I go to R- House to make sure that the east wing is now fit for my darlings and their dearest offspring to inhabit.
Sandy remarks that matters are already improv’d now that certain members of the household have been pension’d, and others discharg’d and replac’d. There are no longer those who heark back to the days of G-'s father as some Golden Age, which, he adds, he cannot believe they were, for report gives him out a drunken lecher.
But on an entirely different matter, he says, as we go in and out of rooms, I confide that Matt Johnson has found your kindly old lady. Might I bring him to see you this e’en? – he is in court all day bearing testimony against wrongdoers.
Why, says I, that would be quite convenable, and does anyone see, I can always say that I am asking the Bow Street Runners can they find anything out to the discredit of Miss R-, as a private commission.
Indeed your fine comedy is playing out: G- goes about to display her upon his arm at various places of resort where I daresay you were seen with him in former times, but where he would not venture to take Dowager Lady B-. He says that she is an amuzing young woman and they have fine conversations upon the theatre - but that she must, he confides, suppose that he is indeed an incognito dramatist, for she hints at plays that might be written that would suit her.
I laugh. Oh, perchance he could make notes, and pass them to me? I am not Mr P-, I am not proud, and I will take suggestions for wherever I might direct my pen next.
Is The Fateful Philtre therefore ready to be shown to Mr J-?
Oh, to my mind 'tis, but he would not be Mr J- did he not have some suggestions for very telling business to convey to the author.
Sandy laughs. Sure you know Mr J- very well!
I have known him a very long time, says I (but perhaps I should not tell Sandy that I gave Mr J- that thing that is suppos’d to be a maiden’s carefully guard’d treasure when I was but a foolish young creature: and very pleasant the occasion was for both of us).
I look at the nursery windows and confide that neither Quintus nor Flora will be able to get thro’ the bars that now cross the windows, and fall to their doom.
(I mind me of Mr de C-'s recommendation of a lady that paints charming miniature portraits, and wonder would she be the one from whom we might commission a painting of my precious darling Flora.)
Sandy remarks, rather gloomy, that he supposes that all my other friends may go whistle do I have Mrs F- in Town.
O, both my dearest F-s! I cry, which is perchance not wise, and indeed there is a certain hint of dour Calvinistickal glare comes across Sandy’s face, before he says, Forgive me, dearest C-, I am a wretch’d jealous fellow that would desire to keep you as an exclusive confidante and fears you will be quite entire taken up with the F-s.
Oh, my dear, you are ever my good friend, and I am in considerable supposition that my dear F-s will find that there are many that desire their company and will issue invitations and come call &C. I daresay I shall be quite Dido forsaken among the ruins of Carthage.
It is not recorded of Dido that she was constantly call’d upon, invited everywhere, besought to hold fine soirées, &C.
Indeed, I shall endeavour not to be Dido: for, that would go well with our present comedy, there is a another pretty little song by Purcell quite entire different from the Lament, in the person of a woman deceiv’d that declares that she will herself prove as false and inconstant as her fickle lover - sure I think I shall see can Miss McK- perform it when next I give a soirée.
Sandy smiles most charming. Sure I look forward to the advent of the F-s myself – aside from the benefit to our domestick arrangements, I always find Mr F- most extreme conversable upon a range of matters.
Indeed he greatly enjoys your conversations.
We thus part upon renew’d terms of amiability, and he will bring Matt Johnson this e’en to visit.
Therefore when I get home I go about to go with Hector into the cellar to see what we have in the way of brandy, also cigars, for I wish to show hospitable.
Hector is very much in a mood to grumble about followers, what with Thomas, and some fellow that offer’d to share his hymn-book with Prue one Sunday at chapel and took advantage so far as to walk her home.
Let us remember, Hector, says I, that the vile seducing wretch that got one of the household with child was one that was given out a gentleman and a man of science and came with recommendations from several of my circle. And went most sneaking and underhand about the entire matter rather than walking out &C in proper form.
But Hector continues to voice deep suspicion. Sure the business puts him in an extreme bad mood.
It is somewhat late in the evening when Sandy brings Matt Johnson to my door, late enough that I am in some concern that they will not come.
