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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There are still a deal of matters that I could be about

'Tis of course not enough to reconcile with Lord D- in private, as his conduct at my soirée is doubtless gossipt upon and there may even be allusions in those low sheets that go record, or entire invent, scandals in Society.

We therefore go perform his apology and my forgiveness one fine day in the Park at the fashionable hour, where 'twill be markt: indeed I daresay those who observe Lord D- being driven in a fine open carriage with Lady D- and Miss S-, along a line that will take him exceeding close to where I ride my lovely Jezzie-girl, are watching with extreme interest to see whether there are cuts direct deliver’d.

'Tis all done quite theatrickal - Lord D- comes down from the carriage and stands at my knee, makes a very deep leg, holds up his hands, and is seen expressing contrition. I lean down and shake his hand - he then kisses mine very respectfull. I go make exceeding pleasant to the ladies, and I confide that the on-dit will soon be circulating that Lord D- has quite proper made apology for his coarse conduct at Lady B-'s soirée, and she has been most gracious pleas’d to accept it.

'Tis also put about that his abrupt departure was due to the extreme sudden onset of one of his megrims, that may render him temporary almost incapable of speech.

Next morn comes Miss S-, all smiles, and says, she does not know what I said to her brother-in-law, but Dora looks a deal happyer, they are to go to the play some time with Her Grace – provid’d 'tis not some vulgar matter that is perform'd – and he has contract’d with Mrs D- that when 'tis able to leave its mama, Dora may have a puppy from the litter late sir’d by Mrs D-'s fine fellow.

Well, says I, I hope 'tis better conduct’d than Miss R-'s little Puggsiekins, but I daresay Mrs D- will be entire happy to advize upon bringing it to a genteel mode of behaviour, for she wrought an entire revolution upon Puggsiekins.

Miss S- laughs. Also, he confides that a little light reading, even novels in moderation, cannot be harmfull if consider’d as recreation from heavier duties.

And, she goes on, he has receiv’d invitations to the Contessa di S-'s ridotto in the Neapolitan style, and confides that since she show’d so gracious towards him when he was in those parts about the Grand Tour, 'twould be most incivil to refuse.

I smile upon her and say, all falls out most excellent. But, my dear, look what I have for you here. I show her the parcel of her copies of her pretty volume of poetry.

She bites her lip and then is about opening the parcel.

O, she says, o, indeed this quite exceeds. She takes up a copy and turns it about in her hands, opens it, looks thro’ it, and says, Lady B-, do you have a pen and ink to hand, I should wish to inscribe this to you.

Which she does with a very pretty little poem compos’d quite impromptu.

The criticks, says I, go receive it very kindly.

She puts her hands to her mouth. The criticks -?

Mr P-, that writes under the name of Aristarchus, will never entirely praise the works of a modern, but has been pleas’d to remark that the prosodic facility that led criticks to rightly suppose the Vengefull Spirit no work from Mr W- Y-'s hand, is also demonstrat’d in the other works from this new acolyte of the muses. While it receives quite the accolade from Deacon Brodie. And there are others go praise the work and puzzle over who the author might be; and goes sell extreme well, the circulating libraries go purchase more copies, 'tis so in demand.

O, she says, o.

Dear Miss S-, sure I do not know what you might do with a crown of bay-leaves, or I would have gone about to have one made.

She goes sob a little upon my shoulder. I pat her, and desire her to sit down and take a little coffee, also I see there are some fine apple turnovers Euphemia has sent up.

After she has gone, quite wreath’d in smiles, I go turn to the correspondence that lies upon my desk.

I do not sit there long, however, as Hector says Lady W- comes to call.

I rise up and greet Susannah and say I daresay she does not feel like coffee - perchance a little tea?

That would be delightfull, she says, sitting down beside the fire. Well, my dear C-, I see you have brought Lord D- to heel.

Why, says I, I confide he is a young fellow of excellent intentions, but sure his papa can have give him no model of correct ton, and then he got into the hands of some strict Evangelickals, and this matter of his megrim attacks

Indeed, says Susannah with her crook’d smile, have heard tales of Lord P- rushing pell-mell from dinner tables about a sick cow. But on the matter of dinner tables, dear C-, that agreeable fellow Captain C- comes to Town for a little while – must go have physicians groan over him again, visit the War Office, &C – will come with us to the Contessa’s ridotto - and we purpose to hold a little dinner-party while he is here, and should greatly desire your company.

My dear Susannah, I hope you do not go match-make! Indeed he is an agreeable fellow, but I confide that I should not do well in Nova Scotia.

Indeed not! But I am greatly reliev’d that the crocodile has decampt to Tunbridge Wells, for I was in some suspicion that Mrs D- K- was casting her nets at him. So I wish to take him around where he can observe ladies of better ton, and provide somewhat in the way of comparisons to her charms.

Why, says I, 'twould be entire delightfull to think her at Halifax, but sure one would like a more agreeable bride for Captain C-.

'Tis so: sure she has shown better-conduct’d than one fear’d, but one must have doubts whether 'twill last.

We then go talk ridotto costumes. I am mind’d towards going as a Dresden shepherdess - do I have Sir V- P- trailing about after me baaing, I should have a crook to keep him off. Sir B- W-, says Susannah, takes a notion that they should go as ancestors of his: there are memorial brasses in the parish church that depict 'em, exceeding quaint.

We discuss a few further matters of interest, and she takes her leave.

I return to my correspondence.

As 'tis a fine bright afternoon, tho’ somewhat chill, 'tis a fine occasion for me to take Lady N- a little drive in the Park in my extreme comfortable carriage at the fashionable hour, for I daresay she would desire to see Society parading itself as well as the Serpentine Lake, the cows and sheep, &C.

I put in a deal of extra cushions before we drive round to N- House.

I have previous sent a little note by Timothy proposing the matter, and Lady N- is ready in suitable wear when I arrive. A footman lifts her into the carriage – tho’ she says, as we drive off, she is not entire paralys’d, can walk a little &C but that she becomes most extreme fatigu’d very shortly.

O, she says in a little while, this is indeed most exceeding comfortable, even upon cobbles. She looks about out of the window with an expression of delight. O, 'tis the same bustling streets - Sure she is like a young woman just come to Town as she gazes upon the passing scene - Has been so long, says she. Is ever so entire done up by the time they reach Town cannot bear to move even to glance out of the window.

My dear Lady N-! says I. Sure the science and craft of making carriages keeps pace with, even outreaches, the fine improvements in roads.

O, sighs Lady N-, in our grandfathers’ day they built carriages to last.

Aye, says I, because otherwise they would have been shook to pieces. But I confide this of mine is as well-made and will last as long.

She sighs again. And then says, perchance when U- returns, he can persuade his father.

We reach the park and she hangs upon the strap so that she may go gaze very thoroughly out at the passing show. O, the fine lake! O, the sheep! O, Lady B-, I do not know who even a quarter of these people are, I live so out of Society. Look at those fine riders.

Her pale thin face quite lights up.

Lady N-, says I, I perceive that you quite greatly enjoy this little excursion, but I am afear’d of overtiring you. We may come again another day, do you like.

That would be most exceeding kind, Lady B-, for I know how many demands there are upon your time.

O, pooh, says I, one may always find time for a friend.

She invites me to come take tea when we return to N- House, but I think 'twill somewhat overdo her, and say, perchance some other time?

I go home and sit beside the fine fire, and gaze about my pretty parlour. Look at my china cabinet and mind me that the charming Dresden shepherdess was Sir B- W-'s gift those many years since: but I daresay he will have quite forgot.

