Infomotions, Inc.The Visits of Elizabeth / Glyn, Elinor, 1864-1943

Author: Glyn, Elinor, 1864-1943
Title: The Visits of Elizabeth
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): sidenote; victorine; lord valmond; valmond; mamma; heloise; baronne; vicomte; lady doraine; lady theodosia; lord doraine; lady carriston; marquis; dearest mamma; jane roose; aunt maria; nice; lady cecilia; affectionate daughter; lady
Contributor(s): Vizetelly, Ernest Alfred, 1853-1922 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 59,421 words (short) Grade range: 10-12 (high school) Readability score: 66 (easy)
Identifier: etext10959
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Title: The Visits of Elizabeth

Author: Elinor Glyn

Release Date: February 6, 2004 [EBook #10959]

Language: English

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[Illustration: Elizabeth]




Cambridge U.S.A.

MDCCCI (1901)




It was perhaps a fortunate thing for Elizabeth that her ancestors went
back to the Conquest, and that she numbered at least two Countesses and
a Duchess among her relatives. Her father had died some years ago, and,
her mother being an invalid, she had lived a good deal abroad. But, at
about seventeen, Elizabeth began to pay visits among her kinsfolk. It
was after arriving at Nazeby Hall, for a Cricket Week, that she first
wrote home.

Nazeby Hall, _26th July_.

Dearest Mamma,--I got here all right, without even a smut on my face,
for Agnes tidied me up in the brougham before we arrived at the gate.
The dust in the train was horrid. It is a nice house. They were at tea
when I was ushered in; it was in the hall--I suppose it was because it
was so windy outside. There seemed to be a lot of people there; and
they all stopped talking suddenly, and stared at me as if I were a new
thing in the Zoo, and then, after a minute, went on with their
conversations at the point they had left off.

[Sidenote: _Afternoon Tea_]

Lady Cecilia pecked my cheek, and gave me two fingers; and asked me, in
a voice right up at the top, how were you. I said you were better,
and--you know what you told me to say. She murmured something while she
was listening to what a woman with a sweet frock and green eyes was
saying at the other end of the table. There was heaps of tea. She waved
vaguely for me to sit down, which I did; but there was a footstool
near, and it was half dark, so I fell over that, but not very badly,
and got safely to my seat.

Lady Cecilia--continuing her conversation across the room all the
time--poured out a cup of tea, with lumps and _lumps_ of sugar in it,
and lots of cream, just what you would give to a child for a treat! and
she handed it to me, but I said, "Oh! please, Lady Cecilia, I don't
take sugar!" She has such bulgy eyes, and she opened them wide at me,
perfectly astonished, and said, "Oh! then please ring the bell; I don't
believe there is another clean cup." Everybody stopped talking again,
and looked at me, and the green-eyed lady giggled--and I rang the bell,
and this time didn't fall over anything, and so presently I got some
tea. Just as I was enjoying such a nice cake, and watching all the
people, quite a decent man came up and sat down behind me. Lady Cecilia
had not introduced me to anybody, and he said, "Have you come a long
way?" And I said, "Yes." And he said, "It must have been dusty in the
train," and I said it was--and he was beginning to say something more,
when the woman with the green eyes said, "Harry, do hand me the
cucumber sandwiches," and so he had to get up, and just then Sir Trevor
came in, and he was glad to see me. He is a jolly soul, and he said I
was eight when he last saw me, and seemed quite surprised I had grown
any taller since! Just as though people could stay at eight! Then he
patted my cheek, and said, "You're a beauty, Elizabeth," and Lady
Cecilia's eyes bulged at him a good deal, and she said to me, "Wouldn't
you like to see your room?" and I said I wasn't a bit in a hurry, but
she took me off, and here I am; and I am going to wear my pink silk for
dinner, and will finish this by-and-by.

12.30.--Well, I have had dinner, and I found out a good many of their
names--they mostly arrived yesterday. The woman with the green eyes is
Mrs. de Yorburgh-Smith. I am sure she is a _pig_. The quite decent man,
"Harry," is a Marquis--the Marquis of Valmond--because he took Lady
Cecilia in to dinner. He is playing in the Nazeby Eleven.

There is a woman I like, with stick-out teeth; her name is Mrs.
Vavaseur. She knows you, and she is awfully nice, though so plain, and
she never looks either over your head, or all up and down, or talks to
you when she is thinking of something else. There are heaps more women,
and the eleven men, so we are a party of about twenty-five; but you
will see their names in the paper.

Such a bore took me in! He began about the dust again, but I could not
stand that, so I said that every one had already asked me about it. So
he said "Oh!" and went on with his soup.

[Sidenote: _The Cricket Talk_]

At the other side was another of the Eleven, and he said, Did I like
cricket? And I said, No, I hated always having to field (which was what
I did, you know, when I played with the Byrne boys at Biarritz); and I
asked him if he was a good player, and he said "No," so I said I
supposed he always had to field too, then; and he said, No, that
sometimes they allowed him a bat, and so I said I was sure that wasn't
the same game I played; and he laughed as if I had said something
funny--his name is Lord George Lane--and the other one laughed too, and
they both looked idiots, and so I did not say any more about that. But
we talked on all the time, and every one else seemed to be having such
fun, and they all call each other by pet names, and shorten up all
their adjectives (it _is_ adjectives I mean, not adverbs). I am sure
you made a mistake in what you told me, that all well-bred people
behave nicely at dinner, and sit up, because they don't a bit; lots of
them put their elbows on the table, and nearly all sat anyhow in their
chairs. Only Lady Cecilia and Mrs. Vavaseur behaved like you; but then
they are both quite old--over forty.

They all talk about things that no stranger could understand, but I
dare say I shall pick it up presently. And after dinner, in the
drawing-room, Lady Cecilia did introduce me to two girls--the Roose
girls--you know. Well, Lady Jane is the best of the two; Lady Violet is
a lump. They both poke their heads, and Jane turns in her toes. They
have rather the look in their eyes of people with tight boots. Violet
said, "Do you bicycle?" and I said, "Yes, sometimes;" and she said,
with a big gasp: "Jane and I adore it. We have been ten miles since tea
with Captain Winchester and Mr. Wertz."

[Sidenote: _An African Millionaire_]

I did not think that interesting, but still we talked. They asked me
stacks of questions, but did not wait for the answers much. Mr. Wertz
is the African millionaire. He does not play cricket, and, when the men
came in afterwards, he crossed over to us, and Jane introduced him to
me when he had talked a little. He is quite a sort of gentleman, and is
very much at home with every one. He laughed at everything I said. Mrs.
Smith (such bosh putting "de Yorburgh" on!) sat on a big sofa with Lord
Valmond, and she opened and shut her eyes at him, and Jane Roose says
she takes every one's friend away; and Lord George Lane came up, and we
talked, and he wasn't such an idiot as at dinner, and he has nice
teeth. All the rest, except the Rooses and me, are married--the women,
I mean--except Miss La Touche, but she is just the same, because she
sits with the married lot, and they all chat together, and Violet Roose
says she is a cat, but I think she looks nice; she is so pretty, and
her hair is done at the right angle, because it is like Agnes does
mine, and she has nice scent on; and I hope it won't rain to-morrow,
and good-night, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--Jane Roose says Miss La Touche will never get married; she is
too smart, and all the married women's men talk to her, and that the
best tone is to look rather dowdy; but I don't believe it, and I would
rather be like Miss La Touche. E.

Elizabeth received an immediate reply to her letter, and the next one

Nazeby Hall, _28th July_.

Dearest Mamma,--I _am_ sorry you find I use bad grammar and write
incoherently, and you don't quite approve of my style; but you see it
is just because I am in a hurry. I don't speak it; but if I must stop
to think of grammar and that, I should never get on to tell you what I
am doing here, so do, dear Mamma, try and bear it bravely. Well,
everybody came down to breakfast yesterday in a hat, and every one was
late--that is, every one who came down at all, the rest had theirs

[Sidenote: _The Cricket Match_]

The cricket began, and it was really a bore. We sat in a tent, and all
the nice men were fielding (it is always like that), and the married
lot sat together, and talked about their clothes, and Lady Doraine read
a book. She is pretty too, but has big ears. Her husband is somewhere
else, but she does not seem to miss him; and the Rooses told me her
hair used to be black, and that they have not a penny in the world, so
I think she must be clever and nice to be able to manage her clothes so
well. They are perfectly lovely, and I heard her say her maid makes

Miss La Touche happened to be next me, so she spoke to me, and said my
hat was "too devey for words" (the blue one you got at Caroline's); and
by-and-by we had lunch, and at lunch Lord Valmond came and sat by me,
and so Mrs. Smith did too, and she gushed at me. He seemed rather put
out about something--I suppose it was having to field all the
time.--and she talked to him across me, and she called him "Harry"
lots of times, and she always says things that have another meaning.
But they all do that--repeat each other's Christian names in a
sentence, I mean--just like you said that middle-class people did when
you were young, so I am sure everything must have changed now.

Well, after lunch, all the people in the county seemed to come; some of
them had driven endless miles, and we sat apart, I suppose to let them
see how ordinary we thought them; and Lady Cecilia was hardly polite,
and the others were more or less rude; but presently something
happened--I don't know what--and the nice men had not to field any
more. Perhaps they could not stand it any longer, and so every one who
had been yawning woke up, and Mr. Wertz, who had been writing letters
all this time, appeared, and Lady Doraine made room for him beside her,
and they talked; and when our Eleven had drunk something they came and
lay on the grass near us, and we had such a nice time. There is a
beautiful man here, and his name is Sir Dennis Desmond, and his
grandfather was an Irish King, and he talks to me all the time, and
his mother looks at him and frowns; and I think it silly of her, don't
you? And if I were a man I wouldn't visit with my mother if she frowned
at me. Do you know her? She dresses as if she were as young as I am.
She had a blue muslin on this morning, and her hair is red with green
stripes in it, and she is all white with thick pink cheeks, and across
the room she doesn't look at all bad; but close! Goodness gracious she
looks a hundred! And I would much sooner have nice white hair and a cap
than look like that, wouldn't you? I'll finish this when I come to bed.

[Sidenote: _Sir Dennis Desmond_]

12.30.--What _do_ you think has happened? Sir Dennis sat beside me on
the sofa just as he did last night--but I forget, I have not yet told
you of yesterday and last night; but never mind now, I must get on.
Well, he said I was a perfect _darling_, but that he never could get a
chance to say a word to me alone, but that if I would only drop my
glove outside my door it would be all right; and I thought that such a
_ridiculous_ thing to say, that I couldn't help laughing, and Lady
Cecilia happened to be passing, and so she asked me what I was laughing
at, and so I told her what he had said, and asked why? There happened
to be a pause just then and, as one has to speak rather loud to Lady
Cecilia to attract her attention, every one heard, and they all looked
_flabergasted;_ and then all shrieked with laughter, and Sir Dennis
said so crossly, "Little fool!" and Lady Desmond simply glared at me,
and Lady Cecilia said, "Really, Elizabeth!" and Sir Dennis got purple
in the face, and Jane Roose whispered, "How could you dare with his
wife listening!" and every one talked and chaffed. It was too stupid
about nothing; but the astonishing part is, that funny old thing I
thought was the mother turns out to be _his wife!_

Imagine! years and years older than him! Jane Roose said he had to
marry her because her husband died; but I think that the most absurd
reason I ever heard, don't you? Lots of people's husbands die, and they
don't have to get married off again at once--so why should that ugly
old thing, specially when there are such heaps of nice girls about?

[Sidenote: _A Man of Honour_]

Jane Roose said it was so honourable of him, but I call it
crazy--unless, perhaps, he was a great friend of the husband's, who
made him promise when he was dying, and he did not like to break his
word. How he must have hated it! I wonder if he had ever met her
before, or if the husband made him take her, a pig in a poke. I expect
that was it, because he never could have done it if he had ever seen

I can't think why he is so cross with me, but I am sorry, as he is such
a nice man. Now I am sleepy, and it is frightfully late, so I suppose I
had better get into bed. Agnes came up, and has been fussing about for
the last hour. Best love from your affectionate daughter,


Nazeby Hall, _30th July_.

Dearest Mamma,--Yesterday was the best day we have had yet; the nice
men had not to field at all, and the stupid cricket was over at four
o'clock, and so we went into the gardens and lay in hammocks, and Miss
La Touche had such nice shoes on, but her ankles are thick.

[Sidenote: _Ghosts in the Corridor_]

The Rooses told me it wasn't "quite nice" for girls to loll in hammocks
(and they sat on chairs)--that you could only do it when you are
married; but I believe it is because they don't have pretty enough
petticoats. Anyway, Lady Doraine and that horrid Smith creature made a
place for me in the empty hammock between them, and, as I knew my
"frillies" were all right, I hammocked too, and it was _lovely_. Lord
Valmond and Mr. Wertz were lying near, and they said agreeable things,
at least I suppose so, because both of them--Lady Doraine and Mrs.
Smith--looked purry-purry-puss-puss. They asked me why I was so sleepy,
and I said because I had not slept well the last night--that I was
sure the house was haunted. And so they all screamed at me, "Why?" and
so I told them, what was really true, that in the night I heard a noise
of stealthy footsteps, and as I was not frightened I determined to see
what it was, so I got up--Agnes sleeps in the dressing-room, but, of
course, _she_ never wakes--I opened the door and peeped out into the
corridor. There are only two rooms beyond mine towards the end, round
the corner, and it is dimly lit all night. Well, I distinctly saw a
very tall grey figure disappear round the bend of the hall! When I got
thus far every one dropped their books and listened with rapt
attention, and I could see them exchanging looks, so I am sure they
know it is haunted, and were trying to keep it from me. I asked Mrs.
Smith if she had seen or heard anything, because she sleeps in one of
the rooms. She looked perfectly green, but she said she had not heard a
sound, and had slept like a top, and that I must have dreamt it.

Then Lady Doraine and every one talked at once, and Lord Valmond asked
did any one know if the London evening papers had come. But I was not
going to be put off like that, so I just said, "I know you all know it
is haunted and are putting me off because you think I'll be frightened;
but I assure you I am not, and if I hear the noise again I am going to
rush out and see the ghost close."

Then every one looked simply _ahuri_. So I mean to get the ghost story
out of Sir Trevor to-night after dinner--I had not a chance
yesterday--as I am sure it is interesting. Mrs. Smith looked at me as
if she wanted to poison me, and I can't think why specially, can you?

_Twelve p.m._--I asked Sir Trevor if the house is haunted, and he said,
"God bless my soul, no!" and so I told him, and he nearly had a fit; so
I _know_ it is, but I am not a bit frightened.--Your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.

Nazeby Hall, _Sunday._

Dearest Mamma,--Agnes and I go to Aunt Mary's by the 10:30 train
to-morrow, and I am not a bit sorry, although I have enjoyed myself,
and now I begin to feel quite at home with every one--at least, some of
them; but such a tiresome thing happened last night. It was like this:
After dinner it was so hot that we all went out on the terrace, and, as
soon as we got there, Mrs. Smith and Lady Doraine and the rest said it
was too cold, and went in again; but the moon was pretty, so I stayed
alone, and presently Lord Valmond came out, and stood beside me. There
is such a nice view, you remember, from there, and I didn't a bit want
to talk.

[Sidenote: _A Kiss and a Blow_]

He said something, but I wasn't listening, when suddenly I did hear him
say this: "You adorable _enfant terrible_, come out and watch for
ghosts to-night; and I will come and play the ghost, and console you if
you are frightened!" And he put his horrid arm right round my waist,
and kissed me--somewhere about my right ear--before I could realise
what he was at!

I _was_ in a rage, as you can fancy, Mamma, so I just turned round and
gave him the hardest slap I could, right on the cheek! He was furious,
and called me a "little devil," and we both walked straight into the

I suppose I looked _savage_, and in the light I could see he had great
red finger marks on his face. Anyway, Mrs. Smith, who was sitting on
the big sofa near the window alone, looked up, and said in an odious
voice, that made every one listen, "I am afraid, Harry, you have not
enjoyed cooing in the moonlight; it looks as if our sweet Elizabeth had
been difficult, and had boxed your ears!"

That made me _wild_, the impudence! That _parvenue_ calling me by my
Christian name! So I just lost my temper right out, and said to her,
"It is perfectly true what you say, and I will box yours if you call me
'Elizabeth' again!"

_Tableau!_ She almost fainted with astonishment and fury, and when she
could get her voice decent enough to speak, she laughed and said--

"What a charming savage! How ingenuous!"

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond in Disgrace_]

And then Lady Cecilia did a really nice thing, which shows that she is
a brick, in spite of having bulgy eyes, and being absent and tiresome.
She came up to me as if nothing had happened, and said, "Come,
Elizabeth, they are waiting for you to begin a round game," and she put
her arm through mine and drew me into the billiard-room, and on the way
she squeezed my arm, and said, in a voice quite low down for her, "She
deserved it," and I was so touched I nearly cried. From where I sat at
the card-table I could see Mrs. Smith and Lord Valmond, and they were
quarrelling. She looked like green rhubarb juice, and he had the
expression of "Damn!" all over him.

Of course I did not say good-night to him, and I hope I shall never see
him again.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


300 Eaton Place,

_Tuesday, 2nd August_.

[Sidenote: _London out of Season_]

Dearest Mamma,--The train from Nazeby was so late and Aunt Mary seemed
to think it was my fault--so unreasonable of her, just because they had
waited lunch for me. I don't believe I like visiting very near
relations as much as ones further off. They feel they can say anything
to you. I am glad I have only got to sleep here the one night. I had
not eaten my omelette before Aunt Mary began about my hair. She said of
course it was very nice curling like that, but it was a pity I did not
wear a net over it all to keep it more tidy. She was sure you spoilt
me, even though we are rich, letting me have such smart clothes. She
had heard from Nazeby, that I had had on a fresh frock every day. I
don't know who could have written to her. She has got to look much
older in the two years we have been abroad and the corners of her mouth
shut with a snap. Perhaps it is having to spend part of the year with
her mother-in-law.

[Sidenote: _Cousinly Curiosity_]

Lettice and Clara are just the same as they were, not a bit of
difference since they came out. They are as tidy as can be, not a hair
escapes from their nets! and their heads look as if they had dozens of
hairpins in them, and because it is out of the season they have gone
back to their country high linen collars, and they look as if they were
choking. I hate linen collars, don't you, Mamma? Two Ethridge aunts are
staying here besides me, and we all have to sit together in the
morning-room, as everything is covered up in the drawing-rooms, ready
for being shut up next week, when they go to Scotland. After lunch the
girls did nothing but question me about what we had done at Nazeby.
They said Lady Cecilia only asks them to the dullest parties. They knew
every one's name, they had carefully read them in the _Morning Post_.
They wanted especially to know about Lord Valmond because Lettice had
danced with him once this season. They thought him awfully
good-looking. I said he was an odious young man and very rude. So
Lettice said she supposed he had not spoken to me, as he never speaks
to girls. I told them that was quite a mistake as he had spoken to me
all the time, but I hated him. And do you know, Mamma, they looked as
if they did not believe a word I was saying; which was not very polite
I think.

When we got upstairs they wanted to see all my clothes, but fortunately
Agnes had only taken out one or two things, and they asked me to let
their maid take patterns of everything. Of course I could not refuse,
but I hate my things being mauled over by strange females, and Agnes
was simply furious. I am sure she will scratch the maid when she comes
to ask for a frock. They tried on my hats all at the wrong angle, first
Clara, then Lettice, and made faces and gave little screams at
themselves in the glass, and no wonder, for they looked perfect guys in
them, with their tight "tongy" hair. Then they tossed them on to the
bed as they finished with them, and Agnes kept muttering to herself
like distant thunder. Finally Lettice danced a _pas seul_ with the
white rose toque perched on the back of her head, and she made such
kicks and jumps that it lurched off, and landed in the water jug! At
that Agnes got beside herself.

"Fi! donc, Mademoiselle!" she screamed, "ca c'est trop fort!"

[Sidenote: _On the Water Shoot_]

The hat is quite spoilt, so please write and order me another one from
Caroline's, like a nice, sweet, pretty, darling Mamma. At tea they were
all so interested when I told them I was going to stay in France with
the de Croixmares. One of the Ethridge aunts (Rowena) pricked up her
ears at once, and asked me if Madame de Croixmare was not my godmother,
and had she not been a great friend of poor papa's. So I told her yes,
and that I was going there for three weeks. She and Aunt Mary exchanged
looks, I don't know why, but it irritated me, Mamma, and I rather
snapped at Aunt Mary when she began about my hair again. And presently
I heard her saying to the other aunt that it was a pity girls nowadays
were allowed to be impertinent to their elders.

Of course there was not a thing to do, every one having left Town, so
in the evening Uncle Geoffrey took us to the Exhibition to go down in
the Water Shoot. That is _lovely_, Mamma, only I had to sit beside
Lettice, because Clara was frightened and would be with her father. A
horrid man behind, who, I suppose, was not holding on, flopped right on
to us at the bump in the water, and then said, "Beg pardon, dears," and
it made Uncle Geoffrey so cross he would not let us go down any more,
and we had to go home and to bed. I am just scribbling this before

We go on to Great-aunt Maria's by the eleven train. I am glad Cousin
Octavia is going to take me out next season instead of Aunt Mary, which
was first suggested. I know I should not have been good with her. She
is not a bit like you, darling Mamma. I hope you are better; I shan't
see you again until next Saturday, when I leave Heaviland Manor. It is
a long time.--With love from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Heaviland Manor,

_Wednesday, August 3rd_.

Dearest Mamma,--I can't think why you made me come here! Agnes has been
so sniffy and condescending ever since this morning; but I have
remarked that Uncle John's valet is only about forty and has a roving
eye! so perhaps by to-morrow morning I shan't have my hair screwed off
my head! But I feel for Agnes, only in a different way.

[Sidenote: _A Quiet Evening_]

It is a stuffy, boring place. You remember the house--enormous, tidy,
hideous, uncomfortable. Well, we had _such_ a dinner last night after I
arrived--soup, fish, everything popped on to the table for Great-uncle
John to carve at one end, and Great-aunt Maria at the other! A regular
aquarium specimen of turbot sat on its dish opposite him, while Aunt
Maria had a huge lot of soles. And there wasn't any need, because
there were four men-servants in the room who could easily have done it
at the side; but I remember you said it was always like that when you
were a little girl. Well, it got on to puddings. I forgot to tell you,
though, there were plenty of candles on the table, without shades, and
a "bouquet" of flowers, all sorts (I am sure fixed in sand), in a gold
middle thing. Well, about the puddings--at least four of them were
planted on the table, awfully sweet and jammy, and Uncle John was quite
irritated with me because I could only eat two; and Aunt Maria, who has
got as deaf as a post, kept roaring to old Major Orwell, who sat next
her, "Children have no healthy appetites as in our day. Eh! what?" And
I wanted to scream in reply, "But I am grown up now, Aunt Maria!"

Uncle John asked me every question over and over, and old Lady
Farrington's false teeth jumped so once or twice that I got quite
nervous. That is the party, me, Major Orwell, Lady Farrington, and
Uncle and Aunt.

When dessert was about coming, _everything_ thing got lifted from the
table, and before you could say "Jack Robinson" off whisked the cloth.
I was so unprepared for it that I said "Oh!" and ducked my head, and
that made the cloth catch on old Lady Farrington's cap--she had to sit
on my side of the table, to be out of the draught--and, wasn't it
_dreadful_, it almost pulled it off, and with it the grey curls fixed
at the side, and the rest was all bald. So that was why it was so
loose--there was nothing to pin it to! And she glared at me, and fixed
it as straight as she could, but it had such a saucy look all the rest
of the evening.

I did apologise as well as I could, and there was such an awkward
pause; and after dinner we had coffee in the drawing-room, and then in
a little time tea, and between times they sat down to whist, all but
Aunt Maria--so they had to have a dummy. She wanted to hear all about
you, she said, and my going to visit in France; and so I had to bellow
descriptions of your neuralgia, and about Mme. de Croixmare being my
godmother, &c., and Aunt Maria says, "Tut, tut!" as well as "Eh!
what?" to everything. I had not remembered a bit what they were like;
but I was only six, wasn't I, when we came last?

After she had asked every sort of thing about you under the sun, she
kept giving longing glances at the dummy's cards; so I said, "Oh! Aunt
Maria, I am afraid I am keeping you from your whist." As soon as I
could make her hear, you should have seen how she hopped up like a
two-year-old into the vacant seat; and they were far more serious about
it than any one was at Nazeby, where they had hundreds on, and Aunt
Maria and the others only played for counters--that long
mother-o'-pearl fish kind. I looked at a book on the table, Lady
Blessington's "Book of Beauty," and I see then every one got born with
champagne-bottle shoulders. Had they been paring them for generations
before, I wonder? Because old John, the keeper at Hendon, told me once
that the best fox-terriers arrive now without any tails, their mothers'
and grand-mothers' and great-grandmothers' having been cut off for so
long; but I wonder, if the fashion changed, how could they get long
tails again? There must be some way, because all of us now have square
shoulders. But what was I saying? Oh! yes, when I had finished the
"Beauty Book," I heard Aunt Maria getting so cross with the old boy
opposite her. "You've revoked, Major Orwell," she said, whatever that

[Sidenote: _An Old English Dinner_]

Then hot spiced port came in--it was such a close night--and they all
had some, and so did I, and it was good; and then candles came. _Such_
lovely silver, and so beautifully cleaned; and Aunt and Uncle kissed
me. I dodged Lady Farrington's false teeth, because, after her cap
incident, she might have bitten me. And Uncle said, "Too late, too late
for a little one to sit up--no beauty sleep!" And Aunt Maria said,
"Tut, tut!" and I thought it must be the middle of the night--it felt
like it. But do you know, Mamma, when I got upstairs to my room it was
only _half-past ten!_

I have such a huge room, with a four-post feather bed in it. I had let
Agnes go to bed directly after her supper, with a toothache, so I had
to get undressed by myself; and I was afraid to climb in from the side,
it was so high up. But I found some steps with blue carpet on them, as
well as a table with a Bible, and a funny old china medicine spoon, and
glass and water-jug on it; and the steps did nicely, for when I got to
the top, I just took a header into the feathers. It seemed quite comfy
at first, but in a few minutes, goodness gracious, I was suffocated!
And it was such a business getting the whole mass on the floor; and
then I did not know very well how to make the bed again, and I had not
a very good night, and overslept myself in the morning. So I got down
late for prayers. Uncle John reads them, and Aunt Maria repeats
responses whenever she thinks best, as she can't hear a word; but I
suppose she counts up, and, from long habit, just says "Amen" when she
gets to the end of--thirty, say--fancying that will be right; and it is
generally. Only Uncle John stopped in the middle to say, "Damn that
dog!" as Fido was whining and scratching outside, so that put her out
and brought in the "Amen" too soon.

[Sidenote: _Family Prayers_]

After breakfast Aunt Maria jingled a large bunch of keys and said it
was her day for seeing the linen-room, and wouldn't I like to go with
her, as all young people should have "house-wifely" ideas? So I went.
It is so beautifully kept, and such lovely linen, all with lavender
between it; and she talked to the housekeeper, and looked over
everything--she seemed to know each sheet by name! Then we went to the
storeroom, all as neat as a new pin; and from there to interview all
the old people from the village, who were waiting with requests, and
some of them were as deaf as she is. So the housekeeper had to scream
at both sides, and I _was_ tired when we got back, and did want to rush
out of doors; but I had to wait, and then walk between Lady Farrington
and Aunt Maria up and down the path in the sun till lunch at one
o'clock; and after that we went for a drive in the barouche, with the
fattest white horses you ever saw, and a coachman just like
Cinderella's one that had been a rat. He seemed to have odd bits of
fur on his face and under his chin, and Aunt Maria said that he
suffered from a sore throat, that was why, which he caught at Aunt
Mary's wedding; and so I counted up--and as Aunt Mary is your eldest
sister, it must have been more than twenty years ago. I do call that a
long sore throat, don't you? and I wouldn't keep a coachman with a
beard, would you?

We went at a snail's pace, and got in at four o'clock, and then there
was tea at half-past, with the nicest bread-and-butter you ever tasted.
And after that I said I must write to you, and so here I am, and I feel
that if it goes on much longer I shall do something dreadful. Now
good-bye, dearest Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Heaviland Manor,

_Friday, August 5th_.

Dearest Mamma,--I am glad to-morrow will soon be here, and that I can
come home, but I must tell you about yesterday. First, all the morning
it rained, and what with roaring at Aunt Maria and holding skeins of
wool for Lady Farrington, I got such jumps that I felt I should scream
unless I got out; so after lunch, while they were both having a nap in
their chairs, I slipped off for a walk by myself--it was still raining,
but not much; I took Fido, who is generally a little beast, and far too

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond Reappears_]

We had had a nice scamper, and had turned to come back not far from the
Park, when who do you think came riding up?--Lord Valmond! The last
person one expected to see down here! He never waited a second when he
saw me, but jumped off his horse and beamed--just as if we had parted
the best of friends!!! _Did_ you ever hear such impudence? Of course I
should have walked on without recognising him, if I had been left to
myself, but he took me so by surprise that I had shaken hands before I
knew, and then it was too late to walk on. It appears he has a place
down here which he never comes to generally, but just happened to
now--to see how the young pheasants were doing. He began at once to
talk, as if I had never been angry or boxed his ears at all! It really
exasperated me, so at last I said he had better get on his horse again,
as I wanted to run on with Fido; so then he said he had just been on
his way to call on Aunt Maria, and would come with me.

I said I was sure that wasn't true, as he was going the other way. So
he said that he had only been going that way to give his horse a little
exercise, and that he intended to go in at the other gate.

I said I was sure that wasn't true either, as there was no way round
that way, unless one jumped the park palings. So he said that was what
he had intended to do. Just then we came to the turnstile of the
right-of-way, so I slipped through and called out, "Then I won't keep
you from your exercise," and walked on as fast as I could.

[Sidenote: _Lady Farrington's Nap_]

What do you think he did, Mamma? Simply got on his horse, and jumped
those palings there and then! I can't think how he wasn't killed. There
was almost no take-off, and the fence is so high. However, there he
was, and I could not get away again, because, if I had run, the horse
could easily have kept up with me. But I only said "Yes" and "No" all
the way to the house, so he could not have enjoyed it much. We went
straight to the drawing-room, where tea was almost up, and there was
Lady Farrington alone--still asleep, and her cap had fallen right back,
and all the bald was showing; and just then a carriage drove up to the
door, and we heard visitors and the footsteps in the hall. I had just
time to cry to Lord Valmond, "Keep them back while I wake her!" and
then I rushed to Lady Farrington, and shouted in her ear, "Visitors!
and--and--your cap is a little crooked!" "Eh! what?" she screamed, and
her teeth as nearly as possible jumped on to the carpet. She simply
flew to the mirror, but, as you know, it is away so high up she
couldn't see, so she made frantic efforts with her hands, and just got
it to cover the bald, in a rakish, one-sided way, when the whole lot
streamed into the room. Lord Valmond looked awfully uncomfortable.
Goodness knows what he had said to them to keep them back! Anyway,
Harvey announced "Mrs. and the Misses Clarke," and a thin, very
high-nosed person, followed by two buffish girls, came forward. Lady
Farrington said, "How d'ye do?" as well as she could. They were some
friends of hers and Aunt Maria's, who are staying with the Morverns, I
gathered from their conversation. They _must_ have thought she had been
on a spree since last they met! I could hardly behave for laughing, and
did not dare to look at Lord Valmond.

They had not been there more than five minutes when another carriage
arrived, and two other ladies were announced. "The Misses Clark!" The
other Clarkes glared like tigers, and Lady Farrington lowered her chin
and eyelashes at them (she has just the same manners as the people at
Nazeby, although she is such a frump--it is because she is an earl's
daughter, I suppose), and she called out to Harvey at the top of her
voice, "Let Lady Worden be told at once there are visitors." The poor
new things looked so uncomfortable, that I felt, as I was Aunt Maria's
niece, I at least must be polite to them; so I asked them to sit down,
and we talked. They were jolly, fat, vulgar souls, who have taken the
Ortons' place they told me, and this was their return visit, as the
Ortons had asked Aunt Maria to call. They were quite old maids, past
thirty, with such funny, grand, best smart Sunday-go-to-meeting looking
clothes on.

