My dear Cassandra
I have got some pleasant news for you, which I am eager to communicate, & therefore begin my letter sooner, tho’ I shall not send it sooner than usual.– Admiral Gambier in reply to my father’s application writes as follow.– “As it is usual to keep young officers in small vessels, it being most proper on account of their inexperience, & it being also a situation where they are more in the way of learning their Duty, Your Son has been continued in the Scorpion; but I have mentioned to the Board of Admiralty his wish to be in a Frigate, and when a proper opportunity offers & it is judged that he has taken his Turn in a small Ship, I hope he will be removed.– With regard to your Son now in the London, I am glad I can give you the assurance that his promotion is likely to take place very soon, as Lord Spencer has been so good as to say he would include him in an arrangement that he proposes making in a short time relative to some promotions in that quarter.”– There!– I may now finish my letter, & go & hang myself, for I am sure I can neither write nor do anything which will not appear insipid to you after this.– Now I really think he will soon be made, & only wish we could communicate our fore-knowledge of the Event, to him whom it principally concerns.– My father has written to Daysh to desire that he will inform us if he can, when the Commission is sent.– Your cheif wish is not ready to be accomplished, & could Lord Spencer give happiness to Martha at the same time, what a joyful heart he would make of Yours!–
I have sent the same extract of the sweets of Gambier to Charles, who poor fellow! tho’ he sinks into nothing by an humble attendant on the Hero of the piece, will I hope be contented with the prospect held out to him.– By what the Admiral says it appears as if he had been designedly kept in the Scorpion–. But I will not torment myself with Conjectures & suppositions; Facts shall satisfy me.–
Frank had not heard from any of us for ten weeks, when he wrote to me on the 12th of November, in consequence of Lord St Vincents being removed to Gibraltar.– When his Commission is sent however, it will not be so long on its’ road as our letters, because all the Government dispatches are forwarded by Land to his Lordship from Lisbon, with great regularity.–
I returned from Manydown this morning, & found my Mother certainly in no respect worse than I left her.– She does not like the cold Weather, but that we cannot help.– I spent my time very quietly & very pleasantly with Catherine. Miss Blackford is agreable enough; I do not want People to be very agreable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.– I found only Catherine & her when I got to Manydown on Thursday, we dined together & went together to Worting to seek the protection of Mrs Clarke, with whom were Lady Mildmay, her eldest son, & a Mr & Mrs Hoare.–
Our Ball was very thin, but by no means unpleasant.– There were 31 People & only 11 Ladies out of the Number, & but five single women in the room.– Of the Gentlemen present You may have some idea from a list of my Partners. Mr Wood, G. Lefroy, Rice, a Mr Butcher (belonging to the Temples, a sailor & not of the 11th Light Dragoons) Mr Temple (not the horrid one of all) Mr Wm Orde (Cousin to the Kingsclere Man) Mr John Harwood & Mr Calland, who appeared as usual with his hat in his hand, & stood every now & then behind Catherine & me to be talked to & abused for not dancing.– We teized him however into it at last;– I was very glad to see him again after so long a separation, & he was altogether rather the Genius & Flirt of the Evening.– He enquired after You.– There were twenty Dances & I danced them all, & without any fatigue.– I was glad to find myself capable of dancing so much & with so much satisfaction as I did;–from my slender enjoyment of the Ashford Balls, (as Assemblies for dancing) I had not thought myself equal to it, but in cold weather & with few couples I fancy I could just as well dance for a week together as for half an hour.–
My black Cap was openly admired by Mrs Lefroy, & secretly I imagine by every body else in the room.–
[Letter to be continued on the following day, 25th December]
is this an actual real letter?
Yes, they are all her actual, real letters — most to her sister Cassandra, some others to either brothers, nieces, nephews or friends.
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