My dear Cassandra
I shall be extremely anxious to hear the Event of your Ball, & shall hope to receive so long & minute an account of every particular that I shall be tired of reading it. Let me know how many besides their fourteen Selves & Mr & Mrs Wright, Michael will contrive to place about their Coach, and how many of the Gentlemen, Musicians & Waiters, he will have persuaded to come in their Shooting Jackets. I hope John Lovett’s accident will not prevent his attending the Ball, as you will otherwise be obliged to dance with Mr Tincton the whole Evening. Let me know how J. Harwood deports himself without the Miss Biggs;–and which of the Marys will carry the day with my Brother James. We were at a Ball on Saturday I assure you. We dined at Goodnestone & in the Evening danced two Country Dances & the Boulangeries.– I opened the Ball with Edw:d Bridges; the other couples, were Lewis Cage & Harriot, Frank and Louisa, Fanny & George. Eliz:th played one Country dance, Lady Bridges the other, which She made Henry dance with her; and Miss Finch played the Boulangeries– On reading over the last three or four Lines, I am aware of my having expressed myself in so doubtful a manner that if I did not tell you to the contrary, You might imagine it was Lady Bridges who made Henry dance with her, at the same time that she was playing–which if not impossible must appear a very improbable Event to you.–But it was Eliz: who danced—-.
We supped there, & walked home at night under the shade of two Umbrellas.– To-day the Goodnestone Party begins to disperse & spread itself abroad. Mr & Mrs Cage & George repair to Hythe. Lady Waltham, Miss Bridges & Miss Mary Finch to Dover, for the health of the two former.–I have never seen Marianne at all.–
On Thursday Mr & Mrs Bridges return to Danbury; Miss Harriot Hales accompanies them to London in her way to Dorsetshire. Farmer Claribould died this morning, & I fancy Edward means to get some of his Farm if he can cheat Sir Brook enough in the agrement.– We have just got some venison from Godmersham, which the two Mr Harveys are to devour tomorrow, and on friday or Saturday the Goodnestone people are to finish their Scraps. Henry went away on friday as he purposed without fayl–; You will hear from him soon I imagine, as he talked of writing to Steventon shortly. Mr Richard Harvey is going to be married; but as it is a great secret, & only known to half the Neighbourhood, you must not mention it. The Lady’s name is Musgrove.– I am in great Distress.– I cannot determine whether I shall give Richis half a guinea or only five Shillings when I go away. Counsel me, amiable Miss Austen, and tell me which will be the most.– We walked Frank last night to Crixhall ruff, and he appeared much edified. Little Edward was breeched yesterday for good & all, and was whipped, into the Bargain. Pray remember me to Everybody who does not enquire after me. Those who do, remember me without bidding.
[second leaf of letter, pp 3-4, missing. Postscript written upside down at top of first page]
Give my Love to Mary Harrison, & tell her I wish whenever she is attached to a young Man, some respectable Dr Marchmont may keep them apart for five Volumes.