[Sidenote: _An Afternoon Call_]

It appears that Harvey had sent a footman up to Aunt Maria's door, to
tell of the first Clarkes' arrival, and then, terrified by Lady
Farrington's voice, had rushed up himself to announce the second lot,
and he met Aunt Maria on the stairs coming down, and of course she
never heard the difference between "Mrs." and the "Misses," and thought
he was simply hurrying her up for the first set. So in she sailed all
smiles, and as Mrs. Clarke was nearest the door, she got to her first,
and _was_ so glad to see her.

"Dear, dear, _years_ since we met, Honoria," she said; "and these are
all your bonny girls, tut, tut!" and she looked at the fat Clarks who
came next. "Ah! yes I can see! What a wonderful likeness to poor dear

Furious glances from Mrs. Clarke, whose daughters are my age!

"And this must be Millicent," she went on, taking the second fat
Clark's hand. "Yes, yes; why, she takes after you, my dear Honoria,
tut, tut!" and she squeezed hands, and beamed at them all in the
kindest way. Mrs. Clarke, bursting with fury, tried to say they were no
relations of hers; but, of course, Aunt Maria could not catch all that,
only the word "relations," and she then caught sight of the buff
Clarklets in the background.

[Sidenote: _A Friendly Invitation_]

"Ah, yes! I see, these are your girls; I have mistaken your other
relations for them." Then she turned again to the fat Clarks, evidently
liking their jolly faces best. "But one can see they are Clarkes. Let
me guess. Yes, they must be poor Henry's children!" At this, Lord
Valmond had such a violent fit of choking by the tea-table, that Aunt
Maria, who hears the oddest, most unexpected things, caught that, and
saw him, and saying, "Howd' ye do?" created a diversion. Presently I
heard Lady Farrington roaring in a whisper into her ears the difference
between the Clarkes and the Clarks, and the poor dear was so upset; but
her kind heart came up trumps, and she was awfully nice to the two
vulgar Clarks, who had the good sense to go soon, and then the others
went. Then she got Lord Valmond on to her sofa, and he screamed such
heaps of nice things into her ear, just as if she had been Mrs. Smith,
and she was _so_ pleased. And Uncle John came in, and they talked about
the pheasants, and he asked Lord Valmond to dinner on Saturday night
(to-morrow), and he looked timidly at me, to see if I was still angry
with him and wanted him not to come, so I smiled _sweetly_, and he
accepted joyfully. Isn't it lovely, Mamma? I shall be home with you by
then, and Lady Farrington and Major Orwell are going too! So he will
have to play dummy whist all the evening with Uncle and Aunt, and eat
his dinner at half-past six! Now, good-night.--Your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.


Hazeldene Court,

_Tuesday, 9th August_.

[Sidenote: _The Horse Show_]

Dearest Mamma,--There is a huge party here for the Horse Show, and I
daresay I shall enjoy myself. We had no sooner got into the station at
Paddington than in the distance I caught sight of Lord Valmond. I
pretended not to see him, and got behind a barrow of trunks, and then
slipped into the carriage and made Agnes sit by the door. We saw him
walking up and down, and, just before the train started, he came and
got into our carriage. He seemed awfully surprised to see me, said he
had not an idea he should meet me, and apologised for disturbing me,
but he said all the other carriages were full. He seemed so uppish and
unconcerned that I felt obliged to ask him how he enjoyed his dinner
with Aunt Maria on Saturday. He said he had enjoyed it awfully, and
that Aunt Maria was a charming hostess. He asked me if I was going far
down the line, or only just on the river. I said not very far. I tried
to be as stiff as possible and not speak, and I did not tell him where
I was going, but, do you know, Mamma, there is no snubbing him. He said
at once that he was going to Hazeldene Court, to stay with his cousins
the Westaways. I said, "Indeed!" and he said, "Yes, aren't they cousins
of yours too?" and when I said "Yes," he said he felt sure we were
related, and mightn't he call me Elizabeth!!! I just told him I thought
him the rudest, most detestable man I had ever met; and if he spoke to
me again at all, I should ask the guard to find me another carriage.

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond Presumes_]

He was awfully surprised, and said he had not meant to be the least
rude; he thought it was the custom for cousins to call each other by
their Christian names, and _his_ name was Harry. (Just as if I did not
know that, after hearing Mrs. Smith calling him every few minutes!) I
said in a freezing tone we were not related in any way, and I wished to
read the paper, upon which he produced every imaginable kind, lots of
ladies' papers that he could not possibly have wanted for himself. I
don't know who he expected to meet. However, I would not have any of
them, but looked at a _Punch_ I had bought myself. You know that
uncomfortable feeling one has when some one is staring at one--it makes
one obliged to look up--so after a while our eyes met over the _Punch_,
and he smiled, and his teeth are so white. All he said was, "I was
thinking of the Clarkes and Clarks." And in spite of my being indignant
with him I could not help laughing, when I remembered about them, and
then it was hard to be very stiff again at once.

[Sidenote: _The Offending Dimple_]

Just about this time Agnes went to sleep in the other corner, and the
moment Lord Valmond saw she was really off, he bent forward and said in
such a humble voice, that he was sorry he had offended me at Nazeby; he
had yielded to a sudden temptation, and he could only ask me to forgive
him. He had quite mistaken my character he said, he now saw I was a
serious person, but he had been deceived by the dimple in my left
cheek. (Now isn't it provoking, Mamma, to have a dimple like that, that
gives people the impression they may treat you with want of respect?)
I said I did not believe a word of it, and, as we were only the merest
acquaintances, it did not matter whether I forgave him or not, and I
hoped he would not mention the subject again. He then asked me if I was
going to stop at Hazeldene until Saturday. So you see, Mamma, he must
have known I was going there all along; aren't men odd? You can't trust
them one minute not to be deceiving you, only I think on the whole I
prefer them to women, they can't copy your clothes at all events. After
that he seemed to think we had quite made everything up, and went on
talking in the friendliest way, but I _would not_ thaw; he shall not
have the chance of blaming my dimple again for any of his misconduct!
At last I said I hated talking in the train, and pretended to go to
sleep. But I could not get really off, because every time I opened my
eyes just to see where we were, I found him looking at me. A huge
omnibus was waiting for us when we arrived, and several more guests had
come by the same train and we all drove to the house together. They
were having tea on the croquet lawn--Lady Westaway and some other
people, and the eldest son's wife. You remember what a fuss there was
when he married, how Lady Westaway had hysterics for three days. Well,
she looks as if she could have them again any moment.

[Sidenote: _An Attractive Woman_]

Mrs. Westaway is awfully pretty. She was lying in a swing chair,
showing lots of petticoat and ankle. The ankle isn't bad, but the
petticoat had common lace on it. She has huge turquoise earrings, and
very stick-out hair arranged to look untidy with tongs. She smiles all
the time, and wears lots of different colours. She calls every one by
their Christian name, and always catches hold of the men's coats, or
fixes their buttonholes or ties, or holds their arms and whispers: and
every one is in love with her, and she has the greatest success. So I
can't think, Mamma, why you have always told me never to do any of
these things, when you want me to be a success so much. Her voice is
dreadfully shrill, and such an odd pronunciation, but no one seems to
mind that. I rather like her, she is so jolly but some of the women of
the party won't speak to her, except to say disagreeable things. Jane
Roose is here, she has been here since she left Nazeby (Violet is at
the sea), and she came up to my room as we were going to dress, and I
have only just got rid of her. She told me Mrs. Westaway was a
"dreadful creature," and that no one would know her, if it was not for
her mother-in-law receiving her, so they can't help it. And she could
not understand what the men saw to admire in a low person like that.
But I can see very well, Mamma, she is as pretty as can be, and
probably the men don't notice about the lace being common, and all the
colours, and those things. I must go down to dinner now, so good-bye,
dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Hazeldene Court,

_Thursday, 11th August_.

[Sidenote: _Lady Bobby's Diversions_]

Dearest Mamma,--I shall be home with you almost as soon as you get
this. But I must tell you about these last two days. The man I went in
to dinner with the first night was so nice-looking, only he did not
seem as if he could collect his thoughts enough to finish his
sentences, and it left them sounding so silly sometimes, but I found
out before we had begun the entrees that it was because Mrs. Westaway
was sitting opposite, and he was gazing at her. She looked lovely, but
not like any one I have seen yet since I stayed out. She had a diamond
collar and two ropes of pearls (Jane Roose said they were imitation),
and her arms quite bare and very white, but her skin must come off,
because I could see a patch of white on a footman's coat where she
accidentally touched when helping herself to potatoes. She had a huge
tulle bow in her hair, and her earrings were as big as shillings. Lady
Bobby Pomeroy said afterwards in the drawing-room to Jane Roose that
she should not take any more of her meals downstairs with this
"creature;" and she would not have come only that Bobby insisted, as he
was showing some horses, and it is convenient. And so, do you know,
Mamma, Lady Bobby has never come out of her room since, except just to
go to the Horse Show, which she drove to with Mrs. Mannering in a hired
fly. I don't call it very polite to the hostess, do you? This afternoon
she amused herself from her bedroom window by shooting at rabbits just
beyond the wire fence of the lawn with a rook rifle; she did not hit
any rabbits, but she got a gardener in the leg, and the man was very
angry, and bled a great deal, and had to be taken away, and I think it
was very careless of her, don't you?

[Sidenote: _Two is Company_]

Lord Valmond was on his way to the window seat where Jane Roose and I
were sitting the first night after dinner, but Mrs. Westaway caught
hold of her husband's coat-tails as he passed and said quite loud,
"Duckie, you must bring Lord Valmond and introduce him to me, we
haven't met yet, and I want to know all your friends." So Billy
Westaway, who is as obedient as a spaniel, secured Lord Valmond, and
presently we saw them comfortably tucked into a small settee together,
and there they stayed all the evening. She kept licking her lips as if
he was something good to eat, and the next morning she fixed a rose in
his buttonhole at breakfast and called him "Cousin Val," and by lunch
time it was plain "Val," and now it is "Harry." I do call it bad taste,
don't you, Mamma? and she isn't half so pretty in broad daylight, and I
don't like her at all now. Only I can't help laughing at Lady
Westaway's face when "Phyllis" (that is Mrs. Westaway's name) says
anything especially vulgar; Lady Westaways shudders, and takes a huge
sniff at her smelling salts. She keeps them always with her in a long
gold-topped bottle, and she has to use them almost every few minutes
when Mrs. Westaway is in the room.

The Horse Show was rather nice; it is held in the park fairly close,
and most of us strolled there in the morning before lunch to see the
judging. Lord Valmond joined us, I was walking with Lord George Lane
(you remember he was one of the Eleven at Nazeby). I was in a very good
temper, Mamma, and we had been laughing at everything we said. He is
quite a nice idiot, but, when Lord Valmond came, of course I talked as
stiffly as possibly, and presently Lord George told him that he was
singularly backward in copybook maxims, and that there was one he ought
to write out and commit to memory, and it began with "Two's Company,"
upon which Lord Valmond stalked on in a rage.

The seats at the show were very hard boards, and the sun made one
awfully drowsy; but about half-an-hour before lunch Lord Valmond came
up again, and asked me if I should not like to go for a turn. I thought
I had better, so as not to get cramp. He said he had been afraid he
would never get the chance of speaking to me, I was always so
surrounded. I told him I had only come now because of the cramp. I am
quite determined, Mamma, not to unbend to him at all. I was not once
agreeable, or anything but stiff and snubbing, and I am sure he has
never been treated like that before, but it is awfully hard work
keeping it up all the time, and when we got in to lunch I was quite

[Sidenote: _On the Lake_]

There were numbers of people at the show in the afternoon, and all in
their best clothes. Lady Grace Fenton was showing two of her hunters,
and she kept shouting to the grooms, and I did not think it was very
attractive behaviour. She takes such strides you would think her muslin
dress would split. I don't know why it is that so many people in the
country are ugly and weather-beaten, and all their clothes hanging

Except the house party here, and a few from other big places, there was
not a pretty person to be seen. We had a special reserved tent for tea,
and Mrs. Westaway seemed to have every man in the place round her, and
I heard one man come up and say, "Well, Phyllis, this is a joke to find
you in this respectable hole; how do you like solid matrimony, old
girl?" and I do think that sounded familiar and rude, don't you,
Mamma? but Mrs. Westaway wasn't a bit angry. She calls Billy "Duckie,"
and continually pats and caresses him; he does look such a fool, and I
should hate to be fingered like that if I were a man, one must feel
like a bunch of grapes with the bloom being rubbed off. Mrs. Westaway
kept Lord Valmond with her all the rest of the time at the show, and
then took him on the lake while we played croquet.

Lady Bobby went straight to her room and sat by the window, and every
now and then shouted advice to Lord George who was playing with me.
When we had finished, Lady Westaway took me to see the conservatories,
and there we were joined by old Colonel Blake and Lord Valmond, I don't
know how he had torn himself away from Mrs. Westaway! Jane Roose says
Mrs. Smith would be mad if she was here. He asked me why I had walked
on ahead so fast on the way back from the Show as he wanted me to go on
the lake with him instead of Mrs. Westaway. When he had suggested going
on it he had looked at me, but I would take no notice, and so he was
obliged to go with Mrs. Westaway when she offered to come, and I was
very unkind and disagreeable. I just said if he found me so, he need
not speak to me at all, I did not care. We looked at one another like
two wild cats for a moment. I am sure he wanted to slap me, and I
should like to have scratched him, and then Lady Westaway diverted the
conversation by asking me if I thought I should enjoy my French visit
(how every one knows one's affairs!). I said I hoped I should, and I
was starting next week. Lord Valmond at once pricked up his ears, and
said he would be running over to Paris about then, as he was not going
to Scotland till September, and he hoped I would let him look after me
on the way. I said I did not know which day I was going, probably
Wednesday, so as I am starting on Monday, Mamma, there will be no
chance of his coming with me, which would annoy you very much I am
sure. To-day we have done nothing but loll about and play croquet. Lady
Bobby and the men and some other women went to the Show again in the
morning, but I was having a match with Jane Roose, and so we did not
bother to go.

[Sidenote: _Paul and Virginia_]

This afternoon when Lady Bobby began her rabbit shooting it seemed so
dangerous on the croquet lawn, especially after she hit the gardener,
that we all went on the lake in the launch. We landed on the island,
and somehow or other Lord Valmond and I got left alone in the Belvedere
looking at the view. The others went off without us, which made me
furious, as I am sure he did it on purpose. But when I accused him of
it, he said such a thing would never have entered his head. He had a
nasty smile all the time in the corner of his eye, and did not take the
least pains about trying to undo the other little boat which we found
at last, although I kept telling him we should be late for dinner. He
said he wished we had not to go back at all, that he thought we should
be very happy together on this little island like Paul and Virginia. I
can't tell you, Mamma, what a temper I was in.

[Sidenote: _The Hardships of a Marquis_]

I wish I had never met him--or that he had not been rude at Nazeby--it
_is_ so difficult to behave with dignity when a person has a nice voice
and makes you laugh, although you are awfully cross with him inside.
Then I have to be thinking all the time about my dimple not to let it
come out, as that is what caused his rudeness, and with one thing and
another it upsets me so, that my cheeks are always burning when I am
with him, and I feel as if I should like to box his ears or cry; and I
hope after to-morrow I shall never see him again. He rowed so slowly
when we did get into the boat that I offered to do it, but he would not
let me. I would not talk to him at all. When we got to the landing I
jumped out so that he should not help me, and gave my head a crack
against the pole in the boat house. I fancied I heard him saying,
"Darling! have you hurt yourself? What a brute I am to tease you!" but
I did not wait for any more. I ran to the house as fast as I could, and
as he had to tie up the boat, I was just getting into the hall when he
caught me up. My head hurt dreadfully, and I was so tired and cross,
and everything, that the tears would come into my eyes. I did not want
him to see, but I am afraid he did, so before he could speak I rushed
on again and got safely to my room. I am sure it is very rude to call
people "darling" without their leave, isn't it, Mamma?

I went in to dinner with a sporting curate who lives near, and he kept
making his bread into crumbs on the cloth and then sweeping them up
with his knife into a heap, between every course. What strange habits
people have! After dinner Mrs. Westaway took Lord Valmond and sat in
the window seat, and when he did get away, and was coming over to me, I
said my head was aching from the knock I gave it, and came up to bed,
and as he has to catch an early train in the morning I shan't come down
until he has gone. I don't want to see him any more, it is too
fatiguing quarrelling all the time, and one could not forgive him and
be friends I suppose after such behaviour as his at Nazeby--could one,

Now good-night; I am sleepy.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I should hate to be a marquis always having to take the
hostess in to dinner no matter how old and ugly she is, just because a
duke isn't present.


Chateau De Croixmare,

_16th August_.

[Sidenote: _A Formidable Godmother_]

Dearest Mamma,--What a crossing we had, perfectly disgusting! The sky
was without a cloud, but such a wind that every one was sick, so one
could not enjoy oneself. Agnes became rapidly French too directly we
landed at Dieppe, and the carriage was full of stuffy people, who would
not have a scrap of window open; however, Jean was waiting for us at
Paris. We snatched some food at the restaurant, and then caught the
train to Vinant. Jean is quite good-looking, but with an awfully
respectable expression. Any one could tell he was married even without
looking at his wedding ring. He was polite, and made conversation all
the time in the train, and as the engine kept puffing and shrieking I
was obliged to continually say "_Pardon?_" so it made it rather heavy.
I think he has changed a good deal since their wedding--let me
see--that must be eight years ago, as I was nine then; I hardly
remembered him.

Godmamma was waiting for us in the hall when we arrived. Chateau de
Croixmare is a nice place, but I _am_ glad I am not French. It was the
hottest night of the year almost, and not a breath of air in the house,
every shutter closed and the curtains drawn. Heloise had gone to bed
with a _migraine_, Godmamma explained, but Victorine was there. She has
grown up plain, and looks much more than five years older than me. They
weren't in evening dress, or even tea-gowns like in England--it did
seem strange.

Mme. de Croixmare looks a dragon! I can't think how poor papa insisted
upon my having such a godmother. Her face is quite white, and her hair
so black and drawn off her forehead, and she has a bristly moustache.
She is also very up right and thin, and walks with an ebony stick, and
her voice is like a peacock's. She looked me through and through, and I
felt all my French getting jumbled, and it came out with such an
English accent; and after we had bowed a good deal, and said heaps of
Ollendorfish kind of sentences, I was given some "sirop" and water, and
conducted to bed by Victorine. She is a big dump with a shiny
complexion, and such a very small mouth, and I am sure I shall hate
her, she isn't a bit good-natured-looking like Jean. The house is
really fine Louis XV., and my bedroom and cabinet de toilette are
delicious, so is my bed; but the attitude of Agnes--such a conscious
pride in the superiority of France--nearly drove me mad.

There isn't a decent dressing-table mirror, only one in an old silver
frame about eight inches square, and that is sitting on the
writing-table--or what would be the writing-table, if there happened to
be any pens and things, which there aren't. All the hanging places open
out of the panels of the wall, there are no wardrobes, only beautiful
marble-topped _bureaux_; but I was so tired.

[Sidenote: _A French Family at Home_]

I left Agnes to settle everything and jumped into bed. This morning I
woke early, and had the loveliest cup of chocolate, but such a silly
bath, and almost cold water. There are no housemaids, and nothing is
done with precise regularity like at home, although they are so rich.
Agnes had to fish for everything of that sort herself, and such a lot
of talking went on in the passage between her and the _valet de
chambre_, before I even got this teeny tiny tray to splash in. However,
I did get dressed at last, and went for a walk in the garden--not a
soul about but a few gardeners. The begonias are magnificent, but there
is no look of park beyond the garden, or nice deer and things that we
would have for such a house in England. It is more like a sort of big

I saw Jean at last in the distance, going round and round a large pond
on his bicycle. He did look odd! in a thick striped jersey, and the
tightest knickerbockers; almost as low as a "scorcher." He jumped off
and made a most polite bow, and explained he was doing it for
exercise. But I do think that an idiotic reason--don't you, Mamma? It
would be just as much exercise on a road. However, he assured me that,
like that, he knew exactly how many miles he went on the flat before
breakfast, so I suppose it was all right.

I saw he wanted to continue his ride, so I walked on, and presently
came to a summer-house, where Victorine and the _dame de compagnie_
were doing their morning reading. There were also the two little girls
building castles out of a heap of sand, and with them the most hideous
German maid you ever saw. They are queer-looking little monkeys,
Yolande is like Jean, but Marie--there are three years between them--is
as black as ink--but where was I? Oh, yes!--well, by this time I was so
hungry I could have eaten them, German _bonne_ and all! Fortunately
Godmamma turned up, and we strolled back to _dejeuner_. Heloise was in
the salon, and she is charming, such a contrast to the rest of the
party. She was beautifully dressed and so _chic_. We took to each
other at once, she has not picked up that solid married look like Jean,
so perhaps it is only the husbands who get it in France.

There was a good deal of ceremony going in to breakfast. Jean gave his
mother his arm, and we trotted behind. The dining-room is a perfect
room, except there is no carpet, and the food was lovely, only I do
hate to see a great hand covered with a white cotton glove, plopping a
dish down on the lighted thing in the middle, so that one has to look
at the next course all the time one is finishing the last one. The way
in which the two little monkeys and the German maid devoured their
breakfast quite took one's appetite away. There seemed to be numbers of
men-servants, who wore white cotton gloves, and their liveries buttoned
up to the throat, which takes away that nice clean-shirt-look of our
servants at home.

[Sidenote: _French Servants_]

This afternoon we are going to pay a visit of ceremony to the Comte and
Comtesse de Tournelle; we are going with them on their yacht down the
Seine to-morrow. It is Jean and Heloise who have arranged to take
me--it is kind of them, and it will be fun; and I am glad it is not
considered proper for young French girls to go without their mothers,
because we shall get rid of Victorine, and the voyage will be more
agreeable. Agnes and the other maids and valets are going by train, and
will meet us with the luggage at the different places we stop at each
night, as the _Sauterelle_ is too small to carry everything. I must go
and get ready now, so good-bye, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.


Yacht _Sauterelle_,

_17th August_.

[Sidenote: _Yacht "Sauterelle"_]

Dearest Mamma,--I am writing as we float down the Seine, it is too
enchanting. We are a party of ten. The Comte and Comtesse de Tournelle;
her mother, the Baronne de Larnac, and her uncle, the Baron de Fremond,
Jean, Heloise, and me; the Marquise de Vermondoise, and two young men,
officers in the Cavalry, stationed at Versailles. One is the Vicomte
Gaston de la Tremors, and the other's name is so long that I can't get
it, so you must know him by "Antoine"--he is some sort of a relation of
Heloise's. The Baronne is a delightful person, the remains of extreme
good looks and distinction. She was a beauty under the Empire, and her
feet are so small, she is just as _soignee_ as if she was young, and so
vain and human. She lives with her daughter while they are in the
country--it seems the custom here, these huge family parties living
together all the summer.

[Sidenote: _A Visit of Ceremony_]

The young people have their _appartement_ in the Champs Elysees in
Paris, and the old ones go to the family hotel in the _Faubourg St.
Germain._ We _did_ say a lot of polite things when we went to pay our
visit yesterday, and although they know one another so well--as it was
a "visit of ceremony" to introduce me--we all had our best clothes on,
and sat in the large salon--(there are four Louis XVI. arm chairs,
sticking out each side of the fireplaces, in all the salons here).
Heloise and the Comtesse de Tournelle are great friends. The Comte de
Tournelle is charming, he is like the people in the last century
Memoirs, he ought to have powdered hair, and his manners have a
distinction and a wit quite unlike anything in England. One can see he
is descended from people who had their heads cut off for being
aristocrats. Jean says he does not belong to _le Sporting_, and is
fearfully effeminate. He can't even put on his own socks without his
valet, and he never rides or bicycles or anything, but just does a
little motor-carring, and fights a few duels.

The Comtesse de Tournelle is small and young and rather dull; she
reads a great deal. The old boy, the Baron de Fremond (he owns the
_Sauterelle_) is a jolly old soul, and chaffs his sister and niece, and
every one, all the time, and thinks it so funny to talk fearful
English. The two young men haven't looked at me much. They are in
uniform! and they put their heels together and bowed deeply when they
were introduced, but we haven't spoken yet. The Marquise de Vermondoise
is perfectly lovely, so fascinating, with such a queer deep voice, and
one tooth at the side of the front missing; and her tongue keeps
getting in there when she speaks, which gives her a kind of lisp, and
it is awfully attractive. I think de Tournelle would like to kiss her,
by the way he looked at her when she thanked him for handing her on

[Sidenote: _The Invaluable Hippolyte_]

It is a steam yacht with a wee cabin, and a deck above that, with seats
looking out each side, like old omnibuses, and in the stern (if that
means the back part) are the sailors and the engines, and the oddest
arrangement of cooking apparatus. You should just taste the exquisite
breakfasts that Hippolyte (the Baronne de Larnac's _maitre d'hotel_)
cooked for us this morning after we started. He is the queerest
creature, with a face like a baboon, and side whiskers, and the rest a
deep blue from shaving. The Baronne says she could not live without
him; he is a splendid cook, and a perfect _femme de chambre_, and ready
for anything. He is much more familiar than we should ever let a
servant be in England. It was rough all the morning, quite waves. The
Seine is only half a mile from the Chateau de Croixmare, and runs past
the Tournelles' garden, so they have a private landing stage, and we
all embarked from there. Jean and the Comte are dressed in beautiful
English blue serges, and look neat enough to be under a glass case. The
old Baron does not care what he wears, and this morning while he was
working with the sailors had on a black Sunday coat!

The Baronne kept screaming when the boat rocked a little. "Nous ferons
naufrage! Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!" and the Vicomte tried to comfort her,
but she did not stop till Hippolyte popped his head out of the cabin
and said, "Pas de danger! et il ne faut pas que Mme. la Baronne fasse
la Bebete!"

At _dejeuner_ we had only one plate each, and one knife and fork. It
was so windy we could not have it under the awning in the bows, and the
cabin is so narrow that the seats are against the wall, and the table
in the middle. No one can pass to wait, so between the courses we
washed our plates in the Seine, out of the window. It _was_ gay! They
are all so witty, but it is not considered correct to talk just to
one's neighbour, a conversation _a deux_. Everything must be general,
so it is a continual sharpening of wits, and one has to shout a good
deal, as otherwise, with every one talking at once, one would not be
heard. I know French pretty well as you know, but they say a lot of
strange things I can't understand, and whenever I answer or ask why,
they go into fits of laughter and say, "Est elle gentille l'enfant!

We are going to stop at the next small village to post the letters, so
good-bye, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I hope you won't get muddled, Mamma, with all their names, it
takes so long writing the whole thing, so please remember Mme. de
Larnac is the "Baronne," Monsieur de Fremond is the "Baron," Monsieur
de Tournelle is the "Comte," Mme. de Tournelle is the "Comtesse," Mme.
de Vermondoise is the "Marquise," Monsieur de la Tremors is the
"Vicomte," and "Antoine" is the other officer. So if I haven't always
time to put their names you will know now which they are.

Vernon, Yacht _Sauterelle_,

_Thursday morning_.

[Sidenote: _Vernon_]

Dearest Mamma,--The scenery we came through yesterday is quite
beautiful, but I did not pay so much attention to it as I might have
done, because Jean and the Comte would talk to me. You would be amused
at Vernon, where we stayed the night in _such_ an inn! I believe it is
the only one in the place, and as old as the hills. You get at the
bedrooms from an open gallery that runs round the courtyard, and that
smells of garlic and stables. We got here about six, and started _en
masse_ to inspect the rooms. Hippolyte had engaged them beforehand, and
seemed rather apologetic about them, and finally, when there did not
appear half enough to go round, he shrugged his shoulders almost up to
his ears and said, "Que voulez vous!" and that "Ces Messieurs" would
have to be "tres bourgeois en voyage," and that there was nothing for
it but that Mme. la Comtesse de Tournelle should "partager
l'appartement de Monsieur le Comte de Tournelle," and that Monsieur le
Comte de Croixmare would have to extend like hospitality to Mme. la
Comtesse de Croixmare. This caused shrieks of derision. Heloise said
she would prefer to sleep on the dining-room table, and "Antoine" said
he thought people ought to be a little more careful of their
reputations even _en voyage_. Finally they unearthed a baby's cot in
the room that Hippolyte had designed for the Croixmare menage, and de
Tournelle said it was the very thing for me, but Jean replied, "Mon
cher ami c'est une Bebe beaucoup trop emoustillante," which I thought
very rude, just as if I snored, or something dreadful like that. Then,
after a further prowl, a fearful little hole was discovered beyond,
with no curtains to the windows, or blinds, or shutters, just a scrap
of net. The face of Agnes when she saw it!

[Sidenote: _A Necessary Precaution_]

Dinner was not until seven, so Jean and I went out for a walk; as
Hippolyte advised us to try and find a chemist and buy some flea
powder. "Je trouverai ca plus prudent," he said. Jean is getting quite
natural with me now, and isn't so awfully polite. The chemist took us
for a honeymoon couple (as, of course, if I had been French I could not
have gone for a walk with Jean alone). He--the chemist--was so
sympathetic, he had only one packet of powder left, he said, as so much
was required by the _voyageurs_ and inhabitants that he was out of it
(that did not sound a pleasant prospect for our night)--"Mais, madame"
(that's me), "n'est pas assez grasse pour les attirer," he added by way
of consolation.

It was spitting with rain when we got back, and they all made such a
fuss for fear I had got wet, and they would not for worlds stir out of
doors to see the church or anything, which I heard is very picturesque.
We had such an amusing dinner, the food was wonderful, considering the
place, but a _horrible_ cloth and pewter forks and spoons. There were
two _officiers_ at another table (only infantry), and they were _so_
interested in our party.

[Sidenote: _Close Quarters_]

"Antoine" sat next to me, and in a pause in the general conversation he
said to me (it is the first time he has addressed me directly), "Il
fait mauvais temps, mademoiselle." I have heard him saying all kinds of
_drole_ things to the others, so it shows he can be quite intelligent.
It is just because I am not married I suppose, so I said that is what
English people always spoke about--the weather--and I wanted to hear
something different in France. He seemed perfectly shocked, and hardly
spoke to me after that, but the Vicomte, who was listening, began at
once to say flattering things across the table. They all make
compliments upon my French, and are very gay and kind, but I wish they
did not eat so badly. The Comte and the Marquise, who are cousins, and
of the very oldest noblesse, are the worst--one daren't look sometimes.
The Comtesse is a little better, but then her family is only Empire,
and Jean and Heloise are fairly decent.

I could bear most of it, if it wasn't for the peppermint glasses at the
end, which the men have. The whole party are very French, not a bit
like the people we see at Cannes, who have been much with the English.
It is a different thing altogether. When dinner was over the rain
stopped, and after a lot of talk--as to whether the ground would be too
damp or not--we at last ventured for a walk down to the bridge and
back. Then we returned and commenced a general powdering of the beds,
beginning with the de Tournelles' apartment; next we went to the
Marquise's--she had such an exquisite nightgown laid out, it was made
of pink chiffon. When we got to my room they made all kinds of
sympathies for me having such a small and stuffy place. The powder was
all gone before we could sprinkle the Baronne's bed. Agnes was not
quite so uppish undressing me as usual. Perhaps she realised this part
of her France was not so good as England.

Next morning when I got down--we had arranged to have our _premier
dejeuner_ all together, not in our rooms, as we were to make such an
early start--"Antoine" and Heloise were already there. The Vicomte and
the Baronne came in soon after; he at once began: "Comme Mlle. est
ravissante le soir! un petit ange a son deshabille! Une si eblouissante

[Sidenote: _A Conjugal Experiment_]

The wretch had been watching me from the opposite gallery, wasn't it
_odious_ of him, Mamma? No Englishman would have done such a thing. I
_was_ angry, but Heloise said it was no use, that I must get accustomed
to "les habitudes de voyage," and that she did not suppose he had
really looked, it was only to tease me. _But I believe he had_--anyway
from that moment de la Tremors has been always talking to me. Presently
while we were eating our rolls, the garcon, a Parisian (who was also
the ostler), came in and said: Would Madame--indicating the
Baronne--come up to "Mademoiselle," who wished to speak to her? We
could not think who he could mean, as I was the only "Mademoiselle" of
the party. The Baronne told him so. "Mais non!" he said, jerking his
thumb in the direction of upstairs, "La demoiselle dans la chambre de

"Mais que dites vous mon brave homme!" screamed the Baronne and
Heloise together. The man was quite annoyed.

"Je dis ce que je dis et je m'en fiche pas mal! la petite demoiselle
blonde, dans la chambre de Monsieur le Comte de Tournelle."

