Is deliver’d to me from my acquaintance in the Diplomatick at Naples a letter from Marcello that has come by this covert route. I break the seal in some anxiety to see what he has writ.
'Tis no worrying news. He quite apprehends that 'twould be a beneficial thing to make improvements concerning my mine, 'tis quite the like matter with what he intends concerning agrarian experiments. Has already had letters from two or three savants on the matter that he surmizes are acquaint’d with the Contessa. Confides that the late Marquess would have quite entirely approv’d in the matter.
He would also desire to be reassur’d that Reynaldo di S- has no immediate intention of return to Naples. But sure the Contessa is quite greatly misst.
I laugh somewhat immoderate at this.
Hector at this moment shows in Sandy.
Dearest C-, I am delight’d to hear you mirthfull for indeed your mood has seem’d a little sombre of late.
I disclose the matter to him. We both laugh somewhat immoderate.
Sure, says Sandy, the adherents of the Cause in Naples should get up a testimonial to Lady Z-, that keeps young Reynaldo in agreeable exile.
Comes Celeste with coffee and shortbreads.
He sighs and says he still goes about to get Mr D- K-'s creditors to settle: points out that 'twill create a most adverse impression do they go sue a recent widow. Tho’ is like to suppose that a deal of his debts were not matters that might be su’d for in court, so may be given the go-by.
But alas, the relative that falls heir to his estate shows some reluctance to make the accustom’d portion over to the widow, claiming that he lent the late Mr D- K- large sums of money that were never repay’d.
Sure I am a silly uninstruct’d creature, says I, but I daresay that is not in entire accord with the letter of the law.
Indeed not, but 'tis entire in keeping with all one knew of the late D- K- that his affairs are in a tangle and he continues troublesome beyond the grave.
We both sigh, and then I say, but indeed I have some more chearfull intelligence concerning that mysterious new poet - I am in some concern that Mr W- Y- has some intention to render her as it were his protégé, but I confide that we may do better for her. Have askt her to send me fair-copies of her best work that one may be about publickation.
Sandy smiles at me and says, sure 'twill be entire better for her to be the protégé of Lady B- -
- and to have the imprimatur of that stringent critic, Deacon Brodie!
We look at one another with great affection: sure I have greatly misst these visits: 'twas entire not the same to have snatcht moments while we were in other company.
I then say, o, would you ask Milord if there is any on-dit concerning Lord Geoffrey’s capacity as a whip? Has offer’d to take me driving.
Sandy sighs a little and says he is pleas’d to hear that Lord Geoffrey is about anything that is not writing him exceeding long letters full of questions about his reading.
I say that they intend pursue amateur theatrickals with the assistance of Miss A-'s kind instruction; perchance that will distract his mind somewhat.
Sandy sighs more deeply and says he confides that this will go to bring about yet more questions and longer letters. And solicitations for a meeting.
What harm in a meeting?
Why, I daresay no harm, but - Indeed, one can see that he is entirely susceptible to the charms of the female sex, and yet –
O, says I, indeed there are those that will incline to both, or may be surpriz’d in some particular case –
'Tis known, agrees Sandy. And given his rank, I am like to think that caution would be adviz’d.
’Tis indeed most prudent. Has spoke to me of you as if you were in some uncongenial place, that I daresay he would wish to rescue you from.
Sandy groans and says he had not wisht to bother G- with the matter, but he confides that he should know of it.
Why, says I, does Lord Geoffrey have ambitions as a whip, I daresay he would be entire delight’d did Milord go take him up a little –
Tho’ indeed he has qualities beyond most in the empty-head’d wastrel set –
- he would gain some understanding of Milord’s excellent character and how much he values yourself.
Supposing, says Sandy with somewhat of a grimace, he does not then go cast himself at G-'s feet in hopes of a kind glance.
I laugh and say, sure, a year or two should bring him to a less volatile state: is not Miss A- become quite the image of prudence and sense of late?
Sandy says, but Miss A- had the benefit of quite the wisest of mentors –
Hah, says I, you take advantage of my neglect to provide myself with a fan to apply to flatterers.
