, you write such telling pamphlets, sure we cannot contrive to anything that will be so effective, sure you would be doing us a kindness did you undertake the matter. Leaves me somewhat out of charity with 'em.

Tho’ I daresay they do not have cooks that will provide such very fine refreshment as Euphemia.

I went consult with my household on the matter of a kitten, and 'twas conced’d that might be a good thing, would keep away mice, for however clean you may keep a kitchen, you cannot always keep out mice. So 'twas agreed that when Dorcas and Prue next went to Dolly Mutton’s, they would choose a kitten like to be a fine mouser.

Sure I am not mistress in my own household, for we now have two kittens, that Dorcas and Prue quite fell in love with, and could not bring themselves to choose but one, so there is one orange kitten, that is nam’d Dandy, for has a little white patch at the throat quite like unto a cravat and will always be awashing itself, and one that is tabby and white, that is nam’d Pounce.

Hector shows in Sandy, and Pounce quite immediate goes live up to her name by making a pounce at his feet.

He looks down and laughs and says he supposes that this is a sister or brother of the one that had come live at R- House, that is call’d Mittens because 'tis black with white paws. Has become quite the general favourite.

Comes Celeste with coffee and buns, looks down at Pounce quite doating, and asks somewhat hopefull should we like her to take Pounce away?

O, leave her, says I: for I observe she goes make herself comfortable by jumping into Sandy’s lap.

He says that he brings me the proofs of my new novel, that is entitl’d The Hidden Door, and also the proofs for Miss S-'s volume of poetry.

Well, says I, 'twill be a change from correspondence, and I will go deal with them as soon as maybe, but I mind that I had a matter I wisht to open to you –

I go tell him that Mrs O’C- looks about for a school for her son, does not desire to send him away can it be avoid’d –

Hmmm, says Sandy, sure there are some antient fam’d day-schools in this town, but I confide that their association with the Establisht Church would not endear them to Mrs O’C-. There are certain academies that might suit her son.

He ponders for a moment and says he has some acquaintance with Father O’D-, that in his younger days was a United Irishman, and still has republickan sympathies he confides.

Has endeavour’d, says I, to persuade Mrs O’C- to send him to a school of some Order, that is, I confide, of a monastick nature –

Dearest C-, not all Romish orders, mir’d in superstition tho’ they may be, are like unto those depict’d in the works of Mrs Radcliffe or Monk Lewis.

Say you so! Well, I am a silly uneducat’d creature, but I was like to suppose those accounts most extreme exaggerat’d, for the Contessa was educat’d in a convent that was by no means like unto the one describ’d by Diderot.

Anyhow, says Sandy, I will go talk to Father O’D-, that supposes I am bound for hell-fire but relishes an occasional game of chess, and see what might answer in the case of Master O’C-.

But on another matter, he says, we have been considering this matter of Phoebe’s polishes and other things most exceeding useful in housekeeping, and we are like to wonder whether 'twould be answerable to set up our own enterprize to manufacture them wholesale.

O, says I, I had not consider’d that, but would that not be a deal of trouble?

He laughs and says sure looking at the possibilities provid’d a deal of entertainment to the F-s.

(O, thinks I, here is a matter that we may well convoke about when we are next in triangle.)

Well, says I, sure it may answer in the long term but I am a little worry’d that the de C-s are somewhat straiten’d at present. But would not let me pay for that fine portrait of me as a Neapolitan peasant.

'Tis a consideration, but we should not want Phoebe to be the loser by selling outright matters that might go provide for them a good long while. I daresay we may go contrive some way we may relieve any distress they are in.

He goes on to say that 'tis known that Mr K-, Her Grace of M-'s father, owns a deal of property south of the river, that might suit for the development of a factory.

I say I did not think that Mr K- was altogether friendly towards our coterie.

Why, I confide that he considers us a set of romantick idealistick dreamers, but do we go present to him a sound business proposition like this, we daresay it may show him that there are practickal fellows that understand business amongst us.

Well, says I, I will go be adviz’d by those that know more of such matters than I.

He says that he would delight to stay longer exchanging gossip &C, but has been invit’d by Lord A- to go play goff.

Why, says I, sure you go join the fribble set!

He turns upon me a dour Calvinistickal glare and says that 'tis a matter of healthfull exercise.

Yes, my dear, of course.

He lifts Pounce from his lap and says that he hopes to have more intelligence upon the matters I open’d to him very shortly.

In the afternoon I am at home to callers, and am delight’d when dear Susannah comes.

Dear Susannah, says I, you look most exceeding well, and do you feel a tendency to sleepyness, do you go snooze, this is Liberty Hall.

She gives me her charming crook’d smile and says she will strive to stay awake: indeed she is come to that time when one does feel exceeding well, and also one begins to show and people will be most pressing to make sure one sits down, &C.

I say that I lately heard from Mrs D- K-, that is not yet at outs with the dreadfull crocodile.

Indeed, says Susannah, at present the crocodile gives herself out entire satisfy’d with the lady. Intends go take the waters at Tunbridge Wells, where she has not lately been.

Hector announces Miss S-.

O, says Susannah with a smile, how very well you look, Miss S-: I hear you go to Mamzelle Bridgette’s to be dresst?

Indeed, says Agnes S- smiling, sure I no longer feel the entire provincial dowd. She smooths down her gown.

Lady D- does not come with you?

At present she takes a little rest about this hour.

(I wonder does she take a nice little nap, or whether 'tis an excuse for her to go read novels.)

We exchange a little general conversation, and then Susannah says she had better go make further calls and leave cards, she has been sadly remiss about the matter of late.

When we are alone I inform Agnes S- that I have her proofs.

She bites her lip. Might I come look at them at some hour when we are not like to be disturb’d by some other caller?

'Tis a prudent thought, says I. Are you able to come some forenoon?

