Sure there are a deal of matters I should be about to re-establish myself in Society.
I had intend’d that my first dinner-party in my fine new dining-room would be for very particular close friends, my darlings, Biffle and Viola, Sir B- W- and Susannah, Milord; but I am a true daughter of Eve and rul’d by curiosity and I greatly wish observe Lord K- in company with Mrs D- K- and his own parents. So I purpose invite Lord and Lady T- and Lord K-, along with Sir B- W- and dearest Susannah, Mrs D- K-, and, as he happens be in Town, Captain C-. I have also long wisht bring about some better appreciation 'twixt Lady T- and Susannah of one another’s fine qualities.
So I send Timothy with cards of invitation, and then go have a little discourse with Euphemia about what might be serv’d.
I find the household at elevens, and a deal of excit’d chatter over their purpos’d theatre-party - all show a disposition to jump up and bob, but I wave 'em to sit down and say, I will come later to convoke with Euphemia concerning a dinner-party. Euphemia, I observe, looks extreme gratify’d at this prospect.
Returning to my parlour, I find that the devot’d ladies have come call. I desire 'em to be sent into the parlour and coffee, cake, &C brought.
My dears! says I, this is a pleasure, and go kiss 'em both.
There, says Miss L-, is she not entirely in the pink of health?
Why, says Miss McK-, indeed she is, but I was not surpriz’d she found herself a little pull’d down after the frenzy’d whirl of last Season.
But, she goes on, we came, first to assure ourselves that you were indeed in health, and that report had not been deceiv’d by Docket’s cunning in the matter of rouge, and second, to see whether you purpose anything in the way of soirées, drawing-room meetings and so forth; for altho’ we find ourselves in happy condition of a deal of employment, we would ever consider that any claims of yours came first. O, and thirdly, to say we suppose that you are already appriz’d that Titus goes wed his young lady?
Comes Celeste with coffee and some of Euphemia’s very excellent fruitcake – I see Miss L-'s eyes light up at the sight.
Indeed, says I, I was give to understand that Titus and Tibby desir’d go marry, now that there is one into whose hands she may confide the Duchess. And sure I go consider upon a soirée, and drawing-room meetings, and indeed I have askt Mrs O’C- to come call upon me about taking banque.
Did I not say, says Miss L-, that she would not let the grass grow beneath her feet?
They look at me very affectionate. I ask how matters do with 'em and their musickal set.
Why, says Miss McK-, most excellent well. Lady J- continues hold her select musickal parties - is’t not give out that 'tis entire beneficial to infants in the womb to hear sweet musick? – and Lord and Lady A- have give several musick parties at B- House – and we have a deal of connexions for recitals and the giving of lessons. And 'tis the same for Mr G- D-, and sure he has a less harry’d look now his wife does not go constantly increase.
And as for Titus, says Miss L-, we do not think it at all imprudent that he now goes wed: does very well with his singing, and the songs he writes, and gets on with his cantata, and begins have somewhat of a connexion for giving lessons.
While Signor V-, she goes on, sighs somewhat that the Contessa has left Town, is otherwise in fine spirits.
'Tis all excellent good news to hear, says I. And you still enjoy a little corner of Welsh seclusion in the City?
They exchange affectionate glances and say, 'tis so, still. And while we mind upon such matters, adds Miss McK-, do you not think that Lady Emily M- is of like nature?
I purse up my mouth and say, mayhap, or perchance 'tis that that fashion that comes to those 'twixt girlhood and womanhood to take a great enthusiasm for some other lady, is prolong’d somewhat beyond the usual years.
Mayhap, says Miss L-, somewhat sceptickal. But – she glances over at Miss McK- - sure 'tis coming about time we were at our rehearsing.
I laugh gently and say sure I would not keep 'em from that.
After they have gone I am mind’d to go convoke with Euphemia, but Hector comes to say that Mrs O’C- has call’d, will I see her? Indeed, says I, send her in, and go desire fresh coffee &C.
Mrs O’C- is looking in excellent health. I ask after Mr P- - she sighs and says goes complaining about Mr J-'s ill judgement over his plays, for he did not take 'em and did not even say, did you but do this or that little thing to 'em, but dismisst 'em quite out of hand, but otherwise quite in health – and her son, that she says comes along very well at his lessons –
Celeste comes with fresh coffee and cake.
