21st February 1826
Fanny, although not performing on this occasion, has been given two complimentary tickets for the Royal Academy of Music monthly concert – the first of the year – and Mama declared at breakfast that she planned to offer them to Mrs Hathersage! This is quite typical of how I am neglected and overlooked. I pointed out that it would do me no harm to mingle in Society – there are always dukes and duchesses and half the haut ton in attendance – but my mother would not budge. She referred me to her treatment at the hands of Mrs Hathersage on Sunday, remarking that she was ‘not to be morally squashed.’ I replied that giving Fanny’s concert tickets to Mrs H. was a queer way to make a point – like seeking out a fellow who had kicked you in the shins and offering to polish his shoes – but she said that she ‘knew how to deal with a snub, and a snob for that matter, and that was the long and short of it.’
When I came back from school, however, I learned that Mrs Hathersage had spurned the invitation, on account of poor health, but had offered to send SELENA in her place, with Fanny accompanying her. Mama was perfectly pleased with this unexpected turn of events and said that Fanny would ‘do well the cultivate the acquaintance of such a charming young woman’ (HA! so much for snubs and SNOBS!!). Therefore, I shall ask Mama if I may play the part of chaperone and accompany them to the door of the Royal Academy (for it would only be chivalrous!). I had better choose my moment, however, since Mama still seems very distracted and moody and constantly snipes at Pa. This evening, for instance, when she saw him put on his coat and take up a couple of boxes of hats, she said that ‘he had better turn commercial traveller and be done with it.’ Papa replied that ‘a fellow might well think it quite worth his while, and the further the better’ (!) – and then promptly left the house.
They are arguing again. I could not hear all of it but Papa came back from the Stray Cat, v. merry. Mama exclaimed that ‘she could bear anything, John Dickens, but to be deceived.’ He replied, ‘Ma’am, if you will listen to that many-tongued hydra that is popularly accorded the epithet of Rumour, then I have nothing to add’ – but then he did have something to add – only I could not make out the rest, as there was a curse and resounding clatter, which I took to be a pair of ventilating hats landing awkwardly on the hall tiles.
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