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Sophy stands back and gives me a little Docket-nod of approval. Sure those pink diamonds are very becoming, she says.

Alas, says I, that I may wear 'em but for one e’en, for they were His Lordship’s mother’s, that he keeps to present to his wife in due course.

Sophy gives a longing look at 'em, and says, sure 'twould be an inducement.

Why, says I, was I ever to dwindle into a wife I daresay 'twould be His Lordship would tempt me to that state, even leaving such fine jewels out of the calculation.

But, says I, I just go pay a quick visit to Mrs L-'s parlour so that I may display myself to her and the girls there, and then go to the west wing.

Because she has begg’d and plead’d and offer’d tears, my precious jewel, lovelyer than any pink diamond, has come about to be permitt’d to stay up to see Aunty C- in her finery, and is sitting with Bess and Meg in Mrs L-'s agreeable little parlour.

Now mind, says Bess, in an endeavour to show severe, straight off to bed after Aunty C- has curtesy’d to us and shown herself off.

My sweet Flora is most prettyly impresst, and I bend down so that she may scrutinize my jewels more closely and so that sleepy wombatts may rub noses as they are wont.

Bess and Meg and Mrs L- also greatly admire the diamonds, that are indeed most exceeding out of the common.

I kiss my adorable child, and go make my way towards the hall of the west wing, where Milord and my darlings go receive guests.

Eliza and I make most effusive civil to one another, Milord bows exceeding low over my hand and remarks upon how the diamonds become me, and Josiah, bowing over my hand, gives a private grin and says, he doubts not I go be a busy bee.

La, says I, raising the fan paint’d in the Chinese style that Milord gave me so long ago, sure you are a great teaze, Mr F-.

There is a crowd up and down the stair and at its head that I daresay linger there to observe precisely this scene, tho’ doubtless would be even better pleas’d did I go smite Milord with my fan and endeavour tear out Eliza’s hair.

Well, says I, sotto voce, I will indeed go improve the shining hour.

Nicely play’d, murmurs Sandy when I encounter him at the top of the stairs.

Why, Mr MacD-, says I, do I not express feelings that I hold in entire sincerity?

He smiles and says 'tis so, then looks at the diamonds and says, he fears the sight of these, and the on-dit that they are intend’d for His Lordship’s bride, will bring him a deal of sieges.

Indeed, says I, as I observe Lady Rosamund looking at 'em exceeding envious and covetous, and confide that were these thrown into the scales, she might bring herself to stoop to a Viscount.

He then observes my fan and laughs a little and says, remembers when he saw the bill for that fine object, and was most heartyly shockt by the price of fans.

But, my dear, says I, we should not linger together but defy scandalmongers by going dance with a great many different partners.

He nods, and we part.

I peep into the musick room, where Cissie B- is delighting the company with Voi che sapete, that I do not wish to interrupt, and go on towards the ballroom. I am accost’d by Biffle, that says that altho’ Viola dances a little still, at present rests, and would I care to, would be delight’d to take the floor with me.

Why, Your Grace, says I, 'tis an entire pleasure.

That minds me, says I as we move thro’ the figures, that I spoke a little while ago to Viola about coming look up somewhat in the M- House library –

He looks down at me with great affection, and says, Lady B-, your secret is safe with me, but sure Viola has convey’d somewhat of the matter.

La, says I, I daresay 'tis on the way to becoming a general on-dit.

He smiles and says, Silence to the death!.

(And to my considerable surprize, I do not go blench or tremble at those words, but make a knowing smile at the allusion.)

At the end of the set, I go make civil to Viola, that sits at the edge of the floor, and say I hope to come visit M- House to see the library very soon, is’t convenable for her, and have some news to tell her about Gretchen P- - sure this is not the place for such matters.

Viola’s happy looks are a little dimm’d, and I confide she apprehends already that there is somewhat of adverse intelligence concerning Herr P-. But her smile brightens as come up to her a pretty little group of Lady Emily, Julia P-, and Rebecca G-.

O! I cry, I grow absent-mind’d and neglectfull, sure I was going to take you ladies to visit Sir Z- R-'s studio, let us fix upon some occasion when we may do so.

O, cries Em, I know I have been there already, but may I come, and bring Cousin Lalage? She would very much enjoy it.

Of course, says I, Sir Z- R- ever loves company to come visit and gaze upon the wombatt and look at his gallery of old masters. Is the most genial of fellows.

Rebecca G- says she hopes that there are some of his own works about the place, is he not one of the most well-spoke-of of modern painters?

Indeed, says I, very well reputed in that line.

Em is telling Julia P- about the wombatt that she confides she will never have seen the like.

Julia P- smiles and says somewhat wistfull that she misses the beasts she was wont to see in Bombay – but not the snakes, she adds, tho’ someone told me that there is a fellow that was in Bengal has a collection of 'em.

Em looks a little conscious at the mention of snakes, then I think takes a thought that Julia P- cannot know the scandal about the Earl, and says, Josh F- - that is the middle son of the F-s – has a mongoose -

Oh, cries Julia P-, losing her usual languor, there were mongooses in our garden in Bombay, quite tame, I was exceeding fond of 'em. O, I should like to see it.

(I should not be entire surpriz’d was the mongoose somewhere about, for a ball must greatly arouse that curiosity it ever manifests.)

Lord U- comes up to Rebecca G- and invites her to dance. She smiles very warm and takes his arm as he leads her onto the floor, saying something that makes him laugh. She is a lively creature. The Honble Edward comes up and asks Julia P- would she care to dance? She nods and they go onto the floor (I daresay he has had brotherly instruction not to make himself particular by dancing too much with Lady Z- - indeed, at this very moment I see her husband leading her out.)

The Duke of H- is making his way in a determin’d fashion towards Em, but before he can reach her, comes up Sandy, makes her an elegant leg, and desires the pleasure.

I am about to sit down myself beside Viola, when Lord O- comes up and says, he will take this unexpect’d opportunity of finding Lady B- unpartner’d to ask will she tread the measure with him?

Why, says I, 'tis an entire pleasure, and does Her Ladyship attend this e’en?

Indeed she does, he says, but will not dance, goes at present sit in the musick room.

He looks about the floor, most particular at Em, and shakes his head a little and says, there is something about Lady Emily that reminds him of Doňa Inès.

What, says I, you think she may go run away and enter a convent?

He smiles a little and says, he does not suppose so, only that she seems very disinclin’d to marriage.

La, says I, have heard what spouses her papa the Earl proposes and they would indeed incline a lady to take the veil.

'Tis true, he concedes, but neither am I in any fears that she will go elope with Lieutenant H- or some other from among her admirers.

Poo, says I, may be that her eye has not yet light’d upon the right fellow (tho’ I do not think this the case). 'Twas a like matter with Lord V-, that show’d no particular interest in the fairer sex, spoke to me once about marriage as if 'twas some physick that he was oblig’d to go take and matter’d little the doctor that administer’d it: and now is quite devot’d to Miss Frances C-.

You may be right, says Lord O-, looking to where Lord V- dances with his inamorata with an expression of great doatingness.

There is of a sudden a little disturbance at one corner of the floor, where Lord K- has been dancing with Lady Rosamund. He has steppt upon her foot – no, upon the hem of her skirt, and tore it, and she goes berate him with a spitefull expression.

But, where most fellows would make civilly apologetick, or look angry, or put on an expression of cool indifference, Lord K- hangs his head in an abasht manner but I perceive a little silly smile upon his lips, and he does not move out of the way of the other dancers but stands stock still. She storms off, leaving him there looking after her in a hangdog fashion.

I see Lord D- go up to him in order to apologize for his sister’s ill-manner’d behaviour. Lord K- waves it away, still looking after where she has gone. Lady D- goes tug her husband’s sleeve and I am like to think from her gestures that she offers go find Lady Rosamund and see can the matter be mend’d.

'Tis a curious little tableau, but I may not stand and gape at it, for the dance is coming to an end, and I see dear Josiah waiting to take the next with me.

La, says I, as we move onto the floor, is there any mention of busy bees, sure I will sting you.

Why, he says in my ear, do not busy bees make the very finest honey?

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So the R- House ball approaches, and I go spend the preceding night there with my darlings, for 'tis an entire prudent course of action, and also Josiah is in some concern that Eliza may go fret herself into sleeplessness unless a certain sovereign remedy for that condition is apply’d.

And we both make very attentive to the matter so that our best belov’d of wild girls will not be wore to a rag afore the ball even begins.

Once this matter is accomplisht I steal away to my fine reserv’d chamber, and address myself to refreshing slumber, tho’ I daresay Sophy still has instructions from Docket to make me lye down with slices of cowcumber upon my eyes afore I go be dresst the e’en.

The morn comes the expect’d chocolate party levée, at which Bess and Meg make protests that I never come visit any more, I am an entire stranger -

Alas, says I, I am so invit’d about since my return to Town, so that all may gaze upon me and scrutinize me extreme close thro’ their quizzing-glasses, and go speculate whether I am in health or whether 'tis that the fam’d Docket is exceeding cunning with rouge, that I have less time than I should like to do those things I would really desire to do.

They are a little mollify’d by this protestation.

I add that perchance some day shortly we might all ride out in the Park together?

O, prime! cries Meg. And, Bess, do you not think that 'twould be entire in order for Flora to come upon Mouse? (Flora goes bounce up and down.)

Bess looks considering, and says, indeed she comes on very well, but do we go ride in the Park I confide we should have Mouse upon a leading-rein. (Flora claps her hands.)

But what should you ride, Bess?

Bess sits up with a great smile and says, while Mama and Papa go consider upon a horse for me, His Lordship says I may ride Radegond.

Why, says I, that is very civil of him.

Meg says, 'twill very probably start up that old gossip again that a match is in prospect.

Bess snorts and says somewhat about idle tongues.

Comes Mrs L- to mind the children that just because the household is at sixes and sevens because of the ball, there is no reason not to apply themselves to their lessons. And looks doatingly at Flora, that clings to my arm with a mutinous expression, and says, she dares say 'twill do her no harm to stay a little longer with her aunty.

So my sweet jewel remains with me while I dress for the day, and makes very civil to Sophy, and is quite entire well-behav’d, and chatters constant as to what she is about, and offers repeat to me the nine-times table that she has just master’d. O, she is the delight of my heart.

In due course I go down to greet my darling Eliza in the family room, and she chases Flora off to the schoolroom, that goes very expeditious about the matter with no complaint, and we both look after her most extreme doating.

O, says I, she grows such a great girl!

'Tis the way of it, says Eliza with somewhat of a sigh. But we should not repine that they do not remain babies, for that would be somewhat tedious.

'Tis so, says I, I cannot regret this infant bluestocking.

A nice little breakfast is brought for me, and I am pleas’d to see that my darling does not show as distract’d as she was by the ball last year, I daresay use begins make it entire familiar.

Comes a footman from the west wing with a note for me from Milord, that would, do I have no other matter upon hand, desire a brief convockation in the library. I raise my eyebrows a little, but send back my entire agreement and say I will come as soon as I have finisht my coffee.

When the footman has gone I turn to Eliza and ask does she have any notion what might be ado? She shakes her head.

'Tis therefore with somewhat of apprehension that I go to the library, where I find Milord sitting at one of the tables with a jewel-chest before him.

How now, says I, surely you do not require my opinions upon what jewell’d pin or rings or so you should wear?

No, says Milord, these are the jewels that were my mother’s. I wonder’d, did it suit with what you intend wear, whether you might wear some of 'em.

Why, says I, would that not look a little particular?

Dearest C-, 'tis a poor enough thing compar’d to any contrivance you might devize: but you may have heard that a certain scurrilous tale went about in your absence that there was somewhat afoot 'twixt Eliza F- and myself, so do you go display as it might be the fam’d pink diamonds, 'twould demonstrate that you are still the preferr’d mistress.

Why, says I, while 'tis entirely pleasing to me to think that she comes about to be consider’d a fine woman of such qualities that Your Lordship might incline to her, 'tis an exceeding vulgar slander that there is aught 'twixt the two of you but very fine mutual respect. And 'twould give me a deal of pleasure to wear the pink diamonds.

He hands them to me and I run them thro’ my fingers, looking at how they catch the light.

I wish I might give 'em to you outright, he says, but 'tis entire prudent to keep 'em as if for a future bride and then a daughter. He sighs. But, he goes on, has ever seem’d to me a wrong thing to marry some lady entirely as breeding stock, tho’ sure 'tis a common enough practice. One saw how aglay matters us’d to be 'twixt Sir H- Z- and his lady until a certain silly creature took 'em in hand. Tho’ offspring would have been most agreeable.

I take his hand and squeeze it, and say, to lighten his mood, that alas, he misst his chance with the terrifying virago, cut out by the Admiral’s navigational skills.

He laughs a little and says, altho’ she is an admirable lady of excellent fine qualities, and would entirely apprehend the situation, I greatly prefer to admire her qualities at some distance rather than as the wife of my bosom.

I smile and say 'tis entire understandable. But, I go on, I will take these fine things for Sophy to contemplate upon as to whether will suit with the gown we have brung, or whether will need send for another.

So I go to my chamber, where Sophy is in the dressing-room about a little sewing, and show her the pink diamonds at which she gasps mightyly and shows extreme impresst – for she comes about to have a very nice taste in jewels – and says, o, Your Ladyship, these will suit even better with that blue satin than your own diamonds.

I go contemplate upon this, and indeed, she is right.

And oh, she goes on, there is a tiara. Shall need to consider upon how Your Ladyship’s hair should be dresst to show it off.

We therefore spend a little while before the glass at this agreeable occupation.

I then take my traveling desk and go sit in the family room in case my darling is getting into the frets but she looks exceeding compos’d and about household books.

She looks up at me with a smile and says, sure she considers she should go set up in business advizing young ladies on the management of an aristocratick household, for has lately been besought to convey a little instruction to Lady Emily and her cousin, that intend go live at N- House and make it more comfortable. Lalage F- - is she not an excellent young lady? I am sure she could make a very good match is she no longer sequester’d in some rural parsonage – has some experience in domestick matters but not in any household of such magnitude. So I go look out some of my books to show 'em.

(I confide that my darling has not yet fathom’d Lalage F-'s nature.)

And talking of instruction, she continues, I have been in correspondence with Mrs D- concerning the matter of sending Meg to school for a little while, and she has some very fine suggestions – there is a lady, was a teacher in the same school as herself, goes set up her own establishment with her sisters, that between 'em have a deal of learning of different kinds, and would greatly wish aid their enterprize. 'Tis somewhere in the vicinity of Hitchin - the pretty countryside about the Chilterns – so 'tis not so far from Town that Meg might not come home at least occasional of a weekend.

Would go, says I, I confide as a parlour-boarder? And would she be able to continue her piano-practice?

'Tis an entire consideration, but one of the sisters is an accomplisht pianist herself, tho’ may have to bring in some visiting teacher as well.

Why, says I, seems as if 'twould answer. Have you open’d the matter to Meg at all?

Not yet: have spoke of it to Mrs L-, that agrees it an excellent plan. 'Tis not as tho’ 'twould be a matter of her occupation gone, indeed, she runs quite a dame-school now for the nursery-set, even if Bess will soon be off her hands.

She sighs a little and looks down at her hands says, two great girls come to womanhood, and cannot be long afore Bess makes her debut -

O my darling, says I, you are still an exceeding fine woman, that is give out one that is approv’d by the most exacting taste -

O! cries Eliza with a little colour rising in her cheeks, you heard of that? Sure Josiah was growling and muttering of punching noses and wondering whether he is suppos’d a wittol or mayhap even a pander of his own wife.

La, says I, you will go chide me for keeping secrets, but my darlings did not open this matter to me. Well, Milord and I have a contrivance, and you and I must go show that we are not rivalrous ladies but the dearest of friends.

