'Tis most exceeding delightfull to be in triangle once more, and 'tis also a fine opportunity to discourse of a deal of matters in private.
O, cries Eliza, I am in extreme relief that you are return’d in time for the R- House ball, and to be able to advize upon the business. For indeed, upon convoking on the matter with His Lordship, we determin’d 'twould look somewhat particular did we not hold a ball, after the great success of last year’s, and might bring about gossip of a kind we should wish avoid.
La, says I, I confide you would have contriv’d entire excellent; but indeed I am glad that I am arriv’d in time. I confide I have misst the M- House rout -
They go say, alas, 'tis so, and then say somewhat of what a very fine occasion 'twas.
And then there is a little silence and they say at length, sure they have been exceeding worry’d about their dearest C-, for aside from all the perils of travel, they were in the greatest concern that their darling would be about something foolish and reckless -
Alas, my dears, says I, I was indeed a foolish and reckless C- for a while in Naples –
- in particular, goes on Josiah, because His Lordship communicat’d to me somewhat of the activities of the late Marquess in those parts –
- and, continues Eliza, we were mind’d that our lovely third is also spymistress general to our circle and most exceeding apt at the matter –
- and, says Josiah, will mention secrets that are not her own to disclose concerning the Marquess’s legacy.
La, says I, I will confess to you here in private that I was about aiding, as much as I might, being but a feeble timid feminine creature –
They laugh somewhat immoderate.
- those that struggle against the Bourbon tyranny, and indeed became somewhat in love with danger, for sure, 'twas quite intoxicating what one that was consider’d not merely mad - for are not the English all entire mad? – but an extreme silly featherwit, might discover.
Why, says Eliza, hugging me very close, 'tis a very fine thing but we should be exceeding gratefull would you take a little more care for the best belov’d of our hearts, for 'twould most greatly distress us to lose you.
They both embrace me very close.
My dear loves, says I, indeed I hope I shall not be in a like frenzie again, for 'twas most entire unlike me, I was not myself. Or, perchance, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.
They kiss me and then say, they fear that the lovelyest of C-s grows somewhat melancholick, and confide they have a remedy for that.
I love them so very much.
The morn comes the usual chocolate-party levée, with my sweet Flora being a wakefull wombatt, and Bess and Meg I confide now on better terms, and Josh with the mongoose, and Quintus that is such a serious little fellow.
And I look at my precious jewel so carefull in the way she hands the cups and think that sure 'twould be entire the time to give her that tea-service in miniature that I was sent to attach my interest in the matter of china for my dining-room, for I confide that she will not break it.
Then comes Mrs L-, as we must now style her, saying that she is sure they have all had a grand holiday, but 'tis time to return to regular habits. Bess and Meg deny extreme fervent that 'twas anything like a holiday, for they were most dutyfull in hearing the little ones their lessons and looking over their copying &C.
Mrs L- looks at 'em with the greatest affection, and says, even so.
My infant bluestocking shows a most affecting reluctance to quit my side, at which Mrs L- smiles and says, she will leave her a little with her aunty while she gets the others settl’d to their tasks.
So when Williams comes see do I need any assistance in dressing &C, my darling child shows very pretty well-behav’d and says, may I, afore she goes poke about into any matter.
And then I dispatch her with some several kisses 'twixt us to the schoolroom, and go have a nice little breakfast with my darling Eliza in her family room.
We smile at one another very much. O, 'tis so delightfull to be reunit’d after so long.
But sure, it no longer rains and I cannot find any excuse to linger further, so I must be away.
So when I return I go at once to have Docket and Sophy dress me suitable for the forenoon, and go attend to my correspondence in my pretty parlour.
I am about composing a letter to my dearest Abby in New South Wales to say somewhat of how matters have gone the last several months, but that I intend very shortly to hold a drawing-room meeting for their work, that will sure be well-attend’d by those that desire see whether I am in a decline or go increase, when comes Hector to say Mrs D- K- calls, am I at home?
