So, I receive a little note from Mrs O- B-, desiring my advice, and go call upon her one forenoon.
Charley is with her when I go into their parlour, and I say I hear she is to be wisht happy, to which she says with a great smile and a deal of blushes, indeed she is. But, she hopes that Lady B- -
I sigh a little and say, sure people will make a deal out of nothing at all. I confide that Lord A- thinks of me in the capacity of an older sister - mayhap even an aunt - that could advize him on matters of courtship -
But, 'tis put about that Lord R- -
O, poo, says I, gentlemen will go take jealous pets over naught at all, even without there is an Iago steps between to make trouble. Sure 'tis not the first time His Lordship has fallen into such a fit – even tho’ we are such very old friends.
I go kiss her and say, sure she will make an entire charming viscountess.
Now, says her mother, run along, for I hear Mr G- D- being admitt’d to take your lesson.
Once Charley is gone, she turns to me and says, such a match! Sure we never suppos’d – indeed he seems a fine young fellow, but not too young. Do sit down, Lady B-.
She rings for tea.
'Tis very good of you to come, she says. Mr O- B- says you quite set his mind at rest over Lord A-‘s character, but there are questions I doubt a man would think to ask. Will he be a kindly husband, do you think?
Indeed, says I, I think he will show exceeding well. Has been no wild womanizer - o, perchance an opera-dancer or so, or even an opera singer - but as you will know he is in a very good set of fellows. But I daresay Mr B- will be settling somewhat upon Charley in trust, in case.
'Tis only prudent, says Mrs B-, fellows may fall into wild speculation, or be deceiv’d by suppos’d friends, and then 'tis as well that there is something reserv’d to the wife.
But, dear Lady B-, she says, after tea has come and she has pour’d out, I am somewhat at a loss as how we should go on now. Mr B- has been about making the announcement, and there will be a deal of matters of lawyers –
I say that I daresay they already have their own men of law, but my legal affairs are in the hands of Mr Q- of Lincoln’s Inn, a most excellent fellow.
- but her concerns are, should they give a ball? Would it be the proper thing to do?
I go think for a moment and sip my tea. Alas, says I, 'twould be a difficult matter to go arrange a ball now the Season is so well under way. All the crack musicians that play for dancing will already be commission’d to one or another. And I am not sure where you might hold it – I confide this mansion, tho’ exceeding fine, does not have a ballroom?
She shakes her head.
No, says I, not a ball, I would propose a fine musick party, where you might also have a little dancing. 'Twould be entire fitting and I confide that Mr G- D- and his friends would be entire delight’d to perform, and I have particular interest with Titus –
Oh, cries Mrs O- B-, that was looking somewhat daunt’d at the prospect of a ball, what a very fine idea, His Lordship being such a connoisseur that first not’d Charley when she sang at M- House. 'Twould entirely answer.
And as far as balls go for putting the matter about, is’t not barely a se’ennight to the R- House ball?
But, says Mrs O- B-, this difficulty 'twixt Lord A- and Viscount R- -
Sure, says I, I confide that 'twill come to an entire reconciliation before then. (Sure I have contriv’d matters much less promising.) There will like be a display of entire amity.
Do you say so, she says.
And do you require any recommendation to modistes &C, I am quite entire at your service. But I am like to suppose that one that will be a fine advisor to Miss B- on this change of station would be Her Grace of M-.
What an excellent young woman she is, says Mrs O- B-. Sure an excellent example, even are there no matters of stepsons for Charley.
We part with most exceeding good feeling.
In the afternoon there is a meeting concerning the optickal dispensary, that concludes most unwont’d expeditious, I am like to suppose because several are kept homebound by colds. So I have a little time to go ride my sweet Jezebel in the Park at the fashionable hour.
There is a deal of company about, and there are several show sign of wishing to engage me in conversation, but I have my eyes open for other matters.
I observe Milord, that goes ride with several of the empty-head’d wastrel set.
I also observe that Lord A- comes driving his phaeton with Charley B- beside him.
One may perceive that this all becomes of most great interest to the passing company.
