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The Visits of Elizabeth by Elinor Glyn

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[Illustration: Elizabeth]




Cambridge U.S.A.

MDCCCI (1901)




It was perhaps a fortunate thing for Elizabeth that her ancestors went
back to the Conquest, and that she numbered at least two Countesses and
a Duchess among her relatives. Her father had died some years ago, and,
her mother being an invalid, she had lived a good deal abroad. But, at
about seventeen, Elizabeth began to pay visits among her kinsfolk. It
was after arriving at Nazeby Hall, for a Cricket Week, that she first
wrote home.

Nazeby Hall, _26th July_.

Dearest Mamma,--I got here all right, without even a smut on my face,
for Agnes tidied me up in the brougham before we arrived at the gate.
The dust in the train was horrid. It is a nice house. They were at tea
when I was ushered in; it was in the hall--I suppose it was because it
was so windy outside. There seemed to be a lot of people there; and
they all stopped talking suddenly, and stared at me as if I were a new
thing in the Zoo, and then, after a minute, went on with their
conversations at the point they had left off.

[Sidenote: _Afternoon Tea_]

Lady Cecilia pecked my cheek, and gave me two fingers; and asked me, in
a voice right up at the top, how were you. I said you were better,
and--you know what you told me to say. She murmured something while she
was listening to what a woman with a sweet frock and green eyes was
saying at the other end of the table. There was heaps of tea. She waved
vaguely for me to sit down, which I did; but there was a footstool
near, and it was half dark, so I fell over that, but not very badly,
and got safely to my seat.

Lady Cecilia--continuing her conversation across the room all the
time--poured out a cup of tea, with lumps and _lumps_ of sugar in it,
and lots of cream, just what you would give to a child for a treat! and
she handed it to me, but I said, "Oh! please, Lady Cecilia, I don't
take sugar!" She has such bulgy eyes, and she opened them wide at me,
perfectly astonished, and said, "Oh! then please ring the bell; I don't
believe there is another clean cup." Everybody stopped talking again,
and looked at me, and the green-eyed lady giggled--and I rang the bell,
and this time didn't fall over anything, and so presently I got some
tea. Just as I was enjoying such a nice cake, and watching all the
people, quite a decent man came up and sat down behind me. Lady Cecilia
had not introduced me to anybody, and he said, "Have you come a long
way?" And I said, "Yes." And he said, "It must have been dusty in the
train," and I said it was--and he was beginning to say something more,
when the woman with the green eyes said, "Harry, do hand me the
cucumber sandwiches," and so he had to get up, and just then Sir Trevor
came in, and he was glad to see me. He is a jolly soul, and he said I
was eight when he last saw me, and seemed quite surprised I had grown
any taller since! Just as though people could stay at eight! Then he
patted my cheek, and said, "You're a beauty, Elizabeth," and Lady
Cecilia's eyes bulged at him a good deal, and she said to me, "Wouldn't
you like to see your room?" and I said I wasn't a bit in a hurry, but
she took me off, and here I am; and I am going to wear my pink silk for
dinner, and will finish this by-and-by.

12.30.--Well, I have had dinner, and I found out a good many of their
names--they mostly arrived yesterday. The woman with the green eyes is
Mrs. de Yorburgh-Smith. I am sure she is a _pig_. The quite decent man,
"Harry," is a Marquis--the Marquis of Valmond--because he took Lady
Cecilia in to dinner. He is playing in the Nazeby Eleven.

There is a woman I like, with stick-out teeth; her name is Mrs.
Vavaseur. She knows you, and she is awfully nice, though so plain, and
she never looks either over your head, or all up and down, or talks to
you when she is thinking of something else. There are heaps more women,
and the eleven men, so we are a party of about twenty-five; but you
will see their names in the paper.

Such a bore took me in! He began about the dust again, but I could not
stand that, so I said that every one had already asked me about it. So
he said "Oh!" and went on with his soup.

[Sidenote: _The Cricket Talk_]

At the other side was another of the Eleven, and he said, Did I like
cricket? And I said, No, I hated always having to field (which was what
I did, you know, when I played with the Byrne boys at Biarritz); and I
asked him if he was a good player, and he said "No," so I said I
supposed he always had to field too, then; and he said, No, that
sometimes they allowed him a bat, and so I said I was sure that wasn't
the same game I played; and he laughed as if I had said something
funny--his name is Lord George Lane--and the other one laughed too, and
they both looked idiots, and so I did not say any more about that. But
we talked on all the time, and every one else seemed to be having such
fun, and they all call each other by pet names, and shorten up all
their adjectives (it _is_ adjectives I mean, not adverbs). I am sure
you made a mistake in what you told me, that all well-bred people
behave nicely at dinner, and sit up, because they don't a bit; lots of
them put their elbows on the table, and nearly all sat anyhow in their
chairs. Only Lady Cecilia and Mrs. Vavaseur behaved like you; but then
they are both quite old--over forty.

They all talk about things that no stranger could understand, but I
dare say I shall pick it up presently. And after dinner, in the
drawing-room, Lady Cecilia did introduce me to two girls--the Roose
girls--you know. Well, Lady Jane is the best of the two; Lady Violet is
a lump. They both poke their heads, and Jane turns in her toes. They
have rather the look in their eyes of people with tight boots. Violet
said, "Do you bicycle?" and I said, "Yes, sometimes;" and she said,
with a big gasp: "Jane and I adore it. We have been ten miles since tea
with Captain Winchester and Mr. Wertz."

[Sidenote: _An African Millionaire_]

I did not think that interesting, but still we talked. They asked me
stacks of questions, but did not wait for the answers much. Mr. Wertz
is the African millionaire. He does not play cricket, and, when the men
came in afterwards, he crossed over to us, and Jane introduced him to
me when he had talked a little. He is quite a sort of gentleman, and is
very much at home with every one. He laughed at everything I said. Mrs.
Smith (such bosh putting "de Yorburgh" on!) sat on a big sofa with Lord
Valmond, and she opened and shut her eyes at him, and Jane Roose says
she takes every one's friend away; and Lord George Lane came up, and we
talked, and he wasn't such an idiot as at dinner, and he has nice
teeth. All the rest, except the Rooses and me, are married--the women,
I mean--except Miss La Touche, but she is just the same, because she
sits with the married lot, and they all chat together, and Violet Roose
says she is a cat, but I think she looks nice; she is so pretty, and
her hair is done at the right angle, because it is like Agnes does
mine, and she has nice scent on; and I hope it won't rain to-morrow,
and good-night, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--Jane Roose says Miss La Touche will never get married; she is
too smart, and all the married women's men talk to her, and that the
best tone is to look rather dowdy; but I don't believe it, and I would
rather be like Miss La Touche. E.

Elizabeth received an immediate reply to her letter, and the next one

Nazeby Hall, _28th July_.

Dearest Mamma,--I _am_ sorry you find I use bad grammar and write
incoherently, and you don't quite approve of my style; but you see it
is just because I am in a hurry. I don't speak it; but if I must stop
to think of grammar and that, I should never get on to tell you what I
am doing here, so do, dear Mamma, try and bear it bravely. Well,
everybody came down to breakfast yesterday in a hat, and every one was
late--that is, every one who came down at all, the rest had theirs

[Sidenote: _The Cricket Match_]

The cricket began, and it was really a bore. We sat in a tent, and all
the nice men were fielding (it is always like that), and the married
lot sat together, and talked about their clothes, and Lady Doraine read
a book. She is pretty too, but has big ears. Her husband is somewhere
else, but she does not seem to miss him; and the Rooses told me her
hair used to be black, and that they have not a penny in the world, so
I think she must be clever and nice to be able to manage her clothes so
well. They are perfectly lovely, and I heard her say her maid makes

Miss La Touche happened to be next me, so she spoke to me, and said my
hat was "too devey for words" (the blue one you got at Caroline's); and
by-and-by we had lunch, and at lunch Lord Valmond came and sat by me,
and so Mrs. Smith did too, and she gushed at me. He seemed rather put
out about something--I suppose it was having to field all the
time.--and she talked to him across me, and she called him "Harry"
lots of times, and she always says things that have another meaning.
But they all do that--repeat each other's Christian names in a
sentence, I mean--just like you said that middle-class people did when
you were young, so I am sure everything must have changed now.

Well, after lunch, all the people in the county seemed to come; some of
them had driven endless miles, and we sat apart, I suppose to let them
see how ordinary we thought them; and Lady Cecilia was hardly polite,
and the others were more or less rude; but presently something
happened--I don't know what--and the nice men had not to field any
more. Perhaps they could not stand it any longer, and so every one who
had been yawning woke up, and Mr. Wertz, who had been writing letters
all this time, appeared, and Lady Doraine made room for him beside her,
and they talked; and when our Eleven had drunk something they came and
lay on the grass near us, and we had such a nice time. There is a
beautiful man here, and his name is Sir Dennis Desmond, and his
grandfather was an Irish King, and he talks to me all the time, and
his mother looks at him and frowns; and I think it silly of her, don't
you? And if I were a man I wouldn't visit with my mother if she frowned
at me. Do you know her? She dresses as if she were as young as I am.
She had a blue muslin on this morning, and her hair is red with green
stripes in it, and she is all white with thick pink cheeks, and across
the room she doesn't look at all bad; but close! Goodness gracious she
looks a hundred! And I would much sooner have nice white hair and a cap
than look like that, wouldn't you? I'll finish this when I come to bed.

[Sidenote: _Sir Dennis Desmond_]

12.30.--What _do_ you think has happened? Sir Dennis sat beside me on
the sofa just as he did last night--but I forget, I have not yet told
you of yesterday and last night; but never mind now, I must get on.
Well, he said I was a perfect _darling_, but that he never could get a
chance to say a word to me alone, but that if I would only drop my
glove outside my door it would be all right; and I thought that such a
_ridiculous_ thing to say, that I couldn't help laughing, and Lady
Cecilia happened to be passing, and so she asked me what I was laughing
at, and so I told her what he had said, and asked why? There happened
to be a pause just then and, as one has to speak rather loud to Lady
Cecilia to attract her attention, every one heard, and they all looked
_flabergasted;_ and then all shrieked with laughter, and Sir Dennis
said so crossly, "Little fool!" and Lady Desmond simply glared at me,
and Lady Cecilia said, "Really, Elizabeth!" and Sir Dennis got purple
in the face, and Jane Roose whispered, "How could you dare with his
wife listening!" and every one talked and chaffed. It was too stupid
about nothing; but the astonishing part is, that funny old thing I
thought was the mother turns out to be _his wife!_

Imagine! years and years older than him! Jane Roose said he had to
marry her because her husband died; but I think that the most absurd
reason I ever heard, don't you? Lots of people's husbands die, and they
don't have to get married off again at once--so why should that ugly
old thing, specially when there are such heaps of nice girls about?

[Sidenote: _A Man of Honour_]

Jane Roose said it was so honourable of him, but I call it
crazy--unless, perhaps, he was a great friend of the husband's, who
made him promise when he was dying, and he did not like to break his
word. How he must have hated it! I wonder if he had ever met her
before, or if the husband made him take her, a pig in a poke. I expect
that was it, because he never could have done it if he had ever seen

I can't think why he is so cross with me, but I am sorry, as he is such
a nice man. Now I am sleepy, and it is frightfully late, so I suppose I
had better get into bed. Agnes came up, and has been fussing about for
the last hour. Best love from your affectionate daughter,


Nazeby Hall, _30th July_.

Dearest Mamma,--Yesterday was the best day we have had yet; the nice
men had not to field at all, and the stupid cricket was over at four
o'clock, and so we went into the gardens and lay in hammocks, and Miss
La Touche had such nice shoes on, but her ankles are thick.

