Madame C- desires to make an announcement in the publick service

It has been put to me, by those that appreciate this account, that there are those that would desire these memoirs in a more compendious and portable form. With the inestimable services and skills of Mistress [personal profile] clanwilliam, Volumes the First to the Seventh of these memoirs are now available as what are known among the cognoscenti as, ebooks.

These may be downloaded, by such as desire to read 'em, at Google Docs:

The Comfortable Courtesan: A Memoir by Madame C- C- (that has been a Lady of the Demi-Monde these several years)

Volume the First

Volume the Second

Volume the Third

Volume the Fourth

Volume the Fifth

Volume the Sixth

Volume the Seventh

Madame C- expresses herself highly indebt’d to those that find amusement, education, mayhap even edification, in these chronicles. Any particular appreciation may be expresst thru’ the good offices of PayPal.

She also wishes to convey, to those that have expresst a desire to emulate her good friend that goes by the style of HotUtilitarian in writing what is call’d fanfic, that several works can now be found at AO3, and may indeed be added unto by those that so desire.

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A small dinner-party

When I go dress for dinner, desiring Docket to array me fine enough to compliment the company, but not so much as to appear high and mighty, I mind me of Miss N-'s remarks about Mr L-'s desire for one to write pieces about fashion and style for his newspaper and go mention the matter to Docket.

Docket takes a thoughtfull look.

Why, she says at some length, there is Tibby, quite devours La Belle Assemblée and Ackermann’s Repository &C, has a deal of good notions that she writes up in her fine book - sure that was a most excellent habit she has got into – I confide her thoughts would be worth reading and and very instructive.

But surely, says I, Tibby must have a deal already upon her hands as Her Grace’s maid.

Why, 'tis a position of great responsibility, but in such a large household there is a deal of matter that she does not need to undertake herself, because there are sewing maids &C for matters of mending and so forth, which manifests her consequence, although there will always be some matters that she would keep in her own hands. But indeed I think 'twould be an excellent thing for her.

Well, says I, when we are all return’d to Town I will convoke with Tibby on the matter (tho’ I am somewhat like to wonder is this Docket being entire doating concerning the capacities of her protégé).

I go down to the parlour and find Mr A- already arriv’d with his sister, Lavinia A-, that is a teacher in a girls’ school, and goes look somewhat abasht at the company she finds herself in; I daresay had not expect’d a marchioness. I make exceeding civil towards her. She looks to be some few years older than Miss N-, with whom she goes talk a little upon education.

Mr A- comes talk to me, says he is entire at my service do I need any further supplies of foxglove tincture, and how do I get on with the dispensary plan? Alas, says I, have been going about visits so much have not had the time I should like to give to it. Indeed I have not spoke to Mr H- this age, for in the summer he goes out of Town to his place by the sea-side in Sussex, for the benefit of the sanitive airs and altho’ he will return from time to time to operate or dissect, we must have misst one another with the times we were separately in Town.

He tells me that he has had letters from Mr H-, but they were all upon matters of professional interest. 'Tis a very fine thing to have the benefit of Mr H-‘s thoughts upon matters of surgery and anatomy.

Comes a little after time Mr D-, that apologizes for keeping us waiting, there was some little matter at the works that delay’d him – but I perceive that he must have been home to change into company wear, brush his hair somewhat, &C.

We all go to table. I sit 'twixt Josiah and Mr D-, that commences to tell me about his visit to my lead-mine, which occupys us for the entirety of the first course.

When this is remov’d and the second brought, he minds his manners enough to go turn to Lavinia A-, or perchance 'tis not entire a matter of the usages of society, for they fall into a considerable animat’d conversation, and from what I overhear, allude to their earlier acquaintance.

Josiah smiles and says, he confides that 'tis quite the poorest of ton to go discuss business at the dinner-table, so he will not go discourse about lead, or steam-pumps, or smelting -

Why, says I with a smile, 'tis quite of the greatest interest to me at present, and sure 'tis a deal more interesting than cricket, which was the entire burden of every conversation at Sir P- O-‘s house-party.

He grins and says he confides 'tis a deal genteeler pastime than those he pursu’d as a young fellow: when he was not out tweaking the noses of gamekeepers, there were such sports as wrestling and football, that he confides the quality do not indulge in.

Sure, says I, 'tis curious that gentlemen will consider it in quite the best of ton to go study the pugilistick art with some retir’d prize-fighter, but that 'tis not at all the same thing with wrestling.

And, says Josiah, that 'tis quite entire in order to go shoot game, but snaring or using a sling-shot, that requires a deal of skill, is deem’d criminal. But sure there were a deal of pursuits that I should not care for now, such as cock-fighting: I could not hold my head up before Josh, that writes cannot I not bring Parliament to pass some law concerning the cruelties of badger-baiting, the dear tender-heart’d young soul.

He is a dear creature, says I. We both smile very fond.

Has MacD- ever spoke to you about some fine game he us’d to play in Scotland - goff I think ‘twas call’d – but 'tis scarce known of in England?

(Sure I wonder, does Sandy have a passion for the game, that 'tis not play’d at R- House. Did it require some special court, like tennis, I confide that Milord would go construct one. )

O, says I, I confide Mr MacD- knows better than to discourse to me of manly sports. I do not talk to him of hats and he does not talk to me of rackets and balls.

He laughs, and then looks along the table to our belov’d Eliza. They give one another little nods and she rises to take the ladies into the parlour. I see her somewhat wishfull to say that Harry may have half a glass of port but no more, but not wishing to embarrass him before company.

In the parlour she permits Bess and Meg a very small glass of ratafia apiece. Miss N- takes tea but Lavinia A- accepts a little ratafia.

I have just taken the first sip from my own glass when comes Patty very apologetick and says, 'tis Miss Flora wants her sleepy wombatt and refuses go sleep until she has her.

Eliza looks at me and smiles and says, sure she may have her wombatt.

So I go to the nursery where my naughty darling is sitting up in bed with a stubborn look - o, 'tis quite entire charming – and go over and say, How now, is this not a sleepy wombatt? I was told I might find a sleepy wombatt here.

She holds out her arms to me and indeed I should not reward her naughtiness but I kiss my adorable child, and then she goes be a sleepy wombatt as I lye down beside her to do the like. Sleepy wombatts snuggle together and exchange kisses until one of 'em falls asleep.

When I get up, because my sweet bundle has gone to sleep, Patty remarks how very kind 'tis of me to put up with these whims. O, says I, she is a sweet thing. Patty pulls a face and then says, she is that, one cannot remain cross at her long: and looks down fondly at her.

When I return to the parlour, Meg is seat’d at the piano accompanying Mr A- in a song, for he has brought his music with him. I observe that Mr D- has brought his fiddle: but at this moment, he is sitting next to Lavinia A-, and there is that in their postures that suggests that there is indeed a mutual inclination 'twixt the pair of 'em, tho’ they do not speak together but give their attention to the song.

Bess, I see, sits looking somewhat sullen.

There is a pause in the musical proceedings, and Miss N- most immediate leaps in to say she dares say Mr A-'s sister has not heard Lady B- read Shakspeare: 'tis a most immense treat, would she do so.

There is a general murmur that I confide conveys that the company would desire a reading. I go take the volume from where it sits, and think what would be suit’d to this company. ('Tis not the Family Shakspeare). Sure 'tis only on reflection after I have begun reading that I wonder whether certain passages from Twelfth Night are entire fitt’d to the occasion. For indeed there is somewhat of a green and yellow melancholy comes upon Bess, the poor thing. Sure 'tis a trying time of a young woman’s life.

After I have read, Mr D- obliges us with some music upon his fiddle.

In due course, the guests take their leave, and Mr D- goes walk back with the A-s.

Eliza goes chase the girls and Harry off to bed.

She comes into the parlour where Josiah and I are sitting, stretches and yawns and says sure Bess lookt very mopish – it cannot be that she is upset by Harry’s leaving, for 'tis not as tho’ he had not already gone from home to school – can it?

Josiah remarks that perchance 'tis that Harry goes out into the world, sets forth upon a career, while she is in the schoolroom and facing a different course.

(Indeed, the secret is not my secret to disclose.)

Eliza sighs a little and says that she has not lately had Bess sit with her while she is about business matters, had thought she would give her a little holiday, but perchance would do her good and occupy her mind. She confides that a deal of vapourishness and even greensickness in girls of those years is due to lack of occupation.

We sit and consider this for a while, then I yawn and stretch and say sure I must be off to my fine reserv’d chamber. We all look at one another very fond and I am in great anticipation that I shall not be long alone in my exceeding large bed.

