'Tis agreeable to take up my pen again and write a deal of letters to my friends, and sure this leads me into beginning to indite a tale that I am mov’d to by talking with Guiseppina about her cards, that are exceeding curious and quaint, tho’ I do not go so far as to have my fortune read with 'em.
Docket rages upon my inky hands quite in the manner of the lady in the Scottish play, 'tis entire like unto old times.
Sophy I fear goes take an admiration for Marcello. Tho’ at least 'twill not lead her into any trouble or necessity to employ her hat-pin.
When I am not writing, or staring upon the sea or the very fine view of Vesuvius, Marcello goes take me about the property so that he may expatiate upon the improvements he undertakes and the correspondence he has had with savants on the matter. I go look at the printing press, that is conceal’d in a cellar.
At present there are no confederates in the Cause conceal’d about the villa.
I am reclining with my traveling desk and thinking upon a story of devil-worshippers I was told of by a fellow in Naples, and whether this might work up into a horrid tale, when comes Marcello in some concern to say that he observes one coming up the road towards the villa.
'Tis an excellent thing I have not’d about the place that one may see does anyone come a good way off. I daresay 'twas in my late husband’s mind when he chose the spot. I go look over the wall down the road, and indeed there is a solitary figure, carrying a bag, comes towards the villa, and sure, there is no other place the road leads to. May be lost or misdirect’d?
Has on a broad-brimm’d hat, that is entire prudent in this clime.
Marcello beside me frowns and says, is somewhat familiar about the fellow.
O, thinks I, 'tis not merely a delusion of my own, then, for indeed there is a familiarity about the figure, but indeed, one’s desire to see a particular person may cast their likeness like a veil over some entire stranger until they come close enough to be discern’d more clearly.
Alf comes up and says, has lockt up the printing press and conceal’d the door, and then looks down the road and says, but is that not - ?
The figure looks up as he comes closer, and takes off his hat to wave tho’ in a somewhat tentative fashion.
There is no mistaking the Titian locks of il bello scozzese.
I find myself in a tremble.
He comes up to the gate, drops his bag just inside it, and comes running over to me.
I am most exceeding surpriz’d to find myself most heartyly embrac’d.
O, C-, dear, dear C-, I am a wretch and a fool - , cries Sandy, sure I daresay you can never forgive me –
O, says I, finding in myself an inclination to weep upon his bosom, can you find it within yourself to forgive me?
My dearest C-, sure you were actuat’d by the highest and most unselfish instincts, and while I daresay some might find some difficulty in reconciling your action with Universal Law, yet even that makes some exception for matters of defence of self and others, and it cannot be deny’d your action entirely conduc’d to a maximizing of felicity for a considerable number –
Marcello stares at us and I mind that in these parts the English have a reputation for madness that I daresay applies also to the Scots
- indeed 'twas entire unreasonable of me to behave as I did.
My dear, says I, as we clasp hands and look into one another’s face, this is a most welcome surprize. But you will have been toiling up that dusty road in the heat, I confide that you should sit down and take refreshment.
Guiseppina comes out to see what’s ado, exclaims upon the visitor, says she thought by the signs we should have a caller before nightfall, and goes at once prepare coffee.
But, dear Sandy, how come you here?
Sandy looks about and I am like to suppose that there is matter he might not wish communicate to any but myself. (For indeed I was perturb’d that Milord wrote nothing about him in his letter.) Why, he says, your friends have been in considerable concern about this freak you took to depart so precipitate with the Contessa, especial in the circumstance that we knew of. And would beg you to return, for indeed, there seems no outcry at all over the matter –
Marcello and Alf have the expressions of those that come in midway thro’ a play and try comprehend what all signifies.
- and you are very much misst.
O, poo, says I, I daresay matters go on whether I am there or not.
Also, he continues with somewhat of a blush, there are suspicions voic’d in some circles that you are crept away to bear a child in secrecy.
La, says I, and is there speculation upon the father? Sure was’t the case, I should not come to these parts for there are a deal of our compatriots in the region that I daresay would delight in sending back intelligence of the matter.