[Sidenote: _Ghosts in the Corridor_]

The Rooses told me it wasn't "quite nice" for girls to loll in hammocks
(and they sat on chairs)--that you could only do it when you are
married; but I believe it is because they don't have pretty enough
petticoats. Anyway, Lady Doraine and that horrid Smith creature made a
place for me in the empty hammock between them, and, as I knew my
"frillies" were all right, I hammocked too, and it was _lovely_. Lord
Valmond and Mr. Wertz were lying near, and they said agreeable things,
at least I suppose so, because both of them--Lady Doraine and Mrs.
Smith--looked purry-purry-puss-puss. They asked me why I was so sleepy,
and I said because I had not slept well the last night--that I was
sure the house was haunted. And so they all screamed at me, "Why?" and
so I told them, what was really true, that in the night I heard a noise
of stealthy footsteps, and as I was not frightened I determined to see
what it was, so I got up--Agnes sleeps in the dressing-room, but, of
course, _she_ never wakes--I opened the door and peeped out into the
corridor. There are only two rooms beyond mine towards the end, round
the corner, and it is dimly lit all night. Well, I distinctly saw a
very tall grey figure disappear round the bend of the hall! When I got
thus far every one dropped their books and listened with rapt
attention, and I could see them exchanging looks, so I am sure they
know it is haunted, and were trying to keep it from me. I asked Mrs.
Smith if she had seen or heard anything, because she sleeps in one of
the rooms. She looked perfectly green, but she said she had not heard a
sound, and had slept like a top, and that I must have dreamt it.

Then Lady Doraine and every one talked at once, and Lord Valmond asked
did any one know if the London evening papers had come. But I was not
going to be put off like that, so I just said, "I know you all know it
is haunted and are putting me off because you think I'll be frightened;
but I assure you I am not, and if I hear the noise again I am going to
rush out and see the ghost close."

Then every one looked simply _ahuri_. So I mean to get the ghost story
out of Sir Trevor to-night after dinner--I had not a chance
yesterday--as I am sure it is interesting. Mrs. Smith looked at me as
if she wanted to poison me, and I can't think why specially, can you?

_Twelve p.m._--I asked Sir Trevor if the house is haunted, and he said,
"God bless my soul, no!" and so I told him, and he nearly had a fit; so
I _know_ it is, but I am not a bit frightened.--Your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.

Nazeby Hall, _Sunday._

Dearest Mamma,--Agnes and I go to Aunt Mary's by the 10:30 train
to-morrow, and I am not a bit sorry, although I have enjoyed myself,
and now I begin to feel quite at home with every one--at least, some of
them; but such a tiresome thing happened last night. It was like this:
After dinner it was so hot that we all went out on the terrace, and, as
soon as we got there, Mrs. Smith and Lady Doraine and the rest said it
was too cold, and went in again; but the moon was pretty, so I stayed
alone, and presently Lord Valmond came out, and stood beside me. There
is such a nice view, you remember, from there, and I didn't a bit want
to talk.

[Sidenote: _A Kiss and a Blow_]

He said something, but I wasn't listening, when suddenly I did hear him
say this: "You adorable _enfant terrible_, come out and watch for
ghosts to-night; and I will come and play the ghost, and console you if
you are frightened!" And he put his horrid arm right round my waist,
and kissed me--somewhere about my right ear--before I could realise
what he was at!

I _was_ in a rage, as you can fancy, Mamma, so I just turned round and
gave him the hardest slap I could, right on the cheek! He was furious,
and called me a "little devil," and we both walked straight into the

I suppose I looked _savage_, and in the light I could see he had great
red finger marks on his face. Anyway, Mrs. Smith, who was sitting on
the big sofa near the window alone, looked up, and said in an odious
voice, that made every one listen, "I am afraid, Harry, you have not
enjoyed cooing in the moonlight; it looks as if our sweet Elizabeth had
been difficult, and had boxed your ears!"

That made me _wild_, the impudence! That _parvenue_ calling me by my
Christian name! So I just lost my temper right out, and said to her,
"It is perfectly true what you say, and I will box yours if you call me
'Elizabeth' again!"

_Tableau!_ She almost fainted with astonishment and fury, and when she
could get her voice decent enough to speak, she laughed and said--

"What a charming savage! How ingenuous!"

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond in Disgrace_]

And then Lady Cecilia did a really nice thing, which shows that she is
a brick, in spite of having bulgy eyes, and being absent and tiresome.
She came up to me as if nothing had happened, and said, "Come,
Elizabeth, they are waiting for you to begin a round game," and she put
her arm through mine and drew me into the billiard-room, and on the way
she squeezed my arm, and said, in a voice quite low down for her, "She
deserved it," and I was so touched I nearly cried. From where I sat at
the card-table I could see Mrs. Smith and Lord Valmond, and they were
quarrelling. She looked like green rhubarb juice, and he had the
expression of "Damn!" all over him.

Of course I did not say good-night to him, and I hope I shall never see
him again.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


300 Eaton Place,

_Tuesday, 2nd August_.

[Sidenote: _London out of Season_]

Dearest Mamma,--The train from Nazeby was so late and Aunt Mary seemed
to think it was my fault--so unreasonable of her, just because they had
waited lunch for me. I don't believe I like visiting very near
relations as much as ones further off. They feel they can say anything
to you. I am glad I have only got to sleep here the one night. I had
not eaten my omelette before Aunt Mary began about my hair. She said of
course it was very nice curling like that, but it was a pity I did not
wear a net over it all to keep it more tidy. She was sure you spoilt
me, even though we are rich, letting me have such smart clothes. She
had heard from Nazeby, that I had had on a fresh frock every day. I
don't know who could have written to her. She has got to look much
older in the two years we have been abroad and the corners of her mouth
shut with a snap. Perhaps it is having to spend part of the year with
her mother-in-law.

[Sidenote: _Cousinly Curiosity_]

Lettice and Clara are just the same as they were, not a bit of
difference since they came out. They are as tidy as can be, not a hair
escapes from their nets! and their heads look as if they had dozens of
hairpins in them, and because it is out of the season they have gone
back to their country high linen collars, and they look as if they were
choking. I hate linen collars, don't you, Mamma? Two Ethridge aunts are
staying here besides me, and we all have to sit together in the
morning-room, as everything is covered up in the drawing-rooms, ready
for being shut up next week, when they go to Scotland. After lunch the
girls did nothing but question me about what we had done at Nazeby.
They said Lady Cecilia only asks them to the dullest parties. They knew
every one's name, they had carefully read them in the _Morning Post_.
They wanted especially to know about Lord Valmond because Lettice had
danced with him once this season. They thought him awfully
good-looking. I said he was an odious young man and very rude. So
Lettice said she supposed he had not spoken to me, as he never speaks
to girls. I told them that was quite a mistake as he had spoken to me
all the time, but I hated him. And do you know, Mamma, they looked as
if they did not believe a word I was saying; which was not very polite
I think.

When we got upstairs they wanted to see all my clothes, but fortunately
Agnes had only taken out one or two things, and they asked me to let
their maid take patterns of everything. Of course I could not refuse,
but I hate my things being mauled over by strange females, and Agnes
was simply furious. I am sure she will scratch the maid when she comes
to ask for a frock. They tried on my hats all at the wrong angle, first
Clara, then Lettice, and made faces and gave little screams at
themselves in the glass, and no wonder, for they looked perfect guys in
them, with their tight "tongy" hair. Then they tossed them on to the
bed as they finished with them, and Agnes kept muttering to herself
like distant thunder. Finally Lettice danced a _pas seul_ with the
white rose toque perched on the back of her head, and she made such
kicks and jumps that it lurched off, and landed in the water jug! At
that Agnes got beside herself.

"Fi! donc, Mademoiselle!" she screamed, "ca c'est trop fort!"

[Sidenote: _On the Water Shoot_]

The hat is quite spoilt, so please write and order me another one from
Caroline's, like a nice, sweet, pretty, darling Mamma. At tea they were
all so interested when I told them I was going to stay in France with
the de Croixmares. One of the Ethridge aunts (Rowena) pricked up her
ears at once, and asked me if Madame de Croixmare was not my godmother,
and had she not been a great friend of poor papa's. So I told her yes,
and that I was going there for three weeks. She and Aunt Mary exchanged
looks, I don't know why, but it irritated me, Mamma, and I rather
snapped at Aunt Mary when she began about my hair again. And presently
I heard her saying to the other aunt that it was a pity girls nowadays
were allowed to be impertinent to their elders.

Of course there was not a thing to do, every one having left Town, so
in the evening Uncle Geoffrey took us to the Exhibition to go down in
the Water Shoot. That is _lovely_, Mamma, only I had to sit beside
Lettice, because Clara was frightened and would be with her father. A
horrid man behind, who, I suppose, was not holding on, flopped right on
to us at the bump in the water, and then said, "Beg pardon, dears," and
it made Uncle Geoffrey so cross he would not let us go down any more,
and we had to go home and to bed. I am just scribbling this before

We go on to Great-aunt Maria's by the eleven train. I am glad Cousin
Octavia is going to take me out next season instead of Aunt Mary, which
was first suggested. I know I should not have been good with her. She
is not a bit like you, darling Mamma. I hope you are better; I shan't
see you again until next Saturday, when I leave Heaviland Manor. It is
a long time.--With love from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Heaviland Manor,

_Wednesday, August 3rd_.

Dearest Mamma,--I can't think why you made me come here! Agnes has been
so sniffy and condescending ever since this morning; but I have
remarked that Uncle John's valet is only about forty and has a roving
eye! so perhaps by to-morrow morning I shan't have my hair screwed off
my head! But I feel for Agnes, only in a different way.

[Sidenote: _A Quiet Evening_]

It is a stuffy, boring place. You remember the house--enormous, tidy,
hideous, uncomfortable. Well, we had _such_ a dinner last night after I
arrived--soup, fish, everything popped on to the table for Great-uncle
John to carve at one end, and Great-aunt Maria at the other! A regular
aquarium specimen of turbot sat on its dish opposite him, while Aunt
Maria had a huge lot of soles. And there wasn't any need, because
there were four men-servants in the room who could easily have done it
at the side; but I remember you said it was always like that when you
were a little girl. Well, it got on to puddings. I forgot to tell you,
though, there were plenty of candles on the table, without shades, and
a "bouquet" of flowers, all sorts (I am sure fixed in sand), in a gold
middle thing. Well, about the puddings--at least four of them were
planted on the table, awfully sweet and jammy, and Uncle John was quite
irritated with me because I could only eat two; and Aunt Maria, who has
got as deaf as a post, kept roaring to old Major Orwell, who sat next
her, "Children have no healthy appetites as in our day. Eh! what?" And
I wanted to scream in reply, "But I am grown up now, Aunt Maria!"

Uncle John asked me every question over and over, and old Lady
Farrington's false teeth jumped so once or twice that I got quite
nervous. That is the party, me, Major Orwell, Lady Farrington, and
Uncle and Aunt.

When dessert was about coming, _everything_ thing got lifted from the
table, and before you could say "Jack Robinson" off whisked the cloth.
I was so unprepared for it that I said "Oh!" and ducked my head, and
that made the cloth catch on old Lady Farrington's cap--she had to sit
on my side of the table, to be out of the draught--and, wasn't it
_dreadful_, it almost pulled it off, and with it the grey curls fixed
at the side, and the rest was all bald. So that was why it was so
loose--there was nothing to pin it to! And she glared at me, and fixed
it as straight as she could, but it had such a saucy look all the rest
of the evening.

