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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.

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

'Tis almost time for Harry to take his leave and go to Leeds to learn the mysteries of an engineer. Mr D- goes with him as he desires to take the opportunity to go convoke with his friend there about certain professional matters.

I make an opportunity to go talk to Harry one day in the garden. He is looking over the wall down to the works and the town.

How now, Harry, says I, sure you are about to go out into the world and make your fortune.

Oh, he says, he does not know about fortune, and sure, 'tis a great step.

He sighs somewhat and says that he wishes that he had the chance to see Josh and say goodbye to him –

And, says I with a smile, give him serious elder brotherly advice? Do you go about like Laertes to your sisters?

Harry grins and says, mayhap he will! But, he goes on more serious, he should like to be assur’d that Josh was well again.

Indeed, says I, I think you need have no worrys on that account, he was flourishing already some while ago when I visit’d there and I entirely confide that he has continu’d to improve in health.

But still, says Harry, is my brother and I should like to see him.

Why, says I, you are not going to the antipodes and I daresay you will be seeing him at the Christmas season. But sure your care for him is extreme pretty: one does not always see such affection 'twixt brothers.

Harry blushes. He is a good little fellow, he mumbles, then adds: save when he goes running away and putting everyone into desperate worry.

I confide he will not do the like again! But, Harry, while I am sure that you will not at all be in want while you are in this fine place in Leeds learning your trade, I daresay there may perhaps be particular matters that you might like a little extra by you for –

I take out a little purse in which I have put several guineas.

- so I thought to give you this.

O, that is entirely too kind! he says. Sure I will have an allowance -

All the same, says I, a little to hand for the unexpect’d is never amiss. And should there be any service I may do you, do you call upon me.

You are very kind to us all, he says somewhat gruff.

Indeed, says I, 'tis only an entire proper return for the exceeding kindness I have had from your family. Sure, consider the helpfullness over the business to do with my mine –

Why, cries Harry, 'tis a most excellent fine enterprize: and commences upon telling me about his visit there with Mr D-. What a fine clever fellow is Mr McA-, and Mr M- is a fine tidy manager. Also his wife makes a most excellent lardy-cake. He goes on to inform me about the steam-pump, and the exceeding tall chimney that is requir’d for the smelting works, &C &C, until Bess comes join us and says does Harry have any final commissions in the town, Mama is about to take the gig to undertake errands.

Oh, says Harry, indeed there are a few matters, I will go at once. He rushes off but Bess lingers.

You do not go into town?

O, says Bess, 'tis exceeding dull, when I think that shortly we may be going along Oxford Street with all its fine shops.

She hops up to sit upon the low wall: sure I hope she does not go fall over the other side, but she sits as one that is entire us’d to such a perch.

She looks very thoughtfull and says, Aunty C-, there is a thing I should like to ask you about, but 'tis a secret matter –

(O dear, thinks I, is there some young fellow she takes a fancy to?)

Why, says I, I am quite the soul of discretion -

- Indeed, Mama and Papa have oft remarkt that –

- but there are matters in which you might be well-adviz’d to talk to your Mama.

Only, says Bess, settling herself more firmly and smoothing down her skirts, I apprehend that this business of being brought out and going about the Season &C is somewhat of an expensive matter –

- Well, my dear, your parents are not on the parish -

She gives a little smile and says, indeed they are not! but 'tis very much about being cry’d on the marriage market, is’t not?

Sure, says I, perchance you should ask one or another that has undergone the matter, I daresay Her Grace would be entire happy to answer your questions, but I confide that indeed 'tis somewhat of the Matrimonial Exchange.

But do I already know who I shall marry –

Oh? says I, in some fears that there is some local fellow goes take advantage of her youth and innocence to marry to his advantage.

Oh yes, says Bess, blushing and casting down her eyes, Mr D-.

I am struck into entire dumbness for a moment, and then rouse myself to ask, Has he gone speak to you of the matter? (for if has, I think it a very shocking proceeding.)

O no, says Bess, but indeed I have long had a very great admiration for him, and I have heard Mama and Papa express some concern that he may leave the works, and remark that did he have a wife 'twould settle him: and would it not be a most excellent sensible thing?

(I do not even need to count upon my fingers to reckon that Mr D- must be at least twice her years if not more. Indeed, 'tis a much greater gulph of years than that 'twixt Hector and Euphemia, that Hector was so put about concerning.)

(But sure – do I not know it? – young girls will take some great fancy to an older man, that seems a quite entire different species to the callow boys of their own years.)

Sure, says I, it sounds a most sensible and practickal thing, but indeed there is more than mere practickality that goes to wedlock. And were I your mama – which I am not, and she may think different – because of your youth, I would advize that you should not jump in to matrimony, and should test your affections thro’ going about in Society.

Bess scowls and says, look at Lady J-, that remain’d faithfull to the memory of her Lieutenant K- until he was an Admiral and able honourable to seek her hand. Did she not go about a very great deal in Society before she retir’d into rural seclusion at N-? (I confide that Bess has not been present upon any occasion when Lady J-'s devotion to the one Biffle refers to as that jealous hag Miss B- has been mention’d.)

Even so, my dear. But sure, going about in Society is not merely about catching a husband, 'twill do you a deal of good in other ways. For a lady that has connections of friendship with a deal of other ladies may find them most exceeding valuable to her husband’s interest.

Bess mutters that she supposes so.

And, dear Bess, I go on, 'tis entire deleterious to marry too young. Sure altho’ one talks of a girl coming to womanhood as tho’ 'twas something that happen’d the once, like passing thro’ a door, 'tis a matter that takes some years while the humours are in upheaval. 'Tis entire to be preferr’d that time should be allow’d to let the humours settle. Do you not, my dear, have sudden fits of tearfullness, or temper, or lassitude?

O, says Bess, o, yes. Sure that is sensible.

And while you are waiting for that time, you may as well occupy the interim amuzingly.

(Sure I am a strange figure to be giving this prudent advice to young women. When I was of Bess’s years I was a sad naughty minx, before I was lesson’d in the ways of the demimonde by Madame Z-.)

Bess jumps down from the wall and comes give me a hug. Thank you, Aunty C-! She runs off, and sure one sees that there is still a deal of the hoyden in her. I am like to suppose that this inclination to Mr D- is a girlish fancy, and that in a year or so her views on him will be quite different: but sure one should not teaze her over it, or endeavour to dissuade her but let it wither according to the course of nature.

I walk slowly back thro’ the garden, to where Quintus and my lovely darling Flora play on the swing, and one can hear the sound of Meg’s piano-practice from an open window. Miss N- sits on a bench with a book. I go sit next to her.

She blushes and says sure ‘tis no improving work, but a most exciting novel.

Why, dear Miss N-, I would by no means condemn you for refreshing yourself from your labours with a little light reading; sure I late met with a sad Evangelickal fellow that disapproves greatly of the habit of novel-reading and will not let his wife read them, but I cannot see the harm.

She goes on to say that we have company for dinner this e’en: Mr A- at the hospital has his sister Lavinia visiting, and they come, and also Mr D-. Mr A-'s sister has visit’d before: she takes a thought that Mr D- has a liking to her, and now he is so well-establisht and a partner in the works, perchance he may go make an offer?

Why, says I, a fellow may take a liking to a young woman without immediate proceeding to having the banns call’d –

Miss N- sighs and I daresay thinks that she and Mr L- are not yet in a position to do this.

- may find her company congenial in passing a few hours without desiring to take her to wife.

(O, poor Bess, thinks I, if Miss N- has the right of the matter.)

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My dear ones come to me in my fine reserv’d chamber that night and we say many fond foolish things to one another. 'Tis most extreme delightfull to be in triangle even do they have to depart leaving me alone in my exceptional large bed.

Next morn I am waken’d by the accustom’d chocolate party levée.

My precious darling comes snuggle against me, 'tis most extreme charming; and Quintus comes sit at my other side.

Bess pours chocolate and Meg hands it around, I remark sure they are getting most adept at these matters.

Bess goes perch on one side of the bed and Meg at the other. Harry sits at the foot.

Harry says he hears that I went to Sir P- O-'s fine cricketing party? Jackson, that he was at school with, says he holds one every summer.

O, cries Bess, a cricket party? Sure that must quite exceed.

I laugh a little and say that I do not think she would have enjoy’d it, for the ladies did not play but were suppos’d to occupy themselves in admiring the fellows as they play’d.

Both Bess and Meg look exceeding disdainfull at this.

And, I go on, I am not sure all the gentlemen found it entire agreeable. There was Tom O-, that is Sir P- O-'s son, would rather sit reading about steam than be at the wicket or in the field.

Why, says Harry, sure one may enjoy both: a fine cricket party with fellows that play well must be a prime thing.

O, cries Meg, is not Tom O- in our dancing-class?

Bess takes a little thought and says that she confides that he is. A quiet fellow, but does not go trample upon one’s feet.

I say sure he will become quite vociferous does one enter upon the matter of steam. Also there was the painter Mr van H-, that I confide did not expect that he would have to give up his brush for a bat.

And was His Lordship there? asks Harry.

No, had some other engagement, says I, tho’ his friend Lord A- was of the party.

Oh, says Harry, Lord A- that plays at Lords? Sure I should like to see him at bat, and is not’d a most cunning bowler.

He grins, and says to his sisters, do you two go make up to Tom O- at dancing class, and perchance we shall be invit’d next year.

Bess says 'twould be poor sport could they not play themselves.

Perchance, says I, one could make up a ladies’ team? Sure there must be other young ladies that play. But that minds me, on one of my other visits I saw Lady Anna M- and her sister go play at battledore and shuttlecock, and have brought the like for you.

O, prime! says Meg. Bess sniffs and says, but 'tis not cricket.

(Sure I have seen the girls playing at R- House, and being instruct’d by Milord, and I fear that their ferocity as bowlers would be consider’d entire unsuitable in young ladies, especial did they go against gentlemen, that do not like to find the fair sex like to beat them at some sport.)

Comes Miss N- to take Quintus and the elder girls to the schoolroom. Harry stands up and says there are matters he should be about. My little treasure snuggles up to me and looks very hopefull at my chocolate cup, her own being quite empty.

She is about finishing my chocolate for me when comes Patty, saying that sure she should be taking that naughty girl to the nursery. Flora clings to me with a stubborn look. Patty looks at her very fond and says, sure, she loves her aunty! Is she no bother to you I will leave her with you a little.

Indeed this is most entire agreeable to me, tho’ I am not entire sure that Docket and Sophy enjoy making my morning toilette while she runs about saying, what is this or that, and offering to get into things. But at length I am dresst and ready to face the day, and take her hand so that we may go downstairs to the family room.

There I find my dearest at her desk about business, and we smile at one another. She rings a bell and a maid comes very shortly after with a nice little breakfast upon a tray.

I sit down to eat it and Flora comes squeeze in next to me on my chair to help me dispose of it. Eliza laughs. Sure she knows who she may wind around her little finger!

But not, says I, so far as to let her drink my coffee. Sure cannot be good for one so young.

Flora goes pout somewhat but is mollify’d with a fine butter’d pikelet.

Eliza looks at us very fond. Flora gives me a buttery kiss, then wriggles herself down to the floor and runs across to give the like to Eliza, who picks her up and hugs her.

O, they are both quite my entire heart’s darlings.

Comes in Josiah, and Flora quite immediate runs to him and is swung up high as she giggles.

And now, says Eliza, 'tis high time she was convey’d to the nursery.

Flora looks over her shoulder at me and says, tiger!

O, says I, I am a full tiger that has just had breakfast, 'tis not my time of day to chase little girls.

Josiah carrys her out, tho’ she continues to look back hopefull that I may still go be her tiger.

O, says I, 'tis just as well that I am not always there to spoil her, for I am sure I should.

As if we do not! says Eliza.

I go fetch my traveling desk so that I may feel that I am not entire idle. Sure there is a deal of correspondence sits upon my pretty desk at home, but I have notes enough in my little memorandum book of matters that I should be getting about.

My darling and I thus work away together in amiable silence, occasional looking up to smile at one another.

After a while we hear the sound of Meg at her piano practice. Eliza stands up and says she will go be about household matters for a while. As we are alone we kiss before she goes.

I look out of the window into the garden and observe that Bess goes practice battledore.

I close up my desk and go to the schoolroom, where I find Miss N- hearing Quintus read, which he does exceeding well.

She looks extreme pleas’d to see me, and after Quintus has come to the end of the passage, says now he may go practice his hand-writing by copying it out upon his slate.

We withdraw to the other end of the room. I ask how she does and she says, o, very well, but that of course she greatly longs to hear how Ellie does in the antipodes. Mr L- writes very often and says that the paper does exceeding well.

She then says, there is just one thing: he is very mind’d to occasional have some piece about ladies’ fashions, because 'tis an excellent thing that encourages drapers and haberdashers and milliners and such-like to take advertizements if they suppose that ladies will be reading. She does not feel that she has the talent for such, but thought that Lady B- might know of someone?

Why, says I, I will go think over the matter.

You are always so well-turn’d-out, she adds a little wistfull.

Sure, says I, 'tis why one keeps a crack lady’s maid.

I turn the subject to ask how Bess and Meg do. She says that Bess is come to the volatile age, but at least she does not become silly as girls at that time can be. And Meg continues to be most conscientious at piano-practice, sometimes she will have to go chase her to go play in the garden for healthfull recreation.

And I can see, says I raising my voice a little, that you have an excellent young scholar in Quintus!

Oh, indeed, she says. And when we return to R- House Josh will be joining us in the schoolroom.

Quintus comes up with his copying and I take my leave.

I go into the garden and find Bess, that is patting the shuttlecock about. How now, says I, how do you?

She sighs and says, she does not know whether Mama will have told me, she has come to womanhood and 'tis a most exceeding tiresome thing. And she goes get spots.

Why, says I, I daresay Docket will have some lotion or wash most usefull for such cases, I will go ask her.

Bess sighs again and says she supposes she will have go behave as a proper young lady, which has ever struck her as excessive tedious, they are not permitt’d to do anything that is fun anymore.

O my dear, says I, there will still be your wont’d enjoyments such as riding, and the theatre, and dancing-class. Sure, you are not bound for a convent. And in a year or so you will make your come-out and have the Season –

Bess wrinkles her nose.

- which I confide you will like more than you suppose, do you not treat it as a contest in which a young lady must catch a fine husband. There is indeed no haste in the matter.

Bess looks as tho’ she would say something but does not.

Indeed, 'tis as much a matter of making acquaintance with other young women, and you already have a fine start with the friendship of Her Grace.

O, cries Bess, have you seen her at all? Have you seen the baby again?

So I go tell her about Viola and little Cathy.

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Our agreeable party begins break up. Jacob S- says that he should be getting back to the matter of the Admiral’s fine estate, especial if Lady J- be in prospect of return or already return’d. Mr de C- says that there is some exhibition in prospect with some of his fellow-artists and Sir Z- R- has been wishfull to conclave with him on the matter, so they should be getting back to Town. He puts his arm about Phoebe and remarks that indeed, they still feel the painfull blow, but they become resign’d and ready to pick up the threads of their life again. Phoebe nestles her head against his shoulder and nods.

I say that I confide that Dorcas will have been about ensuring that their house is clean and tidy.

Phoebe adds that she has grown immense fond of little Deborah, but now Martha is quite entire heal’d and may feed her herself once more.

Biffle and Viola set off for Q-, with the intention of preparing for the return to Town and opening up of M- House. And, says Biffle, to ensure that all is in order and that m’sister will not go chide us for poor stewardship. Viola says 'twill be quite the best thing for Essie when the nursery society returns to R- House – have seen how agreeable he found it to play with Bobbie. 'Tis a little lonesome for him until Cathy be a little older. And sure Quintus F- sets them a quite excellent example.

Sandy confides that the time has come for him to make representations in person over various matters to do with Mrs D- K-'s affairs.

My darlings sigh and say indeed they need to be going home, to wave off Harry to Leeds, and to put matters under hand for their removal to Town.

Sir B- W- and Susannah go solicit me to stay a little longer, but I make my excuses that I have much business to be about.

They add that they have prevail’d upon Captain C- to remain on the estate – there is a neat little cottage he may reside in while they are in Town, and the quacks are of the opinion that he would do better out of the smokey miasmas of Town. He makes some acquaintance with the county neighbours, there will be shooting and hunting for his recreation, does he desire a deal more in the way of society and entertainment 'tis no great distance to Bath.

That is exceeding good of you, says I.

’Tis quite entire agreed that Mrs D- K- shall take up the post of Old Lady W-'s companion. I take an opportunity to ask whether this is entire congenial to her.

She sighs and says, 'twill be out of Society and that set that they us’d to be in, that she does not incline to have to do with (I daresay there will those that her late husband pander’d her to that she had rather not encounter). And what else might she do? 'Tis as good as anything else: a roof over her head, a warm bed, food on the table, she can contrive to put up with the old lady. (I confide she thinks of the alternatives that might have been: sure the dear T-s like the antipodes exceedingly but 'twould be a different matter being a convict, even did she not suffer the extreme penalty).

She clasps my hands and says she still does not understand why I act’d as I did, but she is most exceeding gratefull. ('Tis most embarrassing, she goes about to weep.) I pat her hand gently and know not what to say.

But at last I am bound for departure, my trunks and boxes are loaded onto my carriage, Docket and Sophy have taken their places, and my traveling desk is beside where I shall sit. I embrace dear Susannah and shake Sir B- W-s hand and we take our farewells. Sure, says I, 'twill be no time before we are all in Town again.

I get into the carriage and we drive off. Docket leans back in her seat and says how very pleasant it was to see dear Tibby, how well she gets on, and sure she must find her work more agreeable now that Her Grace is no longer in mourning. Sophy, I confide, looks a little jealous.

Rather than overtax the horses and perchance risk Docket’s health, we pass two nights staying in inns on our journey.

But at last we come to my darlings’ fine house, and they are at the door, with the dear children.

I get out from the carriage, and most immediate comes up to me my darling treasure with flowers in her hand, saying For you, and pursing her lips for a kiss.

The flowers have some sign of having been pickt a while since and clutcht in a hot little hand, but I am most immense toucht and feel tears spring to my eyes. I exchange kisses with my dear belov’d child, and then with Bess and Meg, shake hands with Harry, ask Quintus is he grown too big a fellow for a kiss from his Aunty C-, at which he shakes his head, kiss my dearest darling Eliza and shake hands very warm with Josiah, see Miss N- standing a little to one side and shake hands with her and ask how she does: o, I am most immense glad to be among them once more.

We go into the parlour with Flora clinging onto my skirts, the sweet darling.

There is tea and the girls chatter about how they have spent the summer and their anticipations of the return to Town. Flora desires to display a little counting rhyme Miss N- has taught her.