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There is more than mere practickality that goes to wedlock

'Tis almost time for Harry to take his leave and go to Leeds to learn the mysteries of an engineer. Mr D- goes with him as he desires to take the opportunity to go convoke with his friend there about certain professional matters.

I make an opportunity to go talk to Harry one day in the garden. He is looking over the wall down to the works and the town.

How now, Harry, says I, sure you are about to go out into the world and make your fortune.

Oh, he says, he does not know about fortune, and sure, 'tis a great step.

He sighs somewhat and says that he wishes that he had the chance to see Josh and say goodbye to him –

And, says I with a smile, give him serious elder brotherly advice? Do you go about like Laertes to your sisters?

Harry grins and says, mayhap he will! But, he goes on more serious, he should like to be assur’d that Josh was well again.

Indeed, says I, I think you need have no worrys on that account, he was flourishing already some while ago when I visit’d there and I entirely confide that he has continu’d to improve in health.

But still, says Harry, is my brother and I should like to see him.

Why, says I, you are not going to the antipodes and I daresay you will be seeing him at the Christmas season. But sure your care for him is extreme pretty: one does not always see such affection 'twixt brothers.

Harry blushes. He is a good little fellow, he mumbles, then adds: save when he goes running away and putting everyone into desperate worry.

I confide he will not do the like again! But, Harry, while I am sure that you will not at all be in want while you are in this fine place in Leeds learning your trade, I daresay there may perhaps be particular matters that you might like a little extra by you for –

I take out a little purse in which I have put several guineas.

- so I thought to give you this.

O, that is entirely too kind! he says. Sure I will have an allowance -

All the same, says I, a little to hand for the unexpect’d is never amiss. And should there be any service I may do you, do you call upon me.

You are very kind to us all, he says somewhat gruff.

Indeed, says I, 'tis only an entire proper return for the exceeding kindness I have had from your family. Sure, consider the helpfullness over the business to do with my mine –

Why, cries Harry, 'tis a most excellent fine enterprize: and commences upon telling me about his visit there with Mr D-. What a fine clever fellow is Mr McA-, and Mr M- is a fine tidy manager. Also his wife makes a most excellent lardy-cake. He goes on to inform me about the steam-pump, and the exceeding tall chimney that is requir’d for the smelting works, &C &C, until Bess comes join us and says does Harry have any final commissions in the town, Mama is about to take the gig to undertake errands.

Oh, says Harry, indeed there are a few matters, I will go at once. He rushes off but Bess lingers.

You do not go into town?

O, says Bess, 'tis exceeding dull, when I think that shortly we may be going along Oxford Street with all its fine shops.

She hops up to sit upon the low wall: sure I hope she does not go fall over the other side, but she sits as one that is entire us’d to such a perch.

She looks very thoughtfull and says, Aunty C-, there is a thing I should like to ask you about, but 'tis a secret matter –

(O dear, thinks I, is there some young fellow she takes a fancy to?)

Why, says I, I am quite the soul of discretion -

- Indeed, Mama and Papa have oft remarkt that –

- but there are matters in which you might be well-adviz’d to talk to your Mama.

Only, says Bess, settling herself more firmly and smoothing down her skirts, I apprehend that this business of being brought out and going about the Season &C is somewhat of an expensive matter –

- Well, my dear, your parents are not on the parish -

She gives a little smile and says, indeed they are not! but 'tis very much about being cry’d on the marriage market, is’t not?

Sure, says I, perchance you should ask one or another that has undergone the matter, I daresay Her Grace would be entire happy to answer your questions, but I confide that indeed 'tis somewhat of the Matrimonial Exchange.

But do I already know who I shall marry –

Oh? says I, in some fears that there is some local fellow goes take advantage of her youth and innocence to marry to his advantage.

Oh yes, says Bess, blushing and casting down her eyes, Mr D-.

I am struck into entire dumbness for a moment, and then rouse myself to ask, Has he gone speak to you of the matter? (for if has, I think it a very shocking proceeding.)

O no, says Bess, but indeed I have long had a very great admiration for him, and I have heard Mama and Papa express some concern that he may leave the works, and remark that did he have a wife 'twould settle him: and would it not be a most excellent sensible thing?

(I do not even need to count upon my fingers to reckon that Mr D- must be at least twice her years if not more. Indeed, 'tis a much greater gulph of years than that 'twixt Hector and Euphemia, that Hector was so put about concerning.)

(But sure – do I not know it? – young girls will take some great fancy to an older man, that seems a quite entire different species to the callow boys of their own years.)

Sure, says I, it sounds a most sensible and practickal thing, but indeed there is more than mere practickality that goes to wedlock. And were I your mama – which I am not, and she may think different – because of your youth, I would advize that you should not jump in to matrimony, and should test your affections thro’ going about in Society.

Bess scowls and says, look at Lady J-, that remain’d faithfull to the memory of her Lieutenant K- until he was an Admiral and able honourable to seek her hand. Did she not go about a very great deal in Society before she retir’d into rural seclusion at N-? (I confide that Bess has not been present upon any occasion when Lady J-'s devotion to the one Biffle refers to as that jealous hag Miss B- has been mention’d.)

Even so, my dear. But sure, going about in Society is not merely about catching a husband, 'twill do you a deal of good in other ways. For a lady that has connections of friendship with a deal of other ladies may find them most exceeding valuable to her husband’s interest.

Bess mutters that she supposes so.

And, dear Bess, I go on, 'tis entire deleterious to marry too young. Sure altho’ one talks of a girl coming to womanhood as tho’ 'twas something that happen’d the once, like passing thro’ a door, 'tis a matter that takes some years while the humours are in upheaval. 'Tis entire to be preferr’d that time should be allow’d to let the humours settle. Do you not, my dear, have sudden fits of tearfullness, or temper, or lassitude?

O, says Bess, o, yes. Sure that is sensible.

And while you are waiting for that time, you may as well occupy the interim amuzingly.

(Sure I am a strange figure to be giving this prudent advice to young women. When I was of Bess’s years I was a sad naughty minx, before I was lesson’d in the ways of the demimonde by Madame Z-.)

Bess jumps down from the wall and comes give me a hug. Thank you, Aunty C-! She runs off, and sure one sees that there is still a deal of the hoyden in her. I am like to suppose that this inclination to Mr D- is a girlish fancy, and that in a year or so her views on him will be quite different: but sure one should not teaze her over it, or endeavour to dissuade her but let it wither according to the course of nature.

I walk slowly back thro’ the garden, to where Quintus and my lovely darling Flora play on the swing, and one can hear the sound of Meg’s piano-practice from an open window. Miss N- sits on a bench with a book. I go sit next to her.

She blushes and says sure ‘tis no improving work, but a most exciting novel.

Why, dear Miss N-, I would by no means condemn you for refreshing yourself from your labours with a little light reading; sure I late met with a sad Evangelickal fellow that disapproves greatly of the habit of novel-reading and will not let his wife read them, but I cannot see the harm.

She goes on to say that we have company for dinner this e’en: Mr A- at the hospital has his sister Lavinia visiting, and they come, and also Mr D-. Mr A-'s sister has visit’d before: she takes a thought that Mr D- has a liking to her, and now he is so well-establisht and a partner in the works, perchance he may go make an offer?

Why, says I, a fellow may take a liking to a young woman without immediate proceeding to having the banns call’d –

Miss N- sighs and I daresay thinks that she and Mr L- are not yet in a position to do this.

- may find her company congenial in passing a few hours without desiring to take her to wife.

(O, poor Bess, thinks I, if Miss N- has the right of the matter.)

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I am wound around Flora's little finger

My dear ones come to me in my fine reserv’d chamber that night and we say many fond foolish things to one another. 'Tis most extreme delightfull to be in triangle even do they have to depart leaving me alone in my exceptional large bed.

Next morn I am waken’d by the accustom’d chocolate party levée.

My precious darling comes snuggle against me, 'tis most extreme charming; and Quintus comes sit at my other side.

Bess pours chocolate and Meg hands it around, I remark sure they are getting most adept at these matters.

Bess goes perch on one side of the bed and Meg at the other. Harry sits at the foot.

Harry says he hears that I went to Sir P- O-'s fine cricketing party? Jackson, that he was at school with, says he holds one every summer.

O, cries Bess, a cricket party? Sure that must quite exceed.

I laugh a little and say that I do not think she would have enjoy’d it, for the ladies did not play but were suppos’d to occupy themselves in admiring the fellows as they play’d.

Both Bess and Meg look exceeding disdainfull at this.

And, I go on, I am not sure all the gentlemen found it entire agreeable. There was Tom O-, that is Sir P- O-'s son, would rather sit reading about steam than be at the wicket or in the field.