She confides that she can. She sighs and says, she finds herself oblig’d to get up earlier than she might desire, in order to attend household prayers. Dora is at present excus’d, because she feels so ill of a morn, but Lord D- is very concern’d that a good example should be set to the household.

That sounds most exceeding tiresome, says I, but I am a sad quite pagan creature.

She says that indeed 'twas not their wont at home.

(I wonder that Miss S- goes live with her sister and brother-in-law, for 'tis not as tho’ he holds the purse-strings; she has a fine portion of her own and a guardian that is most extreme liberal. But 'tis not a time to go investigate this matter when we may be broke in upon by callers at any moment.)

I go ring for fresh tea, which comes just at the time that dear Viola comes call.

O, she says, quite throwing herself into a chair, sure I am quite exhaust’d from doing the civil about my calls upon ladies where I must show myself very sober and quiet so that they do not say Bi – His Grace – has a sad girlish Duchess.

O my dear, says I, sure 'tis not yet the time for you to be the sober matron. And indeed, you have Lady T-'s great approbation for the excellence of your ton.

Why, now I go take responsibility for young ladies making their debut in Society, I fear I must. But she smiles as she says this.

Miss S- says that Lord D- greatly admires Her Grace’s general deportment and considers her an example to be follow’d.

Viola laughs somewhat immoderate and says, he will probably change his mind does he hear that we purpose to attend the Contessa di S-'s ridotto in Turkish dress.

Miss S- sighs, for I daresay that even do they receive an invitation, there will be no P- House party attends the occasion.

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I mind that 'twould be quite in order to invite Mrs O’C- to come visit to talk over the matter of soirées, and while she is here, open the matter of Lord K-.

So I send her a little note, and she comes, and there is very fine coffee and some excellent curd tartlets for her, and I go ask how her son is.

She smiles very doating and say, o, he comes on remarkable. Father O’D- says sure I should be sending him to school, and says that there are fine schools on the continent where he may be taught by learn’d brothers in a fine atmosphere of the faith, and I daresay 'tis an excellent education they give, but I am like to worry that they would not be feeding 'em properly – sure there are suitable times to fast, but growing boys, they should eat regular and hearty.

Indeed, says I. Also I daresay you would not like to have him so far away.

She sighs and says, indeed she would not, sure there must be schools here in Town and he could still get religious instruction from Father O’D-.

I say that I daresay, and I will go ask about. But why I askt her to come visit me was that I purpose to start up my soirées again and hope that she will take banque at the card-table.

Sure, dear Lady B-, I am ever delight’d to do so. Such good genteel company – such music – such a fine supper table –

Why, you undertake the task exceeding well. And should I perchance send a card to Mr O’N-?

Sure, she says after a little consideration, it can do no harm.

(Provid’d, I think, he does not go about horse-coping among the assembl’d company.)

I then ask, as if idly, or perchance purposing a visit there myself, about Margate.

A deal better than she had anticipat’d, she says, some good genteel company and some several excellent card-parties, she was not oblig’d to sit listening to Mr N- go prose on as he is wont. Of course, Mr P- will ever find something to be complaining about, but sure she is us’d to that.

I say I hear that indeed most excellent company can be found there these days: Lady T- was telling me of late that her son, Lord K-, spent the summer there about taking the waters – Mrs O’C- looks somewhat conscious - tho’ she was in some hopes that he might have found one that he could consider for re-marriage, for his prolong’d mourning greatly distresses her. I wonder has he met one that would not meet his mama’s very high sense of what is suit’d to their rank. Mrs N- was remarkable coy on the topick, most unlike her.

Mrs O’C- sighs and says, I will recall that she was deploring her loss of trade by this excursion to the sea-side, but indeed, there were some several of her patrons who decid’d they might take at least some brief trip there for the good of their health, and sure, she did very well out of Lord K-, that was there for quite a season.

Pray, says I, do not inform me in what his special pleasure consists, for I am oblig’d to meet Lady T- in Society and may even encounter him – indeed, I go suspect that she comes about to think I might be exceeding suitable for the mopish fellow –

Mrs O’C- lays a finger upon her lips to signify her entire discretion upon the matter. I daresay, she says, he is capable of marriage, but sure a deal of my trade comes from marry’d men that find that licit conjugal embraces do not entire satisfy 'em, or at least, that they cannot bring themselves to desire of their lawfull wedd’d wives the pleasures that I provide.

I remark that sure does a fellow believe in the headship of the husband it might not accord with a desire to be treat’d as a naughty puppy that requires training.

'Tis so, agrees Mrs O’C-, sometimes she is hard put not to laugh when she observes some of her patrons high and mighty about their usual proceedings.

I say I will inform her when I purpose a soirée, and will go look into the matter of schools.

Once she has depart’d, having confirm’d quite entire my suspicions concerning Lord K-, I go address myself to my correspondence.

I find a letter from Mrs D- K- in Somerset, that writes that she has discover’d where the old b---h keeps her frankt covers and has abstract’d one so that she may write to me. Sure she does not wonder that Lady W- goes endeavour to keep several counties 'twixt her and her mother-in-law; but, she goes on, she does not complain, she is very comfortable, there is a fine table kept, and she does have some few hours liberty in the day while Old Lady W- goes have her snooze. And sure her duties are not arduous.

However, the old b---h goes think about taking the waters somewhere. Sure she herself had rather not go to Bath or Brighton where she is like to encounter members of their former set. Do I have any notion of places that she might tell the old lady are more select and genteel and greatly sanitive? She does not think there is anything at all wrong with the b---h.

Hmm, thinks I, I confide that perchance as Miss Constance P- is doubtless about in what counts as Society in Cheltenham I will not go recommend that, but I hear Leamington Priors well spoke of. Was it Matlock that the V-s commend’d? Mayhap Malvern? or Tunbridge Wells?