Sure I could sit thus for hours upon end.

But I must change out of my traveling wear once my trunks are unpackt, and go to my fine reserv’d chamber to do so. There is hot water ready for me. Docket unpins my hair and brushes it. I hear Sophy bustling about in the dressing-room.

As Docket commences to put my hair up again there is a tap at the door: 'tis my dearest Eliza. Docket finishes the matter of my hair and goes into the dressing-room.

Eliza and I kiss extreme warm and stand embrac’d for a while in silence.

Josh does not come home? I ask at length.

Oh, he does so well at Captain P-'s, and is so happy there, we conclud’d to leave him with 'em until we are return’d to R- House, to make sure he is quite entire recover’d, rather than have all the journeying to and fro. But sure, from his letters, and from what that excellent woman 'tother Lady B- writes, he is quite got over the measles and is as fit a fellow as has ever been.

Indeed he was a deal more lively when last I saw him.

She goes on to say that Mr D- comes to family dinner this e’en, has a very great desire to communicate to Lady B- the matters that are afoot at her mine.

I sigh and say I have had little time to give to matters of business these several weeks.

Dearest of C-s, you have had a deal on your mind lately!

'Tis true, says I.

And, she says a little mournfull, I daresay some of that will be secrets that are not your own to disclose.

I rest my head upon her shoulder and say, perchance.

She strokes my hair. Sure we have been in some worry about our darling, that will put on her brave face as she goes about in company, but that we can see has been unusual troubl’d lately.

She kisses me and then says but she will not press her to reveal all.

O, says I, 'tis entire foolishness – 'tis not so much that I am bow’d down under heavy secrets, but that my spirits have been lower’d most unwont’d and somehow I do not come round as I should hope.

Well, my darling, you must remember that you have friends that you may call upon and not bear all on your own.

Indeed I have most excellent friends, says I, a little tearfull.

She kisses my cheek and says sure this is not the time to go rouse the lovely C-'s spirits in a particular manner she confides would show most efficacious, alas, and she will leave me to dress.

I squeeze her hand. Dearest of dear loves, I say.

At dinner, Mr D- is really most exceeding desirous to communicate to me a deal of matter about my mine, steam-pumps, the smelting-mill &C; Harry also is most eager to talk upon the business.

I mind that I have not yet heard from Marcello concerning the likelihood that there will be less money for the Cause while this matter is under hand; or mayhap the letter goes nestle somewhere within the large pile of correspondence that sits upon my pretty desk in my own pretty house.

Sure I should go look into my little memorandum book and make sure I do not go neglect anything I have writ down that I will go undertake – have not yet even not’d the matter of finding one to instruct Lord N-'s offspring about acting, I am sadly behindhand.

But I daresay now I may consider the Mrs D- K- trouble as clos’d and her fate confid’d to other hands (tho’ indeed I will not go dispose of the hat-pin just yet). None has mention’d any rumour or gossip concerning the flight of the Mad Marquess of B- from the fine madhouse where he was confin’d, so I am like to suppose that his keepers were most greatly inclin’d to hush it up.

I turn to Mr D- smiling and saying, sure I am but a simple uninstruct’d creature. Perchance did he repeat that thing about the smelting-mill, I might go understand it?

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After we have din’d, there is no lingering over port on the part of the gentlemen or over tea and ratafia by the ladies, for we must deck ourselves for the ball.

Docket has determin’d that I shall display both my pearls – woven into my hair –and my rubies.

Really, Docket, says I, ‘tis but a provincial ball for county neighbours.

Docket sniffs and says, there are those that need showing what a lady of fine ton is. (By which I suppose her to intend the dreadfull crocodile.)

So, says I, somewhat amuz’d, you go deck me with my wages of sin.

Docket sniffs again and says she doubts that there will be any with pearls of such quality, and the rubies are quite entire remarkable.

So I concede to her and let her deck me as she wishes and considers suit’d to my station.

There is a little tap upon the door, and Sophy goes look. She lets in my dearest Eliza, that looks most exceeding fine and wears her parure of diamonds, black pearls, and fire opals, that suits her so particular.

We look at one another with great pleasure at how well we are turn’d out.

Docket and Sophy go into the dressing-room.

The crocodile, says I, I hazard had heard somewhat of the scandal put about by that satyr of a Bavarian violincellist, and convey’d it somewhat coarse, I apprehend, to Mrs D- K-, with some implications upon myself.

We look at one another and I smile at my dear love. But quite misst the mark, says I.

And what I came here about, says Eliza with a little particular smile of her own, that I would greatly desire to kiss, is to wonder whether the fascinating Lady B- would care to come a little family visit, before we all return to Town. Sure we shall be in great upheaval with the business of packing up, but indeed all would delight in your company. Also, Mr D- could tell you in person matters to do with steam-pumps.

O, you wick’d temptress! says I. I daresay there are many matters I should be about in Town, but I am quite entire unable to resist this solicitation. Indeed, even do I return to Town, there will be so little society that I should be quite Dido in the ruins of Carthage.

My darling laughs, and puts her hand to my cheek very tender, and says that she dares say that the fascinating Lady B- will be about waiting until there is sufficient number in the ballroom that she may make an entrance -

Sure I am an exceeding vain creature, says I.

- gliding like unto a swan, she continues.

Why, so be there are no poets in the company, I confide that I shall contrive that.

We kiss, and she leaves.

O, 'twill be quite entire delightfull to visit my darlings and my sweet treasure Flora and the other dear children: I feel more chearfull than I have done these several months.

Tho’ indeed 'tis still a quandary what may be done with Mrs D- K-.

I could pass the time until I make my entrance at my traveling desk, but that Docket will forbid me, lest I get ink upon my fingers or my gown. Indeed I am not mistress in my own household.

At length I go down.

There is pleasing music comes from the ballroom as well as a little hum and buzz of chatter. I step to the door and a footman goes announce me.

There is a very gratifying dimming of the noise of chatter as I glide like a swan into the room.

Sir B- W- comes over to kiss my hand and to offer that I might care to dance? I smile at him and say indeed, is this not a ball? I do not come to stand against the wall.

Why, he says, it might be possible that you wisht to go at once to the card-tables: tho’, as I recall, you were never greatly fond of play.

Indeed not, says I. 'Twas my dear Miss G- was the gamester.

'Tis most agreeable to dance with one that is as competent at that art as Sir B- W-.

Indeed I enjoy myself more than I suppos’d I would, for between the dances that duty requires me to give to the guests, I contrive to stand up with Josiah, Biffle, Jacob S- and Milord; and Sandy, the weasel, manages to take the supper dance.

I look at him somewhat dubious as he brings me cooling lemonade and a nice little plate of supper.

Dearest C-, he says in low tones, I am entire aware that this is not the time and place to open the several matters that betwixt us we have upon hand. But indeed there is much we need to convoke about.

Nothing, says I, that will not keep until I return to Town. Unless, that is –

I perceive that the dreadfull crocodile comes seat herself rather nearer than I should like, for I confide she hopes to eavesdrop and her hearing is excellent. I kick him surreptitious in the ankle with a little movement of my head to convey this intelligence.

He nods, and says he has late had a very long letter from Lord Geoffrey M-.

O dear, says I.

From which I apprehend that they did, indeed, undertake scenes from Shakspeare for a select audience.

How exceeding glad am I, says I, that I was oblig’d to leave before that event.

I know not how their audience felt, but they are now quite passionate about amateur theatrickals and wonder whether, when the family opens up N- House and they come to town, they might go about to have some instruction in the art.

Why, says I, I daresay there are those among my theatrickal acquaintance that would take on such a matter.

Perchance, says Sandy, I should not have mention’d to him that there are some several fellows that have gone lesson themselves with Mr J- about publick speaking.

Hmmm, says I. I confide that if the young ladies his sisters would also desire instruction there might be some objection to an actor undertaking the matter, for young girls of their years are most extreme susceptible to the charms of actors, but I would suppose that Miss A- might be entire acceptable as a preceptress.

'Tis a good thought. Miss R- is seen about so very openly with that fribble Danvers D- that one might anticipate some objections.

Also, says I, she would probably take dear little Puggsiekins to their lessons: tho’ I daresay Mrs D- has now contriv’d to bring the little rascal into better habits and conduct, I think it most like that he would go brangle with Selina.

We return to the ballroom and go about to show ourselves willing to dance with the county neighbours.

'Tis somewhat late in the next morning when Sophy comes bring me my chocolate, and says that Docket says that I was sleeping so sweet and peacefull, and she dar’d say, worn-out from dancing, that they should let me rest. And she doubts that any of the company will be up betimes this morn.

'Tis true, says I, for 'twas quite exceeding late, indeed so late that it was almost around to be early, that the thing conclud’d.

While Docket decks me for the day, I open to her the prospect of going to the the F-s for a little while. She declares that 'tis quite entirely answerable.

I add that we should take the journey very gentle.

Docket snorts a little, but does not go protest this care for her health. But indeed lately she seems somewhat better; and we have a good supply of her drops, that I confide Mr A- can replenish if needfull. So I am in no great worry in the matter.

When I go downstairs I find that breakfast is still laid tho’ there is none there except Susannah, that sips a little tea and nibbles upon a crust.

We exchange greetings and remarks about how exceeding successful the ball was, sure 'twill be much spoke about in the locality for some time.

But, my dear C-, says Susannah, I have the most surprizing and remarkable news!

Oh? says I, wondering what this could possibly be.

Would you believe it? she goes on. My esteem’d mother-in-law proposes that Mrs D- K- should come to her as a companion -

What!

O, 'tis a matter she has mention’d before, that if she is going to be left alone and desolate by her undutifull son and his jealous wife, and never see her dear grandchildren, she should have some genteel person as a companion, that could read out the newspapers to her, go fetch her books from the circulating library, help her sort embroidery silks, listen to her talk of her past triumphs as a toast of the ton &C&C.

And, she goes on, she thinks Mrs D- K- shows an admirable loyalty towards her benefactress, by which she is extreme prepossesst even does she think it somewhat misplac’d, and thus supposes she would manifest the like to her.

Well! says I. Do you think 'twould answer?

Susannah sighs and says, she will doubtless come to some cause of disagreement or dislike after a few months, for 'tis not the first experiment in the matter, but 'twould at least be a temporary refuge for Mrs D- K- while we go about to settle her affairs. And perchance does the crocodile take her about on her usual round of spaws there may be some fellow takes a mind to marry her.

Indeed that would be a good thing, says I, but that had I been wedd’d to Mr D- K- I should have a certain caution concerning husbands.

Susannah sighs and says, 'tis so, but did not Dr Johnson remark upon the triumph of hope over experience?

He also, says I, remarkt that marriage has many pains: but indeed, I was marry’d for so short a time that I would not know about that.

Susannah smiles and says she thinks that the Great Lexicographer took a somewhat gloomy view of the matter; but then, she has been most exceeding fortunate.

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As I take Merlin back to the stable, I encounter Milord upon his own Sultan returning from a ride. He dismounts and confides Sultan to the care of a groom, while I give Merlin into Ajax’s hands.

We walk towards the house together.

Milord clears his throat somewhat and says, Dear C-, Sandy is in some fears that you are offend’d at him for some reason.

What! says I. How should he come to that conclusion? (tho’ have I not seen the like jumping to conclusions over matters to do with Milord?)

Why, he says he has not been able to come at converse with you this while, which is most unwont’d.

Why, says I, among the company here 'tis somewhat hard, and might look particular, did one make the essay, to go seek private conversation.

He is so very us’d to making you his confidante -

And I him, says I. And sure I have a deal of matters that I would desire to convoke with him about, but I do not think this is the occasion, for 'tis mostly business that demands discretion. 'Tis no great while until we return to Town.

So long as I can tell him that you have no harsh feelings towards him –

I laugh and say he may tell him that this silly creature will soon be about teazing the bello scozzese again.

- for he is exceeding fond of you, it distresses him greatly to think you may be at outs.

Indeed I should hope we are not at outs! (But sure I hope he does not purpose to badger me over Mrs D- K-.)

Once I have chang’d from my riding-habit, I go join the other ladies in the drawing-room. 'Tis somewhat markt: Susannah, Viola, Phoebe and my belov’d Eliza sit at one end of the room, with Cathy and Deborah laid upon the rug, and Sukey nestl’d against her mother’s skirts – I confide that Biffle and Sir B- W- take Essie and Bobbie about boyish pastimes - and at the far end, the dreadfull crocodile with her head close to Mrs D- K-'s.

Comes in Martha, that I daresay has been about changing herself, for even does she not venture into the quarry, there is a deal of dust about there, and goes pick up Deborah for a little cuddle. We all look at her very benign, for 'tis an extreme pretty sight.

Dear Susannah looks somewhat drowsy. She remarks that she had better go and lye down for a little, so that she may be fresh for the ball this e’en. Sukey goes with her.

Perchance we do not look forward to the ball with any great enthusiasm, for 'twill mean a deal of other company that are largely strangers to us, but 'tis an obligation that they must discharge to the neighbourhood, that will be most delight’d to come meet the distinguisht members of Society that are at present guests in the house.

I say that I daresay we shall have to show civil and go dance with fellows that will trample upon our feet. 'Twould be poor ton only to dance with those of our own set.

Why, says Martha, I daresay has been the on-dit for months in these parts and the fellows will be about fighting one another so that they may say that they danc’d with the fascinating Lady B-.

Indeed, says Eliza, 'tis extreme like to be the case and the rest of us may go whistle for partners or be reduc’d to dancing with our own husbands, is’t not shamefull?

They look at me very affectionate.

La, says I, I am mercylessly teaz’d.

We all laugh.

Viola says 'tis so long since she last danc’d she fears she has forgotten how.

My dear, says I, 'tis universally acknowledg’d that a Duchess’s dancing must be quite divine, whether she can dance or no. I daresay there will be fellows extreme desirous of being able to boast that they danc’d with the Duchess of M-.

We laugh again, in the manner of good friends that mayhap do not exchange great wit, but find one another exceeding congenial company: even Phoebe smiles.

'Tis not entire pleasant to feel that the crocodile directs basilisk glares towards us on account of this harmless mirth. But sure she does not go about to make herself agreeable to the company even did she so much desire to come poke her nose into our doings. Perchance she was of a consideration that 'twould be more entertaining than such society as she is in in Bath. Or perchance she just desires to trouble Susannah.

Comes tea.

There is a genial clatter of teacups, until suddenly, at the end of the room, is the sound of a cup being bang’d down so hard I daresay the saucer, or cup itself, goes break.

No, says Mrs D- K- in venomous tones, that is entire slanderous and I will not listen.

We look from one to another, for sure it must be some exceptional matter that Mrs D- K-, that is quite fam’d for the spreading of malicious gossip, deems slanderous.

She rushes from the room.

The dreadfull crocodile gets up slowly, walks across to where we sit, looks at me and says in what I confide to be meaningfull tones, that sure Mrs D- K- becomes very ardent in defence of Lady B-'s reputation.

I am almost like to laugh at the imputation that I have drawn Mrs D- K- into some Sapphick sisterhood.

Why, says I, 'tis very pretty in her, if extreme surprizing. But sure in her sad state she is readily overset.

The crocodile looks at me as if she would bite my head off and then stalks off with an attempt at dignity.

Eliza lets out the burst of laughter she has been suppressing and says, sure does one put a tiger and a crocodile to fight, 'twill be the tiger carrys the victory.

Sure, says I, I am like to wonder what slander she spoke. But I confide we dine early today so that we may have time to dress for the ball and should go furbish.

Martha sighs a little at all this dressing and undressing and dressing again, then kisses little Deborah and goes her way.

As Sophy goes array me for dinner – for Docket is about readying my finery for the ball – there is a little timid knock upon the door. She goes see who 'tis. 'Tis Mrs D- K-, she says.

O, says I, she may come in.

I see that Mrs D- K- has been weeping. My dear, says I, do you not feel up to coming to dinner in company, I am sure you may have a tray brought to you.

Oh! she says, that dreadfull woman. Then cuts her eyes towards Sophy.

Sophy, says I, sure I am quite entire ready to go to dinner now, do you go and see does Docket need any help.

She goes into the dressing room.

O, says I, the ways of Old Lady W- are well-known and she bears me a long-time resentment. In former days, o, some considerable while ago, was a match she wisht to promote for her son, but he was entire too taken up with me at the time to make suit to the lady in question, who marry’d elsewhere; and then, I was great friends with Miss G-, who she was in some fear he would go marry, indeed it seem’d quite the possibility –

O no, 'twas nothing of that kind – she warn’d me that you had designs upon me, 'twas a well-known matter with Lady B-, since she got into Lady J-'s set –

Why, says I, with a laugh, that is very old gossip put about by that Bavarian lunatick - sure 'tis entire stale, I wonder she still minds it: or perchance it has only just reacht to Somerset.

She suddenly claps her hands to her face. O! He - I take her to mean the late Mr D- K- - said somewhat to me about making up to Lady B- -

Ha, says I, just because one shows a particular fellow that one has no inclination towards him, does not mean one dislikes his entire sex and prefers 'tother.

Oh! she cries, going plump down upon the bed, did he so?

'Twas implication, no more, says I, did not go so far as to make suit to me.

She frowns. But – she begins – ladies do not – how is’t even possible?

I shrug. 'Tis put about that there are some that are mophrodites, can be as 'twas said of Caesar, every man’s woman and every woman’s man, but sure I have never seen the like: I daresay 'tis like a deal of the monsters in Aristotle, that none has ever laid eyes upon in life. But sure I am no mophrodite but quite entire a natural woman. And I am like to suppose – tho’ I have no specifick knowledge in the matter – that neither is Lady J-.

She stands up and says indeed she had rather not dine in company, might she dine private in her chamber?

I say I can suppose no objection, and will speak to Lady W- about it.

They are very kind, she says, in tones as of one who endeavours to understand the curious ways of the Cannibal Islands.

Oh, the best hearts! say I.

I can see that she finds the entire matter considerable bewildering.

I gently guide her out of the door and on the way to her own chamber, so that I may be about going downstairs and opening the matter of a nice little dinner on a tray with Susannah.

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Sure I do not think that I go about deliberate to avoid being tete-à-tete with Sandy, but I do not make opportunity for private converse, for I am still of the supposition that he wishes to delve into the matter of Mr D- K-'s death, which cannot be a usefull course of action. Tho’ I daresay he will go worry away at it until I am oblig’d to tell him somewhat of how the case stands.

But sure I cannot see any advantage in the truth being known. Those that hear that Mr D- K- droppt dead in an apoplectick fit brought on by rage will nod their heads and say sure 'tis no surprize, one always fear’d such a thing when he was overcome by fury, and indeed they are heartily sorry for those to whom he ow’d debts of honour for they will not see their gold again, not that they were ever like to.