Eliza’s lips twitch and she says, she hopes she may act that part convincing.

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I am at my pretty desk the morn, when Hector comes say Mrs L- has call’d, am I at home?

Indeed, says I, jumping up, show her in and then go desire Celeste to bring us some coffee.

Comes in Agnes L-, looking most exceeding well in a riding-habit, and I embrace her. Alas, says I, that I was unable to be at your wedding, but I hear all went off entirely well.

O, cries Agnes, sitting down in one of the easy chairs, indeed I much misst your presence, but I confide that you are entire well after your sojourn at Naples?

Indeed, says I, very sanitive, and was able to address some little problems concerning my property there.

She smiles and says she finds in herself quite a taste for travel; perchance she and Mr L- may make a journey to Italy some time, for she is like to suppose that there are a deal of libraries there that he would greatly desire to visit.

Why, says I, you are in a position where you may travel in comfort, makes a deal of a difference. And should you venture as far as Naples my villa is entire at your disposal.

She smiles and says, altho’ Mr L- is most principally interested in the study of Hebrew she confides that the classickal sites in those parts are of quite the greatest interest.

Entirely, says I, the fellow that looks after my property is most exceeding well-inform’d in such matters – was the late Marquess’s assistant in his studies.

Comes Celeste with coffee and lardy-cake. I remark to Agnes that may not be the daintyest of dishes, but is exceeding delicious.

I ask do they stay long in Town? – for I am shortly holding a soirée -

She gives a little sigh and says, 'tis a pity, but they go to Buxton to visit her guardian very shortly, and then on to Mr L-'s new living – quite the prettyest rectory, they are most infinite gratefull to the Marquess of O- for the presentation.

Fie, says I, I am sure he is exceeding glad to have a fellow of such learning as Mr L- as incumbent, for the last fellow was more interest’d in hare-coursing than books.

Tho’ indeed, she goes on, Mr L- will be sadden’d to leave the excellent company of the U-s in his late parish. But 'twill be entire delightfull to be so close to D- Chase. And speaking of books, she adds, 'tis give out that you now have a fine library of your own?

O, poo, says I, cannot compare with fine libraries such as there are at D- Chase or Q-, 'tis a poor thing, but mine own.

She laughs and says, but might she go look at it? and then looks at her fingers and says, tho’ perchance not with such sticky fingers.

I laugh myself and ring for Celeste to bring us a damp cloth so that we may wipe our hands after consuming such a deal of lardy-cake, saying that 'twill be an entire pleasure to show her over.

So I take her into the new part of the house, and we peep into the dining-room, and then we go up the library, and she looks about, and turns around, and says, 'tis quite entire what one would desire in a library. I know not if there is anything of the sort at the rectory – but I daresay there have been previous incumbents that were given to study rather than country sports – and if not I daresay there is some chamber one might fit out like this –

But, says I, as she goes look along the shelves and takes out a volume here and there, do we discourse of books -

O, she cries, you will think I go take entire advantage, but besides the poems I had on hand last summer, I have a deal more to show you.

I smile and say, has indeed been a while since then.

And, she says, I took the liberty of bringing copies with me.

I laugh and say I am quite on fire to read 'em, and might I show 'em to Mr MacD-, that understands the intricacies of publishing? And perchance there might be a few that one might offer to Mr L-'s fine newspaper – o, perchance you had not heard? Has marry’d Miss N-, and they go live in in apartments set aside for 'em at R- House.

O, she says, what an excellent fine notion! For I was in some suspicion that Miss N- had some reluctance to abandon her pupils. But how do they all do there? and is Sophy still in your household? – sure there is a deal of news that I should like of our circle.

So I tell her how matters go, and we part with great amiability. Sure I am a little sadden’d that she goes be bury’d in a country rectory, but I daresay there will be visits to Town.

I then go and indite a little note for Sandy, for these poems provide a most plausible reason why I should desire him to call, and when he comes, may open to him also the question of Herr P-'s correspondence.

So 'tis that the very next forenoon, as I am about writing the cards for my soirée, comes Sandy saying he is delight’d to be summon’d to my service, for R- House is in that state of chaos that precedes the holding of a ball, and he had as soon be out of it.

La, my dear, says I, if you will go be away while these matters are being plann’d, sure 'twill come to chaos was your hand not upon matters from the commencement.

As a certain silly creature would say, poo. I recall a deal of fretting last year over the same matter. But, dear sibyl, do you show me Mrs L-'s poems, and I may give you these reviews of your play to peruse.

I groan and he says, no need at all to go cast yourself into despair, 'tis considerable lik’d. Aristarchus of course will never praise a comedy, but even he will concede that there is exceeding witty dialogue.

Why, do you say so, and have you not conceal’d any adverse opinions, I will believe you, and do you give 'em to me and we may read over our coffee and muffins.

A little while later he looks up from his perusal of Agnes’ poems and says, these are very well indeed.

Sure I thought so, but I am an uninstruct’d creature –

I am like to suppose, dear C-, that you are a deal better acquaint’d with the finest flowers of the literature of this nation than some of the fellows that set themselves up as criticks.

O, mayhap, says I. I was mind’d, I go on, to think that one might make two pretty little volumes out of 'em. Should also be inclin’d to offer a few to Mr L- to print in his newspaper.

Sandy nods. I will be about it, says he. And since you do not go fall into a melancholick fit, I apprehend that you are pleas’d with what the criticks say of The Rivalrous Ladies.

Why, says I, 'tis not as bad as I fear’d. But, have we conclud’d our convockation on these agreeable matters, I have one that is less agreeable to open to you.

I disclose to him the visit I made to Herr P-'s household, and that I hope I have contriv’d to prevail upon Herr P- to behave a little less tyrannickal to the rest of the household – and, says I, perchance he may even permit Frau P- to resume at least attendance at the Duchess’s reading circle, for 'tis a pleasure to Her Grace, and she is the daughter of Mr K-, that one supposes he must desire ingratiate himself with, or at least not offend.

But, says I, I am like to think he is also engag’d in some surreptitious matter, employing Frau P- to write in German on some matter that I suppose not to be merely requiring her to act his secretary in his business for Mr K-.

Sandy raises his eyebrows. Perchance, he says, he goes keep up some communication about ideal communities -

'Tis possible, says I, but anyway, I abstract’d two or three letters, but as they are in German, cannot read 'em myself.

Sandy raises his eyebrows even further, says hopes I will never tell him the full tale of the matters I was about in Naples for fears 'twould be entire too thrilling for his peace of mind, and takes the letters.

I see him frown over them somewhat, and his lips move, and after a while there is a dawning of a very dour Calvinistickal look, and at length he looks up, says somewhat in Scots that I confide is by no means flattering to Herr P-, and goes on, the fellow is an arrant scoundrel.

La, says I, 'tis no surprize, but what is the ado? Does he go betray the Cause and inform upon his erstwhile comrades?

No, says Sandy, but 'tis entire shocking enough. 'Tis indeed a betrayal but of one that has shown a considerable benefactor to him.

Say on, says I, do not draw out the tale.

Takes advantage of the connexions he makes in undertaking matters of German business for Mr K-, to go endeavour set up in business for himself, by offering himself to various enterprizes in the Germanick regions as their London agent, and telling 'em that he will be able devote himself better to their interests than Mr K-, that is a fellow about very great deal of matters, could not give 'em the particular attention he could –

That is, says I, I confide what is consider’d sharp practice?

Indeed 'tis. But I am in some quandary how we should proceed now we have this knowledge. I suppose Sebastian K- is now depart’d for the Baltic?

So I am given to apprehend. 'Tis a pity, because ‘twould have been more answerable to go by way of him. Am by no means on the same terms with Mr K- himself.

We sigh and go contemplate upon the matter in silence for a little while.

Why, says I, I have it! Give me back those letters, and I will go take 'em to Viola, saying that I saw Frau P- about all this writing, and fear that Herr P- has not abandon’d his revolutionary ways -

Sandy shakes his head admiringly. Madame Nemesis, he says with a bow.

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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-.

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Sure I do not think that the business of Herr P- and his household will prove the better for any delay of my taking the matter in hand – there are other matters must wait upon events - so I determine that I will go call upon Frau P-, at some time when I may anticipate her husband to be about the house (tho’ is he not, may find some excuse to call upon him – sure, I wonder does Reynaldo di S-, that quite basks in the admiration of the Yankees, bother to go communicate with Herr P- how matters go with him).

And, I confide, 'twill distract me from the prospect of the first night of my play The Rivalrous Ladies, that I am in fears none will find in the least amuzing, there will be no laughter, and 'twill be entire hisst from the stage.

So I desire Ajax to drive me to that unfashionable but respectable quarter where the family resides, and am greet’d at the door by Frau H- herself, that supposes at first that I am come about soliciting Herr H- for some musickal occasion, but I say that I would desire see Frau P-, at which she looks a little troubl’d, but then murmurs somewhat beneath her breath in German, and takes me into a small parlour.

Frau P- indeed is not looking as blooming as us’d to, tho’ not sickly. Is seat’d at a table writing with a deal of papers before her, and the infant in a crib that she rocks with her foot.

She jumps up and makes me a little curtesy. O, Lady B-! – she turns to her mother and desires her to bring tea.

I smile at her and say, and this is your son? (looks a fine lusty infant, that I was in doubts would come to, Herr P- being such an ill-looking fellow.)

Yes, she says, looking down, this is Wolfgang - but I will not pick him up, has only just fallen asleep.

I lay my finger to my lips, and make silent gestures that we might go sit a little further away so as not to disturb his slumbers.

Frau H- comes in with tea, stepping very carefull, and then leaves me with her daughter.

I make civil comments about little Wolfgang, and hope she and her husband are well.

I then proceed to the matter of German lessons, and mayhap a revival of the reading circle that Viola began upon: but she sighs and says, looking over at the table, she has a deal to occupy her without she goes gallivanting out of the house.

O, poo, says I, can hardly be call’d gallivanting. But, my dear Frau P-, what are you about? Do you perchance go make translations (for I mind that she was wont to undertake a certain amount of commissions of that nature)?

She says, no, she goes assist Herr P- with his business correspondence, for indeed, he has a great deal of it.

Why, says I, 'tis a fine wifely thing to do (tho’ is’t not what he is being paid for himself?); and am about to enquire further about the matter, when comes in, banging the door open and causing little Wolfgang to wake up and wail, Herr P- himself.

Frau P- rushes to the cradle, takes out the child, and puts him to the breast, the while making exceeding apologetick for a situation creat’d quite entirely by Herr P-.

He lours at me exceeding ferocious and says that he would be oblig’d did Lady B- not come about distracting his wife from her duties as wife and mother.

La, says I, I should have thought that you would consider that Mr K- would be much oblig’d did you permit your wife to resume attendance at his daughter the Duchess of M-'s German reading circle, and might, indeed, somewhat resent your obstructing her.

Herr P- checks himself in what I fear was about to become a tirade, and I see goes mind that I am the greatest of favourites with Viola and that Mr K- entirely doats upon her. Mayhap, he says somewhat ungracious, we might go discourse of this elsewhere in the house.

Excellent, thinks I, and follow him out to be took upstairs to what he refers to as his study.

He gestures me into a chair, seats himself beside his desk and says with patently false amiability that of course he would desire to oblige Her Grace, but I must have observ’d that the child is still at breast, and also inclined to be fretfull.

Why, says I, I will convey that message to the Duchess, but, I say, sitting up straight – indeed I can do no other upon the chair on which I am seat’d – but meantime, 'tis give out that you go conduct yourself very haughty and tyrannickal within a household that took you in when you were a pennyless exile –

Herr P- goes protest that he is now the chief breadwinner of the establishment and should deserve respect.

Respect, says I, not slavish meekness.

He snorts somewhat, doubtless considering this a soft womanish notion.

But since you go do so exceeding well, says I, perchance you go leave your card at the Embassy?

He turns around to look at me directly, his eyes having been upon his desk as if he had more important business to be about than conversing with a foolish featherwit upon frivolity.

Or, says I, convey some aid to other exiles of your nation that are not in such prosperous case?

He looks as I confide I lookt when the cobra emerg’d.

I tilt my head to one side and say, La, Herr P-, can it be that your change of fortune has not been convey’d among your compatriots?

He says, endeavouring a weak smile, that sure he becomes an entire Englishman these days.

Why, says I, is’t so, 'twould I daresay be most unwelcome did one go bruit about your alter’d state. Sure, I continue, I will keep your secret: but upon condition that you conduct yourself like a true-born Englishman and mind that Britons never shall be slaves - and that, Herr P-, includes their wives and their families.

I rise and say, I will go make my farewells to Frau P-, and dip him a very small curtesy.

As I enter the small parlour again, my glance falls upon the table where Frau P- was at her devoirs and something troubles me. I take a moment to consider over this – I had the like feelings from time to time in Naples that were most material in my proceedings, for 'tis that one apprehends somewhat not right that one should examine further – and realize that all the writing is in German, where I would have anticipated notes from Mr K- and his clerks in English, and translations or at least epitomes in the same tongue.

Most curious, thinks I.

I observe that Frau P- still endeavours soothe little Wolfgang and is preoccupy’d.

La! I cry, sure I am an unhandy creature and have gone knock over your inkpot, has spoilt a couple of letters afore I could right it.

I go take a handkerchief from my reticule, into which I have stufft two or so letters, and sacrifice it to dabbing up the ink that I have overset to verify this tale.

They are quite entire spoilt, says I, I am most exceeding heartyly sorry at going hinder your labours.

She sighs, looks down at the babe that finally grows quiet and peacefull, and says, mayhap you might give the spoilt papers to Mutti, when they are dry’d out may be made into spills.

I make my farewells to her – she murmurs that indeed 'twould be agreeable to participate once more in Viola’s reading circle, when Wolfgang is a little older.

While this has indeed serv’d to distract my mind most excellent, by the e’en I am in an entire fret over my play and set off to the theatre as one that is convey’d in a tumbril to the guillotine.

I join Milord and my darlings in the box, along with Lord U- and his brothers, Lord and Lady A-, and Mr and Mrs L-. Sandy goes sit in the pit, in his character as Deacon Brodie, for he considers that one thus discovers the mood of the audience. I observe Biffle and Viola in the M- box – Lady J- is absent on account of her condition – with Lord and Lady O-, Em and Cousin Lalage, Rebecca G- and Julia P-.

O, I feel so sick.

The play begins, with Mr J- coming onto the stage talking to his friends, and declaring sure he is like that fellow in the song, How happy could he be with either, were t’other dear charmer away. Why, thinks I, a fine actor can make somewhat of the meanest words, is not Miss A- sometimes besought to give that entirely fustian speech from Queen Maud, that she makes a great effect with? For I can see that begins to take.

And then Miss R- and Miss A- present a very fine duel of words as the rival ladies.

And then Mr J-'s character is order’d by his father to go woo and wed another young lady, that is perform’d most effective by Miss T-.

Why, thinks I, 'tis not an utter disaster, and feel able to take a little sip of the wine that I have not yet toucht, as I hear the audience laugh.

Indeed, one may even suppose it somewhat of a success, at the end, where a marriage has come about somewhat like unto what is rumour’d of Lord and Lady O-, and the two rivals are reconcil’d into their antient friendship, and Mr W-, as the thwart’d father, speaks the epilogue.

Danvers D- has gone arrange a party in a private chamber at M. Duval’s eating house, and I see that the actors think has entire took and will run for a while.

I do not think Mr P- lik’d it much, but is always such a sour-fac’d fellow 'tis exceeding hard to tell.

I had hop’d to have some opportunity to convey to Sandy the letters I abstract’d (for I read no German myself), but there is no occasion without looking somewhat particular to have discreet converse with him.