I hear voices outside the parlour door, as Matt Johnson greets Hector with reminiscence of some old acquaintanceship over the pugilistick art.
They are shown in. Matt Johnson is a burly fellow that may be forty or so but in condition and looks quite up to the task of apprehending dangerous rogues. He snatches off his hat and makes a somewhat awkward leg. I curtesy and say that I am most gratefull that he has turned out to see me at an hour when sure I daresay he would prefer to be resting from his endeavours against crime; will he take some brandy? And should he care for one, help himself to a cigar. I add that I do not think I need to exhort Mr MacD- to take one. (For Sandy is already about lighting one.)
Matt Johnson says brandy would be most acceptable and he has heard much of the very fine wines and brandy that I serve.
O, says I, perchance I should not say too much of where they come from before an officer of the law.
He laughs and says that he does not poach upon the grounds of the Revenue officers. He looks at me most admiring but exceeding respectfull, which is extreme pleasing to me. He then says, it is given out by some that Lady B-'s looks are entire due to paint, but indeed he cannot detect any traces.
And sure, I say, one that is a Bow Street Runner must be most acute in detection.
I see Sandy begin to glare in a dour and Calvinistickal fashion at this flirtatious badinage. I kick him in the ankle.
We exchange a little general conversation and there are compliments upon the excellence of the brandy and the cigars.
So, I say at length, after having received some most fascinating revelations of matters lying behind certain recent scandals, I understand, Mr Johnson, that you have been able to find the lady who was so very kind to Josh F- of late.
Indeed, he says, it did not take a deal of trouble. He has many usefull contacts in the coaching companies, and it turns out that it was a woman already known to him, one Dolly Mutton that keeps lodgings for women and runs a coffee-house in the vicinity of Covent Garden.
Covent Garden? says I.
Oh, he says, her days in that profession are entirely passt, her lodging house is quite entirely reputable – at least, no-one practices their trade upon the premises – and indeed her knowledge of what goes on in that locality is most superior and she has upon occasion act’d as an informant, in particular in cases of fellows that lay violent hands upon women.
Why, says I, I should greatly desire to meet her and find out was there any little thing that I, or Josh’s gratefull parents, might do for her.
Sandy looks exceeding shockt.
Matt Johnson replies that she can be found serving coffee most mornings and he would gladly take me there, tho’, he adds, I should suggest you might dress somewhat unobtrusive –
Indeed I can contrive that, says I. More brandy?
Therefore I wound up at work. phone is back from Australia. I had lunch with Purple and the guys. Purple was teasing me that oxygen isn't really necessary, because without oxygen, people don't complain at the lack ... therefore it isn't necessary ... right? I told him that he was one of the nicest assholes I knew. (That's the sort of compliment he likes.)
lb came by, and we strolled up in search of pastry. It was a slow stroll as my lungs were not all the way up to the hill yet. On our way back, I decided to try going through a nearby building to see if one of the people I knew from IRC was in. He was. I said goodbye, quite regretful that our first in-person meeting was both hello and goodbye.
One of the new hires had arrived while I was WFH-sick. I helped him navigate the helldesk in order to place the order for his new-hire software. As I popped back out of his office, one of the fellows from down the hall (towards the salesy side of engineering) stopped to tell me that I'd been very courageous on Thursday what with the asking inconvenient questions in public and all. (I hadn't felt *very* courageous, just a little bit. It gets easier after the first time, and it wasn't my dangerous question.)
I am still surprised to work in a place where people go out of their way to tell me that they like me and will miss me. I am still expecting the elementary school paradigm where I'm too weird, and then too oblivious to notice that everyone wants me to shut up and stop being weird at them.
The evening was a bit of an exercise in aslkjdfasdklfjalskdfj, as R had a sudden conference deadline, and therefore there was a bit of a scramble! Factors included: me being out sick, the high-quality photos being on the portable drive, the portable drive being Mac formatted, the general difficulty of getting things off a Mac-formatted drive when what you've got is Windows ...