I pour him some more coffee, remark that it has become cold, and ring the bell for Hector to desire some fresh
When this has come, Sandy tells me that he must not omit to inform me that he has very pleasing offers for the new novel, and for the tales I have contriv’d to write in the midst of my other business.
'Tis gratifying, says I. But another matter that I should open to you is that there are those that greatly desire to convoke with Roberts upon horticultural matters. Lord N-, that is such a friend of the V-s, greatly wishes to speak with him about, I apprehend, matters of breeding of flowers; and Jacob S- seeks advice on the gardens of the Admiral’s fine property. I daresay 'twould be civil to communicate the matter to Milord.
Why, says Sandy, does it not give consequence to a fellow to have in his employ one that has become so renown’d as Roberts? He and Seraphine need only hold out a hand to be offer’d the most eligible of positions.
'Tis true, says I. But I confide that they are well content’d as they are.
He sighs and says altho’ 'tis quite the most agreeable thing to engage once more in converse with one that quite misleading describes herself as a silly creature, 'tis a thing he has greatly misst, he dares say he should be about the deal of business that he has upon hand.
Indeed, 'tis most agreeable to convoke with the bello scozzese.
We part on entirely renew’d terms of amiability.
In the afternoon I determine that I should most probable be at home to callers, and indeed, once I am sat with my embroidery, that comes on most exceeding slow, there are several come call, including Mrs V-, Mrs P- and Miss W-, Mrs O- B-, Mrs D- that is the mother of Danvers D-, and Lady D- and Miss S- (she and I do not allude to our informal encounter).
The latter pair are still seat’d in my parlour when Her Grace of M- is announc’d, which falls very happy.
Comes in Viola looking most exceeding well, and extreme well-turn’d-out. O, she says, we are only just return’d to M- House, but I thought I should go about and leave cards &C.
I make introductions. I see that Viola collects that I mention’d these ladies to her and that I was in particular hopes that she would befriend Miss S-. The latter shows somewhat timid and shy but I lead the conversation around to German literature, and before Lady D- and her sister depart Viola has solicit’d Agnes S-'s interest for a German reading group.
As there are no more formal callers at present Viola stretches out in her chair and says, have you seen Lady J-? – I indicate that I have – Is this not a remarkable development? She confides she is with child! Biffle does not know what to think.
Why, says I, is she not a marry’d lady? Has she not been visiting her husband aboard his flagship?
Viola rolls her eyes and says, sure 'tis hard to imagine, even tho’ she saw them marry’d, Lady J- and a gentleman.
I laugh and say, ‘tis most certain unexpect’d. But how is His Grace? and Lady Cathy?
After she has gone I confide that there are unlike to be any more callers, and go walk a little in the Park, accompany’d by Timothy.
There is still not so much company as there will shortly be, but I observe Fraulein H-, that is with a fellow who on closer approach I see to be Herr P-, that must still be staying with her family.
I go greet them. Herr P- looks in some horror at Timothy and says something in German to Fraulein H-. She looks shockt. I make out the word sklave and am somewhat surpriz’d that a philosopher of democratick principles like Herr P- does not know that slavery is forbid on English soil. I apprehend that Fraulein H- is explaining this to him.
I ask Fraulein H- how she is, how her brother does, did her mother benefit from her sojourn at Weymouth, &C. She answers these questions, and then says, Herr P- comes lodge with 'em, as he desires to be in Town where he may find fellows of like mind. Also, she says with a dimpling smile, Mutti greatly wishes to feed him up.
I fear she looks upon him somewhat doating. Sure I daresay he is not the kind of scoundrel that her former affianc’d was, but he is not the kind of fellow that I should greatly like any young woman I had a concern for to take up with. I am in some supposition he may return to the notion of a simple life in the American wild woods and desire a helpmeet that would accompany him.
However, even if Frau H- is feeding him up he still looks quite unfit to undertake such an enterprize.
But sure, this is not my trouble to worry about.