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 Ninth 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

Volume the Eighth

Volume the Ninth

A key to the numerous characters may be found in this post, and [personal profile] threeringedmoon has created a GoogleDocs version that can be downloaded here.

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 would also desire to remark that her devot'd amanuensis is about revizing this chronicle with a view to eradicating errours and making it more widely available to the cognoscenti. The amanuensis says, watch this space.

Madem C- 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. Indeed, words can hardly convey her most exceeding gratification at being a Yuletide fandom.

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'Tis not even as tho’ it could be the common matter 'twixt man and woman

Belinda and I take very affectionate leave of one another, and look forward to our next rencontre when I come to Northamptonshire. I desire her to convey my best regards to Captain P-, and also to go give my sweet Jezebel a pat upon the nose and an apple from me – for my lovely Jezzie-girl goes rusticate for the summer, kicking up her heels a little.

I let it be suppos’d that I proceed onwards to Lord P-'s house-party, but I have an intention to make a little visit somewhat discreet before I arrive there, for sure Sir C- F-'s fine property is entirely upon my way to Shropshire, and I go pass a night or so there.

'Tis no grand mansion, but an entire pleasing manor house in a quaint antique style – sure his family have been squires there these many generations.

He comes out to greet me and make a leg, says How now, very civil to Ajax and hopes they may have some discourse of horseflesh, and tells me that his housekeeper will show me to my chamber.

The bed is also in quaint antique style, but there is fine fresh clean lavender-scent’d linen upon it, and, I confide, a mattress that is not of the same antiquity as the bedstead.

Sophy goes look out of the window and remarks upon the very pretty view. Altho, she goes on, there are a deal of red cows.

Indeed, says I, I apprehend that Sir C- F-'s cattle are very well spoke of.

Hot water has been provid’d and I wash off the dust of travel and Sophy arrays me in a simple muslin and sets a cap upon my head. I go downstairs to the parlour.

Sir C- F- says he dares say I should like some tea?

La, says I, did you not promise me fine cider of your own making? Sure if I may I will take a glass.

A maid comes with two mugs of cider and we sit and drink – sure 'tis excellent fine stuff but I confide 'tis deceptively strong and I should not take a second.

We look at one another with antient affection, and I say, I daresay he would desire news of how Lady N- does.

He sighs somewhat, and says, sure I see into his heart.

'Tis excellent fine news, says I, makes an entire difference now she has an invalid carriage and may get about thus, the Marquess has been about alterations at O- House so that she may contrive to move about it with ease, shows most exceptional welcoming to her. Now they are at D- Chase she will spend hours together in the gardens, watching the children at their pastimes. Her spirits are quite vastly improv’d.

He smiles and says, 'tis quite excellent news, but he confides that one cannot hope for miracles and she will ever have to lead an invalid life.

I agree that 'tis so.

He gives a little groan and says that he is in the strongest suspicion that had matters been attend’d to a deal earlyer she would be a deal less crippl’d, but the Earl –

I daresay, says I. Mr H-, that is quite one of the finest surgeons in Town and a very not’d anatomist, will say that altho’ rest is an entire necessity of the process of healing, will come a time when one goes recover from the initial injury that 'tis desirable to undertake exercize for the good of the muscles and to be encourag’d to make an effort, but of course under the care of one that has professional understandings in the matter.

Lord, he says, H- is still about and not fled the country for fear of arrest over matters of body-snatching?

I say that 'twas fear’d might come to that last year when there was a great to-do over resurrection men, but in the event he was not among those nam’d in the business, altho’ there were whispers.

Once invit’d me to observe a dissection, says Sir C- F-. Sure I was oblig’d to run out mid-way for fear of puking. But I daresay 'tis grown quite the habit with him.

Sure he will say that there is none becomes a surgeon without they go spew once whilst observing an operation, but indeed, becomes a habit to 'em and they will approach the task with entire equanimity.

I return to our former subject and say 'tis quite the prettyest thing to observe the care Lord U- has for his mother. Indeed he is an excellent young man that is widely not’d for his good qualities.

Sir C- F- smiles and says, indeed he is a good boy, and runs entire contrary to his sire’s nature.

La, says I, not entire contrary, for would not that impute wild extravagance?

Sir C- F- confides that 'tis so, and adds that he supposes that they cannot yet have heard aught from the Earl – will not even be in sight of the Americk shore yet.

Supposing, says I, that he would be at the expense of the carriage of a letter!

Sir C- F- laughs and then says, sure that penny-pinching habit of his is no laughing matter. But, dear C- - I beg your pardon, Lady B- - I laugh and say, sure we are old friends and are not in fine society, I hope he will take the liberty to call me as he was us’d during that fine summer in Brighton.

C-, then – now you have refresht yourself you might care to step out a little and see the place?

'Twould be entire delightfull, says I, ever provid’d I do not have to go very close to any cows.

Why, my cattle are the gentlest creatures – 'tis a breed entire not’d for the amiability of its nature – but indeed I would not force you to confront a cow.

I am a sad timid creature, says I.

I go fetch my parasol, and we walk out of the house, thro’ a fine cottage garden of flowers and herbs just outside the door. Alas, he says, that I have misst the very fine sight of the orchards in blossoming-time: but he is like to suppose that come the autumn, there will be an excellent crop - tho’ sure one is ever at the mercy of accidents of weather.

Indeed there are a deal of fruit-trees, apples and pears – besides the cider, he remarks, he makes a very good perry, that we might have with dinner – and one may quite imagine how very beautifull they must be when they are in bloom. He goes talk a deal of the different kinds of apple, and various grafting experiments he makes.

We do pass by several fields of his fine red white-fac’d cattle, but there are stout fences, and sure they present exceeding placid.

These fellows, he says, are fine beef cattle, and you will be tasting how very good beef they come to at dinner. Has a few dairy cows for milk and butter but does not make any business of it. He discourses of matters of breeding, and feeding, and the great improvements there have been of recent generations.

He looks about him and breathes in the fine air, and says, sure he regrets he does not have a son to leave this to, when his family have been here so long. But – Oh, says he, he knows that there are plenty of fellows go marry even if 'tis not to their first choice; but has always felt as if he stood ready to come did she call: 'tis somewhat that would be hard for a wife to understand, 'tis not even as tho’ it could be the common matter 'twixt man and woman –

I take his hand and squeeze it and say that his feelings do him entire credit (sure indeed I feel somewhat tearfull, for 'tis a very beautifull thing), and indeed, she is a very fine woman. One may observe the affection in which her offspring hold her.

Exactly so, says he. He was in some mind to leave the place to Charles, but then he minds that he will fall heir to the very pleasing N- properties, and mayhap should leave it to one of his brothers, that will otherwise have only a younger son’s portion.

An excellent fine thought, says I. I apprehend that Mr Geoffrey M- has some mind to going into law, but I do not know what ambitions Mr Edward M- might have –

Sure, says Sir C- F-, has not show’d any inclination to the Army or the Church – but there is no exceeding hurry, I may sound the matter out further when Charles and his mother come visit.

We turn back towards the house, and he remarks that he keeps country hours and we shall be dining very shortly.

'Tis a most excellent fine dinner that is serv’d up to us, and sure the beef is quite the nonpareil of its kind, and the perry is most delicious, but, like the cider, I suspect somewhat deceptive, so I take it with caution.

Our conversation turns to chearfull reminiscence of our summer in Brighton, that was indeed a most agreeable interlude – I had been feeling a little desolate on account of dear Captain K-, as he then was, being post’d to the China Seas, but indeed my spirits were entirely benefitt’d by the sanitive airs, the many entertainments and amenities of the town, and Sir C- F-'s company.

And indeed, 'twixt these happy memories, and the effect of the perry in livening the blood, we find ourselves looking upon one another as we did in those happy days, when we would be at a ball, or a card-party, and our eyes would meet, and we would take our leave of the company, and return to our very pleasing apartments and go romp with great ardour.

Indeed, says Sir C- F- with a little embarrassment, I did not invite you with any intentions, but sure you are still a lady of most exceeding attractions.

I smile upon him - for indeed, 'tis some while since I have pay’d my dues to Aphrodite, and 'tis yet a tiresome while until I shall be with my darlings – and say that he is still a most appealing fellow.

And so matters are once more between us as they were that happy summer.

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‘Tis greatly worrysome, but forewarn’d is forearm’d

Belinda and I consider the notion of going visit the tenant farmers, but conclude that could only be embarrassing do they go complain upon any matter that is not within our power to remedy, and we entire confide that there are a deal of matters that should have been took in hand long since was the estate under proper hand. We sigh. For altho 'tis not quite in the condition describ’d in Goldsmith’s poem, 'tis by no means the fine estate it might be.

We therefore thank the agent very civil and say that we will go do our utmost to exhort Chancery to find some means to undertake the matter, but sure we are not entire sanguine that they would come to any decision afore the crack o’doom.

