8 November 1800 – Saturday – from Steventon

My dear Cassandra

Having just finished the first volume of les Veillees du Chateau, I think it a good opportunity for beginning a letter to you while my mind is stored with Ideas worth transmitting.– I thank you for so speedy a return to my two last, & particularly thank you for your anecdote of Charlotte Graham & her cousin Harriot Bailey, which has very much amused both my Mother & myself.  If you can learn anything farther of that interesting affair I hope you will mention it.–

I have two messages; let me get rid of them, & then my paper will be my own.– Mary fully intended writing to you by Mr Chute’s frank, & only happened intirely to forget it–but will write soon– & my father wishes Edward to send him a memorandum in your next letter, of the price of the hops.–

The Tables are come, & give general contentment.  I had not expected that they would so perfectly suit the fancy of us all three, or that we should so well agree in the disposition of them; but nothing except their own surface can have been smoother;– The two ends put together form our constant Table for everything, & the centre peice stands exceedingly well under the glass; holds a great deal most commodiously, without looking awkward.– They are both covered with green baize & send their best Love.– The Pembroke has got its destination by the sideboard, & my mother has great delight in keeping her Money & papers locked up.– The little Table which used to stand there, has most conveniently taken itself off into the best bed-room, & we are now in want only of the chiffoniere, which is neither finished nor come.–

So much for that subject; I now come to another, of a very different nature, as other subjects are very apt to be.– Earle Harwood has been again giving uneasiness to his family, & Talk to the Neighbourhood;– in the present instance however he is only unfortunate & not at fault.– About ten days ago, in cocking a pistol in the guard-room at Marcou, he accidentally shot himself through the Thigh.  Two young Scotch Surgeons in the Island were polite enough to propose taking off the Thigh at once, but to that he would not consent; & accordingly in his wounded state was put on board a Cutter & conveyed to Haslar Hospital at Gosport; where the bullet was extracted, & where he now is I hope in a fair way of doing well.– The surgeon of the Hospital wrote to the family on the occasion, & John Harwood went down to him immediately, attended by James, whose object in going was to be the means of bringing back the earliest Intelligence to Mr and Mrs Harwood, whose anxious sufferings particularly those of the latter, have of course been dreadful.  Then went down on tuesday, & James came back the next day, bringing such favourable accounts as greatly to lessen the distress of the family at Deane, tho’ it will probably be a long while before Mrs Harwood can be quite at ease.– One most material comfort however they have; the assurance of it’s being really an accidental wound, which is not only positively declared by Earle himself, but is likewise testified by the particular direction of the bullet.  Such a wound could not have been received in a duel.– At present he is going on very well, but the Surgeon will not declare him to be in no danger.– John Harwood came back last night, & will probably go to him again soon.

James had not time at Gosport to take any other steps towards seeing Charles, than the very few which conducted him to the door of the assembly room in the Inn, where there happened to be a Ball on the night of their arrival.  A likely spot enough for the discovery of a Charles; but I am glad to say that he was not of the party, for it was in general a very ungenteel one, & there was hardly a pretty girl in the room.–

I cannot possibly oblige you by not wearing my gown, because I have made it up on purpose to wear it a great deal, & as the discredit will be my own, I feel the less regret.– You must learn to like it yourself & make it up at Godmersham; it may easily be done; it is only protesting it to be very beautiful, & you will soon think it so.–

Yesterday was a day of great business with me; Mary drove me all in the rain to Basingstoke, & still more all in the rain back again, because it rained harder; & soon after our return to Dean a sudden invitation & an own postchaise took us to Ash Park, to dine tete a tete with Mr Holder, Mr Gauntlett & James Digweed; but our tete a tete was cruelly reduced by the non-attendance of the two latter–.  We had a very quiet evening, I beleive Mary found it dull, but I thought it very pleasant.  To sit in idleness over a good fire in a well-proportioned room is a luxurious sensation.–  Sometimes we talked & sometimes we were quite silent; I said two or three amusing things, & Mr Holder made a few infamous puns.–

I have had a most affectionate letter from Buller; I was afraid he would oppress me by his felicity & his love for his Wife, but this is not the case; he calls her simply Anna without any angelic embellishments, for which I respect & wish him happy– and throughout the whole of his letter indeed he seems more engrossed by his feelings towards our family, than towards her, which You know cannot give any one disgust.– He is very pressing in his invitation to us all to come & see him at Colyton, & my father is very much inclined to go there next Summer.– It is a circumstance that may considerably assist the Dawlish scheme.– Buller has desired me to write again, to give him more particulars of us all.–

Mr Heathcote met with a genteel little accident the other day in hunting; he got off to lead his horse over a hedge or a house or a something, & his horse in his haste trod upon his leg, or rather ancle I beleive, & it is not certain whether the small bone is not broke.– Harris seems still in a poor way, from his bad habit of body; his hand bled again a little the other day, & Dr Littlehales has been with him lately.  Martha has accepted Mary’s invitation for Ld Portsmouth’s Ball.– He has not yet sent out his own invitations, but that does not signify; Martha comes, & a Ball there must be.– I think it will be too early in her Mother’s absence for me to return with her.–

Mr Holder told Wm Portal a few days ago that Edward objected to the narrowness of the path which his plantation has left in one part of the Rookery.– Wm Portal has since examined it himself, acknowledges it to be much too narrow, & promises to have it altered.  He wishes to avoid the necessity of removing the end of his plantation with it’s newly-planted Quick &c, but if a proper footpath cannot be made by poking away the bank on the other side, he will not spare the former.–

[To be continued on the following day, 9th November]

One Response to 8 November 1800 – Saturday – from Steventon

  1. Pingback: To sit in idleness over a good fire in a well-proportioned room is a luxurious sensation | QuinnTessence

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