30 November 1800 – Sunday – from Ibthrop

My dear Cassandra

Shall you expect to hear from me on Wednesday or not?– I think you will, or I should not write, as the three days & half which have passed since my last letter was sent, have not produced many materials towards filling another sheet of paper.– But like Mrs Hastings, “I do not despair–” & you perhaps like the faithful Maria may feel still more certain of the happy Event.– I have been here ever since a quarter after three on thursday last, by the Shrewsbury Clock, which I am fortunately enabled absolutely to ascertain, because Mrs Stent once lived at Shrewsbury, or at least at Tewksbury.– I have the pleasure of thinking myself a very welcome Guest, & the pleasure of spending my time very pleasantly.– Martha looks very well, & wants me to find out that she grows fat; but I cannot carry my complaisance farther than to beleive whatever she asserts on the subject.–

Mrs Stent gives us quite as much of her Company as we wish for, & rather more than she used to do; but perhaps not more than is to our advantage in the end, because it is too dirty even for such desperate Walkers as Martha & I to get out of doors, & we are therefore confined to each other’s society from morning till night, with very little variety of Books or Gowns.  Three of the Miss Debaries called here the morning after my arrival, but I have not yet been able to return their civility;– You know it is not an uncommon circumstance in this parish to have the road from Ibthrop to the Parsonage much dirtier & more impracticable for walking than the road from the Parsonage to Ibthrop.–

I left my Mother very well when I came away, & left her with strict orders to continue so.– My Journey was safe & not unpleasant;– I spent an hour in Andover, of which Messrs Painter & Redding had the larger part;– twenty minutes however fell to the lot of Mrs Poore & her mother, whom I was glad to see in good looks & spirits.– The latter asked me more questions than I had very well time to answer; the former I beleive is very big; but I am by no means certain;– she is either very big, or not at all big, I forgot to be accurate in my observation at the time, & tho’ my thoughts are now more about me on the subject, the power of exercising them to any effect is much diminished.– The two youngest boys only were at home; I mounted the highly-extolled Staircase & went into the elegant Drawing room, which I fancy is now Mrs Harrison’s apartment;–and in short did everything that extraordinary Abilities can be supposed to compass in so short a space of time.–

The Endless Debaries are of course very well acquainted with the lady who is to marry Sir Thomas, & all her family.  I pardon them however, as their description of her is favourable.– Mrs Wapshire is a widow, with several sons & daughters, a good fortune, & a house in Salisbury; where Miss Wapshire has been for many years a distinguished beauty.  She is now seven or eight & twenty, & tho’ still handsome less handsome than she has been.– This promises better, than the bloom of seventeen; & in addition to this, they say that she has always been remarkable for the propriety of her behaviour, distinguishing her far above the general class of Town Misses, & rendering her of course very unpopular among them.– I hope I have now gained the real truth, & that my letters may in future go on without conveying any farther contradictions of what was last asserted about Sir Thomas Williams & Miss Wapshire.– I wish I could be certain that her name were Emma; but her being the Eldest daughter leaves that circumstance doubtful.  At Salisbury the match is considered as certain & as near at hand.–

Martha desires her best love, & will be happy to welcome any letter from you to this house, whether it be addressed to herself or to me– And in fact, the difference of direction will not be material.– She is pleased with my Gown, & particularly bids me say that if you could see me in it for five minutes, she is sure you would be eager to make up your own.– I have been obliged to mention this, but have not failed to blush the whole time of my writing it.–

Part of the money & time which I spent at Andover were devoted to the purchase of some figured cambric muslin for a frock for Edward–a circumstance from which I derive two pleasing reflections; it has in the first place opened to me a fresh source of self-congratulation on being able to make so munificent a present, & secondly it has been the means of informing me that the very pretty manufacture in question may be bought for 4s 6d pr yd— yard & half wide.–

Martha has promised to return with me, & our plan is to [have] a nice black frost for walking to Whitchurch, & there throw ourselves into a postchaise, one upon the other, our heads hanging out at one door, & our feet at the opposite.– If you have never heard that Miss Dawes has been married these two months, I will mention it in my next.– Pray do not forget to go to the Canterbury Ball.  I shall despise you all most insufferably if you do.– By the bye, there will not be any Ball, because Delmar lost so much by the Assemblies last winter that he has protested against opening his rooms this year.– I have charged my Myrmidons to send me an account of the Basingstoke Ball; I have placed my spies at different places that they may collect the more; & by so doing, by sending Miss Bigg to the Townhall itself, & posting my Mother at Steventon I hope to derive from their various observations a good general idea of the whole.–

[To be continued on the following day, Monday, 1st December]

One Response to 30 November 1800 – Sunday – from Ibthrop

  1. Pingback: P. &. P. is sold. Egerton gives £110 for it.– I would rather have had £150, but we could not both be pleased | QuinnTessence

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