The agent sighs and says, at least when the late Marquess was in life one might correspond with him, as his late father did, and he would go authorize any matter that was in need of seeing to, even did he have no closer interest in his estate. But now! – 'twixt the present Marquess being entire lunatick, alas, and his affairs in the hands of Chancery –

Belinda and I exchange glances and I apprehend we both take some thought as to the lunatick Marquess’s notorious stingyness and the likelyhood that, was he in his wits, the estate would most like fare no better and perchance even worse.

We commend the way the agent goes on in such very trying circumstance, and declare that, may we ever be of any service to him, we shall be entire happy &C&C. Belinda indeed gives him some recommendations does he ever go to the races, and says, does he ever require a fine hunter for his own use, she can put him in the way of one at a most agreeable price.

We leave him at his premises, after having taken leave, and drive back to the inn, where we purpose stay another night so that we may convoke upon this business and engage in more general gossip.

We go into our private parlour and desire tea to be brought as soon as maybe.

Tho’, says Belinda, when I consider the rack and ruin that is come to what might be an exceeding fine estate, sure I am like to call for brandy, and plenty of it.

Indeed 'tis a melancholick sight, says I. Tho’ I confide may have been a somewhat gloomy place, low-lying as ‘tis, at its best: but I daresay did one cut back those overhanging trees, pull down some of the ivy that creeps up over the windows, bring the gardens back to what they us’d to be, might appear chearfull enough. But sure 'tis an exceeding great contrast to my late husband’s villa at Naples, that was all light and air, and fine open views.

Comes the tea and we indulge in the cup that chears - indeed it brings us to better spirits, and we go consider over how Belinda might present the matter to Chancery, and what is the least one might do. We are both of the opinion that, since the tenant-farmers have been commend’d, 'tis those matters of drainage &C that ought come first, lest they depart.

Sure, says Belinda, I confide they will consider us remarkable business-like - for ladies.

We both laugh somewhat immoderate, for without having undue conceit of ourselves, I think we may consider that we are prudent businesswomen. Sure, says I, I do not think you, dear Belinda, go giving away fine horses simply because you like the cut of a fellow’s jib.

Indeed not, she says. And sure, I will remark that making a gift to Lady B- has led to a deal of solicitations to us to procure fine looking but gentle mounts for ladies.

I laugh somewhat immoderate. O, indeed, 'tis the like of those fellows that send me samples of their china &C. Really, my dear, 'twas entire kindness in you and I am sure you did not think that 'twould lead to that.

Perchance not! For indeed, we had not been in any thought about mounts for ladies that were not bruising riders to hounds, but indeed, 'tis a pleasing addition to our business.

We look at one another with great affection. She says that they greatly look forward to my visit: they are in a little sadness that could not be contriv’d that Josh might come stay a little.

I laugh and say, why, there is the matter of Josh’s traveling menagerie: 'twas a deal of a business getting all in order so that might be safely convey’d north with 'em. But also, his brother Harry comes home for a little while as a holiday from his apprenticeship in engineering, and Josh would not desire to miss his brother’s company.

Belinda says she dares say they might contrive to house a menagerie: tho’ she knows not whether they might have food fit for a wombatt or a mongoose. I laugh and say, 'tis more a matter of preventing the wombatt from eating the carpets &C, and the mongoose is not particular in its diet – except that, 'tis most peculiar, altho’ they will fight and kill snakes, do not eat 'em. I daresay might were they extreme hungry, but 'tis not a dish they relish. So 'twould not be needfull to lay on a diet of serpents

I go stretch myself a little and say that I will go change, and I daresay 'tis country hours and we dine exceeding early?

Belinda agrees that 'tis so.

So I go have Sophy take off my walking-dress, that is in some need of brushing, and dress me in somewhat loose and comfortable, and then return to the parlour, where they are about laying up the table so that we may dine.

'Tis simple fare but well-cookt and there is plenty of it.

When we are come to the end of the meal and go sit with a little entire sanitive port and madeira, Belinda asks do I care to hear how matters go with her undear lunatick husband?

Why, says I, I should like to be assur’d that he is well secur’d and will not go escape again.

Oh, says Belinda, he is well-watcht after that; for indeed, 'twould do little for their reputation did it get about that one of their lunaticks levant’d and contriv’d to get to Town. No, 'tis mostly to say is surly and filthy in his habits &C. But there was a curious matter in the latest report –

Oh? says I. I hope 'tis not that he goes about to be restor’d to his wits. For has come to my attention that, altho’ he committ’d crimes, as he is a peer of the realm he may go cry privilege over a first offence for anything short of murder or treason, and go entire free from penalty.

Belinda expresses shock and horror over this. No, she goes on, he does not come about to show sane - what 'twas, was that he had a visitor -

What, says I, who would go visit him? I had not suppos’d he had many friends, that would go call upon him in his durance.

Indeed, says Belinda, she confides 'twas not a friend – indeed, she does not collect he had any – but some fellow that the keepers suppos’d conduct’d an investigation into some dubious matter in his Surrey parish. Sure one might quite imagine that he would have been readyly brib’d to undertake the office hugger-mugger over some runaway match – or indeed to tear from the register some birth or marriage that is now found inconvenient to be known of –

Did they, says I, say what the fellow’s name was? (Tho’ was’t Mr R- O-, as I am in considerable suspicion 'twas, I daresay he would give some incognito.)

No, she says, did not say. But his visit greatly agitat’d the poor Marquess, they report, set him off into one of his raving fits about that wanton jezebel, that suppos’d sea-captain’s wife, that temptress that was no better than she should be.

I am struck with a chill, tho’ there is sunlight pours in at the window and the room is by no means cold.

Why, says I, I confide they suppose that the lady is some phantasm of a sickly mind.

Most like, agrees Belinda. My dear, take a little more madeira, 'tis entire good for you.

So Mr H- gives it out, says I, and sure he is reput’d one that understands these matters of the bodily oeconomy. I sigh and go on, tho’ sure he is an imprudent fellow in the pursuit of the understanding of such matters: 'tis not at all long since that scandal about resurrection men, and 'twas very much rumour’d that he had had to do with 'em, but did he so, such dealings never came into court. One would think 'twould render him cautious; but lately his man said somewhat to Hector that leads me to suppose that he still dabbles in the business.

Say you so! a shocking matter.

Indeed, says I, and yet his intention is to advance knowledge, that one would suppose praiseworthy.

We shake our heads: 'tis a tangl’d problem that I daresay was I a philosopher I might unknot and determine the rights and wrong of, but as 'tis, cannot come at what I should think in the light of Universal Law.

To change the subject to something more agreeable, I go show Belinda the little painting of Flora by Mr de C-, that I keep in the secret compartment of my traveling desk, and she exclaims upon what a fine girl she is grown, and says she looks out for a pony for her.

We go to bed betimes but I find myself lying wakefull in somewhat of a fret over the likelyhood that Mr R- O- has been about interrogating the mad Marquess, and what he may suppose he might discover by that means, especial given the craz’d ravings that are report’d. 'Tis greatly worrysome.

But at least, thinks I, I am in some suspicion that he is about this matter, and forewarn’d is forearm’d.

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I had quite entirely the best part

The Marquess looks out the letters he sent to his brother and shows 'em to me. Indeed, says I, these will serve exceedingly as a foundation for a fine volume upon your travels. Sure you will need extract passages, and omit allusions to your relatives and childhood friends, for tho’ I suppose your brother was most amuz’d to hear your comparison of a certain great-aunt to a llama, or rather, that the creature reminded you of her greatly, even unto the spitting habit, I apprehend that this would best not be expos’d to a general readership.

'Tis true, he says, and the aunt is yet in life, and still spits when she speaks.

Also, says I, I am most exceeding prepossesst by the little drawings you include and wonder might one by some means incorporate 'em into your narrative. Sure I think we should desire Mr MacD- to join in our convockation, for he has a deal to do with publishing matters.

Sandy is entire delight’d to be of the party, makes many usefull suggestions, discourses knowledgeably concerning the means by which illustrations may be includ’d within a book, and also remarks that there are certain episodes that constitute detacht stories that he wonders might Lord O- considering introducing to the publick in some periodical, that would rouse interest for the complet’d volume.

Why, says I, is not Mr L- always desirous of copy? Particular at this season.

Indeed, says Sandy, would serve quite admirably, his paper becomes exceeding well-thought-of both for its reporting and for its reviews and articles on matters of more general interest.

Sure, says the Marquess, do you propose this journal to me it must be quite the highest recommendation.

We both go descant upon Mr L-'s excellences as an editor and as a journalist.

Sure 'tis extreme agreeable to be here at D- Chase and see all so happy and to be among such good friends, but I am promist to go look over the matter of T- with Belinda so even tho’ I am besought to stay just a day or so longer, I must be off.

Since Docket is not with us, but enjoying the fine sanitive sea airs of Weymouth in Biddy Smith’s company, we make a somewhat long day of travel, and arrive at the inn that Belinda and I have chose for our rendezvous in the evening.

I find her already there, having bespoke their two best bedrooms and a private parlour. We embrace very warm, and she says she has told 'em to send up a little supper against my arrival.

