Comes Sunday, and 'tis in good ton to go to church (for sure one will never find a temple of Venus that goes hold services anywhere in the English countryside), so I take my prayer-book and go down to the hall, where the company assembles either to take carriage to the church or to walk.
Sure 'tis such a fine morning, and there is a little breeze, that I confide I shall walk, and Docket has provid’d me with my parasol.
Lord U- comes up and offers me his arm, do I purpose this amble across the park. I take it very gratefull. For otherwise I may find myself oblig’d to make civil converse with Sir V- P- or the Earl of I-, or one or two other gentlemen that I have observ’d cast their eyes upon the lovely Lady B-.
I ask how he lik’d the party at A-, and he says, most extremely. What an excellent set that is: sure some of 'em may be fribbles, but by no means rakes or debauchees. There was a deal of fine manly exercize, including swimming, as well as excellent conversation. Sure he can take no concern whatsoever do Eddy and Geoff remain there, 'twill be entire good for 'em.
What a fine thoughtfull fellow is Viscount R-. There are many matters he has undertook about the estate that I would desire do similarly at Monks G-. And 'tis an entire education to discourse with Mr MacD-; do you suppose he has any acquaintance that I might prefer as a secretary to myself? There are a deal of matters in which I confide Sir C- F- will be delight’d to act my mentor, but he has his own property to keep under hand. I purpose pay him a visit some time during the summer, and mayhap contrive to take Mama along with me.
He then smiles and says, it quite exceeds as Lou will say, to see how well Mama looks of late. Of course, she will never get up and dance, one must not expect entire miracles, but her spirits are so much better.
But indeed, he says, I rattle on. How go matters with you, Lady B-?
I say, before it flys from my mind, I must entire exhort him to enquire of Mr MacD- about the matter of a secretary – but lately he advanc’d a fellow of his acquaintance to Lord T-, that is most extreme prepossesst. But as for myself, he may have heard that I go extend my premises - have took the house next door, so that I may have a dining-room and give dinner-parties - sure my cook is in entire ecstasy at the prospect! – and some other matters that could not be contriv’d in my little house.
He says he confides there will be a deal of Society hangs out for invitations to dine, knowing of my cook.
We come to the church, and enter in.
Because 'tis his parish church, that is a living within the gift of the Dukes of M-, tho’ sure the incumbent is of an age that I daresay must have been appoint’d by Biffle’s grandfather, Biffle reads the lesson, that he goes about exceeding well. During the sermon I go fret a little, wondering how Phoebe and Lucile do, and what this matter is that Tibby wishes convoke upon, and also how I might contrive to go ask Mr L- whether his newspaper now does well enough that he might wed Miss N-, that I have some concern goes droop a little that 'tis a matter that seems ever deferr’d to some future date.
On the way out, 'tis not entire what I should have desir’d, but I observe Sir V- P- come wambling towards me, so slip my arm into Lord D-'s, as he happens to be next to me, and say, sure I have not seen him this age, how does he? How is fatherhood?
He says, sure they do well enough, they spend the summer on the Shropshire estate, he confides that 'twill be most sanitive both for Arthur and for Dora, and sure Arthur is a fine thriving boy. He then adds that I must know he has a sister, Lady Rosamund, will be making her curtesy during the coming Season – do I think that Her Grace would be willing to take her into Society a little?
(I am a little surpriz’d that she will not be under the aegis of Lady D-, and then consider that Lady D- is very young, somewhat shy in Society, and I daresay will still be nursing little Arthur.)
(I also take a consideration that 'twill look well for Viola to have a young lady of such impeccable birth among her chicks, especial does she go take into Society Jacob S-'s niece and her father’s friend’s daughter.)
Why, says I, I confide she would be entire delight’d.
He gives a little reliev’d sigh, and then goes expatiate, tho’ somewhat less fervent than his usual wont, upon the theologickal failings of the sermon we have just heard. But, sure, such an ag’d fellow in a country parish…
As 'tis Sunday there are a deal of things that 'twould be improper for the company to do, but since the weather is fine, at least the company may go appreciate the beauty of the gardens, the delights of nature &C, even may they not fish or practice archery.
