Sure there can be no finer way to wake up than to find that it is no dream that my darlings lye to either side of me and are giving me little kisses.
O, says I, 'tis certain I am not mistress in my own household, when I find that I am not safe from Grand Turks and wild girls that creep in with an intention to ravish me. I daresay they will even be about preparing them some breakfast.
My dears say many foolish things about being able to wait no longer to be with their belov’d third and how much they have misst me, &C. I concede that 'tis longer than I should like since we were last in triangle. and 'tis indeed most pleasurable to be with my dearest ones.
'Tis well on into the morning when we finally rise.
We all look at one another very happy, and there is some more kissing.
I wonder, says Josiah, that any believe this tale of Lord G- R- and his actress, for tho’ she shows very well on stage, has most excellent delivery, &C, she can in no way compare to the loveliest of C-s.
Oh, says I, sure I have workt my feminine wiles upon you to dazzle your eyes and in truth I am quite entire gone off, I am quite Dido in the ruins of Carthage… O! You wretch! as my wild girl commences tickling me.
The matter of it is, says I when we have become a little more sober, that Milord requires a mistress that he may show off in publick.
At length we go down to where Euphemia has provid’d a most exceeding fine breakfast. I find myself with a considerable appetite.
After some while I sit back with my cup of coffee and say I hope that they were not too severe with Josh upon his return.
They look from one to another and laugh a little.
O, says our Grand Turk, when I was finally back at home I call’d in Josh to have words with him: and in comes Josh, quite white-fac’d but very determin’d, and says that he quite knows that he entirely deserves to be whippt for it was a very foolish thoughtless thing to do and he is indeed heartily sorry for the worry and trouble he caus’d. And all thought of severity quite melt’d away, and I could do nothing but hug him and beg him not to do the like again.
Also, says my dearest wild girl with a grin, have we not ourselves so oft desir’d to run away to our dearest of C-s?
Indeed there is that consideration! But he show’d himself so contrite - also I think he had something of a scare thrown into him that will make him more cautious in future. But he had a very fine time and will still be talking of it, I confide that the others are somewhat jealous.
I am sure, says I, that it may be made up to them.
O, my dearest of C-s, you need not make any trouble over them.
'Tis no trouble at all, my darlings. But, I must tell you, I have been waiting until you were here with me, for I am not sure it is a matter to put into letters – no, my dears, 'tis not a bad thing, do not be putting on your worry’d faces –
So I go about to tell them that I have found Dolly Mutton, that was the kindly old lady that helpt Josh upon his way, and she is a very fine woman indeed, that keeps entire respectable lodgings and a coffee-house in the vicinity of Covent Garden.
Is there anything we may do for her, to show our gratitude? asks Josiah.
Oh, indeed there is, say I, and commence to tell them Dolly Mutton’s fine plan for a refuge for ladies of the town that are sick or worn-out and unable to pursue their profession. For we both, I go on, quite abominate magdalene asylums, that are such penitential places.
Out comes the little memorandum book and a pencil and Josiah begins to ask questions about how the business could be contriv’d, and how many women she would be able to accommodate, and a deal of practical matters that we had not yet arriv’d at.
He says that he does not see why it could not be manag’d tho’ one would have to go somewhat carefull to keep the matter discreet, but Dolly Mutton sounds a fine business-like woman. He would need to talk to her.
And I should like to meet her too, says Eliza, and thank her for her kindness to Josh.
Mayhap I should invite her here, says I, so that you might convoke on the matter. Tho’ I daresay you might also desire to inspect the premises – sure I was most prepossesst by the coffee-house and her back parlour tho' I did not see all the house. She is also on excellent terms with the Bow Street Runners – or, that is, at least one of their number.
Oh, says my wild girl, you know a Bow Street Runner? Harry is quite wild about the notion of those that go about investigating crime and bringing malefactors to justice.
Why, I say, sure I think I might be able to bring about an introduction. But the Runner in question is also a great friend of Mr MacD- and has quite the highest estimate of his ability to see into intricate mysteries.
One may quite imagine that, remarks our Grand Turk.
And talking of intricate mysteries, I continue, sure I am quite at a loss over the way matters go within the household of late. 'Tis entire beyond me. Hector has always kept the household under a firm hand but of late he seems quite unwont’d severe about the attentions that Prue and Euphemia are about receiving from young fellows, now that they have become such fine young women. There is Prue that is walkt home from chapel by some admirer, and you would suppose he had gone about like Lovelace to kidnap her into a bagnio and drug her. There is Thomas, that is a footman at M- House –
- Indeed I recollect Thomas, says Eliza, a most civil respectfull young man –
- that comes to me to ask would there be any objection to his walking out with Euphemia, which is doing the thing entirely in order, nothing clandestine or underhand, and does Euphemia have any mind to him I cannot see the harm, she is a good sensible girl. But Hector acts as if Thomas is a seducing scoundrel that will get her with child and leave her on the parish. 'Tis quite entirely strange.
In particular, I go on, I cannot mind him being anything like so suspicious, when Mr de C- was courting Phoebe, even tho’ she is his sister. Altho’, perchance 'tis because she is of maturer years and he supposes that Euphemia and Prue are still giddy girls.
My dear, I turn to Josiah, do you ever have the opportunity to have a man-to-man talk with Hector, might you go about to see if he discloses anything to the matter? For it is causing considerable unease among my people, such as we have never known.
Dearest of C-s, I had purpos’d to have some converse with Hector about rewarding your people for their great kindness to Josh, mayhap I can bring us round to this business.
And I, says Eliza, purpose to have some words with Euphemia, about some exchange of receipts, for I thought her parkin most exceptional. Perchance she might disclose to one that is not in this household whether there is any matter at the back of this.
O my loves, that would be most extreme kind in you. I have really been quite in distress, for it has always seem’d to me that this has been a happy household, that we have not had the brangles that you will be about tidying up at R- House, or even the difficulty that Dorcas had in Miss A-'s household thro’ Maggy’s jealousy. But indeed, what do I know? I have always so greatly rely’d upon Hector’s wise rule.
I wring my hands, for indeed I am in considerable perturbation over the matter and know not what to do.
My darlings come embrace and kiss me and assure me that they will do all they can to sound out the business.