Docket informs me that I must go visit Mamzelle Bridgette as soon as maybe, for here we are back in Town, the Season well under way, and my wardrobe in the greatest need of furbishing up in the latest styles.
La, says I, I fear that do I go about in Society I shall garner the reputation of a sad dowd, for while I confide that we have substantial interest with Biddy Smith, she cannot conjure up new gowns overnight. But indeed, while I might go seclude myself like an odalisque in a seraglio until all is in readyness, yet 'tis most material to me to go about and be seen somewhat, to show that I am entire in the pink of health, and to confound any malicious rumours that I am gone with child.
Docket looks at me a little exasperat’d and says, sure My Ladyship would never be taken for a dowd, and she dares say that between 'em she and Sophy will contrive with what we have upon hand, but she thinks quite entirely of my consequence as a leader of fashion -
I laugh and say, and your consequence as the one that dresses me!
Comes in Sophy saying, look at these two pretty girls! – for she has been keeping Flora and Hannah occupy’d whilst I dress with various matters of lotions and scent’d waters and ribbons to their hair. 'Tis the charmingest sight.
Why, says I, let us go show off these ladies of fashion to their mamas.
I find my dearest Eliza in the kitchens discoursing with Seraphine, that greets me very warm. They exclaim upon Flora and Hannah. I observe that Joseph still keeps in a little pen in a quiet corner. Seraphine looks over at him and says with a smile, sure 'tis nearly time that he goes join the nursery set.
And, says I, I hear that Julius and Hannah are embarkt upon their education?
She smiles again and says, 'tis so, and come on very pleasing. And then says, but sure you must be entire starving, Your Ladyship, do you go upstairs and I will send you a nice little breakfast as soon as maybe.
O poo, says I, you go talk household business together, sure I might wait.
Indeed not, says Eliza. Let us go convey these fashion-plates to the schoolroom, and then go sit in the family room.
So we do as she says, and I go have a very fine breakfast and a deal of coffee, and Eliza looks at me very fond, and then sighs and says, she quite apprehends that I must very shortly be about going to my own house –
O, indeed, my darling: but in my little note to Hector said I should not be there afore the morrow at the earlyest.
We look at one another very warm. My dearest, says I, sure I should not rush away before we have had time to renew our vows, but I confide that however much I should like to remain, I should return to my own house, display myself at home, go about making calls &C.
Eliza sighs and says, she quite sees the wisdom in that course, but indeed, they have misst their belov’d third very much.
And I have misst my wild girl and our Grand Turk most exceedingly.
We stretch out our hands to one another and clasp 'em.
She then sighs again and says, 'tis her day for convoking with Mrs Wilkins, so she will away to her formal chamber for such matters. But I should mind that this is entire Liberty Hall and I am quite one of the family-
Why, says I, I have not yet properly said hello to my sweet Jezzie-girl – what an excellent idea that was to have Bess ride her –
Eliza laughs and says, o, Bess is quite entire in love with her, will be sorry to give up the pleasure, tho’ I daresay we shall now have dropping of hints that she is grown too great a girl for a pony, and should have a fine horse, and is’t not give out what very fine mounts for ladies are school’d by Captain P-'s lady.
'Tis so, says I. But I shall go see can Seraphine supply me with an apple or so, first.
I find Seraphine in her little sitting-room. She sends one of the kitchenmaids to fetch me an apple. While I wait, I ask how the business of pickles and preserves goes, and Seraphine smiles considerable and says, a deal better than they ever expect’d.
Returns the kitchenmaid with several apples, saying to Seraphine, they have sent down for coffee again for the west wing, and mayhap 'tis time they should go send out for more beans?
'Tis a good thought, says Seraphine, now that Mr MacD- is back in the household. She makes a little note.
I say I can see that she is busy, and would not interrupt her labours, and take myself off to the stableyard. 'Tis most exceeding pleasing that my sweet Jezebel makes a little whickering noise when she sees me and manifests considerable welcoming, that I think is not entire due to the apples. We are renewing our acquaintance when comes into the yard Milord.
