madame_c_c (madame_c_c) wrote,

May have some interest to some historian

[After a couple of blank pages in the final volume of the memoirs so far discovered, there is this entry, written in a somewhat shaky hand that nonetheless resembles that of the foregoing.]

Hannah came to me t’other day to say that Beatrice had been turning out the attics, and had come across two stout chests, firmly lockt, right at the back. Did I know anything about 'em, or had they been left mayhap by the U-s, those excellent people.

La, says I, had almost forgot those chests, that I askt the dear good U-s to store for me in the attics, a deal of years ago.

For now 'tis brought to mind, I collect that was a time that tho’ 'twould have been prudent, I could not bring myself to destroy these memoirs utterly, and yet 'twas an immense concern to me that might fall into the wrong hands, and contain’d a deal of secrets that were not my own. And tho’ I had endeavour’d conceal the identity of my friends and acquaintances, yet upon reflection I fear’d I was most unsubtle in the matter and anyone with some knowledge of Society and the demimonde could have readyly seen thro’ my devices. (O that I had had the dear Contessa’s ability with cyphers, that she could quite dash off as I might scribble a note.)

So I had another chest made of the same dimensions as the one I had already provid’d myself with, and laid at the bottom of each some several volumes of these memoirs, and then plac’d on top of 'em the books in which I had made the first essays at my novels and plays and tales, in hopes that did any come across 'em, would look into one or two and see ‘twas Gothick matters of ghosts and curses and witchcraft, and while I had rather not have had authorship prov’d upon me, 'twas a revelation I could bear did it come.

And then I wrote to the U-s saying that I would be most immense gratefull might I send some matters out of my Town house to be stor’d at the place in Surrey, would they not be in their way. They wrote back to say I was entire welcome to do so, and so I sent the chests and some other matters into Surrey, and made myself renounce the habit of writing up these journals.

But, o, how agreeable it has been to look thro’ 'em, even if has also made me extreme tearfull when I read of the happy times I had with my dearest loves, and the fine conversations I had with dear Sandy, for tho’ I have friends and acquaintance enough, there are few indeed of my own generation left and sure I become some historickal relick, that young people come and view as a piece of antiquity in a cabinet of curiosities.

Indeed, the young people are not so young, and my belov’d tiny perfect baby Flora is a fine woman of middle years that has a little grey come to her hair.

I was a little mind’d to say these volumes must be burnt, but then I mind upon what Flora and Hannah will discourse of, that too much of history is the tale of men writ by men from such records as men have left behind, and that, mayhap, the writings of a silly creature about herself and her circle may have some interest to some historian in future time. Have I not heard young fellows talk of our set as tho’ there were no women among 'em, when Susannah and Viola were its bright shining lights, and their opinions consider'd of great weight? Do I but show posterity to the contrary, 'tis somewhat.

So I will put 'em back in the trunk, and have 'em sprinkl’d with Phoebe's fine powder against insects, and put in a good dry part of the attic, where they may be safe. I daresay is much in 'em would shock the present time, but may come around again some day when manners are freer once more, like unto the Restoration after the Commonwealth.

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