I did apologise as well as I could, and there was such an awkward
pause; and after dinner we had coffee in the drawing-room, and then in
a little time tea, and between times they sat down to whist, all but
Aunt Maria--so they had to have a dummy. She wanted to hear all about
you, she said, and my going to visit in France; and so I had to bellow
descriptions of your neuralgia, and about Mme. de Croixmare being my
godmother, &c., and Aunt Maria says, "Tut, tut!" as well as "Eh!
what?" to everything. I had not remembered a bit what they were like;
but I was only six, wasn't I, when we came last?

After she had asked every sort of thing about you under the sun, she
kept giving longing glances at the dummy's cards; so I said, "Oh! Aunt
Maria, I am afraid I am keeping you from your whist." As soon as I
could make her hear, you should have seen how she hopped up like a
two-year-old into the vacant seat; and they were far more serious about
it than any one was at Nazeby, where they had hundreds on, and Aunt
Maria and the others only played for counters--that long
mother-o'-pearl fish kind. I looked at a book on the table, Lady
Blessington's "Book of Beauty," and I see then every one got born with
champagne-bottle shoulders. Had they been paring them for generations
before, I wonder? Because old John, the keeper at Hendon, told me once
that the best fox-terriers arrive now without any tails, their mothers'
and grand-mothers' and great-grandmothers' having been cut off for so
long; but I wonder, if the fashion changed, how could they get long
tails again? There must be some way, because all of us now have square
shoulders. But what was I saying? Oh! yes, when I had finished the
"Beauty Book," I heard Aunt Maria getting so cross with the old boy
opposite her. "You've revoked, Major Orwell," she said, whatever that

[Sidenote: _An Old English Dinner_]

Then hot spiced port came in--it was such a close night--and they all
had some, and so did I, and it was good; and then candles came. _Such_
lovely silver, and so beautifully cleaned; and Aunt and Uncle kissed
me. I dodged Lady Farrington's false teeth, because, after her cap
incident, she might have bitten me. And Uncle said, "Too late, too late
for a little one to sit up--no beauty sleep!" And Aunt Maria said,
"Tut, tut!" and I thought it must be the middle of the night--it felt
like it. But do you know, Mamma, when I got upstairs to my room it was
only _half-past ten!_

I have such a huge room, with a four-post feather bed in it. I had let
Agnes go to bed directly after her supper, with a toothache, so I had
to get undressed by myself; and I was afraid to climb in from the side,
it was so high up. But I found some steps with blue carpet on them, as
well as a table with a Bible, and a funny old china medicine spoon, and
glass and water-jug on it; and the steps did nicely, for when I got to
the top, I just took a header into the feathers. It seemed quite comfy
at first, but in a few minutes, goodness gracious, I was suffocated!
And it was such a business getting the whole mass on the floor; and
then I did not know very well how to make the bed again, and I had not
a very good night, and overslept myself in the morning. So I got down
late for prayers. Uncle John reads them, and Aunt Maria repeats
responses whenever she thinks best, as she can't hear a word; but I
suppose she counts up, and, from long habit, just says "Amen" when she
gets to the end of--thirty, say--fancying that will be right; and it is
generally. Only Uncle John stopped in the middle to say, "Damn that
dog!" as Fido was whining and scratching outside, so that put her out
and brought in the "Amen" too soon.

[Sidenote: _Family Prayers_]

After breakfast Aunt Maria jingled a large bunch of keys and said it
was her day for seeing the linen-room, and wouldn't I like to go with
her, as all young people should have "house-wifely" ideas? So I went.
It is so beautifully kept, and such lovely linen, all with lavender
between it; and she talked to the housekeeper, and looked over
everything--she seemed to know each sheet by name! Then we went to the
storeroom, all as neat as a new pin; and from there to interview all
the old people from the village, who were waiting with requests, and
some of them were as deaf as she is. So the housekeeper had to scream
at both sides, and I _was_ tired when we got back, and did want to rush
out of doors; but I had to wait, and then walk between Lady Farrington
and Aunt Maria up and down the path in the sun till lunch at one
o'clock; and after that we went for a drive in the barouche, with the
fattest white horses you ever saw, and a coachman just like
Cinderella's one that had been a rat. He seemed to have odd bits of
fur on his face and under his chin, and Aunt Maria said that he
suffered from a sore throat, that was why, which he caught at Aunt
Mary's wedding; and so I counted up--and as Aunt Mary is your eldest
sister, it must have been more than twenty years ago. I do call that a
long sore throat, don't you? and I wouldn't keep a coachman with a
beard, would you?

We went at a snail's pace, and got in at four o'clock, and then there
was tea at half-past, with the nicest bread-and-butter you ever tasted.
And after that I said I must write to you, and so here I am, and I feel
that if it goes on much longer I shall do something dreadful. Now
good-bye, dearest Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Heaviland Manor,

_Friday, August 5th_.

Dearest Mamma,--I am glad to-morrow will soon be here, and that I can
come home, but I must tell you about yesterday. First, all the morning
it rained, and what with roaring at Aunt Maria and holding skeins of
wool for Lady Farrington, I got such jumps that I felt I should scream
unless I got out; so after lunch, while they were both having a nap in
their chairs, I slipped off for a walk by myself--it was still raining,
but not much; I took Fido, who is generally a little beast, and far too

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond Reappears_]

We had had a nice scamper, and had turned to come back not far from the
Park, when who do you think came riding up?--Lord Valmond! The last
person one expected to see down here! He never waited a second when he
saw me, but jumped off his horse and beamed--just as if we had parted
the best of friends!!! _Did_ you ever hear such impudence? Of course I
should have walked on without recognising him, if I had been left to
myself, but he took me so by surprise that I had shaken hands before I
knew, and then it was too late to walk on. It appears he has a place
down here which he never comes to generally, but just happened to
now--to see how the young pheasants were doing. He began at once to
talk, as if I had never been angry or boxed his ears at all! It really
exasperated me, so at last I said he had better get on his horse again,
as I wanted to run on with Fido; so then he said he had just been on
his way to call on Aunt Maria, and would come with me.

I said I was sure that wasn't true, as he was going the other way. So
he said that he had only been going that way to give his horse a little
exercise, and that he intended to go in at the other gate.

I said I was sure that wasn't true either, as there was no way round
that way, unless one jumped the park palings. So he said that was what
he had intended to do. Just then we came to the turnstile of the
right-of-way, so I slipped through and called out, "Then I won't keep
you from your exercise," and walked on as fast as I could.

[Sidenote: _Lady Farrington's Nap_]

What do you think he did, Mamma? Simply got on his horse, and jumped
those palings there and then! I can't think how he wasn't killed. There
was almost no take-off, and the fence is so high. However, there he
was, and I could not get away again, because, if I had run, the horse
could easily have kept up with me. But I only said "Yes" and "No" all
the way to the house, so he could not have enjoyed it much. We went
straight to the drawing-room, where tea was almost up, and there was
Lady Farrington alone--still asleep, and her cap had fallen right back,
and all the bald was showing; and just then a carriage drove up to the
door, and we heard visitors and the footsteps in the hall. I had just
time to cry to Lord Valmond, "Keep them back while I wake her!" and
then I rushed to Lady Farrington, and shouted in her ear, "Visitors!
and--and--your cap is a little crooked!" "Eh! what?" she screamed, and
her teeth as nearly as possible jumped on to the carpet. She simply
flew to the mirror, but, as you know, it is away so high up she
couldn't see, so she made frantic efforts with her hands, and just got
it to cover the bald, in a rakish, one-sided way, when the whole lot
streamed into the room. Lord Valmond looked awfully uncomfortable.
Goodness knows what he had said to them to keep them back! Anyway,
Harvey announced "Mrs. and the Misses Clarke," and a thin, very
high-nosed person, followed by two buffish girls, came forward. Lady
Farrington said, "How d'ye do?" as well as she could. They were some
friends of hers and Aunt Maria's, who are staying with the Morverns, I
gathered from their conversation. They _must_ have thought she had been
on a spree since last they met! I could hardly behave for laughing, and
did not dare to look at Lord Valmond.

They had not been there more than five minutes when another carriage
arrived, and two other ladies were announced. "The Misses Clark!" The
other Clarkes glared like tigers, and Lady Farrington lowered her chin
and eyelashes at them (she has just the same manners as the people at
Nazeby, although she is such a frump--it is because she is an earl's
daughter, I suppose), and she called out to Harvey at the top of her
voice, "Let Lady Worden be told at once there are visitors." The poor
new things looked so uncomfortable, that I felt, as I was Aunt Maria's
niece, I at least must be polite to them; so I asked them to sit down,
and we talked. They were jolly, fat, vulgar souls, who have taken the
Ortons' place they told me, and this was their return visit, as the
Ortons had asked Aunt Maria to call. They were quite old maids, past
thirty, with such funny, grand, best smart Sunday-go-to-meeting looking
clothes on.

[Sidenote: _An Afternoon Call_]

It appears that Harvey had sent a footman up to Aunt Maria's door, to
tell of the first Clarkes' arrival, and then, terrified by Lady
Farrington's voice, had rushed up himself to announce the second lot,
and he met Aunt Maria on the stairs coming down, and of course she
never heard the difference between "Mrs." and the "Misses," and thought
he was simply hurrying her up for the first set. So in she sailed all
smiles, and as Mrs. Clarke was nearest the door, she got to her first,
and _was_ so glad to see her.

"Dear, dear, _years_ since we met, Honoria," she said; "and these are
all your bonny girls, tut, tut!" and she looked at the fat Clarks who
came next. "Ah! yes I can see! What a wonderful likeness to poor dear

Furious glances from Mrs. Clarke, whose daughters are my age!

"And this must be Millicent," she went on, taking the second fat
Clark's hand. "Yes, yes; why, she takes after you, my dear Honoria,
tut, tut!" and she squeezed hands, and beamed at them all in the
kindest way. Mrs. Clarke, bursting with fury, tried to say they were no
relations of hers; but, of course, Aunt Maria could not catch all that,
only the word "relations," and she then caught sight of the buff
Clarklets in the background.

[Sidenote: _A Friendly Invitation_]

"Ah, yes! I see, these are your girls; I have mistaken your other
relations for them." Then she turned again to the fat Clarks, evidently
liking their jolly faces best. "But one can see they are Clarkes. Let
me guess. Yes, they must be poor Henry's children!" At this, Lord
Valmond had such a violent fit of choking by the tea-table, that Aunt
Maria, who hears the oddest, most unexpected things, caught that, and
saw him, and saying, "Howd' ye do?" created a diversion. Presently I
heard Lady Farrington roaring in a whisper into her ears the difference
between the Clarkes and the Clarks, and the poor dear was so upset; but
her kind heart came up trumps, and she was awfully nice to the two
vulgar Clarks, who had the good sense to go soon, and then the others
went. Then she got Lord Valmond on to her sofa, and he screamed such
heaps of nice things into her ear, just as if she had been Mrs. Smith,
and she was _so_ pleased. And Uncle John came in, and they talked about
the pheasants, and he asked Lord Valmond to dinner on Saturday night
(to-morrow), and he looked timidly at me, to see if I was still angry
with him and wanted him not to come, so I smiled _sweetly_, and he
accepted joyfully. Isn't it lovely, Mamma? I shall be home with you by
then, and Lady Farrington and Major Orwell are going too! So he will
have to play dummy whist all the evening with Uncle and Aunt, and eat
his dinner at half-past six! Now, good-night.--Your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.


Hazeldene Court,

_Tuesday, 9th August_.

