My dearest Cassandra
The letter which I have this moment received from you has diverted me beyond moderation. I could die of laughter at it, as they used to say at school. You are indeed the finest comic writer of the present age. Since I wrote last, we have been very near returning to Steventon so early as next week. Such, for a day or two, was our dear brother Henry’s scheme, but at present matters are restored, not to what they were, for my absence seems likely to be lengthened still farther. I am sorry for it, but what can I do? Henry leaves us to-morrow for Yarmouth, as he wishes very much to consult his physician there, on whom he has great reliance. He is better than he was when he first came, though still by no means well. According to his present plan, he will not return here till about the 23rd, and bring with him, if he can, leave of absence for three weeks, as he wants very much to have some shooting at Godmersham, whither Edward and Elizabeth are to remove very early in October. If this scheme holds, I shall hardly be at Steventon before the middle of that month; but if you cannot do without me, I could return, I suppose, with Frank if he ever goes back. He enjoys himself here very much, for he has just learnt to turn, and is so delighted with the employment, that he is at it all day long.
I am sorry that you found such a conciseness in the strains of my first letter. I must endeavour to make you amends for it, when we meet, by some elaborate details, which I shall shortly begin composing. I have had my new gown made up, and it really makes a very superb surplice. I am sorry to say that my new coloured gown is very much washed out, though I charged everybody to take great care of it. I hope yours is so too. Our men had but indifferent weather for their visit to Godmersham, for it rained great part of the way there and all the way back. They found Mrs Knight remarkably well and in very good spirits. It is imagined that she will shortly be married again. I have taken little George once in my arms since I have been here, which I thought very kind. I have told Fanny about the bead of her necklace, and she wants very much to know where you found it. To-morrow I shall be just Camilla in Mr Dubster’s summer-house; for my Lionel will have taken away the ladder by which I came here, or at least by which I intended to get away, and here I must stay till his return. My situation, however, is somewhat preferable to hers, for I am very happy here, though I should be glad to get home by the end of the month. I have no idea that Miss Pearson will return with me.
What a fine fellow Charles is, to deceive us into writing two letters to him at Cork! I admire his ingenuity extremely, especially as he is so great a gainer by it. Mr and Mrs Cage and Mrs and Mrs Bridges dined with us yesterday. Fanny seemed as glad to see me as anybody, and enquired very much after you, whom she supposed to be making your wedding-clothes. She is as handsome as ever, and somewhat fatter. We had a very pleasant day, and some liqueurs in the evening. Louisa’s figure is very much improved; she is as stout again as she was. Her face, from what I could see of it one evening, appeared not at all altered. She and the gentlemen walked up here on Monday night–she came in the morning with the Cages from Hythe. Lady Hales, with her two youngest daughters, have been to see us. Caroline is not grown at all coarser than she was, not Harriet at all more delicate. I am glad to hear so good an account of Mr Charde, and only fear that my long absence may occasion his relapse. I practise every day as much as I can — I wish it were more for his sake. I have heard nothing of Mary Robinson since I have been [here]. I expect to be well scolded for daring to doubt, whenever the subject is mentioned. Frank has turned a very nice little butter-churn for Fanny. I do not believe that any of the party were aware of the valuables they had left behind; nor can I hear anything of Anna’s gloves. Indeed I have not enquired at all about them hitherto. We are very busy making Edward’s shirts, and I am proud to say that I am the neatest worker of the party. They say that there are a prodigious number of birds here-abouts this year, so that perhaps I may kill a few. I am glad to hear so good an account of Mr Limprey and J. Lovett. I know nothing of my mother’s handkerchief, but I dare say I shall find it soon.
I am very affectionately yours,