Hector comes and asks whether Mrs F- has been able to obtain any intelligence about how Titus does? Oh yes, she says, Mr G- D- was much at M- House about the business of Lady J-'s concerts and sometimes had Titus with him. The boy has become the great favourite of Mr G- D-'s household and makes himself most useful. Also, he was discover'd singing a lullaby to the twins one day that was entirely of his own composition and which Mr G- D- thinks shows considerable promise.
Hector is extreme gratify'd that the boy is showing so satisfactory and has got out of his idle ways, and puts it down to the excellent example of our household.
I only hope, say I, that he does not continue to pine for Tibby. Mrs F- says if he does, it must show a great devotion, because Mr G- D- says that there are young women in his neighbourhood that already run after the boy. Hector sighs, as one that has the same problem, and says he hopes that Titus takes this in a prudent and sober manner and is not beguil'd by female flattery.
After he goes about his business once more I disclose to Mrs F- the history of how Hector came into my household: that he was previously in a place where the mistress of the house took a fancy to him - oh, says Mrs F-, like unto the tale of Joseph Andrews - except, say I, that Hector was no such simple unsuspecting creature but could foresee that there could be no good end to the matter, and that being turned off without a character would be the best case that could happen, rather than accusations of ravishment. Sir B- W- had already noted him and thought him fit to make a prize-fighter, and would have sponsor'd him in such a course. He did not have any great notion to it, but could not see any other way forward, so came to talk over the matter with Phoebe and Seraphine, who were already of my establishment.
And that was the reason, I continue, that he was in the house on the night when the Junker made his frenzy'd attack upon me. That made me consider that it would be prudent to have a man about the place - tho' sure I have never had anything the like happen to me again - and a fine footman in smart livery ever gives credit to an establishment. But really, Hector has become a pillar of the house and sure I am concerned lest he take some notion to leave.
He does not comport himself like one that dislikes his place, says Mrs F-. He could do better for himself, I reply.
My dearest says she will go talk to Seraphine and see if she can discover how things go betwixt her and Roberts. We kiss as if about to be parted forever, and I pick up the book in which I am writing my Gothick tale. The young actress has now taken refuge in the nunnery and in her explorings of the place (for she is not subject to any kind of monastic discipline), has discovered the cell in which the gypsy belov'd of the Grand Duke is immur'd. It is reveal'd that the Prince-Bishop is very much hated by the gypsy tribe for his oppressions towards them. There is mention of a curse.
Returns Mrs F- and sits next to me on the sopha, peering over my shoulder as I write. I close the book upon my finger (so that the ink will not smudge). and kiss her. Well, my love?
Seraphine is very close about the matter of Roberts but was entirely open to me concerning her loyalty to a place where she is not demean'd on account of her sex or the colour of her skin, also mentioning the many years you have been together, the very generous wages and no trouble over perquisites, and the vails that visitors to the house have been pleas'd to give her, as well as your very kind behaviour in the matter of Julius.
However - Mrs F- takes the book from me and places it on the table, and puts her arm around me - she will go so far as to admit that there are those that might have some prejudice on account of the nature of the establishment. She adverted to Mr E- with some bitterness as one who suppos'd it a house of commerce (though he put it a good deal coarser) generally, on account of my darling's profession.
She waxed quite angry then and said that you ever closed the door to gentlemen that offered sauciness to any of the household and gave out that this was a rule of the place. They had tried to persuade Cousin Dorcas that she would be much better in Madame C-'s household than some of the respectable ones where she met with coarse behaviour. But she would have none of a house of sin founded upon fornication. The foolish chit, says Seraphine, for she may be besotted on Miss A- now, but places her trust in an improvident creature that follows a precarious way of life.
She also says she will never like anyone that thinks they may insult Madame C-, not if it was the Archbishop of Canterbury himself or even John Wesley.
I believe Mr Wesley to be deceas'd, I say in a small voice. But that is very kind in Seraphine. In a position like mine it is only sound prudent behaviour to be generous to one's people and to protect their interests.
Oh, I can hear the sound of my darling working up into one of her fusses, says Mrs F- hugging me close. Perchance I should think of some distraction.
This pleasing notion receives a setback upon Hector announcing that the parson is on his way up the drive. We immediately tidy ourselves and put on very respectable caps, and I put away my Gothick tale.
Mr G- seems quite intimidated by Mrs F-, who carefully drops into the conversation hints of wealth and mentions of the distinguished society she has late been in along with her great affection for her dear school-fellow, whose husband pursues a profession that takes him away so distant so much, leaving her solitary even at such a time as the present.
After he departs Mrs F- says that she considers that he greatly hopes that the sea-captain's ship will go down, leaving me a wealthy widow. Though she thinks he would also have a notion even were there not money in the matter, and were he not constrained by his cloth I should be having trouble with that man.
Were it not for his cloth he would not even have an entrée here, I say, but I am oblig'd to admit him. And indeed, I think I am able to tell when a gentleman has a notion towards me: I have never suppos'd Mr G- interested merely in my spiritual welfare. For if he were, he would not address so much of his conversation towards my bubbies. But tell me, my darling, are there women who could be successfully wooed by being told of their weak feminine minds and incapacity to manage their own affairs?
There is a deal of difference, says Mrs F-, between offering to help someone and take a little of their burden, which may be welcome, and declaring them incompetent.
Did our dearest tell you of the pretty desk he had fashioned for me, so that I could better manage business matters? It is the prettiest usefullest thing.
Now, that is our dear Grand Turk, she cries. And now I am no longer myself distracted by that dreadfull parson, I should obey his instruction to distract our darling from fussing.