After there has been a light collation, I engage in a little strolling up and down and conversing with one and another, until 'tis time for me to go convoke with Tibby - can I not slip away unmarkt from some gathering I shall consider I have lost all my wont’d skills.
Docket and Sophy are just about to depart for a tea-drinking with Lorimer – is showing very well, says Docket, Lady O- and her sister are extreme well turn’d-out, 'twas an excellent choice. I go into the dressing-room.
Tibby sits there turning over the pages of La Belle Assemblée, but jumps up and makes me a dip.
How now, Tibby, what is this matter that you wish convoke upon?
Tibby sits clasping her hands before her and says, she apprehends that my Ladyship knows that she and Titus –
Indeed, says, and I hope your mutual fondness continues?
O, indeed, Your Ladyship. But while they had no desire to rush into matrimony, it comes about that their thoughts go turn in that direction –
'Tis not, is it, some matter of necessity?
Oh no, says Tibby, nothing o’that thanks to Your Ladyship’s kind advice in the matter, but 'tis more that, we find in ourselves a desire to live together, for that mutual aid and comfort of which the wedding service speaks. For altho’ Mr G- D- has been most exceptional good to Titus, and indeed he is the entire favourite in that household, you will I daresay know that 'tis a very crowd’d household even does Mrs G- D- not go increase as regular as she was wont.
And 'tis also very noisy with so many children, and those that come take lessons with Mr G- D-, and rehearsals, and makes it very hard for him to compose. But sure I cannot like to think of Titus in lodgings.
Sure I am most exceeding attacht to Her Grace, she goes on, that is such a fine young woman and shows so exceeding well, does one entire credit. But - , she begins, and then pauses.
As 'tis you that put me in the way of the matter, you will know that I have been writing pieces upon matters of dress and style for Mr L-‘s newspaper, and has brought me a deal of letters from the ladies that read ‘em, desiring advice upon this or that matter. And they are mostly ladies that would not be seeing the Assemblée or Ackermann’s, unless 'twould be turning over the pages in some circulating library or reading room, and if they do, will think, o, that is not for me, has no place in my own life. And yet they have a very understandable desire to dress well, and look in good style, without they go ape the aristocracy. And am I able to give 'em some little nudge in the matter, 'tis very pleasing.
Also, altho’ I daresay there may be papers would pay more, it does come to be a pleasing little sum month by month. And I think also of mayhap writing some book, for altho’ there are a deal of specifick matters as to what is consider’d the entire crack of the moment, there are also general principles -
I laugh and say, Tibby Phillips, the philosopher of fashion!
- and 'tis a matter I might go about while keeping house for Titus, and 'twould be somewhat towards our keep. But sure I would be reluctant to leave Her Grace, was it not that Jennie comes on in most commendable fashion, has the very nicest taste and notions, needs only some instruction in the business of demonstrating consequence, and I should be entire happy might she succeed to my place.
She pauses and we look at one another.
Why, Tibby, says I, sure 'tis an excellent and well-thought-out plan you have here, most exceeding commendable, that I daresay you have already spoke of with Titus –
Indeed, says she, for he was in understandable worry that his profession is somewhat precarious, and that he could not ask me to undertake the risque that would come with marriage. And so I said, here is Phoebe goes market her fine polishes, and Euphemia was making money from her receipts, and now there is this preserves factory plan, and there are other matters that a woman may undertake without going out to work – does not Mrs S- undertake matters of making drawings for scientifick gentlemen? And I had just had a nice little sum from Mr L- along with the solicitation to write more often.
Why, says I, jumping up and kissing her, dear Tibby, I think 'tis quite entirely answerable.
She then pulls a face and says, she dares say Docket will consider it a descent from attending upon a Duchess.
Poo, says I, Docket I am sure desires see you happy.
We then discourse a little on Docket’s health and the very excellent plan for her to go to Weymouth with Biddy Smith, and Tibby commends Sophy’s attentiveness.