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'Tis very agreeable to ride out of a morn upon my lovely Jezebel, when I shall not have to make civil quite constant. There may be a few about the Park, but 'tis not the fashionable hour when come all those that desire see and be seen.

However, I observe one that rides upon a mare I take to be Elvira, follow’d by a groom, and tho’ at first I suppose it to be Lady Emily, ‘tis their Cousin Lalage. I ride over and make civil to her.

She says that Nan – Lady O-, she corrects herself – most kindly said she might have the use of their stables, and she would not venture ride Blackthorn, so took Elvira, and sure 'tis an entire pleasure to ride out on such a fine creature, and – she looks about the Park – sure this is a very fine place to do so. May be very pretty countryside in which Papa holds his cure of souls, but 'tis most entire familiar to me in all its aspects.

You are enjoying your visit, then? says I.

O, she says, 'tis quite delightfull. All so very welcoming and kind, and thoughtfull in matters of entertainment. And 'tis very pleasing to see Cousin Hester – I mean, Lady N- - in such very good spirits.

She goes on to say somewhat in praise of my drawing-room meeting, showing excellent good ton, and says, she sees that there is a much wider field for endeavour in the matter of philanthropy in Town. There is no great want in the parish, so 'tis a matter of comforts for invalids and teaching Sunday-school –

Indeed, says I, 'tis so.

She goes on to say, that she apprehends that the M- family regard Lady B- entirely in the light of a fairy godmother -

O, poo, says I.

- and she doubts not that I have heard somewhat of this proposal that she should come reside at N- House with Lady Emily in order to bring the household into somewhat better order –

'Tis so, says I –

- and would greatly desire to talk to me about the matter privately.

Why, Miss F-, says I, I should be entire delight’d. Why do you not come take a little breakfast with me – I confide the kitchen can find somewhat for your groom – and we may discourse of the matter over muffins.

O, Lady B-, that would be entire charming! and I doubt not that Kelly would be gratefull to have some convockation with the renown’d Ajax.

I smile and say, I will not go interrogate whether there is some betting-book being kept about the O- House stables.

Miss F- shows most gratifying prepossesst by my pretty house and parlour.

Celeste brings coffee and muffins most expeditious, and says there will be more very shortly.

I desire Miss F- to help herself, and do the like.

Celeste returns with kedgeree, bacon and eggs, and more muffins.

Why, this is an entire feast! cries Miss F-.

La, says I, 'tis to demonstrate the consequence of the household, and 'twill all get eat up somehow, for there are young creatures still getting their growth about the place.

There are also two cats, that apprehend that there is somewhat a-doing in the parlour, and perchance they may succeed to persuading one or another that they are cruelly starv’d, and come around the door to make exceeding pathetick.

O, what fine pusses, says Miss F-, that is beguil’d and holds out pieces of bacon for Dandy and Pounce.

Sure, says I, they are but common cats, by no means as fine as Selina that has such fine long silky hair.

And requires a deal of brushing!

In due course we are quite done, and Celeste comes clear the table, leaving us with fresh coffee. We go sit vis-à-vis in my comfortable easy chairs.

I look at Miss F- with my listening face.

She looks at me and says, Sure Lady B- must quite apprehend that 'tis most gratifying and agreeable to be invit’d come live at N- House –

'Tis a sad gloomy place, says I.

But, oh, she says, need not be, have already had disclos’d to me the very fine thoughts you had about brightening it up, and indeed one sees that need not be so dingy. And sure one feels that could be made more comfortable. And 'twould, she continues, be very delightfull indeed to live in Town.

I do not suppose, she goes on, that Mama and Papa would at all mind, indeed, I am like to think they would be in hopes that I might even come about to find some fellow that would make me an offer. For sure I was not like to meet any likely suitors in the parish; o, in earlyer days would go to local assemblies, but did not take and indeed saw few enough I lik’d –

But I apprehend, says I, that you were affianc’d?

She gives a little sigh. Why, she says, Mr D- came as curate when my father had had a bad attack of the influenza and remain’d somewhat knockt up for several months. But aim’d at the mission field, and the mission societies look with more favour upon fellows that are marry’d -

One quite sees why 'tis so, says I.

Entirely. But – sure 'twas a very prudential matter, for I was unlike to have other offers, and I did not dislike Mr D-, so I conced’d to the match. And he purpos’d go out to the South Seas, where a friend of his was already about saving souls.

But one day he came to me in very considerable agitation, saying that he had had a letter from his friend, that was in very distressfull state, for his wife had run off with the captain of a trading vessel –

Say you so!

- a very shocking matter, I thought. And then he pac’d up and down and said, had always been 'twixt him and his friend as 'twixt David and Jonathan, that their souls were knit together, surpassing the love of woman –

(O, thinks I, 'twas so, was’t?)

- and thus was in consideration that he should go out to him most immediate – for had intend’d do so anyway, to prepare the way, once we were wed, and I should follow – in order to convey comfort to him. And I said indeed he should, 'twas entire a matter of Christian duty. And so he went, and 'twas purpos’d I should put my trousseau in order and go be lookt over by the missionary society to be approv’d as a suitable helpmeet, and he would send for me when all was in order with a house and such, and we could be marry’d out there –

She sighs. But then we had a letter from some trader in the place, saying that there had been an outbreak of fever, and they had both done most meritorious service in tending the sick until both succumb’d themselves and dy’d of it.

(Well, mayhap and perchance, thinks I, for I daresay there are many very noxious fevers in those parts, but yet, 'tis a very long way away, and two fellows that come to a realization that their affection to one another surpasses the love of women, I am perchance a naughty suspicious C- that considers that 'tis a most convenient tale.)

I lean over and pat her hand and say, must have been a shocking blow.

She looks considering and says, sure I hardly had time to become very attacht to Mr D-, but 'twould have been a change of circumstance. But, she continues, his very fine remarks about their devotion and the Biblickal precedent made me consider upon that story in the scriptures I had always found most exceeding fine, that is the book of Ruth -

(Oho, thinks I, entreat me not to part from thee &C.)

- and so I bethought me that there must be similar devotion 'twixt women?

'Tis so, says I.

She blinks a little and says, she confid’d must be so. And seems to her a very beautyfull thing.

(Why, thinks I, must be most suitable to have a lady that comes to some apprehension of her disposition to be a companion to Em and may perchance guide her in the matter.)

I smile at her and say, mutual devotions are indeed very beautyfull things. And after a short pause, add that I confide this plan for N- House shows exceeding answerable.

She smiles and says, she hopes that she may call upon Lady B-'s fine taste.

Entirely, says I.

In the afternoon I go call at R- House, taking the miniature tea-service to give to my sweet jewel. She is most gratifying delight’d with it, handles the pieces very delicate and carefull, and desires Eliza to put it somewhere where rough clumsy boys will not come at it.

Or, says I, does there come a tiger into the room.

My precious darling does not grow too great and educat’d a girl that she will not enjoy a game of tigers. Eliza laughs very hearty and says, we quite see that Lady B- is by no means in a decline, after I have gone chase Flora around the room with growls.

I then go take tea with Mrs L- in her apartments. She is still the same good unaffect’d creature, that I see wears the pearls about her neck: 'tis very wise, says I, 'tis consider’d a good thing for pearls to be worn rather languish in chests.

She expatiates considerable upon the excellencies of Mr L-, and upon how very well this arrangement answers, and that she never expect’d live so fine.

But, she says at length, do you, Your Ladyship, hear how Fraulein – I mean, Frau P- - does this while? I wonder does she purpose to keep up her connexion in German lessons, for really, she was very well lik’d in the matter, the girls ask is she like to come back.

Why, says I, I am appriz’d that she bore a fine son, but indeed, I should go call upon her and see how she does, and open this matter of German lessons &C. But is her husband now earning 'em a living, along with what her brother’s playing brings in, may consider it proper to keep at home with her child.

Mrs L- nods and says, indeed, she may not have to undertake lessons: but I thought she got some pleasure from 'em.

(Why, thinks I, this supplies an entrée to that household.)

But then I go ask does she hear at all from her sister in the antipodes.

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Sure I think I have the means to bring Herr P- into somewhat better conduct towards his household, but I am in some concern that I go about entirely like unto Mr R- O-.

I am about my correspondence, with much breaking off as my mind continues puzzle over this matter, when Sandy is shown in looking in most excellent spirits.

How now, o bello scozzese, you are very chearfull the morn.

Why, says Sandy, sitting down, as Celeste comes with coffee and scones, have just done exceeding well for an acquaintance of mine by preferring him to Lord A- as secretary, I think 'twill entirely answer all round.

And indeed, he continues, there is still somewhat of a feeling of port after stormy seas that is most exceeding agreeable. But, dear sibyl, I saw you frowning a little over your correspondence when I came in – is there some matter troubles you?

O, I cry, 'tis naught to do with any letters, or even the prospect of an afternoon among the orphanage ladies, I am in a pother over what I should do about the matter of Herr P-.

Herr P-? says Sandy, that one hears has entire reliquisht any thought of going living upon the bosom of nature in an ideal community in the wilderness, and instead becomes a complete businessman.

'Tis so, says I, indeed Mr Sebastian K- considers he becomes exceeding sharp, and he also manifests quite the domestick tyrant.

Sandy looks thoughtfull and says, although one would suppose that fellows that were of a radickal inclination would be quite entire oppos’d to tyranny and find it antipathetick, yet one cannot but notice that there are those – sure can one not discern it in certain excesses of the French Revolution? – that are not so much oppos’d to tyranny, but any tyranny that is not their own, and 'tis that they would wish o’erthrow and replace.

Indeed, he says with a smile, 'tis ever a temptation to suppose that one has deviz’d an entire better way of ordering matters that only needs putting into place, but 'tis a delusion. Tho’, he goes on with a more sober expression, one may also observe fellows that are of the finest democratick principles yet leave 'em behind at their own front door.

Entirely so, my dear, says I, and sure one should cry confusion to tyranny! wherever it may lye. But I am like to think that one might not come about to persuade Herr P- to be kinder to his wife and mother-in-law, and more respectfull towards that excellent young fellow Franz H-, by rational argument.

Perchance not, says Sandy, for however much one might see the benefits of an ideal community, on reflection should not wish to be in one rul’d by him.

But, says I, I mind that I daresay there are fellows in the Bavarian Embassy would very much like to know where they might come across Herr P-, on the one hand; and on the other hand, there are exil’d compatriots of his that might not only wish drink in his fine ideas did they know his direction, but would observe that he is now in a comfortable position whence he might help 'em out.

Sandy grins considerable. ‘Twixt Scylla and Charybdis, he says.

But, dear Sandy, I go on, I am not sure 'twould be in accordance with universal law to go menace Herr P- with the threat of revealing his whereabouts to those I daresay he would rather avoid, to bring him into kinder ways.

He meditates for a moment and say, dearest C-, 'tis one of those instances I have not’d where a desirable maximization of felicity may not be in entire accordance with the principles of universal law. 'Twould entirely improve the condition of Frau H- and her offspring, did you go advance the matter to Herr P-, and who knows but that the exercise of benevolence, even is’t at first under some duress, might come to have the finest effect on his character? And surely, cannot be in accordance with universal law that a fellow goes tyrannize over his household.

La, Mr MacD-, says I, you are as casuistickal as a Jesuit.

Why, dear sibyl, I daresay you go trouble yourself again over Mr R- O-'s proceedings, but was’t not the case that he desir’d bring his threats to bear to compell his victims to behave worse than their natures would lead 'em? whereas you go about to make Herr P- behave better.

But, says I, I am but a silly creature that would not wish to set myself up in judgement.

Sandy goes laugh somewhat immoderate.

I endeavour pout but cannot prevent myself from laughing too.

Dearest Nemesis, says he, provid’d Herr P- is not acquaint’d with any serpents, and perchance did you mention that you have friends that have an apprehension of what you are about, I confide you should go about to bring him to a more democratick domestick existence.

La, says I, I will be rul’d by your manly wisdom in the matter.

We look at one another very amuz’d.

But, says I, I daresay I may not be about it for some little while, for I have a deal of matters upon hand and tho’ I should quite dearly like to cut the orphanage ladies, I think 'twould not be advizable, particular as Lady J- is not going about among 'em at present.

Sandy says, but perchance I may find a moment or two to peruse the books he has brought for me: has consult’d with a friend that studies the history of the Middle Ages -

O, I cry, that is most exceeding kind!

- tho’ I am now like to fear that he will consider the authorship entire prov’d upon me.

Poo, says I, I am like to suppose 'twill be some while afore I may hope to have anything writ ready to be print’d in three pretty volumes. I sigh.

We take a very fond leave of one another.

'Tis with a deal of gloomy anticipation that I set off for a meeting of the orphanage ladies, for I fear that, is Lady J-'s hand remov’d, they will go brangle a deal worse than ever.

But I go in, and the ladies cry, o, here is Lady B-, have we not greatly misst Lady B-, there is none can write so telling a pamphlet as she can –

I groan inwardly for I am in no great desire to write yet another telling pamphlet for the orphanage ladies, but I daresay I must concede to the matter.

Lady D- sits in Lady J-'s usual place, wearing a very serious expression upon her pretty young face, and I am in fears that there will be a deal of brangling, and having of feelings, and indeed the only thing that brings a little peace to my mind is the thought that the matron of the orphanage is a good sensible prudent woman that gets on with the necessary work and considers the ladies as a matter like unto the weather that must be endur’d. I read thro’ the report she has supply’d and consider that we should just go approve her recommendations, take tea, and go home, but I doubt 'twill happen thus.

And indeed there are troubles and objections rais’d, but after there has been a little flustering about each thing, Lady D- will go clear her throat and say, Lady J- told me to say, and is there any contention, her lower lip will go quiver. 'Tis most exceeding effective, for the ladies look upon her with some fondness, and doubtless consider that they should not like to have the responsibility for Lady J- giving her a scold for failure to carry out her commission.

I remark, when we go take tea, that she is a most excellent lieutenant, and she gives me her pretty dimpling smile and says, that is pleasing to hear, for she is in no wise like unto Lady J- and 'tis somewhat distressing to be contradict’d. She was sometimes fear’d that she would go burst into tears. So I am like to confide that her manner is by no means a stratagem.

As the meeting ends a deal more expeditious than is wont, she looks up at me and says, would I care come see how the matters I recommend’d have been carry’d out at P- House? and I might like to see little Arthur, that is a very fine infant.

Indeed I should like to see how P- House looks now that the improvements I recommend’d have been undertook, and to see Arthur.

And one may see at once how very much better it looks inside, with the fine hall tiles replac’d where they were broke or uneven, and a deal of fresh paint, and mirrors that greatly relieve the gloom, and also flowers.

We go into the small parlour and she rings for tea and for the nurse to bring Arthur, and I look about, and I see that the furniture quite gleams with good polishing, and there is a fine scent from the polishes and I think also there is potpourri in the fine china bowl that sits upon a table.

I admire very much what they have done, sure, says I, one would hardly know it the same place.

But then comes the tea, and the nurse brings Arthur, that is a fine bouncing child that does not speak words but will make meaningfull sounds and if put upon the rug will go proceed by wriggling. She looks at him very doating.

And all is well with you? I ask.

Oh yes, she says, she has quite the kindest and best of husbands, and a fine son, and 'tis delightfull to see Agnes so happyly wed and her husband in the way to advancement in the Church.

And, she goes on, looking very serious, I think I become braver, and consider that Arthur should have brothers and sisters, and indeed…

She falls silent and I am like to suppose that she finds conjugal restraint bears hard upon her as well as Lord D-.

But at this moment comes in Lord D- himself, wearing the spectacles I have been told of, and greets me very effusive, draws attention to various points in the furbishment of the house I may have overlookt and desires take me for a very extensive tour.

