Blow Thou Winter Wind
London, Saturday (March 4, 1814).
My Dear Jane,
Do not be angry with me for beginning another letter to you. I have read The Corsair mended my petticoat, and have nothing else to do.
Getting out is near impossible. It is a very cold and nasty day and our rooms are so delightfully warm there is little reason to venture forth. The newspapers are all exclaiming that it is the hardest winter, which has been known for twenty years. Talk of the weather has become absolute as a consequence.
Darcy's spirits (and mine, I daresay) are in want of sunshine, yet there is nothing but thickness and sleet. I fear the inclement weather may have given Darcy a trifling cold. I shall cosset him with hot soup and posset. I daresay I can charm away any sore throat that dares cross his path. I re-assure myself that people do not die of little trifling colds.
Mrs. Annesley and Georgiana are fixed to arrive this time tomorrow. Young Lord Wyndham has accepted an invitation for dinner tomorrow. He is such a nice, gentlemanlike, unaffected sort of young man. I think he may do for Georgiana. He has a sensible, quiet look, which one likes.
A civil note has come from Miss Bingley, to apologize for not returning my visit today, and to ask us to join a small party this evening. Thank you, no, we shall be otherwise engaged.
I was just speaking to Mrs. Bower, (you will recall she is our housekeeper in town) about dinner, when she informed me that we are out of Mrs. R's raspberry jam. "Tis a favorite of the Master's. I have some of my own, which of course I am determined he shall have."
She makes every sacrifice for the comfort of my husband. I sometimes wonder if Darcy is aware of the acute care given to ensuring his welfare. I have sent a note to Mrs. Reynolds to send some more down from Pemberley. I would not like to be accused of neglecting the man. I daresay a pot or two will be here shortly.
I leave it for you to note that I received no such offering when we ran out of my favorite apricot marmalade last week; can you not bring a pot when you come?
Sunday, March 4, 1814
I find I have a little time before breakfast for writing. I had expected to find Darcy already seated at a table writing to Lady Matlock, but I am here first.
How is your search for a new cook coming? I had not thought that Nicholls would prefer London to the country life. At least Miss Bingley has a tolerable cook. Should she desire us for dinner again, I will have to accept.
Darcy is just come down; he seems well, his cold did not increase. I believe my careful attentions to his welfare did the trick. He sends his best wishes for your continued good health and will write to Bingley this very day. I shall stand by his side and admire his handwriting.
It was considerably past four when Mrs. Annesley and Georgiana arrived yesterday, the roads were so very bad! As it was, they had to have the use of four horses from Cranford Bridge onward. Georgiana was miserably cold at first, but seems well now. I left her fast asleep. She was still about last night when I went to my rest, a little after one. A trifle over stimulated from the travel and the evening's entertainment. She thanks you for your kind note, and reproaches herself for not having written to you, but I assured her there was no occasion.
Upon the whole, I believe, Georgiana liked her visit to Bath very well. They only went out three evenings, to one play and to each of the rooms. They walked about a good deal, and spent many hours with the Earl and Countess. All the Fitzwilliams are likely to gather together when the weather becomes hospitable again. Lady Matlock has invited us to this family affair. Darcy is quite pleased with the news.
Now we have come from St. Paul's, and all the whole party has set about writing. I to you, Darcy to Bingley and his steward, Georgiana to the Matlocks and Mrs. Annesley to I know not whom.
A bright and clear blue sky is not always proof of a fine day. Such cheerful signs belie the fact that it is yet another cold day. It is only the beginning of March; but I wish April were already upon us with its mild air, brisk soft winds, and warm sun.
However, Georgiana and I went into the park and drove about. We were very much entertained. We caught but a glimpse of Mister John Plumtree and Captain Jason Wildman, and of George Hatton too, in the park. All young gentlemen Georgiana met last year when in London. When I mentioned the possibility of suitors calling, she blushed becomingly.
