Sure 'tis most exceeding delightfull to be with my dear ones at last, but 'tis sad that they are oblig’d to steal from my bed afore the household wakes.
Comes the morn, and there is the usual chocolate party comes attend upon my levée - I see that tho’ Quintus thinks himself a great boy that will no longer be kisst like babies and girls, will come hoist himself onto my bed to come snuggle at t’other side from darling Flora, even does he not go be a wakefull wombatt as she does, o, 'tis quite entire charming.
Josh sits at the foot of the bed, and Harry comes and stands by the door, and Bess and Meg go pour out and hand around the chocolate, and then seat themselves on either side of the bed, and I look about 'em very happy to be among 'em but also wondering are there any little troubles they have. For there is a little discontent look about Bess, that is perchance to do with Mr D-'s marriage, and there seems not the same sisterly warmth 'twixt her and Meg. And Meg, mayhap for that cause, looks a little sad.
But all go chatter to me of matters they are about, and o, Minnie has had another baby, &C&C.
And when they go leave for their lessons or to go to the works, my precious child desires stay with me while I go prepare for the day, 'tis the dearest thing to my heart. And is she told to be carefull in picking up and investigating the fascinating matters that are upon my dressing-table, she will indeed go be carefull and handle them very delicate. Sophy smiles upon her and goes rub lotion into her hands and wipes her face with a scent’d water, that she likes quite exceedingly.
And we go down to the family room so that I may breakfast, and Flora tells me that the dormice have babies and comes sit beside me when my tray is brought, and Eliza looks upon us very doating.
I am telling my sweet child a story of the ivory elephants when comes Miss N- for her.
What, says I, she is already advanc’d to the schoolroom?
O, says Eliza with a laugh, she will not be kept out: desires learn to read, and comes on very well.
Miss N- looks at her very fond and says, indeed she is quick in apprehension and picks it up remarkable.
They go away, with Flora asking may she read to Aunty C-, and Eliza smiles and says, Miss N- will say that she is quite a delight to teach.
Why, says I, 'tis gratifying to hear, but I hope that she will not push her on unduly.
Sure I do not think her one of those preceptresses that would advance their own credit by encouraging over-much precocity in learning.
She gives a little sigh. Indeed, we are so well-suit’d with her, is quite become one of the family, that while I daresay that you will cry the world must be peopl’d and 'tis entire desirable that she should go marry Mr L-, shall be extreme sorry to lose her and have to go find another governess.
But, says I, sure Bess and Meg will soon be out of the schoolroom, 'twould be a reasonable time to make some change.
My darling groans and says, but at present they are in that very trying betwixt and between state – Meg is now come to womanhood – and o, the brangling that goes on with the two of 'em, I am oft like to wish to knock their heads together. Here is Bess goes boast upon her fine acquaintance, and there is Meg, would spend all day at her piano did Miss N- not take her away for other lessons and to chase her into the garden, and 'tis entirely tiresome.
Hah, says I, there are worse ways that girlish foolishness may take.
She looks at me with a little quirk of her lips and says, sure they must get the lovelyest of C-s to recount somewhat of that history upon some occasion.
La, says I, 'tis by no means an edifying account. And, thinking about my girlhood, I greatly wish peruse dear Abby’s letter more closely, now that I am appriz’d that all are well and that she is safely past her lying-in.
So I open my traveling desk and take out the packet of letters and go read dear Abby’s epistle, that is a good long one, and contains a deal of matter I may use to bring more interest to their work with the convicts, and some scientific intelligence I may communicate to certain savants, but also a very fine amount concerning herself and Mr T- and their dear offspring, and much praise of Ellie N- and indeed all gladdens me exceedingly.
I say that Abby says very many fine things about Ellie N- that I must communicate to her sister.
While 'tis a shame they must be separat’d by such a distance, says Eliza, 'tis entirely heartening how very happy the elder Miss N- sounds to be: and I confide 'tis entirely due to some contrivance by the cunningest of C-s.