Why, says Harry, sure one may enjoy both: a fine cricket party with fellows that play well must be a prime thing.

O, cries Meg, is not Tom O- in our dancing-class?

Bess takes a little thought and says that she confides that he is. A quiet fellow, but does not go trample upon one’s feet.

I say sure he will become quite vociferous does one enter upon the matter of steam. Also there was the painter Mr van H-, that I confide did not expect that he would have to give up his brush for a bat.

And was His Lordship there? asks Harry.

No, had some other engagement, says I, tho’ his friend Lord A- was of the party.

Oh, says Harry, Lord A- that plays at Lords? Sure I should like to see him at bat, and is not’d a most cunning bowler.

He grins, and says to his sisters, do you two go make up to Tom O- at dancing class, and perchance we shall be invit’d next year.

Bess says 'twould be poor sport could they not play themselves.

Perchance, says I, one could make up a ladies’ team? Sure there must be other young ladies that play. But that minds me, on one of my other visits I saw Lady Anna M- and her sister go play at battledore and shuttlecock, and have brought the like for you.

O, prime! says Meg. Bess sniffs and says, but 'tis not cricket.

(Sure I have seen the girls playing at R- House, and being instruct’d by Milord, and I fear that their ferocity as bowlers would be consider’d entire unsuitable in young ladies, especial did they go against gentlemen, that do not like to find the fair sex like to beat them at some sport.)

Comes Miss N- to take Quintus and the elder girls to the schoolroom. Harry stands up and says there are matters he should be about. My little treasure snuggles up to me and looks very hopefull at my chocolate cup, her own being quite empty.

She is about finishing my chocolate for me when comes Patty, saying that sure she should be taking that naughty girl to the nursery. Flora clings to me with a stubborn look. Patty looks at her very fond and says, sure, she loves her aunty! Is she no bother to you I will leave her with you a little.

Indeed this is most entire agreeable to me, tho’ I am not entire sure that Docket and Sophy enjoy making my morning toilette while she runs about saying, what is this or that, and offering to get into things. But at length I am dresst and ready to face the day, and take her hand so that we may go downstairs to the family room.

There I find my dearest at her desk about business, and we smile at one another. She rings a bell and a maid comes very shortly after with a nice little breakfast upon a tray.

I sit down to eat it and Flora comes squeeze in next to me on my chair to help me dispose of it. Eliza laughs. Sure she knows who she may wind around her little finger!

But not, says I, so far as to let her drink my coffee. Sure cannot be good for one so young.

Flora goes pout somewhat but is mollify’d with a fine butter’d pikelet.

Eliza looks at us very fond. Flora gives me a buttery kiss, then wriggles herself down to the floor and runs across to give the like to Eliza, who picks her up and hugs her.

O, they are both quite my entire heart’s darlings.

Comes in Josiah, and Flora quite immediate runs to him and is swung up high as she giggles.

And now, says Eliza, 'tis high time she was convey’d to the nursery.

Flora looks over her shoulder at me and says, tiger!

O, says I, I am a full tiger that has just had breakfast, 'tis not my time of day to chase little girls.

Josiah carrys her out, tho’ she continues to look back hopefull that I may still go be her tiger.

O, says I, 'tis just as well that I am not always there to spoil her, for I am sure I should.

As if we do not! says Eliza.

I go fetch my traveling desk so that I may feel that I am not entire idle. Sure there is a deal of correspondence sits upon my pretty desk at home, but I have notes enough in my little memorandum book of matters that I should be getting about.

My darling and I thus work away together in amiable silence, occasional looking up to smile at one another.

After a while we hear the sound of Meg at her piano practice. Eliza stands up and says she will go be about household matters for a while. As we are alone we kiss before she goes.

I look out of the window into the garden and observe that Bess goes practice battledore.

I close up my desk and go to the schoolroom, where I find Miss N- hearing Quintus read, which he does exceeding well.

She looks extreme pleas’d to see me, and after Quintus has come to the end of the passage, says now he may go practice his hand-writing by copying it out upon his slate.

We withdraw to the other end of the room. I ask how she does and she says, o, very well, but that of course she greatly longs to hear how Ellie does in the antipodes. Mr L- writes very often and says that the paper does exceeding well.

She then says, there is just one thing: he is very mind’d to occasional have some piece about ladies’ fashions, because 'tis an excellent thing that encourages drapers and haberdashers and milliners and such-like to take advertizements if they suppose that ladies will be reading. She does not feel that she has the talent for such, but thought that Lady B- might know of someone?

Why, says I, I will go think over the matter.

You are always so well-turn’d-out, she adds a little wistfull.

Sure, says I, 'tis why one keeps a crack lady’s maid.

I turn the subject to ask how Bess and Meg do. She says that Bess is come to the volatile age, but at least she does not become silly as girls at that time can be. And Meg continues to be most conscientious at piano-practice, sometimes she will have to go chase her to go play in the garden for healthfull recreation.

And I can see, says I raising my voice a little, that you have an excellent young scholar in Quintus!

Oh, indeed, she says. And when we return to R- House Josh will be joining us in the schoolroom.

Quintus comes up with his copying and I take my leave.

I go into the garden and find Bess, that is patting the shuttlecock about. How now, says I, how do you?

She sighs and says, she does not know whether Mama will have told me, she has come to womanhood and 'tis a most exceeding tiresome thing. And she goes get spots.

Why, says I, I daresay Docket will have some lotion or wash most usefull for such cases, I will go ask her.

Bess sighs again and says she supposes she will have go behave as a proper young lady, which has ever struck her as excessive tedious, they are not permitt’d to do anything that is fun anymore.

O my dear, says I, there will still be your wont’d enjoyments such as riding, and the theatre, and dancing-class. Sure, you are not bound for a convent. And in a year or so you will make your come-out and have the Season –

Bess wrinkles her nose.

- which I confide you will like more than you suppose, do you not treat it as a contest in which a young lady must catch a fine husband. There is indeed no haste in the matter.

Bess looks as tho’ she would say something but does not.

Indeed, 'tis as much a matter of making acquaintance with other young women, and you already have a fine start with the friendship of Her Grace.

O, cries Bess, have you seen her at all? Have you seen the baby again?

So I go tell her about Viola and little Cathy.

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Sure I could sit thus for hours upon end

Our agreeable party begins break up. Jacob S- says that he should be getting back to the matter of the Admiral’s fine estate, especial if Lady J- be in prospect of return or already return’d. Mr de C- says that there is some exhibition in prospect with some of his fellow-artists and Sir Z- R- has been wishfull to conclave with him on the matter, so they should be getting back to Town. He puts his arm about Phoebe and remarks that indeed, they still feel the painfull blow, but they become resign’d and ready to pick up the threads of their life again. Phoebe nestles her head against his shoulder and nods.

I say that I confide that Dorcas will have been about ensuring that their house is clean and tidy.

Phoebe adds that she has grown immense fond of little Deborah, but now Martha is quite entire heal’d and may feed her herself once more.

Biffle and Viola set off for Q-, with the intention of preparing for the return to Town and opening up of M- House. And, says Biffle, to ensure that all is in order and that m’sister will not go chide us for poor stewardship. Viola says 'twill be quite the best thing for Essie when the nursery society returns to R- House – have seen how agreeable he found it to play with Bobbie. 'Tis a little lonesome for him until Cathy be a little older. And sure Quintus F- sets them a quite excellent example.

Sandy confides that the time has come for him to make representations in person over various matters to do with Mrs D- K-'s affairs.

My darlings sigh and say indeed they need to be going home, to wave off Harry to Leeds, and to put matters under hand for their removal to Town.

Sir B- W- and Susannah go solicit me to stay a little longer, but I make my excuses that I have much business to be about.

They add that they have prevail’d upon Captain C- to remain on the estate – there is a neat little cottage he may reside in while they are in Town, and the quacks are of the opinion that he would do better out of the smokey miasmas of Town. He makes some acquaintance with the county neighbours, there will be shooting and hunting for his recreation, does he desire a deal more in the way of society and entertainment 'tis no great distance to Bath.

That is exceeding good of you, says I.

’Tis quite entire agreed that Mrs D- K- shall take up the post of Old Lady W-'s companion. I take an opportunity to ask whether this is entire congenial to her.

She sighs and says, 'twill be out of Society and that set that they us’d to be in, that she does not incline to have to do with (I daresay there will those that her late husband pander’d her to that she had rather not encounter). And what else might she do? 'Tis as good as anything else: a roof over her head, a warm bed, food on the table, she can contrive to put up with the old lady. (I confide she thinks of the alternatives that might have been: sure the dear T-s like the antipodes exceedingly but 'twould be a different matter being a convict, even did she not suffer the extreme penalty).