[Sidenote: _The Horse Show_]

Dearest Mamma,--There is a huge party here for the Horse Show, and I
daresay I shall enjoy myself. We had no sooner got into the station at
Paddington than in the distance I caught sight of Lord Valmond. I
pretended not to see him, and got behind a barrow of trunks, and then
slipped into the carriage and made Agnes sit by the door. We saw him
walking up and down, and, just before the train started, he came and
got into our carriage. He seemed awfully surprised to see me, said he
had not an idea he should meet me, and apologised for disturbing me,
but he said all the other carriages were full. He seemed so uppish and
unconcerned that I felt obliged to ask him how he enjoyed his dinner
with Aunt Maria on Saturday. He said he had enjoyed it awfully, and
that Aunt Maria was a charming hostess. He asked me if I was going far
down the line, or only just on the river. I said not very far. I tried
to be as stiff as possible and not speak, and I did not tell him where
I was going, but, do you know, Mamma, there is no snubbing him. He said
at once that he was going to Hazeldene Court, to stay with his cousins
the Westaways. I said, "Indeed!" and he said, "Yes, aren't they cousins
of yours too?" and when I said "Yes," he said he felt sure we were
related, and mightn't he call me Elizabeth!!! I just told him I thought
him the rudest, most detestable man I had ever met; and if he spoke to
me again at all, I should ask the guard to find me another carriage.

[Sidenote: _Lord Valmond Presumes_]

He was awfully surprised, and said he had not meant to be the least
rude; he thought it was the custom for cousins to call each other by
their Christian names, and _his_ name was Harry. (Just as if I did not
know that, after hearing Mrs. Smith calling him every few minutes!) I
said in a freezing tone we were not related in any way, and I wished to
read the paper, upon which he produced every imaginable kind, lots of
ladies' papers that he could not possibly have wanted for himself. I
don't know who he expected to meet. However, I would not have any of
them, but looked at a _Punch_ I had bought myself. You know that
uncomfortable feeling one has when some one is staring at one--it makes
one obliged to look up--so after a while our eyes met over the _Punch_,
and he smiled, and his teeth are so white. All he said was, "I was
thinking of the Clarkes and Clarks." And in spite of my being indignant
with him I could not help laughing, when I remembered about them, and
then it was hard to be very stiff again at once.

[Sidenote: _The Offending Dimple_]

Just about this time Agnes went to sleep in the other corner, and the
moment Lord Valmond saw she was really off, he bent forward and said in
such a humble voice, that he was sorry he had offended me at Nazeby; he
had yielded to a sudden temptation, and he could only ask me to forgive
him. He had quite mistaken my character he said, he now saw I was a
serious person, but he had been deceived by the dimple in my left
cheek. (Now isn't it provoking, Mamma, to have a dimple like that, that
gives people the impression they may treat you with want of respect?)
I said I did not believe a word of it, and, as we were only the merest
acquaintances, it did not matter whether I forgave him or not, and I
hoped he would not mention the subject again. He then asked me if I was
going to stop at Hazeldene until Saturday. So you see, Mamma, he must
have known I was going there all along; aren't men odd? You can't trust
them one minute not to be deceiving you, only I think on the whole I
prefer them to women, they can't copy your clothes at all events. After
that he seemed to think we had quite made everything up, and went on
talking in the friendliest way, but I _would not_ thaw; he shall not
have the chance of blaming my dimple again for any of his misconduct!
At last I said I hated talking in the train, and pretended to go to
sleep. But I could not get really off, because every time I opened my
eyes just to see where we were, I found him looking at me. A huge
omnibus was waiting for us when we arrived, and several more guests had
come by the same train and we all drove to the house together. They
were having tea on the croquet lawn--Lady Westaway and some other
people, and the eldest son's wife. You remember what a fuss there was
when he married, how Lady Westaway had hysterics for three days. Well,
she looks as if she could have them again any moment.

[Sidenote: _An Attractive Woman_]

Mrs. Westaway is awfully pretty. She was lying in a swing chair,
showing lots of petticoat and ankle. The ankle isn't bad, but the
petticoat had common lace on it. She has huge turquoise earrings, and
very stick-out hair arranged to look untidy with tongs. She smiles all
the time, and wears lots of different colours. She calls every one by
their Christian name, and always catches hold of the men's coats, or
fixes their buttonholes or ties, or holds their arms and whispers: and
every one is in love with her, and she has the greatest success. So I
can't think, Mamma, why you have always told me never to do any of
these things, when you want me to be a success so much. Her voice is
dreadfully shrill, and such an odd pronunciation, but no one seems to
mind that. I rather like her, she is so jolly but some of the women of
the party won't speak to her, except to say disagreeable things. Jane
Roose is here, she has been here since she left Nazeby (Violet is at
the sea), and she came up to my room as we were going to dress, and I
have only just got rid of her. She told me Mrs. Westaway was a
"dreadful creature," and that no one would know her, if it was not for
her mother-in-law receiving her, so they can't help it. And she could
not understand what the men saw to admire in a low person like that.
But I can see very well, Mamma, she is as pretty as can be, and
probably the men don't notice about the lace being common, and all the
colours, and those things. I must go down to dinner now, so good-bye,
dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Hazeldene Court,

_Thursday, 11th August_.

[Sidenote: _Lady Bobby's Diversions_]

Dearest Mamma,--I shall be home with you almost as soon as you get
this. But I must tell you about these last two days. The man I went in
to dinner with the first night was so nice-looking, only he did not
seem as if he could collect his thoughts enough to finish his
sentences, and it left them sounding so silly sometimes, but I found
out before we had begun the entrees that it was because Mrs. Westaway
was sitting opposite, and he was gazing at her. She looked lovely, but
not like any one I have seen yet since I stayed out. She had a diamond
collar and two ropes of pearls (Jane Roose said they were imitation),
and her arms quite bare and very white, but her skin must come off,
because I could see a patch of white on a footman's coat where she
accidentally touched when helping herself to potatoes. She had a huge
tulle bow in her hair, and her earrings were as big as shillings. Lady
Bobby Pomeroy said afterwards in the drawing-room to Jane Roose that
she should not take any more of her meals downstairs with this
"creature;" and she would not have come only that Bobby insisted, as he
was showing some horses, and it is convenient. And so, do you know,
Mamma, Lady Bobby has never come out of her room since, except just to
go to the Horse Show, which she drove to with Mrs. Mannering in a hired
fly. I don't call it very polite to the hostess, do you? This afternoon
she amused herself from her bedroom window by shooting at rabbits just
beyond the wire fence of the lawn with a rook rifle; she did not hit
any rabbits, but she got a gardener in the leg, and the man was very
angry, and bled a great deal, and had to be taken away, and I think it
was very careless of her, don't you?

[Sidenote: _Two is Company_]

Lord Valmond was on his way to the window seat where Jane Roose and I
were sitting the first night after dinner, but Mrs. Westaway caught
hold of her husband's coat-tails as he passed and said quite loud,
"Duckie, you must bring Lord Valmond and introduce him to me, we
haven't met yet, and I want to know all your friends." So Billy
Westaway, who is as obedient as a spaniel, secured Lord Valmond, and
presently we saw them comfortably tucked into a small settee together,
and there they stayed all the evening. She kept licking her lips as if
he was something good to eat, and the next morning she fixed a rose in
his buttonhole at breakfast and called him "Cousin Val," and by lunch
time it was plain "Val," and now it is "Harry." I do call it bad taste,
don't you, Mamma? and she isn't half so pretty in broad daylight, and I
don't like her at all now. Only I can't help laughing at Lady
Westaway's face when "Phyllis" (that is Mrs. Westaway's name) says
anything especially vulgar; Lady Westaways shudders, and takes a huge
sniff at her smelling salts. She keeps them always with her in a long
gold-topped bottle, and she has to use them almost every few minutes
when Mrs. Westaway is in the room.

The Horse Show was rather nice; it is held in the park fairly close,
and most of us strolled there in the morning before lunch to see the
judging. Lord Valmond joined us, I was walking with Lord George Lane
(you remember he was one of the Eleven at Nazeby). I was in a very good
temper, Mamma, and we had been laughing at everything we said. He is
quite a nice idiot, but, when Lord Valmond came, of course I talked as
stiffly as possibly, and presently Lord George told him that he was
singularly backward in copybook maxims, and that there was one he ought
to write out and commit to memory, and it began with "Two's Company,"
upon which Lord Valmond stalked on in a rage.

The seats at the show were very hard boards, and the sun made one
awfully drowsy; but about half-an-hour before lunch Lord Valmond came
up again, and asked me if I should not like to go for a turn. I thought
I had better, so as not to get cramp. He said he had been afraid he
would never get the chance of speaking to me, I was always so
surrounded. I told him I had only come now because of the cramp. I am
quite determined, Mamma, not to unbend to him at all. I was not once
agreeable, or anything but stiff and snubbing, and I am sure he has
never been treated like that before, but it is awfully hard work
keeping it up all the time, and when we got in to lunch I was quite

[Sidenote: _On the Lake_]

There were numbers of people at the show in the afternoon, and all in
their best clothes. Lady Grace Fenton was showing two of her hunters,
and she kept shouting to the grooms, and I did not think it was very
attractive behaviour. She takes such strides you would think her muslin
dress would split. I don't know why it is that so many people in the
country are ugly and weather-beaten, and all their clothes hanging

Except the house party here, and a few from other big places, there was
not a pretty person to be seen. We had a special reserved tent for tea,
and Mrs. Westaway seemed to have every man in the place round her, and
I heard one man come up and say, "Well, Phyllis, this is a joke to find
you in this respectable hole; how do you like solid matrimony, old
girl?" and I do think that sounded familiar and rude, don't you,
Mamma? but Mrs. Westaway wasn't a bit angry. She calls Billy "Duckie,"
and continually pats and caresses him; he does look such a fool, and I
should hate to be fingered like that if I were a man, one must feel
like a bunch of grapes with the bloom being rubbed off. Mrs. Westaway
kept Lord Valmond with her all the rest of the time at the show, and
then took him on the lake while we played croquet.

Lady Bobby went straight to her room and sat by the window, and every
now and then shouted advice to Lord George who was playing with me.
When we had finished, Lady Westaway took me to see the conservatories,
and there we were joined by old Colonel Blake and Lord Valmond, I don't
know how he had torn himself away from Mrs. Westaway! Jane Roose says
Mrs. Smith would be mad if she was here. He asked me why I had walked
on ahead so fast on the way back from the Show as he wanted me to go on
the lake with him instead of Mrs. Westaway. When he had suggested going
on it he had looked at me, but I would take no notice, and so he was
obliged to go with Mrs. Westaway when she offered to come, and I was
very unkind and disagreeable. I just said if he found me so, he need
not speak to me at all, I did not care. We looked at one another like
two wild cats for a moment. I am sure he wanted to slap me, and I
should like to have scratched him, and then Lady Westaway diverted the
conversation by asking me if I thought I should enjoy my French visit
(how every one knows one's affairs!). I said I hoped I should, and I
was starting next week. Lord Valmond at once pricked up his ears, and
said he would be running over to Paris about then, as he was not going
to Scotland till September, and he hoped I would let him look after me
on the way. I said I did not know which day I was going, probably
Wednesday, so as I am starting on Monday, Mamma, there will be no
chance of his coming with me, which would annoy you very much I am
sure. To-day we have done nothing but loll about and play croquet. Lady
Bobby and the men and some other women went to the Show again in the
morning, but I was having a match with Jane Roose, and so we did not
bother to go.

