MY DEAR LADY,
I will now acquaint you with the good effects my behaviour to Mrs. Jewkes has had upon her, as a farther justification of my conduct towards the poor woman.
That she began to be affected as I wished, appeared to me before I left the Hall, not only in the conversations I had with her after my happiness was completed; but in her general demeanour also to the servants, to the neighbours, and in her devout behaviour at church: and this still further appears by a letter I have received from Miss Darnford. I dare say your ladyship will be pleased with the perusal of the whole letter, although a part of it would answer my present design; and in confidence, that you will excuse, for the sake of its other beauties, the high and undeserved praises which she so lavishly bestows upon me, I will transcribe it all.
From Miss Darnford to Mrs. B.
“MY DEAR NEIGHBOUR THAT WAS,
“I must depend upon your known goodness to excuse me for not writing before now, in answer to your letter of compliment to us, for the civilities and favours, as you call them, which you received from us in Lincolnshire, where we were infinitely more obliged to you than you to us.
“The truth is, my papa has been much disordered with a kind of rambling rheumatism, to which the physicians, learnedly speaking, give the name of arthritici vaga, or the flying gout; and when he ails ever so little (it signifies nothing concealing his infirmities, where they are so well known, and when he cares not who knows them), he is so peevish, and wants so much attendance, that my mamma, and her two girls (one of which is as waspish as her papa; you may be sure I don’t mean myself) have much ado to make his worship keep the peace; and I being his favourite, when he is indisposed, having most patience, if I may give myself a good word, he calls upon me continually, to read to him when he is grave, which is not often, and to tell him stories, and sing to him when he is merry; and so I have been employed as a principal person about him, till I have frequently become sad to make him cheerful, and happy when I could do it at any rate. For once, in a pet, he flung a book at my head, because I had not attended him for two hours, and he could not bear to be slighted by little bastards, that was his word, that were fathered upon him for his vexation! O these men! Fathers or husbands, much alike! the one tyrannical, the other insolent: so that, between one and t’other, a poor girl has nothing for it, but a few weeks’ courtship, and perhaps a first month’s bridalry, if that: and then she is as much a slave to her husband, as she was a vassal to her father—I mean if the father be a Sir Simon Darnford, and the spouse a Mr. B.
“But I will be a little more grave; for a graver occasion calls for it, yet such as will give you real pleasure. It is the very great change that your example has had upon your housekeeper.