Guiseppina comes with coffee.
After he has consum’d several cups, Sandy says, surely can be no harm to let these fellows know about your heroick action?
O, fiddlesticks, says I, you know I am an entire coward. But indeed seems civil to let 'em know what went forward, and I confide they will not be about turning King’s Evidence upon me.
Indeed they demonstrate no disposition to do so but show themselves exceeding prepossesst – Marcello indeed offers instruct me in the use of the stiletto. I shiver and say, do not intend make assassination my new occupation, once was quite enough, should greatly dislike to do it again.
But, says Alf with a puzzl’d look, was the body not discover’d? Did you contrive to have it took some very great distance away? One hears that if corpses are thrown into bodies of water in hopes of concealment, they will go float, so ‘twould not have answer’d to throw it into the Serpentine or even the Thames.
La, says I, I made the fellow of use in his death by bequeathing him to anatomickal science.
Sandy says, 'twas give out that Mr H- came up from Sussex entire post-haste and sent out cards for a very select dissection of a fine fresh corpse displaying some most interesting features - that I confide must have been what a little pistol shot may do to the internal organs.
He looks at me and says, sure 'twas a stratagem entire befitting a Gothick novelist.
Alack, says I, that I may not use this device in a tale for fear of rousing suspicions.
Marcello minds the duties of a host and says that Sandy is entire welcome to come stay at the villa, but is that small bag his only luggage?
Sandy says that tho’ he should greatly desire to be a peripatetick philosopher that needs no more than a few necessities about him, there is a trunk that he left at the Contessa’s palazzo, as he was by no means sure of the welcome he should find here.
I look about me for the fan I had laid down.
But enough of that, says I, was my precious jewel in health when you left Town?
Entire the capricious Empress of the nursery-set, says Sandy, except does it come to Hannah, that continues her prime favourite. But sure I had better go wash off the dust of the road and change, am I not being thrust out of doors like an unwant’d beggar.
Why, says I, you may convey me the news of our set, that I daresay is fresher than any of the letters I have yet had, at some more convenable time. (For I perceive a certain reserve that I am like to suppose portends that there may be matter he does not wish to disclose generally.)
Marcello goes conduct him to one of the guest-rooms, that I confide Guiseppina has been about harrying one of the maids to prepare, and then goes find some fellow to dispatch with a note about sending on the trunk. I go smile at the sea, for I am indeed most exceeding glad that we are reconcil’d, tho’ I fear that there is some further trouble that he has not yet disclos’d.
But I will suppose that has he given me no intelligence of illness or disaster, that at least all our circle are well and not come to some sudden ruin.
I go look upon the miniatures of my sweet precious child.
I know not how Guiseppina contriv’d – perchance 'tis indeed a matter of witchcraft? - but there is a most exceeding fine feast laid when we go to dine. There is also a great quantity of wine. Marcello goes expatiate that what this is, is well enough, but he goes improve the vintage, by grafting of stocks, and studying upon the properties of different grapes, and matters of fermentation, and sure, 'tis not dissimilar to listening to Mr N- discourse of the Bavarian constitution, tho’ is a less dry matter. And 'tis a healthyer occupation than assassination.
Sure the wine may be capable of improvement, but 'tis very fine nonetheless, and we all become very merry, and even more so when Marcello goes bring out a bottle of the fiery spirit grappa, that is a kind of eau de vie made from the skins of grapes after they have been presst.
We are so exceeding merry that it comes to singing - for we are quite informal and I do not go withdraw but say that the aroma of a fine cigar is entire agreeable and I am like to think that any bawdy talk is more like to put Mr MacD- to the blush than myself. (Sure I am somewhat flown in drink.)
'Tis exceeding late of the next morn when Docket comes scowl upon me, and hands me a mug of what she tells me is a preparation of Guiseppina’s for what ails me - for indeed I feel not at all the thing the morn. I close my eyes lest I observe floating a newt’s eye or a frog’s toe, and go drink it down very fast.