1 October 1808 – Saturday – from Castle Square, Southampton

My dear Cassandra

Your letter this morning was quite unexpected, & it is well that it brings such good news to counterbalance the disappointment to me of losing my first sentence, which I had arranged full of proper hopes about your Journey, intending to commit them to paper to day, & not looking for certainty till tomorrow.– We are extremely glad to hear of the birth of the Child, & trust everything will proceed as well as it begins;– his Mama has our best wishes, & he our second best for health & comfort– tho’ I suppose unless he has our best too, we do nothing for her.– We are glad it was all over before your arrival;– & I am most happy to find who the Godmother is to be.– My Mother was some time guessing the names.–

Henry’s present to you gives me great pleasure, & I shall watch the weather for him at this time with redoubled interest.– We have had 4 brace of Birds lately, in equal Lots from Shalden & Neatham.–  Our party at Mrs Duer’s produced the novelties of two old Mrs Pollens & Mrs Heywood, with whom my Mother made a Quadrille Table; & of Mrs Maitland & Caroline, & Mr Booth without his sisters at Commerce.– I have got a Husband for each of the Miss Maitlands;– Coln Powlett & his Brother have taken Argyle’s inner House, & the consequence is so natural that I have no ingenuity in planning it.  If the Brother shd luckily be a little sillier than the Colonel, what a treasure for Eliza.–

Mr Lyford called on tuesday to say that he was disappointed of his son & daughter’s coming, & must go home himself the following morng;– & as I was determined that he shd not lose every pleasure I consulted him on my complaint.  He recommended cotton moistened with oil of sweet almonds, & it has done me good.– I hope therefore to have nothing more to do with Eliza’s receipt than to feel obliged to her for giving it as I very sincerely do.–

Mrs Tilson’s remembrance gratifies me, & I will use her patterns if I can; but poor Woman! how can she be honestly breeding again?– I have just finished a Handkf. for Mrs James Austen, which I expect her Husband to give me an opportunity of sending to her ere long.  Some fine day in October will certainly bring him to us in the Garden, between three & four o’clock.– She hears that Miss Bigg is to be married in a fortnight. I wish it may be so.– About an hour & half after your toils on Wednesday ended, ours began;– at seven o’clock, Mrs Harrison, her two daughters & two Visitors, with Mr Debary & his eldest sister walked in; & our Labour was not a great deal shorter than poor Elizabeth’s, for it was past eleven before we were delivered.– A second pool of Commerce, & all the longer by the addition of the two girls, who during the first had one corner of the Table & Spillikins to themselves, was the ruin of us; –it completed the prosperity of Mr Debary however, for he won them both.– Mr Harrison came in late, & sat by the fire–for which I envied him, as we had our usual luck of having a very cold Eveng.  It rained when our company came, but was dry again before they left us.–

The Miss Ballards are said to be remarkably well-informed; their manners are unaffected & pleasing, but they do not talk quite freely enough to be agreable–nor can I discover any right they had by Taste or Feeling to go their late Tour.– Miss Austen & her nephew are returned–but Mr Choles is still absent;– “still absent” say you, “I did not know that he was gone anywhere”– Neither did I know that Lady Bridges was at Godmersham at all, till I was told of her being still there, which I take therefore to be the most approved method of announcing arrivals & departures.– Mr Choles is gone to drive a Cow to Brentford, & his place is supplied to us by a Man, who lives in the same sort of way by odd jobs, & among other capabilities has that of working in a  garden, which my Mother will not forget, if we ever have another garden here.– In general however she thinks much more of Alton, & really expects to move there.

Mrs Lyell’s 130 Guineas rent have made a great impression.  To the purchase of furniture, whether here or there, she is quite reconciled, & talks of the Trouble as the only evil.– I depended upon Henry’s liking the Alton plan, & expect to hear of something perfectly unexceptionable there, through him.– Our Yarmouth Division seem to have got nice Lodgings;– & with fish almost for nothing & plenty of Engagements & plenty of each other, must be very happy.–

My Mother has undertaken to cure six Hams for Frank;– at first it was a distress, but now it is a pleasure.– She desires me to say that she does not doubt your making out the Star pattern very well, as you have the Breakfast room-rug to look at.– We have got the 2d vol. of Espriella’s Letters, & I read it aloud by candlelight.  The Man describes well, but is horribly anti-english.  He deserves to be the foreigner he assumes.  Mr Debary went away yesterday, & I being gone with some partridges to St Maries lost his parting visit.–

I have heard today from Miss Sharpe, & find that she returns with Miss B. to Hinckley, & will continue there are least till about Christma, when she thinks they may both travel southward.– Miss B. however is probably to make only a temporary absence from Mr Chessyre, & I shd not wonder if Miss Sharpe were to continue with her;– unless anything more eligible offer, she certainly will.  She describes Miss B. as very anxious that she should do so.–

[To be continued on the following day, 2d October]

One Response to 1 October 1808 – Saturday – from Castle Square, Southampton

  1. Pingback: Everybody who comes to Southampton finds it either their duty or pleasure to call upon us | QuinnTessence

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