My carriage has finally brought me safely back home to Papa's country house. I am a little weary, but I must commit my thoughts about the weekend I have passed to my diary whilst they are still fresh.
Lord Fawcett's House Party was indeed an exhilarating experience. Mrs Derby, our chaperone, met us all after dressing on Friday night to ensure that we would do credit to her. I believe I met with her approval, and she commented very kindly on my good posture. With my dear cousin, Lady Grace, and my new friend, the Honourable Miss Dorothea Latimer, I entered the drawing room. I was delighted to be reacquainted with certain guest who I had previously met at Lord Fawcett's house in Town. I was also introduced to some new friends. My escort for dinner was Viscount Fitzwarren, a gentleman new to my acquaintance. Over a delicious meal of soused herring, hare soup and stuffed quail, the table enjoyed scintillating and witty conversation, which continued long into the evening.
As part of the weekend's entertainment, Lord Fawcett had decided to furnish each lady with a champion to protect her honour and settle any gambling debts she accrued. The champions for the ladies were decided by luck of the draw, and between you and I, my dear diary, I was a little distressed that the name drawn for my champion was a gentleman by the name of Sir Abel Cadogan, a guest about whom I heard heard not a little from my dear cousin Grace. Sir Abel is the newly appointed Chief Punishment Officer to His Majesty, a post which seems to involve overseeing the flogging of young women offenders as an alternative to gaol, a practice of which I do not approve. In addition to these duties, he has very recently been engaged by my uncle as some sort of disciplinarian to my dear cousin, who is much distressed by this development. I was to appreciate why as the weekend progressed.
The Saturday dawned bright but cold. After Kitty, the housemaid brought the morning drinks, we dressed and breakfasted. After we had breakfasted we practised some new dances for Sunday's ball, though as I was feeling a little unwell, I reposed on the sofa during some of the rehearsal. After the practice had finished, the ladies sat in the drawing room and took part in our usual feminine pursuits of embroidering and letter writing, though some took up the challenge of a game of croquet, while the remaining gentlemen gambled.
Until lunch, the day had proved most delightful, but after lunch, I was much disquieted to be taken aside by Sir Abel, who had a matter to discuss with me it seemed. He had been unimpressed with my comportment at dinner and during lunch, and, as he believed he had already wrought some changes in cousin Grace's behaviour with his techniques, he proposed to use those self-same techniques on me. I was not at all taken with this notion. I do not approve of the corporal punishment of young ladies of breeding. It is all very well and good to discipline the servants, but young ladies should be treated with all the respect and affection due to them. However, it appeared Sir Abel was not of the same opinion. He led me to his chamber, where he proceeded to subject me to the most trying ordeal. He had with him a variety of implements sent to him from abroad for testing before use in his punishment centres. He ordered me bend over the day bed and raise my dress, a most shameful position for a young lady of my station. He proceeded to beat me with all manner of things - a flogger, a martinet, a spoon made of coconut wood, a strap, a crop, a cane. I was determined, though, not to give him the satisfaction of having his theory (that discipline is most efficacious at correcting behaviour) proved right. I steeled myself to take his unkind ministrations with as much stoicism as possible, and I believe I was successful in this endeavour, though when he whipped my hands I was a little distressed. I believe my determination angered him, for he then made me remove my dress altogether, such a terrible notion for a lady such as myself, and whipped my back as he would some offender in his centre. It was most mortifying, though I did not express that sentiment to my tormentor.
Eventually, my ordeal was over and I was allowed to retire to dress for dinner. Unfortunately, the trials of the afternoon had upset my equilibrium a little, and I may have imbibed rather more champagne than was wise at the reception before dinner. To add to my unfortunate predicament, the ladies were being partnered for dinner by their champions, my champion, of course, being the architect of my disgrace and distress earlier in day. The champagne had made me silly, it must be said, and on reflection my behaviour at dinner, which involved the throwing of bread at my cousin, was inappropriate. This was not reason enough, though, for Sir Abel to drag me up from the table and spank me in front of the whole room. I was indeed embarrassed. Most upsetting however, was that I barely partook of Chef's most wonderfully prepared dinner. I believe I may be more circumspect in my drinking of pre-prandial champagne in future.
Sunday was a quieter day, though we had the delights of the ball to enjoy. I danced with Lord Dorchester, which was delightful, but unfortunately I did not manage to renew my acquaintance with Lord Plymouth, with whom I had practiced the dancing the day before. It was such a joy to see the beautiful sight of the guests gliding across the ballroom in their finery, participating in the latest dances, including, most racily, two waltzes, a new dance from the Continent!
I was most sad this morning when my carriage arrived to bring me home. The company at Lord Fawcett's country seat had indeed been of the highest calibre, and I hope I may be invited to the next House Party he holds, in order to experience such delights again.
1 day ago