Indeed Miss C- looks a deal better with her hair dresst in a different style. I am in some hopes that Lady Emily will become quite bosom friends with her, but altho’ she shows exceeding amiable, does not seem as besott’d as she was with Lady Rosamund.
I manage to contrive to convoke with Lord O- upon the essays upon his travels, that I consider are now in a condition of readyness for me to go advance them to Mr L- for publickation in his newspaper. He remarks that altho’ is not oblig’d to earn his living with his pen, yet he dares says that the labourer is worthy of his hire –
Entirely so, says I, tho’ if you are not in actual need of the sums in question, you might go present ‘em to a good cause.
I was in some thought, says he, that there are those I knew in my former life –
La, says I, you need say no more, for I confide 'tis a like case to my late husband’s instructions to me, and I daresay that you have lines of communication in place.
He agrees that 'tis entirely so.
I go on to say that I purpose go spend a few days in Town, seeing how the work goes upon my house, and making sure various matters are under hand, before I go upon my next visit ('tis in fact to spend a se’ennight or so with Belinda and Captain P-, that will be most exceeding agreeable). While I am there I shall go call upon Mr L- with these essays, for I also have another matter to open to him.
The Marquess laughs and says, he observes that Lady B- ever has a deal of matters upon hand.
O, perchance! says I. Sure now I am become the lady of leisure, rather than one that is oblig’d to go earn her living, find a deal of time hangs upon my hands.
He laughs again and says, there are few would consider Lady B- a lady of leisure: sure 'twixt her fine work in philanthropy and her going about in Society he knows not how she contrives to write horrid tales.
La, says I, 'twas a habit I got into at a period of my life when I was oblig’d to withdraw from society and therefore found myself idle (I am like to suppose he will take this as meaning my mourning period for my husband), and began scribble. And sure once one is in that habit, 'tis entire like unto laudanum and exceeding difficult to break off.
Comes up to us Nan, that sighs and says, sure she has been having a deal of advice upon how a wife should deal with a husband from the older ladies in the party, she supposes 'tis an act of kindness in 'em, but 'tis like to render her entire melancholick.
Lord O- takes her hand and says, he hopes that she will not have to deal with him.
I find this house-party more agreeable than I anticipat’d, but nonetheless I am extreme glad when it breaks up and I am bound once more for my own household.
Indeed 'tis most exceeding agreeable to enter at my own front door of my own dear house and to find all in such good order. I go sit in my parlour and Euphemia brings tea, and I observe the tidy piles of letters and cards upon my pretty desk and indeed after having been traveling about the country 'tis most extreme agreeable to be in my own place again.
I go convey certain matters from my traveling desk, and look into the various compartments, including the secret one in which I bestow’d Mrs D- K-'s hat-pin, for I am in some consideration that I ought to dispose of it, or perchance go return it to her to do with as she wills. I had forgot that I had placed in the same compartment the little pistol that Milord lent me lest we should encounter highwaymen when I assist’d Lady Anna in her elopement. Sure I should be about returning it to him, tho’ ‘tis quite secure where 'tis.
I pick it up and think that for somewhat that may be so deadly, 'tis surprizing pretty: tho’ sure one would not expect Milord to have anything about him that was not elegant.
I put it back for the while, and go instead look upon the miniature portraits of my dear sweet Flora.
O, 'tis most delightfull to be at home and to have Euphemia make me a nice little supper, that I may take alone and not be oblig’d to make civil to anyone, and go sleep in my own exceeding comfortable bed.
And the next morn go look about at how very well the work comes on in the new part of the establishment, 'tis entire pleasing.
I spend a few days about catching up upon my correspondence and undertaking a few errands in Town, and then desire Ajax to drive me to the suburb in which Mr L- publishes his newspaper. 'Tis not at all a long drive, that is a matter I had already not’d, indeed, 'tis a place many come reside to be out of Town itself yet convenient to go in upon business.
He greets me very civil, and asks whether I have some matter for him.
Alas, says I, I have no work of my own hands to offer you, but I have been askt to see if these fine travel pieces by a friend of mine might be the sort of thing that is want’d?
He goes look 'em over and says they are most exceeding prepossessing, and sure 'tis a time of year when one is in great need of matter to fill up the columns, would be most exceeding gratify’d to publish 'em.
We therefore go negotiate over terms and reach a very agreeable accord in the matter.
After this is conclud’d, he tells me that Miss N- continues to write exceeding fine pieces for his paper, 'tis indeed pleasing to think that she is not in the situation of so many governesses that have no time to call their own, that are they not about instilling learning into their pupils are expect’d to assist in winding wool and similar domestic occupations. He then sighs.
Mr L-, says I, I thoroughly apprehend that you and Miss N- would greatly desire marry, and that your business comes about that you feel you may go wed her without bringing her into penury -
He says indeed 'tis so.
- but that she is greatly attacht to the F-s and their children.
Who would not be in her situation? he cries. They are quite the finest employers.
Indeed, says I, she is most happyly circumstanc’d. But has occurr’d to me – may be an entire whim, and mayhap not in the least answerable – sure 'tis no great journey 'twixt Town and here and one might reside in Town and yet maintain a business here.
He sighs and says, but sure there is a difference in what 'twould cost to maintain a household in Town.
Indeed so, says I, but I take a thought that R- House is exceeding capacious and that one might have a little suite of rooms, quite entire private, where you and Miss N- could lead a most agreeable conjugal existence, she would be able to continue instruct the F- children, you might run to a gig that would convey you here most expeditious –
He looks at me with some longing and says, sure 'twould be an entire idyllic existence, dares say he would also find opportunity to converse with Mr MacD- from time to time, but could it really be answerable?
Why, says I, 'twas only lately Mrs F- expresst to me that she would be somewhat distresst to lose Miss N-, that is such a very fine learn’d lady and has such paedogogick capacities, is so fond of the children and so belov’d by 'em, 'twould be a task to replace her with any that would give such entire satisfaction. Have not open’d this thought of mine to the F-s, for only came to me very recent while turning the matter over in my mind, but I am like to think that they would find it most exceeding answerable.
Oh, Lady B-, he says, leaning over to take my hand and wring it very fervent, 'twould be a most wonderfull thing might it be so.
Well, I go on, if so be you would find it agreeable, I will be about writing to Mrs F- as soon as maybe to make this proposal and see whether 'twould also be agreeable to Miss N-.
He expresses himself most effusive gratefull, for, indeed, has been in a great desire to marry Miss N- this considerable while.
Sure I feel, as I depart, that I have done a good afternoon’s work and that I may go home and write a good long letter to my dearest wild girl Eliza and put this proposition to her that I think will go about to maximize felicity.
And sure I have been most entire prepossesst at the way Miss N- has brought on my darling infant bluestocking so that she considers lessons an entire treat, 'tis quite the prettyest thing.
So I am in considerable good spirits when I arrive at my front door.
But when I enter I observe that Hector has his rat-in-the-wainscotting expression.
How now, says I, what’s ado?
Hector sighs deeply and says, 'tis that fellow Mr R- O- came calling, would not take a denial, desir’d wait upon your return, and I took a consideration that might be imprudent to expel him bodyly.
Alas, says I, I think you are right. But what have you done with him?
Hector sighs again and says, I put him in the parlour, but to discourage him from any prying about, said that while you were out of the house Timothy was about packing up a deal of the books from the shelves there so that they might be convey’d to the library.
O, Hector, says I somewhat tearfull, that was most well-done.
I take a deep breath, remind myself that I am a freeborn Englishwoman and a lady of rank, with a deal of interest, and go open the door.