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|Text of Letter 45
Written by Julie W
(Wednesday, 14 January 2009, at 4:12 a.m.)
Text of Letter 45
MY DEAR CASSANDRA,
How do you do; and how is Harriot's cold? I hope you are at this time sitting down to answer these questions. Our visit to Eastwell was very agreeable; I found Ly. Gordon's manners as pleasing as they had been described, and saw nothing to dislike in Sir Janison, excepting once or twice a sort of sneer at Mrs. Anne Finch. He was just getting into talk with Elizabeth as the carriage was ordered, but during the first part of the visit he said very little. Your going with Harriot was highly approved of by everyone, and only too much applauded as an act of virtue on your part. I said all I could to lessen your merit. The Mrs. Finches were afraid you would find Goodnestone very dull; I wished when I heard them say so that they could have heard Mr. E. Bridges' solicitude on the subject, and have known all the amusements that were planned to prevent it. They were very civil to me, as they always are; fortune was also very civil to me in placing Mr. E. Hatton by me at dinner. I have discovered that Lady Elizabeth, for a woman of her age and situation, has astonishingly little to say for herself, and that Miss Hatton has not much more. Her eloquence lies in her fingers; they were most fluently harmonious. George is a fine boy, and well behaved, but Daniel chiefly delighted me; the good humour of his countenance is quite bewitching. After tea we had a cribbage-table, and he and I won two rubbers of his brother and Mrs. Mary. Mr. Brett was the only person there, besides our two families. It was considerably past eleven before we were at home, and I was so tired as to feel no envy of those who were at Ly. Yates' ball. My good wishes for its being a pleasant one were, I hope, successful. Yesterday was a very quiet day with us; my noisiest efforts were writing to Frank, and playing at battledore and shuttlecock with William; he and I have practised together two mornings, and improve a little; we have frequently kept it up three times, and once or twice six. The two Edwards went to Canterbury in the chaise, and found Mrs. Knight, as you found her, I suppose, the day before, cheerful but weak. Fanny was met walking with Miss Sharp and Miss Milles, the happiest being in the world; she sent a private message to her mamma implying as much. "Tell mamma that I am quite Palmerstone!" If little Lizzy used the same language she would, I dare say, send the same message from Goodnestone. In the evening we took a quiet walk round the farm, with George and Henry to animate us by their races and merriment. Little Edward is by no means better, and his papa and mamma have determined to consult Dr. Wilmot. Unless he recovers his strength beyond what is now probable, his brothers will return to school without him, and he will be of the party to Worthing. If sea-bathing should be recommended he will be left there with us, but this is not thought likely to happen. I have been used very ill this morning: I have received a letter from Frank which I ought to have had when Elizabeth and Henry had theirs, and which in its way from Albany to Godmersham has been to Dover and Steventon. It was finished on ye 16th, and tells what theirs told before as to his present situation; he is in a great hurry to be married, and I have encouraged him in it, in the letter which ought to have been an answer to his. He must think it very strange that I do not acknowledge the receipt of his, when I speak of those of the same date to Eliz. and Henry; and to add to my injuries, I forgot to number mine on the outside. I have found your white mittens; they were folded up within my clean nightcap, and send their duty to you. Elizabeth has this moment proposed a scheme which will be very much for my pleasure if equally convenient to the other party; it is that when you return on Monday, I should take your place at Goodnestone for a few days. Harriot cannot be insincere, let her try for it ever so much, and therefore I defy her to accept this self-invitation of mine, unless it be really what perfectly suits her. As there is no time for an answer, I shall go in the carriage on Monday, and can return with you, if my going on to Goodnestone is at all inconvenient. The Knatchbulls come on Wednesday to dinner, and stay only till Friday morning at the latest. Frank's letter to me is the only one that you or I have received since Thursday. Mr. Hall walked off this morning to Ospringe, with no inconsiderable booty. He charged Elizabeth 5s. for every time of dressing her hair, and 5s. for every lesson to Sace, allowing nothing for the pleasures of his visit here, for meat, drink, and lodging, the benefit of country air, and the charms of Mrs. Salkeld's and Mrs. Sace's society. Towards me he was as considerate as I had hoped for from my relationship to you, charging me only 2s. 6d. for cutting my hair, though it was as thoroughly dressed after being cut for Eastwell as it had been for the Ashford assembly. He certainly respects either our youth or our poverty. My writing to you to-day prevents Elizabeth writing to Harriot, for which evil I implore the latter's pardon. Give my best love to her, and kind remembrance to her brothers.
Yours very affectionately, J. A.
You are desired to bring back with you Henry's picture of Rowling for the Misses Finches.
As I find, on looking into my affairs, that instead of being very rich I am likely to be very poor, I cannot afford more than ten shillings for Sackree; but as we are to meet in Canterbury I need not have mentioned this. It is as well, however, to prepare you for the sight of a sister sunk in poverty, that it may not overcome your spirits.
Elizabeth hopes you will not be later here on Monday than five o'clock, on Lizzy's account.
We have heard nothing from Henry since he went. Daniel told us that he went from Ospringe in one of the coaches.
Miss Austen, Goodnestone Farm, Wingham.
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