[Sidenote: _Paul and Virginia_]

This afternoon when Lady Bobby began her rabbit shooting it seemed so
dangerous on the croquet lawn, especially after she hit the gardener,
that we all went on the lake in the launch. We landed on the island,
and somehow or other Lord Valmond and I got left alone in the Belvedere
looking at the view. The others went off without us, which made me
furious, as I am sure he did it on purpose. But when I accused him of
it, he said such a thing would never have entered his head. He had a
nasty smile all the time in the corner of his eye, and did not take the
least pains about trying to undo the other little boat which we found
at last, although I kept telling him we should be late for dinner. He
said he wished we had not to go back at all, that he thought we should
be very happy together on this little island like Paul and Virginia. I
can't tell you, Mamma, what a temper I was in.

[Sidenote: _The Hardships of a Marquis_]

I wish I had never met him--or that he had not been rude at Nazeby--it
_is_ so difficult to behave with dignity when a person has a nice voice
and makes you laugh, although you are awfully cross with him inside.
Then I have to be thinking all the time about my dimple not to let it
come out, as that is what caused his rudeness, and with one thing and
another it upsets me so, that my cheeks are always burning when I am
with him, and I feel as if I should like to box his ears or cry; and I
hope after to-morrow I shall never see him again. He rowed so slowly
when we did get into the boat that I offered to do it, but he would not
let me. I would not talk to him at all. When we got to the landing I
jumped out so that he should not help me, and gave my head a crack
against the pole in the boat house. I fancied I heard him saying,
"Darling! have you hurt yourself? What a brute I am to tease you!" but
I did not wait for any more. I ran to the house as fast as I could, and
as he had to tie up the boat, I was just getting into the hall when he
caught me up. My head hurt dreadfully, and I was so tired and cross,
and everything, that the tears would come into my eyes. I did not want
him to see, but I am afraid he did, so before he could speak I rushed
on again and got safely to my room. I am sure it is very rude to call
people "darling" without their leave, isn't it, Mamma?

I went in to dinner with a sporting curate who lives near, and he kept
making his bread into crumbs on the cloth and then sweeping them up
with his knife into a heap, between every course. What strange habits
people have! After dinner Mrs. Westaway took Lord Valmond and sat in
the window seat, and when he did get away, and was coming over to me, I
said my head was aching from the knock I gave it, and came up to bed,
and as he has to catch an early train in the morning I shan't come down
until he has gone. I don't want to see him any more, it is too
fatiguing quarrelling all the time, and one could not forgive him and
be friends I suppose after such behaviour as his at Nazeby--could one,

Now good-night; I am sleepy.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I should hate to be a marquis always having to take the
hostess in to dinner no matter how old and ugly she is, just because a
duke isn't present.


Chateau De Croixmare,

_16th August_.

[Sidenote: _A Formidable Godmother_]

Dearest Mamma,--What a crossing we had, perfectly disgusting! The sky
was without a cloud, but such a wind that every one was sick, so one
could not enjoy oneself. Agnes became rapidly French too directly we
landed at Dieppe, and the carriage was full of stuffy people, who would
not have a scrap of window open; however, Jean was waiting for us at
Paris. We snatched some food at the restaurant, and then caught the
train to Vinant. Jean is quite good-looking, but with an awfully
respectable expression. Any one could tell he was married even without
looking at his wedding ring. He was polite, and made conversation all
the time in the train, and as the engine kept puffing and shrieking I
was obliged to continually say "_Pardon?_" so it made it rather heavy.
I think he has changed a good deal since their wedding--let me
see--that must be eight years ago, as I was nine then; I hardly
remembered him.

Godmamma was waiting for us in the hall when we arrived. Chateau de
Croixmare is a nice place, but I _am_ glad I am not French. It was the
hottest night of the year almost, and not a breath of air in the house,
every shutter closed and the curtains drawn. Heloise had gone to bed
with a _migraine_, Godmamma explained, but Victorine was there. She has
grown up plain, and looks much more than five years older than me. They
weren't in evening dress, or even tea-gowns like in England--it did
seem strange.

Mme. de Croixmare looks a dragon! I can't think how poor papa insisted
upon my having such a godmother. Her face is quite white, and her hair
so black and drawn off her forehead, and she has a bristly moustache.
She is also very up right and thin, and walks with an ebony stick, and
her voice is like a peacock's. She looked me through and through, and I
felt all my French getting jumbled, and it came out with such an
English accent; and after we had bowed a good deal, and said heaps of
Ollendorfish kind of sentences, I was given some "sirop" and water, and
conducted to bed by Victorine. She is a big dump with a shiny
complexion, and such a very small mouth, and I am sure I shall hate
her, she isn't a bit good-natured-looking like Jean. The house is
really fine Louis XV., and my bedroom and cabinet de toilette are
delicious, so is my bed; but the attitude of Agnes--such a conscious
pride in the superiority of France--nearly drove me mad.

There isn't a decent dressing-table mirror, only one in an old silver
frame about eight inches square, and that is sitting on the
writing-table--or what would be the writing-table, if there happened to
be any pens and things, which there aren't. All the hanging places open
out of the panels of the wall, there are no wardrobes, only beautiful
marble-topped _bureaux_; but I was so tired.

[Sidenote: _A French Family at Home_]

I left Agnes to settle everything and jumped into bed. This morning I
woke early, and had the loveliest cup of chocolate, but such a silly
bath, and almost cold water. There are no housemaids, and nothing is
done with precise regularity like at home, although they are so rich.
Agnes had to fish for everything of that sort herself, and such a lot
of talking went on in the passage between her and the _valet de
chambre_, before I even got this teeny tiny tray to splash in. However,
I did get dressed at last, and went for a walk in the garden--not a
soul about but a few gardeners. The begonias are magnificent, but there
is no look of park beyond the garden, or nice deer and things that we
would have for such a house in England. It is more like a sort of big

I saw Jean at last in the distance, going round and round a large pond
on his bicycle. He did look odd! in a thick striped jersey, and the
tightest knickerbockers; almost as low as a "scorcher." He jumped off
and made a most polite bow, and explained he was doing it for
exercise. But I do think that an idiotic reason--don't you, Mamma? It
would be just as much exercise on a road. However, he assured me that,
like that, he knew exactly how many miles he went on the flat before
breakfast, so I suppose it was all right.

I saw he wanted to continue his ride, so I walked on, and presently
came to a summer-house, where Victorine and the _dame de compagnie_
were doing their morning reading. There were also the two little girls
building castles out of a heap of sand, and with them the most hideous
German maid you ever saw. They are queer-looking little monkeys,
Yolande is like Jean, but Marie--there are three years between them--is
as black as ink--but where was I? Oh, yes!--well, by this time I was so
hungry I could have eaten them, German _bonne_ and all! Fortunately
Godmamma turned up, and we strolled back to _dejeuner_. Heloise was in
the salon, and she is charming, such a contrast to the rest of the
party. She was beautifully dressed and so _chic_. We took to each
other at once, she has not picked up that solid married look like Jean,
so perhaps it is only the husbands who get it in France.

There was a good deal of ceremony going in to breakfast. Jean gave his
mother his arm, and we trotted behind. The dining-room is a perfect
room, except there is no carpet, and the food was lovely, only I do
hate to see a great hand covered with a white cotton glove, plopping a
dish down on the lighted thing in the middle, so that one has to look
at the next course all the time one is finishing the last one. The way
in which the two little monkeys and the German maid devoured their
breakfast quite took one's appetite away. There seemed to be numbers of
men-servants, who wore white cotton gloves, and their liveries buttoned
up to the throat, which takes away that nice clean-shirt-look of our
servants at home.

[Sidenote: _French Servants_]

This afternoon we are going to pay a visit of ceremony to the Comte and
Comtesse de Tournelle; we are going with them on their yacht down the
Seine to-morrow. It is Jean and Heloise who have arranged to take
me--it is kind of them, and it will be fun; and I am glad it is not
considered proper for young French girls to go without their mothers,
because we shall get rid of Victorine, and the voyage will be more
agreeable. Agnes and the other maids and valets are going by train, and
will meet us with the luggage at the different places we stop at each
night, as the _Sauterelle_ is too small to carry everything. I must go
and get ready now, so good-bye, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate
daughter, Elizabeth.


Yacht _Sauterelle_,

_17th August_.

[Sidenote: _Yacht "Sauterelle"_]

Dearest Mamma,--I am writing as we float down the Seine, it is too
enchanting. We are a party of ten. The Comte and Comtesse de Tournelle;
her mother, the Baronne de Larnac, and her uncle, the Baron de Fremond,
Jean, Heloise, and me; the Marquise de Vermondoise, and two young men,
officers in the Cavalry, stationed at Versailles. One is the Vicomte
Gaston de la Tremors, and the other's name is so long that I can't get
it, so you must know him by "Antoine"--he is some sort of a relation of
Heloise's. The Baronne is a delightful person, the remains of extreme
good looks and distinction. She was a beauty under the Empire, and her
feet are so small, she is just as _soignee_ as if she was young, and so
vain and human. She lives with her daughter while they are in the
country--it seems the custom here, these huge family parties living
together all the summer.

[Sidenote: _A Visit of Ceremony_]

The young people have their _appartement_ in the Champs Elysees in
Paris, and the old ones go to the family hotel in the _Faubourg St.
Germain._ We _did_ say a lot of polite things when we went to pay our
visit yesterday, and although they know one another so well--as it was
a "visit of ceremony" to introduce me--we all had our best clothes on,
and sat in the large salon--(there are four Louis XVI. arm chairs,
sticking out each side of the fireplaces, in all the salons here).
Heloise and the Comtesse de Tournelle are great friends. The Comte de
Tournelle is charming, he is like the people in the last century
Memoirs, he ought to have powdered hair, and his manners have a
distinction and a wit quite unlike anything in England. One can see he
is descended from people who had their heads cut off for being
aristocrats. Jean says he does not belong to _le Sporting_, and is
fearfully effeminate. He can't even put on his own socks without his
valet, and he never rides or bicycles or anything, but just does a
little motor-carring, and fights a few duels.

The Comtesse de Tournelle is small and young and rather dull; she
reads a great deal. The old boy, the Baron de Fremond (he owns the
_Sauterelle_) is a jolly old soul, and chaffs his sister and niece, and
every one, all the time, and thinks it so funny to talk fearful
English. The two young men haven't looked at me much. They are in
uniform! and they put their heels together and bowed deeply when they
were introduced, but we haven't spoken yet. The Marquise de Vermondoise
is perfectly lovely, so fascinating, with such a queer deep voice, and
one tooth at the side of the front missing; and her tongue keeps
getting in there when she speaks, which gives her a kind of lisp, and
it is awfully attractive. I think de Tournelle would like to kiss her,
by the way he looked at her when she thanked him for handing her on

[Sidenote: _The Invaluable Hippolyte_]

It is a steam yacht with a wee cabin, and a deck above that, with seats
looking out each side, like old omnibuses, and in the stern (if that
means the back part) are the sailors and the engines, and the oddest
arrangement of cooking apparatus. You should just taste the exquisite
breakfasts that Hippolyte (the Baronne de Larnac's _maitre d'hotel_)
cooked for us this morning after we started. He is the queerest
creature, with a face like a baboon, and side whiskers, and the rest a
deep blue from shaving. The Baronne says she could not live without
him; he is a splendid cook, and a perfect _femme de chambre_, and ready
for anything. He is much more familiar than we should ever let a
servant be in England. It was rough all the morning, quite waves. The
Seine is only half a mile from the Chateau de Croixmare, and runs past
the Tournelles' garden, so they have a private landing stage, and we
all embarked from there. Jean and the Comte are dressed in beautiful
English blue serges, and look neat enough to be under a glass case. The
old Baron does not care what he wears, and this morning while he was
working with the sailors had on a black Sunday coat!

