Friday, January 02, 2009

07Nov1863, Sounds Distsurb Unprotected Females

HAGLEY, Saturday, November 7th, 1863.
—A great deal of drizzle, but rather a pleasant mild afternoon. Abberley the deepest purple. We had a little fright last night to break into the monotony of life. Hearing mysterious sounds, as of knocking at a shutter, and steps on the gravel under my window at 11½ , I called up Newmany, and she called up Shirtliffe, and both called up Jane Brown, who was attired in the most astonishing huge frilled mob-cap. A footman upstairs was sought for in vain, so the 1st-mentioned trio of witches prowled down the wooden stairs, and by dint of 5 or 6 peals at the drawing-room bell, we elicited a response from William, who appeared dimly in the distance on Elly's stairs, and protests he had heard nothing, knew of nothing, and nothing was to be found. So we all went back to bed again, rather flat and very cold. This morning I solemnly summoned William, and soon the cat came out of the bag. "To tell the truth, Ma'am, I had been out smoking a pipe of tobacco !" and he was the tapper at the pantry window, at 11 he says ; but I maintain at 11½ , the doors being then all locked. I next had a pompous interview with Herbert and begged him to let a man sleep upstairs, while we are a set of unprotected females ; and he will restrict William and his pipe to more respectable hours. Peace then resumed her sway.

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