She clasps my hands and says she still does not understand why I act’d as I did, but she is most exceeding gratefull. ('Tis most embarrassing, she goes about to weep.) I pat her hand gently and know not what to say.

But at last I am bound for departure, my trunks and boxes are loaded onto my carriage, Docket and Sophy have taken their places, and my traveling desk is beside where I shall sit. I embrace dear Susannah and shake Sir B- W-s hand and we take our farewells. Sure, says I, 'twill be no time before we are all in Town again.

I get into the carriage and we drive off. Docket leans back in her seat and says how very pleasant it was to see dear Tibby, how well she gets on, and sure she must find her work more agreeable now that Her Grace is no longer in mourning. Sophy, I confide, looks a little jealous.

Rather than overtax the horses and perchance risk Docket’s health, we pass two nights staying in inns on our journey.

But at last we come to my darlings’ fine house, and they are at the door, with the dear children.

I get out from the carriage, and most immediate comes up to me my darling treasure with flowers in her hand, saying For you, and pursing her lips for a kiss.

The flowers have some sign of having been pickt a while since and clutcht in a hot little hand, but I am most immense toucht and feel tears spring to my eyes. I exchange kisses with my dear belov’d child, and then with Bess and Meg, shake hands with Harry, ask Quintus is he grown too big a fellow for a kiss from his Aunty C-, at which he shakes his head, kiss my dearest darling Eliza and shake hands very warm with Josiah, see Miss N- standing a little to one side and shake hands with her and ask how she does: o, I am most immense glad to be among them once more.

We go into the parlour with Flora clinging onto my skirts, the sweet darling.

There is tea and the girls chatter about how they have spent the summer and their anticipations of the return to Town. Flora desires to display a little counting rhyme Miss N- has taught her.

Sure I could sit thus for hours upon end.

But I must change out of my traveling wear once my trunks are unpackt, and go to my fine reserv’d chamber to do so. There is hot water ready for me. Docket unpins my hair and brushes it. I hear Sophy bustling about in the dressing-room.

As Docket commences to put my hair up again there is a tap at the door: 'tis my dearest Eliza. Docket finishes the matter of my hair and goes into the dressing-room.

Eliza and I kiss extreme warm and stand embrac’d for a while in silence.

Josh does not come home? I ask at length.

Oh, he does so well at Captain P-'s, and is so happy there, we conclud’d to leave him with 'em until we are return’d to R- House, to make sure he is quite entire recover’d, rather than have all the journeying to and fro. But sure, from his letters, and from what that excellent woman 'tother Lady B- writes, he is quite got over the measles and is as fit a fellow as has ever been.

Indeed he was a deal more lively when last I saw him.

She goes on to say that Mr D- comes to family dinner this e’en, has a very great desire to communicate to Lady B- the matters that are afoot at her mine.

I sigh and say I have had little time to give to matters of business these several weeks.

Dearest of C-s, you have had a deal on your mind lately!

'Tis true, says I.

And, she says a little mournfull, I daresay some of that will be secrets that are not your own to disclose.

I rest my head upon her shoulder and say, perchance.

She strokes my hair. Sure we have been in some worry about our darling, that will put on her brave face as she goes about in company, but that we can see has been unusual troubl’d lately.

She kisses me and then says but she will not press her to reveal all.

O, says I, 'tis entire foolishness – 'tis not so much that I am bow’d down under heavy secrets, but that my spirits have been lower’d most unwont’d and somehow I do not come round as I should hope.

Well, my darling, you must remember that you have friends that you may call upon and not bear all on your own.

Indeed I have most excellent friends, says I, a little tearfull.

She kisses my cheek and says sure this is not the time to go rouse the lovely C-'s spirits in a particular manner she confides would show most efficacious, alas, and she will leave me to dress.

I squeeze her hand. Dearest of dear loves, I say.

At dinner, Mr D- is really most exceeding desirous to communicate to me a deal of matter about my mine, steam-pumps, the smelting-mill &C; Harry also is most eager to talk upon the business.

I mind that I have not yet heard from Marcello concerning the likelihood that there will be less money for the Cause while this matter is under hand; or mayhap the letter goes nestle somewhere within the large pile of correspondence that sits upon my pretty desk in my own pretty house.

Sure I should go look into my little memorandum book and make sure I do not go neglect anything I have writ down that I will go undertake – have not yet even not’d the matter of finding one to instruct Lord N-'s offspring about acting, I am sadly behindhand.

But I daresay now I may consider the Mrs D- K- trouble as clos’d and her fate confid’d to other hands (tho’ indeed I will not go dispose of the hat-pin just yet). None has mention’d any rumour or gossip concerning the flight of the Mad Marquess of B- from the fine madhouse where he was confin’d, so I am like to suppose that his keepers were most greatly inclin’d to hush it up.

I turn to Mr D- smiling and saying, sure I am but a simple uninstruct’d creature. Perchance did he repeat that thing about the smelting-mill, I might go understand it?

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Surprizing and remarkable news

After we have din’d, there is no lingering over port on the part of the gentlemen or over tea and ratafia by the ladies, for we must deck ourselves for the ball.

Docket has determin’d that I shall display both my pearls – woven into my hair –and my rubies.

Really, Docket, says I, ‘tis but a provincial ball for county neighbours.

Docket sniffs and says, there are those that need showing what a lady of fine ton is. (By which I suppose her to intend the dreadfull crocodile.)

So, says I, somewhat amuz’d, you go deck me with my wages of sin.

Docket sniffs again and says she doubts that there will be any with pearls of such quality, and the rubies are quite entire remarkable.

So I concede to her and let her deck me as she wishes and considers suit’d to my station.

There is a little tap upon the door, and Sophy goes look. She lets in my dearest Eliza, that looks most exceeding fine and wears her parure of diamonds, black pearls, and fire opals, that suits her so particular.

We look at one another with great pleasure at how well we are turn’d out.

Docket and Sophy go into the dressing-room.

The crocodile, says I, I hazard had heard somewhat of the scandal put about by that satyr of a Bavarian violincellist, and convey’d it somewhat coarse, I apprehend, to Mrs D- K-, with some implications upon myself.

We look at one another and I smile at my dear love. But quite misst the mark, says I.

And what I came here about, says Eliza with a little particular smile of her own, that I would greatly desire to kiss, is to wonder whether the fascinating Lady B- would care to come a little family visit, before we all return to Town. Sure we shall be in great upheaval with the business of packing up, but indeed all would delight in your company. Also, Mr D- could tell you in person matters to do with steam-pumps.

O, you wick’d temptress! says I. I daresay there are many matters I should be about in Town, but I am quite entire unable to resist this solicitation. Indeed, even do I return to Town, there will be so little society that I should be quite Dido in the ruins of Carthage.

My darling laughs, and puts her hand to my cheek very tender, and says that she dares say that the fascinating Lady B- will be about waiting until there is sufficient number in the ballroom that she may make an entrance -

Sure I am an exceeding vain creature, says I.

- gliding like unto a swan, she continues.

Why, so be there are no poets in the company, I confide that I shall contrive that.

We kiss, and she leaves.

O, 'twill be quite entire delightfull to visit my darlings and my sweet treasure Flora and the other dear children: I feel more chearfull than I have done these several months.

Tho’ indeed 'tis still a quandary what may be done with Mrs D- K-.

I could pass the time until I make my entrance at my traveling desk, but that Docket will forbid me, lest I get ink upon my fingers or my gown. Indeed I am not mistress in my own household.

At length I go down.

There is pleasing music comes from the ballroom as well as a little hum and buzz of chatter. I step to the door and a footman goes announce me.

There is a very gratifying dimming of the noise of chatter as I glide like a swan into the room.

Sir B- W- comes over to kiss my hand and to offer that I might care to dance? I smile at him and say indeed, is this not a ball? I do not come to stand against the wall.

Why, he says, it might be possible that you wisht to go at once to the card-tables: tho’, as I recall, you were never greatly fond of play.

Indeed not, says I. 'Twas my dear Miss G- was the gamester.

'Tis most agreeable to dance with one that is as competent at that art as Sir B- W-.

Indeed I enjoy myself more than I suppos’d I would, for between the dances that duty requires me to give to the guests, I contrive to stand up with Josiah, Biffle, Jacob S- and Milord; and Sandy, the weasel, manages to take the supper dance.

I look at him somewhat dubious as he brings me cooling lemonade and a nice little plate of supper.

