I conceal the letters in the secret drawer of my pretty desk until such time as I may have Sandy’s aid in finding out what they concern – I am in some consideration that perchance now he becomes a respectable businessman, Herr P- goes betray his former radickal comrades. I should be a little happyer did it turn out that he still tho’ very covert is an adherent to The Cause and his correspondence concerns that matter.
Tho’ I think it somewhat poor ton, if 'tis the latter case, that he compels his wife, that is already worn by the burden of a fretfull infant (I wonder if 'tis the colick and whether I might somehow come about to have my dearest Eliza counsel her in the matter), to be his secretary in the matter and give out that she assists him in business correspondence.
But indeed I can make naught of the letters, that are not only in German but writ in that very crabb’d Germanick hand, so I put 'em aside until I may bring il bello scozzese’s capacities to bear on 'em.
Meanwhile 'tis entire high time for me to go convoke with Mr H- concerning his friends in the Trade, in particular do I purpose to hold a soirée, give dinner-parties &C.
So I go visit him as if about some professional matter and he comes greet me very hearty saying I am looking exceeding well, and he was ever entire of the opinion that 'twas some business matter concerning my Neapolitan property that took me to those parts.
Indeed, says I, I was about matters of the dear Marquess’s legacy ('tis entire true).
He says 'tis give out that my cook increases –
'Tis so, says I, and is under the care of Mrs Black – Mr H- nods very approving for has a high opinion of her skills – but should there come about any difficulty, I hope I may call upon you.
Entirely, he says, for there may ever be sudden alarums when a woman is brought to bed. He goes on to declare that, however, he feels 'tis safer for a woman to be in the hands of a good experienc’d midwife of sound training, like unto Mrs Black, than some of these fellows that set themselves up as man-midwives and become entire too eager to apply forceps.
I remark that I daresay he has the expectation of a fine crop of infants among the quality quite shortly.
He nods, and says 'tis so, and that Mrs S- will come up from Hampshire to lye in at M- House (I am pleas’d to hear this, for one must be in some anxiety about Martha that had such a hard time bearing Deborah).
But, he says, he doubts not that I am come about the matter of Trade, and do I tell him my requirements, he will convey 'em to his friends in Sussex.
'Tis most exceeding satisfactory. And to demonstrate good feeling (and to display gratitude for that service he does not know he did me concerning the corpse of Mr R- O-) I say that does he like I might go personate Leda in the fashion of some of his many engravings of that lady, does he still have his stufft swan.
He finds this most agreeable, and compliments me by saying has never found another lady with such an aptitude for personating paintings. 'Tis exceeding gratifying.
In the afternoon, as 'tis a very fine sunny day with little prospect of rain, I have conced’d to drive out with Mr Geoffrey M- in his phaeton. 'Tis most agreeable. Comes call for me at my house, kisses my hand and hands me up very elegant, and I see takes the reins with considerable confidence.
I ask has he been engaging in any more races? Why, he says, has little enough time now that he studies law; and also came about, that the last couple of times a race was in prospect, 'twas Eddy won the toss. But says that 'twould only be fair to let him undertake the next one.
He goes on to remark upon the very fine instruction in handling the ribbons he has had from Milord and Lord V-, and goes on further to expatiate about matters of manly sport that he undertakes. But indeed, he continues, he by no means neglects preparation for his profession, and goes tell me a deal about this and what he learns.
By this time we have took a turn around the Park and are upon the road bound for Kew, and I have heard as much of this as I can bear, for 'tis exceeding tedious stuff, so I ask him how matters go with his family.
He gives a sigh that is near on a groan, and says, has been a letter from their father, that takes a little time from his exploits among the Yankees to go bother 'em about marriages. Has been convey’d some gossip that there is a pennyless naval officer has been seen dangling about Em, and hopes we have more sense of what is due her position than to listen to any suit from him, and the best way to ensure she does not marry disobliging is to go about to make her a suitable match. Thinks U- should be about opening negotiations in the matter, hears Lord K- has paid her some attentions, but even better would be the Duke of H-.