The Baronne kept screaming when the boat rocked a little. "Nous ferons
naufrage! Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!" and the Vicomte tried to comfort her,
but she did not stop till Hippolyte popped his head out of the cabin
and said, "Pas de danger! et il ne faut pas que Mme. la Baronne fasse
la Bebete!"

At _dejeuner_ we had only one plate each, and one knife and fork. It
was so windy we could not have it under the awning in the bows, and the
cabin is so narrow that the seats are against the wall, and the table
in the middle. No one can pass to wait, so between the courses we
washed our plates in the Seine, out of the window. It _was_ gay! They
are all so witty, but it is not considered correct to talk just to
one's neighbour, a conversation _a deux_. Everything must be general,
so it is a continual sharpening of wits, and one has to shout a good
deal, as otherwise, with every one talking at once, one would not be
heard. I know French pretty well as you know, but they say a lot of
strange things I can't understand, and whenever I answer or ask why,
they go into fits of laughter and say, "Est elle gentille l'enfant!

We are going to stop at the next small village to post the letters, so
good-bye, dear Mamma.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

_P.S._--I hope you won't get muddled, Mamma, with all their names, it
takes so long writing the whole thing, so please remember Mme. de
Larnac is the "Baronne," Monsieur de Fremond is the "Baron," Monsieur
de Tournelle is the "Comte," Mme. de Tournelle is the "Comtesse," Mme.
de Vermondoise is the "Marquise," Monsieur de la Tremors is the
"Vicomte," and "Antoine" is the other officer. So if I haven't always
time to put their names you will know now which they are.

Vernon, Yacht _Sauterelle_,

_Thursday morning_.

[Sidenote: _Vernon_]

Dearest Mamma,--The scenery we came through yesterday is quite
beautiful, but I did not pay so much attention to it as I might have
done, because Jean and the Comte would talk to me. You would be amused
at Vernon, where we stayed the night in _such_ an inn! I believe it is
the only one in the place, and as old as the hills. You get at the
bedrooms from an open gallery that runs round the courtyard, and that
smells of garlic and stables. We got here about six, and started _en
masse_ to inspect the rooms. Hippolyte had engaged them beforehand, and
seemed rather apologetic about them, and finally, when there did not
appear half enough to go round, he shrugged his shoulders almost up to
his ears and said, "Que voulez vous!" and that "Ces Messieurs" would
have to be "tres bourgeois en voyage," and that there was nothing for
it but that Mme. la Comtesse de Tournelle should "partager
l'appartement de Monsieur le Comte de Tournelle," and that Monsieur le
Comte de Croixmare would have to extend like hospitality to Mme. la
Comtesse de Croixmare. This caused shrieks of derision. Heloise said
she would prefer to sleep on the dining-room table, and "Antoine" said
he thought people ought to be a little more careful of their
reputations even _en voyage_. Finally they unearthed a baby's cot in
the room that Hippolyte had designed for the Croixmare menage, and de
Tournelle said it was the very thing for me, but Jean replied, "Mon
cher ami c'est une Bebe beaucoup trop emoustillante," which I thought
very rude, just as if I snored, or something dreadful like that. Then,
after a further prowl, a fearful little hole was discovered beyond,
with no curtains to the windows, or blinds, or shutters, just a scrap
of net. The face of Agnes when she saw it!

[Sidenote: _A Necessary Precaution_]

Dinner was not until seven, so Jean and I went out for a walk; as
Hippolyte advised us to try and find a chemist and buy some flea
powder. "Je trouverai ca plus prudent," he said. Jean is getting quite
natural with me now, and isn't so awfully polite. The chemist took us
for a honeymoon couple (as, of course, if I had been French I could not
have gone for a walk with Jean alone). He--the chemist--was so
sympathetic, he had only one packet of powder left, he said, as so much
was required by the _voyageurs_ and inhabitants that he was out of it
(that did not sound a pleasant prospect for our night)--"Mais, madame"
(that's me), "n'est pas assez grasse pour les attirer," he added by way
of consolation.

It was spitting with rain when we got back, and they all made such a
fuss for fear I had got wet, and they would not for worlds stir out of
doors to see the church or anything, which I heard is very picturesque.
We had such an amusing dinner, the food was wonderful, considering the
place, but a _horrible_ cloth and pewter forks and spoons. There were
two _officiers_ at another table (only infantry), and they were _so_
interested in our party.

[Sidenote: _Close Quarters_]

"Antoine" sat next to me, and in a pause in the general conversation he
said to me (it is the first time he has addressed me directly), "Il
fait mauvais temps, mademoiselle." I have heard him saying all kinds of
_drole_ things to the others, so it shows he can be quite intelligent.
It is just because I am not married I suppose, so I said that is what
English people always spoke about--the weather--and I wanted to hear
something different in France. He seemed perfectly shocked, and hardly
spoke to me after that, but the Vicomte, who was listening, began at
once to say flattering things across the table. They all make
compliments upon my French, and are very gay and kind, but I wish they
did not eat so badly. The Comte and the Marquise, who are cousins, and
of the very oldest noblesse, are the worst--one daren't look sometimes.
The Comtesse is a little better, but then her family is only Empire,
and Jean and Heloise are fairly decent.

I could bear most of it, if it wasn't for the peppermint glasses at the
end, which the men have. The whole party are very French, not a bit
like the people we see at Cannes, who have been much with the English.
It is a different thing altogether. When dinner was over the rain
stopped, and after a lot of talk--as to whether the ground would be too
damp or not--we at last ventured for a walk down to the bridge and
back. Then we returned and commenced a general powdering of the beds,
beginning with the de Tournelles' apartment; next we went to the
Marquise's--she had such an exquisite nightgown laid out, it was made
of pink chiffon. When we got to my room they made all kinds of
sympathies for me having such a small and stuffy place. The powder was
all gone before we could sprinkle the Baronne's bed. Agnes was not
quite so uppish undressing me as usual. Perhaps she realised this part
of her France was not so good as England.

Next morning when I got down--we had arranged to have our _premier
dejeuner_ all together, not in our rooms, as we were to make such an
early start--"Antoine" and Heloise were already there. The Vicomte and
the Baronne came in soon after; he at once began: "Comme Mlle. est
ravissante le soir! un petit ange a son deshabille! Une si eblouissante

[Sidenote: _A Conjugal Experiment_]

The wretch had been watching me from the opposite gallery, wasn't it
_odious_ of him, Mamma? No Englishman would have done such a thing. I
_was_ angry, but Heloise said it was no use, that I must get accustomed
to "les habitudes de voyage," and that she did not suppose he had
really looked, it was only to tease me. _But I believe he had_--anyway
from that moment de la Tremors has been always talking to me. Presently
while we were eating our rolls, the garcon, a Parisian (who was also
the ostler), came in and said: Would Madame--indicating the
Baronne--come up to "Mademoiselle," who wished to speak to her? We
could not think who he could mean, as I was the only "Mademoiselle" of
the party. The Baronne told him so. "Mais non!" he said, jerking his
thumb in the direction of upstairs, "La demoiselle dans la chambre de

"Mais que dites vous mon brave homme!" screamed the Baronne and
Heloise together. The man was quite annoyed.

"Je dis ce que je dis et je m'en fiche pas mal! la petite demoiselle
blonde, dans la chambre de Monsieur le Comte de Tournelle."

At that moment the Comtesse came in, so with another jerk of his thumb
at her, "Comment! vous ne me croyez pas?" he said, "tiens--la voila!"
and he bounced out of the room.

"Antoine" said it served them perfectly right, that he had warned them
their reputations would suffer if husbands and wives camped together.
Even a place like Vernon, he said, was sufficiently enlightened to find
the situation impossible.

I don't know what it all meant, but the Comtesse de Tournelle is now
called "la demoiselle!"

The two young men leave us for the day, to do their duty at Versailles,
but are to meet us again at Rouen in the evening, with leave for a few
days. We are just going on board, so I will finish this presently.

_5 p.m._--The scenery is too beautiful after you pass Vernon, and it
was so interesting getting in and out of the locks. The Baronne and I
and Jean talked together on the raised deck, while de Tournelle read to
the Marquise in the bows. The old Baron is mostly with the sailors, and
Heloise slept a good deal. Every now and then Hippolyte came out from
his cooking place, and one saw his baboon face appearing on a level
with the deck floor, and he would explain all the places we passed, and
it always ended with: "Il ne faut pas que Mme. La Baronne pionce c'est
tres tres interessant."

I can't tell you what a _drole_ creature he is. Heloise woke up
presently and talked to me; she said if it was not for the Tournelles
she could not stand the Chateau de Croixmare and Victorine. It appears
too, that when in Paris, Godmamma always drives in the Bois at the
wrong times, and will have her opera box on the nights no one is there,
and that irritates Heloise.

I can't think why papa and she were such friends. I don't believe if he
had been alive now, and accustomed to really nice people like you and
me, he would have been able to put up with her.

I shall post this directly we land, I am writing on the cabin table,
and now good-bye.--Your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.



_Saturday, 20th August._

[Sidenote: _A Visit to Rouen_]

Dearest Mamma,--To-day has been the loveliest I ever remember, not a
cloud in the sky. We landed at Rouen the day before yesterday about
six, and the hotel we stopped at was quite decent, and although the
windows of my room looked upon the inner courtyard they at least had
shutters. I wanted to go and see the marks the flames of Joan of Arc's
burning had made on the wall, but every one was so hungry, we had to
have dinner so early, there wasn't time. _Canard a la Rouennaise is_
good, it is done here with a wine called _Grenache_. I had two
helpings, and just as we were finishing, the Vicomte and "Antoine" came
in from the station. They aren't in uniform now, but their hair does
stick up so, and somehow their clothes don't look comfortable. I liked
them in uniform best. Madame de Vermandoise talked to "Antoine" across
the table quite a lot. That is the only way one may speak directly to a
person, it seems. After dinner we went in search of some place of
amusement, but there was no theatre open, so we had to content
ourselves with a walk along the quay, and then we came back and drank
_sirop_. It _is_ sweet and nice, and you can have it raspberry, or
gooseberry, or what you like, and I am sure if the people in England
who drink nasty old ports and things could have it they would like it
much better. The Baronne calls all the men by their end names like
"Tournelle," "Croixmare," "Tremors," &c., and every one is very devoted
to her, and I daresay she is even older than you, mamma; isn't it
wonderful? Jean now always sits beside me, I suppose he thinks he is my
host, but I would rather have the Vicomte de la Tremors, who is very
amusing. But to go back to Rouen. It was a treat to sleep fearlessly in
a clean bed after Vernon, and I actually had a bath in the morning. I
don't know where Agnes retrieved it from.