At that moment the Comtesse came in, so with another jerk of his thumb
at her, "Comment! vous ne me croyez pas?" he said, "tiens--la voila!"
and he bounced out of the room.

"Antoine" said it served them perfectly right, that he had warned them
their reputations would suffer if husbands and wives camped together.
Even a place like Vernon, he said, was sufficiently enlightened to find
the situation impossible.

I don't know what it all meant, but the Comtesse de Tournelle is now
called "la demoiselle!"

The two young men leave us for the day, to do their duty at Versailles,
but are to meet us again at Rouen in the evening, with leave for a few
days. We are just going on board, so I will finish this presently.

_5 p.m._--The scenery is too beautiful after you pass Vernon, and it
was so interesting getting in and out of the locks. The Baronne and I
and Jean talked together on the raised deck, while de Tournelle read to
the Marquise in the bows. The old Baron is mostly with the sailors, and
Heloise slept a good deal. Every now and then Hippolyte came out from
his cooking place, and one saw his baboon face appearing on a level
with the deck floor, and he would explain all the places we passed, and
it always ended with: "Il ne faut pas que Mme. La Baronne pionce c'est
tres tres interessant."

I can't tell you what a _drole_ creature he is. Heloise woke up
presently and talked to me; she said if it was not for the Tournelles
she could not stand the Chateau de Croixmare and Victorine. It appears
too, that when in Paris, Godmamma always drives in the Bois at the
wrong times, and will have her opera box on the nights no one is there,
and that irritates Heloise.

I can't think why papa and she were such friends. I don't believe if he
had been alive now, and accustomed to really nice people like you and
me, he would have been able to put up with her.

I shall post this directly we land, I am writing on the cabin table,
and now good-bye.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.



_Saturday, 20th August._

[Sidenote: _A Visit to Rouen_]

Dearest Mamma,--To-day has been the loveliest I ever remember, not a
cloud in the sky. We landed at Rouen the day before yesterday about
six, and the hotel we stopped at was quite decent, and although the
windows of my room looked upon the inner courtyard they at least had
shutters. I wanted to go and see the marks the flames of Joan of Arc's
burning had made on the wall, but every one was so hungry, we had to
have dinner so early, there wasn't time. _Canard a la Rouennaise is_
good, it is done here with a wine called _Grenache_. I had two
helpings, and just as we were finishing, the Vicomte and "Antoine" came
in from the station. They aren't in uniform now, but their hair does
stick up so, and somehow their clothes don't look comfortable. I liked
them in uniform best. Madame de Vermandoise talked to "Antoine" across
the table quite a lot. That is the only way one may speak directly to a
person, it seems. After dinner we went in search of some place of
amusement, but there was no theatre open, so we had to content
ourselves with a walk along the quay, and then we came back and drank
_sirop_. It _is_ sweet and nice, and you can have it raspberry, or
gooseberry, or what you like, and I am sure if the people in England
who drink nasty old ports and things could have it they would like it
much better. The Baronne calls all the men by their end names like
"Tournelle," "Croixmare," "Tremors," &c., and every one is very devoted
to her, and I daresay she is even older than you, mamma; isn't it
wonderful? Jean now always sits beside me, I suppose he thinks he is my
host, but I would rather have the Vicomte de la Tremors, who is very
amusing. But to go back to Rouen. It was a treat to sleep fearlessly in
a clean bed after Vernon, and I actually had a bath in the morning. I
don't know where Agnes retrieved it from.

[Sidenote: _"Coiffer St. Catherine"_]

You can see Joan of Arc's flames quite plain, we went there as soon as
we were dressed. "Antoine" would insist it was only the black from a
smoky chimney, but I paid no attention to him. The _Horloge_ is nice,
and we did a lot of churches, but they always look to me just the same,
and any way they all smell alike, and I don't think I shall bother with
any more. We had breakfast on the _Sauterelle_, but it was so fine
after we left Vernon, and yesterday, that we could have it each day in
the bows under the awning, and so had not to wash our forks and plates.
The Chateaux are so picturesque, and such woods! after you leave Rouen.
Heloise did not sleep yesterday. "Antoine" talked so much, no one could
really have had a comfortable nap. In the afternoon the Marquise told
us our fortunes; she said Heloise would marry twice, which made her
look as pleased as Punch, but Jean did not think it at all funny,
though every one else laughed She told me I should probably be an old
maid ("_Coiffer St. Catherine_"), and so I said in that case I should
run pins into the horrid old saint's head: I simply _won't_ be an old
maid, Mamma, so they need not make any more predictions. However, it
would be worse to be one here than at home, because even up to forty,
if you aren't married, you mayn't go to the nice theatres, or talk to
people alone, or even speak much more than "Yes" and "No," and you
generally get a nasty moustache or something. We saw a whole family of
elderly girls at our hotel at Rouen, and they all had moustaches or
moles on the cheek.

We got here (Caudebec) yesterday soon after four. Our inn looks right
on to the Seine, and is as old nearly as the one at Vernon, but
fortunately beautifully clean. Only you have to get at your room
through somebody else's. Mine is beyond the Baronne's and Madame de
Vermandoise gets at hers through the Comtesse de Tournelle's. Hers is
the most ridiculous place, with a red curtain hanging across so that
sometimes it can be turned into two; and such a thing happened last
night. "Antoine" went in with the Comte de Tournelle to help him to
shut the window, as Madame de Tournelle couldn't, when a gust of wind
blew the door shut, and whether there was a spring lock or not I don't
know, but any way nothing would induce it to open again. So there they
were. We had stayed up rather late; the landlord and the servants were
in bed. They rattled and shook and pushed, but to no purpose.

[Sidenote: _A Misadventure_]

There was only a board partition between my room and Madame de
Vermandoise's, so I could hear everything, and Tournelle said there was
nothing for it but that "Antoine" would have to sleep in the other bed
in her room. She screamed a great deal, and they all laughed very much,
and all talked at once, so I suppose that was why I could not
understand quite everything they were saying. At last the Baronne
rushed into my room to discover what the noise was. She looks perfectly
_odd_ when going to bed; a good deal seemed to have come off; she is as
thin as a lath; and on the dressing table was such a sweet lace
nightcap, with lovely baby curls sewed to its edge, and when she put
that on she did look sweet. It isn't that she has no hair herself, it's
thick and brown; but she explained that having to wear a nightcap
because of ear-ache, she found it more becoming with the curls. I
suppose it is on account of the waiters coming in with the breakfast
that they have to be so particular in France how they look in bed.

But to go on about the door. We sent the Baronne's maid and Agnes to
try and find the landlord; but, after exploring untold depths below and
above, they only succeeded in unearthing Hippolyte. He came up from his
bed looking just like that very clever Missing Link that was at
Barnum's, do you remember?--the one that sometimes was an Irishwoman,
and could do housework in a cage by itself. I don't know exactly what
Hippolyte had on, but it ended up with a petticoat of red and black
plaid, and a pair of grey linen trousers over his shoulders; his
whiskers and hair were standing straight on end, and his shaved bits
were bluer than ever at night. He said a good deal of the French
equivalent of, "Here's a pretty kettle of fish," and shrugged so that I
was afraid the petticoat would slip off; and finally, when all the
pushing and pulling had no effect on the door, he said people must
resign themselves to the accidents of travel, and as there were four
beds, he did not see that they had too much to complain of.

[Sidenote: _"Not Much to Complain of"_]

At this moment Heloise came out of her room to see what the commotion
was. She understood it was her husband locked in the room, and she
laughed too very much, and said they must just stay there; but when she
heard the voice of "Antoine" she seemed to think the situation grave--I
suppose because he is not married--and she also did everything she
could to open the door. Of course if they had been Englishmen they
would have simply kicked it down, and got out without more ado, but the
French aren't strong enough for that.

Heloise became quite disagreeable about it, though as it wasn't Jean I
can't think what business it was of hers. She said it was because
"Antoine" did not really try, and she was sure he had done it on
purpose, upon which Madame de Vermandoise gurgled with mirth. I could
hear both sides you see, because of the wooden partition. "Antoine"
came into the inner room and said he was "Doux comme un petit agneau,"
but the Marquise said that he was "Un loup dans une peau de mouton,"
and must go away. Finally the whole of the rest of the party in
different stages of _deshabille_ got collected outside the door. No
landlord was to be found anywhere. Then the old Baron suggested quite a
simple plan, which was for Madame de Tournelle to share Madame de
Vermandoise's room, and to leave the Comte and "Antoine" in her room.

No one seemed to have thought of this before; and that is what they
finally did, and at last we got to sleep. In the morning no landlord
could still be found, and we had no coffee, but presently he arrived
accompanied by two _gendarmes_ and goodness knows what other rabble
armed with sticks, and they wanted to proceed upstairs. We heard every
sort of "_Sacres!_" going on between them and Hippolyte, and eventually
the landlord almost crawled up apologising, and opened the door with
his key.

[Sidenote: _A Cautious Landlord_]

It appears that hearing the noise of the door being tried to be opened
and Madame de Vermandoise's screams, he had thought it wiser to decamp
for the night, as two years ago there had been a murder there, and he
had had "beaucoup d'embetement," he said, on account of it, and was
determined not to be mixed up in one again, "En ces affaires la, il est
bien assez tot d'arriver le lendemain," he said.

Everybody was still laughing too much over the situation to be angry
with him; and the coffee, which we got at last, was so good it made up
for it; but you should have heard the _plaisanteries_ they made over
the night's adventure!

Caudebec is an odd place; it used to be inhabited by hundreds of
Protestant beaver hat-makers, who fled from there after the Edict of
Nantes' affair, and so there are streets of deserted houses still, and
so old, one has a stream down the middle. I would not go into the
church: the usual smell met me at the door; so the Vicomte and Jean and
I went for a walk, and now we are just going to start on the
_Sauterelle_ again, and this must be posted. I have managed to write it
on my knee, sitting on a stone bench outside the inn door.--Good-bye,
dear Mamma, with love from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Hotel Frascati, Havre,

_Sunday, 21st August_.

[Sidenote: _Havre to Trouville_]

Dearest Mamma,--I am sorry our nice voyage is nearly finished, for we
go over to Trouville this evening, and from there by train back to
Vinant. The river is not nearly so pretty after you leave Caudebec, but
Tancarville is fine, and looks very imposing sitting up so high. The
Vicomte has been talking to me all the time, but Jean stays by. We were
dusty and sun-burnt by the time we got to Havre, and Heloise and the
Marquise and I started at once for the big baths. They do not quite
join the hotel, so we covered a good deal of absence, in the way of
dress, by our faithful mackintoshes and trotted across. On the steps we
met de Tournelle just coming out from the baths; he laughed when he saw
us, and said he had never before realised that garments of so much
respectability could have such possibilities! Oh! how nice to have a
real bath again!

[Sidenote: _A Gay Dinner_]

Agnes hasn't enjoyed this trip much, I can see. Heaven knows where she
has slept! I thought it wiser not to ask. We had such a gay dinner. I
am getting accustomed to shouting across the table at every one; it
will feel quite queer just talking to one's neighbour when I get back
to England. The restaurant at Frascati isn't at all bad, and it was
agreeable to have proper food again.

Hippolyte thinks we are awfully greedy; he was heard yesterday
grumbling to the Baronne's maid, "Mais ou diable est-ce que ces dames
mettent tout ce qu'elles mangent? Elles goblottent toute la journee!"

After dinner we drank our coffee on the terrace and listened to the
band. Heloise would hardly speak to "Antoine" all day, and he looked
perfectly miserable, and Madame de Vermandoise every now and then
laughed to herself--I don't know what at. However we took a walk on the
pier presently, and as there was such a crowd we weren't able to walk
all together as usual, but had to go two and two. "Antoine" walked with
Heloise, and I suppose they made it up. I just caught this: "N'oubliez
jamais, bien chere Madame, qu'une eglise a deux portes." Heloise said
she would not forget, and he thanked her rapturously; but what it meant
I don't know. They have both smiled often since so I expect it is some
French idiom for reconciliation.

The crowd on the pier was common, and we returned to Frascati's garden.
It was so fearfully hot, that beyond wondering if the dew was falling,
no one suggested we should get cold, as they always do. It really has
been a delightful trip, and I have enjoyed it so. They are all
charming. They seem to have kinder hearts than some of the people at
Nazeby, but what strikes one as quite different is that every one is
witty; they are making epigrams or clever _tournures de phrases_ all
the time, and don't seem to talk of the teeny weeny things we do in
England. They have most exquisite manners, and extraordinarily
unpleasant personal habits, like eating, and coughing, and picking
their teeth, etc.; but they do have nice under-clothes, and lovely
soaps and scents and things.

[Sidenote: _Views for Victorine_]

The Frascati beds were comfortable, and I could not wake in the
morning, in spite of Agnes fussing about. The Vicomte has awakened
every one each day by rapping at their doors, but this morning I was at
last aroused by Heloise, who had the next room, and we had our coffee
together. She says she does hope soon to get Victorine married, and
that they have a nephew of the Baronne's in view, but he has not seen
her yet. It appears it is easier to get them off if they are quiet
looking and dowdy, but not so aggressive as Victorine. You haven't much
chance if you are very pretty and lively; as she says, the men only
like you to be that when you are married to some one else. Heloise
wishes to have everything smart as the Tournelles have, but Godmamma
and Victorine are always against her. She says life there is for ever
eating _galette de plomp_, which I suppose means a suet pudding
feeling. We all went to High Mass at eleven; it was very pretty, and
such a good-looking priest handed the bag. I should hate to be a
priest; shouldn't you, Mamma? You mayn't even look at any one nice.

We breakfasted at Frascati, but we were a little bit gloomy at our trip
being over. This afternoon they have nearly all gone for a drive in hired
motor cars, but I haven't a hat here that would stay on, so I am writing
to you instead, and we cross over to Trouville at five o'clock in the
ordinary boat, as it is too rough for the _Sauterelle_.--Good-bye, dear
Mamma, your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: _A Full-blown Bride_]

_P.S._--I forgot to tell you the story of the "_Cote des deux
Amants._" You know the fearfully straight, steep hill we have often
noticed from the train if you go to Paris from Dieppe. Well, Hippolyte
told us the story when we passed it. It is quite close from the river,
and looks as if it had been cut with a knife, it is so steep. It
appears that in the Middle Ages there was a castle on the top, and
there lived a Comte who had a tremendously stout daughter. He said no
one should have her and her fortune unless he was strong enough to
carry her from the bottom to the top of the hill. Hundreds tried--it
was a beauty then to be fat--but every one dropped her half-way, and
the poor thing got "tres fatiguee d'etre plantee comme ca," when a
handsome cavalier came along, and he succeeded. His snorts of
out-of-breathness could be heard for miles, but he got her to the top
and then fell dead at her feet; and she went into a convent and died.
Hippolyte said also that the other ending of the story was, that she
got so thin from pining for the knight that the next one who came along
had no difficulty, and so they married and lived happy ever after. But
I like the tragic end best. And he said that the peasants still declare
they can hear the knight wheezing on moonlight nights, but "Antoine"
said it was probably a traction engine. And I don't think it nice of
him; do you, Mamma?


Chateau de Croixmare,

_24th August_.

Dearest Mamma,--I am quite sure I shall never be able to stand the
whole fortnight more here. We got back on Monday evening, and Godmamma
was as disagreeable as could be. She said all sorts of spiteful things
about the Tournelles, and especially the Baronne; and Jean looked
nervous and uncomfortable, and Heloise like a mule; and Victorine said
I had no doubt enjoyed myself, but for her part she would be sorry to
be taken for a "young married woman," which was what Madame de Visac (a
woman who came to call after we left) had said--"Qui est cette jeune
femme avec votre belle soeur?"

[Sidenote: _Modest Maidens_]

She had seen us embarking. So I said I was flattered, as that seemed to
mean in France all that was attractive in contrast to the girls. Did
you ever hear of such a _cat_, Mamma? and considering that I am only
seventeen, and she is an old maid of twenty-two; I think it too
ridiculous. She need not fear, no one would ever think she was
married, she looks like a lumping German governess. Two of her girl
friends came to breakfast yesterday, of course with their mothers, and
you should have heard the idiot conversation we had! All plopped down
on the great sofa in the big salon, like a row of dolls. The two
friends were simply gasping with excitement at the idea of my having
gone on the _Sauterelle_. They asked me endless questions, and giggled,
and I _did_ tell them some things!

They asked also about England, and was it really true that when we went
to a ball we stayed with our _danseurs_ till the next dance? I said I
had not been to a ball yet, but had always heard that is what one did.
One of the friends is quite nice-looking, but with such dirty nails. It
appears you don't wash much till you are married, it is not considered
_bien vu_, in fact rather _lance_, and you can't have fine
under-clothes, it has all got to be as unattractive as possible, and
that shows you are as good as gold and will make a nice wife.

[Sidenote: _The Trouville Casino_]

But it must be a bother picking up a taste for having baths and things
afterwards, if it isn't from instinct, don't you think so, Mamma? And
I am glad I am not French. It is even eccentric if you sleep with your
window open; Heloise screamed at me for that. They all assure me it
gives sore eyes, besides encouraging an early grave. I said at last
that in England we slept the whole summer in the open air. I was so
exasperated, and they would believe anything.

Oh, I wish we were back on the _Sauterelle!_--which reminds me I have
never told you anything about Trouville. The whole place was full of
such beautiful ladies, and such nice clothes. They must all have been
married, their things were so becoming. The Vicomte seemed to know them
well, and they all spoke of them by their Christian names, such as,
_Voila Blanche d'Antin!_ or _Emilie_ something else, as we passed them,
but none of our party bowed to the really pretty ones, which I thought
very queer if they knew them well enough to speak of them by their
Christian names. I remember you always told me never to do that--I mean
to use people's first names in speaking of them if you are not
acquainted with them--but evidently it is different here. The
Tournelles and all the others did stop to speak to heaps of duller
looking people, and every one tried to persuade us to stay and go to
the races.

We went to the Casino in the evening and saw a piece; it was boring. We
had two boxes, and they kept talking to me all the time, so I really
could not pay much attention to the acting.

Down below us was the Marquise de Vermandoise's brother-in-law, with a
rather dowdy little woman. They talked a great deal about him, and the
Marquise said it was just like his economy to go to Trouville with such
"une espece de petite fagottee bon marche." So I suppose it was some
poor relation he was treating, but they seemed very good friends, as he
held her hand all the time, quite forgetting the people up above could
see. Then we played "Petits Chevaux," and I won every time; I do like
it very much.

[Sidenote: _A Bathing Party_]

We came back to Vinant by the two o'clock train, but first we went to
bathe. I was really annoyed at having to have a hired dress, a
frightful thing, and weighing a ton. The Marquise and the others had
brought theirs on the chance of our having time for a dip. The
Baronne's and Heloise's were too sweet. The Baronne's cap had the same
kind of lovely little curls round it that she wears at night; but she
is a great coward, and hardly went in deeper than her ankles, in spite
of all the entreaties of "Antoine" and the Vicomte. The Marquise de
Vermandoise looks splendid in the water, just like a goddess, and her
bathing-dress was thin enough red silk for us to see how beautifully
she is made. The splashing about seemed to make her so gay, she kept
putting her tongue into the gap where her tooth is gone, and looked so
wicked they would all have swam anywhere after her. She and de
Tournelle went out a long way to a boat, and they did seem to be having
a good time. I wish I could swim like that.

Heloise and "Antoine" made _la planche_ together; it is simply
floating, only you have some one to hold you up in case you float out
too far. The Vicomte wanted to teach me, and as I was getting rather
tired of pretending to swim with one leg down, I tried, and it feels
lovely, and we did laugh so over it. At last the Baronne came out quite
up to her knees to call to us "Tremors, c'est defendu de faire des
betises." I suppose she thought he would let me drown.

Jean and the Comtesse de Tournelle watched us from the _plage_. The old
Baron swims splendidly, and went quite out of sight. Hippolyte was
waiting among the other servants with our _peignoirs_, and presently he
clapped his hands to insure attention, and shouted, "Il ne faut pas que
Madame la Baronne reste trop longtemps se mouillant les pieds, elle
prendrait froid, mieux vaut sortir de l'eau!"

[Sidenote: _End of the Trip_]

I am glad my hair curls naturally, because I laughed so at the face of
Hippolyte, gesticulating at the Baronne, that I did not pay attention
to a wave, and it threw me over, and I went right under water. The
Vicomte pulled me up, but there was no need of him to have been so
long about it, and I told him so. He apologised, and said it was his
fear that I should drown, but we were only up to our chests in water,
so I don't believe it a bit. After that we came out, and it is just as
well one has a _peignoir_ to put on immediately, as the bathing gowns
are so tight and thin, when wet they look quite odd. There were
hundreds of other people bathing too, and some of the dresses were so
pretty. One was all black and very tight, with red dragons running over
it, and she had a gold bangle on her ankle. I wish we could have stayed
longer, it was so gay.

In the train coming back we played all sorts of games. Jean and the old
Baron went "smoking," and we eight squashed into the same carriage, so
as not to be separated. We had to go right up to Paris (as the express
does not stop at Vinant), and then back again. One can just see the
high roof of Croixmare from the train. Yesterday those tiresome girls
came to _dejeuner_, and to-day we go to pay another visit of ceremony
at the Tournelles', to thank them for our nice trip. I shall be glad
to see them again after looking at Godmamma for two whole days.

The evenings are awful. Although it is so warm no one thinks of walking
in the garden, or even sitting out on the _perron_. When we come out
from dinner, though it is broad daylight, every shutter is shut and
curtains drawn, and there we sit in the salon, all arranged round in a
semi-circle, and make conversation, and _sirop_ comes at nine, and,
thank goodness, we get off to bed at ten! But even if you wanted to
talk nicely to the person sitting by you you couldn't, because every
one would at once stop what they were saying and listen. There is going
to be an entertainment at the Tournelles' in about a week, a kind of
_fete champetre_. We are to dine in a pavilion in the garden, and then
have a _cotillon_.-Good-bye, dear Mamma, with love from your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_25th August_.

[Sidenote: _Croixmare again_]

Dearest Mamma,--The longer I stay, here the more glad I am that I am
not French! Victorine is going to be shown to her future _fiance_
to-day, but I must first tell you how it came about. We went to Chateau
de Tournelle yesterday to pay our visit, Godmamma, Victorine, and I in
the victoria, and Jean and Heloise in the phaeton. They were in the
garden playing tennis with a party of friends from Versailles, and
among them, of course, the Vicomte and "Antoine." They were all so glad
to see me, and the Baronne called me her "_chere petite_," and kissed
me on both cheeks, as if we had been parted for months. The
Vicomte--when he had done putting his heels together and bowing to
Victorine and me, and kissing Heloise's and Godmamma's hands--managed
to get in, in a lower voice, that his ride from Versailles now seemed
to him to have been very short. Upon which Victorine at once said,
"_Comment?_" with the expression of a terrier whose ears are suddenly
cocked up on the alert. He bowed more deeply than ever, and said that
he was saying it was a long ride from Versailles! So you see that
Frenchmen are not truthful, Mamma! Well--then we were sent to look at
the gardens, accompanied by Jean and the Cure.

[Sidenote: _An Untruthful Frenchman_]

The Comtesse "adores" _le tennis_, and plays very well, it quite
animates her. The Baronne plays too, but she doesn't hit the ball much,
and screams most of the time; she was in the middle of a game when we
arrived, and only stopped to pay all kinds of civilities to our party.
Her pretty feet show when she runs about, but she wears a large black
tulle hat with fluffy strings, and it does not seem very suitable for
tennis. I had to walk with the old Cure when the path was not wide
enough to trot all together. The gardens really are lovely, with all
kinds of strange shrubs and trees, and _fontaines_ and _bosquets_, and
nooks, but I don't see the least use in them if one has always to walk
three in a row, if not more, do you, Mamma? The Cure was a charming old
fellow, and explained all the plants to me. We had no sooner got back
to the tennis ground than one felt something momentous was taking place
between Godmamma and the Baronne. She had finished her tennis, and they
were sitting away from the others, nodding their heads together.
Victorine at once put on a conscious air, and minced more than usual.
"Antoine" and Heloise seemed speaking seriously, while she examined his
new racket. The Vicomte had begun a game, so could not talk to us, but
some more officers were introduced, and, after the usual bowing, we
began to talk.

"Vous aimez le tennis, mademoiselle?"

"Oui, monsieur," from Victorine. "Moi, je le deteste," from me.

"Pas possible!" from every one.

"Je vous assure on ne joue que le croquet chez nous."

"Le croquet," from Victorine, "un jeu de Couvent!"

"Le croquet! Et les anglais qui n'aiment que l'exercice!" from the
officers, &c., &c.

Very interesting, you see, one's conversations here!

[Sidenote: _A Marriage Arranged_]

All this time the Baronne and Godmamma were nodding their heads, and
when Jean and Heloise joined them, they looked like those sets of
mandarins that used to be on Uncle Charles's mantelpiece, and as we
said Good-bye, the Baronne said to Godmamma, "Bien, chere madame, c'est
entendu alors c'est pour demain."

All the way home in the carriage, Victorine simpered. I felt I could
have slapped her.

In the evening there was an air of mystery about them all, and, quite
unlike her usual custom, Heloise came into my room to chat when I was
going to bed. Of course Agnes stayed as long as she could, but no
sooner had we got rid of her, than Heloise told me what it was all
about. It appears the Baronne has a nephew, who has made a heap of
debts; he is a Marquis, and he wants to "redorer le blason." It is
necessary for him to secure a large dot, but he is "si terriblement
volage," that the extreme plainness of Victorine may put him off. The
Baronne has been arranging it, and he is to be brought with his parent
to breakfast, to sample her!

They have not seen one another yet, and it has been difficult to get
him to face the situation seriously. Victorine has been dragging on so,
that the family will be delighted to let her go, even to a less fortune
than she has. "Ils devraient etre joliment contents, un gros paquet
comme ca!" as Hippolyte, who knows every one's business, said to the
Baronne's maid--Heloise told me--and that explains it; she said it
would be such a _mercy_ if he will settle the affair at once. She had
come to ask me a favour. I did wonder what it was! And you will laugh,
Mamma, when you hear! Victorine is sure to be nervous, Heloise said,
and in that case her face gets red, and it would be a pity to distract
his attention in any way, and in short would I mind putting on my most
unbecoming dress, and not speaking while the Marquis is here?

[Sidenote: _The Fiance Appears_]

So here I am, Mamma, writing to you up in my room, dressed in that
horrid _beige_ linen that we chose at night, and I shan't go down till
_dejeuner_ is ready, pouf! I can hear a carriage coming, I must go to
the window. Yes, it is the _fiance_, accompanied by his mother and
aunt. He is nice-looking, except that he has got a silly fair beard. I
can hear them arriving in the hall; such a lot of talking!

Heloise and Victorine have just been here. Heloise even has got an ugly
dress on, and Victorine has scrubbed her face with soap--I suppose to
get that greasy look off--until it shines like an apple, her nose is
crimson, and her eyes look like two beads. They have gone downstairs.
More talking--I am sure he is putting his heels together. I'll finish
this after they have gone, so as to tell you what happens.

_Evening_.--Such a day! After I had heard mumbling talking for quite a
while--the windows were all open, and the salon is under me--suddenly
the piano began. Victorine plays really well generally--that is, she
has brilliant execution--but you should have heard the jumble! hardly a
note right, and in the middle of it up rushed Heloise to me and sank
into a chair. It was going as badly as it possibly could, she said.
Victorine was so nervous that her voice was like a file, and her face
so crimson that the Marquis must think she has erysipelas! And then, to
complete matters, when she is told by Godmamma to show her
accomplishments, to think that she should play like this! Especially as
the Marquis is very musical! Heloise said she could see he was quite
"degoute," and the only thing for it now, was for me to change my frock
instantly, and to put on a becoming one, and to go down and talk. Then
he would go away having enjoyed his visit, he won't reason why, and
will come again; and then when I am gone, he can be pushed into the
marriage with Victorine!

She rang for Agnes while she spoke, and I was simply pitched into the
blue _batiste_, and hustled downstairs.

Such a scene in the salon! The Baronne seated on the large sofa with
Jean; Godmamma and the mother of the young man in two of the armchairs;
while Victorine fumbled with some music on the piano with the _dame de
compagnie_, whom Heloise calls "_le Remorqueur_," because she looks
like a teeny tug pulling along a coal barge (Victorine). The Marquis
was standing up by himself--with his hat and gloves in his hand--first
on one foot, then on the other; and Marie and Yolande were making
horrid, shuffling, squeaking noises, sliding on the _parquet_ by the

[Sidenote: _Wandering Glances_]

When I was introduced and had made a reverence to the old ladies, the
Marquis was presented, and when we had done bowing, he said: "Vous etes
anglaise, mademoiselle?" and, even for that, Victorine's eyes shot two
yellow flames at me! Heloise nipped my arm to tell me to talk, so of
course everything went out of my head, and I could only think of "Oui,
monsieur." Just then breakfast was announced, and we all went in
arm-in-arm, Godmamma and the Marquis together. It is a huge round
table, and I had done the flowers, because they wanted to be shown how
we have tables in England. I was next but one to the Marquis, with
Heloise between. We had scarcely sat down, when he began. How beautiful
the table looked, and what taste in the flowers! Upon which Heloise
said, that they _were_ lovely, and were the arrangement of her "_chere
petite belle-soeur!_" and she smiled angelically at Victorine, who
looked down with conscious pride. Then Heloise said that it was a great
joy in life to have the absorbing love of flowers as Victorine had! and
I could not help laughing, because Victorine doesn't know one from
another, and would not even help me this morning. The Marquis looked
and looked at me when I laughed, and then lifting his glass of _vin
ordinaire_, he said: "Les belles dents rendent gai." Wasn't it nice of
him? I think it is hard he should be tied to Victorine. He talked to me
all the time after that, across Heloise, and considering she told me to
be agreeable to him, I don't see why she should have been annoyed.

After breakfast--which we left as usual arm-in-arm--we sat in the
salon, while the Marquis and Jean went back to smoke. It was appalling!
If Victorine had been a four-legged cat, she would have spit at me, but
fortunately the two-legged ones can't spit in drawing-rooms, so I
escaped. The Baronne, after a good deal of manoeuvring, got by me near
the window, and then said in a distinct voice, "Ma petite cherie j'ai
trop chaud, donnez-moi votre bras un instant;" and so we got outside on
the terrace, where the huge orange trees in pots stand.

[Sidenote: _A Lecture on Duty_]

As soon as we were out of earshot, she began to scold me. Why had I
attracted the Marquis? how naughty of me, when it was essential his
debts should be paid, etc., etc. If she had not been so nice, I should
have been furious, and you can see, Mamma, how impossible to understand
them it is; to be told one moment to be nice, and then, when one is, to
be scolded! I just said as respectfully as I could, that I had done
nothing, and that Heloise had told me to do it, and the reason why.
That made the Baronne think a little. I am sure she wished for the
advice of Hippolyte; but the end of it was, that she asked me how much
_dot_ you were going to allow me! I said I did not know, and that
seemed to stump her. At last she said she supposed, as we were people
of consideration, and that I was the only child, it would be something
considerable. I do believe, Mamma, she was thinking that I might do
for the Marquis! It was only a question of having his debts paid--any
one who could do that would answer. It did make me _cross_, just as if
I would dream of marrying into a nation that eats badly, and doesn't
have a bath except to be smart. Think of always having to shout across
the table, day after day, and never to be able to do anything except by
rules and regulations; and the stuffy rooms and the eight armchairs! I
saw myself! and probably ending up with a moustache, or an
_embonpoint_, or something like that.

The Baronne at last patted my hand, and said: Well, well, she supposed
I had not meant anything, but that I _must_ leave the Marquis alone,
and turn my attention to "Gaston" (the Vicomte), who was really in love
with me. Then if I made him sufficiently miserable, he would be willing
to fall in with another plan of hers, when I was gone, through sheer
_desoeuvrement_. So you see, Mamma, they look upon me as a regular
catspaw, and I won't put up with it. I shall just talk to the Marquis
or "Gaston" whenever I like, I was quite polite to the Baronne,
because she is such a dear; but I am afraid, if Godmamma had said it
all, I should have been impudent.

[Sidenote: _An Alternative Plan_]

By this time the others had joined us on the terrace. They had all been
up to fix their hats on, because even if you have been out, and are
running out again just after, you always have to take your hat off, and
make a _toilette_ for _dejeuner_; it does seem waste of time. The
Baronne is considered quite eccentric because she keeps hers on
sometimes. I had not even a parasol. Godmamma looked as if she thought
it almost indecent. Presently Jean and the Marquis came out of the
smoking-room and joined us. The Marquis at once began to pay
compliments about the sun on my hair, and was really so clever in
getting in little things, while he was talking to Godmamma, that I
quite took to him. Victorine had to converse with her future
_belle-mere_ all the time, and finally the carriage came round, and
they went.

