20 June 1808 – Monday – from Godmersham

My dear Cassandra

I will first talk of my visit to Canterbury, as Mrs J.A.’s letter to Anna cannot have given you every particular of it, which you are likely to wish for.– I had a most affectionate welcome from Harriot & was happy to see her looking almost as well as ever.  She walked with me to call on Mrs Brydges, when Elizth & Louisa went to Mrs Milles’;–Mrs B. was dressing & cd not see us, & we proceeded to the White Friars, where Mrs K. was alone in her Drawing room, as gentle & kind & friendly as usual.– She enquired after every body, especially my Mother & yourself.–We were with her a quarter of an hour before Eliz. & Louisa, hot from Mrs Baskerville’s Shop, walked in;– they were soon followed by the Carriage, & another five minutes brought Mr Moore himself, just returned from his morng ride.  Well!– & what do I think of Mr Moore?–I will not pretend in one meeting to dislike him, whatever Mary may say; but I can honestly assure her that I saw nothing in him to admire.– His manners, as you have always said, are gentlemanlike–but by no means winning.  He made one formal enquiry after you.– I saw their little girl, & very small & very pretty she is; her features are as delicate as Mary Jane’s, with nice dark eyes, & if she had Mary Jane’s fine colour, she wd be quite complete.– Harriot’s fondness for her seems just what is amiable & natural, & not foolish.– I saw Caroline also, & thought her very plain.–

Edward’s plan for Hampshire does not vary.  He only improves it with the kind intention of taking me on to Southampton, & spending one whole day with you; & if it is found practicable, Edward Junr will be added to our party for that one day also, which is to be Sunday ye 10th of July.– I hope you may have beds for them.  We are to begin our Journey on ye 8th & reach you late on ye 9th.–

This morning brought me a letter from Mrs Knight, containing the usual Fee, & all the usual Kindness.  She asks me to spend a day or two with her this week, to meet Mrs C. Knatchbull, who with her Husband comes to the W. Friars to day– & I beleive I shall go.– I have consulted Edwd— & think it will be arranged for Mrs J.A.’s going with me one morng, my staying the night, & Edward’s driving me home the next Eveng. Her very agreeable present will make my circumstances quite easy.  I shall reserve half for my Pelisse.–

I hope, by this early return I am sure of seeing Catherine & Alethea;– & I propose that either with or without them, you & I & Martha shall have a snug fortnight while my Mother is at Steventon.– We go on very well here, Mary finds the Children less troublesome than she expected, & independant of them, there is certainly not much to try the patience or hurt the Spirits at Godmersham.– I initiated her yesterday into the mysteries of Inman-ism.– The poor old Lady is as thin & chearful as ever, & very thankful for a new acquaintance.– I had called on her before with Eliz. and Louisa.–

I find John Bridges grown very old & black, but his manners are not altered; he is very pleasing, & talks of Hampshire with great admiration.– Pray let Anna have the pleasure of knowing that she is remembered with kindness both by Mrs Cooke & Miss Sharpe.  Her manners must be very much worsted by your description of them, but I hope they will improve by this visit.– Mrs Knight finished her letter with “Give my best love to Cassandra when you write to her.”– I shall like spending a day at the White Friars very much.–

We breakfasted in the Library this morng for the first time, & most of the party have been complaining all day of the heat; but Louisa & I feel alike as to weather, & are cool & comfortable.–

[To be continued two days later, 22nd June]

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