[Sidenote: _"Coiffer St. Catherine"_]

You can see Joan of Arc's flames quite plain, we went there as soon as
we were dressed. "Antoine" would insist it was only the black from a
smoky chimney, but I paid no attention to him. The _Horloge_ is nice,
and we did a lot of churches, but they always look to me just the same,
and any way they all smell alike, and I don't think I shall bother with
any more. We had breakfast on the _Sauterelle_, but it was so fine
after we left Vernon, and yesterday, that we could have it each day in
the bows under the awning, and so had not to wash our forks and plates.
The Chateaux are so picturesque, and such woods! after you leave Rouen.
Heloise did not sleep yesterday. "Antoine" talked so much, no one could
really have had a comfortable nap. In the afternoon the Marquise told
us our fortunes; she said Heloise would marry twice, which made her
look as pleased as Punch, but Jean did not think it at all funny,
though every one else laughed She told me I should probably be an old
maid ("_Coiffer St. Catherine_"), and so I said in that case I should
run pins into the horrid old saint's head: I simply _won't_ be an old
maid, Mamma, so they need not make any more predictions. However, it
would be worse to be one here than at home, because even up to forty,
if you aren't married, you mayn't go to the nice theatres, or talk to
people alone, or even speak much more than "Yes" and "No," and you
generally get a nasty moustache or something. We saw a whole family of
elderly girls at our hotel at Rouen, and they all had moustaches or
moles on the cheek.

We got here (Caudebec) yesterday soon after four. Our inn looks right
on to the Seine, and is as old nearly as the one at Vernon, but
fortunately beautifully clean. Only you have to get at your room
through somebody else's. Mine is beyond the Baronne's and Madame de
Vermandoise gets at hers through the Comtesse de Tournelle's. Hers is
the most ridiculous place, with a red curtain hanging across so that
sometimes it can be turned into two; and such a thing happened last
night. "Antoine" went in with the Comte de Tournelle to help him to
shut the window, as Madame de Tournelle couldn't, when a gust of wind
blew the door shut, and whether there was a spring lock or not I don't
know, but any way nothing would induce it to open again. So there they
were. We had stayed up rather late; the landlord and the servants were
in bed. They rattled and shook and pushed, but to no purpose.

[Sidenote: _A Misadventure_]

There was only a board partition between my room and Madame de
Vermandoise's, so I could hear everything, and Tournelle said there was
nothing for it but that "Antoine" would have to sleep in the other bed
in her room. She screamed a great deal, and they all laughed very much,
and all talked at once, so I suppose that was why I could not
understand quite everything they were saying. At last the Baronne
rushed into my room to discover what the noise was. She looks perfectly
_odd_ when going to bed; a good deal seemed to have come off; she is as
thin as a lath; and on the dressing table was such a sweet lace
nightcap, with lovely baby curls sewed to its edge, and when she put
that on she did look sweet. It isn't that she has no hair herself, it's
thick and brown; but she explained that having to wear a nightcap
because of ear-ache, she found it more becoming with the curls. I
suppose it is on account of the waiters coming in with the breakfast
that they have to be so particular in France how they look in bed.

But to go on about the door. We sent the Baronne's maid and Agnes to
try and find the landlord; but, after exploring untold depths below and
above, they only succeeded in unearthing Hippolyte. He came up from his
bed looking just like that very clever Missing Link that was at
Barnum's, do you remember?--the one that sometimes was an Irishwoman,
and could do housework in a cage by itself. I don't know exactly what
Hippolyte had on, but it ended up with a petticoat of red and black
plaid, and a pair of grey linen trousers over his shoulders; his
whiskers and hair were standing straight on end, and his shaved bits
were bluer than ever at night. He said a good deal of the French
equivalent of, "Here's a pretty kettle of fish," and shrugged so that I
was afraid the petticoat would slip off; and finally, when all the
pushing and pulling had no effect on the door, he said people must
resign themselves to the accidents of travel, and as there were four
beds, he did not see that they had too much to complain of.

[Sidenote: _"Not Much to Complain of"_]

At this moment Heloise came out of her room to see what the commotion
was. She understood it was her husband locked in the room, and she
laughed too very much, and said they must just stay there; but when she
heard the voice of "Antoine" she seemed to think the situation grave--I
suppose because he is not married--and she also did everything she
could to open the door. Of course if they had been Englishmen they
would have simply kicked it down, and got out without more ado, but the
French aren't strong enough for that.

Heloise became quite disagreeable about it, though as it wasn't Jean I
can't think what business it was of hers. She said it was because
"Antoine" did not really try, and she was sure he had done it on
purpose, upon which Madame de Vermandoise gurgled with mirth. I could
hear both sides you see, because of the wooden partition. "Antoine"
came into the inner room and said he was "Doux comme un petit agneau,"
but the Marquise said that he was "Un loup dans une peau de mouton,"
and must go away. Finally the whole of the rest of the party in
different stages of _deshabille_ got collected outside the door. No
landlord was to be found anywhere. Then the old Baron suggested quite a
simple plan, which was for Madame de Tournelle to share Madame de
Vermandoise's room, and to leave the Comte and "Antoine" in her room.

No one seemed to have thought of this before; and that is what they
finally did, and at last we got to sleep. In the morning no landlord
could still be found, and we had no coffee, but presently he arrived
accompanied by two _gendarmes_ and goodness knows what other rabble
armed with sticks, and they wanted to proceed upstairs. We heard every
sort of "_Sacres!_" going on between them and Hippolyte, and eventually
the landlord almost crawled up apologising, and opened the door with
his key.

[Sidenote: _A Cautious Landlord_]

It appears that hearing the noise of the door being tried to be opened
and Madame de Vermandoise's screams, he had thought it wiser to decamp
for the night, as two years ago there had been a murder there, and he
had had "beaucoup d'embetement," he said, on account of it, and was
determined not to be mixed up in one again, "En ces affaires la, il est
bien assez tot d'arriver le lendemain," he said.

Everybody was still laughing too much over the situation to be angry
with him; and the coffee, which we got at last, was so good it made up
for it; but you should have heard the _plaisanteries_ they made over
the night's adventure!

Caudebec is an odd place; it used to be inhabited by hundreds of
Protestant beaver hat-makers, who fled from there after the Edict of
Nantes' affair, and so there are streets of deserted houses still, and
so old, one has a stream down the middle. I would not go into the
church: the usual smell met me at the door; so the Vicomte and Jean and
I went for a walk, and now we are just going to start on the
_Sauterelle_ again, and this must be posted. I have managed to write it
on my knee, sitting on a stone bench outside the inn door.--Good-bye,
dear Mamma, with love from your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.


Hotel Frascati, Havre,

_Sunday, 21st August_.

[Sidenote: _Havre to Trouville_]

Dearest Mamma,--I am sorry our nice voyage is nearly finished, for we
go over to Trouville this evening, and from there by train back to
Vinant. The river is not nearly so pretty after you leave Caudebec, but
Tancarville is fine, and looks very imposing sitting up so high. The
Vicomte has been talking to me all the time, but Jean stays by. We were
dusty and sun-burnt by the time we got to Havre, and Heloise and the
Marquise and I started at once for the big baths. They do not quite
join the hotel, so we covered a good deal of absence, in the way of
dress, by our faithful mackintoshes and trotted across. On the steps we
met de Tournelle just coming out from the baths; he laughed when he saw
us, and said he had never before realised that garments of so much
respectability could have such possibilities! Oh! how nice to have a
real bath again!

[Sidenote: _A Gay Dinner_]

Agnes hasn't enjoyed this trip much, I can see. Heaven knows where she
has slept! I thought it wiser not to ask. We had such a gay dinner. I
am getting accustomed to shouting across the table at every one; it
will feel quite queer just talking to one's neighbour when I get back
to England. The restaurant at Frascati isn't at all bad, and it was
agreeable to have proper food again.

Hippolyte thinks we are awfully greedy; he was heard yesterday
grumbling to the Baronne's maid, "Mais ou diable est-ce que ces dames
mettent tout ce qu'elles mangent? Elles goblottent toute la journee!"

After dinner we drank our coffee on the terrace and listened to the
band. Heloise would hardly speak to "Antoine" all day, and he looked
perfectly miserable, and Madame de Vermandoise every now and then
laughed to herself--I don't know what at. However we took a walk on the
pier presently, and as there was such a crowd we weren't able to walk
all together as usual, but had to go two and two. "Antoine" walked with
Heloise, and I suppose they made it up. I just caught this: "N'oubliez
jamais, bien chere Madame, qu'une eglise a deux portes." Heloise said
she would not forget, and he thanked her rapturously; but what it meant
I don't know. They have both smiled often since so I expect it is some
French idiom for reconciliation.

The crowd on the pier was common, and we returned to Frascati's garden.
It was so fearfully hot, that beyond wondering if the dew was falling,
no one suggested we should get cold, as they always do. It really has
been a delightful trip, and I have enjoyed it so. They are all
charming. They seem to have kinder hearts than some of the people at
Nazeby, but what strikes one as quite different is that every one is
witty; they are making epigrams or clever _tournures de phrases_ all
the time, and don't seem to talk of the teeny weeny things we do in
England. They have most exquisite manners, and extraordinarily
unpleasant personal habits, like eating, and coughing, and picking
their teeth, etc.; but they do have nice under-clothes, and lovely
soaps and scents and things.

[Sidenote: _Views for Victorine_]

The Frascati beds were comfortable, and I could not wake in the
morning, in spite of Agnes fussing about. The Vicomte has awakened
every one each day by rapping at their doors, but this morning I was at
last aroused by Heloise, who had the next room, and we had our coffee
together. She says she does hope soon to get Victorine married, and
that they have a nephew of the Baronne's in view, but he has not seen
her yet. It appears it is easier to get them off if they are quiet
looking and dowdy, but not so aggressive as Victorine. You haven't much
chance if you are very pretty and lively; as she says, the men only
like you to be that when you are married to some one else. Heloise
wishes to have everything smart as the Tournelles have, but Godmamma
and Victorine are always against her. She says life there is for ever
eating _galette de plomp_, which I suppose means a suet pudding
feeling. We all went to High Mass at eleven; it was very pretty, and
such a good-looking priest handed the bag. I should hate to be a
priest; shouldn't you, Mamma? You mayn't even look at any one nice.

We breakfasted at Frascati, but we were a little bit gloomy at our trip
being over. This afternoon they have nearly all gone for a drive in hired
motor cars, but I haven't a hat here that would stay on, so I am writing
to you instead, and we cross over to Trouville at five o'clock in the
ordinary boat, as it is too rough for the _Sauterelle_.--Good-bye, dear
Mamma, your affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: _A Full-blown Bride_]

_P.S._--I forgot to tell you the story of the "_Cote des deux
Amants._" You know the fearfully straight, steep hill we have often
noticed from the train if you go to Paris from Dieppe. Well, Hippolyte
told us the story when we passed it. It is quite close from the river,
and looks as if it had been cut with a knife, it is so steep. It
appears that in the Middle Ages there was a castle on the top, and
there lived a Comte who had a tremendously stout daughter. He said no
one should have her and her fortune unless he was strong enough to
carry her from the bottom to the top of the hill. Hundreds tried--it
was a beauty then to be fat--but every one dropped her half-way, and
the poor thing got "tres fatiguee d'etre plantee comme ca," when a
handsome cavalier came along, and he succeeded. His snorts of
out-of-breathness could be heard for miles, but he got her to the top
and then fell dead at her feet; and she went into a convent and died.
Hippolyte said also that the other ending of the story was, that she
got so thin from pining for the knight that the next one who came along
had no difficulty, and so they married and lived happy ever after. But
I like the tragic end best. And he said that the peasants still declare
they can hear the knight wheezing on moonlight nights, but "Antoine"
said it was probably a traction engine. And I don't think it nice of
him; do you, Mamma?


Chateau de Croixmare,

_24th August_.

Dearest Mamma,--I am quite sure I shall never be able to stand the
whole fortnight more here. We got back on Monday evening, and Godmamma
was as disagreeable as could be. She said all sorts of spiteful things
about the Tournelles, and especially the Baronne; and Jean looked
nervous and uncomfortable, and Heloise like a mule; and Victorine said
I had no doubt enjoyed myself, but for her part she would be sorry to
be taken for a "young married woman," which was what Madame de Visac (a
woman who came to call after we left) had said--"Qui est cette jeune
femme avec votre belle soeur?"

