A debutante’s diary: A late night rendezvous

Saturday 12th September, 1868

Every night my retriever takes me into dinner, and under his care it is far from being the least pleasant part of the day. Tonight, after a great expenditure of words and entreaties, I allowed for an unwilling permission to be coaxed out of me to his waiting in the Galerie des Dames half an hour after the ladies had retired.

I went out to my own room, and letting down my hair I gave it as slow and deliberate a brushing as if I had no other occupation in view. Having wasted sufficient time to let the house get quiet, I made up my mind to relieve his suspense, and candle in hand, advanced bravely enough to the Gallery, though feeling shyer than I should have thought myself capable under any possible circumstances.

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His advance from the other end of the Gallery, as handsome as a picture in his smoking costume of dark coloured velvet, put retreat entirely out of the question. ‘Thanks so much for coming’-a dead pause, and then a sigh of admiration, ‘I never saw anything so glorious!’ I can only compare his glances to the expression I should invest a Royal Bengal Tiger with, waiting for the moment to dart on his prey.

As I bade him goodnight, he tried to put his arm round my waist, when I think, notwithstanding his virtue and my good Resolutions, it would have been wished in a different manner; but though not violently averse in my heart, I was much too politic to allow of any such demonstration.

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