Dearest C-, he says in low tones, I am entire aware that this is not the time and place to open the several matters that betwixt us we have upon hand. But indeed there is much we need to convoke about.

Nothing, says I, that will not keep until I return to Town. Unless, that is –

I perceive that the dreadfull crocodile comes seat herself rather nearer than I should like, for I confide she hopes to eavesdrop and her hearing is excellent. I kick him surreptitious in the ankle with a little movement of my head to convey this intelligence.

He nods, and says he has late had a very long letter from Lord Geoffrey M-.

O dear, says I.

From which I apprehend that they did, indeed, undertake scenes from Shakspeare for a select audience.

How exceeding glad am I, says I, that I was oblig’d to leave before that event.

I know not how their audience felt, but they are now quite passionate about amateur theatrickals and wonder whether, when the family opens up N- House and they come to town, they might go about to have some instruction in the art.

Why, says I, I daresay there are those among my theatrickal acquaintance that would take on such a matter.

Perchance, says Sandy, I should not have mention’d to him that there are some several fellows that have gone lesson themselves with Mr J- about publick speaking.

Hmmm, says I. I confide that if the young ladies his sisters would also desire instruction there might be some objection to an actor undertaking the matter, for young girls of their years are most extreme susceptible to the charms of actors, but I would suppose that Miss A- might be entire acceptable as a preceptress.

'Tis a good thought. Miss R- is seen about so very openly with that fribble Danvers D- that one might anticipate some objections.

Also, says I, she would probably take dear little Puggsiekins to their lessons: tho’ I daresay Mrs D- has now contriv’d to bring the little rascal into better habits and conduct, I think it most like that he would go brangle with Selina.

We return to the ballroom and go about to show ourselves willing to dance with the county neighbours.

'Tis somewhat late in the next morning when Sophy comes bring me my chocolate, and says that Docket says that I was sleeping so sweet and peacefull, and she dar’d say, worn-out from dancing, that they should let me rest. And she doubts that any of the company will be up betimes this morn.

'Tis true, says I, for 'twas quite exceeding late, indeed so late that it was almost around to be early, that the thing conclud’d.

While Docket decks me for the day, I open to her the prospect of going to the the F-s for a little while. She declares that 'tis quite entirely answerable.

I add that we should take the journey very gentle.

Docket snorts a little, but does not go protest this care for her health. But indeed lately she seems somewhat better; and we have a good supply of her drops, that I confide Mr A- can replenish if needfull. So I am in no great worry in the matter.

When I go downstairs I find that breakfast is still laid tho’ there is none there except Susannah, that sips a little tea and nibbles upon a crust.

We exchange greetings and remarks about how exceeding successful the ball was, sure 'twill be much spoke about in the locality for some time.

But, my dear C-, says Susannah, I have the most surprizing and remarkable news!

Oh? says I, wondering what this could possibly be.

Would you believe it? she goes on. My esteem’d mother-in-law proposes that Mrs D- K- should come to her as a companion -

What!

O, 'tis a matter she has mention’d before, that if she is going to be left alone and desolate by her undutifull son and his jealous wife, and never see her dear grandchildren, she should have some genteel person as a companion, that could read out the newspapers to her, go fetch her books from the circulating library, help her sort embroidery silks, listen to her talk of her past triumphs as a toast of the ton &C&C.

And, she goes on, she thinks Mrs D- K- shows an admirable loyalty towards her benefactress, by which she is extreme prepossesst even does she think it somewhat misplac’d, and thus supposes she would manifest the like to her.

Well! says I. Do you think 'twould answer?

Susannah sighs and says, she will doubtless come to some cause of disagreement or dislike after a few months, for 'tis not the first experiment in the matter, but 'twould at least be a temporary refuge for Mrs D- K- while we go about to settle her affairs. And perchance does the crocodile take her about on her usual round of spaws there may be some fellow takes a mind to marry her.

Indeed that would be a good thing, says I, but that had I been wedd’d to Mr D- K- I should have a certain caution concerning husbands.

Susannah sighs and says, 'tis so, but did not Dr Johnson remark upon the triumph of hope over experience?

He also, says I, remarkt that marriage has many pains: but indeed, I was marry’d for so short a time that I would not know about that.

Susannah smiles and says she thinks that the Great Lexicographer took a somewhat gloomy view of the matter; but then, she has been most exceeding fortunate.

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'Tis stale gossip that perchance has only just reacht Somerset

As I take Merlin back to the stable, I encounter Milord upon his own Sultan returning from a ride. He dismounts and confides Sultan to the care of a groom, while I give Merlin into Ajax’s hands.

We walk towards the house together.

Milord clears his throat somewhat and says, Dear C-, Sandy is in some fears that you are offend’d at him for some reason.

What! says I. How should he come to that conclusion? (tho’ have I not seen the like jumping to conclusions over matters to do with Milord?)

Why, he says he has not been able to come at converse with you this while, which is most unwont’d.

Why, says I, among the company here 'tis somewhat hard, and might look particular, did one make the essay, to go seek private conversation.

He is so very us’d to making you his confidante -

And I him, says I. And sure I have a deal of matters that I would desire to convoke with him about, but I do not think this is the occasion, for 'tis mostly business that demands discretion. 'Tis no great while until we return to Town.

So long as I can tell him that you have no harsh feelings towards him –

I laugh and say he may tell him that this silly creature will soon be about teazing the bello scozzese again.

- for he is exceeding fond of you, it distresses him greatly to think you may be at outs.

Indeed I should hope we are not at outs! (But sure I hope he does not purpose to badger me over Mrs D- K-.)

Once I have chang’d from my riding-habit, I go join the other ladies in the drawing-room. 'Tis somewhat markt: Susannah, Viola, Phoebe and my belov’d Eliza sit at one end of the room, with Cathy and Deborah laid upon the rug, and Sukey nestl’d against her mother’s skirts – I confide that Biffle and Sir B- W- take Essie and Bobbie about boyish pastimes - and at the far end, the dreadfull crocodile with her head close to Mrs D- K-'s.

Comes in Martha, that I daresay has been about changing herself, for even does she not venture into the quarry, there is a deal of dust about there, and goes pick up Deborah for a little cuddle. We all look at her very benign, for 'tis an extreme pretty sight.

Dear Susannah looks somewhat drowsy. She remarks that she had better go and lye down for a little, so that she may be fresh for the ball this e’en. Sukey goes with her.

Perchance we do not look forward to the ball with any great enthusiasm, for 'twill mean a deal of other company that are largely strangers to us, but 'tis an obligation that they must discharge to the neighbourhood, that will be most delight’d to come meet the distinguisht members of Society that are at present guests in the house.

I say that I daresay we shall have to show civil and go dance with fellows that will trample upon our feet. 'Twould be poor ton only to dance with those of our own set.

Why, says Martha, I daresay has been the on-dit for months in these parts and the fellows will be about fighting one another so that they may say that they danc’d with the fascinating Lady B-.

Indeed, says Eliza, 'tis extreme like to be the case and the rest of us may go whistle for partners or be reduc’d to dancing with our own husbands, is’t not shamefull?

They look at me very affectionate.

La, says I, I am mercylessly teaz’d.

We all laugh.

Viola says 'tis so long since she last danc’d she fears she has forgotten how.

My dear, says I, 'tis universally acknowledg’d that a Duchess’s dancing must be quite divine, whether she can dance or no. I daresay there will be fellows extreme desirous of being able to boast that they danc’d with the Duchess of M-.

We laugh again, in the manner of good friends that mayhap do not exchange great wit, but find one another exceeding congenial company: even Phoebe smiles.

'Tis not entire pleasant to feel that the crocodile directs basilisk glares towards us on account of this harmless mirth. But sure she does not go about to make herself agreeable to the company even did she so much desire to come poke her nose into our doings. Perchance she was of a consideration that 'twould be more entertaining than such society as she is in in Bath. Or perchance she just desires to trouble Susannah.

Comes tea.

There is a genial clatter of teacups, until suddenly, at the end of the room, is the sound of a cup being bang’d down so hard I daresay the saucer, or cup itself, goes break.

No, says Mrs D- K- in venomous tones, that is entire slanderous and I will not listen.

We look from one to another, for sure it must be some exceptional matter that Mrs D- K-, that is quite fam’d for the spreading of malicious gossip, deems slanderous.

She rushes from the room.

The dreadfull crocodile gets up slowly, walks across to where we sit, looks at me and says in what I confide to be meaningfull tones, that sure Mrs D- K- becomes very ardent in defence of Lady B-'s reputation.

I am almost like to laugh at the imputation that I have drawn Mrs D- K- into some Sapphick sisterhood.