I convey these suggestions and say that Mr MacD- continues endeavour to untangle her late husband’s affairs.

I am quite surpriz’d at the civil tone of her letter, that is, apart from her comments upon the dreadfull crocodile, but these do not give me at all to wonder: sure I daresay in her position I should write the like.

I very dutifull do somewhat to reduce the size of the pile of correspondence that sits upon my pretty desk, give myself the reward of taking from the secret drawer the miniature of my precious treasure, look upon it a while, and kiss the pretty darling, and then go change to go visit the Contessa, that I have not seen this age.

We greet one another most exceeding effusive. I remark that she is looking extreme well, Scarborough must suit her.

O, quite entirely, she says, feels most complete set up for the social round in Town now that Society is return’d. Purposes a ridotto quite shortly.

I mention to her several that I confide she might invite: the children of the Earl of N-, a very nice set of young people, and then go wonder to myself whether Lord D- would approve of such an occasion, and whether 'twould only cause trouble were Lord and Lady D- and Miss S- invit’d.

Dearest Lady B-, I see you ponder some matter – I go explain to her about Lord D-'s quite extreme Evangelickal views. But, says I, Lady D- and her sister are quite the most pleasant and agreeable young women. I will go mind on any others that might be invit’d – is an agreeable fellow Captain C-, goes rusticate for the good of his health on Sir B- W-‘s estate, might enjoy a little society.

I then sigh and say sure there are a deal in my set that I daresay will not be dancing for some months – I doubt not that she knows already about Lady Z-, but also Susannah W-, the Lady D- I just mention’d, and Lady J-.

Lady J-? cries the Contessa.

Why, says I, as you know she spent the summer on shipboard with her husband Admiral K-.

She shakes her head in wonderment. So we will not, I confide, be seeing her once more array’d as a Turkish gentleman, that was a most exceeding fine thing.

I fear not! But I will go consider further. But, to change the subject, I collect that you had considerable acquaintance of my husband the late Marquess, sure I should be most delight’d to hear any reminiscences, for I knew him a shorter time than I should have lik’d.

She sits back very comfortable and says, she dares say that I will not be at all astonisht to learn that she was quite taken aback to hear that he had gone marry on his return to England –

Not in the least, says I, as I daresay you quite apprehend there were certain prudential matters that made it a sensible course.

- for they had had that fine kind of friendship that can be 'twixt a woman and a man that is not interest’d in seeking her favours - she looks at me very knowing – as well as being firm comrades in the Cause. Was also a great friend of her late uncle the antiquarian.

She sighs, and tells me of some exceeding perilous matters they had been concern’d with, their warm friendship, his exceeding generosity to the young fellows of the region that he took up, his researches in antiquities. Indeed, she says, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief, she misses him quite considerable, the dear fellow. Sure lovers come and go, but a friend -

I take her hand and pat it, saying, sure I think, had we had longer together, we should have become very great friends, but indeed, 'twas a matter of weeks 'twixt our wedding and his death, and he was exceeding busy about settling up his affairs.

He was indeed a carefull fellow, says the Contessa, just what one desires in a cause like ours.

I confide we both think upon Reynaldo.

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Comes the day for my drawing-room meeting, and altho’ by now I should regard such matters with equanimity and philosophickal calm, I find myself pacing up and down and feeling somewhat sick.

Arrives Miss A- looking very pale. I ring for Hector to bring some madeira from the cellar and glasses, for madeira is most entirely sanitive.

I pour her a little and she sips it and a little colour returns to her cheeks. O, she says, how should I be so foolish? Sure I should be over this qualmishness after all the time I have been on stage.

I take a very little myself.

Next come my darling, Bess and Meg. Meg also looks somewhat wan.

Then arrive Mrs O- B- and her daughters, that also all look in a state of nerves.

All take a little madeira as a sanitive measure and then we go up to the reception room.

All exclaim upon the fine painting of Lady B- dresst as a Neapolitan peasant, 'tis declar’d a speaking likeness.

Mrs O- B- looks at her girls and says, she has oft thought that Papa should go about to have them paint’d.

Mr de C-, says Eliza, has a very fine touch as you can see here – did the most charming group of my girls, making daisy-chains, quite the prettiest thing.

I see Mrs O- B- take note of this.

Arrives Miss L- in a little flurry, apologising for her lateness. (Sure, thinks I, 'tis some distance she has to come has she been in her little corner of Wales in the City.)

I go fidget at the things that have been given for the raffle, rearrange the pamphlets, and move one or two chairs.

Miss A- picks up her volume of Shakspeare and goes look thro’ it.

Comes dear Susannah, looking very well, admires the painting, looks over the raffle prizes, and goes sit down. Very soon after come Lady D- and Agnes S-. They also admire the painting.

Very soon after arrives Viola, with Ladies Anna, Emily and Louisa M- trailing behind her. Lady Louisa quite immediate goes over to Bess and they kiss and begin a whisper’d conversation. I confide that they are embarking upon a fine girlish friendship.

Then the crowd begins arrive: I go greet Lady T- , that has give some excellent fine lace for the raffle, Mrs D- that is the mother of Danvers D-, Lady Z-, Lady G- and Mrs L- P-, Mrs P- and Miss W-, Mrs V-, Mrs N-, Lady O-, Mrs L-, and a deal more, ‘tis indeed gratifying to see the number that has come.

A little late comes Lady J-, that I realize by seeing Miss A- look up and look of a sudden quite radiant.

She comes over to me to apologize for her tardiness - an unexpect’d queasiness, she says. I turn to Susannah and say I confide she will have some ginger about her, 'tis said quite the best thing in such a circumstance.

Thank you, says Lady J-, taking a piece, indeed I did not want to send my apologies on this occasion.