We were quite satisfied with Mr. Kean as "Shylock." I cannot imagine better acting, but the part was too short; and, excepting him and Miss Smith, (and she did not quite answer my expectations), the parts were ill filled and the play heavy. However, Georgiana was quite delighted with it. We were too much tired to stay for the whole of Illusion, which has three acts. There is a great deal of finery and dancing in it, but I think it has little merit. Elliston was "Nour-jahad," but it is a solemn sort of part, not at all calculated for his powers. There was nothing of the best Elliston about him. I might not have known him but for his voice.
I shall like to see Kean again excessively, and for you to see him, too. It appeared to me as if there were no fault in him anywhere; and in his scene with "Tubal" there was exquisite acting.
Almost everybody at the theater was in mourning last night, but I believe my brown velvet gown did very well.
This six weeks' mourning for the Queen's brother hardly makes it worth-while to have new gowns made up. When this mourning period is over, we will indulge in gowns and trimmings and caps and veils and be above vulgar economy; but we can talk more of this when we are together.
I have determined to trim my lilac sarsenet with black satin ribbon just as my China crape is at the bottom and top. Georgiana informs me that ribbon trimmings are all the fashion at Bath, and I dare say the fashions in London and Bath are alike enough in that point to content me. With this addition it will be a very useful gown, happy to go anywhere.
Col. Fitzwilliam stopped by with an old friend. He introduced to us General Sir Frederick Chaine. I must say he is not my ideal when I envision a general, being too young, too short, and too fair. However, he proved to be a witty conversationalist, so I invited him to dine with us (along with Col. F, of course.) Young Wyndham does not come to dine after all. A very long and very civil note of excuse has arrived. It was enough to make one moralize upon the ups and downs of this life. I have done with match-making.
I take up my pen to communicate some distressing intelligence. As Darcy was dealing with his correspondence, he came upon a letter that discomposed him greatly. He soon retired to study and I followed him shortly thereafter, for my curiosity had awoken.
Upon my query, Darcy gave me the letter to read. It is from a Mr. Hinton. The main subject of his writing was our dear brother. A communication wherein Wickham's name appears never provides news one wishes to hear and this epistle was no exception.
Mr. Hinton writes that Wickham disclosed to him that he is acting on Darcy's behalf to gather interested parties in the "forming a company for the purpose of mining coal at Pemberley". However, Mr. H wished to ascertain the truth behind W's claims before putting up any sum of money. Mr. H appears to be a very wise and cautious man who will hazard nothing till he believes an investment secure. Would there were more like him, for Mr. H states that he is aware of several less prudent men who have already given Wickham funds.
What another fine mess our dear brother has gotten himself into. By Darcy's expression, if Wickham were near I would fear for his life. I do not believe that even Lady Catherine could be more seriously displeased than Darcy is at this moment.
I will write more tomorrow, for we have guests arriving shortly expecting to be fed. How I shall find anything to talk of with this matter running through my head, I know not.
Monday, March 7, 1814
Darcy has mentioned little of the matter with Wickham today. He is still very angry. He will let me know all when it is "quite settled." What the terms of this settlement will be is still unknown. I only know that he discussed the matter with Col. F last evening.
Our dinner and evening went off very well. General Chaine apologized for lacking the dignity usually associated with men of his status. His rank was newly acquired. (Col. F, had relayed my opinions to him, for I gave my opinion only him and yourself) He then proceeded to regale us with many droll tales of life on the Peninsula during the war. To hear him talk, it was almost as if the long war were but a lark. Yet there was sometimes a melancholy that would come over him every now again. Many of the young men in his stories have fallen and I believe he feels the lost keenly still. He is off to join the Duke on the Peninsula soon. He is certain that war will be ending soon, perhaps before he even returns to Spain. I pray that he is correct.