Why, says I, 'tis very pretty in her, if extreme surprizing. But sure in her sad state she is readily overset.

The crocodile looks at me as if she would bite my head off and then stalks off with an attempt at dignity.

Eliza lets out the burst of laughter she has been suppressing and says, sure does one put a tiger and a crocodile to fight, 'twill be the tiger carrys the victory.

Sure, says I, I am like to wonder what slander she spoke. But I confide we dine early today so that we may have time to dress for the ball and should go furbish.

Martha sighs a little at all this dressing and undressing and dressing again, then kisses little Deborah and goes her way.

As Sophy goes array me for dinner – for Docket is about readying my finery for the ball – there is a little timid knock upon the door. She goes see who 'tis. 'Tis Mrs D- K-, she says.

O, says I, she may come in.

I see that Mrs D- K- has been weeping. My dear, says I, do you not feel up to coming to dinner in company, I am sure you may have a tray brought to you.

Oh! she says, that dreadfull woman. Then cuts her eyes towards Sophy.

Sophy, says I, sure I am quite entire ready to go to dinner now, do you go and see does Docket need any help.

She goes into the dressing room.

O, says I, the ways of Old Lady W- are well-known and she bears me a long-time resentment. In former days, o, some considerable while ago, was a match she wisht to promote for her son, but he was entire too taken up with me at the time to make suit to the lady in question, who marry’d elsewhere; and then, I was great friends with Miss G-, who she was in some fear he would go marry, indeed it seem’d quite the possibility –

O no, 'twas nothing of that kind – she warn’d me that you had designs upon me, 'twas a well-known matter with Lady B-, since she got into Lady J-'s set –

Why, says I, with a laugh, that is very old gossip put about by that Bavarian lunatick - sure 'tis entire stale, I wonder she still minds it: or perchance it has only just reacht to Somerset.

She suddenly claps her hands to her face. O! He - I take her to mean the late Mr D- K- - said somewhat to me about making up to Lady B- -

Ha, says I, just because one shows a particular fellow that one has no inclination towards him, does not mean one dislikes his entire sex and prefers 'tother.

Oh! she cries, going plump down upon the bed, did he so?

'Twas implication, no more, says I, did not go so far as to make suit to me.

She frowns. But – she begins – ladies do not – how is’t even possible?

I shrug. 'Tis put about that there are some that are mophrodites, can be as 'twas said of Caesar, every man’s woman and every woman’s man, but sure I have never seen the like: I daresay 'tis like a deal of the monsters in Aristotle, that none has ever laid eyes upon in life. But sure I am no mophrodite but quite entire a natural woman. And I am like to suppose – tho’ I have no specifick knowledge in the matter – that neither is Lady J-.

She stands up and says indeed she had rather not dine in company, might she dine private in her chamber?

I say I can suppose no objection, and will speak to Lady W- about it.

They are very kind, she says, in tones as of one who endeavours to understand the curious ways of the Cannibal Islands.

Oh, the best hearts! say I.

I can see that she finds the entire matter considerable bewildering.

I gently guide her out of the door and on the way to her own chamber, so that I may be about going downstairs and opening the matter of a nice little dinner on a tray with Susannah.

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Perchance I should establish a matrimonial agency

Sure I do not think that I go about deliberate to avoid being tete-à-tete with Sandy, but I do not make opportunity for private converse, for I am still of the supposition that he wishes to delve into the matter of Mr D- K-'s death, which cannot be a usefull course of action. Tho’ I daresay he will go worry away at it until I am oblig’d to tell him somewhat of how the case stands.

But sure I cannot see any advantage in the truth being known. Those that hear that Mr D- K- droppt dead in an apoplectick fit brought on by rage will nod their heads and say sure 'tis no surprize, one always fear’d such a thing when he was overcome by fury, and indeed they are heartily sorry for those to whom he ow’d debts of honour for they will not see their gold again, not that they were ever like to.

But tho’ I was in some mind to go cast the fatal hat-pin into the depths of the Serpentine Lake, was there some time I might come there unobserv’d, or some similar body of water, I am like to think 'twould be somewhat prudent to keep hold upon it the while.

Sure I am in little doubt that there was no deliberation to her action – indeed had I had such a thing by me when the Prussian fell upon me and was like to murder me, I confide I should have done the like – and had she had such an intention, I daresay she would also have had the forethought to dispose of the weapon before any came.

One could see, as she sat there in her chemise, seeing nothing or so 'twould seem, old bruises and new bruises and other marks of violence upon her person.

But I have no reason to repose in her that trust that I would give one that had been my friend rather than one that had shown herself previous so extreme hostile towards me. So I will keep the bloody hat-pin somewhere safe that I can lay hands upon it.

'Tis by no means encouraging that one sees her so cozy with the dreadfull crocodile.

But apart from this concern, sure I am having a most excellent time, save of course that I may not be with my darlings as we should desire, even among such friends as we have here.

I go carry a pique-nique to Jacob and Martha S- at the quarry, that they have forgot to take themselves upon setting out.

I find them there, Jacob S- clambering up the side of the quarry in such a fashion that I had rather not look, for I cannot imagine how he does not fall, for in one hand he has a hammer, and a specimen box about his neck. Martha sits at the top with her sketching box, and I am most extreme pleas’d to see how well she looks. I see that Captain C- has join’d ‘em and sits beside her.

I take the basket over to 'em and ask how matters go.

Martha smiles very chearfull and says, o, we go find some excellent fine specimens.

Captain C- sighs and says he is come to think that those quacks may have the right of it, for he has been climbing around with Mr S- kindly showing him the fossils and now he feels quite done up.

I say that I daresay he is not us’d to such exercise, and thus it bears more heavily upon him.

Perchance, he says. But he is in hopes that when he returns to Nova Scotia he may go find some fossils for Mr S-. Sure they are most curious things.

Mayhap, says Martha, do you take a little refreshment you will feel more the thing. I confide that there is more than enough in that basket: C-, do you stay and join us.

I daresay there is, says I, for 'tis heavier than I suppos’d when I offer’d to bring it here.

Captain C- looks shockt and says did those unchivalrous wretches let you carry it all this way?

O, says I, I rode Merlin, but Sir B- W- gave me so many warnings that the footing around the edge of the quarry was very unsure that I left him grazing a little way back.

Jacob S- comes over the edge, looks at his hands and says perhaps Lady B- will forgive him does he not shake hands. He lifts off the specimen box and hands it to Martha, who looks into it and makes exclamations over the fineness of the fossils therein.

Martha and I go spread the cloth from inside the basket upon the ground and set out the fine pique-nique that would almost compare with Seraphine’s.

Indeed there is quite enough to go round and Captain C- looks a deal better for it.

There is some fine refreshing shrub in the basket, and as we sit around and drink this, Jacob S- remarks that he lately heard from the U-s that the Reverend Mr L- has now been read in as parson of the parish.

O, says I, that is a deal more expeditious than I was led to suppose. I am glad to hear it.

He goes on to ask whether I have lately heard from the T-s and I sigh and say even if they have already attain’d to New South Wales, which one cannot be certain of, one could not hope for letters yet. We then tell Captain C- about the T-s and the fine work they do among the convicts and in matters of scientifick observations.

I ask when they expect Lady J-'s return.

Martha says she may already be land’d and gone see how matters go on the estate, did wind and tide show favourable. But sure all is well in hand, but for the matter of the gardens.

I confide, says I, that Lord G- R- would have entirely no objection did you go solicit Roberts’ judgement upon the matter.

'Tis a good thought, says Jacob S-. For has made a deal of difference to the grounds at A-: sure the first time we visit’d they were very ill-kept, and now 'tis entire a show-place. Did you not also remark that Mrs U- has a very fine feeling for gardens?

'Tis so, says I, but in her case 'twould be entire a matter of civility to go look and advize and I know not whether 'twould be an answerable thing.

Why, he says with a smile, the U-s are most extreme prepossesst with Lady B-, and did the solicitation come from her, I doubt not that they would be inclin’d to oblige.

I take thought for a moment: sure there are those that would not welcome the U-s as their merits deserve on account of their religion, and while I fancy that Lady J- has had dealings with ladies of the Jewish faith in her philanthropick endeavours I should like to be assur’d that she would manifest towards Mrs U- something that is not that chill civility that I have seen her display.

Sure, says I, is Lady J- return’d I daresay she will be going to Town before long, and I will go call and open the matter to her. But, I go on, does Herr P- remain on the estate?

Oh no, they say, has gone visit the H-s in Town, the late Herr H- was one of his comrades in arms.

Well, says I, I had better be about returning to the company, and leave you to your endeavours.

