“Does what I said concern Mr. Martin more than any other gentleman,” returned Lady Towers, “that he is disposed to take offence at it?”
“You must pardon me, Lady Towers,” said Mr. B., “but I think a lady should never make a motion to wave such subjects as those of virtue and honour; and less still, in company, where there is so much occasion, as she seems to think, for enforcing them.”
“I desire not to wave the subject, I’ll assure you,” replied she. “And if, Sir, you think it may do good, we will continue it for the sakes of all you gentlemen” (looking round her archly), “who are of opinion you may be benefited by it.”
A health to the king and royal family, brought on public affairs and politics; and the ladies withdrawing to coffee and tea, I have no more to say as to this conversation, having repeated all that I remember was said to any purpose.
The countess being a little indisposed. Lady Davers and I took an airing this morning in the chariot, and had a long discourse together. Her ladyship was pleased to express great favour and tenderness towards me; gave me much good advice, as to the care she would have me take of myself; and told me, that her hopes, as well as her brother’s, all centred in my welfare; and that the way I was in made her love me better and better.
She was pleased to tell me, how much she approved of the domestic management; and to say, that she never saw such regularity and method in any family in her life, where was the like number of servants: every one, she said, knew their duty, and did it without speaking to, in such silence, and with so much apparent cheerfulness and delight, without the least hurry or confusion, that it was her surprise and admiration: but kindly would have it that I took too much care upon me. “Yet,” said she, “I don’t see but you are always fresh and lively, and never seem tired or fatigued; and are always dressed and easy, so that no company find you unprepared, or unfit to receive them, come when they will, whether it be to breakfast or dinner.”
I told her ladyship, I owed all this and most of the conduct for which she was pleased to praise me, to her dear brother, who, at the beginning of my happiness, gave me several cautions and instructions for my behaviour; which had been the rule of my conduct ever since, and I hoped ever would be:—“To say nothing,” added I, “which yet would be very unjust, of the assistance I received from worthy Mrs. Jervis, who is an excellent manager.”
Good Creature, Sweet Pamela, and Charming Girl, were her common words; and she was pleased to attribute to me a graceful and unaffected ease, and that I have a natural dignity in my person and behaviour, which at once command love and reverence; so that, my dear Miss Darnford, I am in danger of being proud. For you must believe, that her ladyship’s approbation gives me great pleasure; and the more, as I was afraid, before she came, I should not have come on near so well in her opinion. As the chariot passed along, she took great notice of the respects paid me by people of different ranks, and of the blessings bestowed upon me, by several, as we proceeded; and said, she should fare well, and be rich in good wishes, for being in my company.