They were no sooner out of sight, than Godmamma said, with a long
rigmarole, that she felt it her duty to you to look after me, and she
must tell me that it was _inconvenant_ for a young girl to smile or
speak to a man as much as I had done to the Marquis. I was so furious
at that, that I said, as I found it impossible to understand their
ways, I would ask Agnes to pack my things at once, if she would kindly
spare a servant to go with a telegram to you, to say I was coming home
immediately. She was petrified at my answering her! It appears no one
else ever dares to; and she at once tried to smooth me down, especially
when I said I should just like time to write and tell the Baronne why I
was leaving, as she had been so kind to me. After that they all tried
to cajole me, except Victorine, who left the room and slammed the door.
And so I have consented to stay, and here I am finishing my letter to
you.--With best love, from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Champs Elysees,

_Friday, 26th August_.

[Sidenote: _A Visit to the Dentist_]

Dearest Mamma,--You will be surprised to see this address, but Heloise
and I are only staying here for the night, and go back to Croixmare
to-morrow. Early this morning she had bad toothache, and said she must
go to Paris to see her dentist Godmamma and Jean made as much fuss
about it as if the poor thing had suggested something quite unheard of;
and one could see how she was suffering, by the way she kept her
handkerchief up to her face. Godmamma said she could not possibly
accompany her, as she had to pay some important calls; and Jean had
promised to be at St. Germain to see some horses with the Vicomte, so
Heloise suggested I should go with her; and that we should stay the
night at the _appartement_ in the Champs Elysees, so that she could
have two appointments with M. Adam, the dentist. She has such beautiful
teeth, it seems hard that they should ache, and I felt very sorry for
her. After a lot of talking it was arranged that we should go up by
the 11 o'clock train, and accordingly we started with as much fuss as
if we had been departing for a month. We had no sooner got to Paris
than Heloise felt better. She left me to go on with the maids and
luggage to the Champs Elysees, while she went to see M. Adam.

Paris looked out-of-seasonish and full of Americans as we drove
through. I am sitting in the little salon now, waiting for her to come
in, and I have got awfully tired just looking out of the window.
Everything is covered up with brown holland, but I dare say it is nice
when they are here. The tapestries are beautiful, so is the furniture,
judging by the piece I have lifted the coverings from. If she does not
come in soon I shall go for a walk with Agnes.

[Sidenote: _Paris in August_]

_9 p.m._--Heloise came in just as I was writing this morning, and we
had a scrappy kind of _dejeuner_ on the corner of the dining-room
table. Then she said we had better go to her _couturier_ in the Rue de
la Paix. She seemed all right now, and said M. Adam had not hurt her
much, and that she was to go to him again to-morrow morning. I always
like Paris even out of the season, don't you, Mamma? it is so gay. We
had a little victoria and rushed along, not minding who we ran into, as
is always the way with French cabs. When we got to Paquin's there were
nobody but Americans there, and every one looked tired. Heloise tried
on her things, and we went to Caroline's for some hats. They were too
lovely, and Heloise gave me a dream; it's an owl lighting on a
cornfield, which perhaps is a little incongruous as they only come out
at night, but the effect is good.

After that she said she felt she should like to go and see her
_confesseur_ at the Madeleine, and we started there on the chance of
finding him. She kept looking at her watch, so I suppose she was afraid
he would be gone. We stopped at the bottom of the big steps, and she
said if I would not mind waiting a minute she would go in and see. I
always thought one only confessed in the morning, but she seemed so
anxious about it that perhaps if you have anything particular on your
mind you can get it off in the afternoon; it might have been the
stories she told about Victorine's liking flowers. I thought she would
never come back, she was such a time, quite three-quarters of an hour;
and it was horrid sitting there alone, with every creature staring as
they passed.

Directly after she went in I caught a glimpse of "Antoine" in a
_coupe_, going at a great pace, but I could not make him see me before
he had turned down the street that goes to the back of the Madeleine. I
wish he had seen me, for, although I never like him very much, he would
have been better than nobody to talk to. I believe I should have even
been glad to see Lord Valmond. At last I got so cross, what with the
people staring, and the heat and the smells, that I jumped out and went
to look for Heloise in the church. She was nowhere to be seen, and I
did not like to peer into every box I came to, so at last I was going
back to the cab again, when from the end door that leads out into the
other street at the back, the rue Tronchet, she came tearing along
completely _essoufflee_. So I suppose there must be some confessing
place beyond. She seemed quite cross with me for having come to find
her, and said it was not at all proper to walk about a church alone,
which does seem odd, doesn't it, Mamma? As one would have thought if
there was any place really respectable to stroll in, it would have been
a church.

[Sidenote: _Church Etiquette_]

I told her how bored I was, and about "Antoine" passing, and how I had
tried to make him see. She seemed more annoyed than ever, and said I
_must_ have made some mistake, as "Antoine" was not in Paris. She was
awfully shocked at the idea of my wanting to speak to him in the street
anyway, and said I surely must know it was the custom here for the men
to bow first. She was altogether so cross and excited and different
that I felt sure her _confesseur_ must have given her some disagreeable
penance. We went for a drive in the Bois after that, and Heloise
recovered, and was nice to me. We met the Marquise de Vermandoise and a
young man walking in one of the side _allees_, and when I wanted to
wave to them Heloise pinched me, and made me look the other way; and
when I asked why, she said it was not very good form to "see" people in
Paris out of the Season--that one never was sure what they were there
for--and that I was certainly not to mention it either at Tournelle or
Croixmare! Isn't this a queer country, Mamma?

[Sidenote: _Morals and Manners_]

We drove until quite late, and just as we were arriving at the door,
who should pass but the Marquis? He stopped at once and helped us out.
Heloise told him directly that we were only up seeing the dentist, and
seemed in a great hurry to get into the _porte cocher_; but he was not
to be shaken off, and stopped talking to us for about five minutes. He
is quite amusing; he looked at me all the time he was talking to
Heloise. I am sure, Mamma, from what the people at Nazeby talked about,
he would have asked us to dine and go to a play if he had been an
Englishman, and I told Heloise so. She said no Frenchman would dream of
such a thing--us two alone--it was unheard of! and she only hoped no
one had seen us talking to him in the street as it was! I said I liked
the English way best, as in that case we should be going out and
enjoying ourselves, instead of eating a snatchy meal alone.

It is now nine o'clock, and all the evening we have had to put up with
just sitting on the balcony. It has been dull, and I am off to bed, so
good-night, dear Mamma. I shan't come up to Paris with French people
again in a hurry!--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Chateau de Croixmare,

_Monday, 29th August_.

[Sidenote: _The Sights of the Foire_]

Dearest Mamma,--Oh, we had such fun yesterday! After Mass the Baronne
sent over to ask if Jean, Heloise, and I would go with them to the
_Foire_ at _Lavonniere_, a village about ten miles off. It is a very
celebrated _Foire_, and in the last century every one went from
Versailles, and even now lots of people who spend the summer there
attend. You go in the evening after dinner, and there are no horrid
cows and things with horns rushing about, or tipsy people. Godmamma
looked awfully severe when she heard of the invitation; but since the
row, when they had to cajole me, she has been more civil, so she said I
might go if Heloise would really look after me, although if I was
Victorine she would not have permitted it for a moment.

[Sidenote: _On a Motor Car_]

We left here about six, and then picked up the party at Tournelle. They
all went--the old Baron, and every one, except the Marquis's mother. We
dropped the brougham there, and went on with them in a huge motor car
(that is another fad of the Baron's). It is lovely motor-carring; you
get quite used to the noise and smell, and you fly along so, it takes
your breath away; even with your hat tied on with a big veil, you have
rather the feeling you have got to screw up your eyebrows to keep it
from blowing away. We seemed to be no time doing the ten miles. The
Baronne and Heloise hate it, and never go in it except under protest.
The _Foire_ is just one very long street, with booths and
merry-go-rounds, and _Montagnes Russes_, and all sorts of amusing
things down each side. There are rows of poplar trees behind them, and
evidently on ordinary occasions it is just the usual French road, but
with all the lights and people it was gay.

We stopped at the village inn, the "_Toison d'Or_" which is famous for
its restaurant and its landlady. In the season the Duc de Cressy's
coach comes here from Paris every Thursday. Hippolyte was there
already; he had been sent on to secure a table for us. We had no sooner
sat down under the awning than the Vicomte and "Antoine" and two other
officers turned up. They had ridden from Versailles, which is near.
Such extraordinary people sat at some of the tables! Families of almost
peasants at one, and then at the next perhaps two or three lovely
ladies, with very smart dresses and big hats, and lots of pearls, and
some young men in evening dress. And then some respectable _bourgeois_,
and so on. I could hardly pay attention to what the Marquis, who sat
next me, was saying, the sight was so new and entertaining.

The tables had cloths without any starch in them, and the longest bread
rolls I have ever seen. One of the beautiful ladies with the pearls
used hers to beat the man next to her before they had finished dinner.
We did not have fresh forks and knives for everything, but the famous
dish of the place made up for it. It is composed of _poussins_--that
is, very baby chickens--raw oysters, and cream and truffles. You get a
hot bit of chicken into your mouth and think it is all right, and then
your tongue comes against an iced oyster, and the mixture is so
exciting you are stimulated all the time; and you drink a very fine old
Burgundy with it, which is also a feature of the place. I am sure it
ought to poison us, as oysters aren't in for another month, but it is
awfully good.

[Sidenote: _Chevaux au Galop_]

One of the strange officers is so amusing; he looks exactly like the
young man the Marquise de Vermandoise was walking in the Bois with, but
it could not be he, as she seemed so surprised to see him at the
_Foire_, and said they had not met for ages. The Comte sat on my other
side; he said I would be greatly amused at the booths presently, and
was I afraid of _Montagnes Russes_? That is only an ordinary
switchback, Mamma, so of course I am not afraid. There were Tziganes
playing while we dined, and it was all more amusing than anything I
have done here yet. When we had drunk our coffee we started down the
_Foire_. There were hundreds of people of every class, but not one
drunk or rude or horrid.

The first entertainment was the _Chevaux au Galop_, a delightful
merry-go-round with the most fiery prancing horses, three abreast, and
all jumping at different moments. The Marquis helped me up, and Jean
got on the other side; we all rode except the Comtesse and the old
Baron. It was _too_ lovely; you are bounced up and down, and you have
to hold on so tight, and every one screams, and the band plays; and I
wish you could do it, Mamma. I am sure the thorough shaking would
frighten your neuralgia away. I could have gone on for an hour, but
there was such a lot to see, we could not spare the time for more than
one turn. The Marquis whispered when he helped me off that his walk
down the Champs Elysees had indeed been fortunate, as he had seen me,
and that it was he who had suggested to the Baronne to come to the
_Foire_. So of course I felt grateful to him. We walked all together
more or less, but Jean kept glued to my side, which was rather a bore,
only the Marquis or the Vicomte were always at the other side.

[Sidenote: _The Ennui of the Lions_]

The next place we came to was a huge menagerie of clever animals, with
their _Dompteurs_--cages of lions, bears, tigers, &c. There were sets
of seats before the cages where anything interesting was going on, and
the audience moved up as each new Dompteur came in to the animals. We
sat down at first in front of the tigers' cage, the Baronne next to me
this time. The creatures went through astonishing tricks, and looked
such lazy great beautiful cats. The _Dompteur_ was a handsome man, just
the type they always are, with a wide receding forehead and flashing
eyes. They positively blazed at the brutes if they did not obey him
instantly. I wonder why all "tamers" have this shape of head? I asked
the Vicomte, but he did not know. The bears came next, horrid cunning
white things, and turning in their toes like that does give them such a
frumpish look.

The attraction of the show was to see the great _Dompteur_, Pezon. He
had been almost eaten by his lions a few months ago, and was to make
his reappearance accompanied by a beautiful songstress who would charm
the beasts to sleep. Pezon was just like the other _Dompteurs_, only
older and fatter, and the beautiful lady was such a pet! _Enormously_
stout, in pink satin, with quite bare neck and arms; the Vicomte said
that the lions had to be surfeited with food beforehand, to keep them
from taking their dessert off this tempting morsel. She began to sing
through her nose about "_l'amour_," &c., and those lions did look so
bored; the eldest one simply groaned with _ennui_. His face said as
plainly as if he could speak, "At it again to-night!" and "Oh! que cela
m'embete." When the song was finished, the _Belle Chanteuse_ stretched
herself on two chairs, making herself into a sort of bridge for the
animals to jump over. From our position we could only see mountains of
pink satin _embonpoint_, and the soles of her feet. The lions had the
greatest difficulty in jumping not to kick her. What a life, Mamma!
Then Pezon put his head right into the old lion's mouth, and so ended
the performance.

[Sidenote: _Inspecting the Machinery_]

When we got outside, a man was ringing a bell opposite, to invite every
one in to see a woman with only a head; she could speak, he said, but had
no body. The Baronne insisted upon going in. It was a tiny cell of a
place and crammed full. Presently a head appeared on a pedestal and spoke
in a subdued voice. All the others said it was a fraud, but I thought it
wonderful. "Antoine" wanted to go beyond the barrier and touch it, which
was mean of him, I think. Presently a villainous-looking old hag, who was
exhibiting the creature, came over, and whispered in "Antoine's" ear. I
only caught "_cinq francs_," but his face looked interested at once, and
he and Jean disappeared behind the curtain and the head disappeared too,
so we went outside, and bought "farings" at the next booth. There they
joined us. "Alors, mes amis?" demanded every one. "Pas la peine, tres mal
faite," said "Antoine"; so I suppose it was the machinery they had been
examining. The next thing we came to was a sort of swing with flying
boats, but no one was brave enough to try it except the Marquise and me,
though all the men wanted to come with us. You sit opposite one another,
and they are much higher than the ones in England. Jean would come with
me, though I wanted the Vicomte--so I was glad it made him look quite

It chanced that "Antoine" was beside me as we walked to the pistol
booth, so I asked him if he had been in Paris on Friday, and he looked
so hard at me, you would have thought I was asking a State secret; but
he said that alas! no, he had been detained at Versailles. So it could
not have been him after all; there must be a lot of French people
exactly alike, I never keep making these mistakes in England.

Have you ever fired off a pistol, Mamma? it is simply horrid. The
pistol booth was next after the "farings" shop, and the prizes were
china monsters and lanterns, &c. The Comtesse is a splendid shot, and
hit the flying ball almost each time; she is such a quiet little thing,
one would not expect it of her. The Baronne made a lot of fuss, and
said she knew it would kill her, until Hippolyte, who was behind the
party with her cloak, said: "Madame la Baronne doit essayer c'est
necessaire que toutes les belles jeunes dames sachent comment se
defendre." And she fired off the pistol at last with her eyes shut,
and it was a mercy it did not kill the attendant, the ball lodged in
the wall just beside him, so we thought we had better leave after that!

[Sidenote: _The Montagnes Russes_]

Next came the _Montagnes Russes_. How I love a switchback, Mamma! If I
were the Queen I would have a private one for myself, and my particular
friends, round Windsor Castle; I could go on all day. The Marquis and
the Vicomte kept so close to me that Jean could not take the seat
beside me, as I saw he intended to, and then the other two made quite a
shuffle, but the Vicomte won. The person who sits next you is obliged
to hold your arm to prevent your tumbling out. I looked round to see,
and every one was having her arm held, but I don't believe the Vicomte
need have gripped mine quite so tight as he did. We had three turns;
next time the Marquis was beside me, and he was more violent than the
Vicomte. So when it came to the last, and Jean scrambled in, and began
to hold tighter than either of the others, I just said my arm would be
black and blue, and I would rather chance the danger of falling out,
in a seat by myself, than put up with it. That made him sit up quite
straight. I can't see why people want to pinch one; can you, Mamma? I
call it vulgar, and I am sure no Englishman would do it. It seems that
Frenchmen are awfully respectful, and full of ceremony and politeness,
and then every now and then--directly they get the opportunity--they do
these horrid little tricks.

The next entertainment was really very curious. It was a marble woman
down to her waist, and as you looked, the marble turned into flesh, her
eyes opened, and she spoke; then her colour faded, and she turned into
marble again, and was handed round the audience; wasn't it wonderful,
Mamma? I can't think how it was done, and as "Antoine" and Jean did not
go behind the curtain to examine the machinery, I suppose we shall
never know.

[Sidenote: _The Fun of the Fair_]

After that there were endless shows--performing dogs, fortune-telling,
circuses, etc.--but the nicest of all was another merry-go-round, with
seats which went up and down like a boat in a very rough sea. Hardly
one of them would venture, but I made the Vicomte come with me for two
turns; he looked so pale at the end of it, and when I wanted to go a
third time, he said we must be getting on, and no one else offered to
come. Wasn't it stupid of them, as it was by far the most exciting part
of the _Foire_? It was half-past twelve before we got back to the
"_Toison d'Or_," and there had supper, with "_Punch a l'Americaine_."
It _is_ good, and you do feel so gay after it. One of the ladies with
the pearls, who was also supping, was so friendly to the man next her;
Pezon was of their party, and he did look common in clothes, while he
was quite handsome in spangled tights.

We were obliged to go slowly in the motor car returning, there were
such heaps of people and carts and things on the road, but we got back
to Croixmare about two; and I have slept so late this morning, so now,
good-bye, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_Wednesday, August 31st_.

[Sidenote: _Back at Croixmare_]

Dearest Mamma,--To-day is the dinner and _cotillon_ at the de
Tournelles'. The Marquis and the Vicomte and "Antoine" and every one
will be there, and I am sure it will be fun. The Vicomte can't get
leave for the night, so the Baronne--who was here yesterday on her
bicycle--told us. He will have to ride back to Versailles, as there are
no trains at that time, to be there for some duty at six in the
morning. I can't tell you how many miles it is; he will be tired, poor
thing. These last two days have been just alike, that is why I have not
written--the same tiresome ceremony about everything, and the same
ghastly evenings.

We went for a drive on Monday, and Godmamma did nothing but question me
as to what we had done every minute of the time while we were in Paris.
This is the first chance she has had with me alone. So I would not tell
her a scrap, even a simple thing like Heloise going to the Madeleine.
She thinks I am fearfully stupid, I can see. I forgot to tell you about
the morning we left Paris; Heloise went to see Adam again, and I went
shopping with Agnes, but I would not even tell Godmamma that! Victorine
says spiteful things to me whenever she can, but Jean and Heloise are
so charming that I don't mind the rest. We are to wear sort of
garden-party dresses and hats at the entertainment to-night. Dinner is
to be at eight, in a large pavilion, where they have had a beautiful
parquet floor laid down, and then when the tables are cleared away, we
shall begin the _cotillon_. As I have never danced in one before, I
hope I sha'n't make an idiot of myself.

[Sidenote: _Etiquette of the Bathroom_]

This morning I very nearly had another row with Godmamma--you will
never guess what for, Mamma! She knocked at the door of my room before
I was quite dressed, and then came in with a face as glum as a church.
She began at once. She said that she had heard something about me that
she hoped was a mistake, so she thought it better to ask me herself.
She understood that I went down to the Salle de Bain every day, instead
of just washing in my room. (I _have_ done so ever since Agnes
discovered there really was water enough for a decent bath there, and
that no one else seemed to use it.) I began to wonder if she was going
to accuse me of tampering with the taps--but not a bit of it! After a
rigmarole, as if she thought it almost too shocking to mention, she
said she understood from her maid, who had heard it from the _valet de
chambre_ who clears out the bath after I leave, that there never were
any wet chemises, and that she was therefore forced to conclude that I
got into my tub "_toute nue_!"

I had been so worked up for something dreadful, that I am sorry to say,
Mamma, I went into a shriek of laughter. That seemed to annoy Godmamma
very much; she got as red as a turkey-cock, and said she saw nothing to
cause mirth--in fact, she had hoped I should have been ashamed at such
deplorable immodesty, if, as she feared from my attitude, her
accusation was correct. I said, when I could stop laughing, of course
it was correct, how in the world else _should_ one get into a bath?

[Sidenote: _The Marquis Again_]

Her eyes almost turned up into her head with horror; she could only
gasp, "Mais si quelqu'un ouvrait la porte?" "Mais je la ferme toujours
a clef," I said, and then I asked her if in France they also dried
themselves in their wet chemises? But she said that that was a childish
question, as I must know it would be an impossibility; and when I said
I could not see any difference in washing or drying, she was so stumped
she was obliged to sit down and fan herself. I smoothed her down by
assuring her it was the English custom, and that I was sorry I shocked
her so. At last I got rid of her, evidently thinking our nation
"_brulee_," as well as "_toquee_". Now aren't they too odd, Mamma? I
suppose a nice big bath is such a rare thing for them that they are
obliged to make as much fuss as possible over it. One would think they
received company there, dressing up like that! Heloise and the smart
people wash all right; it is only the girls and the thoroughly goody
ones like Godmamma who are afraid of water.

5.30 _p.m._--The Marquis came over from Tournelle with a note from the
Baronne after _dejeuner_ to-day. I happened to be getting some music
out of the big salon for Heloise when he arrived. Louis, the valet, who
showed him in, did not catch sight of me as I was behind the piano, or
he would certainly have taken him somewhere else. He began at once
(after putting his heels together) to say a lot of compliments and
things. This was a fortunate chance--more than he had dared to
hope--would I promise to dance the _cotillon_ with him to-night? etc.,
etc. You would not believe, Mamma, the amount he got into the five
minutes before Heloise came into the room. She knew it was her own
fault for sending for the music that I was alone with him, or I should
have got a scolding; as it was, she talked without ceasing until at
last he got up to go. I had not answered about the _cotillon_, so as I
have half promised the Vicomte I don't know which I shall take; perhaps
I could manage both, as I believe one only has to sit on a chair and
every now and then get up and dance. However, I will see when I get
there. Now good-bye, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter,

Chateau de Croixmare,

_September 1st_.

[Sidenote: _A Proposal of Marriage_]

Dearest Mamma,--I have had a proposal! Isn't it too interesting? It all
happened at the de Tournelles' last night, but I never blushed or did
any of the things they used to in Miss Edgeworth's novels that you have
allowed me to read; but I must go straight on. We were quite punctual
at Chateau de Tournelle, and got there as the clock struck eight.
Heloise looked perfectly lovely, she does hold herself and walk so
beautifully, and her head is such a nice shape. I am going to be like
her, and not like the women at Nazeby (who all slouched) when I am
married. Victorine looked better than usual too, and Heloise had put
some powder on her face for her, but afterwards it came off in patches
and made her look piebald; however, to start she was all right, and
everybody was in a good temper. There were lots of people there
already, and the Baronne and the Comtesse received us in the hall.

I wore the white silk and my pink tulle hat. The Marquis and the
Vicomte both flew across when we arrived, and the Vicomte got to me
first, as Godmamma detained the Marquis; and this is where Frenchmen
shine, for although he told me afterwards that he wanted to murder her,
he stood with a beautiful grin on his face all the time. The Vicomte at
once began to assure me I had promised him the _cotillon_, but I would
not say; and as he could only get words in edgeways, with Victorine
listening all the time, it made it rather difficult for him. Then the
Comte and Rene, his little boy, came round with a silver basket full of
buttonholes and little cards with names, and by the kind of flower we
got we were to know which table we were to sit at, as they were to be
decorated with the same.

[Sidenote: _Les Jeunes Filles_]

Of course the Baronne had arranged for the Vicomte to take me in; and
our table was pink and white carnations. Presently the whole company
had arrived, and we started--a huge train, two and two, arm-in-arm--for
the pavilion. It was pretty; all the trees hung with electric lights
and Chinese lanterns, and the pavilion itself a fairyland of flowers.
There were about twelve tables, three of different coloured carnations
for the "_jeunes filles_," and the rest with roses for the married
people. Godmamma thought it most imprudent separating them like that,
and would hardly let Victorine sit down so far away from her until she
saw the daughter of the Princesse d'Hauterine at the same table.
Victorine went in with another officer from Versailles, in the same
regiment of _Chasseurs_ as the Vicomte; he was like a small black
monkey. The Marquis sat with the Comtesse at her table, and Godmamma
and the other bores had a table with the old Baron, etc. The Baronne
had quite a young man next her. I expect she could not do with the
chaperons and the old gentlemen.

Most of the girls at our table were either ill-at-ease or excited at
the unusual pleasure of being without their mothers, and at first no
one talked much. The French country people are almost as frumpy as the
English, only in a different way, but many of the guests were very
smart, and of course had come from Paris.

The Vicomte did say such a lot of agreeable things to me, and the
others were so occupied with their one chance of talking to a young man
that they did not listen as much as usual. He said he had never spent
such an agitated night as the one at Vernon. So I said No, the fleas
were horrid. He said he had not meant _them_; he meant that the sight
of my beautiful hair hanging down had caused him "_une grande emotion_"
and "_reves delicieux_."

There was an oldish girl next to him whom he knew; she has coiffed St.
Catherine for several years now, and was put at our table, I believe,
to be a kind of chaperon. She happened to be listening just then, as
her partner would talk to Victorine's friend--the pretty one with the
dirty nails--who was at his other side. She caught the word "fleas,"
and at once asked what we were talking about. "Un sujet si
desagreable," she said. I said it was about our journey on the
_Sauterelle_, where, at Vernon, Monsieur de la Tremors had been so
badly bitten by the fleas that they had given him silly dreams. He said
his dreams were as beautiful as those produced by the Hachis of Monte
Cristo (whatever that is), so the old girl exclaimed, "Quel pouvoir
pour une puce!" She thought we were mad; and I overheard her presently
telling her partner--when she could get him to listen--that no one
would believe the _bizarre_ conversations of the _toques_ English
unless they actually heard them!

[Sidenote: _The Cotillon_]

I would not say I would dance the _cotillon_ with the Vicomte. I told
him I had half promised it to the Marquis; and when he seemed offended,
I said if he was going to be disagreeable I would certainly dance it
with Monsieur de Beaupre (the Marquis's name, which I forgot to tell
you before). I remember hearing Octavia say once that it never did to
make oneself easy to young men, that the more capricious one was the
better; and you know how nice Octavia is, and I meant to be like her.
He went on imploring; so I told him that I had come there to enjoy
myself, not to amuse him, so I should just dance with whom I pleased,
or not at all if I happened not to want to. He said I was "_tres
cruelle_," and looked perfectly wobbly-eyed at me, but I did not mind a

As dinner went on all the girls began to talk and to get excited, and
laugh, and every one was so gay; but I could see Godmamma craning her
neck with anxiety and disapproval, and I am sure, if it had not been
for the Princesse d'Hauterine being at her table, she would have jumped
up and clawed Victorine away. It came to an end at last, and we
returned arm-in-arm to the house, while the servants arranged the
pavilion for the _cotillon_. Godmamma collected Victorine and me, and
made us stay by her; and that horrid old Mme. de Visac--the one who
called me a "_jeune femme_"--came up, and they had a conversation.
Godmamma said it was "_tres imprudent_" having the dinner first, that
the champagne would go to the young men's heads, and with all the care
in the world no one could foresee the consequences! The garden, too! If
they should dance the _farandole_! what opportunities! It was all the
fault of the _chere Baronne_, so sadly giddy for her age. She never
thought of the anxieties of other mothers, having married her only
daughter so young! I don't know what Godmamma feared, but I should hate
to think you could not trust me to behave like a lady, Mamma, if I was
out of your sight a moment.

[Sidenote: _Nearly a Duel_]

I saw the Marquis talking to a very young youth; he seemed pleading
with him about something, and presently the youth crossed over and
kissed Godmamma's hand, then asked Victorine for the _cotillon_. She
looked furious, but she was obliged to say yes, as no one else had
asked her; it was getting late, and the Marquis was busy speaking to
some other ladies. Presently he came up to us, and the young youth said
before he could speak: "N'ai-je pas de la veine, mon cher, Mlle. de
Croixmare m'a promis le cotillon." Upon which the Marquis asked me to
dance it with him--right out loud before Godmamma! and when I said I
had half promised it to Monsieur de la Tremors, he looked so cross and
offended, that I thought it was better to be firm with him, as I had
been with the Vicomte. He--the Vicomte--came up just then, and they
looked as if they wanted to fight each other; so I said if they would
stop frowning, I would dance it with both of them, but if they were
nasty, I should not dance it with either; and so that is how it ended,
I was to have one on each side.

Godmamma said to me that it was unheard of conduct, and might have
produced a duel, and when I tried to explain to her that that was just
what I had avoided, she looked angrier than ever, and would not
understand. Wasn't it stupid of her, Mamma?

[Sidenote: _The Two Partners_]

At last we got to the pavilion, and all sat round, and having both the
Vicomte and the Marquis to talk to, I did have fun. They arranged that
our chairs should be against the wall, and not in the row that the
chaperons were behind. Godmamma tried to make signs to me to come and
sit by Victorine in front of her, but I pretended not to see, until all
the chairs were filled up. The Marquise de Vermandoise was next me,
with the Vicomte between; she was dancing with the Comte. We _were_
gay! The first set of presents were big brocade bags, and we called one
our "_pot au feu_" and pretended it was for the ingredients to make
_bon menage_, and so all the presents that were small enough afterwards
we put in there to keep for me. I did have _lots_! A _cotillon_ is very
easy, Mamma, as you have often told me, and it was fun dancing with all
sorts of strange people that one did not even know. In one figure a
huge Russian prince got hold of me, and squeezed me until I very nearly
screamed; you see, Mamma, how dreadful foreigners are like that. It was
like being hugged by a bear in the Zoo; and after it, he kept giving me
flowers or presents if I dared to sit down for a moment, but he did not
say a word except once or twice a mumble of "Adorable mademoiselle."

My two partners _were_ nice, we had a perfectly beautiful time, they
laughed at everything I said; and Madame de Vermandoise leant over and
whispered--while they were both away doing a figure--that never had any
one had such a _succes_ as me, and that all the old ladies would be
ready to tear my eyes out. Heloise did not dance with "Antoine," but he
sat next her, and they talked while his partner was away with other
people. It is much better to have two partners, Mamma, because then one
is not left to oneself at all, and they are each trying to be nicer
than the other all the time. The Comtesse led the _cotillon_ with a
cousin of hers; he does do it well, and does nothing else in Paris, the
Baronne told me. At last we got on towards the end, and they began the
_farandole_. You know it, Mamma? A lady and a gentleman take hands,
then she beckons some one, and he has to come; and then he calls
another lady, and so on. It goes on until the whole company are
hand-in-hand; and the leader runs about everywhere with this chain of
people after him, dancing a long sliding step, to such a lovely
go-ahead tune. The leader tears all over the garden, and one is obliged
to follow in and out. It is too exciting, and just as we got to the
furthest end of the illuminated paths, and had rushed round into the
dark, some one let go, and in the confusion of trying to catch on
again, the Marquis and I were left behind.

[Sidenote: _To Elope with the Marquis_]

It was _then_ the proposal happened, he did not wait a moment; he
talked so fast I could hardly understand him. He said he had heard that
it was the custom of our country to speak directly to the person one
loved, without consulting the parents; so he hoped I would believe he
meant me no disrespect, but that he _adored_ me. He had fallen in love
at first sight, when he went to review Victorine--that he implored me
to fly with him, as his mother would never consent to his marrying an
English woman! Think of it, Mamma! me flying with the Marquis! without
a wedding cake, or bridesmaids, or pages, or trousseau, or any of the
really nice bits of getting married--only the boring part of just
going away and staying with one man, without any of the other things to
make up for it. I nearly laughed at the ridiculousness of it, only he
was so deadly in earnest, and would hold my hand. I said I could not
think of such a thing, and would he take me back to the pavilion? He
became quite wild then, and said he would kill himself with grief; and
such a lot of things about love; but I was so wanting to join in the
_farandole_ again--we heard them coming nearer--that my attention was
all on that, and I did not listen much.

Anyway, I am sure runaway matches aren't legal in France, from what I
heard Jean saying two nights ago at dinner; and I told him so at last,
and that pulled him up short. And just then the train passed, and I
stretched out my hand to the last man, and was whirled away back to the
pavilion and the people. I _was_ glad to get away from the Marquis,
because he looked desperate, and you can't trust foreigners, they have
pistols and things in their pockets, and he might have shot me. When
we got back to our seats, the _defile_ began and I took the Vicomte's
arm to go and make our curtsey to the Comtesse and the Baronne. It was
just as well the Marquis was away, because they might have quarrelled
as to which one's arm I was to take.

