20 November 1800 – Thursday – from Steventon

My dear Cassandra

Your letter took me quite by surprise this morning; you are very welcome however, & I am very much obliged to you.– I beleive I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne; I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand to day;– You will kindly make allowance therefore for any indistinctness of writing by attributing it to this venial Error.–

Naughty Charles did not come on tuesday; but good Charles came yesterday morning.  About two o’clock he walked in on a Gosport Hack.– His feeling equal to such a fatigue is a good sign, & his finding no fatigue in it a still better.– We walked down to Deane to dinner, he danced the whole Evening, & to day is no more tired than a gentleman ought to be.– Your desiring to hear from me on Sunday will perhaps bring on you a more particular account of the Ball than you may care for, because one is prone to think much more of such things in the morning after they happen, than when time has entirely driven them out of one’s recollection.– It was a pleasant Evening, Charles found it remarkably so, but I cannot tell why, unless the absence of Miss Terry–towards whom his conscience reproaches him with now being perfect indifferent–was a relief to him.– There were only twelve dances, of which I danced nine, & was merely prevented from dancing the rest by the want of a partner.– We began at 10, supped at 1, & were at Deane before 5.– There were but 50 people in the room; very few families indeed from our side of the Country, & not many more from the other.–

My partners were the two St Johns, Hooper Holder–and very prodigious–Mr Mathew, with whom I called the last, & whom I liked the best of my little stock.– There were very few Beauties, & such as there were, were not very handsome.  Miss Iremonger did not look well, & Mrs Blount was the only one much admired.  She appeared exactly as she did in September, with the same broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, & fat neck.– The two Miss Coxes were there; I traced in one the remains of the vulgar, broad featured girl who danced at Enham eight years ago;–the other is refined into a nice, composed looking girl like Catherine Bigg.– I looked at Sir Thomas Champneys & thought of poor Rosalie; I looked at his daughter & thought her a queer animal with a white neck.– Mrs Warren, I was constrained to think a very fine young woman, which I much regret.  She has got rid of some part of her child, & danced away with great activity, looking by no means very large.– Her husband is ugly enough; uglier even than his cousin John; but he does not look so very old.–

The Miss Maitlands are both prettyish; very like Anne; with brown skins, large dark eyes, & a good deal of nose.– The General has got the Gout, & Mrs Maitland the Jaundice.– Miss Debary, Susan & Sally all in black, but without any Statues, made their appearance, & I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.  They told me nothing new of Martha.– I mean to go to her on Thursday, unless Charles should determine on coming over again with his friend Shipley for the Basingstoke ball, in which case I shall not go till friday.–

I shall write to you again however before I set off, & I shall hope to hear from you in the mean time.  If I do not stay for the Ball, I would not on any account do so uncivil a thing by the Neighbourhood as to set off at that very time for another place, & shall therefore make a point of not being later than Thursday morning.–Mary said that I looked very well last night; I wore my Aunt’s gown & handkercheif, & my hair was at least tidy, which was all my ambition.– I will not have done with the Ball; & I will moreover go and dress for dinner.–

Thursday Eveng.  Charles leaves us on saturday, unless Henry should take us in his way to the Island, of which we have some hopes, & then they will probably go together on sunday.– The young lady whom it is suspected that Sir Thomas is to marry, is Miss Emma Wabshaw;–she lives somewhere between Southampton & Winchester, is handsome, accomplished, amiable, & everything but rich.– He is certainly finishing his house in a great hurry.– Perhaps the report of his being to marry a Miss Fanshawe might originate in his attents to this very lady; the names are not unlike.–

Miss Summers has made my gown very well indeed, & I grow more & more pleased with it.– Charles does not like it, but my father & Mary do; my Mother is very much reconciled to it, & as for James, he gives it the preference over everything of the kind he ever saw, in proof of which I am desired to say that if you like to sell yours, Mary will buy it.–

We had a very pleasant day on monday at Ashe; we sat down 14 to dinner in the study, the dining room being not habitable from the Storm’s having blown down it’s chimney.– Mrs Bramston talked a good deal of nonsense, which Mr Bramston & Mr Clerk seemed almost equally to enjoy.– There was a whist & a casino table, & six outsiders.– Rice & Lucy made love, Mat: Robinson fell asleep, James & Mrs Augusta alternately read Dr Jenner’s pamphlet on the cow pox, & I bestowed my company by turns on all.  On enquiring of Mrs Clerk, I find that Mrs Heathcote made a great blunder in her news of the Crooks & Morleys; it is young Mr Crooke who is to marry the second Miss Morley–& it is the Miss Morleys instead of the second Miss Crooke, who were the beauties at the Music meeting.– This seems a more likely tale, a better devised Imposter.–

The three Digweeds all came on tuesday, & we played a pool at Commerce.– James Digweed left Hampshire to day.  I think he must be in love with you, from his anxiety to have you go to the Faversham Balls, & likewise from his supposing, that the two Elms fell from their greif at your absence.– Was not it a galant idea?– It never occurred to me before, but I dare say it was so.–

Hacker has been here to day, putting in the fruit trees.–A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure on the right hand side of the Elm Walk–the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it, by planting apples, pears & cherries, or whether it should be larch, Mountain-ash & acacia.– What is your opinion?– I say nothing, & am ready to agree with anybody.–

You & George walking to Eggerton!– What a droll party!– Do the Ashford people still come to Godmersham Church every Sunday in a cart?– It is you that always disliked Mr N. Toke so much, not I.–I do not like his wife, & I do not like Mr Brett, but as for Mr Toke, there are few people whom I like better.– Miss Harwood & her friend have taken a house 15 miles from Bath; she writes very kind letters, but sends no other particulars of the situation–Perhaps it is one of the first houses in Bristol.– Farewell.– Charles sends you his best love–& Edward his worst–  If you think the distinction improper, you may take the worst yourself.– He will write to you when he gets back to his Ship–& in the meantime desires you will consider me as

Yr affec: Sister
JA.

Charles likes my Gown now.–

[Upside down between the lines of p1]

I rejoice to say that we have just had another letter from our dear Frank– It is to you, very short, written from Larnica in Cyprus & so lately as the 2d of October.– He came from Alexandria & was to return there in 3 or 4 days, knew nothing of his promotion, & does not write above twenty lines, from a doubt of the letter’s ever reaching you & an idea of all letters being open’d at Vienna.– He wrote a few days before to you from Alexandria by the Mercury, sent with dispatches to Lord Keith.– Another letter must be oweing to us besides this–one if not two– because none of these are to me.–

Henry comes tomorrow, for one night only.–

My Mother has heard from Mrs E. Leigh–.  Lady S&S- & her daughter are going to remove to Bath;– Mrs Estwick is married again to a Mr Sloane, a young Man under age– with the Knowledge of either family — He bears a good character however.–

[A Postscript is to be added on the following day, Friday, 21st November]

One Response to 20 November 1800 – Thursday – from Steventon

  1. Pingback: I beleive I drank too much wine last night…– You will kindly make allowance therefore for any indistinctness of writing by attributing it to this venial Error.– | QuinnTessence

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