Dearly beloved friend and mentor,
I think much upon the matters we discussed so thoroughly while I was at your villa. On the matter of the shocking state of matters in society, I go about to inform myself thro’ reading and discussion, while minding your advice upon the importance of discretion, and that altho’ England may not be in quite the state of oppressive tyranny of the Two Sicilies, I should proceed with great caution.
I also bear in mind your warnings concerning caution in that more personal matter. Alas that I find that merely being cautious over my desires will not entirely answer. You are quite thoroughly appriz’d of the character of my father, that has made the name of Viscount Raxdell notorious. Because I do not spend my time in flagrant whoring and debauchery, he goes accuse me of being a eunuch and similar insults.
Being in some fears that he will do as he did when I was but a boy new come to manhood and introduce women into my bed will-I nil-I, I determined that I should at least present the appearance of one that wishes set up a mistress. So I have of late caused a certain amount of gossip concerning my pursuit of the exquisite Clorinda Cathcart, whose renown I daresay entirely extends to Naples.
Altho’ does not cause in me any amorous stirrings, her beauty is such that I can appreciate it as 'twere a work of art. She has a pleasingly amiable character, entire perfection of manner, and, one comes to discover upon closer acquaintance, considerable wit. An entire Terpsichore when led out to dance. It gave me great consequence that she appeared to smile upon my suit.
It also changed my father’s tone quite considerable: he manifested a deal of envy with his sneers, for she is given out most exceeding fastidious as to whom she admits to her bed.
But alas, one cannot continue a pursuit quite indefinitely, in particular when the object of it appears entire willing to be caught. So I determined that I would have in truth to make the fair Clorinda my mistress – I was like to suppose that I could accomplish the necessary act, as I have proved heretofore, even did it convey me no particular gratification to do so.
So, I made an occasion to go see her in order to open negotiations: sure her price is given out exceeding high, but I consider’d that 'twould be entire worth whatever 'twas, to divert suspicion and silence my father. So I provided myself with an exceeding fine piece of china, for 'tis the established custom when making suit to her to offer such as a gift, and was admitted to her charming parlour in her pretty little house near the Park, by a fine black manservant that I recognized as one that Sir Barton Wallace lately purposed to make a prizefighter.
I was in a considerable state of apprehension, but she had the air of one entire used to such matters, gave me some very excellent port, and we talked of various indifferent matters whilst I screwed my courage to the sticking place. At length I brought myself to make my proposition by means of offering the china for her consideration.
She looked at me with a slight smile, and said, dear Mr Reveley, you are quite the most agreeable companion, we are considered a very pretty pair when we are seen in company, for our looks set one another off most charming, we dance exceeding well together, but really, I know not why you should be making a bid for my favours, for 'tis entire apparent to me that you have no interest in 'em. More port?
I made some protestations about my feelings, at which she laughed quite exceedingly and said, that while 'twas exceeding tiresome did fellows go hold converse with her bubbies, I had never even seemed to notice that she possessed bubbies, and that she has been of her trade long enough to know when a fellow makes suit to her out of a desire to enjoy her, or whether 'tis merely because 'tis supposed fashionable to do so. And sure, she added, gives me a deal of cachet to be pursued by the fastidious Mr Gervase Reveley.
And then – 'twas not the port, I swear, I had had but one glass and mayhap a half – I found myself telling her the truth of my situation, to which she hearkened with quite the most remarkable sympathy, declaring that she knows not why the law and publick opinion should show so harsh in the matter. And at the end of my account, disclosed to me that she had but lately been subjected to a brutal attack that had turned her exceeding skittish towards that sex so material to her living, and that sure she would most greatly favour a masquerade while she recovered her nerve.
So, dear old friend, you may receive report that I am the accepted favourite of Madame Clorinda, my gift has a prominent place in her china cabinet, I am much seen in her company, pass nights in her pretty house – there is a dressing-room adjacent to her boudoir where I may sleep - and that we are quite the handsomest couple to be observed in Town. And indeed, we become most excellent friends. I am sure you too would like her most extremely. In spite of the great difference in their stations, there is somewhat about her that minds me of your dear bosom confidante the Contessa, and convinces me as to the truth of your encomiums on the value of female friendship.
I daresay that by now you will have pensioned that superb creature Giacomo and have some new favourite. I long to hear all your news.
Ever your devoted friend, G.