A day or so later, I go one forenoon to call at M- House to visit the library: I have with me an entire new little memorandum book and several pencils. I am expect’d, and Thomas shows me to it very expeditious.
I find that dear Viola is already there, has lookt me out some promising works, and goes study there herself upon some matter. I ask what 'tis, and she says, with somewhat of a blush, that she goes apply herself more serious to the study of Turkish; for when Selim Pasha was visiting, quot’d some poetry in that tongue, that sound’d exceeding mellifluous, but altho’ he convey’d some of the sense in English, must be entire different can one appreciate the original. So she treats herself to a study of the matter when she has a little time to spare, among her duties.
Why, says I, one sees how exceeding conscientious about your duties you are, and you deserve a little recreation.
She smiles, and then grows more sober, and says, but what is this matter about Frau P-?
I take the letters in German from my reticule. I was inform’d, says I, that Herr P- goes conduct himself somewhat tyrannickal in the household, so I went call upon 'em, to see might I bring him to a better understanding of how matters go in England, and while I was there I discover’d that he employs his wife as his correspondence clerk, and she was there toiling over the matter whilst minding the child –
Viola goes look shockt.
But what seem’d strange to me, I continue, was that the writing upon her desk was entirely in German, and I was in some supposition that he might be about keeping up his revolutionary connexion by her hand, and this gave me some concern –
Indeed, cries Viola, 'twould be most embarrassing for Papa was that the case and ever discover’d, now he takes Herr P- so much into the business.
So, says I, I was able abstract two or three letters while she was somewhat distract’d, but as I read no German I could not make head nor tail of 'em, and thought I should bring 'em to you. Sure, I would not have wisht to agitate you in your present condition might it be avoid’d, and had your brother still been in the country would have open’d the matter to him, but I apprehend he is now depart’d for the Baltic, so I bring it to you.
Why, says Viola, let me look 'em over.
I hand the letters to her and go dispose myself at the table where the books are laid out ready for my perusal. But I have not been at my own studies above five minutes when Viola quite explodes, crying out, O, that reptile! That scoundrel! The ingratitude! She looks up and says, sure one might have some sympathies with revolution, even did one think his proceedings might be somewhat improper, but this? 'tis entire scoundrelly poaching of business and setting himself up as a competitor to Papa.
Why, says I, your brother said somewhat that led me to suppose that Herr P- develops a considerable conceit of himself as a man of business; but this shows a very sly underhand way of demonstrating his capacities.
Viola sighs and says, indeed, Sebastian did not like the fellow, that has been wont to dismiss him as a mere boy, and had also shown not entire civil to the senior clerks, but I was like to suppose that 'twas just his manner, and sure his acuity greatly impresst Papa.
Entire shocking, says I. But indeed I am not surpriz’d when I consider his conduct towards Fraulein H- as was, show’d a lack of scruple - tho’ sure there are many fellows that will manifest the utmost probity in their business dealings but entirely the opposite in their conduct towards women.
They suppose, says Viola very thoughtfull, that honour can only exist between men, and not 'twixt men and women.
That is an excellent fine way of putting it, says I. But I mind me that in this matter, might be prudent to ask the Duke your husband to take it in hand, for is he not fam’d for his diplomatick skills?
Why, 'tis an excellent notion! cries Viola, for Papa has come to look very favourable upon Biffle’s capacities, and will say was he not oblig’d to be a Duke, would doubtless have done exceeding well in some other sphere.
'Tis so, I agree.
I will go open the matter to him at once, says she. But do you make free of the library, dear C-.
I sigh and say, somehow I find myself too distract’d for study: perchance I will go look in upon Lady J- and see how she does.
She will be entire delight’d to see you, I confide.
So Viola goes convoke with Biffle, and I find a footman to guide me to Lady J-'s sitting-room, where I discover her with her feet upon a footstool, engrosst in some work of classickal learning. I desire her not to get up, and she asks me to ring for 'em to bring some tea.
