When Sophy brings my chocolate the morn, I say to her that I am dispos’d to go take a little ride in the Park afore breakfast, so please to desire Docket to have my riding-habit ready, and go tell Hector to request Ajax to prepare Jezebel.
For I am in great longing to give my sweet Jezzie-girl a little exercize without we are constantly held up by those that desire speak to me, observe whether I am truly in health &C, and 'tis entire not possible at the fashionable hour.
When I am dresst I go out to the stableyard, where I find that Sam Jupp has come convoke with Ajax, I daresay concerning some trouble with one of the nags at the livery stables, while young Nick goes saddle and bridle Jezebel, that is groom’d so exceeding fine that her coat gleams like unto satin. I give her an apple and tell her that she is entire the best of Jezzie-girls.
Sure Sam is growing a fine strong fellow. Seeing me about to mount he comes over most extreme expeditious to hold Jezzie’s head, tho’ I am sure she is too well-manner’d and too us’d to me to go shy.
Thank you, Sam, says I, and smile upon him, at which he blushes somewhat. (One day, I confide, my smile will no longer have that effect upon young fellows.)
There is somewhat of a mist the morn, that is not entire disagreeable, for gives a pleasing softness to the view, while, I daresay, keeping a crowd from the Park. My lovely Jezzie-girl needs no urging to a fine canter and 'tis exceeding delightfull. At length I bring her back to a trot to cool her a little on our way back.
I am turning a few matters over in my mind when I observe another rider, and then see that 'tis Milord, so wave at him with my crop, and he comes over. He remarks, with a little amuz’d twitch of his lips, that it is pleasing to see Lady B- so much in health –
Poo, says I, as if you did not know 'twas an entire tale put about for the generality.
- for he has had little enough occasion to see her at all since her return to Town.
Indeed 'tis so, says I, for I have been about displaying myself in order to confound gossip. But, dear Milord, do you come breakfast with me, 'twould be most entire agreeable.
He declares that nothing could give him greater pleasure, at which I say, alas that one does not carry a fan for the correction of flatterers when upon horseback. He laughs and says, sure he has greatly misst me during my absence.
So we return to my house, and go into my pretty parlour, and Celeste comes bring coffee and muffins and lays the table and says, there will be more very shortly.
So we sit down and fall to, for indeed a fine morning ride gives one an exceeding appetite, and in a very little while comes Celeste again with Nell as an auxiliary carrying further dishes. Indeed 'tis a fine spread that includes kedgeree, devill’d kidneys, some mutton-chops in the style of General Y-'s cook, and more muffins hot from the oven.
At length we are sat’d and sit back with our coffee cups in hand.
Dear C-, says Milord, you must know how exceeding gratefull I am to you –
All is well 'twixt the pair of you? I ask.
O, quite entirely! 'Tis a most happy reunion - but indeed I feel I owe you most particular gratitude –
O, poo, says I, if this concerns a little matter of not taking advantage of a fellow that was in state of distress -
- 'tis a most curious thing, he says with a little frown, putting down his cup with a clink into the saucer, that I should have resent’d that far more than his frolicks at the villa.
I pour him some more coffee. 'Tis indeed curious, says I, for you know his disposition as well as I, and 'twould have been an entire aberration, not the commencement of some new course –
Dear C-, I confide that the east wing of R- House sees strange matters that I daresay none would have predict’d –
'Tis as maybe, says I, but –
- and has ever been a great sympathy 'twixt the two of you.
I look down into my coffee-up and frown in a way that Docket would go chide me for. 'Tis perchance, I say at length, that we both know what 'tis to set out upon the world with naught but those gifts we were born with, with no advantages of birth or wealth or interest: in my case I had a certain style of looks and a natural talent for the arts of Aphrodite, and in his case he had that power of intellect that all remark upon; but were oblig’d to make our own way -
Milord looks upon me with great affection and says, but you also had a deal of native wit -
La, says I, tell no-one, for 'tis a great advantage to be consider’d a silly creature –
- and, he goes on with a grin, I do not think has hinder’d the career of our dear bello scozzese that he is not some huncht and stoopt wizen’d scholar, tho’ perchance we should not mention the matter to him.