I am in some confidence I have now contriv’d somewhat to the benefit of Lady D- and Agnes S-; but sure there are still a deal of matters that I could be about. Now, C-, says I to myself, you should go about to discover does Agnes S- desire a husband before you go consider who might suit her – for she is well enough provid’d for that I daresay, unless there is some testamentary condition, she may prefer the single life, mayhap a pretty cottage, not too far from Town, where she might write her poems in peace. Sure you would not care to be thought like Lady J- in going manage others’ business will-they nill-they.

I know not how one may come at resolving the problems of the ladies in the Earl of N-'s family, but will go consider over it.

Comes Celeste with tea, and says there will be fresh macaroons exceeding shortly.

I smile. Sure I am quite spoil’d by my good people.

And this e’en come my darlings for triangle and a nice little supper.

I look upon Sir Z- R-'s fine portrait of me in my Indian rubies, and think how I should never have thought when it was paint’d to find myself in the condition I am in now.

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A receipt for youthfull follies

But, alas, I cannot go be a member of the family forever and once matters are in order in my own pretty house I must return there.

I am render’d almost tearfull the night afore my departure when I go be Flora’s sleepy wombatt, and am tempt’d to be quite excessive in my demonstration of affection. But I think 'twould frighten her, and desist.

I am not the only one is tearfull: my darling Eliza goes sob somewhat immoderate while we are together in my fine reserv’d chamber. Dearest, says I, I am not going to the antipodes or Ultima Thule, I am not even going into Surrey or Shropshire. Shall be in my pretty house near the Park – 'tis no distance.

Josiah and I sit up and put our arms around her and kiss and stroke her.

Indeed I am a foolish creature, she says, wiping her eyes upon the sheet, but 'tis so pleasant when our dearest third may be entire part of the family.

'Tis so, says I, but indeed, I think did we spend too much time in this happy state there might come to be gossip. 'Tis a shocking world.

We sigh. And then I think we all take a mind to distract one another from these heavy thoughts, and become most exceeding entangl’d.

But indeed, 'tis hard to leave, especial when my naughty darling clings at my skirts and pouts. I promise that she may come with her sisters for a chocolate party very soon.

But also 'tis agreeable to return to my own pretty house, to be greet’d by Hector at the door, to go into my pretty parlour – even do I sigh a little at the accumulation of letters and cards - and to be among my own good people. Dorcas comes report upon the state of housekeeping. Euphemia comes all smiles at the thought of the ice-house to consider culinary matters.

Indeed I must be about arranging another drawing-room meeting.

I am sat at my desk about my correspondence when comes Hector with a card upon a tray, very ceremonious.

I take the card and perceive 'tis Lord D- come call upon me, most extreme expeditious upon my return home.

I sigh. I daresay he decides he will go explain himself and perchance ensure that I am truly a penitent magdalene. Sure I should like to refuse to admit him, but I mind that I should desire to maintain, is't possible, some diplomatick relation for the benefit of Miss S- and the unfortunate Lady D-.

You may admit him, says I, but you need not go desire tea of Euphemia.

Comes in Lord D-, makes a leg, catches sight of the fine portrait by Sir Z- R- of Madame C- C- in her fine rubies, blushes a little, hems a little, and then says he confides that he owes me an apology for his very insulting behaviour at my soirée.

O, says I, seating myself and motioning him to a chair, I confide that the drama of Mr H- being sent for very urgent for Lady J- quite overlay’d the incident in everyone’s minds.

He clasps his hands in his lap and looks down upon them. Alas, he says, 'twas a matter of my own guilty conscience, that suppos’d some matter I desir’d to conceal was known and that there was mocking allusion to it.

Can I not look at a fellow and encourage him, quite without words, to speak on and disclose the inwardness of his heart, I shall have lost all my wont’d skills. I wait in silence.

Some few years ago, he begins, I was upon the Grand Tour, and in the course of my travels, went to Naples. I mind, he goes on, that this must have been about the time that you marry’d the late Marquess – for there were several remarkt to me that I must regret not having the opportunity to go visit him at his fine villa and see his collection of antiquities -

(Sure I am hard put not to laugh at the thought of Lord D- and the dear late Marquess’ antiquities, that mostly concern’d the worship of the generative principle, or show’d fellows very admiring of one another’s manly charms.)

- but I met that kindly old lady the Contessa di S- while I was there, and got in with a set of young fellows –

He pauses. Sure I was an unregenerate soul then, he says with a groan. They introduc’d me to this very renown’d courtesan of the place, that would wear the charming garb of the local peasantry but made up in silks and satins and sewn with jewels, and dy’d her hair yellow, and was altogether exceeding alluring. And I was a foolish sinner and fell.

He falls silent again.

And then on the voyage home, he continues, it seem’d to me that, that I had contract’d some - ailment - from her –

(I do not enquire whether he has heard of that usefull invention the baudruche, for I confide he had not.)

- so upon my return to Town I went at once to Mr H-, that is so well-reput’d in the management of such troubles. And told me 'twas no such heavy matter as I suppos’d, but a phthiriasis, that is caus’d by a certain louse that most particular infests those parts, for which he went treat me.

But, I suppos’d he had been about gossiping upon me, and went to confront him, at which he became so irate that I fear’d he would go throw me bodily out of his house.

Sure, says I, you are lucky he did not go about to challenge you or mayhap bring a suit for slander for the imputation.

- But I have repent’d, and been sav’d, and 'tis all behind me now –

Except, perchance, says I very gentle, that you had rather Lady D- did not know?

He blushes.

But because I was out of the country when you marry’d the late Marquess –

Excellent fellow that he was, says I.

- 'twas somewhat of a shock to me when I learnt what you had been before your marriage. And then there were those at my dinner-party gave themselves out most taken aback that I should have a woman of your antecedents at my table, and behav’d, I freely admit, in poor ton and somewhat unChristian. Indeed, one cannot but mind of the Pharisees, that are so spoken against in the Gospels: but, indeed, that gave me to suppose that you were about serving me the like.

But sure, you are widely given out a fine philanthropist, receiv’d in the best society, present’d at Court, and will have quite renounc’d that life, repent’d your sins –

Lord D-, says I somewhat frosty, I do not think the condition of my soul any of your business.

He casts down his eyes and says sure a sinner such as himself should not impertinently intrude upon others’ spiritual condition.

I am pleas’d to hear that, says I, for I was of the opinion that you do entire the like towards your wife.

He looks at me entire shockt.

Lord D-, says I, it does you most entire credit that you perceive that you have been in error and go apologize: shows you not stiff-neckt and obdurate. But has seem’d to me that altho’ 'tis clear that Lady D- loves you exceedingly, she is also frighten’d of you.

Frighten’d? he cries, my dear Theodora, that I would do anything for?

She is a very young woman, says I, and entire devot’d to you, but indeed is in the greatest terror of your disapproval because of the very many matters that you are extreme strict about.

Consider, says I, she is a very young woman, rais’d in the provinces, come to Town for the first time, and finds that there are a deal of metropolitan pleasures that you take a great dislike for, that she would desire to at least taste and judge for herself. She shows a serious interest in philanthropick matters, 'tis very pretty in her, and sure I do not think she would go entire wild after pleasure did she go occasional to the theatre – there could be no objection whatsoever should she be in the M- box under the eye of Her Grace – or even a little jaunt to Ranelagh or Vauxhall in suitable company.

Also, says I, I cannot suppose the reading of novels - in moderation, and provid’d does not distract from duties - to be at all deleterious. Indeed I surmize do you put such limits upon so many forms of innocent recreation, it may lead to most undesirable results.

I think, he says, of how easily I was led astray.

O come, says I, a young fellow, away from home upon the Grand Tour, new acquaintances, temptations – 'tis an entire receipt for youthfull follies. But a young wife, that is entire devot’d to her husband, that goes about in the company of other ladies that are in good Society in Town, where indeed one must be conscious that one’s doings are markt and may be gossipt upon: sure there are many entertainments that she may enjoy without the slightest hint of danger.