But tho’ I was in some mind to go cast the fatal hat-pin into the depths of the Serpentine Lake, was there some time I might come there unobserv’d, or some similar body of water, I am like to think 'twould be somewhat prudent to keep hold upon it the while.

Sure I am in little doubt that there was no deliberation to her action – indeed had I had such a thing by me when the Prussian fell upon me and was like to murder me, I confide I should have done the like – and had she had such an intention, I daresay she would also have had the forethought to dispose of the weapon before any came.

One could see, as she sat there in her chemise, seeing nothing or so 'twould seem, old bruises and new bruises and other marks of violence upon her person.

But I have no reason to repose in her that trust that I would give one that had been my friend rather than one that had shown herself previous so extreme hostile towards me. So I will keep the bloody hat-pin somewhere safe that I can lay hands upon it.

'Tis by no means encouraging that one sees her so cozy with the dreadfull crocodile.

But apart from this concern, sure I am having a most excellent time, save of course that I may not be with my darlings as we should desire, even among such friends as we have here.

I go carry a pique-nique to Jacob and Martha S- at the quarry, that they have forgot to take themselves upon setting out.

I find them there, Jacob S- clambering up the side of the quarry in such a fashion that I had rather not look, for I cannot imagine how he does not fall, for in one hand he has a hammer, and a specimen box about his neck. Martha sits at the top with her sketching box, and I am most extreme pleas’d to see how well she looks. I see that Captain C- has join’d ‘em and sits beside her.

I take the basket over to 'em and ask how matters go.

Martha smiles very chearfull and says, o, we go find some excellent fine specimens.

Captain C- sighs and says he is come to think that those quacks may have the right of it, for he has been climbing around with Mr S- kindly showing him the fossils and now he feels quite done up.

I say that I daresay he is not us’d to such exercise, and thus it bears more heavily upon him.

Perchance, he says. But he is in hopes that when he returns to Nova Scotia he may go find some fossils for Mr S-. Sure they are most curious things.

Mayhap, says Martha, do you take a little refreshment you will feel more the thing. I confide that there is more than enough in that basket: C-, do you stay and join us.

I daresay there is, says I, for 'tis heavier than I suppos’d when I offer’d to bring it here.

Captain C- looks shockt and says did those unchivalrous wretches let you carry it all this way?

O, says I, I rode Merlin, but Sir B- W- gave me so many warnings that the footing around the edge of the quarry was very unsure that I left him grazing a little way back.

Jacob S- comes over the edge, looks at his hands and says perhaps Lady B- will forgive him does he not shake hands. He lifts off the specimen box and hands it to Martha, who looks into it and makes exclamations over the fineness of the fossils therein.

Martha and I go spread the cloth from inside the basket upon the ground and set out the fine pique-nique that would almost compare with Seraphine’s.

Indeed there is quite enough to go round and Captain C- looks a deal better for it.

There is some fine refreshing shrub in the basket, and as we sit around and drink this, Jacob S- remarks that he lately heard from the U-s that the Reverend Mr L- has now been read in as parson of the parish.

O, says I, that is a deal more expeditious than I was led to suppose. I am glad to hear it.

He goes on to ask whether I have lately heard from the T-s and I sigh and say even if they have already attain’d to New South Wales, which one cannot be certain of, one could not hope for letters yet. We then tell Captain C- about the T-s and the fine work they do among the convicts and in matters of scientifick observations.

I ask when they expect Lady J-'s return.

Martha says she may already be land’d and gone see how matters go on the estate, did wind and tide show favourable. But sure all is well in hand, but for the matter of the gardens.

I confide, says I, that Lord G- R- would have entirely no objection did you go solicit Roberts’ judgement upon the matter.

'Tis a good thought, says Jacob S-. For has made a deal of difference to the grounds at A-: sure the first time we visit’d they were very ill-kept, and now 'tis entire a show-place. Did you not also remark that Mrs U- has a very fine feeling for gardens?

'Tis so, says I, but in her case 'twould be entire a matter of civility to go look and advize and I know not whether 'twould be an answerable thing.

Why, he says with a smile, the U-s are most extreme prepossesst with Lady B-, and did the solicitation come from her, I doubt not that they would be inclin’d to oblige.

I take thought for a moment: sure there are those that would not welcome the U-s as their merits deserve on account of their religion, and while I fancy that Lady J- has had dealings with ladies of the Jewish faith in her philanthropick endeavours I should like to be assur’d that she would manifest towards Mrs U- something that is not that chill civility that I have seen her display.

Sure, says I, is Lady J- return’d I daresay she will be going to Town before long, and I will go call and open the matter to her. But, I go on, does Herr P- remain on the estate?

Oh no, they say, has gone visit the H-s in Town, the late Herr H- was one of his comrades in arms.

Well, says I, I had better be about returning to the company, and leave you to your endeavours.

Martha smiles and says she will walk along with me, do I not mind, for she has been quite long enough away from Deborah, tho’ 'tis most exceeding delightfull to have her pencil in hand again and fossils to draw. But sure she cannot keep away from her little miracle very long.

So I go lead Merlin, after asking Martha whether she would like to ride - she shakes her head – and we turn back towards the house.

Dear Martha, says I, it is so entirely pleasurable to see you so well.

She laughs happyly and says, 'tis indeed a pleasure to feel more of her old self, and to be able to be more of a helpmeet again. Is she not quite the finest child? And what a very fine woman is Phoebe, is she not quite entire a woman and a sister? My debt to her is quite immeasurable, for I am like to wonder if my own shrinking when putting Deborah to the breast had some adverse effect and perchance she was not getting as much nourishment as she should.

And such a fine head for business - sure Mr de C- is a fine painter but I daresay would be quite roll’d up did she not take matters in hand. As well as her skills in matters of domestick oeconomy - sure you must have been sorry to lose her from your household.

Indeed, says I, for she had been with me a long while: but Dorcas, that is some kind of cousin of hers, answers quite excellent.

Martha laughs and says, is not that the one that Mr van H- goes rave about?

So she is, says I. A most extreme handsome creature tho’ in quite a different style to Phoebe.

We walk a little in silence, breathing in the fine airs and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and the pleasing breeze, and then Martha remarks that Captain C- seems a pleasant amiable fellow but she confides that his doctors are quite right in desiring to take matters easy for somewhat longer. He will go tire very sudden.

What he needs, she continues, is a wife to take care of him.

I laugh and say, why, I will go think over my acquaintance for one that would incline to going to Nova Scotia, or to follow the drum is his regiment post’d elsewhere upon the globe. Sure I should go establish a matrimonial agency: there was that fribble Lord A- goes turn his mind to marriage and askt my advice.

Martha laughs and says she does not wonder at it.

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Sure 'tis very agreeable to be here with my good friends. The dreadfull crocodile is indeed somewhat of a fly in the ointment, but tho’ I cannot like her, she has sufficient good ton that she will be civil to Sandy and will not look at Phoebe as if she considers she should be in the servants’ hall, for she perceives that they are entire valu’d by the rest of the company.

I think she might also have some desire to be snubbing to me, that have so much got above myself, but refrains for similar reason.

I cannot entire like that she makes most exceeding pleasant towards Mrs D- K-, for I do not suppose that this is only kindness towards her bereavement. I am in greater supposition that she knows that the D- K-s were very much in Society and hopes for gossip. And sure Mrs D- K- was quite renown’d in many circles for spitefull gossip, tho’ at present she conducts herself almost meek.

She has even shown herself entire civil towards Sandy when he goes talk to her of her situation and the measures he goes about concerning creditors &C. For tho’ 'tis not transportation, debtors’ prison is no place one would desire to go and most unhealthfull.

I am in some hopes that her previous line of conduct was the effect of her dreadfull matrimonial position, but I would not be entire sure just yet.

There is the prospect of a ball one e’en when the county neighbours will come.

There is a pleasing easyness about the company provid’d that the crocodile and Mrs D- K- are not present. We talk of the various politickal matters that are like to be upon hand, the various persons and places we have seen over the summer, books we have read, what there is like to be at the theatre when Society returns to Town, a deal of gossip, and 'tis all quite entirely amiable.

In this company I may oblige by reading out the poems of Mr W- Y- quite in his own poetickal manner: 'tis deem’d most amuzing.

Mr de C- is still in somber mood, but has took up his pencil and produces most charming little sketches of members of the company, most exceeding telling. 'Tis extreme pretty that he will always look for Phoebe and desire to be near her.

Jacob S- makes discovery of very fine fossils in the quarry, that Martha goes about to draw.

Sir B- W- confides that do I fancy a little riding, I should find Merlin a very answerable mount. So I take some very pleasing rides on the estate, both in solitude and in company with Milord, Biffle, Captain C- and Sir B- W- himself.

As I come back from a pleasing solitary ride, I observe that my darling Eliza is walking with Phoebe about the Plantation, that is a very fine stand of trees, some of them quite out of the common. I confide that she is quite entire the best person for dear Phoebe to talk to, for the pains and pleasures of motherhood that she has known herself.

When I have left Merlin in Ajax’s good hands, I go into the gardens and onto the lawn – I daresay it will cause Docket some distress that I do not quite immediate go change from my riding habit, but this is Liberty Hall - where Susannah and Viola sit with the babies on a rug and the little boys playing. Little Sukey is somewhat shy and clings about her mother’s skirts.

Comes up to me little Essie and says, looking up at me very hopefull, tiger?

O, says Susannah with a crook’d grin, we hear so much about this fine tiger that will come and try devour them when they are in the R- House nursery, I quite long to see it.

Indeed, says Viola, laughing.

Oh, says I, perhaps do I go demonstrate you may undertake the like yourselves.

So I go down to hands and knees and paw the air, and growl, and chase Essie and Bobbie, and then Sukey comes toddle into the game, and Susannah and Viola laugh somewhat immoderate, and then come around the side of the house the gentlemen, that have been smoaking and talking politicks.

They are most exceeding amuz’d at the sight.

Tigers, eh? says Sir B- W-. Sure I remember good old General Y-'s fine tales of hunting tigers in the Indies – on elephants, was it not?

He looks at Biffle, who frowns. General Y-? he says.

Oh, says Milord, I am like to think that the General join’d our set while you were in Constantinople, and I daresay was in what was alas his last illness when you return’d and thus not so much in our company.

A splendid fellow! cries Sir B- W-. Had show’d most heroick in the wars in those parts, but did not make brag upon that, but had the very finest tales of hunting in the jungle. Gave some very fine bachelor parties at his place in Surrey – He turns to Milord – do you recall those fine tiger-skins there?

I see my belov’d Josiah endeavouring to keep a straight face, for sure he must recall one of those tiger-skins in pleasing conjunction with my own skin.

Oh! cries Viola, was that not the gentleman who gave those fascinating articles to the East India Museum? – little figures of the Hindoo trades, and their gods, and suchlike.

Indeed, says I, I am like to think 'twas a bequest.

Had a cook made the most excellent fine curries, goes on Sir B- W-.

Now, says I, goes keep an eating house for the seamen of his nation somewhere about the docks. Convey’d to Seraphine a deal of fine receipts.

Why, says Milord, mayhap we might have a tiffin-party some day – that is the word, is it not, tiffin, signifys a midday repast? Currie puffs – pillow – kabobs in the Hindoostanee style –

Indeed, says I, I am sure Seraphine would quite delight to prepare the like. And then, I daresay, Euphemia would be most pressing to do the same, 'tis a friendly rivalry twixt the two of 'em.

Why, says Sir B- W-, 'tis a fine plan. And my dear, he says to Susannah, I daresay by the time we are return’d to Town, you will feel quite inclin’d to such an occasion?

She smiles at him, and sure one may see the very excellent affection that is between 'em, and says indeed she dares say by then she will be finding herself quite ravenous.

Little Sukey goes run somewhat unsteady towards her papa, and clings on to his leg. He looks down at her very fond and swings her up into his arms. There you are, my dear, he says, I will not let the bad tiger get you.

Bobbie offers that he is not in least scar’d of tigers: why, says Susannah, 'tis that you are quite a big boy now. I daresay when you were of her age you would have found tigers frightening too.

Essie declares that neither is he scar’d of tigers. The two of them fall to boasting about what they are not scar’d of.

At this moment come up to the company my darling and Phoebe, that says she confides 'tis entire time for Deborah’s elevens -

And, says Viola, Cathy’s too, I see 'em both start making little hungry mouths. Let us go take 'em in and feed 'em their tiffin.

Eliza goes sit plump down in the chair Viola has just vacat’d, and says that she apprehends that Lady B- has just been about playing tigers, for her hair goes come down.

O, I cry, sure Docket will go scold me somewhat fierce. I had better go in and be furbisht up (tho’ I am in some consideration that several of the gentlemen of the party have seen me in much greater states of dishevelment, even were it only from driving most extreme fast in a curricle).

So I go in and to my chamber, and find that Docket is in conclave with Tibby in the dressing-room, so 'tis Sophy that goes about to put my hair up again, dress me in somewhat that is not riding-habit, &C.

I am once again fit to show in company, when comes out Tibby, makes me a very polisht curtesy and says she would be oblig’d might she have a private word with My Ladyship.

Why, of course, says I, if 'tis a private matter we might go to that fine window-nook at the far end of the corridor.

We sit down upon the window-seat there and I look with considerable pleasure upon Tibby, that looks exceeding well and is most impressive turn’d-out.

She opens to me that Titus would be most exceeding delight’d to perform for the benefit of any of my charities and wonders a little that I have not askt.

Sure, says I, I should not like him to feel that he was under any obligation -

O, says Tibby, indeed he has the greatest consciousness that 'tis to you that he owes any success he has had.

Fiddlesticks, says I, 'twas Mr G- D- that observ’d that he had a very fine voice that would repay good training.

But, responds Tibby, are those would have said 'twas unfitting to his station, but you went about to promote his interest.

Well, says I, does he feel so, I am like to think that I already have matters in hand for my next drawing-room meeting, but I daresay there will be more. I will go consider upon the matter.

(Alas that I may not hold a drawing-room meeting for the benefit of Dolly Mutton’s enterprize.)

Tibby then remarks that 'tis exceeding pleasant that Her Grace goes into Society once more, and intends to take her see Maurice when we are return’d to Town. Has expresst himself most eager to dress her.

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O, 'tis quite entire delightfull to have my darlings with me in my pretty house, sure it quite exceeds.

Josiah tells me that Mr D- took the opportunity afforded by the works being clos’d for Wakes Week to go make a visit to my lead-mine, and took Harry with him – 'twas quite the treat for him, would far rather go see a mine and steam-pumps and smelting mill than almost anything.

Why, says I, I am glad of that, for I am in some concern that it may seem as if the others get treats that he does not.

Why, says Eliza, I daresay he would not dislike being at Captain P-'s fine place, but he would not delight in it the way that Josh does. Us’d ever to be begging his Papa to take him to the works.

Josiah smiles fondly and says that the boy ever had a great feeling for machinery. He confides that 'tis not the like with Josh and that 'twould be something of an unkindness to suppose he would go into the works in due course.

I daresay, says I, that at present he has a mind to becoming a veterinarian.

Well, 'tis ever usefull for a young man to have some trade or profession in his hands, and one would not want one’s sons to be trifling idlers - and sure one cannot tell at Josh’s age what he will want when he comes of years to choose some course – but they will not be in such case that they will need to take up any uncongenial occupation.

Eliza sighs and says Josh will sometimes express a desire to go Africa or the antipodes or the Indies, to see the curious strange animals there are there. Mayhap 'tis some childish whim, and yet, are there not fellows that are renown’d zoologists?

Why, says I, indeed there are, and they will be known to Mr S- from the Royal Society, I hazard. You might go ask him when we are in Somerset – Susannah W- says they have invit’d the S-s and the de C-s.

They are so hospitable! says Eliza. Have staying with them at present a Captain C-, that is a friend, or perchance a comrade-in-arms, of his cousin the Major, that the physicians will not yet guarantee fit to return to his regiment in Nova Scotia.

Sure that is an excellent thing! says I. I was introduc’d to the fellow by Major W-, that had been given furlough on account of the death of his elder brother and having matters of the estate to deal with, but I confide is now return’d to Upper Canada, or on the way there. Seem’d a very agreeable fellow.

They both give me a thoughtfull look and say, they do not recollect that the loveliest of C-s. mention’d that she had seen Major W-.

My darlings, says I, sure he is an old friend that sent me that excellent fine bearskin, and took me driving in the Park &C. Indeed I would not go cut him just because I am become a Marchioness.

They laugh, tho’ perchance a little uneasy, and say that they would not like their dearest of C-s to be uncivil.

O my loves! I cry, surely you do not become jealous over some antient admirer that is already upon his way to the frozen wastes?

Do you put it thus, says Josiah, 'tis indeed foolish. Yet, I am like to recall that Major W- was an exceptional well-set-up fellow.

O, I daresay, says I, but altho’ an agreeable enough fellow, he is not the most fascinating of conversationalists. But, my very dearest darlings, you do know that you have entirely the first place in my heart?

Eliza sighs and says indeed, they are being entire foolish, and yet, when they go into company, and hear Lady B- so much admir’d and talkt upon, they will sometimes think that 'twas quite entire a dream that they could be in triangle with such a one.

Really, my darlings, says I. Sure I am a vain creature that loves to be admir’d, and 'tis most gratifying to hear that I am, but I could be quite entire happy with my dear F-s and their family, was this a matter we could contrive.

We all sigh.

Sure, says Eliza, we are become somewhat dolefull, but I think I have a remedy for that.

Josiah and I sigh that we are quite helpless to resist the wiles of a certain wild girl.

'Tis the most entirely agreeablest thing, but that we do not also have my treasur’d Flora and the other dear children with us, and alas it can be only a temporary pleasure.

But, indeed, 'tis entire a more pleasing anticipation that we go to Sir B- W-'s estate for a house-party, where 'twill be as 'twere our inner set of good friends, than the many visits we have been oblig’d to make.

My darlings go in one of the R- House carriages, for it might look somewhat particular did they come in mine.

So I go in my own fine carriage, with Docket and Sophy, and because of my concern for Docket’s health, we take the journey at a prudent pace and pass a night at an inn.

'Tis late in the afternoon when we arrive at the place. I am told that the company takes tea upon the lawn, so I go out there.

'Tis an excellent fine lawn surround’d by flowerbeds, and with a little stream runs purling to one side. Bobbie W- and Lord S- are on the bank very intent upon making mud pies.

I go greet my dear friends.

Viola says that she suppos’d Essie was a little lonely and desolate without the fine company he was us’d to in the R- House nursery set, and Susannah thought 'twould be most agreeable for Bobbie to have one of his accustom’d playmates, for Sukey is not yet of an age to join in his plays. So here he is, and having an excellent fine time.

