My dear Miss Darnford,
One more letter, and I have done for a great while, because I hope your presence will put an end to the occasion. I shall now tell you of my second visit to the dairy-house, where we went to breakfast, in the chariot and four, because of the distance, which is ten pretty long miles.
I transcribed for you, from letters written formerly to my dear parents, an account of my former dairy-house visit, and what the people were, and whom I saw there; and although I besought you to keep that affair to yourself, as too much affecting the reputation of my Mr. B. to be known any farther, and even to destroy that account, when you had perused it; yet, I make no doubt, you remember the story, and so I need not repeat any part of it.
When we arrived there, we found at the door, expecting us (for they heard the chariot-wheels at a distance), my pretty Miss Goodwin, and two other Misses, who had earned their ride, attended by the governess’s daughter, a discreet young gentlewoman. As soon as I stepped out, the child ran into my arms with great eagerness, and I as tenderly embraced her, and leading her into the parlour, asked her abundance of questions about her work, and her lessons; and among the rest if she had merited this distinction of the chaise and dairy-house breakfast, or if it was owing to her uncle’s favour, and to that of her governess? The young gentlewoman assured me it was to both, and shewed me her needleworks, and penmanship; and the child was highly pleased with my commendations.
I took a good deal of notice of the other two Misses, for their school-fellow’s sake, and made each of them a present of some little toys; and my Miss, of a number of pretty trinkets, with which she was highly delighted; and I told her, that I would wait upon her governess, when I came from London into the country again, and see in what order she kept her little matters; for, above all things, I love pretty house-wifely Misses; and then, I would bring her more.
Mr. B. observed, with no small satisfaction, the child’s behaviour, which is very pretty; and appeared as fond of her, as if he had been more than her uncle, and yet seemed under some restraint, lest it should be taken, that he was more. Such power has secret guilt, poor gentleman! to lessen and restrain a pleasure, that would, in a happier light, have been so laudable to have manifested!
I am going to let you into a charming scene, resulting from this perplexity of the dear gentleman. A scene that has afforded me high delight ever since; and always will, when I think of it.
The child was very fond of her uncle, and told him she loved him dearly, and always would love and honour him, for giving her such a good aunt. “You talked, Madam,” said she, “when I saw you before, that I should come and live with you—Will you let me, Madam? Indeed I will be very good, and do every thing you bid me, and mind my book, and my needle; indeed I will.”