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'Tis quite high time for me to convoke with Mr Q- concerning my affairs, and he comes call upon me one forenoon with a deal of documents.

Sure all goes exceeding well, I am very far from being brought to ruin. He also tells me that he is in some confidence that Chancery begin bestir about the matter of T-.

Why, says I, 'tis an agreeable thing to hear. I daresay Lady B- mention’d how prepossesst we were with the agent, should be entire happy to put any improvements into his hands, tho’ I have took a thought that Mr S- might go take a look at the place.

Why, says Mr Q-, do you have interest with Mr S- 'twould serve exceeding well. One hears he has quite brought round that fine Hampshire property that Admiral K- inherit’d, that had been a little neglect’d and not brought into the best modern ways of doing things.

'Tis so, says I. But, dear Mr Q-, I wisht ask your advice upon a matter – o, 'tis quite a little thing – but I am sure you would know how I might go about it.

He pats my hand and says he hopes that he will.

So, I open to him the matter of the livery stable and the prospect of its changing hands.

For, says I, at present 'tis exceeding well-manag’d, in good cleanly ways, 'tis a great consideration when one is on the same mews, for one does not desire stinks and flies - he nods – And furthermore, says I, altho’ the fellows that work there are somewhat boisterous in their habits, they are fine hard-working fellows and do not go behave undue coarse towards women – and having several young women in my household, 'tis a concern to me to protect 'em – and I do not hear that there is any hugger-mugger business goes on there – so indeed I find myself in some anxiety that 'twill be sold, and Mr Jupp, that has kept it so well these years, will be out of his place –

I see Mr Q- admiring my fine womanly sensibility over the matter.

Hmm, he says, steepling his fingers and looking at me over 'em. Sure one would need look at the books of the place, but I cannot suppose that a livery stable so very convenient to the Park does not make a very good thing out of it. 'Twould be a prudent investment, I confide.

He hmmms in silence for a little while and says, he dares say he may go discover whether the present owner purposes to sell as 'tis, and how much he expects to get for it. He may intend put it up for auction, but does he have a guarantee’d buyer, may conclude privately.

Why, says I, 'twould be an ideal thing.

He smiles and says he will put one on to the matter quite immediate, gathers up his papers, bows over my hand and says 'tis ever a pleasure to do business with Lady B-.

I have a pleasing consciousness of my affairs being in good hands and that I go about to resolve the problem of the livery stable and what may come to the Jupps.

I go up to the reception room, where my dear musickal friends have been rehearsing for my purpos’d soirée, and are now at a pleasing little nuncheon together. They greet me very effusive, remark upon how fine an occasion was Titus’s wedding, what an excellent young woman is Tibby and must be of the greatest advantage to him that she has such interest.

I say 'tis exceeding pleasing to see 'em unit’d at last for he has had a notion to her since first clappt eyes upon her when he join’d the household.

I can see that this is consider’d most extreme pretty and romantick.

I say to Herr H- that I hear that his sister, Frau P-, has bore a fine son?

Indeed, he says, is nam’d Wolfgang - but 'tis after some late comrade of Herr P-‘s, rather than Mozart.

And that Herr P- takes well to business and is greatly valu’d by Mr K-?

'Tis so, says Herr H- with the hint of a sigh.

Miss McK- snorts and says, what Franz does not say is that Herr P- starts showing very proud and desires rule over the household, thinks they should move to some place more befitting a fellow of his state –

Herr H- sighs and says, 'tis extreme distressing to Mutti, that has grown so fond of our little house. Also he goes treat her as if she were a housekeeper. And is not so kind to Gretchen as should be.

They all look at me, as tho’ I was some strega that might go wave a wand and turn Herr P- into a better husband and son-in-law.

La, says I, while may be better than lying on a sopha pretending to be at death’s door and eating up the household, for I confide he must be bringing in some tidy sum, 'tis sure not ideal conduct, and I will go think upon how one might bring him to some sense of better ways.

Herr H- looks embarrasst, and says he must be going, has a lesson to give, takes up his flute-case and musick-case, and departs.

What he does not say, says Mr G- D-, is that Herr P- thinks he should get a good steady position as a clerk, and doubts not that he has interest to procure him one. For he considers that Franz pursues a career that is both precarious and frivolous.

Fie, says I, he was keeping the family by his flute – well, and his sister’s going out giving German lessons &C – when Herr P- was doing naught but lye around being wait’d upon hand and foot.

Entirely so, says Miss L-. 'Tis not as tho’ he is playing on street-corners with a hat out for coins, is much in demand as a soloist, has a fine connexion for lessons, is a very sober hard-working fellow.

Well, says I, I will go think upon the matter. Sure 'twould have been better had Herr P- gone to the American wilderness and been scalpt by Indians, or perchance eat by bears.

They sigh, and start packing up their musick.

I sigh myself after they have depart’d, for altho’ 'twas entire proper that he marry’d Gretchen H- after beguiling her with his seductions, I could never suppose that he would of a sudden become an ideal husband.

But I must go dress to receive callers, for 'tis my afternoon when I may expect 'em.

When I at last confide that there will be no more, I desire Sophy to put me into my riding habit, and I will go take Jezzie a turn or two about the Park.

There is a deal of company about, for 'tis a fine sunny day even is there somewhat of a chill breeze. Comes trotting up to me the Freiherr von D-, that declares very fulsome that 'tis most delightfull to see Lady B- return’d to Town.

I say I see he still remains in Town and does not return to Bavaria. He laughs somewhat formal and says, why, there are very much worser places one may be sent in the service of one’s king, and sure 'tis a fine city here, tho’, he adds with a sigh, as I surely know, there are those come from Bavaria to reside here in order to plot sedition -

Why, says I with a smile, sure I apprehend that ‘tis so, even do I not store any of 'em in my own cellar.

He gives another bark of laughter, and continues, indeed he has no such suspicions, and the Graf von M- is said to still languish upon his estates very much out of favour (I should most greatly wish to hear what is come to Herr F-, but would not go interrogate direct on the matter).

He then goes on say somewhat of some ball that he and his compatriots go hold, and will send me a card, to which I respond with an amiable smile that I shall be entire delight’d, am I not already bidden elsewhere for the e’en.

(But meanwhile I confide I feel the stirrings of a contrivance.)

In the e’en I have been invit’d to a little supper party that the V-s go hold, at which I confide I shall see Jacob S-, that is in Town about various matters but that I have not yet had a chance to convoke with.

'Tis agreeable to be among this scientifick set, and there is a gentleman goes quiz me quite particular about Vesuvius. La, says I, I do not go bother volcanoes in hopes that they will return the favour and not bother me with some eruption, but a few years since when Lord R- and Mr MacD- came help me with the matter of my late husband’s collection of antiquities - 'tis now in the British Museum - Mr MacD- went climb Vesuvius as one may do – but o, I cry, I see Mr S- and I am exceeding anxious to hear how Mrs S- does.

So I go over and greet Jacob S- very hearty, and desire to know at once how Martha does, and does Deborah flourish? – and he smiles and says, dear Matty is exceeding well, considering, and indeed Deborah goes flourish.

We exchange some news of family and friends – the Admiral has writ most exceeding civil about this matter of his sister’s boy that desires a naval career, can offer him a berth - and then I give a little frown and say, you might know perchance whether there are any of Herr P-'s set from Munich – or am I mistook and was’t Nuremburg? – about Town at present?

Jacob says that tho’ he is not in that set himself, there are certain connexions, by way of family or common interests, and he confides that there are at present some several in exile in this land.

Only, says I, do they desire to go set up their ideal community in the American wilderness I apprehend that Reynaldo di S- does not go advance their purpose – I hear is consider’d a romantick revolutionary hero about Boston and is quite the lion that all desire see, and much admir’d by the young ladies of the place.

Jacob S- laughs and says, 'tis little surprize. But he dares say he may put the word about so that they do not raise their hopes too high.

And then Mrs V- comes solicit us to take a little supper.

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Indeed 'tis turning out a most enjoyable occasion. Lord A- comes dance with me and tells me how very well they find B- House to answer: 'tis all very well living at one’s club, but cannot compare to domestick life such as he now enjoys.

He looks over to where Lady A- dances with Milord and says, 'twas a lucky day for me when I heard her sing. And what an excellent fellow is her father, has a deal of sound practickal experience of a deal of matters, and comes about to play goff quite remarkable. Cannot touch MacD-, of course, one apprehends that the Scots take to it quite from infancy. Sure I am glad to see him return’d to Town, is giving me the most valuable assistance in finding a secretary.

I am next solicit’d by Danvers D-, that says 'tis somewhat of a bore, had rather be at the theatre or at home, but A- is such an antient friend, shows civil to come.

I ask how matters go with him and he most immediate tells me what a fine precocious infant is Orlando, how very well Miss R- shows in the latest plays, and hears there is a new comedy coming that will be most amuzing. He also minds to tell me that his mother is exceeding well, an entire doating grandmother, and the pugs are in health.

And what an entertaining fellow is her uncle. They will sometimes be in quite an agony of mirth at him. Sure those are lucky fellows at that club of his.

(I daresay Danvers D- has not the least apprehension of the nature of the club.)

After I have resign’d Danvers D- to his next partner, I have the great pleasure of a waltz with Sir H- Z-, that is sure almost as accomplisht in that art as Sir Vernon H- (that is now install’d at St Petersburg about his diplomatick business). I remark that I hear that Mr de C- goes paint a family group, and he says, indeed, he felt 'twas a politick thing.

I smile and say, why, 'tis a very pretty display of conjugal harmony, is’t not?

He smiles down at me and says, indeed 'tis. And lately his boys have been reading a very fine tale concerning wreckers and sure the author must be one that he has acquaintance of, for there are their family tales concerning that dreadfull business.

La, says I smiling, perchance one of your neighbours in Cornwall finds time hang heavy upon their hands and goes essay authorship. And then I turn the subject to tin-mining.

And then Milord comes claim me for the supper-dance, at which I am exceeding glad, for the antient sheep Sir V- P- still wambles somewhat in my direction.

He smiles at me and says sure I am looking exceeding well. And you, says I. We both glance to where Sandy leads out Eliza.

Why, he says, you may imagine the exceeding great relief I feel.

But then we give ourselves entirely to the dance, for we have ever danc’d together exceeding well, and I see heads turn to look upon us, and I daresay there are whispers that sure we remain entire, tho’ very discreet, devot’d to one another.

('Tis entirely to the good, for there are those have observ’d what an exceeding fine woman Mrs F- is, and such an excellent mistress of the household at R- House, and go make vulgar speculations upon the matter.)

And then he takes me into supper, and smiles and says, hopes I will join the party in his box for the opening night of this fine new comedy The Ladies' Rivalry -

Alas, says I, I suppose 'twould look particular was I not there, and 'twould be suppos’d there was something behind tho’ I doubt would come at the truth of the matter.

He squeezes my hand, and changes the subject to how matters go in the anti-slavery set.

After supper comes up to me Biffle desiring a dance, that I grant with great pleasure. He looks a little preoccupy’d, with constant glances to where Viola sits, and I beg him disclose what’s ado.

Why, he says, I confide 'twould be best did Viola go home now, she droops a little tho’ I daresay those that know her not so well as I would not notice, but Sebastian comes stay with us for a few days afore he departs for the Baltic, and she would not oblige him to leave the ball so early, for one must perceive that he greatly enjoys the occasion.

I look over to where Sebastian K- dances with Rebecca G-, and am like to think 'tis entirely so.

One might, goes on Biffle, send the carriage back for him –

O, poo, says I, as I must stay 'til some very late hour to demonstrate how very much Lady B- is in health, can convey him in my carriage. 'Tis no great matter to come by way of M- House or to send Ajax on after he has left me at home.

'Twould be most exceeding kind, says Biffle smiling down at me, and I am in some suspicion that Sebastian would be grateful of an opportunity to hold converse with you concerning his visit to St Petersburg -

(I sigh inwardly, for my tale concerning Miss G-'s fine marriage to a Russian nobleman of exalted rank and liberal opinions that pose exceeding great risque in those parts, has quite took on a life of its own.)

La, says I, I am like to think that Sir Vernon goes undertake any matters I might be concern’d with in those parts very discreet thro’ his diplomatick connexions.

Biffle smiles again and says, tho’ he is entire sure Lady B- would make quite the epitome of a diplomatick wife, her friends must be exceeding glad that she is not gone to those chilly parts.

I say that Sir Vernon is an excellent fellow that I will ever hold friend, but I am entire content’d in my widowhood.

So comes round the hour when all begin summon their carriages, and not only have I not swoon’d, the mirrors inform me I am in quite excellent looks, and indeed, I do not even feel in particular tir’d, that I attribute partly to Docket’s prudent habit of making me go rest beforehand with a cool cloth over my eyes, and partly to the vivifying effects of a fine ball.

I go up to Sebastian K- that lingers about the hall and say, I hope he is ready to depart, for Ajax is just bringing around my carriage, and he says, 'tis most exceeding kind of me, for he did not want to keep Vi up this late in her present condition, tho’ she would not complain.

And when we are ensconc’d in my carriage, he says to me that there are one or two little matters upon which he would greatly desire my sage counsel afore he sails for Bergen, but he confides that I have a deal of matters upon hand at present –

Poo, says I, but 'tis true, there is a deal of business I have to be about at present. Why do you not come take a glass of brandy with me afore you go on to M- House?

Has become a young fellow of considerable address, but stutters a little when conceding to this proposal.

When we arrive at my pretty house, I desire him to go on into the parlour and stir up the fire, for at this time of night is a little chill, whilst I give my instructions to Hector.

Sebastian K- is still standing before the fire when I go in: I wave him into a chair and sit down vis-à-vis.

Sure, says I, 'tis an entire age since I have seen you to say more than hello or goodbye.

He swallows, and says, before he says anything about himself, he would desire to offer to enquire, should I like, about the former Miss G- at St Petersburg.

Hector comes in with brandy and madeira and a plate of little savoury biscuits.

After he departs I shake my head and say, pray, Mr K-, do not do any such thing. I fear 'twould be entire prejudicial to your own enterprizes. Sir Vernon goes about most exceeding discreet to discover have she and her husband been exil’d to Siberia, and if so, how one might communicate and perchance send somewhat to ease their condition.

He gives a little laugh and says, sure, he should have known Lady B- had that matter entirely under hand. But the other matter is – he clears his throat – Herr P- shows a considerable disposition towards business, that one had not anticipat’d from hearing about his design to go live like a wild Indian in the American forests.

Why, says I, I do not doubt that he is a fellow of considerable intelligence wheresoever he goes apply it (save, thinks I, to certain matters of proper social conduct).

'Tis so, says Sebastian K-. But – he frowns – shows some inclination to be rather too sharp in the recommendations he puts forward. I am not sure one would care to give him too much influence –

I confide, says I, that you are right. Was I you, I should go about to ensure that your father does not come to lean upon him while you are away.

He nods his head and says, he will go warn certain of the senior clerks – for he is like to think that does he express his concern directly to his father he will pooh-pooh it – and mention the matter to Jacob S-.

'Tis well, says I, you come to be a prudent man of business.

He blushes.

I pour him some more brandy, and ask how their business does. He tells me most particular about how well Phoebe’s polishes do, and Seraphine and Euphemia’s pickles and preserves.

Sure can I not tell that a young fellow has a considerable admiration for me, I shall have lost all my wont’d skills.

And in due course I come about to saying how very prepossesst I am with the way he has took up their interest, and he begins stammer again, and I stand and go over to him and take his hands and draw him to his feet and kiss him and say, would wish to show gratitude.

Am like to apprehend that he has acquir’d some experience with women upon his travels, but he shows most extreme gratify’d, adding that sure he would never presume upon this mark of favour.