... and the true helpful glory of a company full of very creative engineers who specialize in certain things, and have certain recommendations and pro tips. For example, they can tell me that certain paths are a fool's errand, and that possibly the simplest route is to plug the drive into an actual Mac. And some other things which might actually work. I decided I would try one of the other things first.
Purple said that he would have to take his hat off to me if I got stuff loaded without resorting to an actual Mac. (He doesn't wear a hat, so this will be hard.)
*gazes serenely at the progress bar*
Have I read anything this week besides work papers and Twitter? I don't actually think I have!
Literally every previously quiet moment in my brain is taken up by snippets of Hamilton. Over. And over. And over. Still obsessed. I bought myself the soundtrack and pre-ordered the book, and it's SUPER tempting to spend way more money than I have to get tickets to the San Francisco run.
I used to listen to Here & Now on the way to work, and Marketplace on the way home from work, but now I take the kid to school in the morning and drive my student worker to the trolley after work, so I don't. I miss it, but not enough to ask the kids to listen to NPR with me.
Mostly Two Dots. I keep hearing that The Witness is wonderful, but my download failed and I didn't try a second time.
James and I re-watched the Blade series and all the monster movies we own, and now we're re-watching Austin Powers. Before I met him, I had only two or three movies I ever re-watched. Now we watch the same ones over and over. It leaves my mind free for other stuff, and he likes sharing the chill time.
No Jessica Jones this week. The kid just started school and work got busy for me, so we're both too tired to bother.
Currently reading: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, for book club. Which I am kinda liking and kinda not. It does hit one of my major squicks, but the writing is very good and the characters engaging, so. I guess we'll see.
Recently finished: Oathbound by Melissa Scott, which is the latest of the Order of the Air novels. I'm finally adjusting to the slow pacing as they very slowly run up to WWII. This one is set in Egypt & Ethiopia in about 1936, when the Italians invade Ethiopia. It's actually a nice counterpoint to Elizabeth Wein's Black Dove, White Raven, which is also about pilots in Ethiopia as the Italian invasion begins.
Up next: probably Lindsay Davis' Master & God, which I just got from the library.
In other news, nestra linked me to this tonight, which is making me go O.O, or some such thing. OTOH, I could post my Firefly/Farscape crossover.... :-D
"If you`re using the Sky free channels (as opposed to Freesat) in order to receive all the available free channels sometimes need a Sky card . At the moment this is quite cheap but it is only available from Sky and anyone who has had dealings with them can testify that it can be a frustrating business..... In fact when Which? researched call centres in Jan 11 they found Sky was the worst, and they`ve got some decent opposition in that department, particularly Royal Mail, and (ironically) BT, plus all the broadband providers, obviously. That`s the modern trend, companies don`t actually want to talk to their customers, not unless it`s a voice activated computer. I never talk to them. Well actually I do, I swear at them till they put me through to a human being. You should try it, it`s very satisfying.
Some of the of the programmes on Freeview are not available on Freesat. As far as I am aware Dave or the UK History channel are not available on Freesat although the situation could change so you are advised to check. Apparently UKTV History changed its name in March 09 to “Yesterday”, and it also changed its Freeview MUX allocation. Yet another example of name changing bollox. Isn`t all this digital TV complicated enough......
On the other hand there are a few more channels on Freesat than on Freeview. So you might get 120 odd channels of crap *, instead of the 80 odd channels of crap on Freeview. Big deal. So you can waste even more time going through the TV guide confirming there`s nothing actually worth watching anyway. Life`s wonderful.
* Remember they aren`t all TV channels, some are radio channels. Who listens to the radio through a bleedin` satellite anyway ? That`s what I want to know. Whatever next ? Gas companies selling electricity ? And I bet they`d charge too much for it. The world`s gone mad."
Yesterday's drive took rather a lot out of me and I have work for Mr. Client to accomplish when all I really want to do is go back to bed. Still, I managed to make brunch out of the leftover chopped hamburger steak and grilled onions (sauteed some leftover onion with the onions that came on the chopped steak - no garlic because steak was already seasoned with some -, sliced mushrooms and added them in, dill, parsley, mixed peppercorns, let cook and added a splash of dry vermouth and let the alcohol cook out before adding the ground beef chopped up and tossed around and let the flavours marry before dumping onto one of my pre-cooked sweet potatoes that I reheated... added some yogurt and yum; have enough for dinner tonight or something, too), I am dressed and I am contemplating an email to Mr. Client that says, essentially, "Send money!".
