Sure 'tis quite entire a matter of sense and prudence and practickality that I go spend the night before the ball at R- House and purpose to spend the night after there as well. For 'tis at present horrid rainy weather, so 'twill be the best thing to go well in advance with my boxes rather than arrive in my finery and discover that even a very large umbrella will not keep off all of the pelting rain, for there is a gusty wind behind blows it sideways.
Also I am like to confide that gossip will suppose that there will be being celebrat’d some reconciliation in Milord’s bedchamber, rather than that I will be in triangle in my fine reserv’d chamber in the east wing with my dearest loves.
This at last provides us some opportunity to conclave over the matter of Mr W- Y- and Sir R- O-'s curious inquisition. Indeed, says I, the fellows kindly put to the task by Matt Johnson say that there is a couple of other fellows go watch the house, turn about, but that as days go by and there is naught but the usual traffick at front and back door, callers at the one and tradespeople at the other, he confides that they must find the task most exceeding tedious.
Also, says I, my own good people know what to do did any come asking impertinent questions, but have gone about to warn Nell and her family on the matter: tho’ I confide that 'twill have been put in terms of there being shocking scandal-monging fellows from low gossip sheets go try find somewhat to Lady B-'s discredit.
And sure that family consider the most benevolent of C-s to be their entire guardian angel! says Josiah.
O, poo, says I, 'twas more Euphemia than myself took them up.
But, says I, Matt Johnson most exceeding kindly goes see whether he can find any word of Mr W- Y-: tho’ for all one knows he has covertly took ship for the Continent - indeed, says I thoughtfully, I wonder do Mr H-'s Sussex friends go make a trade in smuggling persons to the further shore.
O, says Eliza, best belov’d of C-s, let us talk of some happyer matter! 'Tis no use brooding upon this business.
Indeed, says I, one must wait on further intelligence.
My wild girl Eliza goes tickle my foot and says, sure they greatly admire spymistress-general C-, but at present they are mind’d to appreciate certain other fine qualities she has.
La, says I, I am a feather-witt’d creature that does not even notice there is a seduction in progress, and very shortly am like to be ruin’d. - For there is Josiah goes kiss the back of my neck while one hand creeps towards my bubbies, and Eliza proceeds upwards from my feet.
And sure 'tis most exceeding delightfull to be ruin’d.
In the morn I wake up somewhat late, and feel myself exceeding well, and smile. Comes Sophy to say that there is company arrives with chocolate. O, send 'em in, says I.
My precious Flora clambers up the bed and comes be a wakefull wombatt, that rubs its nose upon mine and gives me kisses, the darling.
Oh, Josh, cries Bess, you have brung that animal of yours in here.
Josh looks innocent and says he suppos’d Aunty C- would like to see it – 'tis a mongoose, he explains, Mr K- was so kind as to take me to the docks one day, for 'tis most entirely instructive –
But, says Bess rather cross, 'tis consider’d unfitting for young ladies, or Meg and I should have lik’d to have gone too.
- and there was a sailor from an East Indiaman, said he had a pair did mighty work upon rats on shipboard, and they had had increase that he went about to sell, most exceeding tame and warrant’d fine ratters. Will also show no fear of snakes, and fight 'em to the death.
I do not think, says I, that this is the Garden of Eden and that we are troubl’d with snakes. But sure I collect that old General Y- told me a tale or two about these creatures – there are fellows in those parts will set 'em on to fight snakes quite as a raree-show beside the road – and he would always have one himself about the house, for in those parts there are many snakes of very venomous kind.
Is’t not a fine creature? 'Twas not at all dear, Mr K- said 'twas quite a bargain.
One day, says Meg, you will be about bringing an elephant home and telling us 'twas some poor lost creature that just follow’d you.
Josh, I see, thinks that that would quite entire exceed.
Bess says, all is at sixes and sevens the morn and Mama is quite in the frets over this ball, but she confides that does Aunty C- come down to the family room, there will be somewhat in the way of breakfast.
Sure I am a sad slugabed, says I, but I will come down as soon as maybe.