Indeed, he says in a considering tone, Her Grace of M- is everywhere consider’d an excellent serious young woman, entire devot’d to her husband, in quite the best of ton –

Entirely! says I. 'Tis not a set in which there is high play, or flirtations; you are more like to find her turning out a bluestocking.

Well, he says, I will go consider over these thoughts. For sure I have seen some little matters in Theodora’s behaviour, that I had suppos’d due to her condition, but very like 'tis as you say, that the fault is in me. I should go open my heart to her –

And 'twould do no harm, says I, did you allude, without details, to your own youthfull follies.

He bites his lip, and then says, you are so very kind, Lady B-, when I have behav’d so ill to you.

O, says I, there are those that have done a deal worse, and yet turn’d out excellent creatures in the end. I confide so may you.

He kisses my hand very fervent, and says that he hopes that I will continue to receive Theodora.

How not? says I. And sure I will come call.

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There is no need to pinch pennies

It so perchances that the R- House party goes to the theatre to sit in Milord’s box, and vis-à-vis we see Biffle and Viola in the M- House box along with the Earl of N-'s daughters, including Lady Louisa – she and Bess signal to one another with their fans - but not, alas, Miss S-, that I daresay does not want scenes with her brother-in-law.

I look about the theatre to see are there any others I know, and perceive, sitting in excellent fine seats, Thomas and Jennie, that I confide have been given free passes by a gratefull Miss A-.

Miss A- is entire at the height of her powers this e’en, most extreme enchanting.

During an interval, when there is visiting to and fro among the boxes, comes Viola to say, altho’ Lady J- is still pull’d down she comes round to much improv’d spirits, for she was lately very low-spirit’d indeed, which was most distressing. Now talks of going down to Hampshire for a spell, which one would be happyer about did one not suspect she will go be busy about all these improvements rather than rusticating for the good of her health.

Indeed, Viola goes on, will probably be up before dawn to milk the cows, and then about churning butter and making cheese. She sighs.

At least, says I, she will not be about running everybody else’s lives for 'em.

'Tis strange and unnatural, declares Viola: but smiles as she does so.

Lady Louisa comes up and tugs at her sleeve: Your Grace, may Miss F- come sit with us? Sure there is room.

O Mama, cries Bess, may I?

You may, my dear, providing you behave yourself.

Meg goes look over the side of the box upon the generality of the audience. Aunty Clorinda, why does Mr P- always look as if he goes bite upon a lemon?

Sure I know not, says I, 'tis his wont’d expression. Perchance 'tis being a critick makes him like that.

But is not Mr MacD- also a critick? – o, and is that not him over there? why does he not sit with us in the box?

I see that she is about to go ask Milord this question: so I say, he confides that 'tis of utmost usefullness to a critick to be in the midst of the audience and to feel how the play affects ‘em.

I see from the corner of my eye Milord relax. For 'tis entirely a habit that grew up in those days when Sandy did not go about in Society and they were oblig’d to be most carefull when together among company. Sandy is now so well-thought-of in Society that all say no wonder His Lordship values him so, shows him extreme favour, 'twould go hard with him to lose such an excellent fellow that serves his interests so well: and indeed he comports himself in the best of ton in any society. So 'twould be unlike to cause remark was he seen in Milord’s box.

I wave to the Contessa, that I have just observ’d, as we all compose ourselves for the next act.

In the carriage on the way back to R- House, Josiah says he ran into Mr H- at the club today, and he was in a most extreme taking: says this trouble about resurrection men was bad enough, but now he is accus’d of tittle-tattling upon his patients. While the Hippocratick Oath, he declares, most specifick excludes surgeons as pursuing a craft distinct from physicians, nonetheless, they recognize a similar obligation not to reveal any matter they learn in the pursuit of their profession. And indeed, 'tis entire sensible: did it get about that some practitioner gossipt upon his patients he would lose a deal of trade.

Why, says I, altho’ Mr H- has been known to discourse of matters not entirely suit’d to genteel company concerning his profession, he has certain ever been most discreet about particular patients. Even was it a matter of hoisting a quarantine flag over some fellow that was under treatment for the pox or a clap, I could not prevail upon him to make any revelation.

But, says I, could usually deduce such matters by having Hector go smoak and perchance take a glass of ale with his man and find out who had been calling upon him.

My darlings look at me. Why, says I, why do you stare? 'Twas a most material consideration in my former life.

O, cunningest of C-s! says Eliza.

We smile at one another.

But indeed this very happy state of affairs cannot last much longer. 'Tis report’d by Hector that the ice-house is nearly complet’d, and he would greatly desire Mr MacD-'s opinion upon the matter.

The next forenoon I am sitting in the family room with both my darlings and we discourse of lead and steam-pumps and smelting mills, for I have receiv’d a deal of reports on the matter from Mr M- and Mr McA-. There is also a letter from Mr R- concerning the dispensary.

We are about this matter and reaching most satisfactory conclusions when looks around the door Josh, with the air of one that desires convoke about some matter.

His mother beckons him in and says he looks troubl’d about somewhat: perchance he might sit down and tell us? He will surely not mind the presence of his Aunty C-.

Indeed not, says Josh, glancing at me.

He clasps his hands in his lap, looks down at 'em, and says, he confides from somewhat Miss N- said of late, that there is some matter of getting in a tutor so that he may continue upon the study of the classicks that he start’d upon at school.

He looks up and says, sure I was not in any great desire to do so! but I perchanc’d to mention the matter to Mr MacD-, that said does one go into any scientifick matter, 'tis still of great utility to understand these dead tongues, even has one no inclination to pursue the study for its own sake. So I confide I should go learn 'em.

He looks down again and says, but I am in mind that I have put you into a deal of expense with my animals, that sure go eat an immense amount, and I am indeed most exceeding gratefull; and sure a tutor must put you to some expense – and Harry said that just speaking to Mr MacD- helpt him more to understand certain matters with Latin than any class at school –

At this moment enters Sandy looking most extreme pleas’d, saying that he confides that the ice-house will entire serve its suppos’d purpose, 'tis a fine tight well-seal’d thing, though the test will come when 'tis fill’d with ice.

Come in, says Eliza, that also goes ring for coffee, we were just talking of you.

He raises his eyebrows and sits down.

Josh, says Josiah, I think is in some hopes you might convey to him the rudiments of classickal learning.

Why, says Sandy, I am extreme gratify’d that Josh has such a high opinion of my capacity, for I was never inclin’d to be a dominie - tho’ sure 'tis an entire different matter teaching some fellow that is keen and has sharp apprehension, rather than a pack of reluctant dunces.

Josh blushes somewhat.

But, says Eliza, I confide that you already have a deal of business on hand and that this would be an additional burden.

Also, says Josiah, we are not come to such penury that we cannot afford a visiting tutor.

I would also suppose, says Sandy, accepting a cup of coffee and drinking it very fast, that there are many fellows that would be glad of such a position. Indeed there are several that I know and would be happy to prefer to you.

He turns to Josh. 'Twould be an entire kindness to offer the post to any of these fellows, that do not have my fine comfortable position but go struggle for their existence.

Oh, says Josh, I had not thought of it like that. Only that I am a dreadfull expense -

Why should you suppose that? cries Eliza, when sure we did not have the matter of your keep all summer while you were at Captain P-'s, and as for the expense of your animals, 'tis no such great matter, when I think that there are two great girls go outgrow their clothes every matter of months –

Only, Bess said –

Eliza sighs. 'Tis thoughtfull of Bess, I daresay she took this concern from when I was going over the household books with her, but she frets quite unnecessary. Run along, Josh, I daresay Miss N- awaits you in the schoolroom, and we will consider further upon this matter of a tutor.