Sir B- W- is giving Sukey a ride upon his back, 'tis extreme delightfull to see.

I look about the company.

Susannah says that Mr S- cannot be kept away from the quarry, for he is in hopes of finding some fine fossils; Martha goes with him with her sketchbook. O, and she must warn me, there is a fly in the ointment of this most agreeable gathering: the dreadfull crocodile, finding out that the matter was toward, has return’d most premature from Bath; greatly upset the business of having various matters in the Dower House put to rights.

Mrs D- K-? I ask.

Very quiet, says Susannah, behaves civil tho’ I think she was somewhat taken aback that Phoebe is of our company. O, here comes Captain C-, that I confide you have already met.

Captain C- has a gun with him and a dog at his heels and carries several dead birds, and begs to be excus’d shaking hands for that reason. A few pigeons, he says, perchance enough for a pie, he will go hang them in the game-larder.

As he goes upon his way, Susannah remarks that he is the most agreeable guest, will as they say find his own entertainment. She confides he is somewhat lower’d in spirits at the verdict of the quacks that he is not yet fit for active service, and they shake their heads greatly does he mention any desire to return to Nova Scotia before next spring, but he does not go moping about, tries to keep chearfull.

I remark that I daresay they will not have heard yet from Major W-, that can hardly yet be at Upper Canada?

Alas, no, but remarkt considerable when he was here how very well Lady B- lookt, sure time has quite stood still with her, &C.

O, the wretch, I cry, I confide he was in hopes you would repeat that to me.

Well, she replies with her charming crook’d smile, he also talkt of whether he might sell out and go settle in those parts, and marry –

I laugh somewhat immoderate. Sure I do not think I should be suit’d to a pioneering life, says I.

Susannah looks at me and endeavours without success not to reflect my mirth.

The R- carriages arrive with my darlings and Lord G- R- and Sandy.

When they come to join the company Eliza goes at once to where little Lady Cathy and Deborah are lying upon a rug and waving their little hands in the air, picks 'em up and talks nonsense to 'em: sure I think that she is of a mind with Bess and Meg that 'twould indeed be agreeable to have another baby in the family: but alas, 'tis by no means a prudent course. Perchance one might seek fresh medical opinions, but sure I doubt the profession would have chang’d their views in the matter since she near lost her life with Quintus.

But, I say to Susannah, where is Phoebe?

O, says she, now Phillips is arriv’d with the M- party, she goes exchange family news and gossip with her.

Indeed, says I, I daresay Sophy is also of the party. I hope Docket does not go overtire herself over the unpacking.

The agreeable buzz of friendly conversation is of a sudden shatter’d as Bobbie and Essie come to some dissension over their mudpies and start throwing mud at one another.

Come, come, says Biffle, picking up his heir, that is showing signs of crying with temper, let us not behave as tho’ we were in Parliament -

O, very good! says Sir B- W-.

I daresay, says Viola, 'tis high time for nursery tea - why, here comes Betty now.

I look about my friends and think upon how exceeding pleasant 'tis to be among them.

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Sure my darlings and I are in most desperate desire to be in triangle and indeed 'tis within a very short space of time that we are together in my boudoir about this matter almost ferocious from the longing we have been in.

O, says I, at last, o my very dear ones, sure I have been quite starving, o, I am a wick’d greedy C-.

My dear Eliza goes snuggle her head against my shoulder, and says that sure we have been at playing amorous tigers together. Perchance now 'tis time to be sleepy wombatts?

Josiah says that she may go be a sleepy wombatt if she so desires but he is like to be a famisht bear that will become very cross does he not eat quite shortly.

Indeed, my darlings, says I, I confide that Euphemia will have put up a very nice little supper for us, 'twould be incivil not to go partake.

We rise somewhat languid and make ourselves respectable once more, while exchanging many kisses.

Euphemia has indeed put up a most excellent supper and we find ourselves with very fine appetites for it.

Oh, 'tis a most extreme pleasure to have my darlings all night and that they do not have to go creep away before morning.

We sit over a very fine breakfast that we take rather late, smiling much upon one another.

Eliza says that she dares say she should go visit R- House so that she can make sure that the east wing will be ready for 'em once they come back to Town, and whether there is any matter requires putting in hand, tho’ sure now they are more in the way of good practices she confides that she should not need to be about leaving instructions about having the chimneys swept, the carpets took up and well-beaten &C.

Josiah sighs and says that he supposes that he should go and see whether there have been any messages left at his club; and then he should go call on B- at the bank.

And I, says I, have household matters to be about and a deal of letters that came during my absence. Do you two take the carriage.

At this moment comes Hector showing in Sandy, that I think looks a little put about that I have company. I daresay he would desire to go interrogate me about the matter of Mrs D- K-. Nonetheless, he greets us very civil, accepts coffee and a pikelet, and hopes all is well with us.

I see my naughty wild girl in some difficulties at suppressing laughter, and I remark that perchance she could return to R- House with Mr MacD-.

Indeed, she says, that would answer exceedingly.

'Tis hard to find somewhat to say about our late house-party when such an unexpect’d event came to the proceedings.

Eliza says that she hopes they found matters in order upon their return to R- House?

Oh, says Sandy, the good practices continue to hold.

He then grins and says, he doubts not that we will not yet have had a chance to peruse the press? There is a matter of note concerning Mr W- Y-: has taken out an advertizement that due to the printer’s folly, a poem that was not his appear’d in his recent volume, that has now been withdrawn from sale.

And, he says, for sure this is a time of year when they are quite desperate to fill their columns with somewhat, this is most widely report’d and there is considerable speculation about this fine new poet whose poem was includ’d in errour, and hopes that he will make himself and his works known.

What, says I, are there no sapient pigs that they may go speculate upon?

Josiah says that he confides that this is one of C-'s secrets that is not her own to disclose?

I say indeed, some while ago I made the acquaintance of a young person that is already a most accomplisht poet - but I would suppose wishes to preserve anonymity - that would be the author of the poem in question.

Does the poet, says Sandy, wish to publish that very fine piece and any others he has on hand, even is it under some incognito, I should be happy to effect introductions to publishers.

I will make that kind offer known to 'em, says I.

Eliza says she supposes that that rascal Mr W- Y- did not really try to blow Mr D- K-'s head off?

Sandy says that he confides that 'twas an entire accident, indeed Mr W- Y- is a quite wretch’d shot. But Mr D- K- was ever brangling over this or that matter and throwing about wild accusations. – Josiah makes assenting grunts to this - He dares say that there are many that are pleas’d to see him dead.

A very disagreeable fellow, says Eliza.

Indeed, says Sandy. He will have to go see whether he may compound with the fellow’s creditors, that may well be happy to receive somewhat even if 'tis not the full amount, rather than go sue the widow in court.

When all are gone about this various business, I go sit at my pretty desk and look at the pile of letters. I sigh. Sure I should be about finding how matters stand within the household first. I ring for Hector.

I ask for how matters have gone within the household, and he tells me that all has been excellent fine. He has gone consider upon the matter of an ice-house and would be desirous of asking Mr MacD- does he know anything of the business.

That is a good thought, says I. And is all else well?

Indeed, he says, but that Timothy goes outgrow his livery again.

Why, says I, he is at that time of life when young fellows of a sudden shoot up. And do you hear from Titus?

Hector smiles exceedingly and says, he does very well in Bath at present, 'tis most gratifying. But, Your Ladyship, I wonder somewhat that you have not askt him to perform at a drawing-room meeting for one of your good causes: I confide he would be quite entire agreeable.

Indeed that is a thought, says I, I will put my mind to it. And if there is no other matter for us to talk of, you might send in Dorcas.

Comes in Dorcas. I say that I hear that all goes well in the household – indeed, she says – and how do Dolly Mutton’s unfortunates?

Dorcas smiles and says, o, they most greatly benefitted from their sojourn at the seaside, and what do you think? One of them goes marry a fisherman she met there! And will go live entire respectable. Sure there is a fine chapel in the place with most excellent good preaching, 'twas where they met.

Dorcas, says I, I do not know if you mind on Mr van H-, that was Mr de C-'s best man at his wedding. He was most greatly struck by your looks – Dorcas casts down her eyes very modest – and is in great desire to paint you -

Dorcas opens her mouth, doubtless to say something concerning vanity.

- he has a notion of a painting of the works of mercy, 'twould be most edifying.

She looks thoughtfull. Why, she says, if 'tis a fine moral piece that conveys a message, like unto Mr de C-'s paintings on the evils of slavery, 'tis a different matter from vain display and I will go consider upon it and seek guidance. If there is nothing else, Your Ladyship - ? She makes her bob and goes.

I look at the letters upon my desk, sigh, and determine that before I go deal with them I will go to the kitchen to see how Euphemia does and commend her for last night’s fine supper, for sure there was unexpect’d company and yet she contriv’d most exceeding. I do not like to call her to me lest she be about some delicate culinary matter that requires attention.

When I go into the kitchen she is about washing sallets, and there is a skinny pale young creature sits at the table about eating some fine fruitcake, that looks up to see me at the door and her mouth drops open.

O, Your Ladyship, says Euphemia, this is Nell, that does for the mews cottage, comes in here for her elevens – Nell, get up and make your curtesy, and then take your cake into the cottage, and mind you do not drop crumbs, or we shall be having mice.

Nell makes a little dip, and then scuttles off out with her cake.

Euphemia sighs and says she is a good willing girl, and comes about to be handy, but not yet ready to go into good service. But she is getting into good practices.

I commend the supper she put up yestere’en, and desire the same for this e’en, for Mr and Mrs F- come stay a night or two while their part of R- House is clos’d up, before we all go down to Somerset. And all goes well with kitchen matters? I hear she is most desirous of an ice house.

She smiles and says that she has heard so much from Seraphine of their virtues that can one be contriv’d she will be extreme delight’d.

And marry’d life still suits you?

O yes, Your Ladyship, says Euphemia very ardent.

I look her up and down in a way that any woman that has been marry’d fairly recent must expect, and she lowers her eyes and says, no, nothing of that just yet; and I mind that Tibby convey’d to her the intelligence she had of me concerning spunges &C, and perchance she wishes to become more us’d to her new state before entering the state of motherhood. And indeed she is still very young.

There is plenty of time, says I.

Indeed, she says. And adds that she hears from Seraphine that she believes herself in the way to increase again. Also Julius and Hannah thrive exceedingly.

I am extreme glad that all seems well within the household. And the thought that I shall shortly have my darlings’ company once more sends me back to my correspondence with a smile.

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The body has been committed to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, and this is sure a very immense relief to me. I do not of course attend the funeral, but go a little ride upon Merrylegs to raise my spirits, which are still much lower’d.

On my return I leave Merrylegs with Ajax, and go walk rather slow back to the house, past the kitchen garden.

One goes psssst to me from the other side of the wall – I look thro’ the archway and see that Josiah and Sandy, that still wear their black armbands, are leaning against the wall and smoaking cigars.

How now, says I, are there not funeral bak’d meats laid ready for the mourners?

I daresay there are, says Josiah, but MacD- and I were wishfull to find some occasion to have a word with you.

Oh? says I. About what matter?

They look from one to the other, clear their throats and then Sandy says, pray assure us that you are not going to give sanctuary to the widow.

I look at them and say, why, I had had some thoughts of it, but I very precipitous conclud’d that 'twould be entirely unanswerable. Sure I pity the poor creature greatly, but my house is a small house. Also, I would be in some concern that she might be about poking and prying to see if she might find some matter that would work to her advantage (or more like, I confide, to see if she might recover the hat-pin), and my secrets are not all my own. I am further like to recollect how very insulting the late Mr D- K- was on the subject of blacks when we were at A-, and I would not have one about the house that could not behave with civility towards my good people.

I sigh and say I know not what is to be done with her. O, do not look at me in that way! Does it not come to your mind that her late husband was, we have the strongest suspicions, about endeavouring to discover matters that would be to the discredit of our set, and perchance she knows who would be interest’d in hearing of such matters? 'Twould be most entire prudent to ensure that she considers us as friends that have not abandon’d a pennyless widow in her extremity.

They look at me and then from one to another and smile and say, sure, they should have known that dearest C- would have a long view on the matter.

But I still do not come at what may be done.

But, says Josiah, you most justly show it as a matter that affects us all, and that we should jointly conclave over.

Sandy nods. Provid’d, he adds, that Sir V- P- is not in the company.

O, says I, I will go leave the business in your masculine hands and wash my own of it.

Sure now that this business of bodies and burials has been dispatcht we may be about quitting this spot, can we but find some stratagem for Mrs D- K-.

I am taking a little turn in the garden later in the day, in hopes of bringing something to mind, when comes out of the house dear Susannah, takes my arm very friendly and says, let us go sit in the arbour where we may be a little private .

I concede to her request.

Dearest C-, she says, I hope you will let your friends sometimes go about to contrive and not take it all upon yourself. I confide that you will be coming to our little house-party in Somerset, where 'twill be entirely good friends - I have the promise that the S-s will come, and am in some hopes that they will bring the de C-s with them – and we may then convoke concerning this present difficulty.

She gives me her charming crook’d smile. Sir B- W- suggest’d to me that we invite Mrs D- K- to come stay with us for a little while –

That is most extreme good of you, says I.

- 'twill be entirely no trouble, and surely she will not wish to return to Town just at present. So she may come with us when we depart.

O, my dear Susannah, I say, as tears quite spring to my eyes, that so entirely answers. 'Tis a place where she will have no adverse associations, the airs quite extreme sanitive, just what a grieving widow might desire – but my dear, are you not in any concern, given her previous wont’d ways, that she may cast her eyes upon Sir B- W-?

Susannah laughs. O, she may cast her eyes, but I do not think he is in any danger: he may consider that she is in the case of a dog made vicious by a bad master, but as in such a case he will be most cautious lest she bite his hand. And we may wonder how much of her allurements were at her husband’s instruction.

That is so, says I, perchance she will be delight’d not to behave thus.

Or perchance, says Susannah with a wick’d grin, she could go lesson herself with Lady B- as to how the matter should be undertaken, and mayhap she would have more success.

I am surpriz’d into a fit of the giggles. Has already askt my advice on becoming a demimondaine, I squeek at length.

Susannah laughs somewhat immoderate. And then becomes more sober and says, dearest C-, I should not wish to pry, but indeed there are times of late that I see you look a little distrait, and I fear there is some trouble come to you.

Oh, I cry, indeed, 'tis no heavy matter, but I have been about making visits so much among those who are not of my wont’d circle these last months, and sure everyone has been most exceeding gracious, but 'tis somewhat fretting nonetheless, and I would desire to be back in my own pretty house among my own people.

Why, I hope you will not find it fretting to come to us in Somerset – indeed we shall do our best to keep the dread crocodile away from you –

Not in the least! I cry, 'twill be an entire pleasure to be amongst friends and not be woken by scratchings at my chamber door -

Or chas’d by angry swans!

She kisses me and says she should be about ensuring that all their packing is complet’d, and that that poor woman is ready to depart –

'Tis most exceeding good of you to offer her refuge, says I.

Susannah laughs, and says that the inwardness of the business has been covertly convey’d to them and they quite perceive the usefullness of keeping her under their eyes.

She goes in and I remain sitting a little longer, and then mind me of a thought I have had.

I go look for my belov’d Eliza, that I find giving her receipts for soothing lotions to Miss Constance. For are Sir V- P-'s shoots habitual plagu’d by noxious insects, 'twould be prudent to have a supply put by in readyness.

Miss Constance expresses herself most extreme gratefull, and then sighs and says sure she will be glad to get back to Cheltenham.

I commend her housekeeping &C and remark that if there is any service she requires, I am at her disposal.

I walk off with my dearest darling, and when we are out of earshot, I say that I daresay that the east wing of R- House has been shut up and will not be in readyness for its occupants on their return to Town. Sure my house is a small house but even so I can find accommodation for guests in some nook or cranny, now that Hector and Euphemia go live in that fine pretty mews cottage.

My love turns to me and I see her eyes sparkle. O, Lady B-, she says, that is most exceeding kind of you, for indeed we were in some concern that R- House would not yet be prepar’d for us and we would find all at sixes and sevens. Sure I must go ask my lord and master -

We both endeavour to suppress laughter –

- but I cannot suppose he would not accept such a very kind offer.

Indeed dear Josiah is entirely agreeable to this plan.

I entirely confide that my household will have all in readyness for my return and that they will find no difficulty in accommodating unexpect’d guests.

When I arrive at my own front door, and go in, to be greet’d by Hector as if I had only gone out a few hours since to walk in the Park, I tell him that we shall be expecting the F-s, as R- House is not properly prepar’d for 'em, and he takes this most exceeding calm. He dares say that I would like Euphemia to put up a nice little supper? He will go desire her to be about the matter.

I go into my dear pretty parlour and see that there is a deal of letters and cards pil’d upon my pretty desk. I go to it, and go open the secret compartment that is not the one wherein I keep the miniature of my darling child, and secrete in it the hatpin wrapt in a handkerchief. For somehow I am disinclin’d yet to dispose of it utterly.

'Tis not at all much later when my darlings arrive and are shown in by Hector.

As soon as he is gone we are embrac’d together most extreme close and exchanging kisses. O, has been far too long since I was in my darlings’ arms, and I confide that they feel quite entire the like.

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Sure I am most extreme prepossesst with my circle, that rally round to undertake the business about undertakers, funerals &C, and convoke over what may be done for poor Mrs D- K-. (Mr W- Y-'s sensibilities, however, have led him to take his congé from this gathering.)

Sandy, that I am in some supposition still holds suspicions, but has not spoken from, I would hazard, a consideration that this might come to implicate me, says that Milord has quite agreed that someone should go look into the affairs of the late Mr D- K- and see whether there is anything left for the widow. He confides that this is a matter he can undertake.

Mrs D- K- remains closet’d in her chamber, and weeps much. I go sit with her and manage to wring from her such matters as the name and direction of their man of law, their bank, &C.

But there is no money, she says, we had been living on credit this long time, and then goes weep again.

At length she dries her eyes and says, she dares say she will have to go be a w---e in true earnest instead for her husband’s interest.

My dear, says I, sure I could not recommend such a course. 'Tis harder work than you may suppose, and requires a deal of being business-like. 'Tis easy enough to find fellows that will f—k you and even pay for the pleasure of doing so, but to make a comfortable living takes a deal more, such as listening to fellows prose on and smiling and appearing to be entire fascinat’d, making oneself generally agreeable, being someone that they are delight’d to be seen with in places of resort. 'Tis not, I add, quite entire a matter of having fine looks: indeed I have known ladies of the town that were not so very remarkable for beauty but nonetheless did extreme well for themselves.

