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.
[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?