After he has gone Josiah turns to Eliza and says, well, my dear, they are not going to be those kind of young people that have no idea where the good things in their lives come from, and no notion of oeconomy, and 'tis a deal better that they are as they are. I had rather they were on the carefull side than reckless extravagant, and did not take things for grant’d, but sure we do not need to pinch pennies.

I remark that there are those that do not have the least need to that nonetheless pinch pennies (I think of Lord N-, that will not even purchase a fine comfortable well-sprung carriage for his wife to travel in ease.)

Just as there are those, remarks Sandy, that will throw about the money they should be putting to paying off what they owe.

I confide, says I, that you have been struggling on with the sad legacy of Mr D- K-.

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A somewhat operatick plan

O, I am so exceeding happy to be with my darlings, to be in triangle in the exceeding large bed in my fine reserv’d chamber, to have the children come for the chocolate-party levée, to go play tiger in the nursery, to visit Josh’s menagerie and see him explain very gentle to Flora how she may play with the dormice without hurting ‘em, or where the badger relishes a little scratching, to have my dear hoydens go show me off to their friends that they invite to tea, to be my belov’d treasure’s sleepy wombatt at night. And there is fine converse with my dearest darlings, sometimes upon heavy matters and sometimes upon matter that is quite thistledown, and we laugh and sometimes 'tis because one or other says a thing that is extreme witty and sometimes 'tis merely because ‘tis so congenial to be together.

And there is company comes call and thinks it most exceeding in order that I should stay at R- House while there is noisy work going on in my own cellar, and will even remark what an excellent device it sounds, I must certainly tell them how it gets on when the ice-house is finisht and fill’d with ice.

And Milord and Sandy are ever in and out, and come to family dinner have they no other engagements.

And there is another fine tiffin-party, but this time Seraphine has gone bid Euphemia to come and undertake it (for, she says, 'tis heavy work for one that is increasing as she is: but I think 'tis a kindness to Euphemia). All goes exceeding well and there are no odious comparisons.

Also I find my pen exceeding apt at inditing tales rather than letters upon philanthropick business or pamphlets.

But I do not neglect my social duties, and go make calls, sometimes with Eliza and sometimes alone.

Hearing from M- House that Lady J- is, if not out and about upon her usual round of activities, no longer completely bed-rid, I go call upon her with a little note from Bess and Meg and a nosegay they have made up for her.

Altho’ she is not bed-rid, I find her in her parlour resting upon a chaise-longue, not in her office, which does not surprize me. She looks unwont’d pale and languid, but smiles to see me.

Lady B-! such a pleasure.

I go over and say that I confide she is feeling a little better, and give her the girls’ note and posy. She is so toucht by this that she become a little tearfull - but sure 'tis a time when the humours are exceeding disturb’d.

Alas, she says, not as much better as I should like, 'tis exceeding tiresome. Now I perceive the sense in all those warnings not to overdo. She sighs.

Sure, says I, the like happens to many women, 'tis of frequent occurrence, and oft-times has naught to do with any manner in which the woman conduct’d herself.

'Tis kind of you to say so, says she, but I fear 'twas my vanity to suppose that I would not let the matter of increase hinder me.

Sure this is unlike Lady J-, but I think she is shockt at how her body has gone betray her, for she has ever enjoy’d quite abounding health.

I pat her hand.

And, she says, I must go write to the Admiral – he will, she says with a sob, I daresay just have had my letter with the former glad news.

(O, I can quite imagine it: the dear Admiral serving wine to his officers so that they may toast his good lady, his great joy at the news; and now this.)

There is a little silence 'twixt us and then she reaches out to take my hand, clasps it very hard for one that looks so weak, and says, O, Lady B-, you are so very skill’d at contriving matters – I find myself in the most desperate longing to see my dear Miss A- - and sure I fear that she goes fret about me, the tender-heart’d creature – and yet one sees that there may be adverse remark is she seen openly coming to M- House –

I pat her hand and say, I will to her as soon as maybe and convey the intelligence of your recovering health (for I had some such plan in mind already). And sure I think that a meeting might be contriv’d. Is there not a discreet side-door and stairway to M- House –

- Lady J- gives me a sharp look quite in her old style -

- and I confide that there are those in the household are dispos’d to be discreet and could conduct one that came to that door to your parlour.

Why, says Lady J-, rather dry, you know a deal about the inwardness of M- House. But, can you bring this about, I should be quite infinite gratefull.

Dear Lady J-, says I, do I not owe you infinite gratitude? Sure I doubt that the Dowager Marchioness of B- would have been quite so well-receiv’d in Society had it not been for your patronage. Also, the dear Admiral is quite one of my oldest friends and I confide would desire me to do everything I might to assist your recovery, and keeping up spirits is a most important thing in convalescence.

So when I leave her parlour, I desire the footman to take me to see Phillips, in whom it is known I take interest.

'Tis entire helpfull to my plans that I discover dear Tibby has Jennie with her for a little instruction in the mysteries of her art. They both perform little dips – Jennie does this very pretty – and I say I have a little matter they may assist with.

I go open the matter to them, and they nod, and look to one another, and I say, Thomas is well-acquaint’d with the secret stair, and is a fine discreet fellow.

They declare themselves entire eager to oblige Lady J- in this matter. I say that I will be about visiting Miss A- the morn – for I do not wish to take the matter to her when she is preoccupy’d by the forthcoming performance - and can she come, will send a note of the hour.

I see that Jennie is quite delight’d to take part in this somewhat operatick plan.

So, the next forenoon, I go visit Miss A-. Rose lets me in, takes me into the parlour where Miss A- sits gazing into the fire (for there is now a little chill to the mornings), but leaps up to greet me, coming and taking both of my hands. Rose, she says, please to bring coffee for Lady B-.

I see the questions that tremble upon Miss A-‘s lips, but she contrives to control herself until Rose has brought the coffee, then throws herself at my feet and buries her head in my lap, quite in the old style.

I stroke her hair and say, dear rogue, Lady J- is not yet quite recover’d, but shows entire like to pull round, and 'twould be most material to her recovery to have a visit from her dear Miss A-.

O, cries Miss A-, looking up at me with a tear-streakt face, I have thought and thought how I might come about that. That I might disguise myself to get into M- House – but the plan will ever fall down because I would not know how to find her was I inside the place.

Dear rogue, says I, I know somewhat of discreet entry into M- House – tho’, I add, have not need’d any such thing these several years – and there are servants in the household in whom I repose trust, that are willing to conduct you to Lady J-. But disguise is a happy thought, for I daresay 'twould be best that none remarkt Miss A- lingering about in the vicinity of M- House.

I might even, says Miss A-, disguise myself as a boy - o, do not look at me like that, I am well able to contrive the effect, and 'tis an entire different matter from acting Rosalind or Viola, that must be present’d as a young woman that masquerades as a man. But when I was younger in the art, was often call’d upon to take boy’s parts.

Why, my dear, that is a pretty and subtle thought about Rosalind. But when might you contrive this?

She takes thought and says, tomorrow is not a day when she goes to N- House, and there is no rehearsal call’d for the afternoon, 'tis probable the soonest can be manag’d.

Well, says I, I must send a note to Tibby - I will go send it by Timothy, with some little package, that may be given out a lotion or wash Docket goes send her.

So I go to my own dear house – where indeed there is a noise of banging and a certain amount of dust hangs about the yard – and where Pounce and Dandy, that both look very plump and sleek, endeavour to persuade me that they are shockingly starv’d and abus’d, will I not take them away from this dreadfull place? - and write a little note for Tibby and make up a little package with some old pamphlets - and send Timothy to M- House.