Sure, says I, Arabella put up a fine basket for us to take along with us, but indeed a little refreshment afore I go fall into bed will be exceeding gratefull, especial is there a restorative glass of madeira to it.

As I eat – 'tis plain fare but good and fresh – Belinda discourses of how Captain P- does, how matters go with their business, the very fine colt that Cherry-ripe bore that they have most exceeding hopes of. 'Tis pleasing to hear how well matters go with 'em.

Then she looks at me and laughs and says, dearest C-, I can see your eyelids go droop, there will be time to exchange further news the morrow.

I smile and say, indeed, a day of travel is extreme exhausting even in such a fine carriage as mine with Ajax on the box, and also would not wish to keep Sophy up, is a young thing that needs her rest.

So I go to my bedchamber, and make sure that Sophy has din’d – o yes, she says, they fed us exceeding well in the kitchen, excellent hospitable – and she goes ready me for bed, and sure 'tis a very comfortable one, and I am asleep very soon. I am woke a little by the cock that goes crow upon the dawn, but soon fall back to slumber.

Sophy comes bring my chocolate and opens the shutters and says, 'tis a pretty morning, Your Ladyship: but you were sleeping so sweet and peacefull I did not like to wake you earlyer.

I rise and go look out of the window and observe Belinda that sits upon the mounting-block talking very amiable with Ajax. But I confide that Belinda is entire us’d to be up at cock-crow.

Why, says I, I entirely confide Docket would have done the like. And I daresay that what I should wear today would be some walking-dress, not too fine, but fine enough to demonstrate my consequence to this fellow that is the agent for the estate.

Sophy nods and says, there is hot water entire ready for you to wash, Your Ladyship. So I go wash, and she arrays me entire suitable for the day’s business, saying, perchance not a parasol, but a hat with a fine shady brim?

Entirely so, says I, but will not put it on just yet.

I go into the parlour, where I find Belinda sitting at table and laughing at me as a sore slugabed.

'Tis so, says I, but I hope you had an agreeable convockation with Ajax?

Indeed, says she, pouring us both coffee and taking a muffin.

Sure the eggs they serve are nigh on as good as Martha’s. But we do not linger at table but go to the premises where the agent conducts business and take him up in my carriage so that we may drive out to T-.

He is most anxious that somewhat might be done about the estate: sure there are improvements that would be most desirable, he fears the tenant-farmers may go leave is there not attention given to matters of drainage and hedging &C, and they are good solid fellows, 'twould entire repay any outlay.

Belinda sighs, and says Chancery, alas.

The agent sighs and says, 'tis a word strikes despair, and proceeds to some long account of some local fellow that took a case to Chancery that stretcht out some several generations.

As we come along the drive, that is heavily overhung by trees, he sighs and says, sure they should be cut back, his father can still recall what a fine sight us’d to be, but 'tis a very gloomy prospect now.

We go into the house that strikes extreme chill even tho’ 'tis such a warm day. All is under dust-sheets. One may see that, was it furbisht up, would be very fine, but as 'tis, is a desolate place entire fit for some Gothick novel.

The agent says that they conduct an annual inspection and undertake any necessary repairs, does the roof leak or is some window broke, and if necessary have a ratting - sure there are fellows in the locality would pay bring their terriers to a fine ratting, lay bets upon 'em &C.

Belinda, that I daresay is somewhat of a connoisseur in the matter, says that a ratting may be a fine sight, and they talk terriers for a while.

I remark that 'tis in a deal better repair than B- House in Town before we went furbish that up. But would certainly require work before 'twas fit for habitation.

We go walk out onto the terrace, that is most agreeable after how gloomy 'tis within-doors, and one may see that at one time the gardens were most exceeding fine but now are greatly overgrown, no longer a wild garden but an entire wilderness. In the distance one may perceive the tower of the fam’d folly.

We ask about the folly and the agent sighs and says, 'twas built as a mock-ruin, as was the fancy of that former generation, 'tis now quite a real ruin</em> that one winter storm, I daresay, will entirely bring down.

No hermit? I ask.

He says that a hermit would have to be desperate indeed to live there, the wind whistles thro’ even does the place not go tumble about his ears.

He takes us about the place a little, without we are oblig’d to walk through nettle-beds &C, and there is a fine chapel that must be of considerable antiquity, to which is annex’d the family mausoleum.

O, says I, I should greatly like to go see my late husband’s tomb and lay flowers upon it.

'Tis fortunate that Belinda ever carries a neat little knife in her reticule, that is sharp enough to cut me some roses from the untend’d bushes that overgrow any beds they were previous confin’d to, and also to trim the thorns from the stems so that I may carry them without hurt.

The agent unlocks the grille, that is exceeding rusty and creaks and squeaks mightyly when 'tis open’d.

I go in, and they display excellent ton by leaving me to the matter, as I walk in and peer at the monuments to see which pertains to the dear good Marquess I marry’d.

I find it at length, and kneel down beside it to lay the flowers at its foot, and lean my head a little upon the cold stone that is engrav’d with his name and his dates of birth and death and naught else – sure I wonder, as I kneel there, whether he might have preferr’d a fine funeral pyre in the classickal fashion than to be in this dark gloomy vault so unlike his fine sunlit villa.

I daresay he would not have car’d what happen’d to his corporeal remains after death provid’d his wishes were carry’d out. Indeed, I think, he would be proud of Marcello. I am in no supposition that his spirit lingers, and yet I whisper very low how matters go.

I leave the flowers there and walk out into the sunlight, where Belinda and the agent are talking hunting very amiable together.

The agent enquires is there anything else we should desire see? Belinda and I look at one another and sigh deeply. For indeed, 'tis exceeding discouraging to see the state of the place, and consider how much needs doing, and how much worse 'tis like to get in the time it may take Chancery to come at some decision that work might be authoriz’d.

Sure, thinks I, I had quite entirely the best part of the Marquess’s legacy.

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Might present the thing more telling

That e’en after dinner (sure Arabella shows exceedingly) we have a little dancing, with Miss Millick playing the piano for us, 'tis extreme agreeable and I see quite delights Hester to watch us about it.

When 'tis done, Sandy and I are besought to undertake a little reading for the company. I have been about the library to find some plays that are not Shakspeare, to supply a little variety, and give 'em Mrs Malaprop, that is lik’d exceedingly. There is a proposal that mayhap on the morrow, we might read some play, or part of one, together? 'Tis a pleasing thought.

'Tis also desir’d that Lord O- tells us more of his adventures, that mightily impress the company. (Sure the morrow I must convoke with him about this matter of writing 'em down.)

I sleep most exceeding peacefull and wake only when Sophy comes bring my chocolate.

I ask her how she does in the household, and she says, o, Your Ladyship, most excellent well, Lorimer and Brownlee show exceeding hospitable and they sit together about their sewing and talk of their profession. And there is no saucyness from the menservants.

I am pleas’d to hear it, says I. And as 'tis still quite early of the morn, I will go take a little ride afore breakfast.

'Tis most exceeding pleasant, and I return with a fine appetite.

Sebastian K- is also at table. He says, sure 'tis shocking ton to raise such a matter during this very agreeable house-party, but he apprehends that I go visit my lead-mine, and indeed, they, that is, he and his father, would be most interest’d in establishing a business connexion in the matter, so would desire to be beforehand.

Why, says I, those matters are in the hands of the manager, an excellent fellow, one Mr M-, but do you say a little more to me concerning the business, I will open it to him during my visit there. Do you wait but a little while while I go change, and get my little memorandum book, and we may discourse a little on the matter.

So we do so, walking up and down and around the rose-garden, and proceed from a discussion of that very usefull mineral lead to how matters go with the polish factory, and about Euphemia and Seraphine’s preserves and pickles, and how exceeding prepossessing Herr P- comes on in the matter of business in Germany. 'Tis gratifying.

He then says, sure he would greatly enjoy further converse, but has been promis’d a lesson in archery that he should not wish to miss. Seems quite the crack at present.

Indeed, says I, was very popular at the Q- house-party, and Lady Emily is quite entire Maid Marian.

He goes off to where the butt has been set up.

I see that Hester has been wheel’d out in her chair to sit beside the fountain – 'tis clear she relishes this most extreme, and would sit out in the sunlight all day.

I walk over to her. She looks at my pretty muslin and sighs a little and says, you are always so well-dresst, dear C-, but sure must be exceeding dull for Brownlee to have to deal with my dull wardrobe.

Why, my dear Hester, there is no need at all for your wardrobe to be dull, just because you do not go about in Society. Sure does it not greatly elevate the spirits to be pleasingly dresst?

O, she cries, clasping her hands, do you think I might? Is’t possible?

I consider over this for a little. I daresay that one might contrive – a fine dressmaker might I confide come visit rather than you go to her – you are able stand a little, are you not? – she nods – so you might be measur’d and fitt’d at your convenience. Indeed I cannot see why should not answer. I will go about to desire Docket to advance your interest with Mamzelle Bridgette.

I perch upon the rim of the fountain and look at her. One may still see that at one time she must have been exceeding handsome. Sure, says I, perchance you might also have your hair dresst differently? And while I daresay you should not wish to paint, there are very fine washes and lotions for the complexion.