I wish him well upon his travels.

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'Tis with some chagrin that I open a letter from dearest Belinda, that writes that she hears that I am return'd to Town, and I mind that I have not writ to her this age. I hope she does not take offense in the matter or suppose I go scorn her.

But she writes in all good humour to mention that they have had dealings with Captain C-, and that she is in correspondence with Chancery over the matter of T-, but she doubts that there will be any immediate action; and she hopes that I may join 'em for the Derby again this year. She also wonders a little whether my jaunt abroad had somewhat to do with that matter I open'd to 'em last summer. But as I am happyly return'd she confides that all's well.

So I address myself at once to inditing a letter to her with as much of my news as 'tis prudent to convey, and declaring that 'twould be an entire pleasure to join their party for the Derby.

'Tis most particular shocking to me to have neglect'd to write to her, when I contemplate that this very e'en I am bound to Lord A-'s ball at B- House, that will sure be a matter of interest to her.

But indeed, I have been entire besieg'd with invitations and callers and the wranglings among the philanthropick set, and trying put my writings in fit condition to be publisht or stag'd, and going furbish up my wardrobe so that Docket will not scold me. Yet 'tis most thoughtless in me.

But I cannot regret the hours spent about my wardrobe when I go have Docket and Sophy array me for the B- House ball: sure I am a vain creature, but it pleases me to look so exceeding well in a fine new satin gown of Maurice's devizing, with my fine Hindoo rubies blazing about my neck and my pearls gleaming in my hair. They stand back and look very approving.

Docket nods and says sure Maurice does excellent fine work.

I arrive at B- House late enough not to be unfashionable early, but not so late as to look haughty. I greet Lord and Lady A- very warm: I confide that she is at that stage of increase where she begins show a little but is like to feel exceeding well. Certainly she looks so, and I remark upon how very much she is in looks. Lord A- looks at her very proud and says, but she should not overdo: I daresay Mrs O- B- has been dispensing cautions.

I say that I hope we may have the pleasure of hearing her sing, if only a little, before I proceed up the stair to see the rest of the company.

Sure one would not know B- House for that desolate wreck that us'd to be, 'tis now a fine fashionable residence entire throng'd with quite the best society, and I can hardly even believe it that same place where I was menac'd by that creeping madman. The chamber in which I was so terroriz'd by that horrid apparition is now a fine musick room in which Mrs O- B- goes delight an audience with her song.

I go in very quiet and sit down to listen for a little while, and find myself next to Sebastian K-. We nod very civil to one another in silence so as not to distract the other listeners.

After Mrs O- B- goes sit down to considerable applause, I stand and leave the room, for tho' tis most agreeable to listen to good singing, I must go improve the shining hour, whilst I also demonstrate that I may still dance a very great deal without I go swoon.

I should perchance have preferr'd not to dance with Mr O- B- so early in the proceedings, for tho' a most amiable fellow is a quite wretch'd dancer that treads upon my feet, but I must show civil. Is most effusive as to what a fine residence this is, how very pleasant Lord A- shows - has took him a time or two to play goff at Blackheath ('tis indeed a great mark of favour); entirely doats upon Charley, and comes about to an apprehension of the duties of his rank.

Why, says I, that is entire pleasing. Was ever an agreeable young fellow but somewhat of a careless fribble.

Goes very meritorious to take up the business of his estates, goes on Mr B-. And is a fellow will listen to advice.

The dance ends and I endeavour not to hobble as I quit the floor. I stand wriggling my toes to ascertain they are not broken.

Comes over Lord O-, that has been dancing with Cousin Lalage – 'tis in exceeding good ton of him – and asks me to dance. I concede with pleasure.

He says, he is entire glad that Lady B- is return’d to Town, along with Mr MacD- - he gives a certain smile by which I confide he supposes that we have been about matters for The Cause; 'tis indeed not entirely mistook – for he comes about to have the manuscript for the book of his travels complet’d, and would scarce dare venture it upon the world without he took it before our judgements.

O, poo, says I, I am like to suppose 'tis quite entire its own recommendation: Mr L- was most entire prepossesst by the preliminary essays he publisht – declar’d they had a fine virile style -

The Marquess’s lips twitch and he says, sure he cannot have suppos’d how much assistance I had from a certain lady of the pen -

Tush, says I, 'tis entire like unto advizing concerning furbishing up a residence: a gentleman’s study and a lady’s boudoir will require a different approach. But, I go on, I see that you have quite another kind of production in progress –

He looks somewhat more sober and says, sure the prospect is exceeding delightfull, but one cannot entire be unfearfull, 'tis a perilous matter for women.

'Tis indeed so, says I, I hope you have her in good hands?

He says that he understands Mr H- to be very well-thought-of in the man-midwife line.

Entirely, says I, tho’ did you prefer a midwife of the more usual sex there is one whose interest I might advance to you.

He looks thoughtfull and says, he will ask his dear Hippolyta what she might prefer.

At the end of the measure I observe Lieutenant H- approaching. He makes me a leg and offers that I might care to dance? As he leads me onto the floor I remark that I had not expect’d to see him still in Town rather than return’d to his ship. He sighs somewhat and says, is at present second’d to duty at the Admiralty, sure had rather be at sea, hears I was lately at Naples, was the fleet there?

O, says I, arriv’d just about as I was about returning to Town, heard the Admiral’s excellent news.

He says somewhat of what a fine fellow is the Admiral, what a privilege 'tis to serve with him, and then his gaze strays to where Em is dancing with some fellow that I do not immediate recognize, and I confide that there are certain attractions ashore, even does he yearn for salt water.

At the end of the dance he goes with great expedition solicit Em, and I look about me and see where Viola is sitting. I go greet her and she says, she confides I have not yet been introduc’d to Rebecca G-, that is dear Jacob’s niece, and Julia P-, from Bombay.

They are indeed very fine-looking young women, of a most out of the common exotick style of beauty, that make exceeding civil. Miss P- in particular has a fine ivory-tint’d complexion and smooth raven hair and finely-cut features; perchance there is a little look of the Orient, that may be attribut’d to her upbringing in Bombay. I am like to think that Sir Z- R- would be quite wild to paint her, and remark on this.

Why, says Viola, perchance we might go to his studio one day, there can be entirely no objection to the matter.

Then come up the gentlemen to whom the young ladies have promis’d the next dance. I sit down beside Viola, ignoring that Sir V- P- endeavours catch my eye to come solicit me.

I mind, says I, that Martha found the scent of paints &C somewhat unsettling when she first went increase with Deborah.

Viola sighs and says, indeed she at present finds there are certain scents do cause a certain qualmishness, 'tis somewhat tiresome. Might you, dear C-, be kind enough to take 'em there? Are they not quite among the belles of the Season?

Entirely, says I, do they yet have any eligible offers?

O, there are several go pay 'em most particular attention, but do not yet come to that point. But 'twixt their looks, their portions, and their very excellent address, I cannot think they will linger upon hand very long. And, she goes on, Miss C- I think has already took, Lord V- shows exceeding smitten.

So 'tis give out, says I. What about Lady Rosamund?

Viola sighs and says, she was anticipating a young woman that would display theologickal objections like unto her brother; and sure she is mind’d to suppose that that would be a deal less exasperating than the ways she shows. But, she goes on, you should not be sitting out with me, dearest C-, I am sure that there are a deal of fellows quite panting to dance with the exquisite Lady B-.

'Tis possible, I concede, so be I may evade the antient ram. Aha, I continue, I observe Mr Geoffrey M- -

Viola laughs somewhat immoderate and says, do you go have a youthfull cicisbeo like unto Lady Z-? 'Twill be said that you have got quite into Italian habits.

O, poo, says I, he is an agreeable and respectfull young fellow.

Indeed, he comes over and makes an elegant leg – one may most certain see the effect of his association with Milord – and offers that I may care to dance?

I rise and curtesy and we go tread a measure, during which he conveys to me some very shocking matters he has lately discover’d in his studies concerning the laws of the nation.

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Comes Sandy one morn to say that The Fearsome Strand, that is my novel of wreckers and sea-monsters, does extreme well, and the publishers are exceeding anxious for anything else I might give 'em.

I sigh and say, 'tis gratifying, but has he had a chance to look over the plays I gave him?

Indeed, says he, as Celeste comes with coffee and shortbreads, and has already been see Mr J- with 'em. Likes 'em exceedingly – in particular the comedy, for hints most alluring at certain late scandals, without it could be suppos’d to refer to specifick persons. Also, there is Miss T-, that undertook Miss R-'s parts while she was unable to be about the business, comes on very promising, and with three fine parts for actresses, there will be no brangling amongst 'em.

I am pleas’d to hear it, says I, but I doubt not that Mr J- has suggestions for telling business that might be includ’d.

Why, says Sandy, taking a shortbread, I have a few notes to the purpose. But I think he may be dissuad’d from including a volcanick eruption in The Antiquarian’s Daughter.

La, says I, I may suppose he has late took on some fellow that manufactures spectacles -

Sandy remarks that he fears 'tis so, for Mr J- put out some feelers as to whether the esteem’d dramatist thought of turning The Fearsome Strand into a play?

I shudder and say, why, had consider’d upon it, but should shrink from matters of vulgar spectacle.

Sandy laughs and says, sure you are in accord with Mr P- for once, for he deplores that practice, as too oft employ’d to distract from the poorness of the play itself. And I myself am in some doubts as to whether brings about anything of enduring value to the drama.

We look at one another very amicable.

But, says Sandy, dear sibyl, you look a little troubl’d.

O, says I, 'tis entire foolish qualmishness about this dinner-party I go give, Lord and Lady T- and their gloomy son, and Sir B- and Susannah, with their house-guests.

Sandy winces and says, including Mrs D- K-, I apprehend. Sure will not be the jollyest of gatherings, but I daresay you have some strategy upon hand?

Why, says I, I am not sure I entirely have a strategy upon hand, but there are matters I hope observe; and sigh. Sure, says I, I can think of more congenial gatherings.

Come, dear C-, consider your soirées, that have brought together in harmony a deal of assort’d society.

La, says I, I would not answer for what might happen did Mr P- ever discover that Deacon Brodie was of the company.

Sandy laughs quite immoderate and says, naming of seconds, for a dawn meeting for the exchange of critickal opinions, at ten paces.

I am brought to laughter myself. My dear, says I, I am delight’d to see you in such restor’d spirits.

Why should not my spirits be lighten’d at receiving such kindness as I do not deserve? Has he not quite the noblest of hearts?

I look at him very fondly and say, harmony entire restor’d, then?

Sandy looks thoughtfull and says, somehow seems that the painfull breach has come to bring about a better understanding.

Long may it endure, says I.

But, dearest C-, I must be about my business: you may laugh when I tell you, Lord A- is mind’d to employ a secretary that may advize him upon such politickal matters as he is call’d upon to deal with in the Lords –

What? I cry.

- 'tis the influence of Mr O- B-, that he finds himself on excellent terms with, has contriv’d to bring him about to think upon his responsibilities and the condition of the nation &C.

I laugh a little, 'tis such a very unexpect’d conjunction of the fribble and the cotton manufacturer: but indeed I am pleas’d to hear it.

- so I go about certain of my acquaintance that might suit.

Why, I would not hinder you in such a task. Kindly leave Mr J-'s notes with me and I will address myself to the matter, ‘twill distract my mind from fretting.

But, alas, when I have done that, and set certain suggestions aside so I may think 'em over further, I am return’d to the frets, so I determine go take a little ride on Jezebel.

When I come to the stableyard I find Nick, Nell, and Sal, that is her sister that tends the mews cottage, that huddle together and I daresay are in concern over the matter of the sale of the livery-stable. They jump apart and Nell and Sal scurry off about their proper business. Nick goes fetch out Jezebel, that Ajax has been saddling &C.

'Tis another matter for me to go fret over as I ride.

But comes at last the time when my guests arrive, and sure 'tis ever pleasing to see Sir B- W- and dear Susannah, and Captain C- looks as tho’ having made his decision to sell out takes a deal of weight from his mind, and Mrs D- K- is looking in good taste. And Lord T- is ever amiable, and Lady T- makes exceeding civil to me, even if Lord K- is the same sad dull fellow, his eyes ever straying towards Mrs D- K-.

Timothy comes with some excellent fine wine - has acquir’d a deal of polish in the matter, I confide he took some lessoning at R- House in such duties – that most fortunate I had already in my cellar, for have been so busy since my return have had no opportunity to convoke with Mr H- concerning his friends of the Trade.

We exchange a little civil conversation – Lady T- wishes to know is there any lace made about Naples, for 'twas once most exceeding not’d for that art. Alas, says I, has declin’d from those days, there is indeed lace hawkt about but 'tis somewhat coarse. However, I go on, the Contessa di S- has some very fine antique lace that has been in her family this long while.

Susannah says, she is ever in the greatest admiration for Lady T-'s skill with the bobbins and the fine lace she makes. Alas, she goes on with a flourish of her lorgnette, I fancy I am too near-sight’d to be able to undertake anything of the like, even did my fingers have the skill.

Lady T- smiles a little and I see this prepossesses her with dear Susannah, that she has been like to suppose a sad bluestocking that rules her husband.

In due course comes Hector to inform us that dinner is serv’d, and we go into the new part of my house and my fine dining-room, and I look about it very pleas’d, for the furniture is all well-polisht and the table laid with my good china and my very fine wine-glasses, and there are candelabra with fine candles burning, and two epergnes that hold pickles and relishes and are deckt with flowers that were especial sent over from R- House.

'Twas no difficult matter to think who should take who in to dinner: Sir B- W- takes Lady T-, Lord K- takes Susannah, Captain C- arms in Mrs D- K-, and I, of course, am took in by Lord T-.

And Hector and Timothy come around laying the dishes that have come fresh and hot by means of that very excellent device from the kitchen beneath, and go round with wine, and I observe Lady T- look most approving at my dinner service. Euphemia has done most exceeding well and all except Lord K-, that looks sorrowfull at Mrs D- K-, look upon the first course with great pleasure.

I hear Sir B- W- offer to carve Lady T- some of this excellent beef, or perchance she would prefer duck, and here are some little new peas, and I see that she becomes amiable towards him. Susannah goes endeavour make conversation with Lord K-, that picks at his food as if fears might be poison’d.

Lord T- says 'tis pleasing to see me return’d to Town in such health, and hopes that the matters of my property at Naples are entire settl’d? – indeed, says I – and hopes they may see me at C- Castle this summer. We discourse a little of mutual acquaintance, and he remarks that Mr C- answers most excellent as secretary.

There is a pleasing little buzz of conversation tho’ one must observe that Lord K- does not say much.

At the remove and the bringing of the second course – Euphemia has contriv’d to obtain a very fine fresh salmon upon which all exclaim, and there is also the excellent early sparrowgrass – Lord K- is at last at liberty to speak to Mrs D- K-, that he does in somewhat of an undertone, waving away the while the offer of the very fine rice pillow with almonds and raisins. (Sir B- W- looks at me, and says, all the more for the rest of us.)

Lady T- goes converse with Captain C-, and very soon they determine upon some family connexion by way of Mrs Robert G-, and she displays a markt increase in civility towards him, and shortly he is telling her about his adventures at the Cape with his regiment, and later in Nova Scotia, and I see her eyes go to Lord K-, that leads such a dull life going about quacking himself for imaginary ailments, and I daresay she makes odorous caparisons.

The ice-pudding is most well-receiv’d, except by Lord K-, that says somewhat about the unwholesomeness of such things. He also eschews the very good cheese, that has been sent by Martha from the dairy on the Admiral’s estate.

At the proper moment I rise to withdraw the ladies to my parlour, so that Hector may bring out the port and brandy and cigars for the gentlemen.