So at least the brain is functional?
It was a great time last night and I'm really really glad I took the time and energy to get KC (and that she wanted to join me) but oof... once I have a full-time job doing a mid-week drive like that will require a day off the night of the event in question and the next day as well. Nothing like mid-week vacation time!
That white swan has some attitude, man.
I tell Miss A- that it will distract my mind from my own troubles do I take her to Mr de C-'s studio about her pretty notion of locket portraits. Sure I think she supposes that I sit at home plotting methods of doing away with Miss R- that will not cause suspicion to land upon me, or else means to win back Lord G- R-. That he makes suit to her is now become quite a general on-dit.
So we go to Mr de C-'s studio, and altho’ it does not have as much company about as Sir Z- R-'s there are several there, including Martha S-, that is taking lessons from him on painting in oils. He is putting various touches to his large family portrait of Sir B- W-, Lady W- and their children, Sir B- W- standing behind the chair with one hand on the back, gazing very doating upon Susannah, little Sukey that sits in her lap, and Bobbie that rests against her knee. 'Tis a fine and charming piece and also 'tis most reassuring to observe that neither of the children resemble the dreadfull crocodile in the least (it is given out that she was quite a Toast in her youth, which is exceeding hard to credit).
Dear Martha is working upon a still-life, and comes along exceptional well. Sure, she says, oils are more forgiving than water-colours. I confide that she has not yet heard the latest scandal about Lord G- R- for she does not look at me commiserating.
Mr de C- comes over to see how she does, makes a few suggestions, and then turns to us and shakes our hands very civil. I explain the business that we have come about. He looks considering and then says that he does not consider himself really a miniaturist - tho’ indeed, does Miss A- ever require a full-length portrait in character from The Gypsy’s Curse, he confides that he could do that with very fine effect – but there is a lady known to him that makes the very finest miniature portraits on enamel, quite entire suitable to the kind of thing Miss A- proposes. He has her card somewhere – he looks about him and goes to ferret about on the desk in the corner, and in due course comes up with a somewhat creas’d card for the lady in question.
'Tis, he adds, quite a family tradition that has been passt down since the days of the Ancien Regime.
Miss A- thanks him very prettily and says she will give some consideration to the notion he suggests.
We look about and go to have closer observation of the paintings on the walls and proppt up on the floor. There are very many studies of Phoebe.
At which moment enters Phoebe herself, along with Seraphine, that has Julius and little Hannah C- with her. I go to greet them very warm.
Seraphine explains that Mr de C- has a great wish to make a few studies of Julius and Hannah. He has been commissioned to paint a series of telling tableaux of the Evils of Slavery and the Slave Trade, which will be exhibit’d, and also have engravings made of them, which will include horrifying scenes of children torn from their mothers' arms &C. He therefore desires to make some studies of Julius and Hannah that can be workt up for the purpose, for he confides that it is improbable that they would be able to remain still in a pose.
Why, I say, that is a most excellent proceeding, that I presume will also supply to you fine portraits of them. Seraphine smiles as she ruffles Julius’s hair. Indeed that would be delightfull, she says. I talkt it over with Roberts and we could not suppose it vanity; rather a fond record of their infancy.
And how does Roberts? I ask.
O, matters go on most excellent. He is down at A- at present over certain matters that he needs to oversee, but returns very shortly. Also, she continues, he occasionally preaches at their local chapel and is most well thought of – though she dares say Dorcas or Prue will have told me this.
Not yet, says I.
She greatly looks forward to the arrival of the F-s: sure once the household is under the hand of Mrs F-, they will see great improvement. And she quite longs to see their dear children, Roberts was most prepossesst by young Josh when he visit’d. What the house needs is young things about.
She leads Julius over to Mr de C-, still cradling Hannah in one arm. Mr de C- turns from making little dabs at the painting of the W-s, and takes up a sketchbook and a pencil.