Here is a day! The ground covered with snow! What is to become of us? We were to have walked out early to nearby shops, and had the carriage ready for those more distant. Mr. Richard Snow is dreadfully fond of us. I dare say he has stretched himself out at Netherfield, too. Well, I daresay it will give you reason to stay in and finish packing for the move to Fox Lane Manor. I am afraid your planting there can hardly have begun.
You cannot think how much I admired my new ermine tippet. It certainly helped to keep me warm this morning. It was a noble and perfect gift from Darcy. He said it would prevent me from coming down with a sore throat you see, he worries about my continued good health as much as I do his.
Well, we have been out as far as Coventry Street; Darcy escorted us there and back to Newton's, where he left us. I brought Georgiana safe home. It was snowing the whole time. We have given up all idea of using the carriage any more today. Darcy and Georgiana are both pleased to stay in for the day, and enjoy the pleasure of each other's company. Our visit to the Spencer's is, of course, put off. I also shall have to pay a visit to Twining tomorrow, when I shall order a fresh supply of tea, though there has been another rise in price.
Mister John Plumtree and Captain Jason Wildman called while we were out. It is a shame to have missed them. There is no chance of there calling this afternoon, the weather being what it is. I teased Georgiana, a very little I assure you, on her gentlemen callers.
A great many pretty caps were in the windows of Bond Street. I hope when you come we shall both be tempted. I have been ruining myself in blue satin ribbon with a proper pearl edge, and now I am trying to draw it up into kind of roses instead of putting it in plain double plaits.
By a little convenient listening, I now know that Darcy wishes to go to Pemberley for a few days before Easter, and has indeed promised to do so. Therefore, you must not put off your coming to town.
Darcy finds he cannot set off for Derbyshire before the 23rd. We shall not have too many days together here prior to that trip if you cannot come earlier.
It occurs to me that, instead of my returning to London from Pemberley, it will be better for you to join me there after the holiday. You may rest a few days before completing the journey to Fox Lane. I can not believe that in addition to every other source of happiness, I now have my dear Jane within thirty miles. And what is thirty miles of good road?
I have never told you, but soon after Darcy and I began our journey, he said, talking of yours, that he knew I would desire to help with your settling in at the Manor. I own that I am all anticipation to see it. I daresay his curiosity has also been aroused. Shall we join you on the final journey there?
Darcy heard from Lady Matlock this morning. Her accounts are not quite as one would wish. The Earl is in good health, but Dr. Parry talks of her beginning the waters again; this will be keeping them longer in Bath. Of course, Lady M. does not find the water very palatable.
Please tell my mother and father that I shall write to them very soon.
Tuesday, March 8, 1814
My dearest Jane,
This very moment Richards has your letter on the table. I have torn it open and read your note. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It arrived just before we set off for Covent Garden.
Yes, somehow or other we managed to get to Covent Garden Theatre last night. We were able to see The Devil to Pay. I was very much amused. Excepting Miss Stephens, who's voice is always delightful, Artaxerxes was very tiresome. I was highly amused with the farce, and, in an inferior way, with the pantomime that followed.
Mr. John Plumtree joined in the latter part of the evening, walked home with us, ate some soup, and is very earnest for our going to Covent Garden again tonight to see Miss Stephens in The Farmer's Wife. He is to try for a box. I do not particularly wish him to succeed. I have had enough of the theater for the present. On the other hand, I think I may have discovered a "decided interest" between him and Georgiana. Another evening of observation and reflection may settle the matter for me. Oh, dear, I fear I am turning matchmaker again.
Darcy is amazed at the sixty-four trees planted at Fox Lane. He sends his love, and gives you notice of the completion of a study table Bingley desired. It ought to be at Pemberley this week. Darcy says that Bingley is to consider it a gift and he will not hear of repayment.
He will have it sent by cart to your new house. He wishes it not to be unpacked until Bingley is on the spot himself. It will be rest in the hall until your arrival.