I go look at the cards that have been left while I await his return, go consider is there anything I might take back to R- House with me, look at my pretty china collection, and try not to wring my hands.

Once he returns with Tibby’s note as to where and when Miss A- may come, I send him off with a note conveying this intelligence to Miss A-. Sure I should like to see her go personate a boy, but I confide I should let this plot run its course without I stand by directing it.

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A charming sight upon the terrrace

O, 'tis most exceeding delightfull to be with my darling F-s and the family and to be for a little while entire part of the family.

My darlings come to my fine reserv’d chamber in the night and there are many fond foolish things said and a deal of triangular matters.

Next morn come the dear children for my chocolate-party levée. Indeed Bess seems in entire better spirits, even if 'tis only because Town life affords her many distractions from thinking upon disappointment in love. There is a deal of dancing-class gossip. Meg, with a sly smile, says 'tis notic’d that Tom O- will be very beforehand are the gentlemen requir’d to solicit partners, by finding himself exceeding near Bess. Bess colours a little but I think she is not displeas’d at his boyish admiration.

My naughty darling Flora snuggles very close to me, presses kisses upon my arm, and also desires to help with the task of consuming my chocolate.

Josh sits at the end of the bed holding Mittens, that purrs exceeding loud for such a small kitten.

Meg says, Mrs D-, that nice lady with the pug, says that the pug late contract’d a marriage with a fine lady-pug and there are puppies. O, do you think we might have a pug?

I say that I confide that Mittens might have some objection.

Josh says that Captain P-'s dogs were entire afear’d of the stable-cat.

Indeed, says I, but it has seem’d to me that the stable-cat had a wild fierce nature; I am not sure that Mittens is of a like character.

Do you go hold another drawing-room meeting, Aunty C-? asks Bess. Dodo says she and her sisters thought the last one was excellent fine.

I say that I purpose holding one for the work of the T-s among the convicts within a few months: had thought to wait until the New Year but took the consideration that once the Season begins there will be a deal of other matters happening.

Meg says she is learning several fine new pieces for the piano. And does Lady J- go to hold her musicales again?

I sigh and say that Lady J- has lately had a deal of matters upon hand, and now this sad accident, I doubt they are the first thing upon her mind.

Mama, says Bess, said somewhat to us of the matter. Would it be exceeding forward did we send Lady J- a little note wishing her a fine recovery, and mayhap ask Roberts could we send some flowers?

Why, says I, you are both such favourites with her that I am sure she would greatly appreciate the gesture. I purpose to go visit her in a day or so, when she may be receiving callers: do you write a note and go about making up a nosegay, I will take them with me.

They go nudge one another very sisterly. Bess then says, will this make a difference to the theatre-party Her Grace has arrang’d? Has invit’d her and Meg to go along, is also taking Lady Louisa and her sisters.

I say I daresay she will, Lady J- is given out in no danger, only pull’d down, and Her Grace has undertaken to take the Earl’s daughters about in Society a little.

Why, says Meg, is she the daughter of an Earl, does Lady Louisa have such shabby clothes?

Why, says I, she is not out in Society yet, and I daresay her sisters’ hand-me-downs are consider’d quite in order for one that is still a schoolroom miss. I daresay she has some fine gowns for wear in company (tho’ indeed I wonder about this), that she would not hazard did she come here and go romp about playing cricket or help in feeding the ferrets or suchlike.

'Tis sensible, says Bess, but I have seen her look at my wear and Dodo’s and sigh a little.

May also be consider’d, says I, that those that are of antient aristocratick rank do not require to manifest their consequence thro’ fine fashionable dress.

But -, begins Bess, that I daresay thinks of how in the crack Viola is dresst.

O, says I, 'tis not a universal rule, and I do not say that 'tis even sensible, but 'tis one of those quirks of social usage. (And I daresay that there are those consider that Viola goes manifest her origins in trade.)

Comes Miss N- into the room, and says, Hector has just arriv’d with Lady B-'s letters, and says that he may stay a little to give Josh and Quintus some instruction in the pugilistick art should they care for it – and your mama says you may, if you like.

O, prime! cries Quintus. Josh gives Mittens to Flora, with instructions about not pulling her tail or whiskers, and jumps off the bed. Come along, then, he says.

But 'tis time the girls were in the schoolroom, she goes on. They groan a little but do not protest.

Miss N- is looking exceeding well: I daresay now the household is back in Town she has more opportunity to see Mr L-.

After they have gone I still have my belov’d child with me, that sits with Mittens upon her lap, stroking her very gentle and singing softly to her. Sure I am almost tearfull.

But soon comes Patty to say that Miss Flora’s company begins arrive, and she should be in the nursery to receive ‘em.

Flora hands Mittens to me very ceremonious, bestows several kisses, and climbs down from the bed to follow Patty.

Comes in Docket and looks a little askance at Mittens. O, says I, perchance Sophy might convey her to Mrs F- in the family room, and say I shall be down as soon as maybe.

Sophy is quite delight’d at the task.

When I am dresst for the day I go down to the family room, where my darling is about business as I daresay she has been for several hours. We kiss very warm, and she rings for a nice little breakfast to be brought for me.

I go look at the post that Hector has brought. I see that there is a letter from Martha, that I open at once.

O, she writes, this terrible sad news concerning Lady J-. Perchance when she is on her feet again she will come down into Hampshire, sure 'tis a fine sanitive place, has done her a deal of good and little Deborah flourishes.

They late had a visit from the U-s, those very excellent people, and Mrs U- had some exceeding fine notions concerning the gardens and how they might be put in order and improv’d. 'Tis not the time of year to be greatly about these matters, she confides, and perchance they might also take a little advice from Roberts before putting any work in hand.

She has now a few commissions upon hand for drawings. Has decid’d at least for the present to abandon any thought of studying engraving, because necessitates very sharp instruments that she would be worry’d about Deborah getting into.

She misses the company of friends in Town somewhat. Hears that little V is doing most exceeding well, and that Sebastian will be coming home.

Dear Martha, says I, folding up the letter and putting into my travelling desk in the compartment for letters that I desire reply to at length, sure one quite misses her.

Indeed, says my darling, such an excellent creature. But sure I confide 'tis better for Deborah that they continue in the country at present, for their house is in a very smokey part of Town and Town is greatly unhealthfull generally for very young infants. 'Tis not so bad, perchance, somewhere like M- House with its fine grounds -

Comes in Josiah, very brisk, and says, somehow he forgot to remark upon the matter yestere’en –

- Eliza and I laugh somewhat immoderate –

- but His Grace contriv’d a most harmonious meeting with Mr K- about Phoebe’s polishes. Indeed has a fine property in Southwark that would entirely suit the matter of a factory, and also confides that he may put us in the way of entire superior ingredients. Has the prospect of being an exceeding good thing.

Sure, says I, 'tis extreme gratifying, for Mr de C- is a fine artist but nothing at all of a businessman.

'Tis fortunate that he has Phoebe to keep matters under hand, says Eliza.

Josiah then smiles and says, 'tis a charming sight out upon the terrace: Hector goes instruct our boys, along with Julius, and Lord S- and Bobbie W-, in the pugilistick art.

O, says I, sure I long to go observe it, but fear 'twould embarrass 'em.

Why, he says, do you go into the conservatory you may peep out unobserv’d.

Eliza and I look at one another and go at once to the conservatory, where indeed we may look out, concealed by the leaves of the plants that flourish there, and see the entire delightfull sight of Hector teaching the pugilistick art to the little boys.

Not, says I, that any of 'em will need to go be prize-fighters, but 'tis consider’d quite suit’d to gentlemen and may indeed be of use.

Eliza sighs and says she hopes the girls do not go desire to learn the matter as well.