She sighs and says, for so many years has been her only aspiration to be clean and tidy, sure she never thought to primp. But, she says with determination, so be 'tis not vanity, she will be about it.

But, she goes on, now I am quite embarkt upon a course of self-indulgence, I will open to you another matter.

Why, says I, say on.

'Tis Milly, she says – Miss Millick, that has been governess here these many years, but that will be out of that place once Lou leaves the schoolroom. And 'tis not as tho’ we yet have a new generation ready to take up the horn-book &C. And, she continues a little sadly, I am like to suppose that Tony and Nan might desire a somewhat younger person that has more understanding of the modern ways. Now, my dear C-, I was in some notion to ask you was there any in your circles that might require a governess, but indeed, poor Milly’s age is against her and these days it seems more is expect’d. And indeed one hears that the lot of a governess may be very harsh -

Indeed, 'tis so, says I, thinking of that horrid D- family in which Ellie N- was employ’d.

- and already since Nan and Em have gone into Society, she has been acting somewhat as a companion to me, to fetch and carry, read to me am I too tir’d to read to myself, play a little musick, and such. Would it be exceeding selfish in me to desire her to remain in that capacity?

La, says I, did you desire a companion I am sure Lord U- would consider it entire proper, but might suppose you would desire some younger brisker woman –

O, she cries, I am us’d to Milly, and sure I should be distresst to cast her upon the world.

Why, says I, seems entire answerable.

Comes Arabella across the lawn with a tray, and Selina at her heels, saying she doubts not that Lady N- would like a little sustenance at about this time.

Oh, she says, that is so kind. And I hope that naughty puss has not been troubling you.

Indeed not, says Arabella, bending down to stroke Selina’s head. What a fine cat she is to be sure. She and Lady N- smile at one another. She then turns to me and says, there is a collation laid in the drawing-room does Lady B- wish to partake.

Indeed, says I, this very fine air gives one a great appetite, so may I leave you to Selina’s company, my dear?

Hester smiles and says, she doubts not that Selina makes up to her for titbits and not for the pleasure of her company, the naughty creature, but indeed, do you, Lady B-, go partake.

I walk back towards the house with Arabella, that desires me to advance to Lord O- the desirability of certain improvements in the kitchens at D- Chase, for they are by no means as up to the mark as the ones at O- House.

Indeed I shall, says I, and upon going into the house make a little note in my memorandum book.

I find Lord O- in the drawing-room, that says, the archers have carry’d away a pique-nique to sit about and imitate the Merry Men in Sherwood Forest, but he is come to such an age and has spent so much time of necessity eating in such circumstance, that he prefers to sit in a chair, at a table.

I open to him Arabella’s thoughts upon kitchens - tho’ says I, I confide one might not be about improvements while you have company in the house.

Also, seeing that we are alone, I mention the Earl of I-, that was formerly Lord J-, and enquire whether he had any acquaintance with him. He shakes his head, but says he dares says there are some dubious dealings behind and there are fellows he might go sound out to discover more.

After a pause, he says, are you at leisure, Lady B-, perchance we might convoke over this matter of my writings?

Indeed, says I, 'tis an excellent time to do so.

So we go to the very agreeable room in the turret that he has set aside and furnisht as a study, that I exclaim upon considerable – has fine views and one may indeed see the archers. He hands me over some several pages and says, he can see himself that 'tis sad dry stuff, lacks that vigour that he has enjoy’d in the works of a certain Incognita Lady –

O, poo, says I, does one deal of curses and hauntings and horrid experiments the reader will read on very absorb’d.

But I con over his pages and indeed they lack that spark that animates the account when he tells it. I frown a little over the matter and sure I see points where I might present the thing more telling, just as I may when I scrutinize Josiah’s speeches for Parliament.

I then go ponder a little and say, sure I might come about to work this up, but I wonder, has he thought about who he goes address the narrative to? Did he perchance have some general reader in mind, and sit down to write as if conveying the matter in a letter, rather than as a scientifick report, just as when he tells his tales to the company he shapes 'em to their apprehension, might well answer.

Why, he says, indeed I think you hit it off, Lady B-. Sure there are already letters I writ to my poor brother, for altho’ was such a sickly fellow, greatly relisht the tales of my adventures. I had not thought of that, but indeed, do I go look 'em over – for he preserv’d 'em very carefull, the dear fellow. He sighs somewhat.

He then says, sure that is an excellent fine thought, and goes on, but indeed, should still be very gratefull might you look over my manuscript once 'tis more advanc’d, to see whether I have got the knack of the matter.

Gladly, says I.

He then makes a very generous offer of a donation to one or other of my good causes, that I am very pleas’d to accept.

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I was not oblig’d to encounter a minotaur

Why, says I at length to Hester, perchance I shall go wander in the maze – am I not return’d by the time to dress for dinner, you might send one to search for me.

She laughs gently and says, she confides that Lady B- is ever able to find her way out of a predicament.

Oh, poo, says I, I do not think I have ever before contriv’d to traverse a maze. Sure I may come to crawling thro’ hedges, sure 'tis a good thing that Docket is not with me to chide me for spoiling my gown.

I stand up and follow the path that she tells me will take me in the direction of the labyrinth. I am approaching the place where one begins venture into its windings when comes quite panting up to me the Honble Geoffrey M-, that desires me very effusive to permit him to conduct me thro’ the maze, for sure, Lady B-, 'tis most exceeding confusing do you not have the trick of it.

Why, says I, that is most exceeding civil of you, Mr M-, for I am sure that you have more entertaining matters to be about the day.

He blushes mightyly and declares that naught could be so congenial as to accompany Lady B-.

I smile upon him and say, sure you make pretty speeches. But indeed, sure I am an Ariadne that would wish some Theseus to guide her (it then comes to me that 'twas Ariadne that guid’d Theseus: but no matter).

I slip my hand into his arm and desire him to lead on.

'Tis, I confide, an occasion he has long desir’d in order to unbosom himself to me about how matters go with him.

He has a thought, he tells me, to go in for law, for a fellow should have some occupation and not be an idle fribble and wastrel.

'Tis most meritorious, says I, sure one sees a deal of idle young fellows about Town, and while there are those can afford a life of entire frivolity there are many that cannot.

Indeed, says Mr M-, altho’ U- has lookt over the accounts and thinks he may increase Eddy’s and my allowances, sure a deal of high living would ruin us very shortly: but U- has very kindly said that he does not see why we should not be able to run a fine new phaeton, and while we were at A- spoke to Lord R- and Lord V- about who might be the best carriage-makers in that line.

He then pauses and says, we must take this turn, that one is deceptive and will lead us into a dead end.

Why, says I, sure you are so well-spoke of as a whip, 'twould be entire proper for you to have some better vehicle.

He blushes and says, when the matter comes about, he hopes he may take me driving?

Indeed, says I, 'twill be an entire pleasure.

And sure, he goes on, there is no harm in healthfull recreation when one is set upon a course of study.

Indeed not, says I, but tell me more about this proposition that you should study law.

So he tells me, with interruptions to determine which way we should turn, and I am not in the least surpriz’d that he has been greatly influenc’d by his conversation with Sandy as to the utility of studying law, for even does he not practise there are a deal of matters in which it comes in usefull, and provides valuable training of the mental capacities, &C.

(And of course, thinks I, 'tis consider’d one of the gentlemanly professions along with the Army and the Church, and I cannot suppose either of those particular congenial to the Honble Geoffrey.)

Why, says I, 'tis a fine thing for a fellow to have a profession to his name and a means to earning a living, and not be hanging out in hopes of inducing some heiress to marry him.

He blushes and says, sure his sisters – you must know what girls are, Lady B- - go advance Miss S-'s interest. And indeed, she is a very amiable young woman and acts very pleasing, Miss A- greatly commends the clarity and apprehension with which she speaks her lines, but really, a fellow does not like it for his sisters to go match-make for him.

(I smile to myself. Sure they are young and have not yet learnt those subtle arts by which one may prefer a lady whose interest one wishes advance to a gentleman’s attention, but I confide that they will improve in the matter. Tho’ I then collect that Lady J- entire lackt any subtle art in the matter for all her years.)

We come, to my considerable relief, to the centre of the maze with the quaint sundial. It has some motto carv’d around it, but 'tis in Latin, so I do not attempt read it.

We pause for a little, and Mr M- asks should I care for snuff. I say, thank you, o, but do indeed indulge yourself.

(I am like to suppose that he has been about practising the elegant taking of snuff, and indeed manages the matter very pretty.)

He says that Lord R- has a very pretty snuffbox, that he says I gave him?

Indeed, says I, 'twas a gift to celebrate our long friendship (I confide that Milord did not go demonstrate the hidden naughty device, that is quite out of the common, and that we both find most amuzing).