Martha smiles and says she will walk along with me, do I not mind, for she has been quite long enough away from Deborah, tho’ 'tis most exceeding delightfull to have her pencil in hand again and fossils to draw. But sure she cannot keep away from her little miracle very long.

So I go lead Merlin, after asking Martha whether she would like to ride - she shakes her head – and we turn back towards the house.

Dear Martha, says I, it is so entirely pleasurable to see you so well.

She laughs happyly and says, 'tis indeed a pleasure to feel more of her old self, and to be able to be more of a helpmeet again. Is she not quite the finest child? And what a very fine woman is Phoebe, is she not quite entire a woman and a sister? My debt to her is quite immeasurable, for I am like to wonder if my own shrinking when putting Deborah to the breast had some adverse effect and perchance she was not getting as much nourishment as she should.

And such a fine head for business - sure Mr de C- is a fine painter but I daresay would be quite roll’d up did she not take matters in hand. As well as her skills in matters of domestick oeconomy - sure you must have been sorry to lose her from your household.

Indeed, says I, for she had been with me a long while: but Dorcas, that is some kind of cousin of hers, answers quite excellent.

Martha laughs and says, is not that the one that Mr van H- goes rave about?

So she is, says I. A most extreme handsome creature tho’ in quite a different style to Phoebe.

We walk a little in silence, breathing in the fine airs and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and the pleasing breeze, and then Martha remarks that Captain C- seems a pleasant amiable fellow but she confides that his doctors are quite right in desiring to take matters easy for somewhat longer. He will go tire very sudden.

What he needs, she continues, is a wife to take care of him.

I laugh and say, why, I will go think over my acquaintance for one that would incline to going to Nova Scotia, or to follow the drum is his regiment post’d elsewhere upon the globe. Sure I should go establish a matrimonial agency: there was that fribble Lord A- goes turn his mind to marriage and askt my advice.

Martha laughs and says she does not wonder at it.

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We still remember good old General Y-

Sure 'tis very agreeable to be here with my good friends. The dreadfull crocodile is indeed somewhat of a fly in the ointment, but tho’ I cannot like her, she has sufficient good ton that she will be civil to Sandy and will not look at Phoebe as if she considers she should be in the servants’ hall, for she perceives that they are entire valu’d by the rest of the company.

I think she might also have some desire to be snubbing to me, that have so much got above myself, but refrains for similar reason.

I cannot entire like that she makes most exceeding pleasant towards Mrs D- K-, for I do not suppose that this is only kindness towards her bereavement. I am in greater supposition that she knows that the D- K-s were very much in Society and hopes for gossip. And sure Mrs D- K- was quite renown’d in many circles for spitefull gossip, tho’ at present she conducts herself almost meek.

She has even shown herself entire civil towards Sandy when he goes talk to her of her situation and the measures he goes about concerning creditors &C. For tho’ 'tis not transportation, debtors’ prison is no place one would desire to go and most unhealthfull.

I am in some hopes that her previous line of conduct was the effect of her dreadfull matrimonial position, but I would not be entire sure just yet.

There is the prospect of a ball one e’en when the county neighbours will come.

There is a pleasing easyness about the company provid’d that the crocodile and Mrs D- K- are not present. We talk of the various politickal matters that are like to be upon hand, the various persons and places we have seen over the summer, books we have read, what there is like to be at the theatre when Society returns to Town, a deal of gossip, and 'tis all quite entirely amiable.

In this company I may oblige by reading out the poems of Mr W- Y- quite in his own poetickal manner: 'tis deem’d most amuzing.

Mr de C- is still in somber mood, but has took up his pencil and produces most charming little sketches of members of the company, most exceeding telling. 'Tis extreme pretty that he will always look for Phoebe and desire to be near her.

Jacob S- makes discovery of very fine fossils in the quarry, that Martha goes about to draw.

Sir B- W- confides that do I fancy a little riding, I should find Merlin a very answerable mount. So I take some very pleasing rides on the estate, both in solitude and in company with Milord, Biffle, Captain C- and Sir B- W- himself.

As I come back from a pleasing solitary ride, I observe that my darling Eliza is walking with Phoebe about the Plantation, that is a very fine stand of trees, some of them quite out of the common. I confide that she is quite entire the best person for dear Phoebe to talk to, for the pains and pleasures of motherhood that she has known herself.

When I have left Merlin in Ajax’s good hands, I go into the gardens and onto the lawn – I daresay it will cause Docket some distress that I do not quite immediate go change from my riding habit, but this is Liberty Hall - where Susannah and Viola sit with the babies on a rug and the little boys playing. Little Sukey is somewhat shy and clings about her mother’s skirts.

Comes up to me little Essie and says, looking up at me very hopefull, tiger?

O, says Susannah with a crook’d grin, we hear so much about this fine tiger that will come and try devour them when they are in the R- House nursery, I quite long to see it.

Indeed, says Viola, laughing.

Oh, says I, perhaps do I go demonstrate you may undertake the like yourselves.

So I go down to hands and knees and paw the air, and growl, and chase Essie and Bobbie, and then Sukey comes toddle into the game, and Susannah and Viola laugh somewhat immoderate, and then come around the side of the house the gentlemen, that have been smoaking and talking politicks.

They are most exceeding amuz’d at the sight.

Tigers, eh? says Sir B- W-. Sure I remember good old General Y-'s fine tales of hunting tigers in the Indies – on elephants, was it not?

He looks at Biffle, who frowns. General Y-? he says.

Oh, says Milord, I am like to think that the General join’d our set while you were in Constantinople, and I daresay was in what was alas his last illness when you return’d and thus not so much in our company.

A splendid fellow! cries Sir B- W-. Had show’d most heroick in the wars in those parts, but did not make brag upon that, but had the very finest tales of hunting in the jungle. Gave some very fine bachelor parties at his place in Surrey – He turns to Milord – do you recall those fine tiger-skins there?

I see my belov’d Josiah endeavouring to keep a straight face, for sure he must recall one of those tiger-skins in pleasing conjunction with my own skin.

Oh! cries Viola, was that not the gentleman who gave those fascinating articles to the East India Museum? – little figures of the Hindoo trades, and their gods, and suchlike.

Indeed, says I, I am like to think 'twas a bequest.

Had a cook made the most excellent fine curries, goes on Sir B- W-.

Now, says I, goes keep an eating house for the seamen of his nation somewhere about the docks. Convey’d to Seraphine a deal of fine receipts.

Why, says Milord, mayhap we might have a tiffin-party some day – that is the word, is it not, tiffin, signifys a midday repast? Currie puffs – pillow – kabobs in the Hindoostanee style –

Indeed, says I, I am sure Seraphine would quite delight to prepare the like. And then, I daresay, Euphemia would be most pressing to do the same, 'tis a friendly rivalry twixt the two of 'em.

Why, says Sir B- W-, 'tis a fine plan. And my dear, he says to Susannah, I daresay by the time we are return’d to Town, you will feel quite inclin’d to such an occasion?

She smiles at him, and sure one may see the very excellent affection that is between 'em, and says indeed she dares say by then she will be finding herself quite ravenous.

Little Sukey goes run somewhat unsteady towards her papa, and clings on to his leg. He looks down at her very fond and swings her up into his arms. There you are, my dear, he says, I will not let the bad tiger get you.

Bobbie offers that he is not in least scar’d of tigers: why, says Susannah, 'tis that you are quite a big boy now. I daresay when you were of her age you would have found tigers frightening too.

Essie declares that neither is he scar’d of tigers. The two of them fall to boasting about what they are not scar’d of.

At this moment come up to the company my darling and Phoebe, that says she confides 'tis entire time for Deborah’s elevens -

And, says Viola, Cathy’s too, I see 'em both start making little hungry mouths. Let us go take 'em in and feed 'em their tiffin.

Eliza goes sit plump down in the chair Viola has just vacat’d, and says that she apprehends that Lady B- has just been about playing tigers, for her hair goes come down.

O, I cry, sure Docket will go scold me somewhat fierce. I had better go in and be furbisht up (tho’ I am in some consideration that several of the gentlemen of the party have seen me in much greater states of dishevelment, even were it only from driving most extreme fast in a curricle).

So I go in and to my chamber, and find that Docket is in conclave with Tibby in the dressing-room, so 'tis Sophy that goes about to put my hair up again, dress me in somewhat that is not riding-habit, &C.

I am once again fit to show in company, when comes out Tibby, makes me a very polisht curtesy and says she would be oblig’d might she have a private word with My Ladyship.

Why, of course, says I, if 'tis a private matter we might go to that fine window-nook at the far end of the corridor.