There is tea and ratafia ready for us, along with some little macaroons, and we talk of various matters – what a shame 'twas I misst the M- House ball, 'twas an excellent occasion, but doubtless I saw a deal of society at Naples – until the gentlemen come in, that is not a long while at all.

Lord T-, Sir B- W- and Captain C- are conversing very amiable about Nova Scotia, but Lord K- has somewhat of a sulky look and goes with somewhat uncivil expedition to Mrs D- K-'s side.

I do not think he would drag her from her bed to kick her, but sure I am in some concern about how he would show as a husband.

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Sure there are a deal of matters I feel I must be about, having neglect’d 'em for so long. 'Tis a puzzle which of 'em I should be about first, yet there are some things may not be contriv’d entire immediate.

Altho’ Dorcas reports that matters go on well with Dolly Mutton’s establishment, and my darlings have ensur’d that there is no worry about funds I greatly desire go see Dolly and find out how she does and that all is well.

So I desire Docket to array me in such fashion as I may be taken for an Evangelickal lady that goes about Covent Garden in hope of saving souls, and have Ajax drop me from the carriage several streets distant, and walk to Dolly Mutton’s.

The coffee-house is doing fine business, with some several women about the place taking coffee and in some cases breakfast, and all look down at their plates or into their cups in order not to meet my eye for fear I will go about to start saving 'em. But Pussy comes out from behind the counter and comes make exceeding civil to be pickt up and made much of, and I observe they all relax a little at this sign of favour, for Pussy is a cat of very great discrimination that will not make pleasant to just any that comes into the place. So I stroke her in the fashion she likes and she purrs, and I ask has she been a naughty wanton puss lately, and tell her how her offspring do (sure Dandy and Pounce have only just ceas’d to give me the cut for abandoning 'em to the cruelty of the household for so long; 'tis a slander entire bely’d by how plump and sleek they are).

And as I go make amiable to Pussy, comes out Dolly Mutton with plates of ham and eggs for her customers. She gives me a broad smile and says that she is entire glad to see I am return’d from foreign parts - I daresay the patrons of the coffee-house take this as an allusion to missionary endeavours amongst the heathen - and I am welcome to go step into her parlour.

So I do so and a few moments late she comes in and says 'tis exceeding pleasant to see me in such fine health, for there was a deal of gossip and rumours that I had gone to Naples to dye. La, says I, I suppose I might have done had Vesuvius took a notion to erupt, but indeed 'twas entire sanitive.

She pours me out some coffee and says, she was like to think from what Matt told her that I was not in ill-health, but somewhat shaken in the spirits by some coarse fellow that try’d dig up scandal.

Indeed, says I, 'twas a very nasty business, but I am recover’d now and am able to bring you some funds and am in hopes of more, and I hope all goes well here?

Excellent fine, she says, they are quite full up except for the two little chambers she keeps for emergencies. And tho’ 'tis early yet, she goes consider over taking 'em to some seaside place in the summer, for they are a sufficient number that one would need be beforehand over reserving lodgings, even do they not go to any fashionable resort. And she hopes persuade Molly Binns to come with 'em, for 'tis not as tho’ there will be a great deal of business in hats at that time o’year.

She does well in the matter of hats, then?

Very well indeed, and there was one provid’d her with the means to rent a little shop, answers exceedingly – sure 'twas a good day for her when that dreadfull fellow Perkins gave her the go-by, even did she not think so when he did. And comes join Mrs Dorcas’s congregation and will sing hymns very lustyly.

Why, says I, I am very glad to hear it. And you are well?

She declares that praise God, she still has her health, and then asks how Josh does.

We part in excellent good feeling and satisfaction at the way the endeavour goes.

'Tis perchance a little less agreeable to go hold a drawing-room meeting for the fine work Abby and her husband and Ellie N- are about among the unfortunate convicts in New South Wales, for I daresay that a deal of ladies will come in order to scrutinize Lady B- very close to see whether rumour tells true. But does this work to the benefit of the undertaking, I will concede to be scrutiniz’d.

A deal of good things have been sent to be raffl’d, and I myself have give some pretty lava trinkets from Naples. Meg will play upon the piano, Mrs O- B- with Cissie and Dodo will sing - Charley, that is now Lady A-, I hear already goes about to provide the O- B-s with a grandchild so at present only performs a little at home at B- House. I shall read some suitable extracts from Abby’s latest letters, and Mrs Atkins at O- House has sent me copies of some very telling matter writ from her husband by Ellie N-'s hand, and I am in anticipation that I shall make a tidy sum for the convicts.

There is also an excellent fine spread of sandwiches, savoury patties, cakes and tarts prepar’d by Euphemia, or more like by Celeste under Euphemia’s orders.

I go fidget about the reception room, rearranging the articles for raffle, &C, until Hector shows in my dearest wild girl Eliza with Bess and Meg, follow’d by Mrs O- B- with Cissie and Dodo. She looks at me and says, she hears 'twas in fact some little matter of business to do with my properties at Naples?

La, says I, sometimes naught will avail but to go out there and see what’s ado and deal with it in person: sure I was a little troubl’d at the matter, for 'tis a terrible place for bribery and corruption, but there is a very good notaio - that is, a man of law – understands the intricacies of the legalities of the business, that serv’d the late Marquess.

Cissie says, are there not banditti? they lately read a most thrilling novel –

I laugh gently and say, sure I think some of the lawyers in the place are worse than banditti, but we rout’d 'em. I add that 'twas a great advantage to have the counsel of the Contessa, and of course she is of great renown in those parts, weigh’d the scales in our favour.

Mrs O- B- nods and says, must make a difference, and goes on to tell me about some matter of business Mr O- B- was oblig’d to undertake abroad.

I am quite astonisht to see that Lady J- has come with Viola, attend’d by Lady D-, that indeed merits the description of pretty little dumpling, and I most immediate go desire her to be seat’d. She smiles and says, she hears I left her dear spouse entirely in health?

Quite entirely, says I.

She smiles and looks down at her belly, that shows the results of their conjugal endeavours.

And I daresay, says I to Viola, that you too should sit down? She smiles and says, apart from a little queasyness of the morn, is as well as ever was at present.

I then turn to Lady D-, and say I am delight’d to see her in such good health, and how is little Arthur? – o, she says, a bouncing fellow that can almost stand now – and Lord D-? - Excellent well, she says – and Lady Rosamund? – very well, she says, but I think she does not find her sister-in-law congenial. I also ask have they lately heard from her sister, and am oblig’d to listen to a deal about their travels.

A little flurry of company arrives, including Mrs D- that is the mother of Danvers D-, Lady G- with her goddaughter the Honble Frances C-, Mrs L- J-, Mrs P- and Miss W-, Mrs V-, Lady Z-, Susannah, and a deal of other ladies. All are making their greetings to one another and finding seats as comes in the party from O- House, Nan, Em and little Lou, along with a lady I do not know.

I go over and desire Nan to be seat’d at once – she smiles and says, sure she finds she needs a deal of rest - and Em goes introduce me to Hester’s Cousin Lalage, that is not the drab spinster I had anticipat’d. I doubt that she can yet have quite attain’d the age of thirty, altho’ dresses like one that has put on her cap and retir’d from thoughts of courtship. But I am prepossesst by her dress, that is by no means so provincial as I would have suppos’d, tho’ 'tis in subdu’d colours and might be took for half-mourning. Also has very fine eyes. She declares that this is an entire treat, what a fine house, and she hears we are to hear some excellent musick.

Lou has rusht over to go sit with Bess and Dodo, but I go settle the other ladies of the party, ask Nan should she desire a footstool, &C.

I am just looking about the room and determining that all must be arriv’d by now and 'tis nigh upon time to commence the proceedings, when the door opens and Lady I- is shown in.

Sure, I sent her a card in order to show civil, as I heard that they were in Town, but did not at all expect that she would come. I go over to greet her, and she says, has brought a bundle of baby-clothes for the raffle, 'tis shamefull little but ‘twas all she had at hand.

I go show her to a chair, and hand the bundle to Bess, desiring her to make out a ticket for it, and go stand at the front of the room to say why we are here and what an excellent good cause we provide for. I say somewhat of the entertainment, and the fine things that have been give for the raffle, and then look over to Meg, that goes seat herself at the pianoforte, with Dodo to turn her musick for her.

And sure, I think it goes.

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'Twas somewhat of a vain hope to suppose that a little more calm would reign in the household after the theatre excursion had took place. For Polly and Nell have fallen quite in love with Mr J- and will ever be chattering about him, plotting upon further excursions to the theatre &C. But aside from that, no sooner is this much anticipat’d treat over, than the nuptials of Tibby and Titus are upon us. Sure indeed I am not mistress in my own household, for 'twill be entire impossible to undertake anything in the way of a drawing-room meeting until the matter is over.

Dear Viola comes call one morn, and I go show off my fine library to her, at which she declares herself exceeding impresst. Why, she cries, do I not observe the plays of Wycherley, that I had some desire to look into a while ago? and goes take the volume from the shelf.

O, she says, 'tis from the M- library –

I say, very demure, that she will mind that the Old Duke waxt exceeding generous over my not making a fuss when he dispatcht his heir to serve his country in the Diplomatick at Constantinople, and was kind enough to present me with that volume. (I do not go recount how I would read certain scenes to him in bed.)

But, she says, putting the volume by with a longing glance, I did not come here to discourse of the drama of earlyer times – perchance upon some other occasion – 'tis this matter of Tibby’s marriage. Should wish to demonstrate the great esteem in which we hold her, but should not like to cause awkwardness among the gather’d company that come celebrate the couple, and create a constraint.

I go think upon this and say, 'twould look exceeding well did you attend the ceremony, and might hinder the officiating parson from rattling off the service entire by rote as they are wont to do. And then, did you come to the breakfast just long enough to drink a health to the couple, 'twould be a mark of civility.

She smiles and says, she confid’d that dear C- would know what would be in good ton. And perchance send some wine from the M- House cellars?

Entire well, says I. And you find Jennie answers?

O, excellent well! Of course, I shall always be quite especial fond of Tibby and is there any service we may do her or Titus will be extreme happy to do it.

I say 'tis entire understandable, and ask how the rest of her family do.

Why, she says, Biffle is exceeding well, and goes about very busy at this time of year. Essie is learning his letters and numbers alongside Julius at R- House, what an excellent thing it is, what a fine governess is Mrs L-. Cathy is a fine bouncing girl, has made her curtesy in the R- House nursery set. Lady J- minds that she should rest and the auguries are promising, and – she casts down her eyes with a little smile – I am myself in some hopes that –

My dear Viola, says I, that is delightfull to hear. And how does Martha?

Why, a deal better than we fear’d, keeps in good health and of course Jacob is very carefull to ensure she does not overdo. And Sebastian will shortly be going to the Baltic.

Why, says I, I am pleas’d to hear that you all thrive. I saw a little of the Admiral in Naples, and he was in fine spirits.

The dear good fellow, says Viola. O, and while we are in convockation, what is this new freak of Lady Emily’s to go keep house for her brothers? Sure shows a pretty familial spirit, but 'tis somewhat of a new departure.

La, says I, do they not all go become a deal steadyer lately? She sees her elder sister take up her duties as Lady O-, and Lady Louisa attending to her lessons –

Hmm, says Viola, I fear she goes seek distraction from having her feelings wound’d by that minx Lady Rosamund. I daresay, she goes on, there are those consider that an Earl’s daughter must be in exceeding good ton by nature, but I confide that in any of lesser rank her conduct would be deem’d vulgarity. When I think that I was bother’d as to whether Rebecca G- or Julia P- would be up to the mark! – excellent well-conduct’d creatures.

Tho’, she goes on, perchance with Lady Emily 'tis a stratagem so that she may defer the prospect of marriage under guise of family duty. For indeed I do not see her incline to any suitor at present and sure, a young lady should not be oblig’d to marry just so that she may say she was askt and so that people will not go about saying she hangs upon the family’s hands.

For, she goes on, I have been most exceeding fortunate in my matrimonial venture, and when I think what a very foolish young creature I was when first introduc’d into Society, and what irreparable errours I might have made – is’t not quite widely deplor’d that the present Marquess of B-'s wife may not obtain release from a lunatick that endeavour’d commit bigamy and try’d murder her? – sure I thank heaven fasting.

I smile at her. Why, says I, I think the good fortune goes both ways.

She blushes. But, she says, dear C-, I am sure you have a deal of matters upon hand – and have you had opportunity to write any tales? Martha was asking only lately whether there was anything new from your pen.

Indeed, says I, have been about fair-copying for the printer, and meditate upon a new novel. Perchance I may beg opportunity to come look in the M- House Library, for was not one of the former Dukes very not’d for his studies in history?

She declares that I should be entire welcome, and we part with great affection and good feeling.

But indeed, I cannot go about this matter until the wedding be done, for I am not in that calm that favours study tho’ I find myself able to go about fair-copying.

But comes around the day, when Sophy brings my chocolate along with exhortations not to rise just yet, for Celeste will bring me a nice little breakfast upon a tray so I may take it peacefull in bed. I confide that this is entirely to keep me from underfoot, and so that Docket and Sophy may go array Tibby along with Prue and Celeste, that will attend her to the altar, afore they come dress me.

And when I come to be dresst, that is in a fashion that will display my consequence and be a compliment to the couple, without I distract attention from the bride, Docket says, she confides that I should wear my fine cashmere shawl, for strikes cold in churches when 'tis not a full congregation.

'Tis so, says I, as I rub my face against it and think of dear General Y- that gave it me.

But in due course I set off for the church, and smile a little as I wonder has any gone convey advice upon the wedding night to Tibby or Titus, that I confide are no novices in the business of conjugal embraces. Euphemia I daresay is well-appriz’d of how matters stand but I am not so certain about Hector.

Come we to the church, and outside is one of the M- House carriages, that Viola has plac’d at Tibby’s disposal for the occasion.

And I go into the church, and go sit beside Viola, and look about me. Jennie sits with Docket and Sophy and Euphemia has conced’d leave the kitchen under Seraphine’s hand so she may come see Tibby wed, and there are some of Tibby’s family, tho’ will be more at the breakfast. Titus stands flankt by Hector, that is his best man, looking far more nervous than I have ever observ’d him about performing.

There is a little pause, and then comes Tibby, that might be the Queen of Sheba in her progress.

And observing that there are persons of quality in the assembl’d congregation, the parson goes perform the service in a fine reverent fashion, 'tis very pleasing.

Tho’ I am brought to muse upon the fine mutual aid and comfort that may be found between those that have not been to church and had the words said over 'em, and, indeed, may not go to church and take those vows however much they might desire to. And that there are those that have made those vows for better or for worse &C and do not adhere to 'em, or only very grudging (I consider upon poor Hester’s fate marry’d to Lord N-). And that altho’ the husband declares with all my worldly goods I thee endow, unless a lady has very prudent advizers and lawyers, he may go make free with her worldly goods and leave her entire destitute (like that scoundrel Mr O’C-).

But sure I have no doubts about the sincerity with which Titus and Tibby take the vows: and, I think no harm and a deal of benefit that they have already try’d their affection and do not rush into marriage pell-mell in order to gratify passing lust. Indeed, was I to celebrate marriages in the name of Aphrodite, I would make this a condition.

I smile a little to myself at what a foolish C- am I. For 'twould preclude such a marriage as I had with the late dear Marquess: tho’, thinks I, under the rites of Aphrodite there would be no need for such prudential unions, for all might wed where they lov’d.

I may put a deal of horrid matter in my tales but I confide did I indite any concerning such a happy state 'twould be deem’d entire shocking and immoral and very like burnt by the common hangman. I sigh.

Viola takes and squeezes my hand: I daresay she supposes that I fall into melancholy thoughts of my late husband.