Is he not an excellent fine fellow? cries Mr M-, and goes expatiate at some length upon Milord’s virtues, his aptitude at manly sports, his apprehension of a deal of politickal questions, his exceeding nice opinions upon the theatre, and the very fine manly affection he displays towards Mr MacD- despite the difference in their stations. But, of course, Mr MacD-'s qualities are such that must recommend him very widely within Society.

'Tis so, says I, very demure to conceal my amuzement. I have quite the greatest admiration for Mr MacD-'s qualities of mind myself.

I am then oblig’d to hear Mr M- expatiate at length upon this topic as we go wend our way out of the maze, tho’ he does mind what he is about and continues turning in a direction that will not leave us maz’d.

We come out nigh unto the hothouses, within which I see Lord and Lady O- with their heads together over some plant.

Geoffrey says sure Nan becomes quite besott’d with botany, he supposes it must be to make civil to her husband that she takes interest in such dry matter.

(I have no idea whether Mr M- has read that most entertaining and instructive work by Dr Darwin upon The Loves of the Plants, that must lead one to suppose that the study of botany is not so very far from the warmer passions of humanity.)

They look up and see us and wave, indicating that we may come in.

O, says Nan, Tony was just telling me of where he found this specimen, 'tis a most exciting tale – do you tell it 'em.

The Marquess smiles somewhat doating, says he doubts not that she is entire prejudic’d but does she desire he will recount the tale over again.

'Tis indeed a most thrilling narrative and I hear Mr M- sighing in wonder and envy beside me. Sure can Lord O- tell of his adventures thus, 'tis a great pity he cannot write 'em as effective. But perchance I may come at some stratagem in the matter.

'Tis a little close in the hothouse, and I say that I should desire go tell Lady N- that I have succeed’d in braving the labyrinth and was not oblig’d to encounter a minotaur, that I should not like at all to do, for I am exceeding frighten’d of cows.

(I perceive that Mr M- greatly desires protect me from furious bulls.)

Alack, says I, that I must go to Lord P-'s, that cannot come to believe that there are none do not suppose cows the finest thing in creation, and will boast 'em the gentlest tenderest creatures.

Nan suddenly snorts and says, and are not the swans upon his lake deem’d exceeding vicious? (I confide she has heard the tale of Mr W- Y-.)

Lord O- says sure the cattle he has seen about in England seem fine placid creatures, 'tis an entire different matter in other parts of the world, and goes tell us some fine tales of wild cattle upon the pampas and the very savage buffaloes that may be found at the Cape.

Mr M- follows on by saying Sir C- F- has remarkt that even the most placid and amiable of cows in his herd will become fierce do they have a calf and fear for it.

Indeed, says I, have heard the like.

Lord O- says he confides such extreme manifestation of maternal feeling is common in the animal creation, and recounts some tales.

O dear, says I, I hope that the hinds in the deer-park do not take exception to the girls, that go walk there to see the pretty fawns.

Mr M- says, has heard that the only time 'tis imprudent to walk about the herd is when the stags are in rut, for they become exceeding ferocious and as they have those wick’d antlers, might do one a considerable mischief. But, he says, seeing my look of concern, 'twill not be until the autumn that they do thus.

And, says Lord O-, one will hear when they are, a deal of bellowing.

Mr M- escorts me to his mother, that sits among the girls that tell her about the darling little fawns, how sweet they are, how pretty &C. Mr M- remarks that they will grow up into very delicious venison, at which they cry upon him mightyly and I fear Lady Louisa may go hit him.

O, says Bess to me, will not Josh be jealous? – she turns to Hester and says, that is my middle brother, has a great fondness for animals –

O, says little Lou, sure I told you, Mama, he has a menagerie, with a wombatt and a badger and ferrets and dormice, and a mongoose that is the most inquisitive thing in creation.

Mr M- sighs and says, all they had were white mice -

- that, his sister goes on, you let escape and sure Selina manifest’d herself a mighty huntress upon 'em.

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An opportunity to convoke

We go into breakfast upon our return to the house, and find the Honble Edward and Geoffrey sitting with Sandy and Sebastian K- and all expatiating upon the very excellent swimming they have just enjoy’d, quite entire got into the habit at A- and find there is a stretch of the stream here that will serve for the purpose.

Lord U- looks at 'em and says, he hopes 'tis a well-shelter’d stretch of the stream. (I confide they go bathe in an entire state of nature, and a very pleasing sight must be, for are all well-set-up fellows: but indeed there are matters of protecting maidenly modesty to be consider’d.)

O, indeed, says the Honble Edward, 'tis well away from the footpath and willows grow along the bank. But is’t not prime sport?

Sandy smiles and says, one of the best, but sure there is no comparison to swimming in the sea. They look envious.

Come in Lord and Lady O-, that I daresay may have been about some most enjoyable indoor exercize, for they set to the fine spread laid with most excellent appetite.

I pour myself some more coffee – sure Arabella entire has the knack of it, for 'tis excellent – and say, 'tis really shocking poor ton, but might I beg an opportunity to convoke with Mr MacD- upon a matter of business? For, says I, I purpose go visit my Shropshire estate after I have been at Lord P-'s, and there are one or two little matters upon which I should desire his advice.

The Marquess says that there can be entirely no objection, and we could have the library to ourselves this forenoon, he supposes, do we like.

That is most exceeding kind, says I, if 'tis agreeable to Mr MacD-?

Sandy looks at me in some amuzement and says, how could it be otherwise? He is ever quite entire at Lady B-'s service. (Sure he sits too far away for me to kick him.)

So after breakfast is done, and I have had Sophy put me on some suitable morning-dress, I go sit in the library, that sure indeed is a very fine one, that I should desire to explore further when I have leisure to it.

Enters Sandy, saying, how now, dearest sibyl, what problem of business do you have that I may solve? – and, by the way, Mr K- is in some desire to convoke with you over matters of lead that are pertinent to their interests.

La, says I, 'twas but a plausible excuse for some private convockation without Mr Geoffrey M- bursting in upon us or Bess desiring me to tell the girls about the theatre or some such interruption. No, 'twas not about my mine, 'twas a troubling matter that came about while I was at Q-.

Sandy looks at me and says, he supposes 'tis no matter that would require G- to call out Sir V- P-, is it?

Sure, can I not avoid the attentions of an antient ram, I shall have lost all my wont’d skills. No, 'twas the Earl of I-.

I open to him the matter, and what the Contessa had told me, and the Earl’s connexion to Mr R- O-.

Sandy looks thoughtfull. I wonder, he says – sure one has the highest esteem for the Contessa and the acuity of her judgement, but is’t possible that she did not interrogate too close into the politickal leanings of a fine amuzing young fellow that was an English milord? If I am not out in my calculations, I confide that she must have known him at about the time when Naples was under the Napoleonick yoke -

Why, says I, when he might have been entire sincere in any sympathies he expresst towards rising up against 'em, might he not?

We look at one another and remark that sure one would be interest’d to learn further of his itinerary upon his Grand Tour.

And then he goes succeed as Earl and is oblig’d to live according to his rank, says I, all entire proper, but –

But indeed.

Perchance, says I, I should contrive to go make friendly to Lady I-: talk to her about charity &C. That is do I have occasion to meet her again, for sure we are not in the same circles. Tho’ I daresay she has no notion what her husband is about, might nonetheless provide some intelligence.

Another thought, says Sandy, is to enquire of Lord O- whether in his days as Lord Anthony he ever came across the gentleman.

Indeed, says I, mayhap 'tis somewhat I may raise do I go be his amanuensis.

What? Sandy raises his eyebrows exceedingly.

He goes write some account of his travels, but finds it comes not easy to his pen, that is more us’d to writing of stamens and pistils and calyxes for gentlemen that are interest’d in scientifick matters.

Why, he tells his tales very well does he so verbally. But sure there are those that go halt does it come to turning a matter into written words.

We look at one another with great fondness, for sure has been some considerable time since we convok’d. And how, says I, was the fribble-set party at A-?

Oh, says Sandy with a smile, 'twas very congenial, quite surprizing so. Sure there is nothing wrong with manly sports, provid’d they do not take up all one’s time, and exercize for the body is as imperative as for the mind. And most excellent discourse, we were quite the symposium over the dinner-table.

Why, says I, I am quite delight’d to hear it. And, I go on, all is well 'twixt you and Milord?

Sandy blushes in such a fashion that even the dour Calvinistickal glare that he puts on cannot convince me that they are otherwise than extreme happy.

I look about me and say, sure this is a library that quite exceeds, should greatly desire explore it a little.

Sure, says Sandy, are we not told that this is Liberty Hall? There could surely be no objection whatsoever. There are some fine classickal works that I daresay would rouse Lady J-'s envy.

Alas, says I, those would be beyond the reach of a silly uneducat’d creature such as I, but I daresay there may be some simple tale for children or such that would be fitt’d to my capacities.

Sandy snorts and says, perchance in antient Etrusckan.

He then sighs and says, he should go make civil – has been desir’d by both Lord O- and Lord U- to convoke over the matter of secretaries, sure 'tis entire encouraging.

'Tis so, says I, walking over to the shelves so that I may examine 'em more closely.