We sit down upon the window-seat there and I look with considerable pleasure upon Tibby, that looks exceeding well and is most impressive turn’d-out.

She opens to me that Titus would be most exceeding delight’d to perform for the benefit of any of my charities and wonders a little that I have not askt.

Sure, says I, I should not like him to feel that he was under any obligation -

O, says Tibby, indeed he has the greatest consciousness that 'tis to you that he owes any success he has had.

Fiddlesticks, says I, 'twas Mr G- D- that observ’d that he had a very fine voice that would repay good training.

But, responds Tibby, are those would have said 'twas unfitting to his station, but you went about to promote his interest.

Well, says I, does he feel so, I am like to think that I already have matters in hand for my next drawing-room meeting, but I daresay there will be more. I will go consider upon the matter.

(Alas that I may not hold a drawing-room meeting for the benefit of Dolly Mutton’s enterprize.)

Tibby then remarks that 'tis exceeding pleasant that Her Grace goes into Society once more, and intends to take her see Maurice when we are return’d to Town. Has expresst himself most eager to dress her.

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'Tis exceeding pleasant to be among such good friends

O, 'tis quite entire delightfull to have my darlings with me in my pretty house, sure it quite exceeds.

Josiah tells me that Mr D- took the opportunity afforded by the works being clos’d for Wakes Week to go make a visit to my lead-mine, and took Harry with him – 'twas quite the treat for him, would far rather go see a mine and steam-pumps and smelting mill than almost anything.

Why, says I, I am glad of that, for I am in some concern that it may seem as if the others get treats that he does not.

Why, says Eliza, I daresay he would not dislike being at Captain P-'s fine place, but he would not delight in it the way that Josh does. Us’d ever to be begging his Papa to take him to the works.

Josiah smiles fondly and says that the boy ever had a great feeling for machinery. He confides that 'tis not the like with Josh and that 'twould be something of an unkindness to suppose he would go into the works in due course.

I daresay, says I, that at present he has a mind to becoming a veterinarian.

Well, 'tis ever usefull for a young man to have some trade or profession in his hands, and one would not want one’s sons to be trifling idlers - and sure one cannot tell at Josh’s age what he will want when he comes of years to choose some course – but they will not be in such case that they will need to take up any uncongenial occupation.

Eliza sighs and says Josh will sometimes express a desire to go Africa or the antipodes or the Indies, to see the curious strange animals there are there. Mayhap 'tis some childish whim, and yet, are there not fellows that are renown’d zoologists?

Why, says I, indeed there are, and they will be known to Mr S- from the Royal Society, I hazard. You might go ask him when we are in Somerset – Susannah W- says they have invit’d the S-s and the de C-s.

They are so hospitable! says Eliza. Have staying with them at present a Captain C-, that is a friend, or perchance a comrade-in-arms, of his cousin the Major, that the physicians will not yet guarantee fit to return to his regiment in Nova Scotia.

Sure that is an excellent thing! says I. I was introduc’d to the fellow by Major W-, that had been given furlough on account of the death of his elder brother and having matters of the estate to deal with, but I confide is now return’d to Upper Canada, or on the way there. Seem’d a very agreeable fellow.

They both give me a thoughtfull look and say, they do not recollect that the loveliest of C-s. mention’d that she had seen Major W-.

My darlings, says I, sure he is an old friend that sent me that excellent fine bearskin, and took me driving in the Park &C. Indeed I would not go cut him just because I am become a Marchioness.

They laugh, tho’ perchance a little uneasy, and say that they would not like their dearest of C-s to be uncivil.

O my loves! I cry, surely you do not become jealous over some antient admirer that is already upon his way to the frozen wastes?

Do you put it thus, says Josiah, 'tis indeed foolish. Yet, I am like to recall that Major W- was an exceptional well-set-up fellow.

O, I daresay, says I, but altho’ an agreeable enough fellow, he is not the most fascinating of conversationalists. But, my very dearest darlings, you do know that you have entirely the first place in my heart?

Eliza sighs and says indeed, they are being entire foolish, and yet, when they go into company, and hear Lady B- so much admir’d and talkt upon, they will sometimes think that 'twas quite entire a dream that they could be in triangle with such a one.

Really, my darlings, says I. Sure I am a vain creature that loves to be admir’d, and 'tis most gratifying to hear that I am, but I could be quite entire happy with my dear F-s and their family, was this a matter we could contrive.

We all sigh.

Sure, says Eliza, we are become somewhat dolefull, but I think I have a remedy for that.

Josiah and I sigh that we are quite helpless to resist the wiles of a certain wild girl.

'Tis the most entirely agreeablest thing, but that we do not also have my treasur’d Flora and the other dear children with us, and alas it can be only a temporary pleasure.

But, indeed, 'tis entire a more pleasing anticipation that we go to Sir B- W-'s estate for a house-party, where 'twill be as 'twere our inner set of good friends, than the many visits we have been oblig’d to make.

My darlings go in one of the R- House carriages, for it might look somewhat particular did they come in mine.

So I go in my own fine carriage, with Docket and Sophy, and because of my concern for Docket’s health, we take the journey at a prudent pace and pass a night at an inn.

'Tis late in the afternoon when we arrive at the place. I am told that the company takes tea upon the lawn, so I go out there.

'Tis an excellent fine lawn surround’d by flowerbeds, and with a little stream runs purling to one side. Bobbie W- and Lord S- are on the bank very intent upon making mud pies.

I go greet my dear friends.

Viola says that she suppos’d Essie was a little lonely and desolate without the fine company he was us’d to in the R- House nursery set, and Susannah thought 'twould be most agreeable for Bobbie to have one of his accustom’d playmates, for Sukey is not yet of an age to join in his plays. So here he is, and having an excellent fine time.

Sir B- W- is giving Sukey a ride upon his back, 'tis extreme delightfull to see.

I look about the company.

Susannah says that Mr S- cannot be kept away from the quarry, for he is in hopes of finding some fine fossils; Martha goes with him with her sketchbook. O, and she must warn me, there is a fly in the ointment of this most agreeable gathering: the dreadfull crocodile, finding out that the matter was toward, has return’d most premature from Bath; greatly upset the business of having various matters in the Dower House put to rights.

Mrs D- K-? I ask.

Very quiet, says Susannah, behaves civil tho’ I think she was somewhat taken aback that Phoebe is of our company. O, here comes Captain C-, that I confide you have already met.

Captain C- has a gun with him and a dog at his heels and carries several dead birds, and begs to be excus’d shaking hands for that reason. A few pigeons, he says, perchance enough for a pie, he will go hang them in the game-larder.

As he goes upon his way, Susannah remarks that he is the most agreeable guest, will as they say find his own entertainment. She confides he is somewhat lower’d in spirits at the verdict of the quacks that he is not yet fit for active service, and they shake their heads greatly does he mention any desire to return to Nova Scotia before next spring, but he does not go moping about, tries to keep chearfull.

I remark that I daresay they will not have heard yet from Major W-, that can hardly yet be at Upper Canada?

Alas, no, but remarkt considerable when he was here how very well Lady B- lookt, sure time has quite stood still with her, &C.

O, the wretch, I cry, I confide he was in hopes you would repeat that to me.

Well, she replies with her charming crook’d smile, he also talkt of whether he might sell out and go settle in those parts, and marry –

I laugh somewhat immoderate. Sure I do not think I should be suit’d to a pioneering life, says I.

Susannah looks at me and endeavours without success not to reflect my mirth.

The R- carriages arrive with my darlings and Lord G- R- and Sandy.

When they come to join the company Eliza goes at once to where little Lady Cathy and Deborah are lying upon a rug and waving their little hands in the air, picks 'em up and talks nonsense to 'em: sure I think that she is of a mind with Bess and Meg that 'twould indeed be agreeable to have another baby in the family: but alas, 'tis by no means a prudent course. Perchance one might seek fresh medical opinions, but sure I doubt the profession would have chang’d their views in the matter since she near lost her life with Quintus.

But, I say to Susannah, where is Phoebe?

O, says she, now Phillips is arriv’d with the M- party, she goes exchange family news and gossip with her.

Indeed, says I, I daresay Sophy is also of the party. I hope Docket does not go overtire herself over the unpacking.

The agreeable buzz of friendly conversation is of a sudden shatter’d as Bobbie and Essie come to some dissension over their mudpies and start throwing mud at one another.

Come, come, says Biffle, picking up his heir, that is showing signs of crying with temper, let us not behave as tho’ we were in Parliament -

O, very good! says Sir B- W-.

I daresay, says Viola, 'tis high time for nursery tea - why, here comes Betty now.

I look about my friends and think upon how exceeding pleasant 'tis to be among them.

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