We return to the family room: my dearest goes sit down again at her desk, and I commence upon writing a new tale. I mind me of a tale Sir H- Z- told at the house-party at A- concerning Cornish wreckers, that I think provides a seed that I may grow.

From time to time we look up at one another and smile.

Mittens goes endeavour to distract us by jumping upon our laps, seeing whether there are mice conceal’d in our slippers, &C.

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I cannot be entirely melancholy

Next morn comes a hasty scribbl’d note from Viola to say that Lady J- miscarry’d but is not suppos’d in danger.

The poor thing, says I, for I know how great were her hopes of bearing a child, and sure must be some while before she can be about the business of begetting another, even is the Admiral not sent to the China Seas or the West Indies or upon some enterprize of Polar exploration. 'Tis a very sad matter.

But sure, I cannot find myself melancholy, for I am in prospect of a little sojourn at R- House with my darlings and the family, which does a deal to elevate my spirits. I daresay the events of my soirée are the subject of much gossip the morn, but I confide that most speculation will be upon the very peculiar behaviour of Lord D-. Also the news about Lady J- may take precedence.

I am about seeing what correspondence and other matters I should take in my pretty travelling desk so that I shall not be entire idle. I have a notion or two for new tales.

Hector comes and says Miss S- comes calling. O, says I, show her in, and desire coffee brought.

Miss S- enters in somewhat of a taking, goes sob upon my shoulder. I pat her and say, sure, she will feel a deal better does she take some coffee, and perchance a piece of the fine shortbread that Euphemia has sent up.

I cannot stay long, she says, but indeed, I wish I might apologise for Lord D-'s behaviour, which is quite bizarre, I cannot comprehend it, he is most exceeding put about –

Was it the gaming table? says I.

I apprehend not, she says with a frown – something about plots and mockery and I know not what. Dora was quite terrify’d at the taking he was in. But says we will no longer frequent these circles, and in particular were are to eschew the company of Lady B-.

I sigh and say, I daresay this matter would be extensively gossipt upon today, was it not that a little later, came one in great urgency looking for Mr H- to attend upon Lady J-.

She puts her hands to her mouth. O! Oh, how is she?

Not in danger, I confide, for I had a note from Her Grace to that effect.

Oh! cries Miss S-, Oh, was it not for Dora I should most certainly quit his roof. Am I to go cut Her Grace? Am I no longer to go to N- House? Sure 'tis quite entire unreasonable, 'tis a deal beyond not approving of novels or the theatre.

Indeed 'tis, my dear. Now, drink your coffee. I am about making a little visit to R- House while there is some building work done here. While I am there I will consider over this brangle, and see if my friends have any thoughts upon the matter. Perchance there is one might go talk of the matter with Lord D- and sound it out.

Sure, she says, I must not linger. I confide my groom will not betray me, for I discover he runs a betting book -

O, fie! says I, quite shocking, I confide he goes quiz Ajax so that he can find out the best odds.

I kiss her very warm and say, she knows I stand her friend, does she feel oblig’d to quit P- House she may come to me, aye, and bring her sister too at necessity. And am I still at R- House, they may come there, there is a deal of room.

She thanks me very effusive and hopes 'twill not come to that, and leaves.

I continue about gathering up matter that I may require during my stay at R- House.

I am just waiting for my trunks to be carry’d down and convey’d into the carriage, when comes Hector to say that that clergyman fellow is at the door.

What, the Reverend Mr L-? Show him in, and desire Euphemia to send up some tea

I shake hands with him. He seems in somewhat of an agitation. Celeste comes in with tea – and contrives to prevent Pounce from joining the party – and I pour him a cup.

He thanks me very effusive for inviting him to my soirée, adding that he hopes that the news from M- House is good?

Why, says I, 'tis rather melancholy to report that Lady J- miscarry’d, but she is as well as one may expect after such an event.

He pauses, drinks some tea, clears his throat and says, it seem’d to him that when Lord D- storm’d out yestere’en he was in some distress, and therefore he went to call at P- House to see might he be of any assistance in the matter, tho’ he dares say Lord D- will have his own spiritual counsellor.

I daresay, says I, he is part of a very Evangelickal set.

But when he call’d, Lord D- was report’d abed with the megrim, and Lady D- lying down for her accustom’d rest, but he was able to see that very fine young woman, Miss S-, to convey his concern. But she has no notion of what might be at the root of the matter, only that Lord D- was talking very wild and angry about scandalmongering -

As far as that goes, says I, I am most given to suppose that when I was late at a dinner-party there at P- House, there was some scandalmongering upon myself by certain of the Evangelickal set, on matter that I would have consider’d exceeding stale news and indeed, do not keep as a secret. But 'twas not Lord D-'s fault, for I confide that he had escapt hearing the scandal that attaches to Lady B-'s antecedents and came as somewhat of a shock to him. But indeed I know of no scandal that pertains to Lord D- save for the perchance excessive strictness of his conduct. (I do not say: but I am now given to make guesses.)

Sure 'tis extreme vulgar and even unChristian, says he, to advert to Lady B-'s earlier life.

I smile upon him and say, alas that not all are of his opinion on the matter.

He remarks that there is Biblickal authority that Our Lord preferr’d sinners to the self-righteous.

So 'tis given out, and sure I wish you might meet the Reverend Mr T-, that is at present in New South Wales, for I am inclin’d to suppose that you would be of one mind on the matter.

We smile at one another and he says, he must not take up more of my time, but that he is concern’d for the ladies of Lord D-'s household.

As am I, says I, and go about to see how one might go improve matters.

We part with great good feeling, and I desire him to convey my warmest regards to the U-s.

And then I take myself to R- House.

The footman informs me that all are in the garden, and my trunks will be attend’d to.

So I go into the garden, where the nursery set are playing, Josh romps with the wombatt, and Bess sits upon a bench with Lady Louisa to one side and Dodo B- to the other, their heads together in girlish whispering. I can hear that Meg is about piano practice.

My dearest Eliza stands smiling at the nursery set, as Quintus goes guide them thro’ some singing game, and then my lovely treasure observes me and comes running to desire to be pickt up and to exchange kisses.

I see an expression of somewhat like pain upon my darling’s face, and consider that, was I consider’d the mother of a child, 'twould be a hard thing to see her go convey such affection to one that was but an occasional visitor.

But sure I cannot resist Flora’s demands, for I love her most exceedingly.

But later, when I am in my fine reserv’d chamber, comes my belov’d Eliza, and sits upon the bed while I go tidy myself a little.

Dearest, says I, I thought you lookt a little distresst, just now, in the garden. Is it not hard to see Flora come embrace me, a comet and no fixt star, when 'tis you that looks after her daily, kisses her bruises to make them better, comforts her when she is sad, chides her for naughtiness, &C.

My darling stands up and comes embrace me. Dearest of C-s, she says, perchance there is a little of that, but then I think how much of our treasure’s life you miss -

Indeed, says I, ‘tis so.

- but, far more, she continues, do I envy Flora, that may run to you, throw her arms about you, give you kisses and demand kisses in return, and all think, what a sweet affection she shows her Aunty C-, sure Lady B- shows a great warmth towards the child, and say what an exceeding pretty thing that is. And I most greatly desire to do the like whenever I see our very best of C-s, but 'twould be a great scandal did I so.

Alas, says I, 'tis indeed the way of the world. But sure, do I see my dearest of wild girls in company, 'tis a great effort not to kiss her, and say go hang! to gossips.

We kiss very passionate.

At length we break off, and Eliza sighs and says she is greatly tempt’d to be a most wanton wild girl, but she confides that tea will shortly be serv’d in the parlour, and Bess wishes show off to her friends.

I am glad, says I, to see she goes make friends in Town.

Excellent girls, says Eliza. 'Twill do her good – already somewhat less mopish.