'Tis some while later that I emerge, having found a very fine volume of the works of Chaucer, that I go puzzle at, for have heard exceeding well of this antient work in the English tongue, but indeed has chang’d a deal since those days.

A collation has been laid in the dining-room. Bess, Lady Louisa and Dodo are about making a fine feast of it, sure indeed they are healthy young women and getting their growth. Bess goes express to me a certain resentment that they may not go swim.

Why, my dears, sure I hear 'tis very agreeable exercize, but have you not learnt the way of it, must be some concern that you would be like to become three Ophelias in the stream.

Bess sees the sense in this, and says 'twould be most uncivil to one’s host to go drown.

I ask Dodo whether they hear from her sister Lady A-?

Oh yes, says Dodo, they have gone stay at F- Grange, that is Lord A-'s fine house and estate, before they go make visits, and then join us for the Music Meetings. She has writ that 'tis all most agreeable, tho’ matters have been in a somewhat unbusiness-like way she confides. But will be time to turn a hand to that, at present she goes about acquaint herself with the place, &C.

I am pleas’d to hear it, says I, 'tis their honeymoon, there will be time enough for business.

And, says Dodo, they purpose go have a fine house-party over Yuletide at F- Grange for the whole family, will that not be entire prime?

Quite bang-up, says Bess. But, o, Lou says there are fawns in the deer-park, we purpose go look at 'em.

I smile and say I daresay one must go exceeding quiet to come up upon deer.

Lady Louisa says they are quite tame, but sure one must not fright 'em.

The three of 'em go bouncing off.

I go out with my parasol onto the lawn, where Hester sits near the fountain in her invalid chair. One has brought her a nice little plateful that she may enjoy quite pique-nique fashion. I perch upon the fountain rim and ask how she does.

O, she sighs, 'tis such a fine summer as I have never had – able to come out into the sunlight, my dear children around me, good company, such thoughtfullness generally.

She looks around and says, have I yet essay’d the maze? There is a fine maze in the gardens, had been a little over-grown but dear Tony has had the hedges clippt back so that it may be traverst.

Why, says I, not yet, but I must certainly do so. I daresay there is some trick to it so that one may not get complete lost?

She says she dares say, but alas she did not note how one contriv’d to come at the centre, where there is a very quaint sun-dial, and out again at t’other side, when U- was kind enough to push her thro’ it.

He is an excellent son, says I.

Oh, quite entirely, she says, becoming a little tearfull. They are all such good children to me, and I have been so wanting as a mother.

I take her hand. Dear Hester, says I, I do not think that one that is so belov’d by her children can have been at all wanting as a mother. Do they not all come to you quite entire as their first confidante? Sure you might not romp with 'em or take 'em about in Society, but you have, I confide, ever shown 'em a very fine affection and they have seen that.

She lays my hand against her cheek. Was there not some Roman lady said of her children, these are my jewels? Sure they are.

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Matters that may seem heavy to the uninstruct’d may be no such thing

I discover that Sebastian K- is also of the party: there is, he tells me as we gather before dinner, a collection of strange and curious stones acquir’d by an ancestor of the present Marquess, that he has been looking at and confides that Jacob would be most interest’d to examine, tho’ they are not arrang’d in that state that a modern geologist would desire.

I convey to him news of his family that I have lately seen. He says that he purposes a flying visit to Q- on his way home: but business does not go cease during the summer, alas. I commiserate. I also mention that I have heard somewhat of this project’d tour to the Baltic and that Sir Vernon H- is like to be in St Petersburg by that time, 'tis ever of use to have some personal connexion with one at the Embassy when in foreign parts.

'Tis so, he says: confides that he met Sir Vernon in Vienna so is not an entire stranger.

We go into dinner: 'tis exceeding delightfull to see that Lady N- may join us at table in her invalid carriage. Lady Louisa and her friends also join us, along with the governess, one Miss Millick. I look at her with a mind to the thought that she must be soon out of a place: but from what the M- girls have told me about their education, I doubt she would be able step into Miss N-'s shoes.

There is a very fine dinner set before us – I confide Arabella takes charge of the kitchens.

The Marquess remarks to me that, seeing the Duke read the lesson in church t’other day, he was remind’d that the local parson has somewhat slantwise come at desiring him to do the like. Sure as a freethinker he is not sure whether 'twould be a proper thing –

Why, says I, I take it as entirely a matter of politeness to do so; shows respect. And do you not desire to look particular in the neighbourhood, would be a prudent thing to do.

And, I go on, while we speak of the Establisht Church, I was mind’d to advance to you – have you not already consider’d the matter – the interest of Mr L-, that fine scholar, do you have the presentation to any living that he might adorn.

Why, says Lord O-, 'tis an excellent thought. While one cannot like the system, one might if one can use it as well as one may. However, of the three or four livings in my disposal all are at present occupy’d, but should one fall vacant I shall immediately prefer Mr L-. A very deserving fellow.

Also, says I, I am like to think he is in mind to marry.

'Tis a state I most heartyly recommend, says Lord O-, looking at Nan, that is talking to Sebastian K-. Do you never think of marrying again, Lady B-?

I laugh and say, marriage is a very fine thing, but there are advantages in being a well-left widow.

He smiles and says he dares say, for indeed there are husbands that are not at all in that fine spirit that the marriage service sets forth. (He looks down the table to where Hester is in converse with Sandy, I daresay on the subject of the poetry of Burns.)

'Tis indeed curious, says I, that the state of marriage in society as it stands differs so greatly from those very beautiful words.

After the remove I turn to Lord U- and say, I hope he benefitt’d from his visit to Q-?

Indeed, he says, what an excellent fellow is the Duke of M-. And 'twas entirely beneficial to make the acquaintance of such a variety of sorts and conditions that are known to him. What a magnificent place is Q-: there is nothing the like at Monks G-, he confides his ancestors were by no means connoisseurs such as former Dukes of M- were.

He sighs, and says, he must consider his duty and go spend some time at Monks G- during the course of the summer dealing with affairs there, but altho’ the gardens are of course exceeding fine, sure the house is a gloomy place and one might well believe Nan’s contention that 'tis haunt’d by the spirits of vengefull monks.

O poo, says I, I confide 'tis entirely because there has been no attention give to furbishing it up these some several years. 'Tis remarkable what fresh paint and resilver’d mirrors will do to liven up a room, polishing up the furniture, perchance replacing some of the more antiquat’d pieces –

He laughs and says, he apprehends that Lady B-'s understanding of such matters is greatly esteem’d: hoping to get Lord D- off the subject of everybody’s theologickal failings, he happen’d to mention that he had heard that they were having P- House done up, and heard at great length all about the very fine advice they had had from Lady B-. And of course I was already appriz’d of your assistance in making O- House a fit habitation.

La, says I, perchance I may give a little help, here and there.

He looks at me and says, alas, 'twould be improper to invite me come spend a day or so at Monks G-, for he would not oblige Mama or his sisters to go spend time there, especial as they are so extreme happy here.

Indeed, says I, 'twould do neither of us any good in Society. But let me go think upon the matter.

After the dessert the ladies of the party withdraw, and go sit in the very pleasing parlour to take tea. Hester says, sure 'tis a great imposition, but she confides that Lady B- may not have heard Miss Dorothy sing? –

Only, says I, in company with her mother and sisters.

- so, might she give us a song or two?

Dodo agrees with entire alacrity, and goes to the piano with Miss Millick: I observe that there is already musick upon it.

Sure she has a very pretty voice, in a somewhat different style from her sister Charley, tho’ perchance may develop; and of course exceeding well-train’d by Mr G- D-.

'Tis not at all long before the gentlemen come join us, perchance the time 'twould take to smoak a fine cigar.

Dodo is request’d to sing a little more, and then Hester says, 'tis perchance quite greedy of her, but she has heard so much of Mr MacD-'s reading of Burns and Lady B-'s readings from Shakspeare, that she should very much like to hear for herself.

Sandy says, it so perchances that he ever travels with a volume of the Ayrshire Bard, if we will excuse him he will just go fetch it.

The Honble Geoffrey leaps to his feet and says, he will go fetch the collect’d Shakspeare from the library.

As we sit waiting, Lady Louisa murmurs to me that sure they were brought up without accomplishments - o, Milly try’d teach 'em to play the piano, but did not take, perchance because they were sad idle creatures that did not practice, not like Meg F-. Bess, that is at her other side, says, but Lou, you are an entire centauress upon horseback, 'tis a thing to wonder at.

Sandy returns with his volume of Burns, follow’d very shortly by the Honble Geoffrey.

'Tis a most agreeable evening, tho’ I am in some fears that we tire Hester, that is not us’d to such company. But gives her such exceeding pleasure do not wish to call halt.

Sure 'tis a very comfortable bed I am in, and I do not need fret concerning night-time scratchings upon my door.

I arise betimes in order to see Docket off, even tho’ she declares 'tis entire unnecessary and I should sleep on for the good of my looks.