Comes in the door Mittens, that goes hiss somewhat at the mongoose, but I confide 'tis entire to show her own consequence and mind it of its place and does not purpose an attack. Quintus goes pick her up and make much of her, for I daresay she feels a little neglect’d.
Arrives Miss N- to say, just because there is a little disorder in the household the morn 'tis no excuse for neglecting lessons, at which there is a deal of groaning. She hopes that Lady B- past a restfull night?
O, indeed so, says I, feel entire refresht for this e’en.
They all go troop off to lessons except for my darling Flora, that continues snuggle against me until Patty comes and looks at her very doating and says, does Lady B- not mind, she confides that Miss Flora would be entire delight’d to stay while she dresses. The nursery company is not yet arriv’d.
I am not sure what Sophy will think of this – Docket has decree’d that Sophy is quite entire capable of furbishing me up for a fine ball by herself, so does not come with me to R- House.
Sophy, however, is quite enchant’d by my lovely bundle and very patient answers her questions and is very expeditious at taking from her anything that may spill, and rubs lotion into her hands, dabs a little lavender water behind her ear and tyes a ribbon into her hair – that I do not suppose will stay there long – while I go wash: and then talks to her about what she is about while she brushes out and puts up my hair, dresses me suitable for the morn, &C.
I go down to the family room, holding my precious jewel’s hand.
My darling looks somewhat distract’d, and I beseech her to sit down and take some coffee, or will be quite entire done-up before the e’en.
Comes one of the kitchenmaids with a nice little breakfast upon a tray.
And indeed, my dear, I daresay you have eat very little, you should put somewhat into your stomach, take a couple of these fine pikelets that Seraphine has sent up. Sure I know not why you should be so in the frets, was not your party last year after your Presentation a most exceeding success? And I confide that a deal of the matter is entire out of your hands.
O, says Eliza, sitting down beside and taking the pikelet I offer her, I know that a deal rests in His Lordship’s hands –
That is to say, says I, in the hands of that widely-prais’d paragon Mr MacD-, that I am sure is as capable of organising a ball as anything else.
Indeed I am being foolish, she admits, but sure 'tis a thing I never suppos’d would be like to come about.
She sighs a little and then says, 'tis a great pity that dear Lady W- will not be able to come, but one hears she is safely deliver’d of a fine son?
So 'tis give out – have not yet been visit her to see how she does. Have not even manag’d call upon Lady Z-, that has a healthy daughter. But I daresay we may anticipate that their husbands may attend and mayhap provide us with further news of how they go on.
My darling sighs and I daresay goes yearn for the babies that are quite too dangerous a matter for her to contemplate.
Flora is of an opinion that none goes pay due attention to her, and endeavours help herself to my breakfast while she supposes none looks.
Comes Patty with Julius and Hannah at her heels, and says, Betty Higgins is arriv’d with Lord S-. I am quite desert’d as Flora runs over make most effusive over her dear favourite Hannah, conveys her a butter’d pikelet, and bestows several sticky kisses. 'Tis quite entire charming. They go off to join the nursery set’s morning entertainments.
What, says my darling, you do not quite immediate go be a tiger?
'Tis too soon after my breakfast, says I, and I have not yet finisht this good coffee.
As if entire conjur’d by the word coffee, Sandy is shown in, makes civil greetings, and says, there are a few matters upon which he would desire a lady’s eye about the arrangements for the e’en, and Roberts also wisht convoke with Lady B-, as she is in the house, about the flowers.
I am sure one may entire trust Roberts’ own taste in the matter, says I, but I will come as desir’d.
We both get and walk with Sandy into the west wing, where the ballroom is situate. He talks a little agitat’d about all the various matters that are in hand.
I find that Roberts is less concern’d to convoke concerning the flowers for the e’en, than to have occasion mention to me that Lord N- has visit’d him a time or two, and has a suspicion he goes filch cuttings. As if, says Roberts, I should not give him cuttings of anything he took a fancy to, as a civility among hortickulturists.
(Sure this intelligence does not entire surprize me.)