How very gratifying
it is to have the opportunity to engage in discourse with such a fine classical scholar as Lady Jane. Not only does one apprehend that she was exceeding well instructed by her late uncle, that is very well-spoke-of, indeed, had some correspondence with the late Marquess; but has also kept up
with her studies. Subject of course to those constraints that afflict any that are outside those charmed circles
of the antient temples of learning
: yet she reads extensively, acquires a deal of books and periodicals, and I fancy is most eager
for one with whom she might converse on these questions. Such a fine liberal understanding – for I find McNair still somewhat like to be affected in his judgements by the teaching of the Kirk and notions of sin
that ill befit a professed freethinker.
And, knowing her nature, I need not fear that there will another matter such as there was over German lessons.
Alas that I was deluded – quite the kindest offer, was I not situated as I am – what shall I do? – 'tis entirely a problem to lay in Clorinda’s clever hands, and I entire deserve any teazing she may bestow upon me. I will lay the matter before her, and submit to her judgement.
Indeed I feel a contrition that is overpowering towards dearest G, that does not chide, or even mock, even though I have behaved so very foolish and ill and ungrateful. Sure I endeavour to demonstrate –
He has by far the finer nature! As I stooped to make demonstration once more, he put his hands about my head and lifted it so that I might look him in the face. Dear Sandy, he said, you need not go about quite so desperately humble in making amends: I know there are interests of yours I cannot enter into, for I have no claim to any great learning. Moreover, do I not spend a deal of time in pursuits in which you cannot join, with the empty-headed wastrel set? I would not grudge you the pleasure of converse with the terrifying virago, do you find it there. Provided you do not go so far as to arouse a ferocious jealousy in Miss Addington’s bosom, so that she fancies you the Fair Rosamund to her Queen Eleanor –
Indeed, I have thought that the normally amiable Miss Addington had looked upon me rather scowling of late.
– you are entire at liberty to go take tea with Lady Jane, and talk of classics, for, my dear, 'tis all Greek to me.
Whereupon I punched him in the ribs and we were once more upon the usual easy terms.
I am a wretched grudging fellow that was, I must confess here, quite spiteful towards dearest G the e’en. He came to display himself to me in his costume for the Contessa’s ridotto, which he had kept quite as a secret up to that moment. He had got himself up as some figure of a Highland Jacobite laird out of the novels of Scott –
That, I must concede, became him exceeding well. His legs can very well bear the exposure imposed by the kilt, and the bonnet, with a jaunty feather in it, perched rakishly upon his head, was so exceedingly becoming I wonder may we see it become the next style.
The whole impression, indeed, was such that I found myself carnally impressed quite entirely against my better judgement, and, my jealousy roused at the thought of his going into such a glittering company so very attractively arrayed, began to lecture and harangue and sermonize in, alas, my most entire John Knox style about the history of my nation, the very pernicious rendering of it that is found in Sir Walter’s works, &C, until he was obliged to leave.
I will go sneak into his bedchamber and wait up for his return so that I may express my entire contrition at this ill behaviour.
Sure I am entirely undeserving of such warmth of kind affections and such remarkable fine amorous attentions.