Over the next few days 'tis entire apparent to all that Lord and Lady D- are upon exceedingly improv’d terms, will ever be about one another and from time to time one may see their fingers go twine together. I hope that they are not so greatly reconcil’d as to bring about that end that Lady D- fear’d.
I am like to think that the Evangelickal set that attends morning prayers must consider that Lord D- looks exceeding chearfull, rather than going groan under a sense of his sins, tho’ I daresay there is nothing theologickally unsound about his prayers and readings of the Bible.
Lady Rosamund continues show encroaching to me. I am in some supposition that Lady Emily may have mentioned the very excellent marriages that have lately took place among my circle, and therefore Lady Rosamund wishes gain my interest in order to advance her preference in the matter. But sure I do not find her a prepossessing prospect as a wife. She goes make eyes at Lord K-, and also at Lord U-, so I daresay she aims at being at least a countess in due course.
Agnes S- comes to me quite ecstatick and says, she knows not what I said to Dora, but she entire changes her tune over her marriage to dearest Mr L- and 'tis an exceeding great relief. Her guardian purposes come to Town when Society returns, so that they may talk of settlements &C with lawyers –
- as ever I advance the interest of Mr Q- in the matter –
- and so that he may meet Mr L-, that has already offered take him to meetings of the antiquarians and to go visit the private collections of certain of their number where he now has the entrée. He also wonders whether there is some Town physician skill’d in the gout that he might consult.
Why, says I, I will ask about – I daresay Mr H- may be led to recommend some physician, for I believe he considers gout to fall within their purlieu rather than that of surgery - for I think none has recommend’d the amputation of gouty limbs as a remedy.
O, 'tis exceeding kind in you.
I smile at her and say, he sounds a most agreeable fellow, and 'tis greatly to be admir’d is he so, for 'tis give out that the gout will try the serenest of spirits. But where do you go when our revels are end’d at C- Castle?
She pulls a face and says, Lord M-'s, that I daresay will be prayer-meetings morn till night and a library entire full of sermons.
I say that she must therefore provide herself with a good supply of horrid tales and novels, perchance with some cover upon ‘em that will lead 'em to be suppos’d edifying literature.
She giggles, and says, and read 'em with a most sober face.
Precisely, says I.
We make very fond farewells when the party breaks up and I am upon the road for Lord G-'s: 'tis by no means a particularly arduous journey as his place is in Huntingdonshire, and much of the way is very flat - indeed Lord G- discours’d of the fact that us’d to be swampy fens that were drain’d round about the time of the Civil War, and the advantages most recent display’d of steam-pumps over windmills, tho’ perchance less picturesque a sight, when I happen’d to mention the steam-pump at my lead-mine.
'Tis early afternoon when we come at the place. I go refresh myself from the journey and have Sophy put me into somewhat suitable for afternoon wear, with a becoming cap, and then descend to the drawing-room where the company gathers.
'Tis but a small company: Lord and Lady G-'s son the Honble Robert and his wife, Lady G-'s god-daughter the Honble Frances C-, their good friends the L- J-s, Lord and Lady O- and Lady Emily, Sir Vernon H- that is some family connexion, Lieutenant H- of the Navy that I met some years since on board the dear Admiral’s flagship, and is some connexion of Biffle and Lady J- as well, I suppose, as some relative of Lord G-'s (I hope none will go about explaining how such and such is relat’d to such a one, for ‘tis most entire tedious to any that is not relat’d). 'Tis mayhap a company a little lacking in young men (tho’ the lieutenant is none so very old), but 'tis give out that they hold a dance for county neighbours one e’en.
I ask Sir Vernon how the shoot at N- went, and he says, most satisfactory, detailing the bags they made, tho’ I daresay there is a double meaning was’t some occasion for privy discourse with Selim Pasha. And what improvements have been made: hardly recogniz’d the place. Indeed, the Old Duke was a very fine fellow, but had no mind to modern ways, ‘twas a great pity. Lord G- goes overhear us and discourses once more upon the great merits of steam-pumps, with some divagation into the floods that us’d to be such a peril in the district. Sure this is an age of great wonders and nigh on miracles.