Indeed, says I (for I am in great desire to hear about how Lord K-'s wooing goes and whether she inclines instead to Mr van H-, that is indeed an agreeable fellow), and request some coffee and any buns or such that Euphemia may have upon hand.
Comes in Mrs D- K-, that is looking in health, but one must observe that her garments still bear the sign of being those of some several seasons past, made over.
I ask how she does, and she says, the old lady is ever the same tiresome b---h, but must be said in her favour does not go drag her out of bed is she out of temper and wishes kick someone, or throw about the plates at dinner when displeas’d. 'Tis peacefull, belike.
Comes Celeste with coffee, and some slices of Euphemia’s fine fruit cake. I pour out and desire Mrs D- K- to help herself to cake.
After a little while has gone by in silence, I say, I hear that Lord K- still goes make suit to her?
She licks her fingers, puts down her cup, sighs and says, 'tis so. And that dragon Lady T- shows quite unwont’d civil. But –
I continue listen in silence
- is’t a freak of my own, or can it be that a fellow shows too devot’d? So that I will ever be coming across him do I but go out an errand for the old b---h; and will show exceeding attentive are we met together in Society; sure I think – perchance I go delude myself? – that do I look out of my bedchamber window of an e’en, he will be about the square.
(Indeed this troubles me, for there are fellows will do so and present it as the conduct of an exceeding meek cavalier servente, 'tis entire to demonstrate their devotion; but will go into frenzies of jealousy does the object of their interest show preference elsewhere, or even merely show not so civil towards 'em as they should desire. I confide I must go see can Mrs O’C- supply me with any intelligence in this matter, tho’ may consider that her as 'twere Hippocratick oath prevents her. But sure, she knows me well enough to know that I will not go convey any matter to the scandalmonging set or the printmakers of Holywell Street.)
La, says I, 'tis indeed somewhat out of the common, and is like to feel oppressive: does one not hear of husbands that set the servants to spy upon their wives are they oblig’d to be out of the house –
She shivers a little and says, it comes to her that she wonders how 'twas he knew she was out of the house in Bath and was so near at hand when she was set upon.
I say that I will consider over it, for may just be that he grows anxious that she has not yet give a definite yes to his suit. And, I go on, I hear you are being paint’d by Mr van H-?
’Tis so, she says, and nibbles at another piece of cake. A very civil, well-conduct’d fellow.
Have ever found him so myself, says I.
Perchance 'tis because he is Dutch? she says.
Why, says I, there are even Frenchmen that may be civil well-conduct’d fellows.
She gives a very faint smile, then says, sure she should be on her way about the old b---h’s errands.
After she has gone, I look somewhat covert out into the street to see do I observe Lord K- at all.
Because I think it very prudent to go continue display myself in full health and not increasing I go ride my lovely Jezebel in the Park again at the fashionable hour, where a deal of fellows come and make civil to me.
I observe, on a fine horse I think I recognize, Captain C-, and go over greet him.
Is that not, says I, Nimrod, of Captain P-'s breeding?
Indeed 'tis, says Captain C-, have determin’d upon selling out and going undertake the like business in Nova Scotia and wisht glean his wisdom and that of his lady – sure 'tis a shocking thing she may not get free of her murderous lunatick of a husband even did he purpose bigamy. Confid'd that 'twould be most answerable to raise fine strong work-horses for farming &C, but besides Captain P- having connexions and knowing who would be good honest fellows to deal with, also took the thought that 'twould do no harm to raise a few riding-horses as well and there is no better fellow to put me in the way of providing the beginnings of a stud.
'Tis an excellent plan, says I, I suppose you are come to Town for dealings with the War Office &C.
He concedes that 'tis so.
(I wonder does he also go consider over a wife to take to Nova Scotia with him, but to enquire does he have any intentions of the kind would require most exceeding tact not to seem prying.)