Am I the scoundrel for conveying my sister-in-law's purse to the dining establishment, as she is ever apt to misplace it?

It was a fine day when my sister-in-law, whom I shall refer to as “Lydia” for the sake of discretion, arrived in town for one of her customary visits. Though a lady, she possessed the propensity to behave in a manner most unbecoming, particularly when it came to matters of finance.

Lydia, with a decided preference for residing under our roof rather than seeking more suitable accommodations at an inn, would insist upon frequenting the most fashionable and costly establishments for our repasts. Alas, it was always accompanied by an unfortunate lapse of memory regarding the whereabouts of her purse, or the conjuring of some excuse or other as to why she could not fulfill her obligation to contribute to the payment. Furthermore, she would audaciously suggest that it was my responsibility, not her brother’s, to bear the burden of the expense, on account of my more prosperous circumstances.

While I cannot deny my comfortable means, it hardly justifies the expectation that I should be perpetually obligated to sponsor her indulgences. In the past, I have acquiesced, settling the bill with the understanding that she should reimburse me, a promise which remained woefully unfulfilled.

On the eve of her most recent sojourn, Lydia had arranged for our party to dine at an establishment of particularly exorbitant repute. Resolved to put an end to this habitual imposition, I made my intentions abundantly clear prior to our departure: I would not be held accountable for her portion of the expenses.

It was at this point, dear reader, that I must confess to employing a stratagem of dubious propriety. As we prepared to venture forth, Lydia and my husband proceeded to the carriage, while I feigned the necessity of retrieving a forgotten item within the house. Upon my return, I discovered her purse, conspicuously positioned atop her luggage. Seizing the opportunity, I secreted the item within my own reticule and accompanied my family to the restaurant.

Upon the conclusion of our meal, I requested separate bills, to which Lydia objected, asserting that we required only one, as she had “misplaced” her purse once more. It was then that I produced the aforementioned wallet, inquiring with no small measure of satisfaction, “This purse?”

Her indignation was as vehement as it was duplicitous, accusing me of overstepping the bounds of propriety by appropriating her property. And so, I entreat you, dear reader: Am I the scoundrel for taking her purse and bringing it to the restaurant?

further remarks and discourse follows

Certainly not the Scoundrel, though it occurs to me that an alternative course of action might have been employed. In a reversal of roles, you could have left your own purse at home, thus compelling your sister-in-law to assume responsibility for the entirety of the bill. Following this singular event, one might have refrained from ever again indulging her in the pleasures of dining at such establishments.

By no means are you the Scoundrel. Indeed, your actions may be commended as a display of formidable resolve. However, one cannot help but wonder when your esteemed husband intends to intervene and ensure his sister duly fulfills her financial obligations.