'Tis really most exceeding agreeable to be at the villa, and I come to some apprehension that I had become somewhat jad’d in the frenzie of society at Naples, and 'tis entire sanitive to sit quietly in the extreme fine airs of the place.
I am not, however, entire idle, for I have a deal of letters that I have delay’d quite shocking in replying to, because of the very great number of diversions while I was at the Contessa’s palazzo.
I sit out upon the terrace in a most exceeding comfortable chair, with the wide-brimmed hat that Docket entire insists upon my wearing, and with my parasol to shield my complexion further from the ravages of the sun, and my fine traveling-desk upon my lap.
I take out the miniatures of my precious child, and kiss 'em, and turn to replying to my very dearest ones, that have writ to me very kind and in such manner as puts heart into me, for I was in great fear that they would go chide me very severe for running away before Society return’d to Town and they were back at R- House. But instead they write in quite the lovingest of ways, and say that 'tis give out that some physician adviz’d Lady B- to go south for her health, to explain my somewhat sudden departure, for indeed a deal of persons go comment upon it.
And there is fine news of themselves and the dear children and in particular my sweet infant bluestocking Flora, that comes on so very fine in her reading, and making her letters, and has – o, 'tis entirely the sweetest thing and brings me quite to tears - writ out her own little letter to her Aunty C-. Also they are most prepossesst at the very happy thought I had concerning Miss N- and Mr L-, and go about to set aside and furbish up a suite of rooms for 'em so that they may go marry, and wonder why they had never thought of such an answerable expedient. Miss N- is quite ecstatick at the prospect
But, sure, they very much miss their belov’d third and hope that the benign influence of the south will work fine amendment upon her so that she may return to those that love her most exceedingly.
O, thinks I, 'twould be entirely to my own liking, and yet, somehow I do not yet feel myself in readyness to return to Town and my wont’d courses.
So I set to to write to my darlings, and I hope that they do not suppose I am so caught up in enjoyments that I would not wish to be with their dear selves.
And there is a letter from Viola, that says she contriv’d to look over Miss Rebecca G- and Miss Julia P-, that she found most exceeding well-looking and pretty-behav’d young women and can see entire no objection to taking 'em about somewhat in Society. But it must have been writ before she heard of my departure for she expresses hopes that I might be her confederate in taking about what becomes quite a gaggle of young women.
She adds, would I believe it? Dear Martha thinks she is in the way to increase again.
Why, thinks I, 'tis a thing she ever hop’d for, and yet, one knows how much she was knockt up by bearing Deborah, one must be a little concern’d.
In my reply I say that I do not know when I may return to Town, but why does she not make Lady O- her assistant in the business? Has seem’d to me that she steadies quite remarkable now she is marry’d. And what excellent news for Martha, please to convey my own best wishes to her.
There is a letter from Lord O-, that expresses himself entire satisfy’d with the arrangement I made with Mr L- for the publication of the essays upon his travels, and goes subscribe to Mr L-'s paper, for he finds a deal of good sense in the leaders, and fine thoughtfull reporting, as well as the very excellent criticism of books and plays. He and his dear Hippolyta go about making visits, but purpose a return to Town, and he is like to think that her family will continue reside at O- House, for N- House has somewhat unhappy associations for 'em.
Had he not heard that Lady B- was gone traveling, would have desir’d her advice concerning brightening up N- House, for even does U- not desire live there, was’t in good order one might let it out? Naught has been heard yet from Lord N-, or of him, tho’ 'tis suppos’d he must by now have attain’d to Washington.
U- shows most exceeding prepossessing in taking up the responsibilities his father has let fall – has took counsel with his godfather, that excellent fellow, and begins to see his way forward. They go about to find out about how young Geoff may obtain a place at one of the Inns of Court. Sir C- F- has offer’d that Eddy might care to study the management of property with him, and in due course take over his place in Herefordshire, 'tis most exceeding kind in him.
Why, all falls out exceedingly, thinks I. And that he does not say anything concerning Hester is entirely comforting, for was she fallen into bad health or such I am sure he would say.