But you would know how to go about the matter –

Sure I was as 'twere apprentic’d to Madame Z- for some while before I set up independent, 'twas most extreme beneficial to my interest.

But what shall I do? she says. I am not well-educat’d enough to be a governess -

My dear, 'tis but a few days since this exceeding violent change in your circumstances, and you are over-set. Do you not have any family that you might go stay with?

No, she says, she was an orphan and her guardian dy’d some while ago: he had not want’d her to wed Mr D- K- but she was of age, what could he do? And there would be no good calling upon his family, there is a deal of bad feeling over loans that were never repaid &C.

And no friends? I ask.

She gives a harsh bark that I confide to be laughter. Friends? That you should ask me that. I was not to go cozying with females - even when I was not to be contriving to seduce their husbands. And indeed I had little inclination to the matter.

There were, she continues, two or three old school-fellows, but she became estrang’d from them on account of her marriage.

Might you not write to 'em in your chang’d circumstance?

She sighs, and turns her head away.

Sure I would not badger her, for she shows very distresst.

I am particular concern’d as I hear from the ladys’ maid conclave that Connolly has receiv’d no wages these last two quarters, while they have been going about making visits. I am like to confide that they accept’d Sir V- P-'s invitation as 'twould mean a roof over their heads and food on the table for the while, as much as any chance to wreak any plots they were inclin’d to. They had give up their lodgings in London, and Mr D- K-'s estate (which is heavily encumber’d by mortgages &C) is let.

I sigh.

I go to my own chamber, for I do not feel inclin’d to company, and sit on the bed, feeling mournfull.

There is a little tapping upon the door and comes in my own best belov’d Eliza, that comes sit beside me and puts her arm around me.

Dearest of all C-s, she says, are you well? Do you have the headache?

I turn my face onto her shoulder and burst into tears. She strokes my hair until the fit is somewhat passt, and says, she dares say most do not notice and think Lady B- is entire her wont’d self, but they see that she is troubl’d and sad - indeed so does His Grace, but the company at large does not.

Sure, says I, has been a troubling several days now, that must affect all. But I am in great concern that I cannot come about to contrive some suitable course for Mrs D- K- -

Kindest-heart’d of C-s, says my love, why should you care?

I lift my head and dab at my eyes with my handkerchief and said, when I consider how entire overcome I was that one single occasion with the Junker, and she has had to put up with the like all the time of her marriage, my heart cannot help but go out to her.

O, I continue, you may say that tho’ he was a brute, he did not near-kill her, but sure I confide she must have thought on many an occasion that he might; do you not recall that time at A-? And I think how long it took me to return to my wont’d ways. But I had friends - sure the old Duke show’d most exceeding kind – and my dear good people in the household – and money put by – and jewels that I could pawn or sell did my straits become extreme –

My dearest love, says Eliza, kissing my face, you were low-spirit’d before this even came about.

Indeed, says I, I do not know why it should be but I was really most extreme shaken by encountering that madman.

I do not wonder! she exclaims, when I consider how he torment’d and worry’d you when you were in Surrey, and he was suppos’d sane. But, my very dearest, do not carry this all on your own lovely shoulders. Indeed there are others turning over plans – and I think we may have a place for Connolly. For Bellamy, knowing how matters are with her from the lady’s-maid conclave, has put it to Susannah that there has been worry in their household that the dreadfull crocodile’s maid is in such state that she should be pension’d and given lodging in the fine almshouses on their estate – has rheumaticks in her hands and her sight fails - and would not Connolly suit very well?

O, says I, sure I am no great friend to the dreadfull crocodile, but at the very least Connolly would be having her wages paid regular, and not be in a cat and dog household. And old Lady W- is ever about making excursions to some spaw or other, 'twould not be as if she would be entire bury’d in Somerset. And even there I confide the crocodile goes about in a deal of county society.

I kiss my dearest Eliza and say, that is one worry lift’d. But indeed, what is to be done about her mistress? For altho’ I daresay she inherits her husband’s estate – if 'tis not entail’d, and even then I confide she would have some widow’s interest? – I am like to think that any income must go to paying off his very many debts.

I add that she speaks very wild of going on the town, but I do not think that would answer at all.

Eliza laughs somewhat hysterickal.

But, says I, what are we to do with her?

Dear love, says Eliza, I think you need to stop fretting upon it. Do you not find that sometimes you must let a matter alone and concern yourself about other matters, and then ‘twill go come about to resolve the difficulties?

I give a somewhat shaky little laugh and say, sure 'tis like leaving bread to prove.

As if, says Eliza with a fond smile, the loveliest of C-s has ever been about making bread. She gives me a kiss, and says sure there are other ideas come into her mind, but she confides that this is, alas, not the time or the place. Now, go desire Docket to lay cowcumber upon your eyes for a little while, and then come join the company.

I do as she bids and while I rest with my eyes clos’d I turn my mind to thinking about a tale I have under consideration.

In due course I go downstairs and am appriz’d that the funeral will be tomorrow. The ladies, of course, will not be expect’d to attend upon the occasion. The gentlemen, being from home, do not have mourning dress at hand, but the working-party of the ladys’ maids goes make them black armbands.

I go walk a little in the garden with my parasol. Comes up to me Sir B- W- and says he hopes I am feeling better. O, indeed, says I, but I felt that a little turn in the air would quite clear my head.

He says sure I show very benevolent to Mrs D- K-, that has show’d such poor ton in the past. Yet, he says, thinking of her late husband, the wretch’d scrub, he is mind’d of dogs that would be vicious not from their own nature but because they had a bad master. Perchance 'tis somewhat of the same case with her.

Why, says I, I confide that 'tis somewhat of the case. And can the dogs be brought round to better conduct do they have a better master?

He says he has known those that do that: just as there are those, such as that fine creature in Northamptonshire, that can gentle some vicious horse into a pleasing ride for a lady.

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I am in considerable concern as to how I might dispose of the hat-pin where 'twill not be found. At present 'tis conceal’d in one of the secret compartments of my travelling desk.

Mrs D- K- keeps to her chamber. I am somewhat concern’d over her, but she is now taking a little food convey’d to her on a tray by Connolly, which eases my mind somewhat.

Has been determin’d by the gentlemen of the party that since 'tis a most sudden death, there must be a crowner’s inquest. 'Twas Biffle that persuad’d 'em that this was not something that could be avoid’d, arguing that Mr D- K- was a fellow known to have many enemies and therefore there should be no imputations of anything havey-cavey in the matter that might reflect upon our set: especially was he about looking for evidence of sedition as we were like to suppose.

The inquest is to be held at this house, rather than in some local tavern, as soon as maybe, can the crowner empanel a sufficient jury. It is much desir’d to have the viewing of the body before it corrupts, which in this present weather will not be long, even tho’ has been convey’d into the coolest part of the cellar. The crowner is a country neighbour of Sir V- P- and goes about to be obliging to him and his distinguisht guests, that will not wish to be kept kicking their heels waiting upon the matter, and include ladies that might not wish to have to go into a public house to present their evidence. 'Twill also, 'tis to be hop’d, mean that there will not be a crowd of idle fellows that come watch as if 'twere some raree-show.

This proceeding worrys me somewhat, even tho’ all are in such accord that they fear’d just such a tragedy. His fits of temper are much recount’d, and his brangle with Mr W- Y- (tho’ none goes so far as to wonder whether Mr W- Y- took some covert vengeance). I daresay it is all to the best to have the thing done in all order and not hugger-mugger.

But at least should be done with all expedition.

So we now have the gentlemen about the place during the day, for 'tis consider’d improper to go on with the shoot.

Sir B- W- remarks that sure the shooting is very fine and they have made a good bag, but they were being so bit by horse-flies and mosquitoes and other biting stinging pests that he is somewhat reliev’d that they are no longer going out.

Indeed, says Milord, 'twas quite a task to retain equanimity under the onslaught.

My belov’d Eliza has begg’d Miss Constance that she may use the stillroom to make up some fine soothing lotions for those afflict’d, and occupys herself about this task.

I observe that Sandy still has somewhat of a brooding air, but it may be because he suffers most particular with itching from the bites, which is indeed trying to a philosophickal disposition.

I go sit in the garden, where Viola sits upon a bench under a tree with little Lady Cathy upon her lap, and Biffle sits at her feet: 'tis an entire charming sight. I take this opportunity to advance the interest of Lady Anna and Lady Emily M-.

O, she says, I hardly feel myself one that could guide young women upon their first steps in Society. When I think how I nearly ruin’d my own chances –

And now, says I, you have entirely gain’d in wisdom and they are more like to heed you and warnings you may give because you are only some few years their senior. Indeed, they have been out some little time but I apprehend that their aunt, that is now gone to Bombay, was something of a fusty old chaperone.

My dear, says Biffle, sure you will have a deal of going about in Society to undertake once the Season is fully under way, so taking these young ladies about a little will not lay any extra matter upon you. I also think 'twould do us good with Lord N-: tho’ I do not suppose we could incline him entire to our interest, does he have a good opinion of our set he commands a deal of influence.

O, between you you quite entirely persuade me!

I do not, says I, expect you to undertake the entire responsibility – tho’ I daresay Susannah will not be going out into Society by then, I will do what I can for 'em, they are agreeable young women.

Biffle grins and says there is an on-dit that their brother lyes pierc’d thro’ by Cupid’s arrows at Lady B-'s feet.

When, says I, he was not following Mr MacD- like a puppy hoping for pearls of wisdom to drop into his mouth.

Comes wambling up to us Sir V- P- to bleat that the crowner has summon’d a fitting jury for the morrow. Biffle gets up and says, let the two of 'em go consider where the matter might be held. Sure the jurors may go into the cellar for the viewing, there should be enough light is it daytime.

He links his arm thro’ Sir V- P-'s and draws him away to discuss the matter.

Is he not exceeding patient? remarks Viola. Sure my head buzzes am I oblig’d to hold much converse with Sir V- P-.

Indeed he is become quite the finest diplomatist!

Viola looks doating down at little Cathy for a while, and then looks up with a frown and says, will not Mrs D- K- have to give evidence? And should she not have mourning?

I smile and say the matter is quite entire in hand: Mrs F- and I went into the nearest town for the necessary stuffs, and Docket and Sophy and Williams, and I daresay Bellamy and Phillips as well, go help Connolly to get all ready. 'Tis quite the working-party.

She smiles back at me and says sure she should have known that Lady B- would have all under hand.

(Sure I wish I could be entire sure that I did have all under hand; I am quite upon tenter-hooks until the inquest be past.)

Indeed we are all somewhat sombre until that time.

But comes the morn, and we are all dresst suitably sober for the occasion, and Mrs D- K- comes forth in entire suitable black and veil’d. She still seems in somewhat of a daze.

Arrives the crowner and the carriages with the fellows that are to form the jury, and they go into the chamber that has been prepar’d for the business, and there is various matter of swearing oaths &C, and then they are took to view the body.

They do not linger long about the matter, and several have handkerchiefs held to their noses when they return.

The surgeon has been summon’d and gives his opinion of the matter.

Connolly and Mrs D- K- and I myself are askt to give evidence: Connolly tells the tale of the rais’d voice and shouting and then the crashing of furniture; Mrs D- K- in a low broken voice, intersperst with sniffing at a smelling-bottle, says that her husband was in a passion, 'twas some matter about the shoot, grew furious and red-fac’d and then began stumble about, she did her best to get him onto the bed, but he was heavy and would not help himself –

She gives a little sob and says, she must have faint’d: sure she remembers nothing until she came to herself in another room.

I describe how Connolly came fetch me, and how I try’d to see whether breath was still present, and that Mrs D- K- seem’d in a state of shock, did not seem to see or hear anything about her.

There is testimony that the gentlemen of the party had been fearfull of some such event from the fits of fury that Mr D- K- was wont to fall into; at the mention of his quarrel with Mr W- Y- there are some slantwise looks at the poet, that leads to some questioning of whether he had any encounter with Mr D- K- in the period before his demise. But there is quite ample evidence that he had kept a very great distance and avoid’d the fellow as much as possible, altho’ at the time in question, he was, he says, in his chamber writing a poem.

The surgeon is somewhat scornfull of suggestions that somehow poison could have been covertly convey’d to the victim. Sure there would have been a deal of puking and purging had that been the case.

The jury go withdraw to deliberate.

We are all silent as we wait.

'Tis not any great time – cannot be even close to an hour - before they come out and give their verdict that they are entire agreed that 'tis natural causes.

Miss Constance has seen to the preparation of a collation with a good quantity of beer for the crowner and the jurors.

There is a general feeling of relief among the house-party guests. Sir B- W- remarks that now, he supposes, one may send for an undertaker and go see the parson about a funeral.

Mrs D- K- gets to her feet, very unsteady, and says she will go lye down. Connolly goes to support her at one side and I go to the other. Indeed she seems on the verge of fainting.

We get her to her chamber and Connolly goes remove her veil, take off her mourning garb, loosen her stays, &C, and takes these into the dressing room.

Mrs D- K- clutches at my hand. What will I do, o, what will I do now?

I tell her not to fret herself at this time.

But indeed, 'tis a puzzle, for I am like to suppose that Mr D- K- has left her nothing but debts. Perchance she has family somewhere.

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Sir V- P- is about as usefull in this crisis as a sheep that has got onto its back and makes helpless bleatings; 'tis fortunate that there are those at present in the household have more of a notion as to what is to be done.

The nearest local surgeon is sent for. Miss Constance has a bedchamber made up where Mrs D- K-, that still moves as if one in a trance, may lye down, with a truckle-bed for Connolly, that is still in somewhat of a state herself.

Dinner is serv’d – 'twould be of no benefit did we refrain from eating – but the company remains in a state of consternation and there is very little conversation. I confide that 'tis not at all an occasion when I might go tell some ghost story.

The ladies withdraw, and go into the parlour. Miss Constance has very thoughtfull provid’d madeira along with the usual tea and ratafia. A little madeira is quite entirely sanitive in such a circumstance.

'Tis not long before the gentlemen come join us.

I long very much to be in the embrace of my darlings, which is alas an impossibility.

Arrives the surgeon, and goes up to examine the corpse to see if it be truly dead and if so to pronounce upon the cause.

He is also askt to take a look at Mrs D- K-.

The conclusion is that 'twas very like a apoplectick seizure - for the fears of just such an event have been recount’d by all who saw the late Mr K- in a fit of temper - tho’ there are also cases of those that will fall quite sudden dead from being stung by bees or noxious insects, and he observes that the fellow had been much bitten and stung.

He declares Mrs D- K- to be in shock: 'tis not to be wonder’d at, did she see her husband expire before her eyes. Should be kept warm and calm, and will very like come out of it by herself.

I confide that there are no suspicions that this death was anything but natural; until I look across the room and observe an expression I know well upon Sandy’s features. Sure 'tis a good thing I remov’d the hat-pin.

We all go up to bed exceeding early, and I do not have a chance to communicate at all with Sandy, that I wish to dissuade from any probing into the matter. Indeed I know not how I may come at convoking with him: 'tis most immense worrying that he may go about voicing suspicions.

While I should hope that Sir V- P- is not mind’d towards tupping after the events of this day, nonetheless Sophy puts the chest across the door.

I am in a deep sleep when I am awaken’d by one beating quite frantick upon the door. Comes Sophy out of their chamber and says, should she see who 'tis.

As I confide that Sir V- P- would not make himself known in such a fashion, and that the desperation of the knocking imports some heavy matter, I say perchance she had better. She pulls away the chest and opens the door, and Mrs D- K- almost falls in.

She is somewhat recover’d, but I am not sure that she is come to her right mind, for she advances upon me, crying, where is it? what have you done with it?

Sophy makes movements as if to halt her, but I gesture to her to close the door, and then to go back to her own place. For with all this disturbance I am worry’d for Docket.

Mrs D- K-, says I, 'tis consider’d proper to present condolences to a lady that has late lost her husband, but I apprehend that this would not be the case here. Do you sit down and endeavour to calm yourself.

She halts and looks upon me.

The surgeon that was call’d for confides that 'twas an entire natural death, says I. Sure I am inclin’d to think that we should believe in his judgement as one that understands such matters.

She sits plump down on the end of the bed. And you said nothing? Believe me, I have nothing to offer in exchange for your silence if that is what you purport.

Indeed you do not, says I.

She runs her hands thro’ her hair, that is already extreme disorder’d. 'Twas an accident, she says, I did not mean – 'twas only to stop him, I did not suppose 'twould –

Why, says I, I confide that the law looks with great severity upon the killing of husbands by their wives. 'Tis possible, did you argue self-defence, that you might 'scape hanging and be transport’d instead. But has always seem’d to me that the law has been design’d by men and weight’d in their favour; and 'tis given out that husbands have an entire right to the chastisement of their wives, and suppos’d that wives must be about provoking 'em and are therefore in the wrong should they go defend themselves.

But what did you do with it?

'Tis in a safe place, says I, and I go think where I might dispose of it.

She looks at me in confusion.

There is a gentle tapping upon the door. Sophy comes in to see who 'tis.

'Tis Biffle, that says there are several of the party were disturb’d by that banging, and he has come ensure Lady B- is unharm’d, rather than the whole crowd arrive at my door.

O, says I, 'twas Mrs D- K- that had come to herself and learnt from her maid that I had been the one she first summon’d, and was in great terrour and distress and wisht to know what had happen’d, was’t true that her husband was dead, or was it just some fit, the poor thing is entire distract’d.

He observes Mrs D- K- that huddles at the foot of the bed and says indeed 'tis no wonder. Shocking thing, tho’ they were not entire surpriz’d: had been fearing somewhat of the kind might happen. But is there anything they might provide?

I have a little brandy about me for medicinal purposes, says I, that I daresay will be sufficient.

He conveys condolences to Mrs D- K- and says that they will not trouble her further, sure she could not be in better hands than Lady B-'s.

We exchange a look that I confide contains a deal of history, and he closes the door gently behind him.

You ly’d for me, says Mrs D- K-.

Indeed, says I. Should you care for a little brandy?

She shivers and wraps her arms about herself and say if she might.

She sips at it and says, but why?

Sure, says I, 'twould be exceeding disagreeable did one suppose a murder had taken place, ‘tis quite bad enough to have this unfortunate accident befall. Also, I go on, I consider you sadly provok’d by that wretch your late husband.

She stares at me. I confide that tho’ she has come to herself sufficient to go seek the hat-pin, she is still somewhat shockt and daz’d.

My dear, says I, I think you should go to your bed before we have Connolly running about looking for you, and try to sleep. Here, I go on, take this hop-pillow, said extreme helpful for sleeping.

She takes it and hugs it to her and says, yes, sleep… then stands up and goes towards the door.

We may talk further when you are rest’d, says I.