Perchance! says I. A word here and there.
I take up another letter, that I open and see is from the Reverend Mr L-, that waxes quite entire ecstatick at the favourable reception of his suit to Agnes S-. Understands from her guardian that she has somewhat by way of a portion, and while, indeed, she is a lady of such qualities that needs no extra recommendation, he minds that 'twould be agreeable to feel some confidence that they might be in a position to give any offspring a good start in life, rather than go about seeking interest for places in schools &C. Also finds that she has modestly conceal’d that she is that fine poet that was lately so much prais’d.
Has had a very fine letter from the Marquess of O- that desires that he will consider him as friend and patron, and will do his best to promote his preferment to a good living.
Such a manifestation of esteem must be entire gratifying, writes Mr L-, even without that he would look favourably upon a move to some other parish. Sure he has a tidy living where he is, would quite entirely sustain marry’d life, and has the acquaintance of those fine people the U-s, &C; but there was lately a fellow poking about, desir’d to look into the registers from when the erstwhile Mr G- was in the place, was gossiping about in the village, and he takes a concern that there were irregularities that now come to light, and has some fears there may even be a visitation.
My darling, says Eliza, is’t ill news?
O, says I, 'tis that it seems that the parish is not yet done with bothersome matters that are the legacy of that lunatick bigamist.
My dearest looks at me and says, is this more secrets that are not all your own to tell?
Somewhat of the sort, says I (for I should not wish to worry my dear ones over the pokings and pryings of Mr R- O- - for I confide that 'tis he, or one commission’d by him, that undertakes this business – before I have more assurance that 'tis indeed what’s afoot. For am I not a not’d Gothick novelist, that could make up many tales that would require one to go dig about in the dealings of some clergyman? Sure in Surrey 'tis not very like, but one hears that parsons may be confederate with the gentlemen of the trade, entire aside from matters of secret marriages or conceal’d births.)
She looks at me with fond worry and says, their dear third’s discretion is wholly admirable but sometimes they would like to not be surpriz’d.
Sure, my darling, I hope that I do not bring you unpleasant surprizes.
Why, 'tis not our best of C-‘s fault do fellows send her serpents and suchlike matters.
We look at one another very fond, and then she turns back to her business and I address myself to my letters.
I see that Mrs D- K- has contriv’d to provide herself with a frankt cover and goes write to me.
I find that she is in Bath with the old b---h, where she had rather not be, most particular at this season, for there is a deal of Society and several fellows that she had as soon not encounter. But the dreadfull crocodile makes it her accustom’d habit, for according to her 'twas the scene of her triumphs as a toast of the ton in bygone days.
But she does not complain upon her, for she is like the weather that one must put up with.
No, there is a thing come to her that she knows not what she should do –
- O dear, thinks I –
There was one e’en Old Lady W- had a bad attack of the colick and nothing would do but to send her companion herself to go summon her favour’d apothecary to come make up a dose for her. So she went out into the streets, and before she got to the apothecary’s was waylaid by a fellow that had had to do with over her husband’s debts of honour and seem’d to think she might again prove amiable – was somewhat drunk and obstinate – but who should come along but Lord K-, that she had seen about the place and ever greet’d her civil, and drove off the scoundrel, escort’d her upon her errand and back with the apothecary, and askt might he come call upon her.
So, she said he might, for indeed without he came along she knows not what would have happen’d. And she gave him a time when the old b---h would be about taking the waters, and he came, was most well-conduct’d, but then made her a proposal of marriage, for sure, he said, her year of mourning was not quite up, but he wisht to be beforehand in the matter –
As if, she writes, I should have a deal of honourable suitors at my feet. But o dear, what shall I do? He is the kindest and gentlest of fellows, ever acts entire respectfull: but then she thinks of his mama, that quite entire detests her, and of Society -
Well! thinks I, should not have guesst she would not go seize upon this offer.
My dearest, says Eliza, what matter is’t makes you pull such faces?