I do not feel oblig’d to stay very late at the Bavarians’ ball, and the next morn there is the wont’d chocolate party levée. My darling Flora comes snuggle in the fashion of a wakefull wombatt, 'tis quite entire charming.
She is permitt’d remain while I go about my toilette, for I observe comes about that even Docket goes doat upon her, while Sophy is quite entire besott’d.
When I go breakfast, my darling desires know what devastation I caus’d among Bavarian hearts at the ball, for here is a little note came the morn that looks to be writ in a Germanick hand.
I take it and break the seal: 'tis from Herr H-, that writes that Herr P- has took the earlyest stage he might to Liverpool, his trunks to be sent after.
I give a little vulgar snort of laughter, and go disclose the matter. And, says I, should at once write to convey this intelligence to His and Her Grace.
My darling says a little tart that perchance I might go wash my hands first, unless I desire to leave buttery finger-marks upon the note.
I lick my fingers and say, indeed she has the right of it, and I will be about it.
So once my hands are clean I take up my traveling desk and write in somewhat covert and discreet terms to Viola and Biffle, and Eliza rings for a footman to go take the note to M- House.
And now, says I, I will apply myself to these very serious works of history.
So I do so, and sure I come to many matters I might use in my tale, and notions for other tales, and make a deal of notes in my little memorandum book, and occasional read out passages to Eliza, that remarks that she must go instruct Docket to dye my stockings blue, and all is entire pleasant.
Then returns the footman having deliver’d the note, and conveys one from Viola, that writes in great haste that they are indebt’d to me for the intelligence, but are at present most greatly preoccupy’d over Lady J-‘s lying-in, Mr H- having been sent for the previous e’en, and does not expect a conclusion for some while yet.
Eliza and I go express some concern over the matter. But one can do naught but wait.
'Tis not a day upon which either of us is in anticipation of receiving calls, and we are sat in the family room very content’d about our tasks, when a footman come to say Lady T- has call’d to see Lady B-, if she be at liberty.
Eliza looks at me and says, why do you not go see what’s ado with her in the little parlour?
She adds to the footman, tea for Lady B- and Lady T-.
So I go down to the little parlour and Lady T-, that is in a state of some agitation, is shown in. I desire her to sit in this very comfortable chair, and say that they will bring tea very shortly.
But instead of sitting she clasps my hands and says, O, dear Lady B-, 'tis all a terrible imbroglio! Did you have any apprehension of what was afoot? Indeed I find it hard to blame her in my heart, for sure he has been conducting himself exceeding tiresome –
La, says I, Lady T-, what has happen’d (tho’ sure I have a considerable notion as to what 'tis)? – do sit down –
At this moment comes the tea, and she sits down as one that minds that 'tis most undesirable to provoke gossip amongst servants, and shows calm until we are alone again. I hand her a cup of tea, in the hope that 'twill have a restorative effect.
Have you not seen the announcement? she asks. A marriage has taken place 'twixt Barbara, wife of the late Mr D- K-, and Captain Edwin C-, late of the –th. K- saw it the morn and has been in an entire state ever since.
Why, says I, they had been somewhat thrown into one another’s company at Sir B- W-'s – and one must mind that there is still scandal repeat’d concerning the shocking practices of her late husband, such that she might have considerable qualms over taking a place in Town Society, and going away such a great distance might seem entire preferable –
Indeed so, says Lady T-, sure we were in readyness to face it out but should prefer that 'twas not necessary, tho’ she display’d herself a deal more proper behav’d than one would have anticipat’d. She sighs. Well, I must hope that now his mind has at last been turn’d to marriage he will be about the business.
She sighs again, and here we must be at the Duke of H-'s ball the e’en and looking as if we had not a care, to defy any gossip.
I kiss her upon the cheek, and say that I am sure that she will bear herself in a matter entire fitting to her rank.
She squeezes my hand and looks a little tearfull as she takes her leave.
And then comes Docket in a great taking to say 'tis entire high time I went lye down in preparation for the Duke of H-'s ball. I say, indeed I shall need to be rest’d to make sure I evade His Grace’s hands.
We are an entire party departs from R- House to H- House. And, I think, looking about my dear friends, a very fine-looking party indeed, and smile upon 'em.
