Agnes S- comes to Eliza and myself as we sit in the family room exchanging impressions and gossip after the tiffin-party – did not the Honble Edward M- seem very taken with Lady Z-? – and says, has been most exceeding agreeable staying here, but she feels that she should return to P- House.
She does not look entirely glad to be doing so but I confide considers that 'tis the proper sisterly thing.
Why, says Eliza, we shall be sorry to lose you, for you have become quite the greatest favourite within the family, but indeed, I daresay your sister will be missing you.
Agnes S- looks a little tearfull and says, sure, everyone here is so kind and pleasant, such excellent company, and she hopes that she may go ride with the girls some time in the Park, and mayhap come undertake some chymical experiments, and Josh has said that when the baby dormice are able to leave their mother I may have one of 'em –
- Eliza and I look entire doating -
- and, o, in time perchance little Arthur might come join the nursery set?
Eliza remarks that 'twould be quite the finest thing could he so, tho’ she is not sure their theologickal principles are what Lord D- would approve of, from what she has heard of Quintus’s fine sermons at the funerals of the mice and birds that Mittens goes slaughter.
Miss S- is brought to laughter at this. They are a fine set, she says.
So 'tis sadly not long after that Sophy comes and makes her dip and says Miss S-'s trunks are all packt and she is having them convey’d to the carriage.
Agnes S- looks tearfull once more, but then smiles at Sophy and thanks her very heartyly, says she hopes that she suffers no ill-effects from that wretch that assail’d her in Cheapside, and conveys to her what I confide is an exceeding generous compliment.
We exchange very warm farewells and she leaves us.
My darling and I look at one another and sigh. Well, says Eliza, can you not be about finding her a suitable husband?
Sure, says I, I know not why all suppose I may contrive miracles and conjure up fine husbands that are not sneaking fortune-hunters and will appreciate her fine qualities of character and think it a very excellent matter that she writes poetry –
Indeed, says Eliza, I see that 'tis somewhat of a task.
'Tis so, says I.
Comes peeking into the room to see what’s ado, the mongoose, close follow’d by Josh, that is a little put about that he did not get the chance to say his own farewells to Agnes S- and conduct her to make a formal congé of the menagerie, because Mr McN- was about giving him some classickal tuition.
Oh, says Josh, was there not a fellow at His Lordship’s tiffin-party that was give out to have a deal of snakes? Would it not be a prime thing could one be set to fight with the mongoose?
I fancy, says I, that Major S-, that I apprehend to be the gentlemen in the question, is such an admirer of the serpentine creation that I would dare say he has quite the lowest opinion of mongooses – mongeese? – and would not concede to any such thing.
Josh sighs. (I am a little amuz’d that one that will express such antipathy to matters as badger-baiting and dog-fighting takes such a desire to see the mongoose in combat: but I do not think his fondness for the animal creation extends to snakes, that are indeed somewhat of a special taste.)
I am entire happy to be with my dear ones and their family. The work upon my new premises proceeds apace, 'tis most agreeable to hear, even tho’ the work on my library was put back somewhat by the diversion of the carpenters to O- House to fit out a dressing-room for Lady O-.
I am still being deliver’d a deal of solicitations for my attention to matters of china, plate, table-linen, &C, and the small parlour has become the place in which I keep these, where 'tis less likely than in the family room that small fingers will go poke about and mayhap break things. There is an exceeding pretty tea-set suit’d to dolls that demonstrates in miniature the fine craft of the maker, that I quite long to see my darling Flora play with, but perchance should be put by for a few years until she may play with it with due care.
Thus it perchances that one morn I am about looking at this bounty and endeavouring to decide which showrooms I should go visit – for assur’dly I may not visit 'em all do I wish to get my fine new dining room fitt’d out any time this present year – when is announc’d to me Lady O-, that I am most exceeding glad to see.
She shows no formal manner but comes embrace and kiss me and say sure I am quite the architect of their entire happyness, how may they ever recompense me, &C&C; also she is quite entire delight’d with Lorimer -
Indeed, says I, stepping back a little so that I may take in how she is dresst, she has a very nice way with her.
