My dear Cassandra
I am not yet able to acknowledge the receipt of any parcel from London, which I suppose will not occasion you much surprise.– I was a little disappointed to day, but not more than is perfectly agreable; & I hope to be disappointed again tomorrow, as only one coach comes down on sundays.– You have had a very pleasant Journey of course, & have found Elizabeth & all the Children very well on your arrival at Godmersham, & I congratulate you on it. Edward is rejoicing this evening I dare say to find himself once more at home, from which he fancies he has been a great while.– His son left behind him the very fine chesnuts which had been selected for planting at Godmersham, & the drawing of his own which he had intended to carry to George;– the former will therefore be deposited in the soil of Hampshire instead of Kent; the latter, I have already consigned to another Element.
We have been exceedingly busy ever since you went away. In the first place we have had to rejoice two or three times every day at your having such very delightful weather for the whole of your Journey– & in the second place we have been obliged to take advantage of the delightful weather ourselves by going to see almost all our Neighbours.– On Thursday we walked to Deane, Yesterday to Oakley Hall & Oakley, & to day to Deane again.– At Oakley Hall we did a great deal– eat some sandwiches all over mustard, admired Mr Bramston’s Porter and Mrs Bramston’s Transparencies, & gained a promise from the latter of two roots of hearts-ease, one all yellow & the other all purple, for you. At Oakley we bought ten pair of worsted stockings, & a shift.– The shift is for Betty Dawkins, as we find she wants it more than a rug.– She is one of the most grateful of all whom Edward’s charity has reached, or at least she expresses herself more warmly than the rest, for she sends him a “sight of thanks”.
This morning we called at the Harwoods, & in their dining-room found Heathcote & Chute for ever– Mrs Wm Heathcote & Mrs Chute– the first of whom took a long ride yesterday morning with Mrs Harwood into Lord Carnarvon’s Park & fainted away in the evening, & the second walked down from Oakley Hall attended by Mrs Augusta Bramston. They had meant to come on to Steventon afterwards, but we knew a trick worth two of that.– If I had thought of it in time, I would have said something civil to her about Edward’s never having had any serious idea of calling on Mr Chute while he was in Hampshire, but unluckily it did not occur to me. Mrs Heathcote is gone home to day; Catherine had paid her an early visit at Deane in the morning, & brought a good account of Harris.–
James went to Winchester fair yesterday, & bought a new horse; & Mary has got a new maid– two great acquisitions, one comes from Folly Farm, is about five years old, used to draw, & thought very pretty; & the other is neice to Dinah at Kintbury.– James called by my father’s desire on Mr Bayle to inquire into the cause of his being so horrid.– Mr Bayle did not attempt to deny his being horrid, & made many apologies for it;– he did not plead his having a drunken self, he talked only of a drunken foreman &c, &c, & gave hopes of the Table’s being at Steventon on monday se’night next.–
We have had no letter since you left us, except one from Mr Serle of Bishop’s Stoke to enquire the character of James Elton.– Our whole Neighbourhood is at present very busy greiving over poor Mrs Martin, who has totally failed in her business, & had very lately an execution in her house.– Her own brother & Mr Rider are the principal creditors, & they have seized her effects in order to prevent other people’s doing it.– There has been the same affair going on, we are told, at Wilson’s, & my hearing nothing of you makes me apprehensive that You, your fellow travellers & all your effects, might be seized by the Bailiffs when you stopt at the Crown & sold altogether for the benefit of the creditors.
In talking of Mr Deedes’s new house, Mrs Bramston told us one circumstance, which, that we should be ignorant of it before must make Edward’s conscience fly into his face; she told us that one of the sitting rooms at Sandling, an oval room with a Bow at one end, has the very remarkable & singular feature of a fireplace with a window, the centre window of the Bow exactly over the mantlepeice.– Our Improvements have advanced very well;– the Bank along the Elm Walk is sloped down for the reception of Thorns & Lilacs; & it is settled that the other side of the path is to continue turf’d & be planted with Beech, Ash, & Larch.–
[To be continued two days later on 27th October]