After the ceremony is conclud’d and Titus and Tibby are now one flesh, we proceed back to my house where a merry crowd has already assembl’d to greet the couple.

Viola makes a very pretty speech and drinks to the happy couple, and then departs, not, I am like to think, without a little regret.

There is great conviviality, some fine singing from Mr G- D- and Miss McK-, excellent fine food and wine, and at length Tibby and Titus leave for a brief wedding jaunt to Brighton.

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One morn I go to the stables to give my lovely Jezzie-girl an apple or two, and pat her upon the nose and say, alas, there will be no riding today for I have some several calls to make among the philanthropick set, and then go take tea at N- House. Sure I know not what that will be like in what they call their bachelor establishment.

And as Jezzie and I make amiable to one another, I see from the corner of my eye Ajax, with such an aspect that I confide he desires a word with me, so I pat my lovely mare upon the neck and turn to say, how now, Ajax, was there some matter you wisht open to me?

He indicates that 'tis indeed so, looks about to ensure that Nick is not by – I daresay he goes in take his elevens – and beckons me into an empty stall.

He says that I will mind that Sam Jupp came t’other morn to hold converse with him – I nod – and what is afoot is that the owner of the livery stables takes a mind to sell up and go live as a gentleman in the country.

O, says I, and thus the Jupps will find their occupation gone, and indeed also their home?

Ajax shrugs and says, 'tis like he will try sell it as a going concern - for 'tis an exceeding prime location for a livery-stable – but even that may bring down trouble – would a new owner want to keep on the fellows that are already there, might he have other plans for the accommodation – they are all in a great fret about the matter, just as they were getting back upon their feet, with Mr Jupp recover’d, several of the children now out in good service –

Let me consider upon the matter, says I. I suppose, even had they had some money put by, 'twould not have been enough to buy the place themselves.

I walk away, thinking. Sure I daresay I might go find places as grooms for Mr Jupp and Sam among those with whom I have interest, but 'twould still likely mean breaking up the family.

'Tis a conundrum.

And sure I find other conundrums when I go make my calls among the philanthropick set where a deal of matters gang aft aglay and I am oblig’d to make many notes in my little memorandum book. But, 'tis very agreeable when people will go say that there is none can hold a drawing-room meeting to match Lady B-'s: sure I am a vain creature. Matters go less awry than I fear’d with the optickal dispensaries, for I confide they have been got into good practices: but, even so, there are a few brangles that I must go soothe.

But at length I am done with 'em for the time being, and may instruct Ajax to go convey me to N- House.

The footman at the door is brisk enough in answering and showing me in but as I look about the hall as I enter I observe those signs of a household that has no lady keep her hand upon it. I frown a little at this, for I confide that the housekeeper is still the same, and before, tho’ ‘twas a gloomy place, did not show such signs of neglect.

I am shown into a drawing-room in which sits Lady Emily along with her brothers, that all rise to make me a leg upon my entrance.

La, says I, let us not stand upon ceremony.

Em minds that she should ring for tea and does so. This comes fairly expeditious in a good, tho’ not ostentatious, tea-service, and is a good fresh hot brew.

Mr Geoffrey M- takes a sip and looks up from his cup and says, 'tis not the tea we are accustom’d to be serv’d.

Em says, she doubts not 'tis the best company tea in honour of Lady B-.

Lord U- sighs and says that sure they do not need to make such a difference, but he dares say that the household has got into that miserly habit. But they should not be discoursing of domestick troubles before Lady B-.

Sure, says I, why should you not? For I am in considerable supposition that well-run domestick matters are the basis of a comfortable household, and even do you go furbish up the place so that 'tis brighter and less gloomy, 'twill still be somewhat uneasy do you not have those under hand.

They all sigh, and Lord U- says that they would not oblige Mama to return to this house, that she takes in considerable dislike, even was she not so well-suit’d at O- House.

I see Em frown a little. Mayhap – she begins – o, very like 'tis an entire foolish notion – but sure I have seen how Nan has been oblig’d take up the domestick affairs at O- House and D- Chase, and lamenting that she did not give enough mind to studying upon the matter afore she was wed, and saying that she does not how she might contrive was it not for that pearl amongst housekeepers, Mrs Atkins. And, she goes on with a great sigh, I daresay that one of these days I shall have an establishment of my own to manage, tho’ sure I hope 'tis later rather than sooner. So, might I not move back here, and undertake the matter?

Mr Edward M- bursts into a laugh and says, you would go practise upon your brothers, is that it? For cannot matter does any ill come to 'em from domestick mismanagement -

Lord U- gestures to him and he is silent. Why, Em, he says, 'tis a most generous offer, for I fear 'twould be a tedious thankless business. But indeed I think we might be more comfortable here.

She looks at me and say, O, Lady B-, do you think it might answer?

(Had I not had precisely this thought in my own mind?)

Why, says I, 'tis a likely plan. Perchance you might go lesson yourself a little with some lady that is us’d to the management of an establishment of this size.

I see them all considering over this proposal and then Mr Edward frowns and says, but should Em not have some chaperone?

Em groans loudly and says, what, have some fusty about the place? 'twould be an entire bore.

No, says Lord U-, Eddy has the right of it, you are a young unmarry’d lady, and moreover, we are oblig’d to conduct ourselves most particular proper -

Indeed, says Mr Geoffrey, when I think of the jests we are oblig’d to smile at concerning snakes.

They all sigh.

And then Mr Edward says, but what about Mama’s Cousin Lalage?

They look about one another.

Why, says Em, one could have no objection to Cousin Lalage, tho’ indeed, have not seen her for a very great while. But – o, sure I let family gossip pass over my head – was she not affianc’d to some clergyman?

Really, Em, says Mr Geoffrey, do you not recall the tragick story? The fellow went visit some college friend of his that had gone into the mission field, for he had some notion to that line himself, contract’d a fever out there in the South Seas, and dy’d.

O, cries Em, now I mind me of the tale. And she has had no other offers?

Living as quiet as she does in her papa’s vicarage? says Lord U-. Besides, 'tis give out that her heart is in the grave.

Em turns to me and says, Oh, Lady B-, do you think that might answer? She must be thirty at least, a vicar’s daughter, I daresay she has some knowledge of housekeeping –

Hmm, says I, might your dear mama invite her for a visit to O- House, so that you could look her over then and see if 'twould answer? But, says I, that is in longer prospect – why do you not take me around the house a little so that I might advize upon how it might be furbisht up somewhat more chearfull?

So we do so, and sure I feel does the Earl not go cast a general pall of gloom over the place, may be brought to some very pleasing effects. Will require, I point out, some disbursement of funds; and Lord U- says that he has been in consultation with their men of business, and he confides that they will not come to penury do they so.

I make a deal of little notes in my memorandum book and say, I will write these up fair for 'em.

They say they go dine at O- House, entire informal, just family, will I not join 'em?

Alas, says I, am not free to take up this exceeding kind invitation: perchance upon some other occasion.

Mr Geoffrey remarks that he dares say that now Lady B- is return’d to Town she has a deal of invitations.

'Tis so, says I.

Tho’ 'tis not that I am bidden about in Society: ‘tis that my darlings come visit me for a nice little supper together and triangular matters.

So I return home, and go change my gown, and then go sit in my library a little while inditing my thoughts upon how N- House might be quite vastly improv’d, and when I have done that, spend a little time about arranging my books, and mind that there are some volumes that I must return to Lord O-, and also that I must find out somewhat concerning the history of Sicily in the Middle Ages, without I go enquire of Mr N-.

'Tis most exceeding agreeable, but even more agreeable is to return to my pretty parlour as the time draws near, and take a quick look at the miniatures of my sweet Flora, and 'tis not long at all afore Hector shows in my best belov’ds and we go embrace one another very close.

And they remark that sure, they have not yet seen over all these fine improvements I have made; so I take them into the newer part of the house and show off my dining-room and my fine library, and sure there are a deal of kisses exchang’d and my dear wild girl shows some disposition to becoming saucy.

So I say that I confide we should go meditate a little upon triangles and I daresay 'twill give us a fine appetite for supper. And 'tis conced’d a most excellent plan and we go be about it.

O, 'tis a most happy thing to be thus remet with my darlings.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

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.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

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.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)

'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.)

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I am one forenoon in my parlour at my pretty desk about going over my accounts, and finding all in very agreeable state, when Hector comes say Miss A- is at the door, am I at home to her?

Why, indeed, says I, show her in and do you desire coffee and any little cakes or such Euphemia may have about her.

How now, dear rogue, says I, going across the room to kiss Miss A-, do you come solicit my interest in that matter of plays? Sure I have an intention to be about it – have made a note in my little memorandum book – but indeed there are a deal of matters come pouring in upon me now word is gone about that I am in Town once more.

Miss A- laughs as I wave her into a chair, and says, indeed she would be glad to hear any good news concerning plays, for Mr P- continues pester 'em, but that was not why she came the morn.

Comes Celeste with coffee and the little fruit buns that Miss A- likes particularly. Miss A- says that does any in the household desire passes for the play she would be entire delight’d to provide 'em. Celeste bobs and says, O, Miss A-, I confide that Nell and Polly have never been to the play –

I say with some caution that they should go with some sober older person, do they so –

Why, says Miss A-, Dorcas is still of your household, is she not? Why do you not make up a little party and I will send passes.

Celeste, exceeding thrill’d at this prospect, bobs again and makes most effusive thanks.

After she has gone to convey this very delightfull intelligence, I pour coffee and desire Miss A- to make herself free of the buns, and say that I hope 'tis no ill matter concerning Lady J-.

Oh no, cries Miss A-, I am quite in wonderment at how well she bears up: for indeed at her age 'tis no light matter to go with child. But keeps in most excellent good humour. She smiles very affectionate.

No, indeed, she goes on, that is not where my worries lye.

She nibbles on a bun, and then says, she continues give a little instruction in dramatick matters to the Earl of N-'s children and their circle, they come along very pleasing. She then sighs and says, she takes some concern over Lady Emily –

Oh, I cry, 'tis not that she falls at your feet –

Not entirely, says Miss A-, looking very sober. But indeed she did come weep in my lap lately, and I am in some trouble what I should say to her. May have been somewhat that happen’d while you were away, but she took the most exceeding fondness towards Lord D-'s sister –

I was there, says I, when they first met.

- ah, says Miss A-, wrinkling up her nose, and I daresay you entirely penetrat’d into Lady Rosamund’s character –

Nasty little b---h, says I.

Entirely, says Miss A-, but Lady Emily was quite besott’d, one could not say anything, but I am like to suppose she has come about to have the veil torn from across her eyes and to see that little hussy in her true colours. But it render’d her exceeding distressfull, and sure I saw that she was troubl’d by somewhat one day when I went for their instruction, and took an opportunity to ask her privyly what was ado –

And then she went sob in your lap?

Precisely, says Miss A-. And I am very like to think that she is of my dear Lady J-'s nature, but has not come to that consciousness of the matter that she came to thro’ her study of the classicks with her uncle.

Indeed, says I, 'tis a thought that has crosst my own mind.

Miss A- sighs and says that she apprehends that 'tis not with Lady Emily as 'twas with Lady J-, that was left an independence by her uncle and thus not oblig’d to concede to any attempts to make some marriage alliance.

I would suppose not: her family lament that she does not show particular favour to any of her suitors, but 'tis entire assum’d that she will marry, and marry to the advantage of her family.

Miss A- sighs. Do you think she will?

Why, says I, does she not fully understand her own nature, and does she find some fellow she does not altogether dislike, she may go marry him – for her family may be fond of her, but I daresay they will be telling her that 'tis a most unusual matter the very great liking there is 'twixt her sister and Lord O-, or the romantick tale of Their Graces of M-. But she will continue falling in love with other ladies, I confide. And sure there are husbands that would not much mind, because 'tis not somewhat that would bring a cuckoo to the nest, and they might have their own diversions, but there are other fellows that go be very jealous and resentfull even of affection shown unto a lapdog.

'Tis so, says Miss A-. Are there not fellows that will marry actresses and then forbid 'em the stage? 'tis a similar matter.

I sigh myself. 'Tis a tangle, I say. But I will go consider over it.

O, cries Miss A-, if any can unknot it 'tis Lady B-!

La, says I, I do not contrive to miracles.

Miss A- laughs somewhat immoderate and says, that is not what reputation gives out.

She rises to her feet and says that she must be along to the theatre.

We kiss very affectionate and she departs.

I go throw myself into a chair to ponder this conundrum but find no immediate solution. I will go leave it ferment a little.

After I have made some duty calls, I go ride my lovely Jezzie-girl in the Park at the fashionable hour. There is a deal of Society about. I observe that Lord V- goes drive the Honble Frances C- in his phaeton. I also see Mr Geoffrey M- in what I confide is a fine new phaeton: he waves to me with his whip and I ride over to greet him.

La, says I, am surpriz’d to see you here, 'tis give out that you are entire wedd’d to your books –

He blushes a little and says, has been persuad’d that a little healthfull exercize can only be beneficial to studying. And 'tis entire delightfull to see Lady B- return’d to Town in such health.

I say I hear that he and his brothers go live at N- House.

Indeed, he says, but 'tis but a bachelor establishment and they do not entertain - not but what 'tis a sad shabby gloomy place that one would not wish invite any to.

He then is struck with a happy thought and says, U- was saying some months ago, O, could we only get a little advice from Lady B- upon furbishing the house up – his face then falls and he says, sure he dares say 'twould be improper to invite me to come look it over –

Why, says I, did I not do the like for O- House? Took Hector with me for propriety. Or, says I, as a notion begins form in my mind, surely your sisters come visit? Might I not come along some day with Lady Emily, for 'twould be exceeding usefull to her to learn a little of these matters.

Mr M- concedes 'tis an entire bang-up notion and he will open the matter to U- and Eddy as soon as maybe.

He then proceeds to ask would I care for a drive sometime.

Why, says I, I hear you have a very pretty hand with the ribbons and I should be entire delight’d.

He blushes most exceedingly.

'Tis an agreeable encounter.

In the e’en I go to a little family party at R- House, to welcome Mr and Mrs L- home from their wedding journey. I have been in some consideration concerning some suitable present, and have settl’d upon a pretty string of pearls for Mrs L-, that has always greatly admir’d the fine pearls that the Admiral gave me.

All are sitting in the parlour when I arrive, and I observe that Sandy is of the company and thus is no longer in disgrace.

I go congratulate the happy pair, give the gift to the quondam Miss N-, that gasps, O, Lady B-! when she opens the package, say to Mr L- that I have some travel observations that he may like for the paper, and ask how they enjoy’d Lyme Regis. O, quite exceedingly, they say, and expatiate somewhat on their walks along the Cobb, the remarkable fossils for which the place is fam’d &C&C.

Mrs L- desires her husband to help her fasten the pearls about her neck, and he does so with a very doating air.

Eliza says that 'twill be an excellent thing to get back into good schoolroom habits: sure Bess and Meg have shown very well in hearing the younger ones their lessons, but 'tis not the same.

Patty comes take my sweet Flora, that demonstrates some sign of becoming over-excit’d, to bed, and I am desir’d to come be a sleepy wombatt. Sure this has become an occasion upon which my precious jewel recounts me in great detail all that she has lately been about before she may be prevail’d upon to lye down and behave in the fashion proper to sleepy wombatts. But 'tis entire charming.

As I return to the parlour Eliza comes meet me in the corridor. La, Lady B-, she says, have you observ’d how the rain comes down? Sure I think you should stay the night in your fine reserv’d chamber rather than undertake the journey home in these conditions.

I look at my dearest of all wild girls and smile very much. Why, Mrs F-, that is most exceeding thoughtfull of you, and I confide Ajax may find some shakedown in the stables can Seraphine and Roberts not offer him a bed in the gardener’s cottage.