He comes over to me and says, how might he ever express his gratitude? he was in fears –
I smile and say sure reunions are quite delightfull.
We both mind that we should probably not say any more at this time and place.
Milord looks at Jezzie and says, perchance we might ride out to the Park at the fashionable hour?
'Tis a good thought, says I, do I wish display myself as in health as ever was and by no means like to be brought to bed.
He sighs and says, none have spoke to him direct upon that topick, but he knows there have been speculations.
'Tis the way of the world, says I.
And I daresay, he says, better that that is where minds go when they speculate upon Lady B-.
Why, says I, I confide that the wildest speculations when count has been lost of how many times the bottle has been round would not come at what transpir’d. Not even were they also indulging like Mr W- Y- in laughing gas or bang.
Most like! says he. There is a deal of news concerning various acquaintance but nothing, he would suppose, of any great urgency or in immediate requirement of Lady B-'s hand upon matters.
When I go down later, array’d in my riding-habit, I find that 'tis just Milord and myself ride out – I had been expecting the girls and mayhap the younger ones as well, but Bess and Meg are at dancing class, to which Josh has also begun go under somewhat of protest, and the entire nursery-set is foregather’d for the funeral of one of the dormice, that took an enterprize to escape its cage and alas, encounter’d Mittens, at which Quintus officiates. I am in fears this purports he will end up a bishop.
So we ride out in company and exchange idle gossip - Reynaldo is arriv’d at Boston where he cuts quite a figure among the Yankees. One apprehends that his companion upon the voyage is also arriv’d safe but there is no particular news. The Earl of N- is report’d at Washington and making botanizing expeditions into the woodlands and forests in those parts: sure matters within his family go a deal better now he is out of the way.
Lord A- is extreme well-suit’d in his marriage, and to great astonishment in Society, is on quite the finest terms with his father-in-law –
We come to the Park, where there is a considerable throng.
I observe that I am observ’d, raise my crop in greeting to several that go bow to me, and look about to see can I perceive any of my particular acquaintance.
Comes over at a very brisk canter what at first I suppose to be Lady O-, for she rides Blackthorn, but then see that 'tis her sister, and indeed, upon reflection I should not expect Nan to be out riding at present.
O, Lady B-! cries Em, sure has been an entire age! O, indeed you are looking well, there were those gave out that you were in a consumption -
La, says I, you are a young healthy creature and have no experience of what croakers the profession may be, giving quite the direst auguries does one feel a little pull’d down.
Indeed not, says Em, tho’ now you say that, I mind Captain C- has said somewhat to the same effect, complains that the quacks will still not pass him fit for active service.
Comes up at a more sober pace Lord U- upon Orion, greets us very civil, remarks that I am looking exceeding well and hopes that I had a pleasing sojourn at Naples. Sure there was an entire gap left in Society by my absence.
O, poo, says I, I am sure Society in the season has a deal more to think about than whether Lady B- be at the parties, balls, routs, &C.
No, indeed, says Em, there was a deal of wondering on the matter, and o, Her Grace and Lady J- went about giving the most tremendous set-downs to malicious gossips.
Lord U- laughs and says he confides there are some have crept off to Bath to take the waters to recover. Indeed Lady J- is a daunting figure even when she is not giving a tremendous set-down.
Milord groans and says, is’t not entirely so? Tho’ Admiral K- be quite entire load’d down with awards for gallantry already, one feels he deserves some special testimonial for daring wed her.
I remark that I had a brief rencontre with the Admiral when the fleet came to Naples –
Sure one would like to meet him, says Lord U-, sounds an exceeding fine fellow.
Quite the finest, says I, just as draws up to us a phaeton in which Lord A- drives out his lady, the quondam Charley B-, and both exclaim upon seeing me and how well I look. Sure, says Lord A-, now you are return’d I daresay you have a deal of invitations, but we give a musick party very shortly and should be delight’d could you honour us with your presence.
La, says I, nothing would give me more pleasure, and will Lady A- be singing?
There begins gather quite a little crowd that desires view me to see that I am neither in a consumption nor increasing.