The room is quite entire full, and I confide 'tis time to set the proceedings in motion.

I clear my throat and go stand in a place where all may see me, and say somewhat of the extreme good cause that we are here to promote, the work that is already in hand, the deal of cases that come to the optickal dispensary such that we are in consideration of opening a second in another district. We have very fine entertainment this afternoon, there will be a raffle, and a tea will be serv’d.

We shall begin, says I, with Miss Margaret F- playing upon the pianoforte.

Meg goes sit at the piano and Miss L- goes to turn her music for her.

After she has perform’d to great appreciation, Miss L- takes her place at the piano to accompany Mrs O- B- and her daughters, who seem a little nervous at first but soon quite take fire.

They are a most exceeding success.

I then say that we have a most especial treat: that acclaim’d actress, Miss A-, will read to us from the works of the Bard of Avon.

Miss A- goes seat herself, looks over the crowd to Lady J-, that looks back at her exceeding doating, and opens her book. There is an extreme hush as she commences, sure she far surpasses my own efforts, even are my friends kind to 'em.

Afterwards I talk of the very fine prizes that there are in the raffle, and that Miss F- will go about with tickets. I see Lady D- turn to her sister and whisper to her in some agitation: I daresay raffles are another thing that Lord D- disapproves of even do we not cut cards or throw dice to determine the winners.

And now, says I, tea will be serv’d, as Hector and Timothy come in with platters of assort’d sandwiches, savoury patties, tartlets and cakes.

There is a pleasing clatter of cups and saucers and plates and a buzz of chatter.

There are several come to remark to me upon my portrait, enquire about the artist, and also comment upon the very becoming dress I wear in it.

La, Lady B-, says Lady Anna, have you been to Naples? – indeed, says I, I was oblig’d to travel there to settle the late Marquess’s affairs in those parts – they have late been reading to one another a most exceeding fine novel call’d The Sorceress that is set in those parts, they quite long to go there.

(I confide that they have girlish dreams of romantick revolutionaries.)

I laugh a little and say, sure, the cook at the Marquess’s villa was reput’d a strega - what we would call a witch.

O, says Lady Emily, did she make spells?

I know nothing of that, says I, tho’ the local peasantry gave her a deal of respect, but she was an excellent fine cook.

You did not go about to have her tell your fortune?

I shake my head with a smile.

Mama said, says Lady Anna, changing the subject, that we may buy raffle tickets.

I go beckon Bess over.

Miss A- is in converse with Mrs D-, saying that she understands that the theatre has her to thank for little Puggsiekins’ greatly improv’d behaviour and she is sure that does she ever desire passes for the play they would be most happy to send 'em. Mrs D- says that Miss R- is exceeding generous in the matter already, but she will keep this extreme kind offer in mind.

I go to where Lady D- is sitting and say I hope she is well? O yes, she replies, Agnes just goes fetch me a little refreshment. She looks about a little and says, O, this is a treat.

I mind me that I offer’d to introduce her to Lady J-, and as the latter is not at present engag’d in conversation, I beckon her over and make introductions, adding that Lady D- is most eager to engage in philanthropick activity now P- House is open’d up and she and her husband come to Town, along with her sister.

Agnes S- comes with tea and a plate of dainties for her sister, and then goes have some on her own account.

I go look over the table to see whether I need send for more but I confide that Euphemia has made an exceptional nice judgement as to the appetites of the company.

Agnes S- remarks upon Miss A-'s reading, says how very helpful she is in instructing amateurs in the mysteries of acting. She then sighs and says, she feels sure 'twould advance her own understanding in the matter might she go to the theatre.

You have not been to the theatre? I ask (tho’ this does not entire surprize me.)

No, Lord D- is very set against the theatre and the opera –

Perchance, however, says I, he may permit concerts?

O yes, she says, we have took up subscriptions, and provid’d he can accompany us we go to concerts. But indeed, she says with another sigh, there is a deal of things he does not like Dora to do.

(I am quite immediate about plotting that she might be invit’d to theatre-parties in the M- box – sure I daresay Viola already has plans of that nature.)

All go back to their seats as I say that we shall have a little more music and some more reading, and the drawing of the raffle very shortly, but I will just say somewhat about the very important work that we are about with the optickal dispensary, and if they desire more information, there are some pamphlets that they may take away.

The second half of the event goes very well, the raffle is a great success (Dodo B- wins the lace, to the great envy of her sisters), and Bess and Meg go about with collecting baskets. Sure I think we have done well for the dispensary.

Afterwards I have laid on a collation for the performers, along with Eliza and Bess and Lady J-, and one may see that the B- girls are quite in ecstasy at sitting down to table with Miss A-, that very pretty wishes she might have such a fine singing voice as they do. Bess admires Dodo’s lace and says, she had hers made up into a very elegant pair of mittens.

O, cries Dodo, what an exceeding fine notion, do you have the pattern? They go talk over the matter.

Mrs O- B- says, do I have the direction of that painter? She really thinks they should have the girls done.

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Really, my darlings, says I, sitting up in bed, no, my darlings, how can you go be jealous of a fellow that is, I confide, nigh on young enough to be my son? ‘Tis altogether quite nonsensickal.

Sure, I go on, with an expression of pathos, I am exceeding wound’d that you should suppose that I had a mind to Lord Geoffrey.

Why, says Josiah, ‘tis not so much that we doubt you, our very best darling C-, but we are in great concern that he may go take advantage of your kindness to his callowness.

O, says I, I do not suppose that this will be a repetition of the matter of that lecherous violincellist. There is something so extreme respectfull in Lord Geoffrey’s demeanour towards me I cannot think it likely that he will of a sudden endeavour a ravishment - and sure, when I am not so startl’d by the event as I was with Herr F- - for I had no such apprehension of what he intend’d, suppos’d him about seeking preference among a musical set or perchance had some relative or friend he wisht to recommend for charity - I am entirely able to evade the matter without making a direct refusal..

