I am one forenoon in my parlour at my pretty desk about going over my accounts, and finding all in very agreeable state, when Hector comes say Miss A- is at the door, am I at home to her?
Why, indeed, says I, show her in and do you desire coffee and any little cakes or such Euphemia may have about her.
How now, dear rogue, says I, going across the room to kiss Miss A-, do you come solicit my interest in that matter of plays? Sure I have an intention to be about it – have made a note in my little memorandum book – but indeed there are a deal of matters come pouring in upon me now word is gone about that I am in Town once more.
Miss A- laughs as I wave her into a chair, and says, indeed she would be glad to hear any good news concerning plays, for Mr P- continues pester 'em, but that was not why she came the morn.
Comes Celeste with coffee and the little fruit buns that Miss A- likes particularly. Miss A- says that does any in the household desire passes for the play she would be entire delight’d to provide 'em. Celeste bobs and says, O, Miss A-, I confide that Nell and Polly have never been to the play –
I say with some caution that they should go with some sober older person, do they so –
Why, says Miss A-, Dorcas is still of your household, is she not? Why do you not make up a little party and I will send passes.
Celeste, exceeding thrill’d at this prospect, bobs again and makes most effusive thanks.
After she has gone to convey this very delightfull intelligence, I pour coffee and desire Miss A- to make herself free of the buns, and say that I hope 'tis no ill matter concerning Lady J-.
Oh no, cries Miss A-, I am quite in wonderment at how well she bears up: for indeed at her age 'tis no light matter to go with child. But keeps in most excellent good humour. She smiles very affectionate.
No, indeed, she goes on, that is not where my worries lye.
She nibbles on a bun, and then says, she continues give a little instruction in dramatick matters to the Earl of N-'s children and their circle, they come along very pleasing. She then sighs and says, she takes some concern over Lady Emily –
Oh, I cry, 'tis not that she falls at your feet –
Not entirely, says Miss A-, looking very sober. But indeed she did come weep in my lap lately, and I am in some trouble what I should say to her. May have been somewhat that happen’d while you were away, but she took the most exceeding fondness towards Lord D-'s sister –
I was there, says I, when they first met.
- ah, says Miss A-, wrinkling up her nose, and I daresay you entirely penetrat’d into Lady Rosamund’s character –
Nasty little b---h, says I.
Entirely, says Miss A-, but Lady Emily was quite besott’d, one could not say anything, but I am like to suppose she has come about to have the veil torn from across her eyes and to see that little hussy in her true colours. But it render’d her exceeding distressfull, and sure I saw that she was troubl’d by somewhat one day when I went for their instruction, and took an opportunity to ask her privyly what was ado –
And then she went sob in your lap?
Precisely, says Miss A-. And I am very like to think that she is of my dear Lady J-'s nature, but has not come to that consciousness of the matter that she came to thro’ her study of the classicks with her uncle.
Indeed, says I, 'tis a thought that has crosst my own mind.
Miss A- sighs and says that she apprehends that 'tis not with Lady Emily as 'twas with Lady J-, that was left an independence by her uncle and thus not oblig’d to concede to any attempts to make some marriage alliance.
I would suppose not: her family lament that she does not show particular favour to any of her suitors, but 'tis entire assum’d that she will marry, and marry to the advantage of her family.
Miss A- sighs. Do you think she will?
Why, says I, does she not fully understand her own nature, and does she find some fellow she does not altogether dislike, she may go marry him – for her family may be fond of her, but I daresay they will be telling her that 'tis a most unusual matter the very great liking there is 'twixt her sister and Lord O-, or the romantick tale of Their Graces of M-. But she will continue falling in love with other ladies, I confide. And sure there are husbands that would not much mind, because 'tis not somewhat that would bring a cuckoo to the nest, and they might have their own diversions, but there are other fellows that go be very jealous and resentfull even of affection shown unto a lapdog.
'Tis so, says Miss A-. Are there not fellows that will marry actresses and then forbid 'em the stage? 'tis a similar matter.