And what, says Sandy, is our dear spymistress general about the e’en?
La, says I, I do not have any particular matter upon hand, tho’ do I encounter the Freiherr shall see how matters go concerning Herr P-. But I confide none would have been calling upon him very early the morn.
Does not our busyest of bees have numerous contrivances upon hand? says Josiah.
Fie, says I, I do not think I have any urgent matter to contrive just at present. I had some little worries concerning the late Earl, but the intervention of the bear has quite entire dispers’d 'em. And sure I have anxieties over Lady J- and dear Martha, but 'tis naught I may do aught about, alas. There are already a couple of fine marriages being made up among Her Grace’s flower-garden -
Milord laughs and says, Lord V- goes show impatient over the progress to his nuptials with Miss C-, I never thought to see the day.
Josiah smiles and says, and had Jacob S- call the afternoon, was sorry not see Lady B-, but 'twas while you were closet’d with Lady T- -
Alas, says I, I am in the greatest desire to open to him the matter of T-, now Chancery begins stir upon the matter –
Josiah laughs and says, was quite elat’d that his niece has a very fine match indeed in prospect, could hardly talk of anything besides, except that Lady J- was still not deliver’d –
We all look somewhat worry’d at this intelligence.
And then the carriage arrives at H- House and we must alight.
Am I flankt by Josiah and Milord, with Sandy behind looking dourly Calvinistickal, the Duke does not essay more than a civil bowing over my hand, 'tis most agreeable. He is looking in most exceeding good humour.
His son, however, Lord S- W-, looks not entire pleas’d as they go receive their company.
We go upstairs and make civil greetings to our acquaintance as we encounter 'em. I observe, somewhat to my surprize, Viola, but then mind that she may feel her duty lyes with the young women she takes about in Society, and that Lady J- would entirely exhort her to the matter.
I go up to her and say, I hear is no news yet concerning Lady J-? She shakes her head. But Mr H-, she says, is not in any great concern yet. But, my dear C-, there is another most exceeding startling piece of news.
I raise my eyebrows. 'Tis not, says I, this matter of the quondam Mrs D- K-?
Fie, cries Viola, 'tis entirely stale by now! No, 'tis the Duke! Only t’other day made Julia P- a gift of a pair of mongooses, and has been in convockation with her father.
Well! says I, saw him look upon her with considerable favour t’other day when she came visit Josh’s mongoose.
But, goes on Viola in lower’d tones, Biffle says, that in the wagering upon matrimonial stakes that goes on about the clubs, ‘twas Lord S- W- was one of the runners for that prize.
La, says I, similarly sotto voce, even had he not had interest himself, I am not sure His Grace would have conced’d to such a match.
We look at one another and altho’ none will go gossip to us on the matter, I daresay there is at least some matter of speculation that Julia P-'s mother was a Hindoo bibi, even, perchance, a nowtch girl. Sure 'tis some while since I have sent Mrs N- about gathering up scandal.
We sigh a little, and then she says, and t’other thing? Lady Rosamund came in from taking the air on the balcony with Lord K- with a look of entire triumph upon her face; and Lord K- went at once address himself to Lord D- as to whether Lord P- comes to Town shortly or whether he will need go visit him in the country.
I shrug and say, I am sorry for Lady T-. But indeed, we must not linger here gossiping.
We smile a little melancholick at one another and I go into the ballroom.
I encounter Lady G-, that is looking exceeding benign at where Lord V- dances with Frances C. Has addresst himself to Lord C- and the announcement will appear very shortly, she says with great gratifickation. 'Tis extreme delightfull – such a good match, and in her first season.
Lord D- comes up to me desiring a dance – I see that Lady D- is dancing with Sir H- Z- - and we step onto the floor. He expresses some reserve about this sudden declaration by Lord K-, that all knew was hanging out after the dread – Dowager Lady W-'s - companion. Rosey is quite ecstatick, but –
At this moment there is a little flurry and I see Thomas from M- House making his way towards Biffle. O, says I, perchance 'tis news of Lady J-, and move in that direction.
Biffle looks at me with a great smile and says, a healthy boy that will be nam’d Horatio, and m’sister doing well.