Darcy dines today with Col. Fitzwilliam and General Chaine. Further discussion on the Wickham matter, I believe, is taking place. I shall tax Darcy with it tonight.
Yours very affectionately, Elizabeth
Chapter 05 Wednesday (March 9th).
Well, we went to the play again last night. We had not done breakfast yesterday when Mr. Plumtree appeared to say that he had secured a box. Darcy asked him to dine here, which I fancy he was very happy to do, and so at five o'clock we four sat down to table together. The Farmer's Wife is a musical thing in three acts, and, as Darcy was steady in not staying for anything more, we were at home before ten.
I think Georgiana and Mr. J. P. liked the play very much. I am positive Georgiana did. Both are delighted with Miss Stephens, and her merit in singing is, I dare say, very great; that she gave me no pleasure is no reflection upon her, nor, I hope, upon myself, being what Nature made me on that article. All that I am sensible of in Miss S. is a pleasing person and no skill in acting. But then we have Mathews, Liston, and Emery for that.
Prepare for a play the very first evening you arrive, I rather think Covent Garden, to see Charles Young in Richard III.
Darcy also noted the attachment between his sister and her acquaintance. I feel quite clever for noting it first and not being mistaken in my judgement. I cannot tell if he is pleased or not. Mr. Plumtree is from good family and not lacking in funds. He is unobjectionable. Though, indeed, it is really too early to see if a romance will develop.
We were off before half-past eight this morning, and had the prospect of a heavy cold journey before us. We were out a great part of the morning too, shopping, and seeing the Indian jugglers. We must go see them when you arrive. They give daily performances on Pall Mall. I was very much amused. They quite transport one to another quarter of world. Georgiana claims their skill is so great as be almost supernatural.
I have a cold now, my ermine tippet notwithstanding. Darcy has returned the favor from Saturday, cosseting me with the hot soup and posset. An apothecary was sent for. The best of news, I shall live.
I wear my gauze gown to-day, long sleeves and all. I shall see how they succeed, but as yet I have no reason to suppose long sleeves are allowable. I have lowered the bosom, especially at the corners, and plaited black satin ribbon round the top. Such will be my costume of vine-leaves and paste.
Miss Bingley had long sleeves, too, and she assured me that they are worn in the evening by many. I was glad to hear this. She dines here, I believe, next Tuesday.
You see, I have accomplished my mission. I conveyed your note to her. It was the last stop on of our morning's expedition. Georgiana is fond of Miss B and the opportunity to partake of a hot cup of tea was a pleasure not to be denied in light of the cruel weather today! So I drank my tea and listened to gossip, mostly of Lord Portsmouth's marriage to Miss Hanson. However, this discussion soon proved unseemly and I was forced to quit the visit shortly thereafter.
I suppose my mother recollects that she gave me orders for Brecknell and Twining, and I have fetched supply enough. I will send it down tomorrow.
Darcy has also finished The Corsair. I cannot offer you his opinion on the matter, for he will not say. He will only tell me that he found it extremely interesting.
I am very glad to be quiet now until dressing time. We are to dine at the Gardiners, and to-morrow with General Chaine, who has proved to be a worthy new friend.
Col. F had persuaded Darcy to confide in Gen. C. in regards to Wickham. Their plan of action is as follows -- Darcy will again clean up after Wickham, repaying all those who were taken in by W's tales.
Wickham is to be transferred into Gen. C's unit and will leave with him and Col. F next week. General C has plans for W he believes that a man with such a unique talent for prevarication may be put to better use. I do not fully comprehend his meaning, nor do I wish to. It is enough that Wickham can no longer harm Darcy as in his present manner.
Lydia is to follow shortly thereafter. The General assures me that the officer's wives in Spain will look after her. I leave it for you, poor, poor Jane to comfort our Mother.
I am so pleased that the mead is brewed, for I have no doubt that you will be in need of it shortly.
Love to all.
© 2007 Copyright held by author