O, poo, says I, one morn will make no difference. Now, have you got your drops? Do you have the receipt writ out so that do you need more you may take it to some good apothecary? Docket scowls at me as tho’ she was my grand-dam and I had instruct’d her upon sucking eggs.

I also, tho’ I confide 'tis quite a supererogatory matter, tell Ajax to drive exceeding carefull.

Sophy and I go wave 'em off, and then I say, sure am I up, may as well go take a ride, Lady O- has put Elvira quite entire at my disposal.

So I go desire one of the grooms to saddle her for me, and ride off across the park.

I am passing thro’ some pretty woodland in which I catch glimpses of deer, when I hear the sound of hoofbeats behind me; I look around and see 'tis Lord U- comes catch up with me.

We greet one another very civil.

He remarks upon what pleasure our entertainments yestere’en gave his mother.

I hope we did not tire her excessively, says I.

Indeed not, he says. But, he goes on, because she has been out of Society for so very long, and sure Aunt Laetitia was entire useless as a guide to the customs and manners of the present day, I do not have that guidance in such things that a mother might supply. And while Lord O- is quite the finest fellow, has been much out of the country. Thus I find myself coming to you, that are such a friend to the entire family, for counsel - do you tell me do I become an entire burden.

Why, says I, I have the greatest fondness for your family; also matters that may seem heavy to the uninstruct’d may be no such thing to one that has a little more understanding.

He proceeds to tell me how much he admires the Duchess of M-, is she not an entire pattern of womanhood, what a very fortunate fellow is the Duke –

(I hope he does not go on to declare an unrequit’d passion for Viola.)

- sure 'tis early days yet for him to think of marriage, and yet, he now has responsibilities, and must be entire envious of one that has such a helpmeet to help him bear the burdens of rank. How does one go about to find such a woman? He finds that 'tis very hard to tell upon meeting young ladies in Society, for there is a deal of conventional behaviour -

Why, says I, 'tis indeed yet early days, but I will go consider over the matter.

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'Twill be delightfull to spend some few days in this fine company

'Tis perchance all to the best that most of the fusties have depart’d by the time the charades take place. Sure indeed I think I shall draw a veil over the event: mayhap 'twas not an entire disaster but I confide that those who took part were exceeding over-ambitious.

But the matter serv’d very well to keep most of the younger set occupy’d and out of mischief while 'twas in preparation, and sure that is a very excellent thing with such a large house-party and such a mingl’d collection of guests.

There is also an archery competition: in the men’s competition there is none may touch Selim Pasha, while with the ladies 'tis a close-fought match 'twixt Lady O- and her sister – 'tis the latter takes the prize in the end. I confide Lord O- will be besought to set up a target at D- Chase has not already done so.

Indeed, I am now myself bound for D- Chase for a few days at what I am promist will be Liberty Hall. Once we are there, I purpose to have Ajax convey Docket to Weymouth so that she may go frolick there with Biddy Smith as in their giddy girlhood.

Now we are in the carriage and on our way and quite private, Docket and Sophy go disclose to me what they have discover’d concerning Lord and Lady I-.

She was, 'tis said, somewhat past her blossoming-time when they marry’d: of excellent lineage, but somewhat plain and quiet, and but a modest dower to offer. He had been lingering some years beyond the usual upon his Grand Tour, only return’d upon the intelligence of his father’s mortal illness, and once he had inherit’d, went look about for a bride. The match was made up very expeditious by way of family connexions.

No great romance, then? says I.

Entirely prudential, says Docket.

And 'twas not one of those unions in which warmer feelings grow on closer acquaintance: sure the Earl ever behaves civil, but not affectionate. An heir, a daughter, and a second son as reserve heir, in short order; and no further increase. Indeed they behave dutyfull to one another, he is not violent, she has a fair if not generous amount of pin-money, but they live almost as strangers or at least, passing acquaintances. Does he womanize, or keep a mistress, does so exceeding discreet. She goes do good works among the cottagers.

Hmm, thinks I, 'tis quite the common tale in their station. Tho’ sure I wonder what he was about all that time upon the Grand Tour, for was not so very long at Naples, I think.

'Tis not so very far to D- Chase from Q- that we are oblig’d to break our journey, and we arrive late in the afternoon.

Lord and Lady O- have already arriv’d, and greet me at the door. They inform me once again that 'twill be entire Liberty Hall, for 'tis just the family and a few close friends, and Nan says that she dares say I should like to go wash off the dust of the journey and go change. The footmen will take my trunks.

There is hot water ready for me, and Docket and Sophy go array me in somewhat suitable for an informal country party among friends. Docket, says I, you are not to go bothering yourself about unpacking &C, you should rest in preparation for your journey tomorrow; sure I confide you may give Sophy her instructions as well seat’d as not.

Docket looks at me for a moment and then nods and says indeed there is nothing that Sophy will not be able to manage.

I was mind’d to go call most immediate upon Hester, but I look out of the window to the lawn and see that her invalid carriage is dispos’d near unto the fountain, and that there is a game of cricket in play, as much as may be contriv’d with but a few players. One, I see, is Bess, so I suppose that Lady Louisa’s guests yet remain.

I go out onto the lawn – I observe that servants are about setting out tea, will come extreme gratefull – and over to where Hester sits watching the game.

Dear Hester, says I, you are looking exceeding well in this fine country air.

O, dearest C-, 'tis an entire pleasure to see you. And not at all showing the effects of the dissipation at Q-: but then, I daresay you did not feel oblig’d to stay up to all hours playing billiards or cards and smoaking as U- did – Tony says he argu’d that he was entire newly-wed, could not be expect’d to neglect his bride –

- indeed, says I, one saw no danger in the least of that –

- or getting quite knockt up over some matter of charades as Em did –

- sure, says I, do I go manifest any ravages from high living, Docket will be about making me lye down with slices of cowcumber upon my eyes and mayhap Sophy brushing out my hair.

Why, 'tis a course one might put to Lorimer that she might do similar.

But indeed, both sisters were very much admir’d in the company.

She sighs and says, as for admir’d, here is Em comes quite raving about this Turk that was at Q-.

I laugh and say, sure I think 'twas his archery she admir’d, and his tales of hawking: I do not think she will go elope to join his seraglio.

She is indeed somewhat of a tomboy, says Hester with another little sigh.

We look over to the game, and I apprehend that the Honble Edward and Geoffrey are return’d from A-, for the latter stands at the wicket as Bess bowls.

O, says Hester, has been so delightfull for little Lou to have her friends come stay, such nice girls, such pretty lively creatures, shall be sorry to see 'em go.

(I am not sure that the Honble Geoffrey, that walks from the wicket shaking his head, is of the same opinion.)

He comes over and makes me a leg, kisses his mother and says, sure 'tis no game of pat-ball does Miss F- play! He thought his own sisters were fine bowlers, but she quite exceeds.

I ask how he lik’d the house-party at A-. (His mother gives a little smiling grimace as if she has heard entire too much on the topick.)

Entire prime, he says, and proceeds to tell me in a deal of detail about their recreations, the fine discussions they had, the excellence of the table set before 'em; and that he and Eddy have been invit’d to go visit Lord V- shortly.

But I said, says Hester, that I should desire to discover a little more about Lord V- before I could be happy with 'em going.

(Sure I cannot see any harm to the matter do they visit Lord V-, that is an amiable young fribble and a well-reput’d whip. But I will discourse of the matter to her later in private, and say somewhat to this effect.)

Comes running over Lady Emily, kisses me very warm and says, pray do not talk of the charades, was’t not an entire debâcle?

I wish, says her brother, Lady B-, you would say somewhat of those charades, because neither she nor Nan will say aught but that they do not wish to talk of the matter. Tell me, did Em go present as an odalisque?

His sister, that I suspect may have been being teaz’d mightyly in such terms, gives him a shove: as he is sat upon the rim of the fountain, he overbalances and falls in. Hester sighs, and tells him to run in and change.

O, Em, she says after he has gone on his dripping way, sure I hope you did not behave thus at Q-.

Lady Emily says that brothers can be very provoking, and will go on and on at a jest until 'tis quite wore out. Can I not say a fellow was a fine archer without they will suppose that I long for the banns to be read upon us? Sure we have heard enough of Lord R-'s skills with the sword, Lord V-'s pretty handling of the ribbons &C&C.

I say that Lady Emily was very pretty-behav’d at Q-, and her own skills with the bow exceedingly admir’d. And one not’d that she did not all want for partners at the ball.

She blushes a little. 'Twas more agreeable than I suppos’d 'twould be, she says, even with the number of fusties there were.

Comes over Lord U-, that has also been got out by Bess, makes a leg, says 'tis delightfull to see me, and hopes have converse with me while I am here.

Why, says I, I am like to suppose there are a deal of fine walks and perchance rides about the place, and I daresay fine things in the house –

I am given to apprehend, says Lord U-, that the library is very fine, quite out of the common, indeed have not been able to tempt MacD- out of it –

O! says I, trying to conceal my delight, Mr MacD- visits here? ('Tis not just that 'twill be an entire pleasure to see Sandy, but that I hope that we may contrive to convoke over my uneasyness concerning the Earl of I-.)