I go trot over to 'em, and make most effusive civil to 'em both, until comes up Milord with the fribble-set, and goes remark that he has seen the announcement, congratulates Lord A-, and wishes Miss B- exceeding happy.
Adds that he makes up a theatre-party in his box this e’en: he dares say Lord A- is not free to join 'em? ‘Tis wretch’d short notice.
Why, says Lord A-, it so perchances that Miss B- is engag’d for this e’en, 'tis a longstanding arrangement, so I am quite entire at loose ends. He turns to her and takes her hand and hopes that she will not mind does he go to the play with this sorry set of fellows?
Oh, says Charley, 'tis not as tho’ you might come to this ladies’ gathering (for Viola has took to having occasional little very select soirées for the young women in her set. I daresay Charley will be most immense delight’d to be the first among 'em to take, since the match 'twixt Lady Anna and the Marquess of O- still, to common knowledge, hangs in the balance): indeed I am glad that you will be entertain’d.
Milord says they will ensure that Lord A- is deliver’d to his club betimes and does not go revel the night away. He then turns to me and says, Lady B-, sure one knows how much in demand you are, I suppose there can be no likelyhood that you might join our party?
I give my head a little toss, as one who minds how causelessly jealous His Lordship has show’d these several months, and look pondering, and then smile and say, sure it perchances that I have no pressing engagements this e’en (I had hop’d to spend it at writing at my novel, but consider that 'tis entire necessary to play out this comedy).
Milord looks at me positive languishing and says that 'twould be most delightfull could I come.
O, says I, smiting him lightly with my riding crop, sure I know what 'tis: you want one of Euphemia’s pique-niques.
The fribble set all laugh very obliging.
So the matter is conclud’d, we take our leave of Lord A- and Miss B-, and ride off in company in considerable amity. There is a deal of discussion of the R- House ball and some several solicitations to me to save dances, which is sure very gratifying.
When I return home, I desire Euphemia to make up a pique-nique, and then go consult with Docket upon dress. I am therefore array’d very elegant and wearing my rubies, and supply’d with a fine basket, when I depart for the theatre.
As I step into the box Milord takes my hand, kisses it, and conducts me to the seat right at the front, next to himself. We exchange whisper’d conversation that onlookers may go suppose intimacies.
The empty-head’d wastrels go twit Lord A- upon his impending marriage quite in traditional form, and also make some jests upon Danvers D-.
Miss R- is on stage in the night’s play, and shows her condition less than many women that are as far along in increase as she must be. Sure I cannot forget how huge I grew even tho’ Flora was such a small infant. I hope she does not go tight-lacing herself, 'tis deem’d most deleterious for women that go with child, and Mr H- will scold very harsh any ladies under his care do they undertake it.
The play is not very good, and leaves my mind quite free to roam. I mind that I must go convoke with Mr H- on whether his friends in Sussex might supply the Marquess’ cellar. I think that matters begin come round for him somewhat in his practice as the body-snatching scandal becomes old stale news, tho’ sure 'twas not the first and I daresay will not be the last.
I look about the audience. The M- box appears to have been given over to some country cousins. As 'tis not a new play I do not see Mr P-, looking critickal, with Mrs O'C-, or the N-s. Sandy, that has already publisht as Deacon Brodie his adverse thoughts, goes meet with some of his philosophickal acquaintance the e’en.
During a pause in the performance there is some disturbance in the pit - several in our box put up their quizzing glasses. O, says young Lord V-, 'tis that tiresome fellow Mr W- Y-, what shocking poor ton he displays of late. One hears is being blackball’d at several clubs where he us’d to have the entrée.
As we leave the theatre I am very much surround’d by the fribble set, and indeed, of a sudden they quite form a protective phalanx about me. Milord says, there is some woman there shouts out filth about Lady B-, and indeed, I think has an intention to throw some at you.
Lord A- says, has the air of a somewhat superannuat’d Covent Garden Miss. I daresay she runs mad.
Lord V- and Danvers D-, that have gone to see may they apprehend her, say she has vanisht into the crowd.
I shiver a little, but indeed, strikes chill coming from the warmth inside.