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Unanticipat'd dramatick events at my soirée

Arrives the day for my soirée and I find myself in somewhat of the frets at the prospect. There are several that have been invit’d that have not been before, which is ever some cause for concern, as to whether they will fit.

Sure indeed there are all my wont’d old friends – Jacob S- indeed has stay’d over in Town a day beyond his original plan so that he may attend, which is very kind in him. Tho’ 'tis a great pity that Martha will not be among us. Mr de C- and Phoebe, however, are promist to come and I am in hopes of advancing his interest by introducing him to several that may desire portraits.

And there will be all of the old set, that long acquaintance makes dear. Sure 'twould scarce seem one of my soirées was Mr P- not looking disagreeable somewhere among the company, or Mr N- not informing someone at great length about somewhat.

Tho’ I find myself greatly wishing that the dear Admiral could be present.

The musicians are already arriv’d and stand about the pianoforte.

Very shortly after come Mrs O’C- and Mr P, with Mr and Mrs N-. Mrs O’C- goes to the card-table at once so that she may be sure she has counters and cards all ready for those that desire a little mild play. She seems a little agitat’d, which may be the prospect of seeing her antient admirer, Mr O’N-.

The R- House party arrive almost upon their heels.

Timothy goes about with glasses of wine.

Sir B- W- and Susannah arrive at the exact same time as Biffle and Viola, with Jacob S-. Alas, says Viola, Lady J- is not feeling quite the thing and sends her apologies for not being here.

Why, says I, sure we shall be sorry not to see her, but her health is more important – please convey to her my best wishes and hopes that she soon feels more herself.

Miss L- goes sit at the pianoforte to play some agreeable welcoming musick.

The V-s arrive, and then Mrs P- and Miss W-, Sir Z- R- with Mr van H-, Mr B- and Mr H-.

There is an agreeable buzz of conversation, as Lord N- arrives, with Lord Geoffrey. The Earl spots the V-s and immediate goes indulge in botanickal discourse with 'em. Lord Geoffrey accepts a glass of wine but can scarce take his eyes from the painting of myself deckt as a Neapolitan peasant.

The O- B-s come in, with Charley and Cissie (Dodo is still a schoolroom miss), and, very apt upon their heels, Mr de C- and Phoebe. I make introductions, and Mrs O- B- remarks that they are mind’d to have their girls paint’d.

Enters the Reverend Mr L-, shakes my hand most hearty, looks about the room, and goes continue his learn’d conversation with Sandy.

There are a number of others of the philanthropick and scientifick sets join us.

I am in some concern that the P- House party will not attend, but at length I see Lord and Lady D-, with Miss S-, come thro’ the door, go over to greet them and make introductions.

Agnes S- observes the Reverend Mr L- and says, sure she never told him how very greatly she was impresst by his fine talk 'tother day, she should go do so.

I say to Lady D- that alas, Lady J- is unwell and does not come this e’en, but I may introduce her to some several others of the philanthropick set.

Sir H- and Lady Z- come in – she looks exceeding well, and indeed, he manifests very attentive towards her, guiding her towards a chair, quite the devot’d husband.

And the Contessa makes an entrance, the dear creature.

I see Lord D- looking about the company with a slight frown. Sure there is nothing to which he might take exception?

But, at this moment, Miss L- ceases the pretty tinkling with which she has greet’d the guests and we are in prospect of some singing and Signor V-'s performance upon the violin. This leads the company, which has been somewhat crowded together, to go dispose itself more suitably to enjoy this entertainment, which reveals to Lord D- that there is a card-table set up at which Mrs O’C- is dealing to Mr N-, Mr P-, Milord, Mr B-, and Mr H-.

He glares at me, goes take his wife’s arm, beckons to Miss S-, that is in animat’d converse with the Reverend Mr L- and Sandy, and says, they are leaving.

This causes a shock to ripple thro’ the company.

Sure 'tis a most insulting thing for him to do – and I see both Lady D- and Miss S- look over their shoulders to me with speaking expressions of distress as he almost drags ‘em out – and I can hear from the whispers that arise that this behaviour is consider’d quite in the worst of ton.

Lord Geoffrey looks as tho’ he would desire issue a challenge to Lord D-.

O, thinks I, is’t the play Lord D- so dislikes, or, is’t, mayhap, that he has some acquaintance with Mrs O’C-?

But I may not meditate upon the matter long, for in comes Mr Miles O’N-, apologizing for his tardy arrival and remarking that he was almost knockt down upon the doorstep by that fat little fellow Lord D- that came rushing out with his womenfolk behind him as if the house was afire.

I greet him very amiably, beckon over Timothy to offer him a glass of wine – for I do not suppose him a lemonade-drinking fellow – and also gesture to Mr G- D- to bring on the musickal entertainment.

I go sit, and smile, and wear an expression of listening very attentive to the musick, and find myself not so much inclin’d to tears, as I might have suppos’d, as exceeding angry. Sure even in former days, my soirées were consider’d most exceeding genteel, nothing at all of the coarse or vulgar or improper.

And I am very sorry indeed, yet sorryer than I already was, for poor Lady D- and Agnes S-.

I am a little sooth’d by Mozart.

After this agreeable musickal interlude a fine supper is laid upon the table and Hector and Timothy go about with more wine and lemonade.

Several come up to me to exclaim upon Lord D-'s most unmannerly behaviour, and one or two also remark that sure one might expect the Earl of P-'s heir to have been brought up in a cowshed, for his papa is seldom out of one.

The Contessa pats my arm and says, when that young fellow was in Naples about the Grand Tour, he show’d somewhat awkward, but not entire incivil. Perchance he goes run lunatick? – a sorry thing for his lady if so, for one perceives that she increases.

I am much comfort’d by the condolences that are expresst to me for such a disagreeable disruption to one of Lady B-'s fine soirées.

I observe Mr O’N- in close converse with Mrs O’C-, that positively blushes and flirts with her fan. Mr P- stands scowling but 'tis his habitual attitude.

'Tis time, I think, for a little more musick, and I go signal to Mr G- D-, when there is a tremendous knocking at the street door.

Sure, thinks I, remembering the coarse behaviour of Mr E-, I hope 'tis not Lord D- come to denounce me as a Scarlet Woman and Whore of Babylon.

Comes Hector very precipitate to say, 'tis Thomas from M- House, learns Mr H- is come here and thinks he should come at once to Lady J-.

Viola clutches at Biffle’s arm, and Biffle bites his lip. They look at one another, over to Mr H-, that has already risen, and all three depart with extreme expedition, barely staying to make mannerly farewells.

'Twould seem unfeeling to continue the entertainment after this, I confide, and the company goes depart, shaking my hand very warm and saying they hope to come again, and hope that the next time will not be so dramatick.

I throw myself down in a chair, and look about at my good friends from R- House that remain.

O, cries Eliza, was it not for company manners I could have scratcht that fellow’s eyes out.

I am somewhat surpriz’d, says I, that he was so put about that there was playing at cards – 'tis well-known, tho’ perchance not to him, that there is a very strict limit on how much they may lay, and all is entire polite, has never come to a quarrel.

Perchance, says Josiah, 'twas not the gaming-table that upset him, but the fine painting of Lady B- as a Neapolitan peasant that is immediate behind that table, tho’ unless one objects entirely to the depiction of the human form, there could be no objection by the strictest moralist.

O, says I, the Contessa said he was in Naples upon the Grand Tour – perchance he fell into some misadventure in those parts and 'twas a painfull reminder? But sure, tho’ the costume I think becomes me considerable – my friends give a gentle laugh – I do not look in the least like the women of those parts, that have very fine looks but in an entire different style – somewhat indeed like dear Miss G-.