Oh, says Eliza, drawing me to lye down again, indeed we know you quite the cleverest of C-s, but we also know you quite the kindest of C-s, and we fear that does this young fellow go look at you with pathetick admiration -

I commence to laugh somewhat immoderate. Sure I am entire us’d to gentlemen that look at me with pathetick expressions, in the hopes that the exquisite C- will take pity upon them and permit them to sacrifice upon the altar of Venus - does not Sir V- P- regard me with the eyes of a stray’d sheep? – but sure pathetick expressions too often are the augury of jealous scenes, does one prove kind.

O, mayhap and perchance, says Eliza, but ‘tis some while since you have come visit us at R- House – did not come stop a little after His Lordship’s tiffin party - and the children go complain that Aunty C- never comes visit anymore, does she like us no longer –

O, wick’d wild girl, says I, sure I cannot contrive to such a pathetick effect as you can. Sure there have been matters that I have had to be about, now that Society returns to Town, and I go hold a drawing-room meeting, and must give thought to being about a soirée, and a deal of matter on hand, but indeed I do not wish to scorn my dearest F-s, and if ‘tis convenable, will come upon the morrow and go visit the infant wombatt and the rest of the menagerie, and listen to the girls talk of their dancing class, and go be a tiger for the nursery-set, &C&C, and stay to family dinner.

That is our very best and most accommodating of C-s, says Josiah, and there are a deal of kisses exchang’d all round.

So, next morn I desire Docket to dress me in somewhat that will not suffer do I go be a tiger - she sniffs considerable – and have Ajax drive me to R- House, where I confide he will have a fine time gossiping with the grooms in the stables there.

I go at once to where my darling sits at her desk, kiss her very warm and say, so here I am, come visit, pray do not treat me as a guest -

As if we ever do, says Eliza, indeed you are quite entire one of the family. Those naughty hoyden girls of mine have been go boasting upon their Aunty C- at dancing class and now they have invit’d two of the young people from their dancing-class – Master Tom O-, that considers you a fine female that talks sensible matter, and Lady Louisa M-, that says her brother and sisters talk of nothing but Lady B- - to come take tea in the schoolroom this afternoon, and see the model theatre. I confide that they will wish to show you off are you about the place.

La, says I, ‘tis quite like the old days when gentlemen would go parade around with the lovely Madame C- upon their arm.

Sure, says Eliza with a loving glance, that must have been a fine sight to see.

But before I go enjoy the company of the young people, and mayhap imitate the action of a tiger, was a matter I wisht to open to you and to Josiah, that I was distract’d from by some naughty creature last e’en.

A shocking thing to be sure, says my darling, what kind of a matter was it?

Why, I late spoke to Phoebe, that wonders whether she might go sell her receipts for fine polishes &C, in the like manner to Seraphine and Euphemia. I do not think that they are precise in want, but I am like to think they may find themselves a little in straiten’d circumstances at present. Mr de C- does indeed get back to his painting, and is going in with several others on an exhibition, but I confide that there must be an outlay upon canvas and pigments and framing that he must make.

My dearest frowns a little and says she will think on’t, and we may consult with our dear Grand Turk, and perchance Mr MacD- might have some thoughts in the matter.

They are most excellent fine things, says I, Dorcas will sing their praises. But now, says I, I can no longer fight against my desire to go see my precious treasure girl.

Eliza smiles at me very fond, and says, sure you know the way there.

So I go up to the nursery, where the very good infant society is remet after the summer; Quintus I confide is about lessons, so Julius goes act his deputy, as next oldest. Sure he is showing a fine boy and does not at all resemble that weasel Mr E-.

My sweet angel runs up to me, desires to be pickt up and kisst, and that I should do the like to Hannah, that is still a solemn-fac’d little creature. She then demands her tiger, in spite of Patty’s reproving look.

So I go be her tiger, and this distracts Bobbie and Essie from their game, and Julius does not stand upon his dignity, and Bobbie shows most exceeding good-brotherly in protecting Sukey, and my lovely Flora goes protect Hannah, oh, she is quite entire the darling of my heart.

And after we have all had a fine game of tigers, Flora comes sit upon my knee and tells me about the dormice, that she has become quite besott’d upon, that Josh will let her feed and play with. And then she begs for a tale of the ivory elephants, that are come to Town with the family – sure they are almost household gods - and I say, hmm, let me mind a little upon this, as she pulls Hannah up beside her, and I quite impromptu concoct a little tale that they find exceeding pleasing.

Then I go take a slight collation with my darling, our dear Grand Turk Josiah being about manly matters at some club.

Afterwards we stroll out into the grounds, for ‘tis a very fine day. Quintus is having a little lesson upon riding from Ajax – Eliza and I look fondly upon the scene. She then says, ‘tis about the time that Josh goes about menagerie matters. There is an old coachhouse that he keeps his animals in, and Roberts makes a place where they may have an outdoor run. Josh shows himself most extreme responsible.

We go to the old coachhouse, and indeed, outside Josh sits upon the grass playing with the wombatt, that is a fine thriving creature that has not yet got its full growth. He jumps up and runs over to hug me. O, Aunty C-! is he not a very fine wombatt?

A most excellent wombatt, says I.

But indeed, Josh goes on, I do not neglect the dear badger, or ‘tother animals.

I mind, says I, that when I late visit’d Mrs Mutton, her cat had just had kittens –

O, Mama, says Josh, sure ‘twould be a usefull thing to have a cat.

Indeed, says Eliza, but I am in some worry that the nursery-set are of the age when they will be pulling tails and whiskers is there a cat about. Also that I should be in some concern for the dormice, that a cat would consider in the light of a snack.

It might live in the kitchen? says Josh.