The Duke of H-? says I, minding that the fellow must be approaching fifty if not past it, and with several children that must be near of an age with Em. But also, I collect, is a widower that has been looking out for a second Duchess.
That antient fellow, agrees Mr Geoffrey. But our father also says he hears there are some very promising heiresses out this Season, not perchance of the finest birth, would not do for U-, but considers that Eddy should go make suit to one or t’other of 'em.
He then sighs and says, may be naught, sure a fellow may consider a lady a very fine creature without he desires to go marry her, but U- has remarkt upon Miss G-'s looks and bearing. And Eddy –
La, says I, Lady Z- is quite one of my dearest friends. (I confide that Mr Geoffrey is greatly reliev’d not to have to inform me in the matter.)
(I also confide that tho’ I am sure Rebecca G-'s generous portion would be entirely agreeable to the Earl of N-, his pride of rank might very like take some objection to her Hebraic ancestry as a match for his heir.)
We are come to Kew, and go enjoy that famous delicacy of the place, Maids of Honour, along with tea. He tells me that they had a bachelor party to send off 'Bastian, that goes to the Baltic -
Fie, says I, I hope you did not all get beastly drunk.
Somewhat elevat’d, Mr Geoffrey concedes, but by no means render’d incapable.
I am pleas’d to hear it, says I. Sure I am no Evangelickal that despises all pleasures, but I am quite bewilder’d that gentlemen consider it such a pleasure to be exceeding drunk.
On the way back I am oblig’d to hear what an excellent mentor in matters of good ton is Lord R-, and more about the intricacies of law. But sure Mr Geoffrey comes about to become a very excellent fellow.
In the e’en I am bidden to a dinner party at P- House, where Lord and Lady D- welcome back to Town the Reverend Mr and Mrs L- from their very extensive wedding tour. I am in pleas’d anticipation of seeing dear Agnes again and how she does.
'Tis indeed delightfull to see her and how very well she looks, how devot’d a husband Mr L- shows, and to hear of their travels. Mr L- was able to see a deal of very fine libraries, and converse with learn’d scholars, while Agnes took the opportunity to see the sights and somewhat of society in the places they visit’d.
I say, should greatly like to hear more of this, perchance she might come call upon me one forenoon? – we exchange glances and I confide she apprehends that I should be most exceeding glad to be of any service I might over her poems.
'Tis only a small party – the other guests are Lord U- and Lady Emily, and Lord W-, that is the heir of the Earl of M-. He is give out entire as much an Evangelickal fellow as his father, but I observe that he looks with great admiration upon Em, that is in exceeding fine looks the e’en.
Lady D- comes murmur to me before we go in to dine, that she would very much like to come call upon me to convoke concerning philanthropick matters. I say that 'twould be entire agreeable.
We go in to dinner. As is proper, Lord D- takes in Agnes, that is the bride in the company, Lord U- takes me, Lord W- Emily and Mr L- Dora, that seems on excellent terms with him.
Sure the dining-room is quite vastly improv’d from the gloomy chamber 'twas when I last came to dine. As the first course is serv’d Lord D- goes expatiate considerable upon the very fine advice I provid’d in the matter, does this not become entire more agreeable? I say that 'tis quite remarkable what a little paint and a mirror or two will do to chear up a room: and go on to remark upon the fine flowers that adorn the table. Lord D- looks very proud down the table to Dora and says, 'twas Lady D- arrang’d 'em. She blushes prettyly.
Lord U- says to me in an undertone that he hears Geoff has been tattling to me about their family troubles and hopes I do not mind. Why, says I, I know how matters go among those of your rank, looking aslant at Lord W- that goes engage Em in conversation.
Bred like racehorses, he says with a sigh, and then raising his voice, says, and what do you think to this new comedy, Lady B-? Do you have any speculations upon the authorship?
Why, says I, 'tis hardly Sheridan but ‘tis well enough, and the company all play exceeding well. I misst Miss T-'s debut last year, but sure she shows extremely. Quite worthy to take the stage alongside Miss A- and Miss R-.