Indeed, says Lord U, before I left A- I besought him, had he no other engagement upon hand, to come along with Eddy and Geoff, for there are a deal of matters Lord O- and I should desire open to his understanding, talk over the matter of secretaries &C, and indeed Lord O- is most exceeding sensible of the assistance he was over the matter of marriage.

Hester looks a little longing and says, she has heard how very well Mr MacD- reads Burns, would it be improper to ask might he do so some evening?

At this moment runs up my dear hoyden Bess, and embraces me very hearty, saying, O, Aunty C-, is this not an entire bang-up place? Was it not that Harry is going to come home for a little visit, should not wish to leave at all.

Come up a little more restrain’d Lady Louisa and Dodo B-, that make civil, follow’d by the Honble Edward, that makes me a very polisht leg (I daresay 'tis an effect of the sojourn at A-) and says somewhat civil about hoping I am not tir’d out from my journey.

O, 'twill be delightfull to spend some few days in this fine company.

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A lady might contrive do quite a deal for amity among nations

'Tis a very large ball, for Biffle takes the opportunity to invite county neighbours and some leading citizens of the borough of T-. Remarks to me in the ladies’ retiring chamber Viola, that is having a torn ruffle sewn back, sure they do not give out to young ladies ambitious to wear a coronet how much dancing with entire clodhoppers one is oblig’d to undertake to manifest one’s civility. O, my trod-over feet!

Indeed 'tis a well-kept secret, says I. I too, my dear, have done my duty to demonstrate a pleasing condescension in dancing with a deal of clumsy fellows, several with unpleasingly clammy hands. Sure I think I may now go waltz with Sir Vernon, that was ever an exceeding fine dancer, and I daresay has all the latest steps as practis’d in Vienna.

One must observe, says Viola with a sly glance, that Sir Vernon admires you greatly – sure ladies may not themselves be in the Diplomatick, 'tis a great pity, but I confide that a lady might contrive do quite a deal for amity among nations, was she marry’d to a fellow that was.

Well, says I, 'tis rumour’d he anticipates to be preferr’d to St Petersburg, and sure I think of my dear friend Miss G- that was – o, says I, I am in the strongest suspicions that she and her husband, that was a reform-mind’d fellow very imprudent much given to criticizing the Tsar, have been exil’d to the remote fastnesses of Siberia. Yet, was one in those parts, one might contrive to discover what was ado, perchance send comforts, even might one not go plead for their release –

Viola laughs and says, with a meaningfull look, 'twould also she dares say provide a deal of possibilities for Gothick tales. She goes on to say that Sebastian would be going there if this Baltic tour comes about.

'Tis sure give out very fine, says I, but exceeding cold, and was one connect’d with the Diplomatick, one would, I suppose, be oblig’d to wink at the oppressions of the Tsar and keep mum.

So we return to the ballroom, and I go dance with Sir Vernon, and she goes dance with Lord O-, that dances exceeding well for a fellow that has spent so much time in wild and savage places.

And it comes around to having a dance with Lord I-, during which I apologize most effusive and extreme insincere that I am unable to take up his kind invitation, sure I am quite desolat’d, but I should not like to gain the reputation of a lady that cuts does some better offer come along. I gaze at him with my most feather-witt’d look.

He says, alas: for sure, Lady B-, you quite adorn any company you are in.

La, says I, Lord I-, you go make pretty speeches to me! Sure one would think you had designs. (For I think, however matters go with Lady I-, he is not a fellow would desire there to be an on-dit that he hangs out for Lady B-.)

Indeed I see this puts him in some confusion, for he would not wish to insult me by saying he had no such intentions. I flutter my eyelashes at him a little.

'Tis a relief to go dance with Lord U-, that says sure he may say he has done his duty dancing with what his sisters call the fusties and some misses of the neighbourhood that giggle and blush and simper. Lady B- is known for her acute judgements: do I think he has done enough to be consider’d a very well-conduct’d young man?

Why, says I, 'twill serve you well with the fusties, but I fear that young ladies may think you a sad dull fellow – but I smile as I say this, for is a well-set-up young man and I have seen the younger ladies look upon him very approving.

O, you think I should venture somewhat in the Byron strain?

I pray you, Lord U-, do no such thing! While I apprehend that 'twas of a certain poet that the critick Deacon Brodie said one Byron is quite enough, I think 'tis a sentiment of wider application.

He laughs. Why, I must remember that.

The dance ends and he says, he is promis’d to Miss S- for the next: sure his sisters exhort’d him to the matter, out of their friendship to her, but indeed she is an excellent fine dancer, and, do you not think she is in remarkable looks this e’en?

I follow his gaze and indeed, Agnes S-, that has just been dancing with Biffle, looks exceeding well. The exercize suits her, says I. (But I think the notion that there is one aspires to her hand thinking her but a poor dependent, and one to whom she already inclines, makes a deal of difference to her confidence in herself.)

The Marquess comes up and desires me to step to the floor with him, to which I gladly concede. He says that Selim Pasha has been telling his womenfolk about hawking, and Em takes a most exceeding notion to it, especial after seeing the lady in the tapestry that holds a falcon upon her fist. But he doubts that there are many in this land practise that art, and from what he heard in Turkey, 'tis a considerable undertaking to train - he does not suppose one may say tame - a hawk.

I say that sure one gains that impression from the passages in the Bard that allude to the matter. I wonder, says I, will any attain to have Lady Emily fly to their fist.

He sighs and says, does indeed wonder.

Seems to me, says I, that tho’ she will give ardent ear does a fellow go recount tales of the anthropopagi and the men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders &C 'tis no such matter as Desdemona. But does a lady hearken most intent to a gentleman, he is like to suppose 'tis a sign that she inclines to him, and not that she is more interest’d in fine tales of anthropopagi or hawking or the wild Indians of Nova Scotia.

He laughs and then grows more sober and says, he confides that 'tis indeed the like with Em.

I am about to say somewhat of a certain scandal when Lady J- was making her debut and had rather listen to fine tales of naval warfare than indulge in flirtations, and then think, o, o, o, might it be thus? and hold my silence.

But 'tis fortunate that the dance ends, and we must go seek other partners.

'Tis most agreeable to tread a measure with Biffle, during which I am able to communicate to him that Sir Vernon has a great desire to look upon Antipodean Flora, and sure a nod is a good as a wink and I see that he quite apprehends the inwardness of this matter.

He looks around the ballroom and says, indeed it goes, does it not?

Quite entirely, says I, and the house-party as well.

'Tis gratifying to think so, says he. For among those that Viola calls the fusties are a deal that recall that wild young fellow Lord S- and look sidelong to see if I go do somewhat reckless.

Why, says I, I daresay will be report’d as being in entire the best of ton.

He looks very fond over to where Viola dances with Sir Vernon and says, 'twas a lucky day I came across her weeping in the library at N- over that lunatick bigamist’s scoundrelly proposal.

(Why, thinks I, 'twas not altogether a matter of luck, but I will say naught to the matter.)

For, he says, lowering his voice considerable, tho’ Kitty was quite the finest of women and I lov’d her most extreme, I confide that perchance Viola is more suit’d to certain duchessing matters.

Why, says I in the same lower’d tones, I daresay that had it come to her the late Duchess would have contriv’d; but indeed, one sees that Viola is most apt to this business. (For indeed I myself am most prepossesst that Viola, that I daresay would greatly prefer to studying some language or reading Parliamentary reports or recreating herself with a Gothick tale, or playing with Essie and little Cathy, goes about so exceeding effective at the publick duties of her rank.)

In order to change the subject, I say, I daresay has not yet heard from Lady J-?

No, he says, once she is arriv’d at the flagship the Admiral has means for the expeditious dispatch of letters, but until then –

He then sighs and says, he knows not whether to hope that their endeavours are successfull when he remembers how all fell out last time –

But, says I, perchance Lady J- has now come to some appreciation of the exhortations to lye upon a sopha?

He laughs and says, mayhap! as we leave the floor and go look about for our next promist partners.

Sure the hour is quite exceeding advanc’d when carriages are call’d for those that go home.

I go my chamber and find that that good creature Sophy has prevail’d upon Docket not to watch - and is drowsing a little in a chair in the dressing-room. She jumps up at once and says, she dares say those slippers are entire ruin’d?

I look down at 'em and turn 'em up to consider the soles and say, sure, wore entire thro’, but 'tis the nature of fine kid slippers suit’d to a ballroom. I kick 'em off. Sophy goes about to undress me and unlace my stays, unpins my hair and brushes it, and says, Phillips gave a little party of her own in her sitting-room the e’en, very civil, and sure that is a very agreeable young woman she brings on, Jennie. Is being court’d by that fellow that had a notion to Euphemia.

So I hear, says I.

Sophy sighs a little. I wonder is there one she takes a notion to, tho’ sure she is yet young. But I am entire too tir’d at this moment to interrogate further, and perchance 'twould be better to enquire of Docket.

Before I go to sleep, I scribble a few notes in my little memorandum book, that lyes at the bedside.

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