Eliza gives his hair a vigorous tousle and says we shall see.

Walking back we observe upon the lawn that there is a game of cricket, or somewhat like cricket when there be but a handful of players, in progress. Tom O- holds the bat, and Bess bowls to him, and Meg and, I presume, Lady Louisa M-, go field.

How now, says I, do we interrupt a game?

Bess and Meg run over to me and desire to introduce their friends. O, says I, I confide I already have the acquaintance of Master O-. Tom O- makes a very neat leg. Lady Louisa makes a polisht curtesy.

Why, says I to Tom O-, I did not expect to find you playing cricket.

O, says he, a fine friendly game is an excellent thing, but his Papa makes such a to-do over the business, 'tis a very serious matter to him, becomes somewhat of a bore. (Indeed one saw that.) And sure Miss F- is a very fine bowler.

O, says Meg, you have not yet seen her at bat, it quite exceeds.

Well, says Eliza, I daresay you might wish to play further, but I am in some notion that there will be a fine tea being laid in the schoolroom, and that there is a model theatre there you may wish to see.

O, prime! cries Lady Louisa. She looks a deal like her sisters.

Bess and Meg come link their arms thro’ mine and say, will I come join their tea-party?

Why, says I, that would be extreme agreeable.

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I have a most exceeding usefull meeting with Mr R-, and find myself most prepossesst with him. Shows a deal of interest in the matter most fascinating to the medical mind one may find in such a district, but also a fine humane concern for the sick. In addition is interest’d in matters of sanitation. I confide that he is just the kind of fellow that is want’d to run the dispensary and undertake any surgery that is requir’d.

He adds that there is a young lady with whom he has an understanding and hopes that this place would make it possible for 'em to marry.

Why, says I, I think that a most excellent proceeding. Of course, there is not a great deal of society in the place, but Mrs M-, that is the manager’s wife, is a very fine woman. The house we purpose for the dispensary would be entire suit’d to a marry’d couple.

I explain the finances, which is that there will be a retainer for his services to the friendly society and also agreed amounts for particular services, and he will of course be free to build up a practice in the locality. Mr M- is already about obtaining subscriptions towards the dispensary from the middling sort of people, tradesmen and shopkeepers, &C, that are in the vicinity.

He declares that just the prospect of a house that goes with the place is most exceeding encouraging to their hopes, and his intend’d is a fine provident young woman that understands frugal housekeeping.

Why, that is all most exceeding excellent, says I, and you may proceed to the place once you have settl’d any affairs you may have in Town.

This is most gratifying to me, to have the matter so readily settl’d and under hand.

Once he has taken his leave I am back at my correspondence, until Hector comes say Mrs N- calls.

Why, says I, 'tis a little later than her usual wont, I confide she comes on her return from the theatre rather than on her way there.

Comes in Mrs N-, indeed looking fine and buxom and as if she has been in the recent enjoyment of a fine adulterous f-----g in a dressing-room.

How now, my dear, says I, as Celeste comes in with coffee and some fruitcake, I daresay you require to restore your forces, but indeed you come very apt, I had a matter upon which I desir’d your intelligence.

Why, I shall do what I can, says Mrs N-, eating the cake with fine hearty appetite, but my dear, I should tell you that Mr N- takes a pet about His Lordship holding tiffin parties at an hour when he is entirely consecrate to the business of the nation at the Home Office.

Alas, says I, 'tis the entire nature of a tiffin party that it takes place around the middle of the day. Can the nation not spare Mr N-'s endeavours for an hour or so?

I think we both have the thought that does Mr N- find those he may hold forth to, may be a deal longer than an hour before he halts.

I will put that to him next time one is in prospect, says Mrs N-, - what excellent fine cake this is, sure Euphemia is quite the equal of Seraphine -

Indeed she is, says I. But what I wisht to sound out with you, is that I have heard that Lord K-, that is the heir of Lord T-, was a deal in Margate over the summer.

O, indeed, says Mrs N-, a sad mopish fellow, cast a gloomy shadow over any company he was in. But sure, you might ask Mrs O’C- about him –

I raise my eyebrows considerable.

Mrs N- purses her lips. Oh, there was an occasion or two when she was at cards, and he was of the company, and it seem’d to me that he knew her, but did not wish to acknowledge that he did, and indeed, the same on her side.

Hmmmm, says I, is she not most praiseworthy discreet about her patrons, if so be he is one of 'em?

O, come, Lady B-, says Mrs N- with a smirk, sure telling any secret to you is not like whispering it to the reeds that will tell all that King Midas has asses’ ears, 'tis bury’d in the deepest of vaults.

I am pleas’d to suppose that the matter is thus! says I.

But indeed, it gives one to speculate, she goes on, that there is Lord K-, suppos’d hangs out for a second wife but is not in the least toward in the matter.

'Tis give out, says I with a pious air, that his heart is in the grave.

Mrs N- says something exceeding coarse about other parts that are still above ground. We both snigger.

And all goes well at the theatre? says I. I am led to suppose so from Miss A-.

Oh, 'tis at present very genial! cries Mrs N-, Mr J- and Mr W- are quite sworn brethren, will go address one another as you adulterous f---ster, and you prancing molly, in the most friendly fashion.

I am pleas’d to hear it, says I, sure 'tis a good sign that they go insult one another with the greatest affection.

And Miss R-'s little pug goes mind its manners a deal better than formerly.

They could scarce be worse, says I.

We take an affectionate leave of one another. O dear, thinks I, if Lord K- is a fellow given to special pleasures, perchance 'tis that, and not sorrowing for his late wife, keeps him from a second matrimonial venture. Sure I must go sound out Mrs O’C-, but even do I come at the matter, I see no way in which I might make it known to Lady T-.

I turn once more to my correspondence, that never seems to grow less.