- and how her business goes.
La, says she, who would ever have suppos’d how many fellows there were desir’d special pleasures? Sure I am in such a position that I may go pick and choose my patrons, 'tis exceeding agreeable. But, my dear Lady B-, if 'tis about taking banque at a soirée, I am ever at your disposal.
That was indeed part of why I wisht see you, for now I am return’d to Town I should be about the matter of a soirée; but I also wisht discover whether Lord K- still comes visit you, and how you find him, for I have heard somewhat troubling intelligence about him.
Why, says Mrs O’C-, indeed I think there is somewhat amiss with him. Still comes most regular tho’ not perhaps so often as was wont – no more than once of a fortnight – but seems, I know not what – somewhat distract’d? As if had some heavy matter upon his mind. Is’t true, do you think, that at last he goes consider a second marriage?
I am like to think so, says I.
She sighs a little and says, a good regular patron is a very desirable thing to have – but, she says, with a more chearfull air, are there not a deal of marry’d men come to my door? Perchance he merely goes be dutyfull and heeds his mama’s exhortations about heirs.
May be so, says I.
We exchange a little more gossip – no-one has heard anything of Mr Miles O’N- since he decampt back to Ireland – and then she says, she has matters to be about, and do I purpose a soirée, to let her know most immediate when 'twill be.
We part on terms of great amiability.
I then go once more to the kitchen to convoke with Euphemia, that sits – I am glad to see her sitting - at the table preparing somewhat, and we go discourse of what we might serve at a dinner-party. I concede that 'twould be quite in order to serve an ic’d pudding, that she is in great desire to do, and to the very early sparrowgrass, and that I quite entire trust her judgement in the matter. She says that there is some excellent fine beef that Sir C- F- sent up from Herefordshire.
I leave her considering over the matter, and go into the newer part of the house to look at the dining-room. I find that Nell and Polly are there, dusting and polishing under the supervision of Prue, that is become a deal more sober and responsible: I confide 'tis the excellent influence of Dorcas. They all make me little bobs and I tell 'em to get along with their work, I just came in to consider over company china. For I think it might be undue ostentatious to use my very finest service, and sure all my china is exceeding good.
Shall also need, says I, to have the silverware clean’d -
Why, says Prue, Hector will not let it go tarnish in the press: takes it out to polish up most regular.
Excellent, says I, but I daresay that do we anticipate company we should give it a final rub over.
And wash the china? asks Prue.
Exactly so, says I, for even does it stand in these excellent cabinets I doubt not some dust creeps in.
Prue tells the girls a little sharp not to stand gaping but get on with their work. She sighs and lowers her voice and says, this promist theatre excursion makes them very excitable.
I nod, and say, pointing, 'twill be that service but need not be took out to wash just yet.
I return to my parlour and look with a little sigh at the pile of letters, and mind that there are still some few that arriv’d whilst I was away that I have not yet perus’d, for did not appear from any that I most particular desir’d news of.
So I take one, and crack the seal, and see that 'tis sign’d Peter Swann, that I know none by the name of, and then I turn it over and see 'twas writ from Boston in Massachusetts, and I smile to think that Mr W- Y- has acquir’d enough sense to employ a pseudonym when writing.
He writes to say that he is arriv’d there, and 'tis more pleasant than he suppos’d, there is even a very fine university that he has some hopes may obtain preference to a post at, but meanwhile occupies himself with some private tutoring. There is a deal of most genteel educat’d society, that cries out considerable against slavery, and he find several households that boast engravings of Mr de C-'s tableaux of the Evils of Slavery.
Reynaldo di S- is quite universally very well-receiv’d: is besought hither and yon throughout those parts to go speak of the Bourbon tyranny, and consider’d an entire romantick hero among young ladies –
I laugh somewhat immoderate.
- so does not yet proceed into the wilderness about Herr P-'s ideal community. He himself finds this spot surprizing congenial, and can he indeed obtain a position at Harvard, is in strong disposition to make the place his home.
Well, thinks I, folding the letter and smiling, perchance he has give up poetry, and 'tis all to the good.