[Sidenote: _Modest Maidens_]

She had seen us embarking. So I said I was flattered, as that seemed to
mean in France all that was attractive in contrast to the girls. Did
you ever hear of such a _cat_, Mamma? and considering that I am only
seventeen, and she is an old maid of twenty-two; I think it too
ridiculous. She need not fear, no one would ever think she was
married, she looks like a lumping German governess. Two of her girl
friends came to breakfast yesterday, of course with their mothers, and
you should have heard the idiot conversation we had! All plopped down
on the great sofa in the big salon, like a row of dolls. The two
friends were simply gasping with excitement at the idea of my having
gone on the _Sauterelle_. They asked me endless questions, and giggled,
and I _did_ tell them some things!

They asked also about England, and was it really true that when we went
to a ball we stayed with our _danseurs_ till the next dance? I said I
had not been to a ball yet, but had always heard that is what one did.
One of the friends is quite nice-looking, but with such dirty nails. It
appears you don't wash much till you are married, it is not considered
_bien vu_, in fact rather _lance_, and you can't have fine
under-clothes, it has all got to be as unattractive as possible, and
that shows you are as good as gold and will make a nice wife.

[Sidenote: _The Trouville Casino_]

But it must be a bother picking up a taste for having baths and things
afterwards, if it isn't from instinct, don't you think so, Mamma? And
I am glad I am not French. It is even eccentric if you sleep with your
window open; Heloise screamed at me for that. They all assure me it
gives sore eyes, besides encouraging an early grave. I said at last
that in England we slept the whole summer in the open air. I was so
exasperated, and they would believe anything.

Oh, I wish we were back on the _Sauterelle!_--which reminds me I have
never told you anything about Trouville. The whole place was full of
such beautiful ladies, and such nice clothes. They must all have been
married, their things were so becoming. The Vicomte seemed to know them
well, and they all spoke of them by their Christian names, such as,
_Voila Blanche d'Antin!_ or _Emilie_ something else, as we passed them,
but none of our party bowed to the really pretty ones, which I thought
very queer if they knew them well enough to speak of them by their
Christian names. I remember you always told me never to do that--I mean
to use people's first names in speaking of them if you are not
acquainted with them--but evidently it is different here. The
Tournelles and all the others did stop to speak to heaps of duller
looking people, and every one tried to persuade us to stay and go to
the races.

We went to the Casino in the evening and saw a piece; it was boring. We
had two boxes, and they kept talking to me all the time, so I really
could not pay much attention to the acting.

Down below us was the Marquise de Vermandoise's brother-in-law, with a
rather dowdy little woman. They talked a great deal about him, and the
Marquise said it was just like his economy to go to Trouville with such
"une espece de petite fagottee bon marche." So I suppose it was some
poor relation he was treating, but they seemed very good friends, as he
held her hand all the time, quite forgetting the people up above could
see. Then we played "Petits Chevaux," and I won every time; I do like
it very much.

[Sidenote: _A Bathing Party_]

We came back to Vinant by the two o'clock train, but first we went to
bathe. I was really annoyed at having to have a hired dress, a
frightful thing, and weighing a ton. The Marquise and the others had
brought theirs on the chance of our having time for a dip. The
Baronne's and Heloise's were too sweet. The Baronne's cap had the same
kind of lovely little curls round it that she wears at night; but she
is a great coward, and hardly went in deeper than her ankles, in spite
of all the entreaties of "Antoine" and the Vicomte. The Marquise de
Vermandoise looks splendid in the water, just like a goddess, and her
bathing-dress was thin enough red silk for us to see how beautifully
she is made. The splashing about seemed to make her so gay, she kept
putting her tongue into the gap where her tooth is gone, and looked so
wicked they would all have swam anywhere after her. She and de
Tournelle went out a long way to a boat, and they did seem to be having
a good time. I wish I could swim like that.

Heloise and "Antoine" made _la planche_ together; it is simply
floating, only you have some one to hold you up in case you float out
too far. The Vicomte wanted to teach me, and as I was getting rather
tired of pretending to swim with one leg down, I tried, and it feels
lovely, and we did laugh so over it. At last the Baronne came out quite
up to her knees to call to us "Tremors, c'est defendu de faire des
betises." I suppose she thought he would let me drown.

Jean and the Comtesse de Tournelle watched us from the _plage_. The old
Baron swims splendidly, and went quite out of sight. Hippolyte was
waiting among the other servants with our _peignoirs_, and presently he
clapped his hands to insure attention, and shouted, "Il ne faut pas que
Madame la Baronne reste trop longtemps se mouillant les pieds, elle
prendrait froid, mieux vaut sortir de l'eau!"

[Sidenote: _End of the Trip_]

I am glad my hair curls naturally, because I laughed so at the face of
Hippolyte, gesticulating at the Baronne, that I did not pay attention
to a wave, and it threw me over, and I went right under water. The
Vicomte pulled me up, but there was no need of him to have been so
long about it, and I told him so. He apologised, and said it was his
fear that I should drown, but we were only up to our chests in water,
so I don't believe it a bit. After that we came out, and it is just as
well one has a _peignoir_ to put on immediately, as the bathing gowns
are so tight and thin, when wet they look quite odd. There were
hundreds of other people bathing too, and some of the dresses were so
pretty. One was all black and very tight, with red dragons running over
it, and she had a gold bangle on her ankle. I wish we could have stayed
longer, it was so gay.

In the train coming back we played all sorts of games. Jean and the old
Baron went "smoking," and we eight squashed into the same carriage, so
as not to be separated. We had to go right up to Paris (as the express
does not stop at Vinant), and then back again. One can just see the
high roof of Croixmare from the train. Yesterday those tiresome girls
came to _dejeuner_, and to-day we go to pay another visit of ceremony
at the Tournelles', to thank them for our nice trip. I shall be glad
to see them again after looking at Godmamma for two whole days.

The evenings are awful. Although it is so warm no one thinks of walking
in the garden, or even sitting out on the _perron_. When we come out
from dinner, though it is broad daylight, every shutter is shut and
curtains drawn, and there we sit in the salon, all arranged round in a
semi-circle, and make conversation, and _sirop_ comes at nine, and,
thank goodness, we get off to bed at ten! But even if you wanted to
talk nicely to the person sitting by you you couldn't, because every
one would at once stop what they were saying and listen. There is going
to be an entertainment at the Tournelles' in about a week, a kind of
_fete champetre_. We are to dine in a pavilion in the garden, and then
have a _cotillon_.-Good-bye, dear Mamma, with love from your
affectionate daughter, Elizabeth.

Chateau de Croixmare,

_25th August_.

[Sidenote: _Croixmare again_]

Dearest Mamma,--The longer I stay, here the more glad I am that I am
not French! Victorine is going to be shown to her future _fiance_
to-day, but I must first tell you how it came about. We went to Chateau
de Tournelle yesterday to pay our visit, Godmamma, Victorine, and I in
the victoria, and Jean and Heloise in the phaeton. They were in the
garden playing tennis with a party of friends from Versailles, and
among them, of course, the Vicomte and "Antoine." They were all so glad
to see me, and the Baronne called me her "_chere petite_," and kissed
me on both cheeks, as if we had been parted for months. The
Vicomte--when he had done putting his heels together and bowing to
Victorine and me, and kissing Heloise's and Godmamma's hands--managed
to get in, in a lower voice, that his ride from Versailles now seemed
to him to have been very short. Upon which Victorine at once said,
"_Comment?_" with the expression of a terrier whose ears are suddenly
cocked up on the alert. He bowed more deeply than ever, and said that
he was saying it was a long ride from Versailles! So you see that
Frenchmen are not truthful, Mamma! Well--then we were sent to look at
the gardens, accompanied by Jean and the Cure.

[Sidenote: _An Untruthful Frenchman_]

The Comtesse "adores" _le tennis_, and plays very well, it quite
animates her. The Baronne plays too, but she doesn't hit the ball much,
and screams most of the time; she was in the middle of a game when we
arrived, and only stopped to pay all kinds of civilities to our party.
Her pretty feet show when she runs about, but she wears a large black
tulle hat with fluffy strings, and it does not seem very suitable for
tennis. I had to walk with the old Cure when the path was not wide
enough to trot all together. The gardens really are lovely, with all
kinds of strange shrubs and trees, and _fontaines_ and _bosquets_, and
nooks, but I don't see the least use in them if one has always to walk
three in a row, if not more, do you, Mamma? The Cure was a charming old
fellow, and explained all the plants to me. We had no sooner got back
to the tennis ground than one felt something momentous was taking place
between Godmamma and the Baronne. She had finished her tennis, and they
were sitting away from the others, nodding their heads together.
Victorine at once put on a conscious air, and minced more than usual.
"Antoine" and Heloise seemed speaking seriously, while she examined his
new racket. The Vicomte had begun a game, so could not talk to us, but
some more officers were introduced, and, after the usual bowing, we
began to talk.

"Vous aimez le tennis, mademoiselle?"

"Oui, monsieur," from Victorine. "Moi, je le deteste," from me.

"Pas possible!" from every one.

"Je vous assure on ne joue que le croquet chez nous."

"Le croquet," from Victorine, "un jeu de Couvent!"

"Le croquet! Et les anglais qui n'aiment que l'exercice!" from the
officers, &c., &c.

Very interesting, you see, one's conversations here!

[Sidenote: _A Marriage Arranged_]

All this time the Baronne and Godmamma were nodding their heads, and
when Jean and Heloise joined them, they looked like those sets of
mandarins that used to be on Uncle Charles's mantelpiece, and as we
said Good-bye, the Baronne said to Godmamma, "Bien, chere madame, c'est
entendu alors c'est pour demain."

All the way home in the carriage, Victorine simpered. I felt I could
have slapped her.

In the evening there was an air of mystery about them all, and, quite
unlike her usual custom, Heloise came into my room to chat when I was
going to bed. Of course Agnes stayed as long as she could, but no
sooner had we got rid of her, than Heloise told me what it was all
about. It appears the Baronne has a nephew, who has made a heap of
debts; he is a Marquis, and he wants to "redorer le blason." It is
necessary for him to secure a large dot, but he is "si terriblement
volage," that the extreme plainness of Victorine may put him off. The
Baronne has been arranging it, and he is to be brought with his parent
to breakfast, to sample her!

They have not seen one another yet, and it has been difficult to get
him to face the situation seriously. Victorine has been dragging on so,
that the family will be delighted to let her go, even to a less fortune
than she has. "Ils devraient etre joliment contents, un gros paquet
comme ca!" as Hippolyte, who knows every one's business, said to the
Baronne's maid--Heloise told me--and that explains it; she said it
would be such a _mercy_ if he will settle the affair at once. She had
come to ask me a favour. I did wonder what it was! And you will laugh,
Mamma, when you hear! Victorine is sure to be nervous, Heloise said,
and in that case her face gets red, and it would be a pity to distract
his attention in any way, and in short would I mind putting on my most
unbecoming dress, and not speaking while the Marquis is here?

[Sidenote: _The Fiance Appears_]

So here I am, Mamma, writing to you up in my room, dressed in that
horrid _beige_ linen that we chose at night, and I shan't go down till
_dejeuner_ is ready, pouf! I can hear a carriage coming, I must go to
the window. Yes, it is the _fiance_, accompanied by his mother and
aunt. He is nice-looking, except that he has got a silly fair beard. I
can hear them arriving in the hall; such a lot of talking!

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