And then I go dress for a drive, for I have conced’d to let Lord Geoffrey take me out in his phaeton, as he is given out a competent whip.

Perchance, says Docket, a light veil? Sure the roads are very dusty at present.

'Tis sensible, says I.

She goes on to remark that Copping and Brownlee have been invit’d to the conclave of ladies’ maids. She sighs that Copping has a hard task on account of Lord D-'s whims. One would suppose he might prefer did the ladies of his family go veil’d head to foot as in Turkey.

Lord Geoffrey comes call for me and helps me up into his phaeton very neat. (Perchance he has gone practice with his sisters – indeed, 'tis desirable that ladies should learn to accomplish the matter with elegance.) 'Tis not perhaps an entirely new vehicle, and indeed I discover that formerly belong’d first to Lord U- and then to Lord Edward and has been past down now they go about their Grand Tour.

He is wearing a waistcoast that I consider most unsuit’d to an afternoon drive: 'twould be quite the crack at a ball or some evening party. But I daresay he wishes to show it off.

He proposes a turn thro’ the Park and then a jaunt out to Richmond.

That sounds most agreeable, says I.

I am most greatly reassur’d to see how well he handles his cattle, though he does not yet have Milord’s casual ease in the matter, that can conduct a conversation while maintaining an entire control, anticipating any problem without flurry. But I do not think I need fear an accident: is there any tendency to go exceeding fast I may plead feminine timidity without any untruth.

As we drive thro’ the park we encounter Danvers D- that takes out Miss R- and little Puggsiekins, and I greet them. Danvers D- looks at Lord Geoffrey’s waistcoat and blinks somewhat – sure he is something of a fop, but has a notion of the correct time and place. We also meet Lord A- that rides out upon Zenobia, and looks somewhat askance at the waistcoat.

Miss S- is riding out with a groom, in a very sedate fashion that I suspect not entire to her liking, and we greet her very amiable.

Lord Geoffrey remarks as we drive away that Miss S- comes join their theatrickal endeavours, speaks most exceeding well, almost as fine as Your Ladyship. He then pauses, as we go out of the Park and onto the road, and it is some while until we are got clear onto the turnpike that he speaks again.

He could not help, he says, noting that Lord A- and Mr D- lookt somewhat at his waistcoat, he wonders is there something wrong with it?

O no, says I, 'tis an exceeding fine waistcoat, but perchance a little too fine for the occasion. May take some harm from the dust of the roads.

O, he says, I thought was one driving out such a very fine lady as Your Ladyship, was proper to be finely dresst.

Why, says I, I have heard Lord G- R- say that the best style is to be dresst suit’d to the occasion.

I see him turn this over in his mind and then say, indeed His Lordship is always exceeding well turn’d-out and a model of good ton. Was most exceeding civil at that fine tiffin-party t’other day.

Why, says I, I find the notion that one that is an arbiter of good ton must be one that goes about very haughty and administering the cut direct quite wholesale exceeding misleading.

Indeed, he says, seems most reasonable. And sure, he goes on, one could not imagine Mr MacD- staying long with one that did go about so haughty.

I think a little about this and say, altho’ Mr MacD- is a fellow that is oblig’d to earn his living, I am like to think that would be the case.

I am then oblig’d to hear him go be effusive about Sandy all the way to Richmond. (Tho’ I am like to suppose that Sandy hears a deal of his effusions upon Lady B-.)

On the return, I hear a deal about their theatrickal endeavours and Miss A-.

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

The next morn, I look at the pile of letters and cards upon my desk, and determine that instead I should go call upon Phoebe concerning payment for the fine painting of myself dresst as a Neapolitan peasant.

Euphemia desires me to take a few pots of preserves with me, for she doubts not that being away so much of the summer, Phoebe has not had opportunity to put up any herself. But she has had a fine busy summer about such tasks.

When I arrive, Phoebe opens the door to me herself. We quite fall into one another’s arms.

O, Your Ladyship, 'tis most extreme agreeable to see you here. O, you are looking well.

Phoebe still looks somewhat pull’d down: indeed, 'tis not to wonder at. She expresses herself much mov’d at Euphemia’s kindness: indeed there is a deal of matter she should be about getting on hand, tho’ sure Dorcas and Prue have been most exceeding thoughtfull about coming in to clean while they were away.

Will you take a little coffee, Your Ladyship? Alice comes on at the business.

Why, that would be most agreeable, says I.

We go into their little parlour. Phoebe says with a little fond smile that Raoul is already at painting: she confides that the prospect of this exhibition puts heart into him, for 'tis a very fine group of artists he is askt to come in with, should do exceeding well for him.

That is most encouraging news, says I, for indeed, I daresay he is like to have lost some business lately. And in that matter, you must send in your account for that very fine painting of me as soon as maybe.

Oh, no, says Phoebe, drawing herself up. We could not think – after all your kindness – the thoughtfullness – no, indeed, 'tis an entire gift and little enough at that.

She offers to weep and I go pat her shoulder as Alice comes in with coffee.

No, indeed, she says, dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief, we are not so dreadfull bad off, I have lookt over our accounts and we are well enough, and now Raoul goes paint again, sure we shall soon pull round.

(I must go about to recommend him to those that may commission portraits: I wonder does Lord D- object to paintings, or only those which depict a deal of nak’d flesh and immoral subjects – sure a painting of him with his wife should be quite in order. Or perchance the daughters of Lord N- might make a pleasing composition.)

But, she goes on, I mind that Seraphine makes a very fine business out of certain of her receipts, and I collect that I have some very fine receipts for polishes and the like that might be vendable? 'Twould be a little extra – Martha S- tells me she brings in somewhat with drawing of all manner of things for fellows that publish on their scientifick pursuits, it eases the household budget. Tho’ sure one would suppose that their families, now that they are back in grace with 'em, would not wish to see them in want did it come to that.