I do not think, says Sandy, it was the painting he was looking at. Sitting at that side of the table was Mr H-, and seem’d to me that he look’d up with a start upon seeing Lord D-.

We fall silent in contemplation of what that might purport.

But indeed one is sorry for Lady D- and her sister, says Milord. Is there any might go talk to Lord D- -?

I remark that does one desire diplomatick tact, His Grace is quite the epitome, but at present he must be greatly preoccupy’d.

We fall silent again, in great concern about Lady J-.

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A meeting of antiquarians

Next morn as I take my breakfast comes Hector, and expresses himself very regretfull over the scene yestermorn. He has now took occasion to talk to Titus and sound out his account of matters and indeed he shows himself entire conscious of the need for prudence. Does not Tibby come take tea with Docket today? He will go about to ensure that she is not being taken advantage of, tho’ from the manner in which Titus speaks of her he confides 'tis most unlikely.

(Sure I do not suppose he apprehends the fashion in which they are being prudent.)

He then clears his throat and says, with the aid of Mr MacD- he has come about to a notion of how one might contrive an ice-house in one corner of the cellar. And if we are to have one, 'twould be advisable to be about the construction very soon, so that it may be fill’d with ice when winter comes. My Ladyship might find the work somewhat of a disturbance –

O, says I, I apprehend that you think I should go be out of the house while 'tis in train.

Exactly, says Hector.

Well, says I, I should not like the work put in hand until after my soirée, but after that I daresay I may take refuge at R- House, or perchance go visit 'tother Lady B- in Northamptonshire, tho’ I am like to think that 'twill be the hunting season and I should be requir’d out of civility to follow hounds, a matter about which I have some reluctance.

Sure, he says, 'tis not a matter of immediacy, but should be put on hand expeditious.

Very good, says I, I go leave the matter in your hands, and you may tell me when I must decamp, for sure I am not mistress in my own household.

I spend the morning about correspondence and looking over my accounts: indeed, we can well afford to install an ice-house. Also I write a little note to my darlings to ask would they take in a poor widow’d creature that will be driven out of her own home during improvements? sure we may convoke this e’en over the nice little supper that Euphemia has in hand, and dispatch it by Timothy, that is looking very cast down. I am like to suppose that 'twas he mention’d the matter of Titus and Tibby to Hector when being caution’d about the luring ways of strange women and did not know this would produce such an explosion.

Today is the occasion of the Reverend Mr L-'s lecture upon Hebrew manuscripts at the antiquarian society: as Docket arrays me suitable to the occasion, Docket, says I, would you think it likely that a fellow could take advantage of Tibby?

Docket snorts in a positive vulgar fashion and says that she confides that Tibby would deliver an entire set-down to any fellow that made the essay.

Sure I thought as much, says I.

She goes on to say that she apprehends that Hector was put about somewhat concerning Tibby and Titus, but as it was in the nature of family business she did not wish to interfere.

Very prudent, Docket, says I. Should Tibby still be here on my return I should desire a little word with her (for I should advance Thomas’s Jennie’s interest to her).

Sure antiquarians are an antique set of fellows, but there are a number of guests for this conversazione, that takes place in a chamber that has many antient objects about and shelves of exceeding old books.

I observe Viola with Lady D- and Agnes S-, also Jacob S- that I did not know was in Town. I go over to greet him and ask how Martha and Deborah do. Quite flourishing, he says, but remain down in Hampshire, while he comes to Town about some matters upon which he requires to convoke with Lady J-; he does not like to drag her down there in her present condition.

Do I not think, he goes on, that she looks a little pull’d down?

I smile and say, I confide that 'tis a matter of Lady J- supposing that she may be about the usual deal of matters she has on hand in her usual way.

Doubtless, he says. Sure was the Admiral here he could invoke husbandly concern - for he doubts even the Admiral would be bold enough to invoke husbandly authority - we both smile – in order to persuade her to rest and that 'tis not a sign of weakness.

(I wonder, thinks I, whether one might go about to see if Miss A- can plead this desirable course to her? I will go ponder upon it.)

I go greet Viola, Agnes S-, and Lady D-, that looks at me with some apprehension, I daresay from her husband’s interrogations. Lord D-, says Miss S-, would greatly have lik’d to come, but goes to a meeting of the Vice Society. (Indeed this confirms my suspicions.)

I observe that Sandy has arriv’d and appears to know several of the antiquarians, for they are in deep converse together.

Viola smiles and says she askt Lady J- did she wish to attend, but sure, one knows Lady J-, she had some philanthropick meeting to be about and would not go indulge herself, very dutyfull. Tho’, she adds, I think had it been a matter of Greek manuscripts she might have conced’d to the matter.

Sandy comes over and shakes hands.

An elderly fellow totters up to me and says what a sad loss the late Marquess was. What happen’d to his fine collection of antiquities? I tell him that they were bequeath’d to the British Museum – Very proper, he says, I was afear’d they might have remain’d at Naples. Sure I will to the Museum and ask to see 'em.

There is a little flurry and then all sit down as comes in the Reverend Mr L- along with some fellow that I take to be the president or such of the society, introduces him very fulsome, he clears his throat and commences speak.

'Tis not exactly dull - sure there are those in the room listen most exceeding attentive – and Mr L- speaks very pleasing, and not in some droning sermonickal manner, and has made some large drawings of certain matters of interest that he holds to up to illustrate his points – but I am a silly uneducat’d creature that cannot entirely follow.

Afterwards several of the antiquarians address questions to him that I can comprehend even less; sure, C-, says I to myself, you will not make a bluestocking, but 'tis agreeable to see that the matter is well-receiv’d.

Tea is serv’d and there is a general mingling. I go up congratulate Mr L-, and say I would desire to introduce him to some friends of mine. I take him to where Viola and Sandy are in converse, watcht by Lady D- and Miss S-, and go make introductions. Mr L- looks somewhat taken aback to being introduc’d to a Duchess, but Viola has a deal of address these days and goes about to make pleasant to him. Sandy goes ask inform’d questions and they embark upon a conversation that is quite impenetrable to the rest of us.

As the conversazione breaks up, I say to Lady D- and Miss S- that I hope I shall see them at my soirée - for I am in some concern that Lord D- will now consider my elegant reception room to be a haunt of vice and debauchery and refuse to darken my doorstep - O, indeed, says Lady D- with an expression of pleas’d anticipation, sure we should not like to miss it.

I also make the occasion to hand the Reverend Mr L- a card for the soirée, saying that does he remain in Town I should be delight’d to see him there.

When I come home I find that Tibby has not yet left and ask that she may come have a word with me before she goes.

She comes in, most exceeding stylish dresst, and says sure Hector goes make a ridiculous brangle. Titus take advantage of her – she should like to see the day!

I smile and say, so should I. Then I open to her the matter of Jennie, the M- House sewing maid that desires advance herself to lady’s maid.

Tibby puts on a considering expression. Jennie, she says, I mind me, has an exceeding hand with fine sewing, a nice clean girl, well-turn’d out tho’ quite suit’d to her station. Sure I will go see whether I might bring her on a little. For with the season coming along, and Her Grace acting the mentor to these several young ladies, there will be a deal on hand.

She then says, about these pieces she writes for the newspaper, that pleasant fellow Mr L- that is the editor has sent on to her letters he has had from readers desiring advice in matters of dress and he wonders whether she might go answer ‘em in print.

Why, says I, 'tis a most excellent notion.

Tibby smiles and says, she will be about it. She rises to go, and then says, is not Docket looking well? Greatly relieves her mind.

We part with great amiability.

I go stretch, and smile, and think with great contentment that my darlings will be with me this e’en, and there will be triangular matters, and a fine supper, and a deal of matters for us to convoke about. And I daresay fine news of our darling pretty treasure and the other dear children.

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