1813, the London Season
A rare treat was offered to those attending last night’s crush at the home of Lady Elizabeth Sevingswere, where were presented her daughter Lady Mary Sevingswere and a distant cousin, Lady Elizabeth Bigglesworth, daughter of the widowed Earl of Seahaven. The treat came in the form of severe embarrassment to Lady Sevingswere, her daughter, the Earl of Seahaven, and most especially Lady Bigglesworth. It seems that, despite being an acknowledged bluestocking, less than graceful, and the possessor of both a splotchy complexion and some of the brightest orange hair known to man, Lady Bigglesworth had been able to engage the interest of no less than three eligible gentlemen, each with a respectable fortune and good name. Though not, we are told as good a name as that of Seahaven with whom these gentlemen no doubt wished to be aligned by marriage to Seahaven’s–dare we say at best–graceless female child.
What was found to be most entertaining was the outrage expressed by the astonished hostess when informed that young Lady Bigglesworth had refused all three offers. Lady Sevingswere, conscious we are certain of the curiosity running rampant among her guests, seized young Lady Bigglesworth by the arm and nearly dragged her to the card room where the Earl of Seahaven sat to a table of whist–we understand he was winning at the time. His hostess insisted that he leave the game instanter and attend her and his daughter in the library of the house.
Lady Sevingswere must indeed have been quite upset for she failed to recall that the library and the ballroom were located next to each other. Also, the evening being warm, the doors had been thrown open from both library and ballroom to the balcony bordering the garden. So irate was Lady Sevingswere, that she also failed to moderate her tone. Guests from the ballroom quite clearly heard that lady say to Seahaven.
“I wash my hands of her, Seahaven. On the basis of my distant relationship with your dead wife, you foist this impossible gel upon me, when I most wish to concentrate on my fair Amelia’s come out. You never bothered to prepare Lady Bigglesworth properly for a season, and she has become an embarrassment to us all. She dances very poorly. I cannot tell you the number of gentlemen who have been heard complaining about the state of their toes. She is the least graceful most unattractive girl I can ever recall in any London season I have attended. All of that could be forgiven if she had been sensible enough to accept one of three excellent proposals to come her way. But you need to know, she is so puffed up in her opinion of herself, that she believes she can gain the attention of a man who–and I quote to you her father–loves her for herself and not for her father’s connections. As if anyone would love a lady who attends a ball with ink stains–ink stains I say–on her fingers and sleeves. If you have any regard for me and the rest of the ton, Lord Seahaven, you will send Lady Bigglesworth to your country estate this minute. She is not worth your time or the money you have expended on her season. Better you should wait until one of your other daughters is eligible for her come out. That your lordship is my recommendation. Regardless of what you decide, I insist that Lady Bigglesworth leave my house immediately. I will arrange for her belongings to be sent to Seahaven house. The moment that is done, I refuse to have anything more to do with such an ungrateful burden as she.
Needless to say, the ton is agog at the venom spewed by Lady Sevingswere, and only forgive the lady because nothing she said was untrue. How unfortunate for Lady Bigglesworth to learn the sad state of her worth as a young woman in such a manner. One might have a great deal of sympathy for the girl had she not, as Lady Sevingswere so cogently pointed out, lacked the good sense to accept one of the proposals she received.
With Lady Bigglesworth’s departure from London, one of the most entertaining moments of the season has ended. What juicy gossip will unfold next to amuse and fascinate our dedicated readers? And one can only wonder what the future might hold for such a graceless dab. A long spinsterhood, no doubt.