[Sidenote: _Godmamma's Friends_]

Just before the supper tables were brought in, Monsieur de Beaupre
turned up again. His face was green; he came up behind me, and
whispered through his teeth that I had broken his heart, and that he
should marry Victorine! So you see, Mamma, nothing could have turned
out better, and they ought to be very grateful to me.

We had the gayest supper, all at little tables; and it was arranged
that we should go with the de Tournelles, and the Baronne, to a _Ralli
de Papier_ to-day, given by the _75th Cuirassiers_ at the Foret de

While we were going to the house to get our wraps, I overheard two
ladies talking of Godmamma. They said she gave herself great airs, and
considering that every one knew that years ago she had been the _amie_
of that good-looking Englishman at the Embassy these high stilts of
virtue were ridiculous. I suppose to be an _amie_ is something wicked
in French, but it doesn't sound very bad, does it, Mamma? And, whatever
it is, I wonder if poor papa knew, as he was at the Embassy, and it
might have been one of his friends, mightn't it? I expect she had not a
moustache then.

I am dreadfully afraid the Vicomte won't be able to be at the _Ralli_
to-day, although he did whisper when he was putting on my cloak that
nothing should keep him away, and that then I would believe the extent
of his devotion. He won't have gone to bed at all, if he does turn up,
as he will only have got back to Versailles just in time for his duty
at six, and how he is to be in the Foret de Marly by ten I don't know,
but we shall see. It is just time to start, the brake is at the door,
so good-bye, dear Mamma, with love from your affectionate daughter,

Chateau de Croixmare,

_Thursday Night, September 1st_.

[Sidenote: _The "Ralli de Papier"_]

Dearest Mamma,--I wonder if you have ever been to a _Ralli de Papier_?
It is fun. We got to Marly at last after a long drive. The _rendezvous_
was in the middle of the forest, in such a lovely glade, and although
it rained for the last twenty minutes of our drive, the sun came out
when we got there, and the lights through the trees on the wet green
were so beautiful. There were quantities of carriages already arrived,
every sort--victorias, coaches, pony carts, charabancs, motor cars, and
a few of the really odd kinds of shandrydans that one sees coming to
country garden parties in England. There were also numbers of officers
riding in uniform--_cuirassiers, chasseurs, dragons_--and they were to
take part in the chase. There was one officer who was to lead the
carriages in a procession through the short cuts, so that we might not
miss any of the jumps, and he had a horn slung over his shoulder. I do
think it such a sensible plan; and if we could have the foxes trained
in England to go just where they should, and then always drive to where
the jumps are, like that, how much nicer hunting would be--wouldn't it,

[Sidenote: _Better than Fox-hunting_]

Well, at last every one seemed to be arrived, and it was gay. I was
glad Godmamma had been too tired to come, so Victorine was actually
trusted with Jean and Heloise and me. We had picked up the Baronne and
the Comte and the Marquise de Vermandoise at Tournelle on our way. The
brake was not quite like an English one; it had seats facing, and then
an extra one behind for the grooms, and Jean drove with Heloise beside
him; but he does look like a trussed pigeon, and if the horses were not
as quiet as mice, I am sure the Baronne would never have trusted
herself with him.

[Sidenote: _The Vicomte up to Time_]

They all began to chaff about the Vicomte; "Il ne chevauchera jamais si
loin, pas meme pour vos beaux yeux," the Marquise said. Victorine
seemed annoyed that any one should expect he would do anything for me.
"Evidemment Monsieur de la Tremors ne viendra pas," she said. I saw a
beautiful black horse being led about by a groom, apart from the crowd,
and I wondered who would ride it. Just before the horn sounded for the
carriages to start, from the farthest end of the _allee_ we saw an
officer galloping as hard as he could. "Mon Dieu! C'est Gaston!"
screamed the Baronne. "C'est pour vous, Enchanteresse," said the Comte.
"Que c'est ridicule," snapped Victorine, while the Marquise laughed and
put her tongue into her gap. "Oh! la belle jeunesse!" she said.

Meanwhile the Vicomte had dismounted, jumped on to the fresh black
horse, and was bowing beside us. "Vous voyez je suis venu," he said,
and he looked only at me. I don't know why, Mamma, but I felt the blood
rushing all over my cheeks; it was nice of him, wasn't it? He had
arranged it all yesterday, and by changing horses and galloping the
whole way, he had managed just to get to the _rendezvous_ in time. I
don't believe any Englishman that I know would do so much for me, and
I was touched. We were fortunate in being almost the first carriage
behind our leader, the officer with the horn, and he took us across
roads, and we halted at last, where we could see the whole hunt
advancing to some hurdles which had been erected at a few yards'
distance from each other down the _allee_. Such an excitement! every
one encouraging them at the top of their voices, their uniforms
glittering in the sun.

The jumps were not very high, and most of the officers got over all
right, only one _cuirassier_ fell, and every one shrieked, but he
wasn't a bit hurt. We clapped those who jumped especially well, and
cried "Bravo!" It _was_ fun. Then, when they had all passed, we were
conducted through some more short cuts to another set of hurdles
covered with green boughs, and these were a little higher. It did sound
lively, with horns blowing and people shouting all the time. The
Vicomte was among the last, as he passed us following the paper, but he
waved gaily. We had to drive very quickly to be in time for the next
"_obstacles_" and so it went on. When we watched the last ones, the
Vicomte was among the very front four.

[Sidenote: _Rewards of Gallantry_]

Then the exciting part began, as they had to race for the ribbons,
white for the winner and blue for the second; but it was quite a long
way, so we had time to get to the winning-post, the flat place near
where the Chateau stood formerly. There were long tables laid out with
_gouter_, and the bands of the regiments playing nice tunes. Victorine
began to be disagreeable directly we saw them coming, the Vicomte well
to the front. "Comme c'est cruel de Monsieur de la Tremors, de presser
son cheval a ce point," she said, while even the Comte became excited,
and shouted, "Bravo, Gaston!" I _was_ pleased when he came in first,
and really he rides quite nicely, Mamma.

Then every one got out of the carriages and there was a ceremony. The
wife of the Colonel of the 75th chasseurs (young and nice looking)
placed a white ribbon with gold fringe ends round the neck of the
Vicomte, while he knelt and kissed her hand on the damp grass, and when
he got up there was quite a wet stain on his knees. The second man--a
great lumbering _cuirassier_--got a blue ribbon, and as he was heavier
the stain showed worse on his red trousers. After that, we all began to
eat cakes and drink drinks (I don't know what they were made of, that
is why I say "drinks," anyway they were sweet and nice), and as the
rain had stopped we danced on the green, after we had finished. Now you
know, Mamma, we could never have any fun like this in England. What
Englishman would think of dancing the Lancers on sopping grass, quite
gravely, with a white ribbon round his neck like a pet lamb, and his
trousers wet through at the knees? They would simply laugh in the
middle, and spoil the whole thing. The Vicomte danced with me, of
course, and while we were advancing to our _vis-a-vis_ in the first
figure, he managed to whisper that he adored me, and now that he had
ridden all night, and won the white ribbon for me, I ought to believe
him. I did not answer because there was not time just then, and he
looked so reproachfully at me for the rest of the Lancers.

[Sidenote: _The Whispered Declaration_]

It began to rain again before we finished, and we got into the brake as
quickly as we could. It was a perfect wonder that they were not all
exclaiming at their wet feet, and catching cold; but it seems that
dancing on the green and these sort of _fetes champetres_ are national
sports, and you don't catch cold at them. It is only washing, and
having the windows open, and the house aired, and things like that,
that give cold in France. The Vicomte came back with us, and, as he was
one too many for the brake, we had to sit very close on our seat. He
was between the Baronne and Victorine, who made room for him when he
was just going to sit down by me. She kept giggling all the way home,
and the Vicomte looked so squashed and uncomfortable. I was next,
beyond the Baronne, and as both of them could not keep up their
umbrellas, Victorine was obliged to put down hers, and the drips from
the Baronne's umbrella got on to the roses in Victorine's hat. At last
they ran in a red stream right down her nose, and she did look odd, and
each time she said anything to the Vicomte, he nearly had a fit to
keep from laughing, and when we got back and she found how she was
looking she _was_ cross.

The Vicomte took hold of my hand when he helped me out, it wasn't in
saying good-bye, as of course unmarried people only bow and don't shake
hands. Somehow his spur caught in my dress, and we had to stop a minute
to disentangle it, the others had bolted into the house, as they were
afraid of the rain, so we were alone for an instant. The Vicomte at
once kissed my hand and said, "_Je vous adore._" It was done so quickly
that even Hippolyte, who had come out with an open umbrella to help us,
did not see--at least I hope he didn't. We went in to Tournelle to have
something to drink, while the horses were being rubbed down, as we had
had such a long drive; and it was at the first mirror Victorine
discovered her red striped nose.

While I was sipping my punch, I heard the Baronne telling Heloise that
her nephew, the Marquis, had consented to marry Victorine; and that the
Baron would go over to Croixmare the next day to make the formal
demand for her hand. Then she whispered something, and they looked at
me, and Heloise laughed, while the Baronne said, "Pauvre garcon. C'est
dommage qu'il ne puisse pas combiner le plaisir avec les affaires." And
when we got back to Croixmare, Heloise came to my room and kissed me,
and thanked me; she had heard, she said, from the Baronne, how I had
broken the Marquis's heart, and so got him to consent to take

I am glad, Mamma, that getting married is differently arranged with us.
I should hate to have some one because somebody else that he wanted
would not have him. However, Victorine is as pleased as can be, and has
been smiling to herself all the evening.

Now I must go to bed, so good-bye, dear Mamma, with love from your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_Saturday, September 3rd_.

[Sidenote: _In Due Form_]

Dearest Mamma,--I am sure what I am going to tell you will surprise you
quite as much as it has done me. Victorine is really engaged! The day
after the _Ralli de Papier_ it rained again, and as we were sitting in
the little salon after breakfast the old Baron was announced. He was
dressed in a frock coat and a tall hat, just as if it was Paris and the
height of the season. They made conversation for about ten minutes, and
then he got up and, putting his heels together, he said he had come to
request a private interview with Mme. la Comtesse Douairiere de
Croixmare, and Monsieur le Comte de Croixmare, son fils; upon which
Victorine looked coy, and began scrabbling with her toes on the paquet.
Heloise was not in the room, and Godmamma said to me that it was time
for our walk, as the rain had stopped, and Mdlle. Blanc ("the Tug")
would be waiting. So we bundled out of the room, and Victorine for the
first time became affectionate as we went upstairs.

"Il est venu pour demander ma main, pour son neveu, Monsieur de
Beaupre," she said, putting her arm round my waist; "J'espere que cela
ne vous chagrine pas, cherie?" And when I asked her why in the world it
should grieve _me_ she said that, as every one had noticed how I had
flirted with the Marquis, she supposed his preferring another girl
could not be quite pleasant! I could have screamed with laughter, if I
had not been so angry; I felt dreadfully tempted to tell her of the
Marquis's proposal to me, and why he was marrying her--only that would
have been playing down to her level of meanness. So I said that the
English idea of flirting and the French were different; that the
Marquis seemed to me to be quite an agreeable Frenchman, and no doubt
she would be very happy; and far from it grieving me, I was delighted
to think she would be settled at last, as twenty-two was rather on the
road to fixing St. Catherine's tresses. She dragged her arm away in
such a hurry that she scratched her hand on a pin that Agnes had
stupidly left in my belt. "Voyez! vous avez fait saigner ma main," she
said almost crying with fury. All I said was, "Qui s'y-frotte s'y
pique," and as we had got to the door of my room, I went off in fits of
laughter--she looked so like a cross monkey I could not help it!

[Sidenote: _Girlish Amenities_]

Well, you can think, Mamma, we did not have an agreeable walk. Victorine
talked in her most prudish goody style to "the Remorqueur," and never
addressed me; while poor Mademoiselle Blanc was so nervous trying to speak
to both. As we got to the turn into Vinant, Monsieur Dubois--Victorine's
music-master--came up the street. He is a rather vulgar looking person,
with a black moustache, and lemon yellow gloves, and _horrid_ if you have
to be quite close to him. Just then we stopped to give some sous to a
beggar-woman, so as he passed he said, with a great flourish of the hat:
Was he to come on Saturday as usual for the lesson? Victorine looked down
all the time modestly, and "the Tug" answered: Of course; so he said it
would be a never-to-be-sufficiently-thanked kindness, if Mademoiselle
would take back with her this roll of music he had been on his way to
deliver _chez elle_, as it was much out of his road, and he was pressed
for time at his next lesson. Victorine at once seized it, and he bowed
again and walked on. Mademoiselle Blanc had already a parcel in each hand
she was taking to the embroidery shop.

After that Victorine was _distraite_, and seemed in a great hurry to
get home; she even spoke to me, and while "the Tug" was looking at
wools in the shop she fidgeted so with the music that it came undone. I
offered to carry it, as I had no parcels, but she snatched it up as if
it was gold, and in doing so a bit of paper fell out of it, and as I
picked it up I could not help seeing it began "_Ma cruelle adoree_."
She said, in a great rage, that it was only the words of a song, as she
put it in her pocket; so I don't see why she should have been so
furious with me seeing it, do you, Mamma?--but she had not got over
the pin in my belt, I suppose. Anyway she made us trot home with
seven-leagued boots.

[Sidenote: _The Music-master_]

Godmamma met us in the hall, radiant, and, clasping Victorine to her
breast, said she must announce to her the joyful news that M. le Baron
de Fremond had made the _demande_, on the part of his sister, the
Marquise de Beaupre, for the hand of her peerless Victorine, for her
son and his nephew, the Marquis de Beaupre, and that she--Godmamma--had
consented to relinquish to them this treasure. Jean came out of the
smoking-room just then and they all began kissing--it was awful.

I got upstairs as quickly as I could, and Heloise soon joined me there.
She was enchanted at the idea of really getting rid of Victorine, and
she said Godmamma's rheumatism was growing so bad she would soon have
to spend the summer at German baths, and so they would fortunately at
last have Croixmare to themselves; and she could not thank me enough
for having assisted at this _denoument_.

All the evening Victorine played the tunes the music-master gave her,
and once or twice broke into a song of joy; but when I asked her to try
the one beginning "_Ma cruelle adoree,_" she looked green, and said she
was tired, and would go to bed.

[Sidenote: _A Game of Billiards_]

Then Jean and I had a game of billiards--we often do now after dinner.
The _salle de billard_ opens out of the salon, and there is a glass
like a window over the mantelpiece, so that you can see into the two
rooms from each other. It always reminds me of Alice, in "Through the
Looking Glass"--you expect to find a mirror, and you see into another
room. Godmamma generally accompanies us into the billiard-room, and
sits bolt upright in an armchair watching us, but to-night she was too
excited to pay us so much attention, and stayed talking to Heloise
about the engagement. Jean seemed nervous and sad, and knocked about
the balls aimlessly, not trying a bit. It is only French billiards, but
still one has to play properly, so at last I said that evidently the
good news of Victorine's engagement had so distracted him that he
could not pay attention to the game. He seemed quite startled. "Ma foi!
le jeu!" he said vacantly. I put down my cue and asked him quite gently
what was the matter?

Just then the bangle you gave me last Christmas came undone, so Jean
put his cue down too, and offered to fasten it. It is difficult to do
oneself, so I thanked him and handed him my wrist; his hands trembled
so he could not do it. I thought he was ill, and bent over him to see.
Fortunately at that moment we happened to be at the one part of the
table which can't be seen from the other room; because Jean behaved so
queerly--I feel sure Godmamma would have been horrified. He did not
worry about the bangle, but just began kissing my hand; simply _dozens_
of kisses. I pulled and pulled to try and get it away, but he would not
let go, and kept murmuring that at last, at last, he was alone with me!

Now wasn't it too annoying, Mamma? I could not call out or make a fuss,
because there would have been _such_ a scene, and you would never
think a Frenchman could be so strong. For although I wrenched and
dragged I could not get my hand away, and it was making me crosser and
crosser every minute. At last, when he began to kiss my wrist, it
tickled so I was afraid I should laugh, and then he would think I was
not serious; so I seized my cue with the other hand, and just told Jean
in a firm voice that if he did not let go that instant I would break it
over his head! That stopped him!

He pulled himself together and said "Oh! pardon, pardon," and that he
was awfully sorry, and that it was because I was going away soon and he
was mad. And that is what I believe it was, Mamma--a fit of some kind.
Did you ever hear there was anything odd in the Croixmare family?
Anyway it shows foreigners are not to be trusted, for, even if they
haven't pistols ready to shoot you, they are doing something queer like

[Sidenote: _Indigestion!_]

Presently he took up his cue and began playing again, and Heloise came
in from the salon. She noticed he looked different and said at once,
"Qu'avez-vous, mon ami?" "Une mauvaise digestion," replied Jean, and he
went and drank _sirop_ at the side-table. I think I should perhaps tell
Heloise what it really was, and warn her to keep an eye on him, but
then it might worry her, and he may not have another attack for a long
time. No one would suspect him of being cracked, he looks as quiet and
respectable as the pony that mows the lawn. The post is starting, and I
must go to breakfast, so now good-bye, with love from your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--The day after to-morrow there is to be a dinner-party here for
the _fiances_ to meet. All the Tournelle party, and his mother and a
couple of cousins will be here, besides the Vicomte and "Antoine," and
the Marquise, who are staying at Tournelle.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_Tuesday, September 6th._

[Sidenote: _Victorine's Indisposition_]

Dearest Mamma,--The dinner for the _fiances_ came off last night. It
was the first time we have had real evening dresses on since I have
been here. I wore the pink silk, and Heloise was delighted with it, she
says you could not possibly improve upon the style you dress me in--it
is ideal for a young girl.

The day after Jean behaved so queerly, he was not at breakfast; he went
to Paris and I did not see him until the evening, when he was as stolid
and quiet as usual, so it must have been a fit, and perhaps he went up
to Paris to see his doctor.

Victorine had her music lesson, and I don't know what could have upset
her; but "the Tug," who always sits in the room with her, came flying
out, saying Victorine was faint and she must get her a glass of water;
so I ran into the _salle d'etude_ to see if I could help her. There she
was flopping on the music-stool, with Monsieur Dubois kneeling by her,
looking cross and reproachful, and just like the villain in the
pantomimes. I heard her say, "Cela doit etre completement oublie entre
nous a present que je vais etre Marquise." I don't know what it was
about, but if she was telling him she would not be friendly with him
any more, I do call it snobbish, don't you, Mamma? just because she is
going to be a _Marquise_. It isn't as if he was an English Marquis
even, like Lord Valmond, that would be of some importance--but a
trumpery French title, without any land or money, it is ridiculous. Of
course, here no one has his own land really since the Revolution, I
mean like "Tournelle," they only call the new house that; I believe the
real "Tournelle" is down in Touraine somewhere and belongs to some one
else now. This _is_ Chateau de Croixmare, but then Jean's
great-grandfather bought it back again.

Now I have wandered from what I was telling you--oh! yes, about
Victorine and M. Dubois. He got up from his knees when he saw me, and
began fanning her, while she flopped more than ever, but I don't think
she felt very faint, her face was so red. And when "the Tug" returned
with the water I came away, as they both looked as if they wanted to
murder me. The excitement had made Monsieur Dubois' collar quite give
way, and he looked a dirtier and more pitiable object than usual.

[Sidenote: _The "Diner des Fiancailles"_]

Such an affair the "_Diner des fiancailles!_" Victorine wore a pink
dress too, with horrid bunches of daisies on her shoulders and in her
hair; and, as that is dark and greasy, and dragged off her face, and
done in the tightest twist at the top, it does not look a suitable
place for daisies to be sprouting from. I hate things in the hair
anyway, don't you, Mamma? However she was delighted with herself, so it
was all right.

We waited in the big salon, standing behind Godmamma to receive the
company. First arrived the old Baron and the Baronne, and the Marquis
and his mother. The Marquis kissed Victorine's hand as well as
Godmamma's and Heloise's, and you should have seen her bridling! When
he got to me he made the stiffest bow; and just then the Comte and
Comtesse de Tournelle, the Marquise de Vermandoise, and the Vicomte
were announced, and immediately following, "Antoine" and two cousins of
Godmamma's. To finish the party there were a batch of the Marquis's
relations, who had come specially from Paris. We were spared Yolande
and Marie, who usually sit up to dinner with their German _bonne_, and
eat everything that they shouldn't, and then scream in the night.

There was a buzz of conversation, and the Vicomte talked to me, but I
could not help hearing what the Marquis said to Victorine--

"Vous aimez la bicyclette, mademoiselle?"

"Oui, monsieur."

"Moi j'aime mieux l'automobile."

"Mais il y a toujours de la poussiere!"

And they are going to be married in a month!

The Vicomte kept bending over me and looking silly, and the Marquis
fidgeted so that he could not go on talking to Victorine--one eye was
always fixed on us. That seemed to please the Vicomte, for he got more
and more _empresse_, and I could not help laughing in return. At dinner
he took in Mme. de Vermandoise, but sat next me, and on my other hand
was one of the cousins, a harmless idiot too timid to speak much, and
with all kinds of horrid baby fluffs growing on his face. If men are to
wear beards (which I should forbid if I were the Queen) they ought to
be shut up till they are really grown.

[Sidenote: _A Contretemps_]

Opposite to us were Victorine and the Marquis, and Godmamma and the
Baron, and Jean and the Marquis's mother. They did look a dull lot, and
the Marquis's mother eats worst of all! We had the greatest fun at our
side, Mme. de Vermandoise was delicious with gaiety, the Comte was on
her other hand, and we four never stopped joking and laughing the whole
of dinner. It was such a big party, so the conversation could not be
quite as general as usual.

The Marquis got gloomier and gloomier as time went on. I could not look
up that I did not find his angry eyes fixed on me. Even Victorine's
aggressive joy at having caught him was damped when she could not get
him to pay attention to what she was saying. At last when he was
straining his ears to try and hear my conversation with the Vicomte,
she got absolutely exasperated with him, and addressed a question to
him in a loud, sharp voice. It made him jump so that he bounced round
in his seat; and as she had lowered her head to put the piece of
_becassine_--which had been poised on her fork while she spoke--into
her mouth, his jumping round, and her raising her head suddenly, made
her daisies catch on his beard; and you never saw such a funny sight,
Mamma! It was a nasty little wired dewdrop that got fixed in poor
Monsieur de Beaupre's fur, and there they were: she still grasping her
fork and he looking ready to eat her with annoyance. Their two heads
were fastened together, and there they would have remained, only
Hippolyte (who always goes everywhere with the Baronne) came to the
rescue, and untangled them. But it hurt the Marquis very much, as some
of the hairs had to be pulled out, and it did not mend matters
Hippolyte muttering, "Cela doit etre que Monsieur le Marquis doit faire
plus attention a l'affaire qu'il a en main, s'il desire garder ses
cheveux intacts."

[Sidenote: _The Vicomte's Proposal_]

The affair made quite a commotion at the table, and Victorine so nearly
cried with rage that the Marquis's mother had to give her smelling
salts. Mme. de Vermandoise was overcome with laughter, and her tongue
was hardly ever out of her gap, while the Marquis sat, white with fury.

When we left the table, arm-in-arm, things cleared up, and, while we
were alone when the men went back to smoke, Victorine was made to "play
something," and she really plays very well. It was so stiflingly hot
that at last some one--the Comtesse, I believe--asked to have the
windows opened on to the terrace. There was a fair-sized moon, and we
all went out there, even Godmamma for a few moments. The men came out
of the smoking-room windows and joined us, and for the first time since
I have been in France we talked to the persons we wanted to, without
either shouting across some one else or making a general conversation.

"Antoine" and Heloise leant over the balustrade; the Comte and the
Marquise stayed by the window, while the Vicomte whispered to me by the
steps; and Victorine and her Marquis stood like two wax figures, not
saying a word, by the orange trees. I don't know whether it was owing
to the moon or not, but the Vicomte did say such a lot of charming
things to me. He said he loved me, and would I marry him; he would
arrange it all, as fortunately he has no parents to consult.

I seem to be getting quite used to proposals now, because it did not
excite me in the least. But I don't think I want to marry any one yet,
Mamma; so I told him you would never let me marry a Frenchman, and he
had better forget all about me. He said as much about love as he could
in the ten minutes we were left talking together, and put it so
nicely--not a bit that violent want-to-eat-one-up-way the Marquis has.
I felt once or twice quite inclined to say yes, if only it had been an
affair of a week; but unfortunately, even in France, you have to stay
on with people longer than that, and that is the part I could not have

I made him understand at last that I really meant not to have him, and
he was very miserable. But you can't tear your hair or cry, with every
one looking on, and, as it all had to be done in a voice as if one was
talking about the weather, he did not show much. Only he looked very
white when we came into the lights again, but he whispered as he said
good-night that he did not despair; he would always love me, and when I
married some one else his day would come, which I did not think kind of
him, as I don't want to be a widow.

The Marquis had not a chance to say a word to me; he tried often, but I
avoided him, he looked so out of temper. I am sure it would have been
something disagreeable. He and the Vicomte nearly came to blows going
out of the door, just over a silly thing like the Vicomte's sword
knocking against the Marquis's boot. I hope they won't really fight.
When they had all gone, and we were going up to bed, I thought Jean
looked as if his fit was coming on again, so I bolted into my room;
and on the whole I am rather glad to be coming back to England on

To-day we go over to Tournelle, a visit of ceremony for me to say
good-bye, and they are all dear people there, and I shall always hope
to see them again.--Now good-bye, dear Mamma, with love from your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I wish his hair wasn't cut _en brosse_. But of course one
couldn't marry a Frenchman anyway.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_Wednesday, September 7th._

[Sidenote: _Hippolyte's Testimonial_]

Dearest Mamma,--It was really quite sad saying good-bye to all the
people at Tournelle. The Baronne almost wept over me, and said that
they would be dreadfully dull without me. They all kissed me on both
cheeks, and even Hippolyte as he put us into the carriage after I
tipped him, remarked, "Mieux vaut epouser un francais et rester
toujours chez nous, vous etes trop belle demoiselle pour le brouillard

I wonder after all if the Marquis will ever marry Victorine, as it
seems, when he got back last night, he was in such a temper that he
made a scene with the Baronne and his mother. He said that Victorine
made him look ridiculous, that she was unappetising, without wit, and
ugly enough to have tranquillised St. Anthony at his worst moment of
temptation--whatever that means. (I overheard the Baronne tell all this
to Heloise while the old Baron was making me compliments in his fearful
English.) The Marquis stamped his foot, and finally, bursting into
tears, announced that he would go to Paris, back to Adele--whoever she
is--and find consolation! So off he started this morning the first
thing. What a man, Mamma! crying like a child!

His mother and the Baronne are very anxious about him, as if he really
decides to "_jeter le manche apres la cognee_," who is to pay his
debts! The Baronne also said, that if "Elisabet" (that's me) had only
been married, it would have been all a simple matter; because then
there would be no cause for him to despair, and he would not have
occupied himself about an ordinary subject, like who they married him
to in the meantime. But, as it is, the contrast between us--Victorine
and me--whom he cannot obtain--is too great, and the sooner I am out of
his sight the better! It does sound all Greek, doesn't it to you,
Mamma? I repeat it just as the Baronne said it.

[Sidenote: _Etiquette for the Fiances_]

We went into the garden presently, and the Marquise and the Comte and I
walked together; she had not got over the affair at dinner, and did
nothing but laugh and joke about it. She said that Victorine at all
events will give the Marquis no anxieties in the future, but she is
sure he will have to "_se griser_" to get through the wedding.
Fortunately Victorine was not with us, as Godmamma was too tired to
accompany her; it would not have been proper for her to come with only
her brother and sister-in-law, as her _fiance_, being supposed
to be at Tournelle, she might have had private conversation with him
not under Godmamma's eye!

Oh! mustn't it be awful to be French! Heloise says it isn't so bad as
this in the smart set in Paris; they speak to one another there quite a
lot before getting married, and do almost English things, but Godmamma
is of the old school.

Before we left, the Marquis turned up, he looked thoroughly worn out
and as _piano_ as a beaten dog. He was awfully polite to Jean and
Heloise, and hardly looked at me, but as I did not want to leave with
him still feeling cross with me, I got the chance at last to tell him I
hoped he would be happy, and to congratulate him. He bowed deeply and
thanked me, and then under his breath, as he stooped to pick up a
flower I had dropped, he said, "Vous avez brise mon coeur, et cela
m'est egal ce qui arrive,"--but I don't believe it, Mamma, he has not
got a heart to break, he is only a silly doll and worthy of Victorine.

I saw the Baronne talking to him seriously while we were having "five
o'clock;" and just as we were starting, she came up and said low to
Heloise, who was beside me, "J'espere que tout va bien, Adele l'a
remplace, et ne veut plus de lui! Oh! la bonne fille!" So whoever
"Adele" is, I suppose she has done Victorine a good turn. I asked
Heloise on our way home if "Adele" was a relation of the Marquis's, and
she went into fits of laughter and said, "Oui, une tres proche," but I
can't see anything to laugh at, can you, Mamma?

[Sidenote: _A Country Dinner Party_]

In the evening there was a _ghastly_ dinner party at Croixmare. Three
sets of provincial families. They are really awful these
entertainments, and so different to English ones! Nobody bothers about
even numbers. You feel obliged to ask the X's, the Y's, and the Z's
from duty, and so you do. It doesn't in the least matter if they are
mostly females; you have to ask the family, because if the daughters
are grown up they can't be left at home alone--they would be getting
into mischief. This is the kind of assortment that arrives: Papa X,
Mamma X, and two girl X'es; Papa Y, Mamma Y, and Master and Miss Y;
Papa Z, Mamma Z, Aunt Z, and Mdlle. Z--such a party!

Godmamma just revels in these frumps; they make Heloise furious, and
the airs of Victorine, her coyness and giggling, nearly drove me wild.
I sat next to Monsieur Y, and although he is a Baron of very old family
he ate like a _pig_. The food was extraordinarily good, but the proof
of good service here is to get the whole dinner--of I don't know how
many courses--over under the hour. So one has no sooner swallowed a
mouthful, when one's plate is snatched away, and one begins to devour
something else. But with this awful man gobbling at my side, and those
foolish girls giggling beyond, even the forty minutes seemed ages.

Afterwards in the salon the "_jeunes filles_" were sent to talk at the
other side of the room, supervised by "the Tug," who did not dine, but
was in waiting. If you had heard their conversation, Mamma! It was
worse than the day the two came to breakfast. Just one endless string
of questions to Victorine about the Marquis, with giggles over
possibilities of their own _fiancailles!_ It is so extraordinary that
they can ever turn into witty, fascinating women like Heloise and the
Marquise. Of course, these are just provincial nobodies, whom Heloise
would not dream of knowing in Paris; perhaps the girls there are

[Sidenote: _A Cure for a Fit_]

Victorine told them the Marquis was "Beau comme l'Archange Michel," and
had for her "une brulante devotion!" What will she say if after all he
refuses to come to the scratch! Jean is to accompany Agnes and me up to
Paris to-morrow to see us safely off to Dieppe. I hope he won't have
another fit in the train, I shall tell Agnes to take plenty of salts
and brandy in her bag, and a bottle of soda water, because I have
always heard that a sudden shock is best for people in fits, and one
could pop the soda water over him if the worst came to the worst.--Now,
good-night, dear Mamma, your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--An awful wind is blowing. I hope I shan't be drowned crossing
the Channel.--E.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_Thursday night_.

[Sidenote: _The Emotion of the Marquis_]

Dearest Mamma,--I hope you got the telegram all right to-day saying I
would not leave. The storm became really so fearful they would not hear
of my starting, and as it has turned out I am very glad, for to-night
we dined at Tournelle to celebrate the Baronne's birthday, and we had
such an amusing time. All the usual lot were there, as well as those
two officers who came to the _Foire_ with us, and about three or four
more people from Paris, so we were quite a large party. Everybody gave
the Baronne a present, and _such_ baskets of flowers as she had in the
salon! "Assez pour tourner la tete," as Hippolyte said.

