Mistress Hahn was supposed to entertain you today, but she sent me an urgent message begging for help.
The timing could not be more perfect. I have been longing to set the record straight on a number of matters pertaining to what is really involved in maintaining a less-than-sterling reputation. I most certainly am not soliciting your sympathy. I simply wish for you to understand that it’s not as effortless as it seems.
Carousing. Everyone uses that word. Does anyone know what it actually entails? Making merry is all well and good. Lively company is a fine thing. To a certain extent. But a man reaches a certain age, and the lure of a good book by the fireside with a fine glass of wine becomes more appealing. I know. It was a strange realization for me, too. At the age of eighteen, nothing sounded more dull. At twenty-five, I was more compassionate toward the old men who found pleasures in such things. A few years later—I won’t say how many—and I became that old man myself, decades earlier than anticipated. Or I would liked to have done, had I not had a reputation to maintain.
Which brings me to what it takes in maintaining one’s reputation with women. Let me think. All right, I won’t lie. I can’t find any downside to this one. If a woman seeks my company with certain expectations of what I might provide for her…never mind, let’s skip this one.
Horseflesh. You must have an intimate knowledge of all the fastest horses in the country. You must be able to detail who owns which animals, who bought which horse when and for what price, and all the particulars therein. I myself like horses very much. Not so much as my dear friend, the Earl of Corbeau, but I do like them. But sometimes a man wants to enjoy the company of his animals without being surrounded by young Corinthians in their finest, carefully appointed plumage who want the opportunity to try besting you to prove themselves.
After a while, people begin immediately assuming the worst. So when you happen to be seen fleeing a house with a parlor maid and a goat, they leap to conclusions you yourself don’t want to consider. It, of course, becomes the talk of the town, so even your mother hears about the incident… It’s a conversation you don’t want to be having with a parent. Take my word on that one.
Often I wonder if it’s more trouble than it’s worth. But once you’re in, you’re in. Members of Society have memories that would put some fantastical creature with a very long memory to shame. And then the worst happens. One all-too-respectable woman rises above the rest in your estimation and you’d like the opportunity to become close to her. But the only means available to you are nefarious. And determined to drive her away from you forever.
There is more to the story. It’s been recorded by a reliable source. I recommend you take the time to see what happens next and judge for yourself.
Yours et cetera, M.
Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen. She’d love to connect with her readers!