We look at one another with very speaking expressions, and then go behave ourselves most extreme proper in company.

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I mind that dear Hester desir’d some private discourse with me, so one morn I go to O- House and am conduct’d to her private parlour, where she sits alone but for Selina – Miss Millick, I confide, still has schoolroom duties with Lady Louisa.

I go over to kiss her and say how well she looks, for indeed, she looks a deal less drawn than was wont when first I knew her, and quite vastly improv’d in spirits.

O, she says, dear Tony is quite the kindest of sons-in-law – ever thoughtfull, will go ask is there any matter I require – as well as making dear Nan so very happy. Sure I hardly know myself these days.

I ask do they hear from the Earl and she says, there have been a few brief letters, he is very widely receiv’d in Washington, makes a deal of excursions to see gardens and to explore the forests; and desires we will instruct his bankers to remit &C&C. But indeed, I did not hope for a visit from you to talk about him, 'tis some little matters trouble me about the children, and sure you know more of Society than I do.

Comes a footman with coffee, that I confide will be excellent is Arabella still mistress of the kitchen, and a plate of dainty little cakes.

I was in some mind, says I, to ask Euphemia to put up a basket of treats: but I then I bethought me might look as if I had no confidence in Arabella’s capacities.

O, she is an excellent creature! cries Hester, and entire doats upon Selina. But, dear C-, I daresay you will not have heard, being out of Town so long, but I am in very great concern over Eddy.

I put on my listening face and say, sure, I have hear Mr M- entire well spoke off –

O, he is not what they call fast, but there is this matter of Lady Z-, that he is seen so much in company with, and I am in great fear that Sir H- will go call him out, or bring a crim. con. action.

La, says I, sure you have not the least reason to worry that Sir H- will go take some resentment in the matter. Is a fellow very meritorious conscientious about his Parliamentary duties, as well as having a deal of business to be about concerning tin - for is of an antient Cornish family with tin-mining interests. Entirely finds it to answer to have some young fellow squire Lady Z- around somewhat and gain that polish and good ton that may be acquir’d thro’ association with an older lady that knows the usages of Society.

Indeed you relieve my mind! says she with a sigh of relief. Shows a very fine spirit in him.

Indeed it does, says I. But how are the rest of your brood?

O, Nan will go grumble somewhat about the constraints of her condition, but she is very well, none of those signs that would give particular cause for concern. And there is Lou set a most excellent fine example of application by her friends, goes be entire diligent in learning so that she will not appear the dunce of their set. And my only worry over Geoff is that he will overdo in his enthusiasm for this new course, sit up late over his law-books &C: but will also go drive and fence, so I do not suppose he will fall into a decline from too much study.

She then sighs. Did you, she asks, make any acquaintance of Lady Rosamund S- afore you went to Naples?

I say that indeed, was introduc’d to her at Lord P-'s house-party, and encounter’d her again at C-Castle.

Hester sighs again and says, my poor Em took one of her doating fancies to her, has ever been some girl she takes a passion for, but sure, one was hard put to find any merits in this one that might bring it about.

Why, says I, she has somewhat in the way of looks, tho’ considerable temper’d by her disdainfull expressions.

I should not mind, she goes on, was it some mutual girlish enthusiasm such as one sees with Lou and her friends, but seem’d to me that there was an inequality of feeling, and that there was somewhat behind; and we quite soon came to apprehend, all except Em, that she cast her eyes at U-, that would make a most eligible parti for a young lady of her rank.

She looks at me and down at her hands and sighs. I am most exceeding glad that Lord N- is not in the country, for I doubt not he would consider it a prime match and endeavour persuade U- to it –

He does not incline to her? I ask.

Hester snorts and says, can scarcely bear her company. Would show civil, go dance with her, &C, because she is Em’s friend. But now Em comes take against her, that I cannot be sorry at, but that it makes her so distressfull.

I am about to say, 'tis a troublesome time of life, but I mind me that Lady Emily is some years older than Lady Louisa, and might be suppos’d that that particular volatile time 'twixt girlhood and womanhood was past.

I wish, she goes on somewhat fretfull, that Em would go incline towards one or other of her suitors, for there are a deal look upon her with great admiration. Sure I would not go force her to any she lik’d not, but I daresay U- takes the thought that there are alliances that might suit exceedingly.

Why, says I, I mind that during her first few seasons she was greatly constrain’d by her Aunt Laetitia’s notions of correct conduct, and being dresst so out of the style, so I daresay now she goes kick up her heels a little like a filly unbridl’d.

'Tis very like, says Hester, for indeed she chaf’d under Laetitia’s strictures. But, dear C-, I sit here telling over my own troubles, and 'tis give out there was some difficulty over your estate at Naples?

La, says I, 'tis the most entire tedious tale, should not wish to bore anyone with it. 'Tis all entire settl’d now.

We part with great amiability.

I return home, and find that Tibby goes call upon Euphemia, so I desire her to come step to the parlour, so that I may discourse with her upon this matter of marriage.

She comes in and makes her bob and says that she and Titus are ready to be marry’d as soon as maybe, she is in entire confidence that Jennie will prove entire capable of serving Her Grace as lady’s maid, and indeed she would like to be about the matter while Euphemia may still be present, for does she not increase mightyly?

Perchance, says I, 'tis twins; for sure I think it must be a month or two yet afore she may anticipate to lye in. But, says I, do you wish to be expeditious in the matter, might be contriv’d with an ordinary license without the matter of banns.

Tibby says she had some such notion and Titus goes find out about the matter; but, O, Your Ladyship, would it be presuming to ask might we hold the breakfast here?

La, says I, I should be entire insult’d did you desire any other course. Do you go settle when the ceremony may be, and then Euphemia and Seraphine can be about baking a bride-cake and all the other matters of the breakfast.

Tibby is most exceeding mov’d, but I contrive dispatch her to convoke with Euphemia.

I still have a deal of calls 'tis only civil to make, so have Docket dress me suitable for the matter, take up my reticule and card-case, and go about the matter.

Sure 'twould be most incivil to delay any longer in calling upon Lady T-, so I desire Ajax to drive me there first. The footman says he will see whether Her Ladyship be at home, and returns to say, she is at home to you, Lady B-, in the small parlour, by which I apprehend she is not receiving callers more generally.

I am shown into the small parlour, where she is about her lace-making, that she sets aside very carefull before standing up to greet me. She waves me to the chair vis-à-vis herself, and rings for tea.

O, dear Lady B-, I am so glad to see you! And in such excellent health, sure there was a deal of concern expresst for you.

O, poo, says I, I was a little pull’d down; had matters at the late Marquess’s estate that would be the better of my presence; saw the opportunity of traveling with the Contessa rather than having to contrive all myself. I was by no means in a decline.

She says she is pleas’d to hear it, for sure matters in Town would be the better for Lady B-‘s hand upon 'em.

La, says I, I confide you flatter me: but say on.

She opens to me that the matter that most concerns her, as I had anticipat’d, is Lord K-'s suit to Mrs D- K-.

Sure, she says, I think it displays a better ton than I would have expect’d from her not to show too eager in grabbing at such an excellent match, and I am in some consideration that, when I think how dilatory K- has shown over the business of a second marriage, perchance 'twould be gracious to concede to this one if 'tis what he desires. And sure her behaviour is much improv’d.

I have heard it remarkt so, says I.

Also, I have observ’d that minx Lady Rosamund S- goes endeavour establish interest with him: a very ill-conduct’d young woman that her mama should have whippt more often.

She sighs. And sure I think that a determin’d young woman might bring him to an offer, was it not that he takes this yearning for Mrs D- K-.

I wonder is there any lady would entirely suit Lady T- as a bride for Lord K-, but she then goes on to remark on what a very pretty, nice-manner’d young woman is Lady G-'s god-daughter, may not be well-dower’d but of exceeding good family; mayhap not the livelyness of Lady Emily M-, but that might be for the best.

(I mind that I have heard that Lord V- is already making suit to Miss C-.)

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I sleep more soundly for having dispos’d of Mr R- O-'s evidence that he us’d to extort compliance with his intentions. Indeed I am glad 'tis gone, and that, even had he given a hint or so to Lord I-, there will be naught to substantiate the matter. (For indeed there was a copy of the entry in the parish register of my sweet Flora’s baptism, and some scrawl’d calculations of dates.)

I therefore rise with a lighter heart than I have done these many months, and think that I may perchance be about my usual round.

Docket informs me that she has employ’d the interest we have with Biddy Smith to obtain a fitting for me with Maurice this very afternoon, 'tis a most exceeding special favour.

La, Docket, says I, you do not let the grass grow beneath your feet.

She gives me a look and says, have there not been a deal of invitations come already? She and Sophy go furbish up a few gowns so that I will not look an entire dowd, but sure I should have new.

Indeed, says I, I should not go about so that Society will suspect how much time I spend in my library.

She and Sophy look at me in my morning-gown, and nod.

In a consumption indeed! says Docket. Sure Your Ladyship needs no rouge when going into company.

I go downstairs to breakfast in my parlour, and I am still at table when Sandy is shown in, looking in very good spirits.

How now, my dear, says I, sit down and I daresay there will be fresh hot coffee comes most expeditious –

Comes Celeste with this, and also some fresh bak’d muffins.

Dearest C-, says Sandy, after drinking two cups of coffee, as he butters a muffin and endeavours choose 'twixt Euphemia’s quince marmalade and her gooseberry preserve, I am most infinite gratefull that you prevail’d against my cowardly shrinking and brought me home.

Not, he goes on, that I am in any way deserving of the fine generous forgiving spirit in which I have been welcom’d back: does G- not have quite the noblest of hearts?

I look at him with a little smile and say, when you say forgiving -

I have, says Sandy, just before biting into a muffin load’d with preserve, confesst all.

All? says I.

All, says he.

La, says I, I am ever of the opinion that there are some matters that 'tis best draw a veil over, especial do they not lead to anything. Now I daresay I shall be most effusive prais’d for not taking advantage of you.

He blushes.

But, my dear Sandy, have some more coffee and another muffin, for there is a matter I should disclose to you – o, 'tis no ill thing, 'tis excellent news, but you should know.

I tell him of Matt Johnson’s visit and his very forethoughtfull proceedings in discovering Mr R- O-'s hiding-places and his casket of secrets, and my own burning of 'em.

'Twas prudent, says Sandy, to do so. And yet –

Why, says I, 'twas not merely secrets that were not my own to disclose, but secrets I should not even have, 'tis better they are gone.

He sighs and says he is not sure he could have done the same.

Fie, says I, there are those breathe a deal more easyly to think Mr R- O- is vanisht.

Indeed, he says. Do you purpose inform Mr W- Y-?

Poo, says I, I daresay he goes do well enough in Boston, and I cannot come at any way I might inform him very discreet in a letter.

'Tis indeed a puzzle.

Did I go about in some symbolickal fashion – as it might be, in some kind of horrid tale? - I confide he would fail to apprehend my drift.

Did he not come to apprehend that you are that not’d author that has been incognita.

What, says I, a featherwit such as I?

If he does not apprehend by now that you are no featherwit, he is beyond hope.

O, says I, I confide he supposes that there was some fellow was the puppet-master of this silly uneducat’d creature.

Sandy looks at me with great affection and says, 'tis quite the happyest thing to be on restor’d terms of amity with his dearest sibyl. For, he says, growing thoughtfull, quite the worst thing about having brought us into the outs, was that I could not come to you for your sage counsel about mending our friendship.

O, poo, says I, kicking him under the table, let us not grow mawkish. Tho’ I shall confess that I greatly misst our friendship myself, even unto the dour Calvinistickal glare.

We smile at one another. I then open to him the matter of the various tales and plays I have upon hand, and that Agnes L-, as we must now style her, has a new collection of poems that she desires publish. And, says I, I know not if Alf mention’d this to you himself, that would be most appreciative of a few novels besides works on heavyer matters when you send your parcels to 'em.

Sandy grins and says, Alf did indeed open the matter and would be most particular gratefull for any further works by the author of The Antiquarian’s Daughter (that I had chanc’d to have upon hand as I was about turning it into a play); is a fellow of great discrimination.

La, says I, you are ever the same flattering weasel, Mr MacD-, would that I had a fan about me.

He sighs and says 'tis ever delightfull to sit here in convockation but there are a deal of matters he must be about, having left 'em for so long.

Comes Celeste to clear away the breakfast things, follow’d by Timothy with a deal of letters and cards – I confide 'tis a day when Hector goes instruct the R- House nursery-set in the pugilistick art.

I therefore spend some while attending to correspondence at my pretty desk in my parlour, until 'tis time for me to be took to Mamzelle Bridgette’s for Maurice to go consider over replenishing my wardrobe.

Maurice greets me very effusive, declares that I am looking exceeding well, and that – he stands back a little to observe me – indeed my figure is what it ever was, mayhap I have even lost a little flesh, tho’ not so much as to give any credence to rumours that I am in a decline, merely enough to create a very elegant form that he confides will show off to great advantage.

So there are several hours past in being drap’d with stuffs and having pins stuck in &C&C but at the end of it I am in considerable confidence that I shall be entire in the crack of fashion once more, to the great gratification of Docket.

He also conveys to me in between desiring me to turn around, or hold still, or consider this very fine silk, a deal of gossip, some that concerns his family connexions – he goes make Tibby’s trousseau, for she has brought much business their way – and some that, I doubt not, he gleans from the certain club he frequents.

He also remarks that Lady Z- goes take advantage of Biddy’s discreet private chamber again.

'Tis not so very late when I finally emerge that I may not instruct Ajax to go drive me to Phoebe’s house, for I long to see how she and Lucile do.

She comes greet me at the door and I kiss her very warm. She is looking exceeding well. She takes me into the parlour and desires Alice to bring us some tea. Lucile, that is coming along a fine girl, is playing upon the floor in a little pen.

I look at it and Phoebe looks at me and says, she had the notion from Seraphine, for she thought that now Lucile begins get about, may get into all sorts of matter that would be very prejudicial to her – I think of the pigments and turpentine &C that go with her father’s profession – 'tis entire the safest thing. She goes over and lifts her out and says, but is she not a fine girl?

But I see her eyes go a little wistfull towards the painting of Camille upon the wall.

Fine and thriving, says I, taking her into my own arms and kissing her, listening to her babble that does not quite come at being words yet. And, I say, do the de C-s - ?

Phoebe gives a little sigh and says, sure she was in some hopes that when Raoul was elect’d a Royal Academician they might come round, but they still hold distant.

I go put Lucille back into her pen, and ask how Mr de C- does.

Exceeding well, says Phoebe, a deal of commissions upon hand – at this very moment has Lady Z- and her children in the studio – we may soon be oblig’d to turn away work. But, she goes on with a little smile, 'tis very agreeable to have the cushion provid’d by the profits upon my polishes, that go extreme well, young Mr K- came visit lately to say they are in some consideration of expanding the factory.

O, says I, he is not gone to the Baltic? – tho’ I then take a consideration that ice and snow may linger in those parts until quite advanc’d into the year.

There is a sound of voices in the passage and Phoebe goes to the door and says she dares says Lady Z- would care for some tea, and the boys for some lemonade?

Lady Z- comes in, looking most exceeding handsome, saying that that would be indeed gratefull. She greets me very effusive, remarks upon how well I am looking, and that sure I have been greatly misst among our circle. Her boys, that are very well-looking as one might expect with such parents, make me civil bows. Little Cara comes totter up to clutch at my skirts, and becomes a most exceeding pretty child.

I remark that 'tis a charming notion to have themselves paint’d, but will Sir H- not be in the picture?

Lady Z- smiles and says indeed, but cannot always manage the same occasions to come sit, with Parliament in session.

So I confide all is still well 'twixt 'em.

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