I laugh somewhat immoderate and say, I confide 'tis so.
We look at one another very fond.
He goes on to change the subject and remark that, altho’ the terrifying virago minds that she should take matters more easyly than was wont in her present condition, has took to summoning her confederates in various causes to convoke with her at M- House.
Indeed, says I, I hear that she goes makes Lady D- her deputy in certain philanthropick matters –
- and I am consider’d her voice in matters of anti-slavery.
Why, says I, I am glad that she finds herself able delegate some of her business to others.
We exchange a little further gossip about mutual acquaintance and then he takes his leave.
I go to my desk to be about my correspondence.
In the afternoon I mind me that 'tis an entire age since I have visit’d Sir Z- R-'s studio and paid my compliments to the wombatt, so I desire Docket to array me in somewhat suitable for the occasion, and set off in my carriage.
There is as ever a deal of company about the studio, but Sir Z- R- comes most immediate to bow over my hand, say that sure 'tis not spring-time without Lady B- comes like Flora to Town, and that not only do I look quite entire well, sure as ever time has stood still with me. I smack him lightly with my fan and say he was ever a dreadfull flatterer.
No, indeed, he declares, sure the wombatt has grown mightyly since antipodean Flora, but you are fresh as ever.
La, says I, and how does the wombatt? – I look out into the garden where it goes saunter about the shrubbery, taking an occasional mouthfull, delivering the cut to those that endeavour strike up acquaintance – In fine plump condition I see.
Indeed, goes thrive, says Sir Z-. Has lately gratify’d its amorous inclinations tho’ I know not yet whether there will be progeny from its exertions.
I will, says I, just go pay it my respects tho’ I daresay 'twill look upon me as vulgar encroaching.
In the garden I find Lady Emily, along with her brother the Honble Edward, vainly endeavouring attract its attention. They greet me very effusive.
'Tis a deal larger, says Mr M-, than the one at R- House.
Why, says I, 'tis the proud papa of Josh F-'s darling. But I did not anticipate to see you here, do you go be portray’d for posterity?
They shake their heads. Mr M- says I may have heard that he and his brothers go reside at N- House, and they have took a thought that perchance a few paintings might brighten the place up –
Sure 'tis a dreadfull gloomy place, says Em, that we did not fully realize until we had been elsewhere.
- and one hears that Sir Z- R- has paint’d some very fine landscape studies.
Sure, says I, might liven the walls a little –
But, o, cries Em, are you not, Lady B-, give out as having quite the nicest taste in such matters? Does not Tony ever praise your fine efforts at O- House?
Mr M- sighs and says, sure they already owe Lady B- a deal of gratitude for her kindness to the family, 'twould be entire too much to ask her to advize 'em how to render N- House less like the setting for some Gothick novel.
La, says I, 'tis not that bad; but sure I confide that afore one introduces any fine pictures to the place, should be somewhat done in the matter of painting and furbishing, so that they might have a fitting setting.
There! says Em. Did I not say we should seek her thoughts in the matter?
Mr M- looks somewhat embarrasst. Indeed, he says after a pause, U- has remarkt that he doubts not your advice in the matter would be most exceeding usefull, but we would not go beg yet further favours of you.
O, poo, says I, 'tis a matter I find most enjoyable. But let us go look at some of these landscapes.
When we do so, I take the opportunity to remark that one must take into consideration where they will hang, how they will show to best advantage, &C. They sigh and say they can see 'tis not so simple a matter as they suppos’d.
Em remarks, but anything that would make N- House look less of a bachelor establishment would be an improvement.
My dears, says I, 'tis ever better in these matters to go away and think on 'em, and there will be one or other or so painting that sticks in your mind, should not make hasty decisions. And why do you not come have tea with me and tell me all your news?
They look at one another and exchange what I suppose are silent communications and say, 'tis most extreme hospitable of me and they would be delight’d.