And Phoebe, how do you?
Phoebe smiles and says most excellent well, and she confides that the number of very remunerative commissions that are desir’d of dear Mr de C- owe a deal to my promotion of his interest.
O, perchance, say I, but I am sure his own merits speak for him.
He has, Phoebe goes on, a great desire to show his gratitude by painting you.
In a most entire chaste fashion, I hope, says I: no wombatts, no bubbies.
'Tis a great pity, she adds in a very low voice, after looking around to see if any are near us, that you may not be paint’d with Miss Flora.
Indeed, says I, but even was it given out as Lady B- and her god-daughter I think the resemblance might be markt. But indeed 'tis entirely heartening to me that the F-s bring their family to Town and therefore I may see her a little more often.
Phoebe reaches out and squeezes my hand, then gives a little shy smile and says, 'tis very early days yet, and she cannot be entirely sure, but she is in hopes –
Oh Phoebe, I say, as I squeeze her hand in return, I am most extreme pleas’d for you. I hope you will go and see your Aunty Mrs B- as soon as maybe.
Indeed I purpose to do so. She looks about her again, but the company are watching the extreme skill with which Mr de C- can capture in a sketch some passing gesture or expression of Julius’s: 'tis quite remarkable.
Brother Hector, she says in the same low voice, seems troubl’d about matters in the household: but indeed Euphemia, and even Prue, are come to an age when they are like to receive attentions. I cannot suppose, she goes on, that one that has a good place with the Duke of M-'s household and desires to walk out with Euphemia is a vile seducing wretch. Sure I suppose that Tibby would have said something did he have a reputation within the household.
Indeed, says I, even in my former days when I was visiting M- House Thomas always show’d himself extreme respectfull and entire civil. But Hector takes against him most exceedingly, I cannot fathom it.
I daresay he will come round as he gets us’d to the notion that he is no longer dealing with giddy girls but sensible young women. Sure he is entirely proud of Tibby and how well she does for herself, and his tune has changed utterly over Titus, that he was wont to consider an idle good-for-nothing.
Indeed Titus does very well, an entire credit to his family. And Tibby is most greatly esteem’d by Her Grace.
Phoebe goes on to ask about Docket’s health: oh, I say, the extract of foxgloves answers most remarkable, tho’ she was pull’d down a little during the terrible hot weather, but who was not? We all felt it, I think.
She sighs a little. Sure I am most exceeding happy, but sometimes I miss the bustle of the household.
I squeeze her hand. Sure, says I, we miss you. Dorcas does very well, is better at keeping the girls under her hand than I fear’d, and will speak up to tradesmen &C, which I had a little concern about: but, indeed, you were with me many years and we saw a deal of things together.
I think I drove over 400 miles today. On the plus side: the new car gets really pretty decent highway mileage... looks like I'm going to get about 425 miles from this tank of gas. That said, its mileage in city sucks rocks.
Now I go fall over. Up in 7 hours or so. Want to be at Mr. Client's at noon for four hours. Thursday it's back at CarRental Company. Friday it's many hours doing stuff for Mr. Client at his place and elsewhere. At least that's income! Have to talk to KC about schedule and so on for the next couple weeks. That will likely be tomorrow.
Time for bed!
Something that stood out for me is when Ariel asks John Gustafson (old older Swedish-Minnesotan man) if he is straight or gay. He sputters and is totally taken aback. He says something like, maybe you can ask those kinds of questions in California, but not here!
I'm trying to be more forthright (straight forward is not the word), but it's swimming against a lot of culture, going back generations all the way back to Sweden.
My actual purpose in looking at the vice kit today was to organize a chaotic assortment of Vice supplies. I had three boxes, each containing overlapping sets of supplies. I now have a tub full of durable supplies (like the cash box), a tub full of plates, bowls and napkins, and a box full of cups and straws!
And a pile of plastic cutlery I cannot fit in anywhere. Even though it came out of these three boxes and everything is packed more compactly than it was.
*cries uncontrollably for an hour, then begins working out what sort of strike dinner uses only cup lids and plastic spoons*