I sigh myself. 'Tis a tangle, I say. But I will go consider over it.
O, cries Miss A-, if any can unknot it 'tis Lady B-!
La, says I, I do not contrive to miracles.
Miss A- laughs somewhat immoderate and says, that is not what reputation gives out.
She rises to her feet and says that she must be along to the theatre.
We kiss very affectionate and she departs.
I go throw myself into a chair to ponder this conundrum but find no immediate solution. I will go leave it ferment a little.
After I have made some duty calls, I go ride my lovely Jezzie-girl in the Park at the fashionable hour. There is a deal of Society about. I observe that Lord V- goes drive the Honble Frances C- in his phaeton. I also see Mr Geoffrey M- in what I confide is a fine new phaeton: he waves to me with his whip and I ride over to greet him.
La, says I, am surpriz’d to see you here, 'tis give out that you are entire wedd’d to your books –
He blushes a little and says, has been persuad’d that a little healthfull exercize can only be beneficial to studying. And 'tis entire delightfull to see Lady B- return’d to Town in such health.
I say I hear that he and his brothers go live at N- House.
Indeed, he says, but 'tis but a bachelor establishment and they do not entertain - not but what 'tis a sad shabby gloomy place that one would not wish invite any to.
He then is struck with a happy thought and says, U- was saying some months ago, O, could we only get a little advice from Lady B- upon furbishing the house up – his face then falls and he says, sure he dares say 'twould be improper to invite me to come look it over –
Why, says I, did I not do the like for O- House? Took Hector with me for propriety. Or, says I, as a notion begins form in my mind, surely your sisters come visit? Might I not come along some day with Lady Emily, for 'twould be exceeding usefull to her to learn a little of these matters.
Mr M- concedes 'tis an entire bang-up notion and he will open the matter to U- and Eddy as soon as maybe.
He then proceeds to ask would I care for a drive sometime.
Why, says I, I hear you have a very pretty hand with the ribbons and I should be entire delight’d.
He blushes most exceedingly.
'Tis an agreeable encounter.
In the e’en I go to a little family party at R- House, to welcome Mr and Mrs L- home from their wedding journey. I have been in some consideration concerning some suitable present, and have settl’d upon a pretty string of pearls for Mrs L-, that has always greatly admir’d the fine pearls that the Admiral gave me.
All are sitting in the parlour when I arrive, and I observe that Sandy is of the company and thus is no longer in disgrace.
I go congratulate the happy pair, give the gift to the quondam Miss N-, that gasps, O, Lady B-! when she opens the package, say to Mr L- that I have some travel observations that he may like for the paper, and ask how they enjoy’d Lyme Regis. O, quite exceedingly, they say, and expatiate somewhat on their walks along the Cobb, the remarkable fossils for which the place is fam’d &C&C.
Mrs L- desires her husband to help her fasten the pearls about her neck, and he does so with a very doating air.
Eliza says that 'twill be an excellent thing to get back into good schoolroom habits: sure Bess and Meg have shown very well in hearing the younger ones their lessons, but 'tis not the same.
Patty comes take my sweet Flora, that demonstrates some sign of becoming over-excit’d, to bed, and I am desir’d to come be a sleepy wombatt. Sure this has become an occasion upon which my precious jewel recounts me in great detail all that she has lately been about before she may be prevail’d upon to lye down and behave in the fashion proper to sleepy wombatts. But 'tis entire charming.
As I return to the parlour Eliza comes meet me in the corridor. La, Lady B-, she says, have you observ’d how the rain comes down? Sure I think you should stay the night in your fine reserv’d chamber rather than undertake the journey home in these conditions.
I look at my dearest of all wild girls and smile very much. Why, Mrs F-, that is most exceeding thoughtfull of you, and I confide Ajax may find some shakedown in the stables can Seraphine and Roberts not offer him a bed in the gardener’s cottage.
We look at one another with very speaking expressions, and then go behave ourselves most extreme proper in company.