But indeed, there is also a letter from dear Hester, that says a deal about the fine visit she and U- made to Sir C- F-.
Sure, I cannot help thinking about how one might improve N- House did one have a free hand. For a deal of the gloom that pertain’d there was, I confide, a miasma spread about by the Earl himself, and now he is out, does one as 'twere go fumigate, may restore a better feeling. Tho’ sure a fine thoro’ furbishment would be requir’d for 'tis long since there was fresh paint &C.
La, thinks I, really, C-, you are not the only lady, or the only person, that could furbish up N- House. Truly are you call’d that meddlesome marchioness behind your back. But in my reply I convey a few notions as to how one might proceed in the matter.
The next letter in the pile I find is from dearest Susannah, that reports herself and Sir B- and the children all well, and the dread crocodile as well as ever, alas. And has not yet driven off poor Mrs D- K-, that is nearly out of mourning but shows little disposition to re-enter Society. Behaves remarkable well – makes civil – but there seems somewhat that weighs upon her mind – yet can one be surpriz’d, for altho’ thanks to Mr MacD-'s endeavours she has something by way of an income, 'tis hardly enough to provide her an independence.
I apprehend from this that Susannah has no notion of Lord K-'s suit to Mrs D- K-.
She goes on to write somewhat of Captain C-, that is still a most welcome guest on their estate, but is increasing despair that will ever be past fit for active service. Indeed one can see that 'tis entire prudent in his doctors to give a cautious verdict.
She then says somewhat of how delight’d Bobbie and Sukey will be when the Season for the R- House nursery set commences.
There is a most exuberant epistle from Agnes S-, altho’ she also expresses that 'tis a great pity that I go out of Town, for her guardian was in great hopes to make my acquaintance. But 'tis most extreme pleasing how greatly in accord he and Mr L- find themselves. They proceed to the various legal matters concerning her inheritance – Mr L- finds himself somewhat overwhelm’d at marrying such an heiress, but insists that the fortune be settl’d upon her, with somewhat in trust for their offspring. But she confides that she will be in a happy position of being able to give him gifts of books &C that she doubts not he would be reluctant to buy for himself.
And she goes put together another volume of poems, but knows not how she may contrive get it discreetly into the publisher’s hands without Lady B- as intermediary. (Sure I know not how I might be about action at a distance in the matter, with matters as they are 'twixt me and Sandy.)
There is another exuberant letter, from Miss A-, that says that they have had the most exceeding successfull season at Harrogate, and indeed makes a great difference having Miss R- back in her own parts and taking on new ones. They have reviv’d The Gypsy’s Curse, and had a very happy notion of alternating the parts of the gypsy and the actress between the two of 'em. Answer’d most exceedingly.
Mrs D- becomes quite part of the company: will sit in the dressing-room minding little Orlando and the pugs, will brew soothing drinks for those that fear an affliction of the throat that are most exceeding effective, and what is perchance most greatly valu’d, manages to keep Mr W- away from taverns and perchance worse by desiring him to keep her company. They play at cards together, sometimes with Miss R- and her devot’d fribble, and sometimes just the two of 'em in their lodgings.
'Tis all agreeable enough that she does not miss Lady J- very much tho’ will be exceeding glad when she is return’d to Town and no longer subject’d to the perils of the sea.
'Tis with some apprehension that I break the seal upon the letter from Milord. But he commences by saying that he entirely confides that his dear friend, the late Marquess, would have approv’d my course of action, for would remark that alas there are times when 'tis the only course one may take, tho’ 'tis not a remedy to apply wholesale. And indeed, words can barely begin express his own gratitude.
The tears come to my eyes.
He goes on to say that he sees a deal of those excellent young fellows the M- boys: Lord U- feels the responsibilities laid upon him, and the other two, tho’ quite passionate about manly sports, also go about taking serious thought as to what careers they might pursue.
I am a little perturb’d that Milord says nothing whatsoever of Sandy.
And, indeed, I am greatly sadden’d that I have had no letter from him.