My dear Viola
I would urge that before you fret yourself over the proper ton to manifest in a situation, you should be sure that it is a situation, and not your brother jumping to wild conclusions upon very little evidence. What if the Hahns display new curtains and paintwork about their house: now that Frau Paffenrath is no longer subject to her husband’s edicts and able to earn once more, I daresay they find they can afford to furbish up the place in the style they would wish – one fears that Herr Paffenrath was the kind of fellow that deems such matters unnecessary expenditure, womanish fal-lals.
Does your papa linger at their house rather longer than one might expect was he merely instructing Frau Paffenrath about the correspondence he wishes her to undertake, it may be that he relishes a little feminine domestic pampering of the kind that I am sure Frau Hahn dispenses to any visiting gentleman.
And my dear: would it be so very terrible if Mr Knowles had took Gretchen Paffenrath as his mistress? She is a good respectable young woman that has had the most atrocious fortune with men, between that monster of a fiancé and her dreadful husband: I am sure your papa would behave entirely well towards her, do the thing properly, and above all, manifest discretion. You and Sebastian might find that answers a deal better than had she become your stepmama. (Or perchance than that he gave you a stepmama at all, that is something he may yet do.)
Do you wish to ascertain whether there is indeed a situation, I confide that Clorinda would be able to sound the matter out – is not Mrs Lowndes still the bosom confidante of Frau Paffenrath? And Herr Hahn may have let somewhat drop in conversation. Or Mrs Nixon may have her sources of intelligence.
But indeed, my dear, I think you worry yourself unnecessary. I cannot suppose she will suddenly turn into a designing grasping harpy, though I concede it might create some awkwardness in German reading circles and the like.
By the bye, do you know any that has a genteel poor relation that would wish for a companion’s post? The crocodile has sent yet another one packing - and, sure ‘'tis distance lends enchantment to the view’, regrets the days when she was so well-served by Mrs Darton Kendall, and quite curses poor Edwin Collins for beguiling her to the Nova Scotian wilds.
Sir Barton and I go hold a small dinner-party very soon to convoke over the various matters that go forth in Parliament, and the presence of you and His Grace would be quite essential, so do you let me know what might be a suitable day.
Your affectionate friend