To my surprize I fall back to sleep quite readily, until I am woke by Sophy with my chocolate.

I desire her to dress me in my riding-habit, for I purpose a little ride upon Merrylegs to clear my head.

When I return from riding thro’ misty lanes, I find Sandy in the stable-yard, seated upon the mounting-block, smoaking and conversing very amiable with Ajax.

I raise my eyebrows.

Even Sir V- P-, he says, concedes that 'twould not be good ton to go out shooting today as if nothing had happen’d.

O, says I, so there will be a pack of idle fellows about the house all day. 'Tis a nice question whether you might go play at billiards.

C-, he says urgently in low tones, sure we should talk of this matter.

O, Mr MacD-, says I, sure your Bow Street acquaintance makes you see mysteries where none are. All were in quite daily anxiety that the like would happen with Mr D- K-. What, do you suppose that perchance one poison’d him covertly?

I see from Sandy’s expression that he had just such a surmize.

Really, my dear, 'twould have been entirely more answerable for one just to put him in a rage in hopes that he would expire.

Anyhow, says I, while I should not be surpriz’d to learn that there are many bore the fellow a deal of resentment over debts of honour &C, and that there may be those that he went about to blackmail, and that would have greatly desir’d him gone, I do not think any of our company would be among them. Let us not make this unfortunate accident into some Gothick tale.

You do not think that his wife - ?

'Tis quite remarkable, says I, how wives will cleave to the most dreadfull of husbands, show quite unwarrant’d devotion to the worst of fellows. Does she not appear complete over-set by the event? Sure I would be about dancing upon his grave, was it my husband, but no, she was as if stunn’d and then entire hysterickal.

Now, says I, I have been a fine ride and am quite entire ready for breakfast, rather than wild speculations.

Sandy looks at me for a moment and says, 'twas some considerable while ago, in a matter of German lessons, that you said that you always found yourself inclining to the side of the woman

My dear! whilst I confide that 'twould greatly maximise felicity to remove certain fellows, I cannot suppose it could justify any universal law.

He gives me a dour Calvinistickal glare.

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Time seems to go extreme slow at Sir V- P-'s: sure 'tis only a day or so later, but seems that an eternity has past, that I find occasion to walk about the garden with dear Viola and open to her the matter of Miss S-, that will be shortly coming to Town and will need friends. Just the kind of young woman we should like in our circle.

She pouts a little, but in jest, saying, dearest C-, sure your friends must grow jealous each time you go advance the interest of some new favourite; but then says, of course she would welcome Miss S-. Dares say that Lord and Lady D- are known to Lady J-.

I am not sure about Lord and Lady D-, says I, but Lord P- his father has quite the highest opinion of her in the matter of cows.

Viola laughs exceedingly. This is a sad tedious house-party, she says, for Sir V- P- will take quite infinite pains over organising a shoot, but does not think that the ladies of the party will require any entertainment beyond going take a pique-nique to the shooters. Yet, 'tis most agreeable to be amongst such friends as yourself and dear Susannah and Eliza F-. And Lady Z- is far more agreeable than I initially suppos’d her: she seem’d somewhat ill-humour’d at Lord G- R-'s house-party, but she shows most amiable now. Also, Mrs O- B- is no longer over-aw’d by my rank but gives me the most usefull advice on babies.

But how do the gentlemen like the shooting?

O, Biffle tells me it is excellent fine, but he is not sure that he wishes to spend day after day about the matter. Especially as there are a deal of biting and stinging insects, and they are of course oblig’d to keep very still so as not to fright the birds, and get bit most extremely. But tho’ most of 'em bear it like gentlemen, 'tis very clear that it does not improve Mr D- K-'s temper, that is ever protesting that one shot a bird that was in his own sights, or their retriever goes pick up one that he shot, or shoots wild and is a danger to his companions &C&C.

Indeed, says I, I cannot suppose that there would be many mourners did he fall down in an apoplectick fit as I hear he was like to do when raging at Mr W- Y-.

Sure he is the most disagreeable fellow! tho’ his wife is no better.

O, says I, must be embittering to be marry’d to such a fellow.

Viola shudders. I confide 'tis a case I was lucky to escape.

Let us, my dear, talk of more cheerfull matters. I mind that I meant to ask you about how you contriv’d with getting the late duchess’ fine catalogue of the paintings at Q- print’d and made into a fine book. For when I was at Lord and Lady T-'s, she was very pressing for my advice upon how she might bring about a print’d volume of her studies upon lace.

Viola laughs quite immoderate, and says sure dear C- has the shield against Medusa and has tam’d the gorgon. But Lady T- does show more agreeable – I was entire toucht when she sent the cap for little Cathy. I will go look out the direction of the printer – I do not have it by me at the moment.

And how does your brother?

Oh, quite excellent well! Papa has a deal of new business coming in from Germany – I have put Fraulein H- in the way of helping with his correspondence, for there cannot be much in the way of tutoring in Town at this season.

That is very thoughtfull of you.

O, she is a fine agreeable young woman, and had a very sad experience with that low fellow Herr F-. Do you know does your Miss S- study German? I am in great wishes to get up a reading circle - perchance the F- girls might come as well – and have Fraulein H- to guide us and correct our pronunciation &C.

But indeed I must tell you, she goes on in mirthfull tones, that Sebastian writes that he has seen a deal of fine women upon his travels, but none that come anywhere near Lady B-.

I laugh and say 'tis flattering, even if untrue - for one hears that there are many exceeding fine women in those parts.

O, he has quite the greatest admiration for you!

Indeed, 'tis more agreeable here than I suppos’d 'twould be, among good female friends: yet ‘tis exceeding frustrating to be so close to my darlings and yet not close enough. Also I have barely contriv’d exchanging a word or two with Sandy – I have no notion how he gets on with this manly business of shooting. Milord has been of the opinion that to show that he has no objection to the sports usual among gentlemen of his rank, at which he shows exceeding well, and that he is no whining canting Evangelickal that entire scorns sporting pleasures, is a thing that is like to lend force to his concerns over the oppressive cruelties that are manifest’d in the matter of preserving game.

We do not, alas, enjoy any music, for when Viola goes essay a little upon the piano it is discover’d horribly out of tune.

I am in my chamber being dresst for dinner by Docket and Sophy, when comes a very urgent knocking upon the door. Docket lifts her eyebrows and goes see what is ado.

'Tis Connolly, that is in a most exceeding taking. Docket makes her sit down and put her head between her knees, 'tis quite sovereign for a feeling of faintness, I give my smelling-bottle to Sophy to wave under her nose, and then say, perchance one should fan her? Has been very close today.

Connolly begins to recover herself, sits up, wrings her hands, her mouth moves but she articulates nothing.

Docket sends Sophy to fetch out the little bottle of brandy, that we keep by for medicinal purposes, and gives a little to Connolly.

O, says Connolly at length, o, o , o, I know not what to do. I am like to think that the master is fallen down dead in a seizure.

What? I cry.

The tale comes out in fits and starts as Connolly commences to sobbing. She had been dressing the mistress for dinner when comes in Mr K- in a most exceeding bad mood, orders her out of the room, so she goes into the dressing room and is about various matters there –

And she can hear him shouting, which is no unusual thing, for some considerable while, and she dares suppose that he goes lay hands upon his wife, which is another accustom’d matter, and then there is a deal of noise as of furniture being knock’d over &C, that is also not at all unknown in the household, and then all is quiet.

She does not venture in, however, for she has not heard the door slam to indicate that the master has left.

But the silence continues some considerable while, so she peeps about the door, in some fears that he has at last murder’d her.

But indeed 'tis not the case: there is the master, laid out still as death upon the bed, and there is her mistress, sat still as a statue, staring as if she sees nothing before her.

Why, says I, I daresay he did have a seizure – the likelihood has been spoken of to me by several. But, says I, I will come along and see what’s ado, may be merely a faint.

I put the smelling-bottle and the brandy into my reticule, and set forth with Connolly, that shakes considerable.

She opens the door to the D- K-s’ chamber, and I go in. Indeed 'tis as she has said: there is Mr D- K- lying on the bed in such an attitude that one is hard put to think him living, and there is Mrs D- K- sat in a chair, in her chemise as she was doubtless waiting to be dresst, and staring before her in a fashion that recalls Mr J-'s very fine performance in the Scottish play when transfixt by some phantasm.

I wonder if slapping her face, as recommend’d for the treatment of hystericks, would bring her about, or whether 'twould be more like waking a sleepwalker, which is deem’d exceeding perilous.

I go look at the figure upon the bed: I do not quite like to touch it to see is it sensible, for I fear he may start up in a fury, but I desire Connolly to pass me the hand-mirror, which I hold before his lips. There is no clouding of the glass. But indeed one hears of those that are suppos’d dead, and even bury’d, but life remains.

Did I not once hear Mr H- say that one might bring a fellow round from a seizure did one go about to bleed him very expeditious?

I look about me for somewhat sharp that I may use to essay this matter.

There is a hat-pin lyes upon the dressing-table, which I daresay would serve since one does not have a lancet, and I confide that sending for the nearest surgeon would take too long.

I go to the dressing-table with the intention of taking up the hat-pin, but drawing closer I perceive that there is some darkish matter about the point of it. I mind that 'tis said that strikes by a stiletto do not bleed profuse, and sure a hat-pin is much of the like.

O, thinks I, o, o, and contrive to drop my handkerchief over it – Connolly is endeavouring to rouse her mistress by rubbing her hands and wrists, &C.

I put the hat-pin well-wrappt up into my reticule, and say to Connolly that one should go inform the company, for I think that a surgeon is requir’d.

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During the night I do indeed hear some kind of scratching or such upon my door, that wakes me for a moment or so, but the chest across the door prevents any entry. I go sleep again.

Next morn I take a most agreeable little ride about the country lanes and bridleways upon Merrylegs, that is a pretty little chestnut pony and extreme amiable. But I miss my dear Jezzie-girl, that I daresay still enjoys her field in Northamptonshire and her old companions. Sure I had rather be there with dear Belinda and Captain P- and listening to Josh discourse of badgers.

I am like to suppose that upon my return I will have no company for breakfast, but Lady Z- is still sat there nibbling upon a muffin and sipping tea.

I have a fine appetite and discover that there are bacon and eggs remaining in a chafing dish. I help myself and go sit beside Lady Z-, after first enquiring whether the aroma will cause her queasiness. She shakes her head: 'tis become a deal less troublesome, she says.

I ask does she know where the other ladies are. She smiles and says she confides that they all go attend upon Lady Catherine’s airing around the gardens, adding that sure she should like a little girl. She loves her boys most immense, but indeed, a daughter… she fancies that one reason she was discontent was that this seem’d a very unlikely prospect.

She goes on to say that that b---h sent word that she has the headache: that unfortunate creature that is her maid came take her up some tea. She confides 'tis merely the sulks.

Perchance, says I, while thinking that mayhap 'tis not a headache but marks of her husband’s violence that keeps her in her room. But, my dear Lady Z-, are we alone, I have somewhat to communicate to you concerning Reynaldo -

O, she cries, he is well? is he still faithfull?

I smile and say entirely so, and recount to her my stratagem against his distress that she will not fly with him.

She laughs somewhat immoderate and says, indeed she has the greatest fondness for him, but she has come to apprehend that a deal of his revolutionary fervour is all talk: 'tis is a most exceeding answerable notion to present her as one that would not hinder him by presenting hostages to fortune.

She adds, sure, Lady B-, you should write novels. While they were in Cornwall – o, 'twas really most exceeding pleasant, I come to appreciate how good a father Sir H- is – in the evenings they would read to one another, and one of the works they read was an exceeding fine thing set in Naples and the surrounding countryside, entitl’d The Sorceress, with a deal about revolutionaries in those parts.

O, says I, do I remember I shall make a little note in my memorandum book to ask for it at the circulating library.

You would not think it, she continues, but Mr MacD- has a most thoro’ knowledge of novels, recommend’d it to Sir H-. That serious fellow, would you credit it?

As I have a mouthful of bacon and eggs I say nothing.

When I have made an exceeding hearty breakfast I go change out of my riding-habit into something suitable for the forenoon.

I go take my smelling-bottle, and some of the fine cooling lotion that Docket prepares, and go knock at Mrs D- K-'s chamber door. Her maid Connolly opens it. I say I am greatly sorry to hear that her mistress has the headache, is there anything that I might do? I find a smelling-bottle sometimes clears the humours, or this is a fine cooling lotion with a pleasing scent of lavender, that will sometimes answer. May I come in?

She steps outside the door and says, sure, Lady B-, that is very kind, but Mrs K- goes sleep, which is sure the best thing to relieve the trouble.

A voice inside says, what is this racket? Must you stand there chattering?

Connolly calls back that 'tis Lady B-, seeing if there is anything she may do to relieve you?

Mrs K- calls back that she may go to H—l.

I hand over the cooling lotion to Connolly and say I shall be on my way.

Sure I have done what I may, and I am disinclin’d to go where Mrs D- K wishes I might.

I go out to the gardens, where I find the others assemb’d together gazing upon little Lady Catherine that lyes upon a blanket upon the grass, and exchanging gossip.

They turn and say, why, here is Lady B-, sure she will have some interesting on-dits.

I sigh and say I have been out of Town – not that there is much goes on there at present – and Mrs N-, that will always know the latest scandal, is at present at Margate, I have not seen her this age.

I wait to see if any goes ask me about this rumour of an escapt lunatick, but as none does, I confide that all discretion has been maintain’d.

I ask Viola if she hears how Martha does. O, she says, quite exceeding well – that noble creature Phoebe de C- continues to feed Deborah, and not only that, which Mr S- confides has been of material assistance to Martha recovering her wont’d health, turns her hand to various matters of household management - for Martha has had little experience of an establishment of that size. She has took up her sketch-book and water-colour box at last, and she and Mr de C- go about sketching.

But, she says, looking at little Cathy, sure 'tis most exceeding distressing about the de C-s.

Indeed, says Mrs O- B-, 'tis very hard to lose a child – and their firstborn, as well.

I see Eliza looking a little mournfull and wish I could go comfort her. There was some matter of a miscarriage or two and a stillborn babe 'twixt Josh and Quintus, that she does not like to talk of.

But indeed, says Eliza with a determin’d expression, 'tis very ill manners to talk of such tragedies before those that are in expectation of increase.

Viola picks up Cathy and kisses her. Sure I think she has had air enough, I think I will go take her in and feed her, and then go ride in the trap with the pique-nique to where the gentlemen of the party are shooting. Do any of you purpose to come?

Susannah and Lady Z- are both of the opinion that in their condition 'twould be imprudent to go be jolt’d in a trap and mayhap fright’d by shots. I say that I will stay and keep them company.

Perchance, says Susannah with a sly glance, you might read to us from Mr W- Y-'s fine new book of poetry?

I pull a face and say, I daresay there is a dog or so about the place that has not gone with the guns, and mayhap a crow in the trees, and one might persuade one to bark at t’other, 'twould be entire as melodious.

All laugh. Eliza says that she confides that dreadfull as his poems are, they would sound a deal better read by Lady B- than recit’d by himself.

Miss Constance, that goes with the pique-nique, tells us that there is a light collation laid do we require refreshment.

Susannah and Lady Z- both go lye down for a little refreshing nap, and I am left alone. I am like to suppose that this house contains no library. I dare not be at inditing a tale or so, much as I should like to.

Since I daresay I might as well know quite how bad it is, I take Mr W- Y-'s book of poems and go sit in a pleasing leafy arbour in the garden.

Reading the poem of the Contessa’s tale with more attention than I have previously given it, I am most exceeding prepossesst by Miss S-'s talent, which sure shows up the very poor stuff that follows, including one that I hazard concerns myself.

I am still sitting there, about my own thoughts, when the trap returns. I think that I must get up and make civil, but indeed 'tis pleasing to be idle.

So I am still sitting there when comes walking through the garden in considerable agitation Mr W- Y- himself.

What, says I, Mr Y-, not with the guns?

He plumps himself down beside me with a great sigh and says that wretch’d fellow K- made accusations against his shooting, claim’d that a wild shot nearly took him off and that as he was the closest, said it must have been him. Sure they were in fears he would fall into an apoplectick seizure from the violence of his temper. So he return’d to the house.

Then he looks down and sees his book beside me on the seat and his indignation mollifies into a smile. O, he says, you have been reading my poems?

Sure, says I, but how comes it about that Miss S-'s very striking poem is includ’d? (For I think a frontal attack may answer.)

He goes red, then pale.

Miss S-, I go on, 'twas very pretty of her, for sure I am no authority in such matters, show’d me some of her verses (I need not say that none were this particular poem).

Alas, he says after gulping several times, 'twas a sad errour. Somehow the pages got mingl’d among the poems he sent to the printer, and the foolish fellow suppos’d the poem was meant to be print’d along with the rest.

O, how shocking! says I. I daresay you will be about remedying the matter – I look at him with a most exceeding guileless expression – perchance some kind of publick announcement in the press? Tho’ I am like to suppose she would not desire her name mention’d.

I flutter at him with my eyelashes.

He says that indeed he has been wondering what he should do, and will quite immediate be composing somewhat to serve the purpose.

Sure, says I, I entire confid’d that you would be about setting matters right.

He departs.

Comes dearest Eliza past him into the garden and over to where I am sitting. She asks what is amiss with Mr W- Y-? Has he been struck with a sudden poetick fit? O, says I, he is in a pet over Mr D- K-'s accusations of shooting wild.

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My darling discoursing of family and household matters enables me to collect myself and become compos’d, and sure I am no longer tearfull when she departs after several warm kisses, including the ones that I send to dear Josiah.

I sit down upon the bed. Sure it is pleasing to hear how well Josh comes on in recovering health and strength, and news of my darling treasure Flora is ever charming, especially when I hear that Miss N- has been about devising pretty little games that will teach her letters and numbers, and she comes along very promising. Harry is not yet left for Leeds but there are a deal of matters to be got in readiness for this advancement. Bess, my darling sighs, is come to womanhood over the summer, which makes her extreme volatile - o, says I, indeed 'tis a trying time, for those that go thro’ it and those around them – while was not Meg occasional chas’d into the garden she would ever be sitting at the piano practising. Quintus is the dear good little fellow he ever is.

Comes in Docket saying she has sent Sophy for a cowcumber and there is no haste at all for me to go into company.

I sigh, and say indeed I would desire to look my best as I am given to apprehend that that b---h Mrs D- K- will be of the company.

Docket snorts and says was Connolly (that is Mrs D- K-'s lady’s maid) to be believ’d at their last tea-drinking, she fears matters are gone on from refurbishing last season’s gowns to going sell them very discreet to raise the ready. Tho’ she has not sold her fine jewellery, a deal of it is in pawn.

Shocking, says I.

