My dear Cassandra
I have determined on staying here till Monday. Not that there is any occasion for it on Marianne’s account, as she is now almost as well as usual, but Harriot is so kind in her wishes for my company that I could not resolve on leaving her to-morrow, especially as I had no reason to give for its necessity. It would be inconvenient to me to stay with her longer than the beginning of next week, on account of my clothes, and therefore I trust it will suit Edward to fetch or send for me on Monday, or Tuesday if Monday should be wet. Harriot has this moment desired me to propose his coming hither on Monday, and taking me back the next day.
The purport of Elizabeth’s letter makes me anxious to hear more of what we are to do and not to do, and I hope you will be able to write me your own plans and opinions to-morrow. The journey to London is a point of the first expediency, and I am glad it is resolved on, though it seems likely to injure our Worthing scheme. I expect that we are to be at Sandling, while they are in town.
It gives us great pleasure to hear of little Edward’s being better, and we imagine, from his mama’s expressions, that he is expected to be well enough to return to school with his brothers. Marianne was equal to seeing me two days ago; we sat with her for a couple of hours before dinner, and the same yesterday, when she was evidently better, more equal to conversation, and more cheerful than during our first visit. She received me very kindly, and expressed her regret in not having been able to see you. She is, of course, altered since we saw her in October, 1794. Eleven years could not pass away even in health without making some change, but in her case it is wonderful that the change should be so little. I have not seen her to advantage, as I understand she has frequently a nice colour, and her complexion has not yet recovered from the effects of her late illness. Her face is grown longer and thinner, and her features more marked, and the likeness which I remember to have always seen between her and Catherine Bigg is stronger than ever, and so striking is the voice and manner of speaking that I seem to be really hearing Catherine, and once or twice have been on the point of calling Harriot “Alethea.” She is very pleasant, cheerful, and interested in everything about her, and at the same time shows a thoughtful, considerate, and decided turn of mind.
Edward Bridges dined at home yesterday; the day before he was at St Albans; to-day he goes to Broome, and tomorrow to Mr Hallett’s, which latter engagement has had some weight in my resolution of not leaving Harriot till Monday. We have walked to Rowling on each of the two last days after dinner, and very great was my pleasure in going over the house and grounds. We have also found time to visit all the principal walks of this place, except the walk round the top of the park, which we shall accomplish probably to-day. Next week seems likely to be an unpleasant one to this family on the matter of game. The evil intentions of the Guards are certain, and the gentlemen of the neighbourhood seem unwilling to come forward in any decided or early support of their rights. Edward Bridges has been trying to arouse their spirits, but without success. Mr Hammond, under the influence of daughters and an expected ball, declares he will do nothing.
Harriot hopes my brother will not mortify her by resisting all her plans and refusing all her invitations; she has never yet been successful with him in any, but she trusts he will now make her all the amends in his power by coming on Monday. She thanks Elizabeth for her letter, and you may be sure is not less solicitous than myself for her going to town. Pray say everything kind for us to Miss Sharpe, who could not regret the shortness of our meeting in Canterbury more than we did. I hope she returned to Godmersham as much pleased with Mrs Knight’s beauty and Miss Milles’s judicious remarks as those ladies respectively were with hers. You must send me word that you have heard from Miss Irvine.
I had almost forgot to thank you of your letter. I am glad you recommended ‘Gisborne’, for having begun, I am pleased with it, and I had quite determined not to read it. I suppose everybody will be black for the D. of G. Must we buy lace, or will ribbon do? We shall not be at Worthing so soon as we have been used to talk of, shall we? This will be no evil to us, and we are sure of my mother and Martha being happy together. Do not forget to write to Charles. As I am to return so soon, we shall not send the pincushions.
Yours affectionately, JA
You continue, I suppose, taking hartshorn, and I hope with good effect.
Edward Austen’s Esq.