(I mind that Mr de C-'s family might not show so benevolent.)

Why, says I, I can go talk to my advisors in such matters, I am like to suppose that something might be contriv’d.

Comes in Mr de C- in his wont’d somewhat absent-mind’d way, greets me very civil, and remarks to Phoebe that there is some matter of a colour that need replenishing, so that he may finish a particular painting.

She desires him to take a little coffee, and says that she will be about the matter quite immediate once Lady B- has taken her departure.

I would not, he says with a smile, for the world disturb Lady B- until she is quite ready to go, indeed 'tis most exceeding kind of you to call.

Sure, says I, I should not linger, but I wisht to see how they did, and to express my entire gratitude for the very fine painting, 'twill look most exceeding effective in my reception room, I apprehend Hector is already about the matter.

Phoebe smiles and then says, is all well ‘twixt Hector and Euphemia? only, by now one might expect –

Oh, matters are entire well! says I. One will come upon them in the kitchen still quite as if 'twere their honeymoon.

And, Phoebe goes on, sure one should not fret yet: one need only consider the case of dear Martha S-, that wait’d so long and fear’d she was a barren stock.

I suppose the S-s are still in Hampshire?

Indeed: there is a deal that Jacob S- has to tell Lady J-.

What an excellent fellow he is, says Mr de C-. Sure I should like to paint the three of 'em. I have some sketches I might work up –

Phoebe smiles at him. Indeed there is a very fine mutual affection 'twixt 'em that I confide will see 'em thro’ this hard time of mourning.

I rise and say indeed I must be off, I will go consider upon the matter Phoebe mention’d, and sure, is there anything, anything that I can do for 'em, they should most immediate inform me.

Phoebe accompanies me to the door and is a little tearfull. I kiss her very warm as I make my farewells.

'Tis a quite entirely different matter that I attend to in the afternoon, which is to go to T- House where Lady T- has summon’d a printer concerning her work upon lace. Tho’, thinks I, perchance I could persuade her to a fine portrait of herself at making lace?

We are sat in one of the smaller parlours at T- House when the fellow is shown in. He is dresst very proper and I daresay he is now in a position that he does not need get his own hands inky or operate the press.

He bows very civil tho’ looks somewhat daunt’d by Lady T-, that indeed until one knows her better does have a very chilling effect.

She has already writ him, and several others, concerning the type of thing she desires. He comes well-reput’d (undertook the new catalogue of the paintings at Q-) and has already made a most prepossessing response. He brings with him several works that they have produc’d, some samples of paper and different styles of print as well as kinds of leather that might be employ’d in binding.

He makes very admiring of the propos’d work, which will sure be consult’d by the cognoscenti of lace for many years to come.

Lady T- scrutinizes the samples exceeding closely, and passes them to me for my own verdict. Sure, says I, I would confide you would not want to stint upon this work, 'twould be quite entire false economy.

Indeed, says Lady T-, one cannot make fine lace with cheap cotton thread!

He asks does she have any in mind to undertake the engraving of the plates - (sure 'tis a pity that Martha S- has not been about her intention to learn that craft) – for if not, there is a fellow he recommends, has workt with a good deal, entirely suit’d to this fine work.

We are inclin’d to consider his judgement in such matters exceeding nice, and say that sounds most satisfactory.

He therefore departs with the commission to undertake the work, and Lady T- turns to me and says sure the fellow is a deal genteeler than she had anticipat’d.

Why, says I, I am like to suppose that being in the work of making books must be a very elevating profession. At least, I go on, fine volumes for the connoisseur such as this fellow makes.

She nods, and says she hopes I will remain and take tea with her.

This is so signal a mark of approval that I accept at once.

After tea has been brought, she pours out for both of us, and sighs, and says, perhaps her dear mama’s warnings about those who would be encroaching were somewhat too severe.

(I mind that I have heard that Lady T- is of a family exceeding well-bred but that was in some financial straits when she repair’d their fortunes by marrying Lord T-, that is not only wealthy but commands a deal of interest that was of great assistance in helping her brothers to good positions, &C.)

Why, says I, I confide that in all stations of life there are those that manifest poor ton, and those that are entire models of civility.

'Tis very true, says she, when she considers the D- K-s, both of very good family, and quite the worst behav’d creatures she ever met, and then Mr and Mrs F-, that are so very mannerly, and agreeable company, and Mr F- has been most exceeding helpful to Lord T- over some business he is engag’d upon –

O, says I, quite entirely the best of people!

She smiles a little upon me, and then grows more sober and says, she does not think I have met their son, Lord K-?

No, says I, I was a little surpriz’d not to find him at your shooting-party.

She sighs and says, all summer he was, he said, under physician’s orders to go take the sea-waters at Margate. Sure he goes quack himself when should be thinking of remarrying, 'twould I am sure improve his health –

(I mind Lady T- remarking that dear Viola did not find her marriage overshadow’d by the ghost of her predecessor: Lord K- is a childless widower, his wife having dy’d some half-dozen years previous, and all suppose him too devot’d to her memory to contemplate a second union.)

(I also wonder whether he does indeed have a second union, but one unsanctify’d, to some lady he cannot marry or that his mother would not approve, mayhap some opera-dancer or demimondaine that he goes sport with in Margate. Or perchance is of the disposition.)

Why, says I, I have good friends go to Margate each summer, I will ask 'em (by which I mean, Mrs N-) was he seen in company at all, perchance there is some suit he pursues but does not yet wish to speak of.

Sure that may be the case, she says, brightening a little, for Margate becomes spoke of as a fine genteel place – sure at Bath or Brighton these days one knows not who one may meet. She goes on with a sigh that 'tis a good many years since he confid’d such matters to his mama.

I pat her hand and remark that alas, 'tis too oft the case.

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