The Baronne was dressed in pale mauve and looked lovely, only such a
funny thing happened at dinner. The Vicomte, who sat next to her, made
her laugh dreadfully, just as she was eating her soup, and she choked,
and suddenly one cheek quite fell in, while the other stuck out as if a
potato was in it. One could not _think_ what had happened; but it
appears that she wears "plumpers," of a kind of red guttapercha, to
keep her face nice and round, and in choking the right cheek's one got
jerked across into the left cheek, and that is how she got the
toothachy look. Mustn't it be a bother, Mamma, to have to do all that?
but the Baronne is such a dear that one did not even laugh.

The Marquis had to sit by Victorine, and I saw him looking at the pink
rosebuds in her hair with a cautious eye; and he sat up as straight as
anything in case she should get caught in him again.

But it is all right, he means to go through with it--the Baronne told
Heloise directly we got there. So I thought, as it was finally settled,
there would be no harm in talking to him a little. He looked at me at
dinner, I smiled, and it was so quaint, Mamma, his whole face seemed to
flush until his forehead was even pink, with the veins showing at the
side. He lifted his champagne glass and kissed the edge of it, and
bowed to me, and no one saw but the Comte, and he went into a chuckle
of laughter, as he whispered to me that if Victorine had seen she would
certainly tear my eyes out on the way home.

[Sidenote: _Elizabeth Sandwiched_]

Afterwards, in the salon, the Vicomte managed to stand behind me while
I was talking to the old Baron, and he said in a low voice: Why had I
come back? He was at peace waiting till his day came, and here I had
upset everything, and he should have to go through endless more
restless nights! I said that I was sorry the storm had prevented my
starting, especially as I was unwelcome. So he threw prudence to the
winds, and said out loud before the Baron that I knew it was not that,
and he looked so devoted and distressed that the dear old Baron patted
him on the back, and turning away said, "Mon brave Gaston, moi aussi
j'etais jeune une fois." And he left us alone by the window, while he
stood a sort of sentry in front.

The Vicomte did whisper a lot of things; he said just for one evening I
might make him happy and pretend I loved him, and let him call me
"_cherie_." So I said "all right;" I did not think it _could_ matter,
as I am coming home to-morrow, Mamma, and shall probably never see him
again, and you said one ought always to be kind-hearted and do little
things for people. When I said "all right," his forehead got pink, and
the veins showed just like the Marquis's had done at dinner, and he
said, "_Cherie--ma cherie, ma bien-aimee_" in such a voice! It made me
feel quite as if I wanted to listen to some more, only, unfortunately
at that moment, Godmamma came up; she brushed the Baron aside, and said
I should certainly catch cold by the window, and must come with her,
while she annihilated the Vicomte with a look.

There I was, taken off to a sofa at the other side of the room, and
stuffed down between Godmamma and the Marquis's mother. You can think I
was cross. However, I paid her out, for I just looked at the Marquis,
who was seated by his Victorine almost silent and like a dummy (they
are allowed to talk together now, as long as they are not alone in the
room). It made him fidget so, he could not attend to what she was
saying. And when finally he got up and came over to us and said, had I
seen the new "Nattier" the Comte had just bought, which was in the
other salon, and would I come and look at it?--I think Godmamma wished
she had left me safe with the Vicomte. She could not say anything, as
half the party had already gone to look at the picture, so I got up at
once and went with him. His mother is years older than the Baronne, and
not a bit gay like her. I saw them--her and Godmamma--nodding their
heads anxiously as we left; no doubt they were deploring the bad
bringing-up of the English.

[Sidenote: _The Fiances Together_]

The Marquis said it was awful what he was going through; and when the
dancing began presently would I give him the first valse? I said
Certainly, and by that time we were in the other salon, and beside the
Marquise. She smiled her dear little smile, which always seems to mock
at everything, and put her tongue into her gap and whispered: "Quelle
comedie! c'est bien petite espiegle, amusez-vous!" _And so I did!_ I
can't tell you what fun it was, Mamma. I was in wild spirits, and the
Marquis answered back, and we were as gay as larks, until I overheard
the Marquis's mother, who had followed us, say to him, in an acid
voice, that he seemed to have forgotten that it was arranged for him to
give Victorine the engagement ring that evening and say a few
appropriate words to her, and he must take her to see the flowers in
the conservatory, and get it over there. So off he had to go, looking
black and peevish, and supervised by the two mothers--who stood at the
risk of catching their deaths of cold by the door--he and Victorine
went arm-in-arm into the conservatory, and disappeared behind some pots
of palms.

It appears Mme. de Vermandoise and the Comte were in there too, and saw
what happened, and she told Heloise and me afterwards. The _fiances_
came and stood quite close to them, with only a bank of flowers
between; and they said the palms were pretty and were growing very
tall, and the Marquis coughed, and Victorine began scrabbling with her
toes on the marble floor in that irritating way she has, and they
neither of them spoke. At last the Marquis dashed at it, and said, as
she already knew, their parents had arranged they should marry, and he
hoped he would make her happy. At that moment the piano struck up very
loud in the salon, and prevented Victorine from quite catching what he
said; he got very red and repeated it again, but he mumbled so she
still was not sure, and had to say "_Pardon?_" for the second time.
That upset the Marquis to such a point that he said "Damn," which is
the only English word he knows, and when Victorine looked horribly
surprised, he dived into his waistcoat pocket and fished out the ring.
Then he took her hand, pulled off her glove backwards, and pushed it on
to the first finger he came to, which happened to be the middle one! He
just said he hoped she would wear it for his sake; and when she
exclaimed, "Mais, monsieur! ce n'est pas sur ce doigt que vous devez
mettre la bague!" he hardly waited to apologise or put it right before
he dragged her back to the salon and deposited her with the anxious

[Sidenote: _The Baronne's Diplomacy_]

Mme. de Vermandoise said she and the Comte nearly had a fit to keep
themselves from laughing out loud. Wasn't it too comic, Mamma? How I
should hate to be betrothed like that! However, Victorine seems to
think half a loaf is better than no bread, for she kept her glove off
all the rest of the evening, and looked at her ring with conscious
pride. It is a very nice one, a ruby and a pearl heart connected by a
diamond Marquis's coronet. They ought to have added a money-bag
representing the dot, and then the symbol would have been complete.

We had begun to dance when they got back, and, as the Marquis had not
been there to claim me, I was valsing with Jean. The Baronne kept the
Vicomte close to her side all the rest of the evening--she told me, as
she kissed me in saying good-bye, that she had done it for peace sake,
as she knew he and the Marquis would have had a quarrel otherwise, they
were both so madly in love with me. "Petite embrouillante d'heureuses
familles va!" she said--"Mais je t'aime bien quand meme!"--She is a
darling, the Baronne! The Marquis stood there glowering, and never
offered to dance with Victorine; she must have been cross!

We had another farewell all round when the valse was over--Godmamma
would not stay for another, and even "Antoine" seemed sorry to say
"_Adieu._" "Depechez-vous de vous marier," he said, "et ensuite revenez
aupres de nous. J'ai envie de vous faire la cour, mais vous etes
beaucoup trop dangereuse pour le moment."

"Ca, c'est vrai!" said the Comte and Jean together, and every one

Now that the betrothal ring is really on Victorine's finger, and
Heloise knows she will be got off, she does not mind a bit about the
Marquis looking at me. She kept laughing to herself over it all the way
home; she really detests Victorine. Godmamma and the bride-elect hardly
spoke a word, and I am sure if a perfect hurricane blows to-morrow,
they won't suggest my waiting another day, so I shall be glad to be

Good-night, dear Mamma; you will see me almost as soon as you get this,
as I shall only sleep the night in London at Aunt Mary's.--With love
from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.



_September 20th_.

[Sidenote: _Lady Theodosia's Pets_]

Dearest Mamma,--You might have prepared me for what Lady Theodosia
looks like, because when I arrived yesterday and was shown into her
boudoir, and found her lying on the sofa, covered with dogs and cats, I
as nearly as possible laughed out loud, and it would have been so rude.
She had evidently been asleep, and it looked like a mountain having an
earthquake when she got up, and animals rolled off her in all
directions. A poodle, two fox terriers, a toy Spitz, and a cat and
kitten, had all been sleeping in the nooks her outline makes. They all
barked in different keys, and between saying, "Down, Hector!" "Quiet,
Fluff!" "Hush, hush, Fanny!" "Did um know it was a stranger?" etc.,
etc., she got in that she was glad to see me, and hoped you were
better. When she stands up she is _colossal_! Her body dressed in the
last fashion, and then the queerest face with no neck, and
lemon-coloured hair parted down the middle, and not matching a bit with
the chignon of thick plaits at the back. It looks as if it were
strapped on with a black velvet band that comes across her forehead,
like in the pictures on the nursery screen at home that the Great-aunts
made when they were children. She seems as kind as possible, and has
the fattest wheezy voice.

[Sidenote: _"Clever Darlings"_]

Her room is appalling; it is full of Early Victorian furniture, and
horrid alabaster statuette things, under glass cases, and then a few
modern armchairs covered in gorgeous brocade, but it is all clawed by
the cats, and soiled by the dogs' muddy feet, and you are unable to
make up your mind where it will be safe to sit. When tea came in, which
it did immediately, you can't think what it was like! A St. Bernard and
another poodle joined the party, and while we were trying to get
something to eat and drink, they all begged or barked or pushed their
noses under the muffin dish lid, or took cakes from the side table; and
Lady Theodosia kept saying, "Clever darlings; see, they know where
their favourite bits are." It is impossible to have a connected
conversation with her, because between every few words she puts in
ejaculations about the dogs. I was obliged to simply bolt my crumpet
like a Frenchman, to keep it from being snatched from me. Just as we
were finishing tea, Mr. Doran and three men came in. He is a
teeny-weeny man with a big head and rather weak eyes, and he and she do
look odd together. What could it have been like when they trotted down
the aisle after getting married!

It is a mercy Lady Theodosia is only your second cousin, and that her
shape has not descended to our branch of the family. All the
"children"--as she calls the animals--barked again when the men came
in. There was only a _miserable_ tea left, and, when Mr. Doran ventured
to say the dogs had made things rather messy, Lady Theodosia
annihilated him. It was as if he had insulted her nearest and dearest!
But one of the men got quietly to the bell, and when the footmen came
they grasped the situation and brought some clean things, so tea
finished better than it had begun. Just before they went to dress Lady
Theodosia remembered to introduce them. The only young one is Mr.
Roper, the great shot, and the other two are Sir Augustus Grant and
Captain Fieldin; they are oldish.

When they had gone, Lady Theodosia said to me that men were a great
nuisance as a rule, but that she had a pet friend, a "dear docile
creature, so useful with the dogs," and he was coming back by the 6.30
train. You would have laughed, if you could have seen him when he did
arrive! A fair humble thing, with a squeaky voice and obsequious
manners. He had been up to town to get the dogs new muzzles, as the
muzzling order has just been put in force in this county. It appears
Lady Theodosia has him always here, and he attends to the dogs for a
home, but I would rather be a stable--boy, wouldn't you, Mamma? His
name is Frederick Harrington, and Lady Theodosia calls him "Frederick"
when she is pleased, and "Harrington" if anything puts her out. And as
she says it, "Harrington" sounds the fattest word you ever heard. I was
glad to get to my room!

Most of the house that I have yet seen, which was not refurnished when
she married in 1870, is really fine, with beautiful old furniture and
china; only everything within reach is scratched and spoilt by the
"children." It must make the family portraits turn in their frames to
see Fluff eating one of their tapestry footstools, or the cats clawing
the Venetian velvet chairs.

[Sidenote: _Feeding the Aborigines_]

There was a dinner party in the evening. As we went upstairs to dress,
Lady Theodosia told me about it. She said she was obliged to entertain
all the Aborigines twice a year, and that most people gave them garden
parties; but she found that too fatiguing, so she had two dinners in
the shooting season, and two at Easter, to which she asked every one.
She just puts all their names in a bag, and counts out twelve couples
for each party, and then she makes up the number to thirty-six with
odd creatures, daughters and old maids, and sons and curates, &c., and
she finds it a capital plan. She said, "I give 'em plenty to eat and
drink, and they draw for partners, and all go home as happy as possible
feeling there has been no favouritism!"

She explained that the lawyers and doctors enjoyed having their food
with the earls and baronets much more than just prancing about lawns.
And when I asked her how the earls and baronets liked it, she said
there were only three or four, and they had to put up with it or stay
at home; she had done it now for thirty years, and they were accustomed
to it; besides, she had the best _chef_ in England, and anyway it was a
nice change for people not knowing who they were going to be put next
to. It took her such a long time to tell me all this, and to see me to
my room, that I was almost late, and she did not get into the state
drawing-room until all the guests had arrived.

You never saw anything so funny as it was, Mamma. Mr. Doran was trying
to be polite to the odd collection, evidently not quite knowing which
was which. Old Lord and Lady Devnant were glaring at the rest of the
company from the hearth-rug, with a look of "You invade this mat at
your peril!" Sir Christopher Harford paying extravagant compliments to
the parson's wife (I knew which they were because I heard them
announced), and the "Squire" and Mrs. de Lacy--who came over with the
Conqueror--standing apart with their skinny daughters, all holding
their noses in the air. Everybody seemed to be in their best clothes,
and most of the women had flowers and tulle or little black feathers
sticking up in their hair, and bare red arms, and skirts inches off the
ground in front; you know the look. But everything seemed to be going
beautifully after Lady Theodosia rolled in (she does not walk, like
ordinary people)!

[Sidenote: _Drawing for Partners_]

Mr. Doran did the handing round of the drawing-papers, and they were
"Marshall and Snelgrove," and "Lewis and Allenby," and "Debenham and
Freebody," &c., and if you drew "Lewis" you went in with whoever drew
"Allenby," and so on; it was a capital plan, only for one incident. I
was near Lady Theodosia when Mr. Harrington rushed from the other end
of the room, and whispered to her in an agitated voice that the
"Dickens" of Lady Devnant's "Jones" was Dr. Pluffield. She was not on
speaking terms with him, having quarrelled with him for sending her
teething powders by mistake, when it ought to have been something for
her nerves. All Lady Theodosia said was--

"Harrington, you're a fool. What are their little differences to me? I
give 'em the best dinner in England, and they must settle the rest

So poor Mr. Harrington had to go back and smooth down Lady Devnant as
best he could; and presently we all started for the banqueting-hall.
There were several really decent county people there, of course, but
they all looked much the same as the others, except that they had
diamonds on. Old Admiral Brudnell, who has a crimson face, was taking
in the younger Miss de Lacy, and just in front of him were Dr.
Pluffield and Lady Devnant, whom the Admiral hates. I heard him say,
getting purple like a gobbler, "Come on, come on, I don't mean to let
that old catamaran get in front of me!" And he dragged Miss de Lacy
through the doorway, bumping the others to get past; and she told me
afterwards her funny-bone had got such a knock that she could hardly
hold her soup spoon!

[Sidenote: _Marshall and Snelgrove_]

It was quainter even than the frumps' dinner that Godmamma gave. I had
a very nervous young man with red hair and glasses to take me in; I
drew "Snelgrove," so he was "Marshall." He evidently had not understood
a bit about the drawing, and kept calling me "Miss Snelgrove," until I
was obliged to say to him, "But my name is not Snelgrove any more than
yours is Marshall."

"But my name _is_ Marshall," he said, "and I was told to find a lady of
the name of 'Snelgrove,' and I wondered at the strange coincidence."

He looked so dreadfully distressed that I had to explain to him; and he
got so nervous at his mistake that he hardly spoke for the rest of

The dishes were exquisite, and Lady Theodosia enjoyed them all, in
spite of "Fanny" (that is the Spitz) constantly falling off her lap,
and having to be fished for by her own footman, who always stands
behind her chair, ready for these emergencies. I call it very plucky of
the dog to go on trying; for what lap Lady Theodosia has is so steep it
must be like trying to sleep on the dome of St. Paul's. Mr. Roper sat
at my other side, and after a while he talked to me; he said he came
every year to shoot partridges, and it was always the same. On the
night he arrived there was always this dinner party, and some years the
most absurd things had happened, but Lady Theodosia did not care a
button. He thought there were a good many advantages in being a Duke's
daughter; they don't dare to offend her, he said, although they are
ready to tear one another's eyes out when they are put with the wrong
people. Lady Theodosia puffed a good deal as dinner went on, I could
hear her from where I sat. She is in slight mourning, so below her
diamond necklace--which is magnificent, but has not been cleaned for
years--she had a set of five lockets, on a chain all made of bog oak,
and afterwards I found each locket had a portrait of some pet animal
who is dead in it, and a piece of its hair. You would never guess that
she is Lady Cecilia's sister, except for the bulgy eyes. Towards the
end of dinner Mr. Doran got so gay, he talked and laughed so you would
not have recognised him, as ordinarily he is a timid little thing.

[Sidenote: _After Dinner_]

When we returned to the great drawing-room, it was really comic. Lady
Theodosia did not make any pretence of talking to the people. Her whole
attention was with the "children," who had just been let loose from her
boudoir, where her maid had been keeping them company while we dined.
They were as jealous as possible of Fanny, who never leaves any part of
Lady Theodosia she can stick on to. She is so small that she gets lots
of nice rides asleep on the folds of her velvet train. Most of the
company were terrified at this avalanche of dogs, and kept saying, when
they came and sniffed and barked at them, "poor doggie," "nice doggie,"
"good doggie," etc., in different keys of nervousness. I felt glad
Agnes had insisted that I should not put on one of my best dresses. She
highly disapproves of this place. As well spend the time in the Jardin
des Plantes with the cage doors undone, she says!

Now and then, when Lady Theodosia could bring herself to remember she
had a party, she would make a dash at some one, and as likely as not
call them by a wrong name. Lady Devnant and Mrs. de Lacy and the few
more county people made a little ring with her by themselves, and
gradually the doctors', and parsons', and lawyers' families got
together, and so things settled down, and we were getting on quite
nicely when the men came in. It did all seem queer after the extreme
ceremony and politeness in France. When she had fed them, Lady
Theodosia seemed to think her duty to her guests had ended.

Mr. Doran was still as gay as possible, and insisted upon Mrs.
Pluffield singing; it was a love-and-tombstone kind of song, and
sounded so silly and old-fashioned. And after that lots of people had
to sing, and I felt so sorry for them; but soon their carriages came,
and they were able to go home; if I were they nothing would induce me
to come again.

I got up early to write this as the post goes at an unearthly hour, so
now I must go down to breakfast.--Good-bye, dear Mamma, your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


_September 22nd_.

[Sidenote: _Settling Down_]

Dearest Mamma,--I was surprised yesterday when I got down to breakfast
to find Lady Theodosia already there. She is awfully active, and puffs
about everywhere like a steam-engine. She will pour out the tea and
coffee herself, and there is just the one long table, not a lot of
little ones like at Nazeby; but our party is quite small, the four
other guns were to come from the neighbourhood. Lady Theodosia asks you
if you take sugar and cream, and then perhaps a dog takes off her
attention, and as likely as not, when she remembers the pouring out,
you get just what you have said you don't take. I wonder she does not
leave it to the servants.

Mr. Doran was as quiet as a mouse, and said he had a bad headache. The
three other men had enormous breakfasts, and did not speak much, except
that Captain Fieldin asked if we were not coming out to lunch; and Lady
Theodosia said of course we were--she intended to drive me in her pony
carriage. When they had all started, she took me back to the boudoir,
as it was a Wednesday, and the state apartments were on show, and she
hates meeting the tourists from Bradford. I think it must be dreadful
having to let everybody look through your home, just because you have
fine pictures, and it is historical, and a prince got murdered there a
hundred years ago. Mr. Doran inherited it through his mother, I think
you said, as there are no Lord Retbys left.

[Sidenote: _A Show Place_]

I went to get the photograph of you I always have on my dressing-table,
to show it to Lady Theodosia, and I met quite a troop of tourists on
the stairs, and all the place railed off with fat red cords, and
everything being explained to them by a guide who has the appearance of
a very haughty butler, and lives here just to do this, and look after
the things. The tourists stared at me because I was inside the rope,
just as if I had been a Royalty, and whispered and nudged one another,
and one said, "Is that Lady Theodosia?" and I felt inclined to call out
"No, not by twelve stone." It was funny seeing them. The housekeeper
hates it; she says it takes six housemaids the rest of the day removing
their traces, and getting rid of the smell. And as for the Bank Holiday
ones, they have no respect for the house at all. Lady Theodosia told me
the housekeeper came to her nearly weeping after the last one. "Oh, my
lady," she said, "they treats us as if we was _ruins_."

Mr. Harrington had not been allowed to shoot, because the St. Bernard
and Fluff hated their muzzles so, when they were tried on, that he had
to go in to the local harness-maker and have them altered under his own
eye. He got back just as we were starting for lunch, and Lady Theodosia
made him come with us, and sent the groom on with the lunch carts. She
drives one of those old-fashioned, very low pony-shays, with a seat up
behind for the groom, and two such ducks of ponies. There hardly seemed
room for me beside her, and the springs seemed dreadfully down on her
side. She generally sits in the middle when alone, Mr. Harrington told
me afterwards. She noticed about the springs herself, and said,
"Frederick, you must lean all your weight on the other side." We must
have looked odd going along; I squashed in beside her with a poodle and
Fanny at my feet, and poor Mr. Harrington clinging to one side like
grim death, so as to try and get the balance more level. It seemed
quite a long drive, and lunch was laid out on a trestle table in a
farmhouse garden, and was a splendid repast, with hot _entrees_, and
Lady Theodosia had some of them all.

[Sidenote: _Mr. Doran's Philanthropy_]

It appears Captain Fieldin and Sir Augustus Grant are constantly
staying here; they help to ride Mr. Doran's horses and shoot his birds.
They are all old friends, and rather hard up, so Mr. Doran just keeps
them. He--Mr. Doran--seems different after meals; from being as quiet
as a lamb, he gets quite coarse and blunt. The rest of the party were
just the kind of neighbours that always come to shoot. Mr. Roper told
me they never have smart parties, with only the best shots, and heaps
of beautiful ladies. Mr. Doran asks just any one he likes, or he
happens to meet, and the shooting is some of the best in England, and
awfully well preserved.

Lady Theodosia had a very short tweed skirt on, a black velvet jacket
with bugles, and a boat-shaped hat and cocks' feathers; but she always
wears the black velvet band round her forehead. Her ankles seemed to
be falling over the tops of her boots, and as she only walked from the
carriage to the lunch table, I don't think her skirt need have been so
short; do you, Mamma? But although she was got up like an old gipsy you
could not help seeing through it all that she really is well-bred; I
don't think even Agnes would dare to be uppish with her. They live here
at Retby all the year round. The town house is only opened for three
days, when Lady Theodosia comes up for the Drawing-room. And they seem
to have a lot of these rather dull, oldish men friends who make long

Going home after lunch Lady Theodosia took several of the pies and
joints to poor people in the cottages near, and she was so nice to
them, and so friendly; she knows them all and all their affairs, and
never makes mistakes with their names, or is rude and discourteous as
she was to the people at the dinner party. They all adore her. She
hates the middle classes, she says, she would like to live in Russia,
where there are only the upper and lower.

[Sidenote: _Croquet under Difficulties_]

When we got back, Lord and Lady Tyneville had arrived with their two
daughters. They are about my age, and quite nice and pretty; but their
mother dresses them so queerly, they look rather guys. I am glad,
Mamma, that you have none of those silly ideas, and that I have not got
to have my hair in a large bun with ribbons twisted in it for dinner.
They seem quite accustomed to stay here, and know all the dogs and
their ways. They are much nicer than French girls, but not so
attractive as Miss La Touche. We had an early tea in the hall, and
after tea we played croquet until it got dark, though one could not get
on very well as the dogs constantly carried off the balls in their
mouths, and one had to guess where to put them back, and in that way
Lady Theodosia, who was my partner, managed to get through three hoops
she wouldn't have otherwise. It isn't much fun playing so late in the
year, as it gets so cold.

I think the elder Miss Everleigh is in love with Mr. Roper, because she
blushed, just as they do in books, when he came in, and from being
quiet and nice, got rather gigglish. I hope I shan't do that when I am
in love.

We had quite a gay dinner; Lady Tyneville talks all the time, and says
such funny things.

I am really enjoying myself very much in spite of there being no
excitements, like the Marquis and the Vicomte. To-day we are going to
make an excursion into Hernminster to see the Cathedral, and to-morrow
they shoot again.--Good-bye, dear Mamma, with love from your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

RETBY, _Thursday_.

Dearest Mamma,--I don't think I care about looking at churches much.
They don't smell here as they do in France, but on the other hand they
look deserted, and as if no one cared a pin, and there are generally
repairs going on or monuments piled up at the side waiting to be put
back or something that doesn't look tidy--in the big ones I mean, like
York and Hernminster that we saw yesterday. Mr. Doran drove us in on
the coach, and Lady Theodosia sat on the box beside him. It was too
wonderful to see her climbing up, and from the near side she completely
hid Mr. Doran; the reins looked as if they were staying up by
themselves, you could not see even his hands, her mountainous outline
blocked all the space. Miss Everleigh and Mr. Roper and I and Sir
Augustus sat in the seat behind the box seat, and the other Everleigh
sat with her father in the back, while Mr. Harrington had to go inside
with Lady Tyneville as she was afraid of the cold wind. They must have
had a nice time, for both poodles were in there too, and one terrier,
and we could hear them barking constantly. Fanny, who has a wonderful
sense of balance, was poised somewhere on Lady Theodosia. The horses
are beauties and we went at a splendid pace.

[Sidenote: _An Agreeable Drive_]

Sir Augustus doesn't seem so old when he is sitting by you; he said a
lot of nice things to me. We went straight to the "Red Lion" and had
lunch, and it was a horrid meal, everything over or underdone, and
messy and nasty. The dinner at a teeny place like Caudebec in France
was delicious. I wonder why food at country hotels in England is so
bad? At Retby Lady Theodosia won't touch anything unless it is
absolutely perfect. She sent a dish away yesterday just because a whiff
of some flavouring she does not like came to her, but at the "Red Lion"
she did not grumble at all; it must be for the same reason that wetting
their feet doesn't give French people cold if it is at a national
sport, that made her put up with the lunch because it was English and
had always been the same.

I was glad to have a nice piece of cheese. All the time I was with
Godmamma I was not allowed to, as it isn't considered proper for girls
there, and when I asked Victorine why one day, she told me it gave
ideas, and was too exciting, whatever that could mean. So at the "Red
Lion" I just had two helpings to see, as this is the first chance I
have had, as you don't care for cheese at home. But nothing happened, I
did not feel at all excited, so it must be because they are French.
Mustn't it?

[Sidenote: _Country Shopping_]

First we went to a curiosity shop before going to the Cathedral, and
there was such an odd man owned it. "My good Griggson," Lady Theodosia
called him; he seemed quite pleased--although we none of us bought
anything--and so friendly with Lady Theodosia. When we had finished
trotting about looking at the old streets and the Cathedral, we went to
buy some mauve silk to line a cushion that Lady Tyneville has
embroidered as a present to Lady Theodosia. It is so funny in these
country shops, they always bring you what you don't want. Lady
Tyneville said she wanted mauve, and showed her pattern, and after some
time the girl who served her came back and said, "Oh! we are out of
mauve, but green is being very much worn."

We went back to the "Red Lion" and Mr. Doran and Captain Fieldin joined
us. They had been at the Club all the time, and were full of local news
about the cub hunting, &c. On the way back to Retby Sir Augustus told
me he was struck with me the moment he came into Lady Theodosia's
boudoir, and he tried to take hold of my hand. I call it very queer,
don't you? I suppose it is because they think I am young and want
encouraging, but I simply detest it, and I told him so. I said, "Why
should you want to hold my hand?" and when he looked foolish and
mumbled some answer, I just said, "Because if you are afraid of
falling, and it is to hold on, there is the outside rail of the coach
for you; I _hate_ being pawed." He said I was a disagreeable little
thing, and would never get on in life. But you can see, Mamma, how
everything has changed since you were young.

[Sidenote: _Mr. Harrington's Fault_]

Lady Theodosia put on such a splendid purple brocade tea-gown for tea,
but Fluff would jump up at the tray, and succeeded at last in upsetting
a whole jug of cream over her. She was sitting in a very low chair that
it is difficult to get out of, and she looked quite piteous with
billows of cream rolling off her; it got into Fanny's nose and made her
sneeze, and that annoyed the other dogs, and they all began to fight,
and the St. Bernard joined in, and in his excitement he overturned the
whole table and tray. You never saw such a catastrophe! The dogs got
quite wild with joy, and left off fighting to gobble cakes, and when
Mr. Harrington, who had been away writing letters, rushed in to see
what the commotion was, he did catch it! We extricated Lady Theodosia
from masses of broken china and dribbles of jam, in the most awful
rage. She said it was entirely Mr. Harrington's fault for not being
there to look after the dogs. Considering she had sent him to write
about their muzzles, I do call it hard, don't you? Mr. Doran came in,
and when he saw the best Crown Derby smashed on the floor, and the
teapot all bent, he became quite transformed, and swore _dreadfully_.
He said such rude words, Mamma, that I cannot even write them, and it
ended up with,

"If you keep a d----d puppy to look after your other d----d puppies,
why the devil don't you see he does it!"

I hope you aren't awfully shocked, Mamma, at me writing that; I was
obliged to, to show you what awful creatures men really are underneath,
even if their outsides look as meek as Mr. Doran's. Lady Theodosia
burst into tears, and it was altogether a fearful scene if it had not
been so funny to look at. We none of us got any tea, for by the time
Lady Theodosia had been got to dry her eyes, and things were cleared
up, we were all only too glad to disperse. I am sure a lot of children
could not be so naughty as these dogs are.

[Sidenote: _A prudent Retirement_]

Dinner began by being rather strained, but gradually got quite gay. Mr.
Doran would have up three different brands of champagne for every one
to try, and the men seemed to like them very much. By dessert
everything was lively again, and dinner ended by Mr. Doran singing "The
hounds of the Meynell," with one foot on the table as gay as a lark.
But wasn't it tiresome, Mamma? when we got into the drawing-room, Lady
Theodosia said we had had a long day, and must be tired, and she packed
the two Everleighs and me off to bed before the men came in, and so
here I am writing to you, because it is ridiculous to suppose I am
going to sleep at this hour. Agnes and I leave by the early train on
Saturday morning, so good-bye till then, dear Mamma; love from your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Carriston Towers,

_27th October_.

[Sidenote: _Carriston Towers_]

Dearest Mamma,--I shall never again arrive at a place at three o'clock
in the afternoon; it is perfectly ghastly! As we drove up to the
door--it was pouring with rain--I felt that I should not like anything
here. It does look such a large grey pile: and how cold and draughty
that immense stone hall must be in winter! There were no nice big sofas
about, or palms, or lots of papers and books; nothing but suits of
armour and great marble tables, looking like monuments. I was taken
down endless passages to the library, and there left such a long time
that I had got down an old _Punch_ and was looking at it, and trying to
warm my feet, when Lady Carriston came in with Adeline. I remember how
I hated playing with her years ago; she always patronised me, being
three years older, and she is just the same now, only both their backs
have got longer and their noses more arched, and they are the image of
each other. Adeline seems very suppressed; Lady Carriston does not--her
face is carved out of stone. They look very well bred and respectable,
and badly dressed; nothing rustled nicely when they walked, and they
had not their nails polished, or scent on, or anything like that; but
Lady Carriston had a splendid row of pearls round her throat, on the
top of her rough tweed dress and linen collar.

They pronounce their words very distinctly, in an elevated kind of way,
and you feel as if icicles were trickling down your back, and you can't
think of a _thing_ to say. When we had got to the end of your neuralgia
and my journey, there was such a pause! and I suppose they thought I
was an idiot, and were only too glad to get me off to my room, where
Adeline took me, and left me, hoping I had everything I wanted, and
saying tea was at five in the blue drawing-room. And there I had to
stay while Agnes unpacked. It was dull! It is a big room, and the fire
had only just been lit. The furniture is colourless and ugly, and,
although it is all comfortable and correct, there are no books about,
except "Romola" and "Middlemarch" and some Carlyle and John Stuart
Mill, and I did not feel that I could do with any of that just then. So
there I sat twiddling my thumbs for more than an hour, and Agnes did
make such a noise, opening and shutting drawers, but at last I
remembered a box of caramels in my dressing-bag, and it was better
after that.

