Dear Lady Imogen,
It’s my birthday next month and I fear my husband will do what he always does, which is buy me something he thinks I need, like a food processor, when what I’d really like is a diamond ring. How can I steer him in the right direction?
Sick of kitchen equipment
My dear friend,
What on earth is a food processor? Do you mean a cook, though I do not comprehend how one could buy one, precisely? It is true there was a disturbance amongst the ton when The Earl of Westchester apparently stole away the Baron Hutchings’ cook by offering her financial inducements. It actually came to blows in White’s, I’m told. Our chef de cuisine, I might add, has a particularly good way of “processing” collops of veal, which my dear Ivo, the Duke of Sarisbury, enjoys very much. I blush to admit he says he likes the dish because the whiteness of the veal reminds him of a woman’s breast. He says this with a lift of his brow and a gaze at that part of my own body that I find quite thrilling. But I digress.
My experience with the Stock Exchange has taught me that gentlemen need to feel the decisions they make are their own. You must not, therefore, ask for a ring outright. It is imperative he imagines he thought of it himself.
At dinner, while walking in the park, in the carriage, on any and all occasions, sigh and raise your ringless hand saying, I hear diamond rings are all the rage this year. Lady Jersey is wearing the most beautiful creation, but, of course, one of her many…er, gentlemen friends may have given it to her. Her husband has no taste. Unlike you, my dear! And smile engagingly at him. Repeat this as often as you can.
Then, after a week or so, refer to the specific place where a ring might be had – Garrard’s, of course. On several occasions, have your coachman drive past their premises (just off Haymarket) and draw his attention it. Oh, look, my dear. There’s Garrard’s. I believe that’s where Lady Jersey’s ring was obtained.
Finally, about a week before your birthday, drive past that establishment and carelessly drop your glove out of the carriage window. Insist on descending to retrieve it. As a gentleman, your husband will naturally descend with you. You will not bother about the glove. Let the driver find it. You will take your husband’s arm, press your nose against Garrard’s window and exclaim, Oh! how beautiful, just of all things what I should desire! Do look, my dear!
Back in the carriage, not forgetting to rub the smudge from your nose, sigh and look down at your ringless hand repeatedly. In a voice of wonder then, and later, as often as you can, exclaim: oh, the rings in Garrard’s were so beautiful, were they not, my dear?
If, after all this, your husband is so obtuse as to not take the hint, he is really of no use to you at all. I should immediately follow the lead of Lady Jersey and find yourself another … interest. ButI shall leave advice on that until another time.
Good luck, my dear! I hope your husband comes up to scratch and you receive a ring, not a cook, for your birthday!
Imogen, Lady Sarisbury first appeared in the works of GL Robinson, her good friend and editor, to whom she told her story. It was published under the title Imogen or Love and Money. If you would like to see more advice from her, read her story or listen to the first chapter of her fascinating life, please go to the website:
Her ladyship will be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Please contact her via the website above. In view of the technical difficulties of communication with the early nineteenth century, she is unable to respond to you direct.
Glynis Louise Donohue
Writing as GL Robinson
Novels available on Amazon