Tabby Hall, Dovedale, June 9th 1813
O! Mr or Mrs Editor! there has been the strangest cat-has-staff-ye at Tabby Hall! Not that I should have persumed to write about it if I had not been a half-boarder at Madam Defool’s septenary, where everybody learnt seventeen accomplishments. Besides, Sir or Ma’am, I was not born to be a common dumb-stick, or one of the canal, as our valley says, but when they told me at the Third Apology-office in Soho Square that Lady Belle Bluemantle wanted a lady to wait upon her, I thought it would be no degardation to me, as the Morning-Crocodile says she is one of the loving-larries of fashion. And so, Sir, that is the only reason why I live at Tabby Hall.
But I was going to tell you what a din-among (as Pirouette calls it) has happened here. Mr Counsellor Anyside was to dine with us yesterday and to be infested with his office, so we were all hurry and corruscation at the hall. Mrs Nettletop cut up her old pompadore sattin to make him a robe; Miss Squib unpapered all the china Cupids; and Miss Botherem took away the drawing-room lamp, for fear, she said, that he might not like holy-hag-in-house things. But I thought Dr Cardamom didn’t tap his essence-box so gaily as he used to, and poor Mr Julep, our ’pothecary looked very pendulous. And as I was curling Miss Quickset’s elastic wig, I overheard him in the gallery whispering Miss Botherem. “Ma’am,” says he, “I hope your ’fection won’t vaccinate from me because a ragmatical lawyer is coming.” And she said, “Sir, you are too perpendicular in your attentions.” Well, Mr Editor, at last all our ladies were full-dressed in the parlour trying to look like the Venus of Made-dishes, and I ran to peep thro’ a hole in the door which we call our *Fun-escope**. Then Mr Counsellor Anyside came in, looking as a saponaceous as a judge, with his handkerchief so perfumes, his hair so porcupined, and his left eye so sparkling thro’ his glass, that I vow, I felt a perambulation of heart myself! But, oh! Mr Editor! when he bowed to Miss Saccharissa Murmur as she declined on the sofa, he turned whiter than Blue-turk’s head on the chimney-piece! And I never saw her in such a natural fit in my life. Then Mrs Nettletop look’d quite fremitic. “Sir,” says she, “how could you be so hypercritical as to say you were unmarried?” — “Madam,” says he, “I said I had no burdens, which is very true, for I have been divorced from my wife a year, because she made asseverations in Birchall’s music-shop!” Then all our ladies began to fisticate him at once; and nobody minded the poor wife who lay in ’stiricks, till Miss Croaker said she foresaw what would happen, for she had dreamed of an owl in a bush, and so she rung the alarm-bell for help. Dr Cardamom and Mr Julep came running down-stairs and rolled over poor Pirouette who stood peeping behind me. Now the lap-dogs barked, Miss Squib’s macaw screamed, and Miss Echowell poured a bottleful of liquid rouge over Mrs Saccharissa’s face instead of hungry water. So she started up and gave poor Miss Echowell a box in the ear; and Miss Quickset cried out, “Oh you litteraginhouse woman, to come to profane our temple of silly-bassy! How did you dare to expect to escape my expectoration?” — “Ma’am,” said Mrs Saccharissa) “I despise your in-a-window!” and away she flew, leaving everybody spectrified, but when they look’d round for the Counsellor, he had slipp’d off and the Chaplain began a sermon against hypocritics and tale-bearers, so I came away.
Now, Sir, if you could but guess what a constipation we are in here! Only think of the Counsellor who sent such a fine letter to the Attic Chest, turning out good-for-nothing! Mrs Quickset protests his wife shall not disgrace this pandemonium of maiden ladies another week; and poor Mrs Nettletop has been crying two hours for the loss of her tabby-gown which she gave the Counsellor for his robe. Miss Squib say she would not have bought a new set of cards if she had known he was married; but Miss Botherem thinks its no great loss, for the longitude of his nose was frightful. And this is an account of the whole convolvulus; so I shall add no more at present from
Yours &c. &c (as my Lady says)