[Sidenote: _A Dull Hour_]

Agnes had put out my white cashmere for tea, and at five I started to
find my way to the blue drawing-room. The bannisters are so broad and
slippery--the very things for sliding on. I feel as if I should start
down them one day, just to astonish Adeline, only I promised you I
would be good. Well, when I got to the drawing-room, the party--about
twelve--had assembled. The old Earl had been wheeled in from his rooms:
he wears a black velvet skull-cap and a stock but he has a splendid
and distinguished old face. If I were he, I would not have such a dull
daughter-in-law to live with me as Lady Carriston is, even if my son
was dead. The boy, Charlie Carriston, was there too; he does look a
goose. He is like those pictures in the _Punch_ that I was looking at,
where the family is so old that their chins and foreheads have gone. He
is awfully afraid of his mother. There were two or three elderly
pepper-and-salt men, and that Trench cousin, who is a very High Church
curate (you know Aunt Mary told us about him), and there are a Sir
Samuel and Lady Garnons, with an old maid daughter, and Adeline's
German governess, who has stayed on as companion, and helped to pour
out the tea.

[Sidenote: _A Modern Grandison_]

The conversation was subdued; about politics and Cabinet Ministers, and
pheasants and foxes, and things of that kind, and no one said anything
that meant anything else, as they did at Nazeby, or were witty like
they were at Tournelle, and the German governess said "Ach" to
everything, and Lady Garnons and Miss Garnons knitted all the time,
which gave their voices the sound of "one-two-three" when they spoke,
although they did not really count. No one had on tea-gowns--just a
Sunday sort of clothes. I don't know how we should have got through tea
if the coffee-cream cakes had not been so good. The old Earl called me
to him when he had finished, and talked so beautifully to me; he paid
me some such grand old-fashioned compliments, and his voice sounds as
if he had learnt elocution in his youth. There is not a word of slang
or anything modern; one quite understands how he was able to wake up
the House of Lords before his legs gave way. It seems sad that such a
ninny as Charlie should succeed him. I feel proud of being related to
him, but I shall never think of Lady Carriston except as a distant
cousin. Both Charlie and Adeline are so afraid of her that they hardly

I shan't waste any of my best frocks here, so I made Agnes put me on
the old blue silk for the evening. She was disgusted. At dinner I sat
between Charlie and one of the pepper-and-salts--he is a M.P. They are
going to shoot partridges to-morrow; and I don't know what we shall do,
as there has been no suggestion of our going out to lunch.

After dinner we sat in the yellow drawing-room; Lady Carriston and Lady
Garnons talked in quite an animated way together about using their
personal influence to suppress all signs of Romanism in the services of
the Church. They seemed to think they would have no difficulty in
stopping it. They are both Low Church, Miss Garnons told me, but she
herself held quite different views. Then she asked me if I did not
think the Reverend Ernest Trench had a "soulful face," so pure and
abstracted that merely looking at him gave thoughts of a higher life. I
said No; he reminded me of a white ferret we had once, and I hated
curates. She looked perfectly sick at me and did not take the trouble
to talk any more, but joined Adeline, who had been winding silk with
Fraeulein Schlarbaum for a tie she is knitting. So I tried to read the
_Contemporary Review_, but I could not help hearing Lady Carriston
telling Lady Garnons that she had always brought up Adeline and Charlie
so carefully that she knew their inmost thoughts. (She did not mention
Cyril, who is still at Eton.)

"Yes, I assure you, Georgina," she said, "my dear children have never
had a secret from me in their innocent lives."

[Sidenote: _The Duke's Shirt_]

When the men came in from the dining-room, one of the old fellows came
and talked to me, and I discovered he is the Duke of Lancashire. He is
ordinary looking, and his shirts fit so badly--that nasty sticking-out
look at the sides, and not enough starch. I would not have shirts that
did not fit if I were a Duke, would you? They are all staying here for
the Conservative meeting to-morrow evening at Barchurch. These three
pepper-and-salts are shining lights in this county, I have gathered.
Lady Carriston seems very well informed on every subject. It does not
matter if she is talking to Mr. Haselton or Sir Andrew Merton, (the two
M.P.'s), or the Duke, who is the M.F.H., or the curate; she seems to
know much more about politics, and hunting, and religion than they do.
It is no wonder she can see her children's thoughts!

At half-past ten we all said good-night. The dear old Earl does not
come in from the dining-room; he is wheeled straight to his rooms, so I
did not see him. Miss Garnons and Adeline both looked as if they could
hardly bear to part with their curate, and finally we got upstairs, and
now I must go to bed.--Best love, from your affectionate daughter,

_P.S._--Everything is kept up with great state here; there seems to be
a footman behind every one's chair at dinner.

Carriston Towers,

_28th October_.

[Sidenote: _Charlie's Dissimulation_]

Dearest Mamma,--I was so afraid of being late for breakfast this
morning that I was down quite ten minutes too soon, and when I got into
the breakfast-room I found Charlie alone, mixing himself a brandy
cocktail. He wanted to kiss me, because he said we were cousins, but I
did not like the smell of the brandy, so I would not let him. He made
me promise that I would come out with him after breakfast, before they
started to shoot, to look at his horses; then we heard some one coming,
and he whisked the cocktail glass out of sight in the neatest way
possible. At breakfast he just nibbled a bit of toast, and drank a
glass of milk, and Lady Carriston kept saying to him, "My dear, dear
boy, you have no appetite," and he said, "No, having to read so hard as
he did at night took it away."

The Duke seemed a little annoyed that there was not a particular
chutney in his curried kidneys, which I thought very rude in another
person's house; and, as it was Friday, the Reverend Mr. Trench refused
every dish in a loud voice, and then helped himself to a whole sole at
the side-table.

The food was lovely. Miss Garnons did not eat a thing, and Lady Garnons
was not down nor, of course, the old Earl.

After breakfast we meandered into the hall. Smoking is not allowed
anywhere except in the billiard-room, which is down yards and yards of
passages, so as not to let the smell get into the house. We seemed to
be standing about doing nothing, so I said I would go up and get my
boots on, or probably there would not be time to go with Charlie to see
his horses before they started.

You should have seen the family's three faces! Charlie's silly jaw
dropped, Adeline's eyebrows ran up to her hair almost, while Lady
Carriston said in an icy voice: "We had not thought of visiting the
stables so early."

Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous, Mamma? Just as though I
had said something improper! I was furious with Charlie, he had not
even the pluck to say he had asked me to go; but I paid him out. I just
said, "I concluded you had consulted Lady Carriston before asking me to
go with you, or naturally I should not have suggested going to get
ready." He did look a stupid thing, and bolted at once; but Lady
Carriston saw I was not going to be snubbed, so she became more polite,
and presently asked me to come and see the aviary with her.

[Sidenote: _The Slip of Paper_]

As we walked down the armour gallery she met a servant with a telegram,
and while she stopped to read it I looked out of one of the windows.
The wall is so thick they are all in recesses, and Charlie passed
underneath, his head just level with the open part. The moment he saw
me he fished out a scrap of paper from his pocket and pressed it into
my hand, and said, "Don't be a mug this time," and was gone before I
could do anything. I did not know what to do with the paper, so I had
to slip it up my sleeve, as with these skirts one hasn't a pocket, and
I did feel so mad at having done a thing in that underhand way.

The aviary is such a wonderful place, there seem to be birds of every
kind, and the parrakeets do make such a noise. There are lots of palms
here and seats, but it is not just an ideal place to stay and talk in,
as every creature screams so that you can hardly hear yourself speak.
However, Miss Garnons and Mr. Trench did not seem to think so, as,
while Lady Carriston stopped to say, "Didysy, woodsie, poppsie,
dicksie," to some canaries, I turned a corner to see some owls, and
there found them holding hands and kissing (the White Ferret and Miss
Garnons I mean, of course, not the owls).

[Sidenote: _The Mysteries of Religion_]

They must have come in at the other door, and the parrots' noises had
prevented them from hearing us coming. You never saw two people so
taken aback. They simply jumped away from one another. Mr. Trench got
crimson up to his white eyelashes, and coughed in a nervous way, while
poor Miss Garnons at once talked nineteen to the dozen about the
"darling little owlies," and never let go my arm until she had got me
aside, when she at once began explaining that she hoped I would not
misinterpret anything I had seen; that of course it might look odd to
one who did not understand the higher life, but there were mysteries
connected with her religion, and she hoped I would say nothing about
it. I said she need not worry herself. She is quite twenty-eight, you
know, Mamma, so I suppose she knows best; but I should hate a religion
that obliged me to kiss White Ferret curates in a parrot-house,
shouldn't you?

Lady Carriston detests Mr. Trench, but as he is a cousin she has to be
fairly civil to him, and they always get on to ecclesiastical subjects
and argue when they speak; it is the greatest fun to hear them. They
walked on ahead and left me with Miss Garnons until we got back to the

By this time the guns had all started, so we saw no more of them. Then
Adeline suggested that she and I should bicycle in the Park, which has
miles of lovely road (she is not allowed out of the gates by herself),
so at last I got up to my room, and there, as I was ringing the bell
for Agnes, Charlie's piece of paper fell out on the floor. I had
forgotten all about it. Wasn't it a mercy it did not drop while I was
with Lady Carriston? This was all it was: "Come down to tea
half-an-hour earlier; shall sham a hurt wrist to be back from shooting
in time. Charlie."

I could not help laughing, although I was cross at his impertinence--in
taking for granted that I would be quite ready to do whatever he
wished. I threw it in the fire, and, of course, I shan't go down a
moment before five. Adeline has just been in to see why I am so long
getting ready.--Good-bye, dear Mamma, love from your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.

Carriston Towers,


[Sidenote: _An Anchor in Life_]

Dear Mamma,--Oh! what a long day this has been! But I always get so
muddled if I don't go straight on, that I had better finish telling you
about Friday first. Well, while Adeline and I were bicycling, she told
me she thought I should grow quite pretty if only my hair was arranged
more like hers--she has a jug-handle chignon--and if I had less of that
French look. But she supposed I could not help it, having had to spend
so much time abroad. She said I should find life was full of
temptations, if I had not an _anchor_. I asked her what that was, and
she said it was something on which to cast one's soul. I don't see how
that could be an anchor--do you, Mamma? because it is the anchor that
gets cast, isn't it? However, she assured me that it was, so I asked
her if she had one herself, and she said she had, and it was her great
reverence for Mr. Trench, and they were secretly engaged! and she hoped
I would not mention it to anybody; and presently, when he joined us,
would I mind riding on, as she had so few chances to talk to him? That
she would not for the world deceive her mother, but there were
mysteries connected with her religion which Lady Carriston could not
understand, being only Low Church. But when they saw a prospect of
getting married they would tell her about it; if they did it now, she
would persuade the Duke not to give Mr. Trench the Bellestoke living,
which he has half promised him, and so make it impossible for them to

I asked her if Mr. Trench was Miss Garnons' anchor too? and she seemed
quite annoyed, so I suppose their religion has heaps of different
mysteries; but I don't see what all that has got to do with telling her
mother, do you? And I should rather turn Low Church than have to kiss
Mr. Trench, anyway. He came from a side path and joined us, and as soon
as I could I left them; but they picked me up again by the inner gate,
just as I was going in to lunch, after having had a beautiful ride. The
Park is magnificent.

[Sidenote: _Putting on the Clock_]

At lunch I sat by the old Earl. He said my hair was a sunbeam's home,
and that my nose was fit for a cameo; he is perfectly charming.
Afterwards we went _en bloc_ to the library, and the Garnons began to
knit again. Nobody says a word about clothes; they talked about the
Girls' Friendly Society, and the Idiot Asylum, and the Flannel Union,
and Higher Education, and whenever Lady Garnons mentions any one that
Lady Carriston does not know all about, she always says, "Oh! and _who
was_ she?" And then, after thoroughly sifting it, if she finds that the
person in question does not belong to any of the branches of the family
that she is acquainted with, she says "Society is getting very mixed
now." Presently about six more people arrived. There seems to be
nothing but these ghastly three o'clock trains here. All the new lot
were affected by it, just as I was. There were endless pauses.

I would much rather scream at Aunt Maria for a whole afternoon than
have to spend it with Lady Carriston. I am sure she and Godmamma would
be the greatest friends if they could meet. When I got up to my room I
was astonished to find it was so late. I had not even scrambled into my
clothes when the clock struck five. I had forgotten all about Charlie
and his scrap of paper, but when I got into the blue drawing-room,
there he was, with his wrist bandaged up, and no signs of tea about.
What do you think the horrid boy had done, Mamma? Actually had the big
gold clock in my room put on! There were ten chances to one, he said,
against my looking at my watch, and he knew I would not come down
unless I thought it was five. I was so cross that I wanted to go
upstairs again, but he would not let me; he stood in front of the door,
and there was no good making a fuss, so I sat down by the fire.

He said he had seen last night how struck his Grandfather had been with
me, and he did want me to get round him, as he had got into an awful
mess, and had not an idea how he was going to get out of it, unless I
helped him. I said I was sorry, but I really did not see how I could do
anything, and that he had better tell his Mother, as she adored him.

[Sidenote: _Cora's Necklace_]

He simply jumped with horror at the idea of telling his Mother. "Good
Lord!" he said, "the old girl would murder me," which I did not think
very respectful of him. Then he fidgeted, and humm'd and haw'd for such
a time that tea had begun to come in before I could understand the
least bit what the mess was; but it was something about a Cora de la
Haye, who dances at the Empire, and a diamond necklace, and how he was
madly in love with her, and intended to marry her, but he had lost such
a lot of money at Goodwood, that no one knew about, as he was supposed
not to have been there, that he could not pay for the necklace unless
his grandfather gave him a lump sum to pay his debts at Oxford with,
and that what he wanted was for me to get round the old Earl to give
him this money, and then he could pay for Cora de la Haye's necklace.

He showed me her photo, which he keeps in his pocket. It is just like
the ones in the shops in the Rue de Rivoli that Mademoiselle never
would let me stop and look at in Paris. I am sure Lady Carriston can't
have been having second sight into her children's thoughts lately!

Just then Lady Garnons and some of the new people came in, and he was
obliged to stop. We had a kind of high tea, as the Conservative meeting
was to be at eight, and it is three-quarters of an hour's drive into
Barchurch, and there was to be a big supper after. Lady Carriston did
make such a fuss over Charlie's wrist. She wanted to know was it badly
sprained, and did it ache much, and was it swollen, and he had the
impudence to let her almost cry over him, and pretended to wince when
she touched it! As we were driving in to the meeting he sat next me in
the omnibus, and kept squeezing my arm all the time under the rug,
which did annoy me so, that at last I gave his ankle a nasty kick, and
then he left off for a little. He has not the ways of a gentleman, and
I think he had better marry his Cora, and settle down into a class more
suited to him than ours; but _I_ shan't help him with his Grandfather.

[Sidenote: _Politics and Principle_]

Have you ever been to a political meeting, dear Mamma? It is funny! All
these old gentlemen sit up on a platform and talk such a lot. The Duke
put in "buts" and "ifs" and "thats" over and over again when he could
not think of a word, and you weren't a bit the wiser when he had
finished, except that it was awfully wrong to put up barbed wire; but I
can't see what that has to do with politics, can you? One of the
pepper-and-salts did speak nicely, and so did one of the new
people--quite a youngish person; but they all had such a lot of words,
when it would have done just as well if they had simply said that of
course our side was the right one--because trade was good when we were
in, and that there are much better people Conservatives than Radicals.
Anyway, no one stays a Radical when he gets to be his own father, as it
would be absurd to cut off one's nose to spite one's face--don't you
think so, Mamma? So it is nonsense talking so much.

One or two rude people in the back called out things, but no one paid
any attention; and at last, after lots of cheering, we got into the
omnibus again. I _was_ hungry. At supper we sat more or less anyhow,
and I happened to be next the youngish person who spoke. I don't know
his name, but I know he wasn't any one very grand, as Lady Carriston
said, before they arrived in the afternoon, that things were changing
dreadfully; that even the Conservative party was being invaded by
people of no family; and she gave him two fingers when she said "How
d'ye do?" But if he is nobody, I call it very nice of him to be a
Conservative, and then he won't have to change afterwards when he gets
high up. The old Earl asked me what I thought of it all, so I told him;
and he said that it was a great pity they could not have me at the head
of affairs, and then things would be arranged on a really simple and
satisfactory basis.

After breakfast this morning most of the new people went, and the Duke
and the pepper-and-salts; Lady Carriston drove Lady Garnons over to see
her Idiot Asylum. They were to lunch near there, so we had our food in
peace without them, and you would not believe the difference there
was! Everyone woke up: Old Sir Samuel Garnons, who had not spoken once
that I heard since I came, joked with Fraeulein Schlarbaum. Charlie had
two brandies-and-sodas instead of his usual glass of milk, and Adeline
and Miss Garnons were able to gaze at their _anchor_ without fear.

This afternoon I have been for a ride with Charlie, and do you know,
Mamma, I believe he is trying to make love to me, but it is all in such
horrid slang that I am not quite sure. I must stop now.--With love,
from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: _A Good Protestant_]

_P.S._--Sunday. I missed the post last night. We did spend a boring
evening doing nothing, not even dummy whist, like at Aunt Maria's, and
I was so tired hearing the two old ladies talking over the idiots they
had seen at the Asylum, that I was thankful when half-past ten came. As
for to-day, I am glad it is the last one I shall spend here. There is a
settled gloom over everything, a sort of Sunday feeling that makes one
eat too much lunch. Mr. Trench had been allowed to conduct the service
in the chapel this morning, and Lady Carriston kept tapping her foot
all the time with annoyance at all his little tricks, and once or
twice, when he was extra go-ahead, I heard her murmuring to herself
"Ridiculous!" and "Scandalous!" What _will_ she do when he is her

Adeline and Miss Garnons knelt whenever they could, and as long as they
could, and took off their gloves and folded their hands. I think
Adeline hates Miss Garnons, because she is allowed to cross herself;
and of course Adeline daren't, with her mother there.

After tea Charlie managed to get up quite close to me in a corner, and
he said in a low voice that I was "a stunner," and that if I would just
"give him the tip," he'd "chuck Cora to-morrow;" that I "could give her
fits!" And if that is an English proposal, Mamma, I would much rather
have the Vicomte's or the Marquis's.

We are coming by the evening train to-morrow; so till then
good-bye.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Chevenix Castle,

_8th November_.

[Sidenote: _Chevenix Castle_]

Dearest Mamma,--I am sure I shall enjoy myself here. The train was so
late, and only two other people were coming by it besides me, so we all
drove up in the omnibus together. One was a man, and the other a woman,
and she glared at me, and fussed her maid so about her dressing-bag,
and it was such a gorgeous affair, and they had such quantities of
luggage, and the only thing they said on the drive up was how cold it
was, and they wondered when we should get there. And when we did
arrive, there was only just time to rush up and dress for dinner; all
the other people had come by an earlier train. I left them both in the
care of the groom of the chambers, as even Cousin Octavia had gone
upstairs, and there was not a soul about, but she had left a message
for me; and while Agnes was clawing the things out of the trunks, I
went to her room.

She was just having her hair done, but she did not mind a bit, and was
awfully glad to see me. She is a _dear_. Her hair is as dark as
anything underneath, but all the outside is a bright red. She says it
is much more attractive like that, but it does look odd before the
front thing is on, and that is a fuzzy bit in a net, like what
Royalties have. And then she has lots of twist-things round at the
back, and although it doesn't look at all bad when the diamond
stick-ups are in and she is all arranged. She went on talking all the
time while her maid was fixing it, just as if we were alone in the
room. She told me I had grown six inches since she was with us at
Arcachon three years ago, and that I was quite good-looking. She said
they had a huge party for the balls, some rather nice people, and Lady
Doraine and one or two others she hated. I said why did she have
people she hated--that I would not if I were a Countess like her; so
she said those were often the very ones one was obliged to have,
because the nice men wouldn't come without them.

[Sidenote: _The Test of a Gentleman_]

She hoped I had some decent clothes, as she had got a tame millionaire
for me. So I said if it was Mr. Wertz she need not bother because I
knew him; and, besides, I only intended to marry a gentleman, unless,
of course, I should get past twenty and _passe_, and then, goodness
knows _what_ I might take. She laughed, and said it was ridiculous to
be so particular, but that anyway that would be no difficulty, as every
one was a gentleman now who paid for things.

Then she sent me off to dress, just as she began to put some red stuff
on her lips. It is wonderful how nice she looks when everything is
done, even though she has quite a different coloured chest to the top
bit that shows above her pearl collar, which is brickish-red from
hunting. So is her face, but she is such a dear that one admires even
her great big nose and little black eyes, which one would think
hideous in other people. I met Tom just going into her room as I came
out; he said he had come to borrow some scent from her. He looks
younger than she does, but they were the same age when they got
married, weren't they?

He kissed me and said I was a dear little cousin, and had I been boxing
any one's ears lately. Before I could box his for talking so, Octavia
called out to him to let me go, or I should be late, and had I not to
scurry just? Agnes fortunately had everything ready, but I fussed so
that my face was crimson when I got downstairs, and every one was
already there.

There seemed to be dozens of people. You will see in the list in the
_Morning Post_ to-morrow what a number of the Nazeby set there are

Lord Valmond is here, but he did not see me until we were at dinner. I
went in with Mr. Hodgkinson, who is contesting this Division; he is
quite young and wears an eyeglass, which he keeps dropping. He really
looks silly, but they say he says some clever things if you give him
time, and that he will be a great acquisition to the party he has
joined now, as it is much easier to get made a peer by the Radicals;
and that is what he wants, as his father made a huge fortune in bones
and glue.

He did not talk to me at all, but eat his dinner at first, and then
said: "I don't believe in talking before the fish, do you?"

So I said: "No, nor till after the ices, unless one has something to

He was so surprised that his eyeglass dropped, and he had to fumble to
find it, so by that time I had begun to talk to old Colonel Blake, who
was at the other side of me.

[Sidenote: _The Game of Bridge_]

Lady Doraine was looking so pretty; her hair has grown much fairer and
nicer than it was at Nazeby. Lord Doraine is here too; his eyes are so
close together! He plays a game called "Bridge" with Mr. Wertz and Mr.
Hodgkinson and Tom all the time--I mean in the afternoon before
dinner--so Mr. Hodgkinson told me when we got to dessert. I suppose it
was the first thing he had found to say! I asked him if it was a kind
of leapfrog; because don't you remember we called it "Bridge" when you
had to jump two? He said No; that it was a game of cards, and much more
profitable if one had the luck of Lord Doraine, who had won heaps of
money from Mr. Wertz. Afterwards, in the drawing-room, Lady Doraine
came up to me and asked me where I had been hiding since the Nazeby
visit, and when she heard I had been in France, she talked a lot about
the fashions. She has such a splendid new rope of pearls, and such
lovely clothes. The Rooses are here too, and Jane has a cold in her
head. She says she heard by this evening's post that Miss La Touche is
going to be married to old Lord Kidminster, and that he is "too deaf to
have heard everything, so it is just as well." I can't see why, as Miss
La Touche is so nice, and never talks rubbish; so I think it a pity he
can't hear all she says, don't you?

Lady Doraine calls Octavia "darling!" She stood fiddling with her
diamond chain and purring over her frock, so I suppose she is fond of
her in spite of Octavia hating her.

[Sidenote: _An Englishman's Views_]

After dinner Lord Valmond came up to me at once. I felt in such a good
temper, it was hard to be very stiff, he seemed so awfully glad to see
me. He said I might have let him know what day it was that I crossed
over to France after leaving Hazeldene Court--he would have taken such
care of me. I said I was quite able to take care of myself. Then he
asked me if the people were nice in France? and when I said perfectly
charming, he said some Frenchwomen weren't bad but the men were
monkeys. I said it showed how little he knew about them, I had found
them delightful, always polite and respectful and amusing, quite a
contrast to some English people one was obliged to meet.

His eyes blazed like two bits of blue fire, and when he looked like
that, it made my heart beat, Mamma, I don't know why. He is so
nice-looking, of course no Frenchman could compare to him, but I was
obliged to go on praising them because it annoyed him so. He said I
must have stayed there ages, he had been wondering and wondering when
he was to see me again. He said Mr. Hodgkinson was an ass, and he had
been watching us at dinner.

Then Lord Doraine came up and Lady Doraine introduced him to me, and he
said a number of nice things, and he has a charming voice; and Mr.
Wertz came up too, and spoke to me; and then Lady Doraine called Lord
Valmond to come and sit on the little sofa by her, and she looked at
him so fondly that I thought perhaps Lord Doraine might not like it. He
tried not to see, but Mr. Wertz _did_, and I think he must have a kind
heart, because he fidgeted so, and almost at once went and joined them
to break up the tete-a-tete, so that Lord Doraine might not be teased
any more, I suppose. And every one went to bed rather early, because of
the ball and shoot to-morrow, and I must jump in too, as I am sleepy,
so good-night, dearest Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Chevenix Castle,

_9th November_.

[Sidenote: _The Peers' Sad Case_]

Dearest Mamma,--Such a lot to tell you, and no time, as I must go down
to tea. We passed rather a boring morning after the men had started for
their shoot. Only a few people were down for breakfast, and none of the
men who weren't guns. I suppose they were asleep. But Lady Grace Fenton
was as cross as a bear because she wanted to go and shoot too. She is
just like a man, and does look so odd and almost improper in the
evening in female dress. And Tom won't have women out shooting, except
for lunch. Lady Doraine and Lady Greswold talked by the fire while they
smoked, and Lady Greswold said she really did not know where the peers
were to turn to now to make an honest penny, their names being no more
good in the City, and that it was abominably hard that now, she had
heard, they would have to understand business and work just like
ordinary Stock Exchange people if they wanted to get on, and she did
not know what things were coming to.

At lunch, in the chalet in the wood, it was rather fun. Mr. Hodgkinson
and Lord Doraine sat on either side of me. Lord Valmond came up with
the last guns, rather late, and he looked round the table and frowned.
He seems quite grumpy now, not half so good-tempered as he used to be.
I expect it is because Mrs. Smith isn't here.

Mr. Wertz was so beautifully turned out in the newest clothes and the
loveliest stockings, and he had two loaders and three guns, and Lord
Doraine told me that he had killed three pheasants, but the ground was
knee-deep in cartridges round him, and Tom was furious, as he likes an
enormous bag. So I asked why, if Mr. Wertz was not a sportsman, had he
taken the huge Quickham shoot in Norfolk? Then Mr. Hodgkinson chimed
in: "Oh! to entertain Royalty and the husbands of his charming lady
friends!" and he fixed his eyeglass and looked round the corner of it
at Lord Doraine, who drank a glass of peach brandy.

After lunch the men had to start quickly, as we had dawdled so, and so
we turned to go back to the house.

Octavia put her arm through mine, and we were walking on, when Lady
Doraine joined us, with the woman who had glared at me in the omnibus.
She looked as if she hated walking. She is not actually stout, but
everything is as tight as possible, and it does make her puff. She was
awfully smart, and had the thinnest boots on. Lady Doraine was being so
lovely to her, and Octavia was in one of her moods when she talks over
people's heads, so we had not a very pleasant walk, until we came to
the stable gate, when Octavia and I went that way to see her new
hunters. We had hardly got out of hearing when she said--

"Really, Elizabeth, how I dislike women!"

[Sidenote: _The Millionaires_]

So I asked her who the puffing lady was, and she said a Mrs. Pike, the
new Colonial millionairess.

"Horrid creature, as unnecessary as can be!"

So I asked her why she had invited her, then. And she said her
sister-in-law, Carry, had got round Tom and made a point of it, as she
was running them, and now Carry had got the measles and could not come
to look after the creature herself; and it would serve her right if
Folly Doraine took them out of her hands. And so you see, Mamma,
everything has changed from your days, because this isn't a person you
would dream of knowing. I don't quite understand what "running them"
means, and as Octavia was a little out of temper, I did not like to ask
her; but Jane Roose is sure to know, so I will find out and tell you.

I went and played with the children when we got in. They are such
ducks, and we had a splendid romp. Little Tom is enormous for five, and
so clever, and Gwynnie is the image of Octavia when her hair was dark.
Now I _must_ go down to tea.

[Sidenote: _Teaching Patience_]

7.30.--I was so late. Every one was there when I got down in such
gorgeous tea-gowns; I wore my white mousseline delaine frock. The
Rooses have the look of using out their summer best dresses. Jane's
cold is worse. The guns had got back, and came straggling in one by
one, as they dressed, quickly or slowly; and Lord Doraine had such a
lovely velvet suit on, and he said such nice things to me; and Lord
Valmond sat at the other side, and seemed more ill-tempered than ever.
I can't think what is the matter with him. At last he asked me to play
Patience with him; so I said that was a game one played by oneself, and
he said he knew quite a new one which he was sure I would like to
learn; but I did not particularly want to just then. Lady Doraine was
showing Mr. Wertz her new one at the other side of the hall. There are
some cosy little tables arranged for playing cards, with nice screens
near, so that the other people's counting, &c., may not put one out.

Mrs. Pike was too splendid for words, in petunia satin, and sable, and
quantities of pearl chains; and Tom was trying to talk to her. Nobody
worries about Mr. Pike much; but Lord Doraine took him off to the
billiard-room, after collecting Mr. Wertz, to play "Bridge"--everybody
plays "Bridge," I find--and then Lady Doraine came and joined Lord
Valmond and me on the big sofa.

Lord Valmond hardly spoke after that, and she teased him and said:
"Harry, what a child you are!" and she looked as sweetly malicious as
the tortoise-shell cat at home does when it is going to scratch while
it is purring. And presently Dolly Tenterdown came over to us (he is in
Cousin Jack's battalion of the Coldstreams, and he looks about fifteen,
but he behaves very "grown up"), and he asked Lady Doraine to come and
teach him her new "Patience"; and they went to one of the screen
tables, and Lord Valmond said he was a charming fellow, but I thought
he looked silly, and I do _wonder_ what she found to say to him. She
must be quite ten years older than he is, and Jane Roose says it is an
awful sign of age when people play with boys.

Lord Valmond asked me to keep him some dances to-night, but I said I
really did not know what I should do until it began, as I had never
been at a ball before. I haven't forgiven him a bit, so he need not
think I have. Now I must stop. Oh! I am longing to put on my white
tulle, and I do feel excited.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I asked Jane Roose what "running them" means, and it's being
put on to things in the City, and having all your bills paid if you
introduce them to people; only you sometimes have to write their
letters for them to prevent them putting the whole grand address, &c.,
that is in the Peerage; and she says it is quite a profession now, and
done by the best people, which of course must be true, as Carry is
Tom's sister. E.

Chevenix Castle,

_10th November_.

[Sidenote: _A Modern Industry_]

Dearest Mamma,--Oh! it was too, too lovely, last night. I am having my
breakfast in bed to-day, just like the other grown-up people, and it
really feels so grand to be writing to you between sips of tea and
nibbles of toast and strawberry jam! Well, to tell you about the ball.
First my white tulle was a dream. Octavia said it was by far the
prettiest debutante frock she had ever seen; and when I was dressed she
sent for me to her room, and Tom was there too, and she took out of a
duck of a white satin case a lovely string of pearls and put it round
my throat, and said it was their present to me for my first ball!
Wasn't it angelic of them? I hugged and kissed them both, and almost
squashed Tom's buttonhole into his pink coat, I was so pleased, but he
said he didn't mind; and then we all went down together, and no one
else was ready, so we looked through the rooms. The dancing, of course,
was to be in the picture gallery, and the flowers were so splendid
everywhere, and Octavia was quite satisfied. It is a mercy it is such a
big house, for we weren't put out a bit beforehand by the preparations.

I don't know if you were ever like that, Mamma, but I felt as if I must
jump about and sing, and my cheeks were burning. Octavia sat down and
played a valse, and Tom and I opened the ball by ourselves in the
empty room, and it _was_ fun, and then we saw Lord Valmond peeping in
at the door, and he came up and said Tom was not to be greedy, and so I
danced the two last rounds with him, and he had such a strange look in
his eyes, a little bit like Jean when he had the fit, and he never said
one word until we stopped.

[Sidenote: _Forgiveness_]

Then Octavia went out of the other door, and I don't know where Tom
went, but we were alone, and so he said, would I forgive him for
everything and be friends, that he had never been so sorry for anything
in his life as having offended me. He really seemed so penitent, and he
does dance so beautifully, and he is so tall and nice in his pink coat;
and, besides, I remembered his dinner with Aunt Maria, and how nasty I
had been to him at Hazeldene! So I said, all right I would try, if he
would promise never to be horrid again; and he said he wouldn't; and
then we shook hands, and he said I looked lovely, and that my frock was
perfect; and then Tom came back and we went into the hall, and
everybody was down, and they had drawn for partners to go in to dinner
while we were in the ballroom. Tom had made Octavia arrange that we
should draw, as he said he could not stand Lady Greswold two nights
running. Octavia said she had drawn for Lord Valmond because he wasn't
there, and that his slip of paper was _me_, and he said on our way into
the dining-room that Octavia was a brick. We _had_ such fun at dinner.
Now that I have forgiven him, and have not to be thinking all the time
of how nasty I can be, we get on splendidly.

