He declared that he had been ignorant that Lord Walwyn was at the Hague, or he should have waited on him immediately after arriving there, ‘since nothing,’ said the Marquis, ’does me good like the sight of an honest cavalier.’ I am sure Eustace might have said the same; and they sat talking together long and earnestly about how it fared with the King in Scotland, and how he had been made to take the Covenant, which, as they said, was in very truth a dissembling which must do him grievous ill, spiritually, however it might serve temporally. My Lord repeated his lady’s invitation to a dinner, which was to be followed up by sleighing on hills formed of ice. Annora, who always loved rapid motion as an exhilaration of spirits, brightened at the notion, and Eustace was anxious that it should be accepted, and thus we found ourselves pledged to enter into the diversions of the place.
So to my Lord Marquis of Newcastle’s dinner we went, and found ourselves regaled with more of good cheer than poor cavaliers could usually offer. There was not only a good sirloin of beer, but a goose, and many choice wild-fowl from the fens of the country. There was plum porridge too, which I had not seen since I left England at my marriage. Every one was so much charmed at the sight that I thought I ought to be so too, but I confess that it was too much for me, and that I had to own that it is true that the English are gross feeders. The Duke of York was there, looking brighter and more manly than I had yet seen him, enlivened perhaps by my Lady Newcastle, who talked to him, without ceasing, on all sorts of subjects. She would not permit the gentlemen to sit after dinner, because she would have us all out to enjoy her sport on the ice-hills, which were slopes made with boards, first covered with snow, and then with water poured over them till they were perfectly smooth and like glass. I cannot say that I liked the notion of rushing down them, but it seemed to fill Annora with ecstasy, and my lady provided her with a sleigh and a cavalier, before herself instructing the Duke of York in the guidance of her own sledge upon another ice-hill.
My Lord Marquis did me the honour to walk with me and converse on my brother. There was a paved terrace beneath a high wall which was swept clear of snow and strewn with sand and ashes, so that those who had no turn for the ice-hills could promenade there and gaze upon the sport. When his other duties as a host called him away, his lordship said, with a smile, that he would make acquainted with each other two of his own countrywomen, both alike disguised under foreign names, and therewith he presented Madame van Hunker to me. Being on the same side of the table we had not previously seen one another, nor indeed would she have known me by sight, since I had left England before her arrival at Court.