Not, says Docket, that she was ever any rival to Your Ladyship.

Comes in Sophy with a cowcumber, remarking that there are fellows in this household show a tendency to go be saucy.

Docket and I wax most indignant but I say that before I provide her with a hat-pin, I will have a discreet word with Miss Constance P-, and see if she can keep them under hand, the wretches.

Sure I feel a deal calmer after I have had slices of cowcumber upon my eyes, my hair brusht out and dresst, and I am arrayed in a very fine muslin gown. And my rubies.

I feel a deal more like unto myself as I go downstairs to join the rest of the party in the parlour.

At the foot of the stairs I encounter my very much belov’d Josiah: my dear Grand Turk takes my hand in a warm grip and says, Lady B-, as ravishing as ever, looking upon me with such an expression that 'tis fortunate that we are at that moment alone. Dearest C-, he says in an undertone, looking about us, sure we are most indebt’d to Hector’s alacrity.

And, says I, similarly sotto voce, his pugilistick art.

We look at one another, smile, drop our hands, which have remain’d claspt the while, and I go into the parlour.

Mr W- Y- has arriv’d, and is about praising the waters at Leamington Priors, sure they have set him up quite remarkable.

I say that I am gratify’d to see that he has recover’d from his ordeal. Sure I hope that horrid experience has not affect’d his poetry - but indeed, did I not hear that he had late publisht a new volume of his works?

Yes, says he, 'tis a small volume but he hopes that there is matter in there that will please me.

This gives me some concern that, as well as the poem he stole from Agnes S-, there is some effusion of his direct’d at myself that I did not penetrate far enough to discover, from being so exceeding shockt by his larceny.

Indeed, he says, producing a copy with a flourish, 'twould give me quite the greatest pleasure did you accept this little tribute.

O, says I, that is most exceeding kind, Mr Y-, sure I do not know whether I shall be able to comprehend the matter, but 'tis a very prettily got-up thing.

Susannah walks over the window so that her back is to the room. I confide that she wishes to conceal mirth.

Oh, she cries, the M- coach is coming up the drive.

I go stand beside her at the window. Biffle gets out and then hands down Viola, followed by a nurse that carries little Cathy.

O, says Susannah in delight, she brings the baby, is that not entirely charming? Of course, the child is still at breast, and she feeds it herself –

Mr W- Y- murmurs something about Rousseau: we all look at him somewhat askance.

Enters Viola with the babe in her arms.

Mr Y-, says Eliza, I daresay you would be adviz’d to go dress for dinner, for ladies going into ecstasies over a baby and talking matters of motherhood I confide would be entirely wearisome to you.

He looks as tho’ he agrees with her; makes a leg to the room at large, and departs.

We all go greet Viola and exclaim over little Cathy. Little V is now out of mourning and altho’ she is at present in travelling dress, looks exceeding finely array’d by Tibby.

Lady Z- says this tea is stew’d and cold and she will go ring for fresh.

After all have finisht remarking upon the babe, and said how extreme well Her Grace is looking, there is a desire to know whether she hears at all from Lady J-? O, indeed, says Viola, she must now be embarkt upon her return journey, has had a most agreeable time but 'tis time to get back to her responsibilities -

Fresh tea arrives along with Mrs O- B-. She too is most prepossesst by little Lady Catherine, that wears the pretty little lace cap that was the gift of Lady T-, that becomes her considerable.

There is much discourse of how we have spent our summers, mutual acquaintance, &C, and there is a very happy buzz of conversation when the door opens and Mrs D- K- enters. She stands upon the threshold almost sneering, makes most perfunctory greetings to all, 'tis scarce civil, and pays no mind at all to the baby.

I confide that all consider her entire unnatural. I wonder who she spreads her lures for on this occasion.

Comes in Miss Constance and says that she confides that all are known to one another and she does not need to make introductions. She then goes exclaim over Cathy.

I murmur that I would desire a discreet word with her and we withdraw to the window-nook, where I apprize her of the saucy behaviour of the men-servants towards Sophy, that is an entirely good girl and gives no encouragement. She sighs and says she will instruct the butler to remind the fellows of proper conduct. Alas, this is normally a bachelor household: she is wont to reside at Cheltenham with her elder sister Miss P-, that is much troubl’d with rheumatism and finds the waters answer exceedingly.

I say that indeed, they will get into unsuitable ways in such a circumstance. But then I go praise the excellence and cleanliness of my bedchamber, &C, so that she does not suppose I make any general criticism of her housekeeping.

She smiles at me and says, she hears that Lady B- is a not’d horsewoman, and do I desire a little equestrian exercise her pony Merrylegs is entire at my disposal, tho’ sure not what I am us’d to.

I say that is extreme gracious of her and indeed my reputation as an equestrienne is entire exaggerat’d, but 'twould be most pleasant to take a little ride the morn, so be I do not venture where any shooting goes forward.

O, she says, there are many pleasing rides hereabouts that will not take you anywhere near 'em.

She then sighs and says that she must be about making sure that dinner will be serv’d very soon, now all the guests are arriv’d.

Those ladies that have not already chang’d from travelling dress go to do so, and Viola says that alas, she must leave dear little Cathy with the nurse – Mrs D- K- looks quite nauseat’d at this display of maternal affection.

This leaves myself with Susannah and Lady Z-, and we look around from one to another with grimaces. O dear, says Susannah, I suppose 'tis entirely too much to hope that someone will fire very wild while they are shooting.

That would still leave us with Lady Disdain, I remark, as the door opens to admit the gentlemen of the party.

I see Sandy among them: we look at one another and raise our eyebrows, but alas, neither of us can command such speaking eyebrows as Mr W- and 'tis not a satisfactory means of communication.

Sir B- W- comes over and clasps my hands and says what a terrible thing this is for the de C-s: is there anything one might do? (He may not be the cleverest of fellows but he has an excellent good heart.)

When the gong is struck for dinner I am taken in by Biffle, and find myself between him and Milord, that has Viola on the other side, so 'tis not as bad as might be: indeed I have some agreeable converse in the course of the meal. Mrs D- K-, that is between Sir B- W- and Sir H- Z-, appears to be in an entire fury of boredom as both tell her about their offspring. However, most of the table seems more amiably partner’d.

All go to bed extreme early, as the gentlemen will be up betimes to go shooting. Docket says there is a chest that may be dragg’d in front of the door: as tho’ 'tis lockt she dares say there is another key somewhere in the house that the master of it knows.

I hope, Docket, says I, that you will not unwisely exert yourself. Perchance Sophy could contrive the matter.

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Comes the day I am to leave this house. I go talk very encouraging to the young people about their theatrickals - for indeed, 'twill keep 'em most happily occupy’d, and I shall not have to watch 'em – exchange surprizing fond farewells with Lady N-, promise Lord N- that I shall be about advancing his interest with Roberts, assure Lady Anna that I shall be most happy to see her and her sister are they come to Town, and permit Lord Geoffrey to kiss my hand.

O, but it is agreeable to be by myself but for Docket and Sophy, in my fine comfortable carriage, tho’ I cannot look forward with any glad anticipation to our destination in Suffolk, for I confide that I may have trouble with that woolly-mind’d old ram Sir V- P-, that has display’d a considerable desire to tup me, the tedious fellow. Indeed, many years ago he was a patron of mine, but 'twas quite entire as a favour to the old Duke of M-, Biffle’s father, and sure 'twas not a matter of which I have any vivid recollection. But these days I have no need to be so obliging.

However, I confide that there will be a deal of shooting arrang’d for the gentlemen, that will have them out of the way in the daytime and one may hope sleepy after nightfall.

But however sleepy the company may be, I am not like to think 'twould be at all prudent to venture upon triangular matters with my dearest darlings, that I have not seen in entirely too long. 'Twill be an exceeding pleasure just to see them and hear all their news, but indeed, I would be greedy and desire a deal more.

I am greatly like to envy Milord and Sandy, that I confide have contriv’d a fine reunion after their separate travels, before journeying into Suffolk.

I know that most of our politickal set are to be at this house-party, so I look forward with a deal of pleasure to seeing Biffle and Little V, and Sir B- W- and dear Susannah, Sir H- and Lady Z-, who have return’d from Cornwall, and the O- B-s (I have been given to apprehend that Lord and Lady T- were invit’d but had another engagement in Scotland: sure I wonder if they contriv’d this invitation after Sir V- P-'s).

I say idly that sure I shall be among friends, I daresay I shall not have to dress as if for battle.

Docket sniffs and says that being among friends is no reason to go about as an entire dowd.

O, Docket, says I, sure I know that I am not mistress in my own household, and you will array me as you think fit. I doubt you would ever let me appear as a dowd. But, I go on, perchance not too much in the way of décolletage? I would not wish to seem to be leading Sir V- P- on, tho’ to be sure he is not a fellow that needs much encouragement to suppose that his advances are welcome.

Docket purses up her mouth and says that indeed he is somewhat encroaching in his attentions.

Sophy gives a little giggle and says perchance My Ladyship should carry a hat-pin about with her. Docket commences to frown upon her but then is betray’d into a smile.

Alas, says I, I fear 'twould be consider’d quite the worst of ton to go prick one’s host to make him unhand one.

We arrive at length at Sir V- P-'s pretty old-fashion’d mansion in Suffolk, and I am greet’d with exceeding effusive bleating by him. His sister, Miss Constance, that stands hostess, is introduc’d to me. She strikes me most prepossessing as one that knows what she is about. When he would stand about baaing at me, she contrives to take me to my chamber, where there is already hot water for me to wash off the dust of travel. She says that my boxes will be up very shortly, and meanwhile, mayhap I should care for some tea in the parlour with the ladies that have already arriv’d?

She conducts me to the parlour, says there are matters she must be about for everybody’s comfort, and I go in.

'Tis a most entire delight to see dear Susannah, Lady Z- and Mrs O- B-, that are sat around discussing obstetrickal matters. I go kiss them all and say I quite dye for tea after so long upon the road.

'Tis some while since I have seen dearest Susannah and I confide that she is indeed increasing once more. Lady Z-'s condition is already discernable:¨she looks exceeding well and I remark that Cornwall seems to have suit’d her.

O, 'twas entire delightfull! she exclaims. A most exceeding healthfull spot, very little bother with society, the boys ran entire wild, and Sir H- took 'em sailing and fishing: they are come to an age when he finds them more interesting than when they were smaller.

(I mind that I must find some opportunity to make known to her my device for soothing Reynaldo’s wound’d feelings.)

I turn to Mrs O- B- and hope she has had an agreeable summer. O, she says, Mr O- B- most exceeding kindly took us to the Music Meetings, where we heard a deal of fine singing. But mostly we have stay’d at home, which is also most pleasant. But sure she greatly looks forward to resuming their lessons with Mr G- D-: she and the girls have continu’d to practice, but indeed there are benefits to good instruction.

I say that I hope she remains agreeable to performing at my drawing room meeting for the optickal dispensary. She says she quite looks forward to it, and she has had a thought, perhaps 'tis presuming in her, but she and the girls have been performing together with part-songs &C, and she is like to wonder if they might undertake something along these lines? She would of course have Mr G- D- rehearse ‘em.

O, that would be entire charming! says I. Also, I add, Miss A- has most kindly offer’d to give dramatick readings.

Mrs O- B- smiles and says that her girls are quite besott’d upon Miss A-.

(Sure she comes along in being less hesitant in society: tho’ at present she is among friends).

Susannah looks about, lowers her voice and says, can you believe what that idiotick Sir V- P- has done?

Lady Z- sighs and says she cannot imagine what he was thinking.

My dears! Tell me at once.

He has invit’d Mr W- Y- - I groan, and then say, I hope there are no swans about this estate - and, Susannah continues, the D- K-s.

O dear, says I, my heart sinking considerable: for I had been prepar’d to bear the irksomeness of Sir V- P-, but I had not expect’d such additional causes of vexation. This is more than tiresome, 'tis troubling to my lower’d spirits.

Mrs O- B- has not heard the tale of the swan and Lady Z- takes great pleasure in recounting it.

Susannah gets up and goes to the window and says that a carriage approaches, she is not sure whose it is – Oh, she cries, 'tis the F-s.

No, C-, I tell myself, you will not most immediate jump up to go look. You will sit prim and proper until they have recover’d from their journey.

But, o, 'tis hard.

I must not show too delight’d when my darling Eliza is shown in, but greet her with extreme propriety.

She falls to talking of matters of obstetricks and motherly matters with the other ladies, which is a conversation I dare not join in for fear of revealing secrets that are not my own to disclose.

I sit there for long enough that my departure will not look particular, then get up and confide that my boxes will be unpackt and I may go change into something more suit’d to the occasion than travelling dress.

I go up to my chamber and comes in Docket to say all is in order for me to change and perchance 'twould be advisable to take down my hair and brush it before dressing it for company.

’Twould indeed be most pleasant and I am sooth’d considerable by the brushing.

I am in my chemise waiting for them to array me in one of the fine muslin gowns of Maurice’s making, when there is a little knock upon the door.

Sophy goes peep who 'tis and turns and says, 'tis Mrs F- wishes to come in.

O, says I, indeed she may.

Comes in my darling, and Docket and Sophy go be tactfully undertaking somewhat elsewhere.

O, my dearest, says I as we embrace, I have so misst you.

O, my darling, sure I would go chide you for keeping us in the dark about matters, but 'tis clear to me – tho’, no, loveliest of C-s, I do not think any other than we would notice – that our dear love is much troubl’d and distresst in mind. We were a little put about when we heard from 'tother Lady B- what had befallen, that you had not told us, but we know that our darling has strict notions about discretion.

I go weep upon her shoulder and say 'twas most excessively horrid, but indeed, there was great need of discretion in the matter. Oh, says I, with a great sob, he recogniz’d me – that is, thought I was a phantasm of that jezebel wanton Mrs C- that so torment’d him when she stay’d in his parish.

Eliza strokes my hair. Indeed 'tis as well that all suppose that he raves.

And I still have nightmares.

Alas, says my wild girl, that we may not go apply a very fine remedy that I know and that I confide would serve exceeding well.

Indeed, my dearest, triangles are most entire sanitive, I say with an attempt at laughter.

She kisses my ear. Dearest love, sure this house-party will be somewhat of a trial, but I daresay we may contrive a few days in Town before we go to Somerset.

That, says I, my voice shaking, would be extreme agreeable. But, please, tell me at once, is Josh recover’d? Is all well with our naughty treasure? How do the girls? When does Harry go to Leeds? I starve for news.

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Sure I would be entire delight’d that I leave before the theatrickals, was it not that I will then be bound for the antient ram Sir V- P-'s house-party, which I cannot have high hopes of.

Sandy remarks with a grimace that he offers sport for the gentlemen, in the way of shooting.

Well, says I, at least that will keep 'em out of the way during the day. And I am in hopes that the healthfull exercise will make 'em sleep sound at night and not come a-scratching at ladies’ doors.

We are at what has become quite a regular assignation in the woods when I ride out upon Elvira.

Sandy comments that Lord Geoffrey is not entire foolish, but he is very young -

I think, says I, that he is somewhat older than Sebastian K-: but has had a deal less experience of the world.

- and indeed has had little experience.

I sigh. Sure there are a deal of matters that we should like to be about but at present cannot and I daresay may not come to contrive for some good while yet. 'Tis most exceeding thwarting to both of us, that are also missing, I confide, the company of our dear loves. 'Tis almost enough to put me out of temper, for I am still somewhat troubl’d from my horrid encounter with the mad Marquess, that has quite depresst my spirits.

And, says Sandy, there is this ball this e’en, that I may quite reasonable cut, for having been late on a walking-tour I do not have any fit garments with me: indeed, perchance I should take my leave before I outstay my welcome. For I had anyway intend’d to return to R- House for my company wardrobe before setting off to the sheepcote -

O, and I daresay that it may perchance that Milord is return’d about some similar errand from his deer-stalking excursion -

Why, 'tis possible, Sandy concedes with an innocent expression.

You weasel, says I, while I am about teaching the young people to speak their lines trippingly on the tongue, and not to saw the air too much with their hand.

Your Ladyship’s graciousness in the matter is most widely markt and approv’d.

I sigh. Sure I should like to be able to swear in Welsh like Mr J-. I have a deal of sympathy for him.

But at least you do not have little Puggsiekins behaving improper upon the stage.

No, but Selina, that quite proves the feline reputation for curiosity, will come about the room, wind about legs, mew very piteous to be pickt up, &C.

Sandy lifts his head and says does he hear hoofbeats? He will away.

The hoofbeats draw nearer, and I find that 'tis not Lord Geoffrey that comes pursue me, 'tis Lady Anna that has persuad’d a groom to let her ride Orion, which she contrives well but I see that this is the result of a deal of effort that leaves her flusht.

How now, Lady Anna, how do you the morn?

Very well, thank you, Your Ladyship – Orion goes frisk and skip and she is oblig’d to attend to him – I was in hopes to catch up to you. Will you not stay a little longer?

Why, 'tis exceeding kind of you to ask, but indeed, I have another invitation that 'twould be exceeding uncivil to cut (and even tho’ it be to the antient ram’s estate, my dearest loves will be of the company as well as some several of my other great friends).

She sighs. 'Twill be so dull when you are gone.

Sure, my dear, you may continue with your theatrickals now you are so well upon the way.

She wrinkles her nose and says that she doubts that Geoff will be so ardent in the matter once Lady B- is depart’d, and does he drop off she dares say the other fellows will too.

That would be a pity, says I, for I confide he shapes exceeding well. Of course, I would not tell him so at this juncture – 'twould not do to induce a complacency - but he can produce some telling effects. (Sure he has got Mr J-'s fam’d cloak flourish entirely pat.)

We ride on a little in silence.

She then says, somewhat more chearfull, that Mama says that perhaps they will go to Town and open up N- House. She was in fears that now Aunt Laetitia is gone to Bombay – that was Aunt Laetitia that would take them about in company, &C, marry’d a gentleman that is in the Hon Company’s service, a wizen’d yellowish fellow but given out exceeding rich –

Ah, says I, he has, as they say, shook the banyan tree (sure I hope Aunt Laetitia does not discover that there is a fine flourishing brown family of his once she reaches Bombay) -

- and 'twas not as tho’ she had been fighting off offers these many years – but Em and I were in fears that we should be stuck here all winter. For 'twas at least a change to go to Town even was she ever telling us the things we might not do.

Well, Lady Anna, I hope you and your sister will come call upon me, I shall certainly come leave cards at N- House – I daresay your mama will receive company, even does she not make calls?

Oh, yes, says Lady Anna, that would be exceeding pri-, that is, 'twould be delightfull.

Sandy, the weasel, makes his congé that very afternoon.