Of course, says Lady O-, I shall have a deal of fittings at Mamzelle Bridgette’s and so forth.
And you are also quite entire delight’d with your lawfull wedd’d spouse? I ask with a smile.
She gives a deep happy sigh and says, oh, he is quite the finest of fellows, I am a most fortunate woman. And then she gives a naughty grin and says, and sure, when dear Tony discourses to me of plants, 'tis most exceeding agreeable, not that Papa ever thought his daughters worth talking to upon such a subject.
And then she gives a less happy sigh and says, Papa still has not come round – sure I may sneak in to N- House so that I may visit dear Mama, but he still refuses receive us, tis exceeding worrying.
Why, says I, 'tis in the way of things that gentlemen are like to take pets are their wishes thwart’d, in particular are they made to look foolish besides. But I daresay he may eventually come into a better frame of mind.
She does not look entire hopefull that this may come about, says that altho’ he is oblig’d to have dealings concerning her portion &C, 'tis all conduct’d via that fusty fellow Fosticue the attorney.
Indeed, dear Lady O-, says I, I confide it pains him considerable that he may not cut you off without a shilling for disobeying his wishes, but you are of age, have marry’d into rank, 'twould be more of a scandal to endeavour withhold it. Also going to law is an exceeding costly business.
She laughs and says, there is one thing she would desire, I have been such a friend to 'em, must we be so stiff and formal and will I not call her Nan as her family and friends do? At least when we are not in company where we must observe les convenances - sure she is little enough acquaint’d with those –
I should advize, says I, to go lesson yourself with Her Grace of M-, that is already your great friend. But, my dear, do I go call you Nan, you must do likewise and call me C-.
Oh, she says blushing greatly, that is exceeding kind of you. But might you not instruct me in the ways of Society?
Why, says I, I confide that my situation is rather different from that of a young lady just marry’d, and that the Duchess has been in a like position – and was not born in the purple so was oblig’d to study upon the conduct proper to her station, with the advice of Lady J- -
Nan shivers and says, sure one knows that Lady J- is a most estimable lady but indeed, I should not like to have to go ask her to her face.
Has not Lady J-, says I, become quite the romantick heroine? And even tho’ the Admiral is a fellow well-regard’d for his gallantry in warfare, and now has a tidy property, there are those were a little scandaliz’d that a Duke’s sister would stoop - for he is of no great birth.
Even so, she says with a smile, and even tho’ Miss A- will speak so well of her, I ever feel she regards me as an ill-conduct’d creature.
Why, says I, 'tis a most admirable thing I have observ’d in Lady J-, that she will concede to change her mind: do you go enquire of Her Grace I confide she will tell you the like.
Nan pulls a little face and says, well, mayhap she will speak to Her Grace, that all agree is quite the finest model for young ladies. But, she goes on, I forget the matter that dear Tony taskt me with, that was to say that he purposes a small dinner party at O- House, entirely good friends such as yourself and His and Her Grace, dear U- - is he not the finest brother a lady might have? – and mayhap Sir B- and Lady W-, and would greatly desire your company.
Why, 'tis most exceeding civil, says I. Sure I am bid about to a deal of Society occasions, but 'tis come the time when some already begin leave Town and go to their estates and I need no longer contrive to be in two places at once of an e’en so as not to show myself haughty. And indeed 'twould be entire congenial to dine at O- House in such company, and to see how Arabella comes along so that I may report to Seraphine.
There was one other thing, she says, casting down her eyes. Mrs Atkins is most extreme kind to my ignorance, but Charley was telling me how most exceeding helpfull 'twas to have some converse with Mrs F- on matters of housekeeping in a large establishment, and sure I am very ill-instruct’d in such matters, for I was a heedless creature that did not attend when dear Mama went about to give us some notions in the business, when her health permitt’d –
My dear Nan, says I, I confide that Mrs F- would be entire delight’d to convey her wisdom to you.