I am able to say somewhat of the prospects of steam locomotion, for Harry told us all a deal of the matter while I was at the F-s. Lieutenant H- remarks that of course the Admiralty take a deal of interest in the matter, and sure he can see where steam locomotion might be of quite the greatest utility – has one ever been becalm’d in the tropicks one must entire see the force of the matter: he goes on to recount at some length just such an occasion – but he cannot suppose 'twill ever entire replace sail.
But who, he says, looking across the room, is that lady? I do not think I have her acquaintance.
La, says I, 'tis Lady Emily M-, the daughter of the Earl of N- and the sister of the Marchioness of O-.
Splendid-looking creature, he remarks. But, was there not lately some scandal about the Earl? Heard that he had gone off somewhat hugger-mugger to Washington, but 'twas old news when I came to Town and did not get the whole tale.
Stole a snake from a Company officer that kept a deal of them quite in the nature of pets, says Lord G-, do we not suppose that there is somewhat in the air of the Indies brings about such eccentricities? 'Tis hard for the Earl’s children – the heir, Lord U-, a most excellent young fellow, must be entire embarrasst at the business – also behav’d most peculiar over marrying his daughter to the Marquess – first was saying she must, and then would be breaking the match off over some idle gossip – but see what a very fond couple they are.
Lieutenant H- says he confides he is acquaint’d with the Marquess, from before his elevation, met him when he himself was but a middy with Admiral K- in the West Indies, should greatly like to renew acquaintance. He moves over towards their little group.
Lady G- comes bustling up to me and says 'tis an entire pleasure to see me, and what an enchanting gown that is, and she would desire to make known to me her god-daughter, Miss Frances C-: she goes beckon to the latter, that turns over musick upon the piano.
She comes over and Lady G- makes introductions. While Miss C- is not perchance a great beauty that will take Society by storm, she is a well-looking girl with pretty light brown hair, that might be dresst somewhat more becoming, and a fresh complexion, and an excellent figure. She curtesies to me and makes exceeding civil.
I say I observ’d her looking at the musick on the piano, does she play?
She smiles very agreeable (fine teeth, I notice), and says, o, well enough for a drawing-room do the company desire a little musick, also sings a little. But sure she does not aspire to publick performance such as her godmother has told her of at Lady B-'s drawing-room meetings.
Why, says I, 'tis a pleasing accomplishment. And I daresay you keep an album?
She blushes and says, indeed she does, but would not presume –
Poo, says I, do you desire I will indite a little Shakspeare in it.
Mrs L- J- comes over and says, she hears Lady B- discourse of the Bard, and hopes that she may be persuad’d to a reading.
Why, says I, 'twould be entire delightfull to undertake the matter is’t agreeable to the company.
Oh, says Mrs L- J-, that will be a treat.
I hear, says I, that there will be some very fine fishing offer’d for those gentlemen that enjoy it (for I recall that 'tis a pastime of which her husband is greatly fond).
O, indeed, she says, this is a watery land.
At this moment is shown in Captain C-, that I had not expect’d to encounter in this company, but turns out that he is some connexion by marriage to Mrs Robert G-. He makes very civil to the company, is looking better than he has been, and looks particular pleas’d to see Lady Emily, that is in converse with Lieutenant H-, that I dare say goes tell about the dangers he has past thro’. The two gentlemen look at one another and I think there may come about some rivalry 'twixt Army and Navy.
He comes sit by me – I make him known to Miss C- - and says that sure 'tis somewhat of a tiresome journey from Somerset by stage. He conveys me news of Sir B- W- and Susannah and their offspring, that go rustickate on the estate over the summer, tho’ I daresay there are also visits they are oblig’d to make.
He also says that the quacks still go be so very dubious about signing him fit for active service, that he is most exceeding mind’d to send in his papers and go raise horses in Nova Scotia. I see him glance over at Em and daresay he has some notion to her, but takes a consideration that tho’ of good enough birth, may be somewhat presuming in him to aspire to an Earl’s daughter.