I ask how she does, and she remarks upon this very tedious part of the business, one feels 'twill never be over. But as these matters go, she is well enough, and Mr H- is entire happy about her condition.
One comes with tea, and she desires me to pour out. I hand her a cup, and say somewhat of how very well Lady D- comes on as her deputy among the philanthropick set. She smiles and says, 'tis a good dutyfull young woman, very pretty-behav’d, shows a very charming desire to be of use.
And greatly admires you! says I.
Lady J- smiles and says, O, young women will take admirations, as you must surely know. Is there not ever give out some young woman that is quite in love with Lady B-?
O, poo, says I, 'tis a mere manner of speaking. And do you manage to see aught of Miss A-?
Lady J-'s expression softens and she says, the dear good creature comes call as often as she can, even tho’ I am oft a tir’d grumping wretch to her, and will sit and rub my feet, and sure our fondness does not fade.
I am sure, says I, that the Admiral would be glad to hear it.
Such an excellent fellow! says Lady J-. I am glad you were able to see somewhat of him when you were in Naples.
'Twas an entire pleasure, says I. We smile at one another.
She remarks that she greatly regrets that she cannot go to the theatre at present, but that Miss A- has told her a deal of this new comedy and has present’d parts for her.
We part with great good feeling.
In the afternoon I go call at O- House, where are assembl’d Em and Cousin Lalage along with Rebecca G- and Julia P-, to go with me to Sir Z- R-'s studio. I look about 'em and consider that they are a very handsome group of young women. They are also a lively chattering set: altho’ Rebecca G- never says anything that might be record’d as great wit, she has the talent for, in the course of more general conversation, interjecting a few words that will cause the company to laugh considerable. She also mimicks very effective.
We come to the studio and I lead 'em in. There is already a considerable company present, but all turn to look as we enter, and quizzing glasses go up.
Sir Z- R- comes up and takes my hands, desiring me to introduce him to these beauties with whom I surround myself, and sure I need fear no competition. I smite him lightly with my fan saying that he was ever a flattering wretch, and I confide that he is already known to Lady Emily, but then go introduce the others to him.
He looks with particular appreciation upon Julia P-, as I had anticipat’d he would do, but makes most exceeding civil to all of 'em, says they may care to go make the acquaintance of the wombatt, see his gallery of Old Masters, 'tis entire Liberty Hall.
They are most extreme eager to observe the wombatt: tho’, says Em, 'tis an exceeding haughty creature, goes deliver the cut quite wholesale.
And indeed 'tis so: when we go out into the garden, it quite declines to know us.
A little mizzle of rain comes on and we go indoors: the wombatt goes sulk in its shelter.
Cousin Lalage says that she has a great notion to go look at the gallery, but would not oblige anyone else to go with her. There are a deal of fellows come make very civil to Em and her companions: indeed the three of 'em are consider’d quite the belles of the Season.
Seeing 'em all happyly occupy’d I go converse with Sir Z- R-, remarking that I go hold a soirée shortly and hope that he will come. Indeed so, says he, would not miss it. He looks over at Julia P- and says, exceeding handsome young woman, should greatly like to paint her, very out of the common looks.
I smile and say, I quite confid’d he would be of that opinion. Her father shook the banyan tree in Bombay and I am like to suppose would show generous in the matter of a portrait.
He goes over to 'em and I daresay opens the matter to Miss P-.
I go look at of Sir Z- R-'s recent paintings, and sure there are several fellows come up wish show civil to me, tho’ also I daresay to observe my state of health more closely than they might thro’ their quizzing glasses.
While I am thus engag’d – perchance I go flirt just a little – I see Em endeavour catch my attention, excuse myself and go over to her.
Look, she says, here comes that dreadfull old fellow the Duke of H-, do you think we might go?
I mind that he is consider’d a most eligible parti, especial by the Earl of N-, and has, I fear, a notion towards Em.
Why, says I, have you seen enough of the studio, we might go take tea at my house?
She gives a little reliev’d sigh and says, she will just go find Cousin Lalage.