Your letter my dear Cassandra, obliges me to write immediately, that you may have the earliest notice of Frank’s intending if possible to go to Godmersham exactly at the time now fixed for your visit to Goodnestone. He resolved almost directly on the receipt of your former Letter, to try for an extension of his Leave of absence that he might be able to go down to you for two days, but charged me not to give you any notice of it, on account of the uncertainty of success;– Now however, I must give it, & now perhaps he may be giving it himself– for I am just in the hateful predicament of being obliged to write what I know will somehow or other be of no use.– He meant to ask for five days more, & if they were granted, to go down by Thursday-night’s Mail & spend friday & saturday with you;– & he considered his chance of succeeding, by no means bad.– I hope it will take place as he planned, & that your arrangements with Goodnestone may admit of suitable alteration.–
Your news of Edw: Bridges was quite news, for I have had no letter from Wrotham.– I wish him happy with all my heart, & hope his choice may turn out according to his own expectations, & beyond those of his Family– And I dare say it will. Marriage is a great Improver– & in a similar situation Harriet may be as amiable as Eleanor.– As to Money, that will come You may be sure, because they cannot do without it.– When you see him again, pray give him our Congratulations & best wishes.– This Match will certainly set John & Lucy going.–
There are six Bedchambers at Chawton; Henry wrote to my Mother the other day, & luckily mentioned the number–which is just what we wanted to be assured of. He speaks also of Garrets for Storeplaces, one of which she immediately planned fitting up for Edward’s Manservant– & now perhaps it must be for our own– for she is already quite reconciled to our keeping one. The difficulty of doing without one, had been thought of before.– His name shall be Robert, if you please.–
Before I can tell you of it, you will have heard that Miss Sawbridge is married. It took place I beleive on Thursday, Mrs Fowle has for some time been in the secret, but the Neighbourhood in general were quite unsuspicious. Mr Maxwell was Tutor to the young Gregorys– consequently they must be one of the happiest Couples in the World, & either of them worthy of Envy– for she must be excessively in love, & he mounts from nothing to a comfortable Home.– Martha has heard him very highly spoken of.– They continue for the present at Speen Hill.–
I have a Southampton March to return for your Kentish one, Capt. G. Heathcote & Miss A. Lyell; I have it from Alethea– & like it, because I had made it before. Yes, the Stoneleigh Business is concluded, but it was not till yesterday that my Mother was regularly informed of it, tho’ the news had reached us on Monday Eveng by way of Steventon. My Aunt says as little as may be on the subject by way of information, & nothing at all by way of satisfaction. She reflects on Mr T. Leigh’s dilatorniess, & looks about with great diligence & success for Inconvenience & Evil– among which she ingeniously places the danger of her new Housemaids catching cold on the outside of the Coach, when she goes down to Bath– for a carriage makes her sick.– John Binns has been offered their place, but declines it–as she supposes, because he will not wear Livery.– Whatever be the cause, I like the effect.–
In spite of all my Mother’s long & intimate knowledge of the Writer, she was not up to the expectation of such a Letter as this; the discontentedness of it shocked & surprised her — but I see nothing in it out of Nature– tho’ a sad nature. She does not forget to wish for Chambers, you may be sure.– No particulars are given, not a word of arrears mentioned– tho’ in her letter to James they were in a general way spoken of. The amount of them is a matter of conjecture, & to my Mother a most interesting one; she cannot fix any time for their beginning, with any satisfaction to herself, but Mrs Leigh’s death– & Henry’s two Thousand pounds neither agrees with that period nor any other.– I did not like to own, our previous information of what was intended last July — & have therefore only said that if we could see Henry we might hear many particulars, as I had understood that some confidential conversation had passed between him and Mr T.L. at Stoneleigh.
We have been as quiet as usual since Frank & Mary left us;– Mr Criswick called on Martha that very morng in his way home again from Portsmouth, & we have had no visitor since.– We called on the Miss Lyells one day, & heard a good account of Mr Heathcote’s canvass, the success of which of course exceeds his expectation.– Alethea in her Letter hopes for my interest, which I conclude means Edward’s– & I take this opportunity therefore of requesting that he will bring in Mr Heathcote.– Mr Lance told us yesterday that Mr H. had behaved very handsomely & waited on Mr Thistlethwaite to say that if he (Mr T.) would stand, he (Mr H.) would not oppose him; but Mr T. declined it, acknowledging himself still smarting under the payment of late Electioneering Costs.–
The Mrs Hulberts, as learn from Kintbury, come to Steventon this week, & bring Mary Jane Fowle with them, in her way to Mrs Nunes;– she returns at Christmas with her Brother.– Our Brother we may perhaps see in the course of a few days– & we mean to take the opportunity of his help, to go one night to the play. Martha ought to see the inside of the Theatre once while she lives in Southampton, & I think she will hardly wish to take a second veiw.–
The Furniture of Bellevue is to be sold tomorrow, & we shall take it in our usual walk if the Weather be favourable. How could you have a wet day on Thursday?– with us it was a Prince of days, the most delightful we have had for weeks, soft, bright, with a brisk wind from the South west;– everybody was out & talking of spring– & Martha & I did not know how to turn back.- On friday Eveng we had some very blowing weather–from 6 to 9, I think we never heard it worse, even here.– And one night we had so much rain that it forced its’ way again into the Storecloset– & tho’ the Evil was comparatively slight, & the Mischeif nothing, I had some employment the next day in drying parcels &c. I have now moved still more out of the way.–
Martha sends her best Love, & thanks you for admitting her to the knowledge of the pros & cons about Harriet Foote– she has an interest in all such matters.– I am also to say that she wants to see you.– Mary Jane missed her papa & mama a good deal at first, but now does very well without them.– I am glad to hear of little John’s being better;– & hope your accounts of Mrs Knight will also improve. Adeiu. Remember me affectely to everybody, & beleive me
Ever Yours JA.
Edw: Austen’s Esqr