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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
tired.

[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
wrong.

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,
Mamma?

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.




CHÂTEAU DE CROIXMARE


Château 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. Agnès 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. Château 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. Héloise 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 Agnès - 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 Agnès 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.
Agnès 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
villa.

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 _déjeûner_. Héloise 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 Héloise 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. Agnès 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"


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 Frémond,
Jean, Héloise, and me; the Marquise de Vermondoise, and two young men,
officers in the Cavalry, stationed at Versailles. One is the Vicomte
Gaston de la Trémors, 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
Héloise'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 _soignée_ 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 Elysées 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).
Héloise 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 Frémond (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
board.

[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 _maître d'hôtel_)
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 Château 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 Bebête!"

At _déjeûner_ 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 _à 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!
hein!"

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 Frémond is the "Baron," Monsieur
de Tournelle is the "Comte," Mme. de Tournelle is the "Comtesse," Mme.
de Vermondoise is the "Marquise," Monsieur de la Trémors 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 "très 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. Héloise 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 Bébé 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 Agnès 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 ça 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
_drôle_ 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 Héloise 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


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