The Visits of Elizabeth
Elinor Glyn

Part 3 out of 3

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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