Lady N- desires me to go take tea with her: all the younger set are about getting into the frets over the ball, so there is no rehearsing. She too is very eager that I should stay a little longer: sure 'tis greatly gratifying, but indeed I cannot remain any further. She sighs and says sure she can see why Lady B- is in such great demand.

I may not offer to smack her with my fan for flattery, for she is my hostess and an invalid, so I say she is entirely too kind.

No, indeed, has made a deal of difference among the young people that you show such patience with their dramatick ambitions and give them somewhat to do instead of going about complaining how dull things are and perchance getting up mischief. Also, you have been very kind to my poor Geoff’s boyish enthusiasm: you do not laugh at him, but you do not encourage him; 'tis a model of good ton in such a circumstance as one seldom sees.

She adds that there was some woman led poor U- (that is the heir, Lord U-) a most terrible dance some years since – marry’d woman, husband an MP in a very fast set – would sometimes mock him and at other times lead him on, 'twas entire shocking.

(Sure 'twould not surprize me in the least did she disclose this harpy to be Mrs D- K-, but I do not voice my speculation.)

Why, says I, even does one not incline to a fellow, 'tis pleasing to be admir’d, and, does he conduct himself with all civility in the matter, to return that civility in one’s own conduct towards him.

She smiles at me and says she hopes that I will come call when they come to Town.

I say that is her door open to me, I shall most certainly call.

Sure she shows exceeding gracious towards me: perchance she has some penurious male relative in need of a wife with a competence.

That e’en there is the promis’d ball for the guests and a deal of local neighbours. Lord Geoffrey has prevail’d upon me to grant him the supper-dance.

I fear, when he takes me into supper and finds us an agreeable seat in a somewhat seclud’d corner, that he purposes to make me some declaration. Can I not deal kindly with such a matter, I shall have lost all my wont’d skills, but in my present somewhat frett’d mood, I had rather not have to.

But indeed, the burden of his conversation is deploring that that fine philosophickal fellow Mr MacD- has had to depart. Sure, 'tis as if the scales had fallen from his eyes since he met him at W- Hall. Has been given to think of a deal of matters that had never occur’d to him and were of a certainty never mention’d at school.

But, he goes on, he has been kind enough to say that I may correspond with him.

(O dear, thinks I, is this German lessons or writing of pamphlets upon the Bourbon tyranny over again? But no, I confide that this is more like unto Lady J-'s fascination with his intellectual qualities; for I can see that Lord Geoffrey is very taken indeed with my own entire feminine charms.)

And he has writ down a list of books that he says 'twould benefit me to read. Tho’, he goes on after a little pause, 'tis by no means all works upon philosophy and politicks, or history, there is poetry and several novels -

Sure, says I, I have heard him remark that one must go about to educate the emotions as well as the intellect and that this is something one may better do through literature than didactick treatises.

- and some of the works he recommends are by ladies -

Why, says I, I myself am a silly creature of no education and my functions largely decorative, but indeed there are members of my own sex that are distinguisht for their learning and apprehension and their understanding of a deal of matters.

He looks at me very admiring and says, Lady B-, sure I cannot imagine who could call you a silly creature. You have quite transform’d my understanding of Shakspeare, that I was wont to consider a great bore.

In my present state of the frets, this boyish tribute is like to bring tears to my eyes.

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

Sure 'tis most exceeding difficult for Sandy and myself to find occasion to convoke about matters. I am quite besieg’d by young persons desirous of reading their lines to me and asking what it means, do they go about to convey it aright? Sandy apprizes me, in low undertones as we pass one another, that Lord Geoffrey has left off talking of ideal communities and is in great desire to know how a philosopher should think upon love and women.

Was I not in company, I should laugh somewhat immoderate.

Lady Anna very kindly beseeches me that, do I desire a little ride, I make myself entirely free of her Elvira: she is a pretty-behav’d creature tho’ perchance not what such an equestrienne as Lady B- is us’d to (sure I have a quite undeserv’d reputation as a horsewoman from being bolt’d with).

Elvira is indeed pretty-behav’d – as ever Ajax makes silent signs that she will be entire acceptable to me – and I take a pleasing ride thro’ shady woodland. Sure I know not how I may come at a conversation with Sandy about the entire shocking thing that Mr W- Y- has done, or indeed on any other matters that I should wish to open to him, such as Marcello’s agricultural ambitions. Sure 'twould be a deal easier were we enjoying a liaison, for one may convey a deal of matter most discreet while whispering upon the pillows: indeed 'tis where my darlings and myself will do a deal of business.

I am trotting along in something of a dream – sure Elvira has a most pleasing gait - when emerges from behind a tree Sandy. Ajax, he says, confid’d that you would be coming this way and that you rode alone.

For the moment, says I, but I would not be entirely confident that there will not be one or another hears I am gone riding and goes follow me.

Then let us be expeditious! says Sandy. What is this matter of Mr W- Y-'s poem?

I am not sure, says I, that that is the most pressing matter: but, 'tis a long poem that is bas’d upon the Contessa’s family ghost-story that I have told in various company, but never when Mr W- Y- was present. I daresay, I go on, that 'tis possible that one or another may have recount’d it to him, but I confide that they did not.

I am very much like to suppose, says I, that that nice young woman Agnes S- compos’d it, for she was quite in a dream after I had recount’d the tale: and then gave it to Mr W- Y- to read over so that she might have a publisht poet’s opinion upon it. The style is very like unto hers, tho’ I have only seen short pieces she has writ – and sure the whole matter displays a freshness and a delicacy that we have not been wont to encounter in Mr W- Y-'s effusions.

Sandy says something in what I apprehend to be Scots

Sure, says I, it says somewhat for Mr W- Y-'s taste that he can recognize the superiority of her gift to his. But indeed to publish it as his own is quite the worst of ton. Tho’ leads me to wonder whether he makes suit to her not merely for her dower but so that he may continue to pass her work off as his.

Why, says Sandy, collecting himself, that is the line that I may take in criticizing the work – that 'tis so unlike his usual stuff that one is forc’d to suspicions that he has stolen the work of some other poet, perchance an aspirant of the muses that askt for his thoughts upon the matter.

Hmm, says I, I fear that that might lead to him seeking out the identity of Deacon Brodie and issuing a challenge - but hark! I hear the sound of hoofbeats, you had better vanish into the greenwood.

He does so, and very shortly comes up to me upon Orion, Lord Geoffrey.

O, Lady B-! do you ride alone?

Why sure, says I, I do not suppose I should encounter highwaymen or banditti in this fine park.

He laughs and says sure, Lady B-, you are exceeding witty.

O, says I, I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

He would, I daresay, be about gaping upon me, but that he is requir’d to give considerable attention to Orion, that frisks considerable. This does not, however, prevent him from talking to me in the manner of a very young gentleman that is smitten by the charms of a somewhat older lady and feels that he has found one that will understand and sympathize with his plight as a young fellow of high birth that is not the heir to his father, does not feel any calling whether it be to the Army or to the Church, and has but lately discover’d the shocking condition of society at large.

Also he has read about Herr P-'s notions of the ideal society.

I am like to be somewhat amuz’d that a young fellow talks to me, a vain creature that relishes luxury, and would not, I fear, do well in a wilderness, about the desirability of a simple life of healthfull toil close to nature. But I keep a straight face.

(Sure my life has prepar’d me well for listening to gentlemen that talk nonsense without laughing in their faces.)

At length he works around to this endeavour at theatrickals and supposes that we should be at rehearsing? Or should one wait until all have learnt their parts?

I say that 'twould be advisable to go read thro’ even are they not yet off book. Also, where is’t propos’d that they will perform these scenes?

He begs me that I will listen to them read thro’, ‘twill be entirely helpfull to have one of my theatrickal understandings to guide ‘em. And he was in some consideration that the ballroom might answer.

(I am most excessive reliev’d at the consideration that I am like to be depart’d upon my next visit before there is any coming to performance.)

Why, says I, can you bring all together at some time I will hear you thro’. (For at least this is not as tedious as watching cricket.) (Also I confide 'tis a deal better that they ask me than Sandy.)

That is most extreme kind of you, says he.

When we are return’d from our agreeable ride, and walk back towards the house, he halloos at Lady Anna, that is playing battledore and shuttlecock somewhat desultory with her sister Lady Emily, and says that he has persuad’d Lady B- to hear them read thro’.

Lady Anna says sure 'tis exceeding generous of Lady B-, for she fears that they are all quite the rankest amateurs. They do not even have much chance to see fine acting and learn from it.

O, come, Nan, says Lord Geoffrey, did we not go every night when that fine Town company was playing?

Oh? says I, and lead them on to talk of it, for I confide 'twould have been my dear own theatrickal friends that they saw. Indeed 'twas, and I hear much of how dashing was Mr J-, how affecting Miss R-, how entirely charming in masculine masquerade was Miss A-, how exceeding amuzing was Mr W-, &C&C.

Lady Anna sighs and says she dares say that Papa will not approve do they essay Viola or Rosalind. Lord Geoffrey says 'twould be most improper. She sighs again.

She then looks a little teazing at her brother and says she would greatly desire to talk fashions with Lady B-.

Dear Lady Anna, says I, I should be entire delight’d to talk modes and styles, but do I not change out of my riding-habit first my lady’s maid will go scold me quite ferocious.

O, says Lady Anna, somewhat wistfull, is that the fam’d Docket? Sure Brownlee, that is lady’s maid to my sisters and me, is all of a quiver that we will not come up to her exacting standards.

Why, says I, you are most entire proper dresst for a young lady of the house in the day-time during a country house-party. And so is Lady Emily (that hangs back a little, patting the shuttlecock about with her battledore).

I am about to go in to change when comes a footman that desires me, am I at leisure, to go take a little coffee with Lady N-.

If she will excuse my riding-habit, says I, and follow him in.

Lady N- is somewhat of an invalid and oblig’d to spend the days lying upon a sopha, but otherwise she is in no wise like Lady Bertram - favours a fine fluffy cat that is call’d Selina, and knows, I confide, all that goes forth within the household.

She gestures to me to be seat’d, pours me some coffee, and tells me that it is quite too exceedingly good of you, Lady B-, to enter into the amuzements of the children. Sure they do not get as much society as I should like – I cannot take them about myself, and Lord N-'s sister, that was willing to act the chaperone, most surprizing marry’d some Nabob and is gone to Bombay - and they become bor’d and restless.

Why, says I, 'tis an entire pleasure, and do I convey them some apprehension of the beauties of the Bard I shall count myself well-reward’d. And, I continue, I will go consider whether any of the ladies in my circle might take your daughters about do they come to Town.

Lady N- looks down a little and says, one hears so much of Lady B-'s quite exquisite ton -

Why, says I, I am gratify’d to hear it, but I am not sure that 'twould serve your daughters well if I – whose history you are no doubt appriz’d of – act’d the chaperone.

Lady N- makes a little grimace and says sure there are ladies of the most impeccable lineage that one would not wish to have aught to do with one’s daughters. And you are in such a fine set – His Lordship I can see grows most envious when the V-s speak of your fine soirées.

Then, says I, I shall send him a card when Society returns to Town and I hold one next. And I will go consider upon my circle as to whether there are several ladies that might take your daughters about a little.

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

Gratifying tho’ 'tis to find myself so admir’d by one of a younger set, 'tis more than a little irksome that Lord Geoffrey’s enthusiasm for myself, combin’d with his desire to discourse of many matters with Sandy, most greatly hinders our wish to talk to together of the matters that have passt since last we met, that we would not desire a third party to.

We are in the library, where we very much doubt any will come, for 'tis one of those libraries that looks very fine but upon examination, 'twould appear that the greatest number of the books have been purchas’d at some time by the yard for their fine appearance rather than their contents.

(Lord N-'s own exceeding fine collection of works on flowers and plants is kept quite entire separate in a chamber of its own where he goes study upon such matters.)

Sandy looks at a shelf and groans and says, sure there are a deal of collect’d sermons here.

We sigh.

I disclose – for I greatly wish to tell someone - the matter of the escapt lunatick Marquess, that is now we may hope more effective secur’d -

Sandy remarks that while 'tis given out that lunaticks may recover and be return’d to their right minds, even in his right mind the present Marquess was a nasty fellow and indeed he cannot regret that he is depriv’d of liberty.

Indeed, says I, he present’d quite entire mad, tho’ perchance he may have lucid intervals. Sure was he ever deem’d sane I confide he would go about to create a deal of trouble – bring a crim. con against Captain P-, I daresay make accusations that there had been those robbing his estate while he was incarcerate –

Dearest C-, says Sandy, 'tis to the fellow’s own advantage to remain mad, does he consider that he may be charg’d with bigamy and attempt’d murder: I beg you, do not distress yourself over something most unlike to occur.

O, says I, my reason tells me so, but he is a wretch’d Malvolio of a creature, is he not?

The door opens and comes in Lord Geoffrey, crying that he thought he would find MacD- where there were books, but is this not a sorry collection compar’d to the fine one at W- Hall, sure he is quite asham’d of it.

O, he says, Lady B-! I did not suppose I should find you here.

Why, says I, I was calling upon Mr MacD-'s assistance to see was there a collect’d Shakspeare about the place – (for indeed, the V-s have already gone about mentioning Lady B-'s fine readings from the Bard) – sure there are many exquisite passages that deal of flowers, tho’ I confide that perchance there is more to do with wild flowers than the fine products of cultivation -

Sandy remarks that he dares say that Lord Geoffrey has heard of Lady B-'s most highly-esteem’d readings from the Swan of Avon?

(Sure the mention of swans renders it quite difficult to keep our faces straight.)

O, that must be a most wonderfull thing! sighs Lord Geoffrey. We seldom have such refin’d pleasures here. He goes on to declare that he will find me a Shakspeare does he have to ride into town and buy one.

I confide, says Sandy, that you will find the volume in that low case beside the door.

Lord Geoffrey finds it and hands it to me with the air of a knight that places a dragon’s head at his lady’s feet.

Why, thank you, Lord Geoffrey, says I, I will go look thro’ it for some suitable matter, and leave you to enjoy some deep philosophickal discourse with Mr MacD- (Sandy looks at me with a dour Calvinistickal glare over the top of Lord Geoffrey’s head).

I go into the gardens and find a fine shady spot under a tree where there is a bench upon which I may sit, and peruse the fine words of the Bard. Perchance I will not read Perdita’s speeches upon gillyvors in this place.

Indeed, approaches me Lord N- himself in company with the V-s, makes most exceeding civil, and says he observes what I read and the V-s have told him about my fam’d readings and hopes will I favour them this e’en after dinner?

Why, Your Lordship, says I, nothing would give me more pleasure.

He sits down beside me and says that he was wishfull to ask me a favour: he hears that Lord G- R-'s gardener Roberts has grown some very remarkable blooms and would most exceeding like to convoke with him. He is like to suppose that I command some interest with Roberts, that is marry’d to one that us’d to be my own cook, that entire deity of the kitchen Mrs Seraphine.

Why, says I, sure I am on quite excellent terms with 'em, continue to have several of their kinfolk in my own service – but I hope that this is not some device to go poach 'em from His Lordship?

Indeed not, says Lord N-, 'twould be in entire the worst of ton. But all he has heard of Roberts has greatly prepossesst him and he confides that he could learn much from him.

I daresay, says I, that you could; certainly achieves to growing things that are a deal out of the common.

After he has depart’d with the V-s I take out my little memorandum book and make a note of the matter.

That e’en after dinner when the gentlemen have come in to the drawing-room I am besought to read, and rather than make protestations out of vulgar false modesty, I comply at once. 'Tis most exceeding well-receiv’d.

One of the young ladies says, O, why do we not undertake some amateur theatrickals? She adds that she late read a novel in which these figur’d. Perchance, she goes on, we might do scenes from Shakspeare?

I do not need to observe Sandy to know that he is quite entire horror-struck at this proposal.

(Tho’ sure I doubt the matter will turn out as disastrous as did those theatrickals at Mansfield Park, for Lord N- is here to say yea or nay.)

Why, Lady Anna, says I, 'tis a pretty thought, but I daresay your papa will have views upon the matter.

Lord N- laughs very indulgent – I confide Lady Anna is his pet daughter - and says, my dear, I daresay 'twill be harder work than you suppose, but you may go make the attempt.

Lord Geoffrey says that sure if they have Lady B- in the cast -

O no, says I, raising my fan, I do not act for I am like unto a log of wood upon a stage; but sure I would be entire happy to help you rehearse.

Lady Anna and Lord Geoffrey immediate come sit to either side of me to look over my shoulder at Shakspeare.

Lady Anna says she was most taken by the scene in which the young lady spoke of rosemary and violets.

(Sure I wish I had listen’d to Lord D-'s exhortations and us’d the Family Shakspeare for my readings.)

I say let us think upon the matter overnight and convoke the morn in some suitable place.

I am like to suppose that this is an entire whim and when it comes to it the matter will not be pursu’d, but the next morn I find several of the young people desirous of convoking with me in the small parlour. I am in some suspicion that Lord Geoffrey confides that this will be an most excellent opportunity to spend a deal of time in the company of Lady B- and improve upon our acquaintance.

Sandy, the weasel, is nowhere to be seen. I remark idly that Mr MacD-'s judgement upon matters dramatique is most exceeding esteem’d, but that since he is not yet here, let us proceed to thinking what scenes we might present.

We get on a deal more expeditious than I had anticipat’d in deciding upon the scenes that might be present’d and who might take the particular parts. I say, for I think it will delay the business considerable, that each should go copy out their part, 'tis exceeding helpfull in committing the words to mind to write them out. Perchance they could find a further copy or so of the Collect’d Works for it will indeed take some while do they pass around the single volume.

Lord Geoffrey offers to go ride to the nearest town where a bookseller may be found upon this errand. Lady Anna says that she will make a start on hers now. The others make murmurings concerning costumes and properties and purpose to go ferret about in the attics.

I go walk about in the gardens with my parasol and in due course arrive at the rustick summerhouse, where I discover Sandy smoaking a cigar. I tell him that he is a weasel.

Dearest C-, I am in the greatest fear of disclosing the identity of that fearsome critick, Deacon Brodie, am I fac’d with a pack of amateurs that make an attempt upon Shakspeare. But indeed, there was a critickal matter I wisht to disclose to you.

He hands me a very slender volume.

'Tis Mr W- Y-'s latest poems. I can only suppose that being duckt, and pursu’d by a swan, has been entirely beneficial to his poetick powers, and perchance we should do the like with some other mediocre poets.

I look into the volume, and let out a vulgar whistle.

I do not think, says I, that this poem is by Mr W- Y-.

At this juncture we hear Lord Geoffrey hallooing, and I confide that he is return’d from his mission and it has been attend’d with success.

We must speak further of this, says Sandy, but this does not seem the time.

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