[Sidenote: _The Ball_]

Mr. Wertz was at the other side of me with Mrs. Pike; but as he isn't
"running" them he had not to bother to talk to her, and he is really
very intelligent, and we three had such an amusing time. Lord Valmond
was in a lovely temper. Jane Roose said afterwards in the drawing-room
that it was because Mrs. Smith was coming with the Courceys to the
ball. Lady Doraine had drawn Mr. Pike, who is melancholy-looking, with
a long Jew nose; but she woke him up and got him quite animated by
dessert, and Mrs. Pike did not like it one bit. I overheard her
speaking to him about it afterwards, and he said so roughly, "You mind
your own climbing, Mary; you ought to be glad as it's a titled lady!"
Well, then, by the time we were all assembled in the hall, every one
began to arrive. Oh, it was so, so lovely! Every one looked at me as I
stood beside Octavia at first, because they all knew the ball was given
for me, and then for the first dance I danced with Tom, and after that
I had heaps of partners, and I can't tell you about each dance, but it
was all heavenly. I tried to remember what you said and not dance more
than three times with the same person, but, somehow, Lord Valmond got
four, and another--but that was an extra.

Mrs. Smith did come with the Courceys, and she was looking so smart
with a beautiful gown on, and Jane Roose said it was a mercy Valmond
was so rich; but I don't see what that had to do with it. I saw him
dancing with her once, but he looked as cross as two sticks, perhaps
because she was rather late. Do you know, Mamma, a lot of the beauties
we are always reading about in the papers as having walked in the Park
looking perfectly lovely were there, and some of them are _quite, quite
old_--much older than you--and all trimmed up! Aren't you astonished?
And one has a grown-up son and daughter, and she danced all the time
with Dolly Tenterdown, who was her son's fag at Eton, Lord Doraine told
me. Isn't it odd? And another was the lady that Sir Charles Helmsford
was with on the promenade at Nice, when you would not let me bow to
him, do you remember? And she is as old as the other!

Lord Doraine was rather a bother, he wanted to dance with me so often;
so at last I said to Octavia I really was not at my first ball to dance
with old men (he is quite forty), and what was I to do? And she was so
cross with him, and I could see her talking to him about it when she
danced with him herself next dance; and after that till supper he
disappeared--into the smoking-room, I suppose, to play "Bridge."

[Sidenote: _At Supper_]

I went in to supper first with the Duke of Meath--he had just finished
taking in Octavia--he is such a nice boy; and then, as we were coming
out, we went down a corridor, and there in a window-seat were Lord
Valmond and Mrs. Smith, and he was still gloomy, and she had the same
green-rhubarb-juice look she had the last night at Nazeby. He jumped up
at once, and said to me he hoped I had not forgotten I had promised to
go in to supper with him, so I said I had just come from supper; and
while we were speaking Mrs. Smith had got the Duke to sit down beside
her, and so I had to go off with Lord Valmond, and he seemed so odd and
nervous, and as if he were apologising about something; but I don't
know what it could have been, as he had not asked me before to go in to
supper with him.

He seemed to cheer up presently, and persuaded me to go back into the
supper-room, as he said he was so hungry, and we found a dear little
table, with big flower things on it, in a corner; but when we got there
he only played with an ortolan and drank some champagne, but he did
take such a while about it; and each time I said I was sure the next
dance was beginning he said he was still hungry. I have never seen any
one have so much on his plate and eat so little. At last I insisted on
going back, and when we got to the ballroom an extra was on, and he
said I had promised him that, but I hadn't. However, we danced, and
after that, having been so long away at supper, and one thing and
another, my engagements seemed to get mixed, and I danced with all
sorts of people I hadn't promised to in the beginning. At last it came
to an end, and when the last carriage had driven away, we all went and
had another hot supper.

[Sidenote: _End of the Ball_]

Mr. Pike would sit next to Lady Doraine, and he was as gay as a
blackbird, and I heard Octavia saying to Lady Greswold that Carry had
better hurry up and get that house in Park Street, or Lady Doraine
would have it instead. Then we all went to bed, and Lord Valmond
squeezed my hand and looked as silly as anything, and Jane Roose, who
saw, said I had better be careful, as he was playing me off against
Mrs. Smith. It was great impertinence of her, I think--don't
you?--especially as Mrs. Smith had gone, so I can't see the point.--Now
I am going to get up. Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Chevenix Castle,

_13th November_.

[Sidenote: _Tableaux_]

Dearest Mamma,--I enjoyed my self last night quite as much as at the
ball here; but first, I must tell you about Thursday and yesterday. The
morning after the ball here no one came down till lunch, and in the
afternoon Lady Doraine suggested we should have some tableaux in the
evening, and so we were busy all the time arranging them. They were all
bosh; but it was so amusing.

Mrs. Pike lent every one her tea-gowns--she has dozens--and they did
splendidly for the Queen of Sheba; and Mr. Pike played Charles I.
having his head cut off, as Lady Doraine told him he had just the type
of lofty melancholy face for that. I was the Old Woman in the Shoe,
with all the biggest people for children; but the best of all was Dolly
Tenterdown as "Bubbles." Lord Doraine and Mr. Wertz and Tom and some
others played "Bridge" all the time while we were arranging them; but
Lord Valmond was most useful, and in such a decent temper. After they
were over we danced a little, and it was all delightful.

[Sidenote: _A Game of Patience_]

Yesterday, the day of the county ball in Chevenix, they shot again; and
it rained just as we all came down ready to start for the lunch; so we
couldn't go, and had to lunch indoors without most of the men. Mr. Pike
hadn't gone shooting, because I heard Tom saying the night before to
Lady Doraine that he wouldn't chance the party being murdered again,
and that she must keep him at home somehow. So she did, and taught him
Patience in the hall after lunch; and Mrs. Pike went and wanted to
learn it too, but Lady Doraine--who was lovely to her--somehow did not
make much room on the sofa, so she had to go and sit somewhere else.

[Sidenote: _A Broad Hint_]

Half the people were playing "Bridge," and the rest were very
comfortable, and smoking cigarettes, of course; so Mrs. Pike did too.
Her case is gold, with a splendid monogram in big rubies on it; but I
am sure it makes her feel sick, because she puffs it out and makes it
burn up as soon as she can without its being in her mouth. She had to
go and lie down after that, as she said she would be too tired for the
ball; but nobody paid much attention.

It was more lively at tea-time, when the guns came in. And Lord Doraine
would sit by me; he talked about poetry, and said dozens of nice things
about me, and all sorts of amusing ones about every one else; and Lord
Valmond, who had gone to write some letters at a table near, seemed so
put out with every one talking, that he could not keep his attention,
and at last tore them up, and came and sat close to us, and told Lord
Doraine that he could see Mr. Wertz was longing for "Bridge." And so he
got up, and laughed in such a way, and said, "All right, Harry, old
boy," and Valmond got crimson--I don't know what at--and looked as
cross as a bear for a few minutes. We had rather a hurried dinner.

[Sidenote: _The Duchess's Ball_]

My white chiffon is as pretty as the tulle, and Octavia was quite
pleased with me. There were omnibuses and two broughams for us to go
in. Octavia took me with her alone in one. I wanted to go in one of the
omnibuses--it looked so much gayer--but she wouldn't let me. It is not
much of a drive, as you know, and we all got there at the same time
almost, and our party did look so smart as we came in. Octavia sailed
like a queen up the room to a carpeted raised place at the end, and
there held a sort of court.

The Duchess of Glamorgan was already there with her three daughters,
and their teeth stick out just like Mrs. Vavaseur's; only they look
ready to bite, and she was always smiling. The men of their party were
so young, and looked as if they would not hurt a fly, and the Duchess
had me introduced to her and asked about you. And Mrs. Pike tried to
join in the conversation, and the Duchess fixed on her _pince-nez_ and
looked at her for quite ten seconds, and then said, when she had
retired a little, "Who is this gorgeous person?" And when I said Mrs.
Pike, she said, "I don't remember the name," in a tone that dismissed
Mrs. Pike from the universe as far as she was concerned; and Jane Roose
says she is almost the only Duchess who won't know _parvenues_, and
that is what makes her set so dull.

There were such a lot of funny frumpy people at the other end of the
room--"the rabble," Mrs. Pike called them. "Let us walk round and look
at the rabble," she said to Lord Doraine, who was standing by her. And
they went.

[Sidenote: _The Ride Home_]

I had such lots of partners I don't know what any one else did; I was
enjoying myself so, and I hope you won't be annoyed with me, as I am
afraid I danced oftener than three times with Lord Valmond. Mrs. Smith
seemed to be with the little Duke a great deal, and she glared at me
whenever she passed. I like English balls much better than French,
though, perhaps, I can't judge, as I was never at a real one there.
But Englishmen are so much better-looking, and everybody doesn't get so
hot, and it is nice having places to sit out and talk without feeling
you are doing something wrong. Coming home, Octavia made Lady Doraine
and Mrs. Pike go in her brougham, and she and I went in one of the
omnibuses. Lord Doraine sat between me and Octavia, and I suppose he
was afraid of crushing her dress, for he positively squashed me, he sat
so close. Lord Valmond was at the other side of me, and somebody must
have been pushing him, because he sat even nearer me than Lord Doraine,
and between them I could hardly breathe; it was fortunate it was a cold

Before we got to the Park gates somehow the light went out, and all the
way up the avenue people held each of my hands. I could not see who
they were, and I tried to get them away, but I couldn't, and I was
afraid to kick like I did to Charlie Carriston, as it might have been
Mr. Hodgkinson who was sitting opposite, and so there would have been
no good in kicking Lord Doraine, or Lord Valmond; but I just made my
fingers as stiff as iron and left them alone. It is a surprise to me,
Mamma, to find that gentlemen in England behave like this, I call it
awfully disappointing, and I am sure they could not have done so when
you were young, it seems they are just as bad as the French. I told
Octavia about it when she came to tuck me up in bed; and she only went
into a fit of laughter, and when I was offended, she said she would see
that the next time I went to a ball with her, that I had a chaperon on
each side coming home.

[Sidenote: _An Awkward Situation_]

I bowed as stiffly as I could in saying good-night to Lord Doraine and
Lord Valmond, and they both looked so astonished, that perhaps it was
Mr. Hodgkinson after all; it _is_ awkward not knowing, isn't it? This
morning all the guests are going, and on Monday, as you know, Tom and
Octavia take me with them to stay at Foljambe Place, with the
Murray-Hartleys for the Grassfield Hunt Ball. It will be fun, I hope,
but I can never enjoy myself more than I have done here.--Now,
good-bye, dear Mamma, your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: _The Murray-Hartleys_]

_P.S._--Octavia says the Murray-Hartleys aren't people you would know,
but one must go with the times, and she will take care of me. E.


Foljambe Place,

_15th November_.

[Sidenote: _The Coat of Arms_]

Dearest Mamma,--We arrived here this afternoon in time for tea. It is a
splendid place, and everything has been done up for them by that man
who chooses things for people when they don't know how themselves. He
is here now, and he is quite a gentleman, and has his food with us; I
can't remember his name, but I daresay you know about him.

Everything is Louis XV. and Louis XVI., but it doesn't go so well in
the saloon as it might, because the panelling is old oak, with the
Foljambe coats of arms still all round the frieze, and over the
mantelpiece, which is Elizabethan. And I heard this--(Mr. Jones I shall
have to call him)--say that it jarred upon his nervous system like an
intense pain, but that Mrs. Murray-Hartley would keep them up, because
there was a "Murray" coat of arms in one of the shields of the people
they married, and she says it is an ancestor of hers, and that is why
they bought the place; but as Octavia told me that their real name was
Hart, and that they hyphened the "Murray," which is his Christian name
(if Jews can have Christian names) and put on the "ley" by royal
licence, I can't see how it could have been an ancestor, can you?

They are quite established in Society, Octavia says; they have been
there for two seasons now, and every one knows them. They got Lady
Greswold to give their first concert, and enclosed programmes with the
invitations, so hardly any of the Duchesses felt they could refuse,
Octavia said, when they were certain of hearing the best singers for
nothing; and it was a splendid plan, as many concerts have been spoilt
by a rumour getting about that Melba was not really going to sing.
Everybody smart is here. I am one of the few untitled people.

[Sidenote: _A Friendly Little Party_]

Mrs. Murray-Hartley doesn't look a bit Jewish, or fat and uneasy, like
Mrs. Pike, but then this is only Mrs. Pike's first year. She--Mrs.
M.-H.--is beautifully dressed, and awfully genial; she said it was
"just more than delightful" of Octavia to bring me, and that it was so
sweet of her to come to this friendly little party. "It is so much
nicer to have just one's own friends," she said, "instead of those huge
collections of people one hardly knows." There are quite twenty of us
here, Mamma, so I don't call it such a very weeny party, do you?

My bedroom is magnificent, but it hasn't all the new books as they have
at Chevenix, and although the writing-table things are tortoise-shell
and gold, there aren't any pens in the holders, that is why I am
writing this in pencil. The towels have such beautifully embroidered
double crests on them, and on the Hartley bit, the motto is "_La fin
vaut l'eschelle_." Octavia, who is in the room now looking at
everything, said Lady Greswold chose it for them when they wanted a
crest to have on their Sevres plates and things for their concert.
Octavia keeps laughing to herself all the time, as she looks at the
things, and it puts me out writing, so I will finish this when I come
to bed.

[Sidenote: _A Question of Taste_]

12.30.--We had a regular banquet, I sat next to Lord Doraine--I did not
catch the name of the man who took me in--I forgot to tell you the
Doraines and Sir Trevor and Lady Cecilia and lots of others I know are
here. Mrs. Murray-Hartley does hostess herself, which Octavia says is
very plucky of her, as both Lady Greswold, who gave her concert, and
Lady Bobby Pomeroy, who brought all the young men, are staying in the
house; and Octavia says it shows she is really clever to have
emancipated herself so soon.

We had gold plate with the game, and china up to that, and afterwards
Lady Greswold talked to Octavia, and asked her if she thought it would
look better perhaps to begin gold with the soup, and have the _hors
d'oeuvres_ on specimen Sevres just to make a point. I hate gold plate
myself, one's knife does make such slate-pencilish noises on it.

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond's Arrival_]

The man who took me in kept putting my teeth so on edge that I was
obliged to speak to him about it at last. We had sturgeon from the
Volga, or wherever the Roman emperors got theirs, but the plates were
cold. Violins played softly all the time, behind a kind of Niagara
Falls at the end of the room, which is magnificent; it is hung with
aubusson, almost as good as what they had at Croixmare, which has been
there always.

After dinner, while we were in the drawing-room alone, a note came for
Mrs. Murray-Hartley. She was talking to Octavia and me, so she read it
aloud; it was from Lord Valmond, and sent from the inn in the little
town. He said he had intended staying there by himself for the Hunt
Ball, but that on arrival he found no fire in his room, so he was
writing to ask if Mrs. Murray-Hartley would put him up. She was
enchanted, and at once asked Lady Greswold if it would not be better to
turn Lord Oldfield out of his room--which is the best in the bachelors'
suite--as he is only a baron; but Lady Greswold said she did not think
it would matter. I do call it odd, don't you, Mamma? because Lord
Valmond told me, when he left Chevenix on Saturday, that he had to go
to another party in Yorkshire, and was as cross as a bear because he
would not be able to be at the Grassfield ball. He turned up
beautifully dressed as usual, as quickly as it was possible for the
brougham which was sent for him to get back. He could not have kept it
waiting a moment; so I don't believe the story about there being no
fire in his room, do you?

[Sidenote: _Friendly Offers_]

Mrs. Murray-Hartley did gush at him. Octavia says it is the first time
she has been able to get him to her house, as he is ridiculously
old-fashioned and particular, and actually in London won't go to places
unless he knows the host and hostess personally. He stood with a vacant
frown on his face all the time Mrs. Murray-Hartley was speaking, and a
child could have seen he wanted to get away. It is in these kind of
ways Frenchmen are more polite, because the Marquis always wore an
interested grin when Godmamma kept him by her. He got away at last,
and came across the room, but by that time Sir Trevor and Mr.
Hodgkinson were talking to me, and there was no room for him on our
sofa, and he had to speak to Lady Cecilia, who was near. She was as
absent as usual, and he was talking at random, so their conversation
was rather funny; I heard scraps of it.

[Sidenote: _A Sense of Honour_]

Mr. Murray-Hartley must be very nice, although he looks so unimportant,
for all the men call him "Jim," and are awfully friendly. Lord Oldfield
and Lord Doraine seem ready to do anything for him. Lord Oldfield
offered to hunt about and get him just the right stables for his house
in Belgrave Square; he knew of some splendid ones, he said, that were
going a great bargain, on a freehold that belongs to his sister's
husband. And Lord Doraine says he will choose his horses for him at
Tattersall's next week, as he wants some good hunters; he knows of the
very ones for him. "You leave it all to me, dear boy," he said; and at
that Sir Trevor, who was listening (they were all standing close to our
sofa) went into a guffaw of laughter. "Hunters," he whispered, quite
loud, "beastly little Jew, he'd have to have a rocking-horse, and hold
on by its mane." And when I said I did not think one ought to speak so
of people when one was eating their salt, he seemed to think that quite
a new view of the case, and said, "By Jove! you are right, Elizabeth.
Our honour and our sense of hospitality are both blunted nowadays."

Presently Lady Cecilia called Mr. Hodgkinson to her, and in one moment
Lord Valmond had slipped into his place. I asked him why he was not in
Yorkshire, and he said that he thought, after all, it was too far to
go, and it was his duty to be at the Grassfield ball, as he has hunted
with this pack sometimes. He looked and looked at me, and I don't know
why, Mamma, but I felt so queer--I almost wish he had not come. I
suppose Mrs. Smith is somewhere in this neighbourhood, and that is why
he did not go to Yorkshire. Sir Trevor monopolised most of the
conversation, until we all got up to play baccarat. I did not want to
play as I don't know it, and Lord Valmond said it would be much nicer
to sit and talk, but Mrs. Murray-Hartley would not hear of our not
joining in; and Octavia handed me a five-pound note and said I was not
to lose more than that, so I thought I had better not go on refusing,
and we went with the rest into the saloon, where there was a long table
laid out with cards and counters.

[Sidenote: _Playing Baccarat_]

Lord Valmond said he would teach me the game, and that we would bank
together; however, Lady Doraine sat down in the chair he was holding
for me, and she put her hand on his coat sleeve and said in such a
lovely voice, "Harry, it is ages since I have had a chat with you, sit
down here by me." But he answered No, he had promised to show me how to
play, and his mouth was set quite square. She looked so alluring I
don't know how he could have done it, it was almost as flattering to me
as the Vicomte's riding all night from Versailles. She laughed--but it
was not a very nice laugh--and she said, "Poor boy, is it as bad as
that?" and he looked back at her in an insolent way, as if they were
crossing swords, but he said nothing more, only we moved to the other
side of the table, to where there were two empty chairs together.

When we sat down he said women were devils, which I thought very rude
of him. I told him so, and he said I wasn't a woman; but I remember
now, Mamma, he called me a "little devil" that time when he was so rude
at Nazeby, so it shows how inconsistent men are, doesn't it? I
sometimes think he would like to say all the nice things the Vicomte
used to, only with Englishmen I suppose you have to be alone in the
room for them to do that; they have not the least idea, like the
French, of managing while they are speaking out loud about something

Every one looks very anxious here when they play; it is not at all a
joke as the roulette used to be at Nazeby; and they do put a lot on,
although counters don't seem to be much to look at. It is not at all a
difficult game, Mamma, and some of the people were so lucky turning up
"naturels," but we lost in spite of them at our side of the table, and
Lord Doraine said at last, that it was because we--Lord Valmond and
I--were sitting together. Valmond looked angry, but he chaffed back. I
don't know what it was all about, and I was getting so sleepy, that
when a fresh deal was going to begin I asked Octavia, who was near, if
I might not go to bed. She nodded, so I slipped away. Lord Valmond
followed, to light my candle he said, but as there is nothing but
electric light that was nonsense. He was just beginning to say
something nice, when we got beyond the carved oak screen that separates
the staircase from the saloon, and there there were rows of footmen and
people peeping in, so he just said "Good-night."

[Sidenote: _A Good-night_]

And I also will say good-night to you, Mamma, or I shall look ugly
to-morrow for the ball.--Love from your affectionate daughter,

Foljambe Place,

_16th November_.

[Sidenote: _Bad Weather_]

Dearest Mamma,--I have just come up to dress for tea, but I find it is
earlier than I thought, so I shall have time to tell you about to-day.
It has absolutely poured with rain and sleet and snow and blown a gale
from the moment we woke this morning until now--quite the most horrid
weather I ever remember. All the men were in such tempers, as it was
impossible to shoot. Mr. Murray-Hartley had prepared thousands of tame
pheasants for them, Tom said, although this wasn't to be a big shoot,
only to amuse them by the way; and they were all looking forward to a
regular slaughter.

Octavia, and I, and Lady Bobby, were among the few women down to
breakfast besides our hostess, who is so bright and cheery in the
morning; and when you think how morose English people are until lunch
time it is a great quality. Some of the men came down ready to start,
and these were the ones in the worst humour. After breakfast half of
them disappeared to the stables, and the rest played "Bridge," except
Lord Valmond and Mr. Hodgkinson, who wanted to stay with us, only we
would not have them, so we were left to ourselves more or less.

[Sidenote: _An Amusing Mistake_]

Mrs. Murray-Hartley took us to see the pictures and the collections of
china and miniatures; and she talks about them all just like a book,
and calls them simple little things, and you would never have guessed
they cost thousands, and that she had not been used to them always,
until she showed us a beautiful enamel of Madame de Pompadour, and
called it the Princesse de Lamballe, and said so sympathetically that
it was quite too melancholy to think she had been hacked to pieces in
the Revolution; only perhaps it served her right for saying "_Apres moi
le deluge!_". Octavia was in fits, and I wonder no one noticed it. Then
she said she must leave us for a little in the music-room, as she
always went to see her children at this hour--they live in another

[Sidenote: _Gossip_]

By that time Lady Doraine and Lady Greswold, and most of the others
were down, and some of them looked as if they had been up awfully late.
It seems they did not finish the baccarat until half-past three, and
that Lord Oldfield won more than a thousand pounds. Mrs. Murray-Hartley
had hardly got out of the door, when Lady Doraine said what a beautiful
woman she was, and Lady Greswold began "yes and such tact," and Lady
Bobby said, "and so charming," and Lady Cecilia--who was doing ribbon
work on a small frame that sounds like a drum every time you put the
needle through--looked up and drawled in her voice right up at the top,
"Yes, I have noticed very rich people always are."

Then they all talked at once, and by listening carefully one made out
that they were saying a nice thing about every one, only with a
different ending to it, like: "she is perfectly devey but what a pity
she makes herself so remarkable," and "Darling Florrie, of course she
is as straight as a die, but wearing those gowns so much too young for
her, and with that very French figure, it does give people a wrong
impression," and "It is extraordinary luck for dear Rosie, her
husband's dying before he knew anything." I suppose it is all right,
Mamma, but it sounds to me like giving back-handers. The French women
never talked like this; they were witty and amusing and polite, just
the same as if the men were in the room.

[Sidenote: _The Gossips Rebuked_]

Octavia did not join in it, but read the papers, and when they got
round to Mrs. Murray-Hartley again, and this time simply clawed her to
pieces, Octavia looked up and said in a downright way, "Oh! come, we
need none of us have known this woman unless we liked, and we are all
getting the _quid pro quo_ out of her, so for goodness' sake let us
leave her alone." That raised a perfect storm, they denied having said
a word and were quite indignant at the idea of getting anything out of
her; but "It's all bosh," Octavia said, "I am here because it is the
nearest house to the Grassfield ball, and the whole thing amuses me,
and I suppose you all have your reasons." Lady Doraine looked at her
out of the corner of her eyes, and said in her purry voice, "Darling
Octavia--you are so original," and then she turned the conversation in
the neatest way.

[Sidenote: _Octavia's Philosophy_]

Octavia said to me, as we went upstairs before lunch, that they were a
set of cats and harpies, and she hated them all, only unfortunately the
others--the nice good ones--taken _en bloc_ made things so dull, it
was better to put up with this set. Then she kissed me as I went into
my room and said; "At this time of the world's day, my little
Elizabeth, there is no use in fighting windmills."

At luncheon Lord Valmond sat next to me; he said we had been horrid not
to have wanted him to spend the morning with us, and would I let him
teach me "Bridge" afterwards? I said I really was not a bit interested
in cards, but he said it was a delightful game, so I said All right.
After lunch in the saloon I overheard Mrs. Murray-Hartley say to Lady
Greswold that she feared this awful weather would make her party a
failure, and what was she to do to amuse them this afternoon? So Lady
Greswold said: "Leave 'em alone with plenty of opportunities to talk to
their friends, and it will be all right." And so she did.

[Sidenote: _An Afternoon at Cards_]

Lord Valmond and I found a nice little table in a corner by the fire,
and we began to turn over the cards, and presently every one
disappeared, except Lady Doraine and Mr. Wertz, who played Patience or
something, beyond one of the Spanish leather screens; and Lady Bobby
and Lord Oldfield, who were smoking cigarettes together on the big
sofa. We could just hear their voices murmuring. You can't play
"Bridge" with only two people, I find, and when Lord Valmond had
explained the principles to me, I was none the wiser. I suppose I was
thinking of something else, and he said I was a stupid little thing,
but in such a nice voice, and then we talked and did not worry about
the cards. But after a while he said he thought it was draughty for me
in the saloon, and it would be cosier in one of the sitting-rooms, but
I would not go, Mamma, as I did not find it at all cold.

[Sidenote: _Lord Doraine intrudes_]

Then Lord Doraine came in, and went over and disturbed everybody in
turn, and finally sat down by us, and Lady Bobby laughed out loud, and
Lady Doraine peeped round the screen with her mischievous
tortoise-shell cat expression, so I just said I would go and dress for
tea, and came upstairs. I am sure they were all trying to make me feel
uncomfortable, but I didn't a bit. I heard them shrieking with laughter
as I left, and I caught a glimpse of Lord Valmond's face, and it was
set as hard as iron.

Octavia wants me to wear my only other new ball dress to-night, the
white gauze, so I suppose I must, and I do hope the rain will stop
before we start.--With love from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--Agnes says she won't sup downstairs, as there was so much
champagne in the "room" last night that several of the valets got
drunk, and she thinks it is not _distingue_.

Foljambe Place,


[Sidenote: _Sir Hugh d'Eynecourt_]

Dearest Mamma,--Octavia is writing to you, and we have such a piece of
news for you! I will tell you presently.

Part of the ball last night was quite delightful, and fortunately the
rain had stopped before we started, in fact, I saw the stars shining
when I looked out on my way down to tea. A new man had arrived, Sir
Hugh d'Eynecourt, I remember you have often spoken of him. He is
nice-looking though quite old, over forty, I should think. It appears
he has been away from the world for more than two years; he has only
come to this party now because Lady Bobby made him; he met her lately,
and is a great friend of hers. The other men, Lord Doraine, &c., were
chaffing him by the fireplace--no one else was down--and they did say
such odd things. Tom asked him why he had disappeared for so long, and
he said, Time was, when--if one stuck to one's own class--to live and
love was within the reach of any gentleman, but since the fashion of
the long strings of pearls came in, it had become more expensive than
the other class, and he could not compete with Jews and financiers, so
he had gone to live quietly in Paris. I don't know what it meant, but
it seemed to amuse them all awfully.

[Sidenote: _The Perfect Height_]

When they saw me sitting on the sofa they stopped talking at once, and
then began about how horrid the day had been; and Sir Hugh was
introduced and asked about you. He said I was not nearly so pretty as
you had been at my age, but I should do, he dared say. Then when I
stood up, and he saw my height, he said that he had always thought five
foot seven a perfect measure for women, so I said I did feel
disappointed, as I was only five foot six and three-quarters; he
laughed and whispered, "Oh yes, I am sure you will do--very well
indeed." He is charming, and he says he will be an uncle to me.

At tea Octavia and he and I sat on the big sofa, and Lady Bobby did not
like it a bit. She tried to talk to Lord Valmond, who was fidgeting
about, looking as cross as a bear; but he would not stay still long
enough to have any conversation.

[Sidenote: _The Quarrel_]

As we were going upstairs afterwards, he ran after me and said he must
tell me that Sir Hugh was not at all the kind of man I ought to talk so
much to, and would I promise him the first dance to-night? I said No,
that I was going to give it to Sir Hugh, and that he had better mind
his own business or I would not dance with him at all. I was not really
angry, Mamma--because he is so nice-looking--but one is obliged to be
firm with men, as I am sure you know. He turned round and stamped down
the stairs again, without a word, in a passion. At dinner, which I went
in to with Mr. Wertz, Sir Hugh was at the other side, and you can't
think how friendly we got. He says I am the sweetest little darling he
has seen in a month of Sundays. I kept catching sight of Lord Valmond's
face between the flowers--he had taken in Mrs. Murray-Hartley--and it
was alternately so cross and unhappy looking, that he must have had
violent indigestion.

We went to the ball in omnibuses and broughams, the usual thing; but
Octavia took care that I sat between her and Lady Cecilia. Mrs.
Murray-Hartley was so beautifully dressed, and her jewels were superb,
and everything in very good taste. She is really a very agreeable woman
to talk to, Mamma, and one can't blame her for wanting to be in
Society. It must be so much nicer than Bayswater, where they came from,
and Octavia says it proves her intelligence; it is easier to rise from
the gutter than from the suburbs.

Everybody had arrived when our party got to the ball. The Rooses are
staying at Pennythorn, and Jane came and said to me at once how sorry
she was to see me looking pale, and she hoped I would be able to enjoy
myself--I wasn't pale, Mamma, I am sure, but I did feel just a teeny
bit sorry I had quarrelled again with Lord Valmond. He never came near
me, and everything seemed to be at sixes and sevens; people got cross
because I mixed up their dances quite unintentionally, and, I don't
know why, I did not enjoy myself a bit, in spite of Sir Hugh saying
every sort of lovely thing to me. I had supper with him, and Lord
Valmond was near with Lady Doraine, and she was being so nice to him,
Mamma, leaning over and looking into his eyes, and I don't think it
good form, do you? Two or three dances afterwards, when we went back to
the ballroom, there was a polka; I danced it with some idiot who almost
at once let yards and yards of my gauze frills get torn, so I was
obliged to go to the cloak-room to have it pinned up.

[Sidenote: _An Unpleasant Incident_]

It was a long way off, and when I came out my partner had disappeared,
and there was no one about but Lord Doraine, and the moment I saw him I
hated the look in his eyes, they seemed all swimming; and he said in
such a nasty fat voice: "Little darling, I have sent your partner away,
and I am waiting for you, come and sit out with me among the palms,"
and I don't know why, but I felt frightened, and so I said, "No!" that
I was going back to the ballroom. And he got nearer and nearer, and
caught hold of my arm, and said, "No, no, you shall not unless you give
me a kiss first." And he would not let me pass. I can't imagine why,
Mamma, but I never felt so frightened in my life; and just then,
walking aimlessly down the passage, came Lord Valmond.

He saw us and came up quickly, and I was so glad to see some one, that
I ran to him, as Lord Doraine let me pass directly he caught sight of
Harry--I mean Lord Valmond--and he was in such a rage when he saw how I
was trembling, and said, "What has that brute been saying to you?" and
looked as if he wanted to go back and fight him; but I was so terrified
that I could only say, "Do come away!"

[Sidenote: _The Engagement_]

We went and sat in the palm place, and there was not a soul there, as
every one was dancing; and I really don't know how it happened, I was
so upset about that horrid Lord Doraine, that Harry tried to comfort
me, and we made up our quarrel, and--he kissed me again--and I hope you
won't be very cross, Mamma; but somehow I did not feel at all angry
this time. And I thought he was fond of Mrs. Smith; but it isn't, it's
Me! And we are engaged. And Octavia is writing to you. And I hope you
won't mind. And the post is off, so no more.--From your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I shall get married before the Drawing Room in February,
because then I can wear a tiara.

[Sidenote: _Victorine is outdone_]

_P.S. again._--Of course an English marquis is higher than a French
one, so I shall walk in front of Victorine anywhere, shan't I? E.

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