30 June 1808 – Thursday – from Godmersham

My dear Cassandra

I give you all Joy of Frank’s return, which happens in the true Sailor way, just after our being told not to expect him for some weeks.– The Wind has been very much against him, but I suppose he must be in our Neighbourhood by this time.  Fanny is in hourly expectation of him here.– Mary’s visit in the Island is probably shortened by this Event.  Make our kind Love & Congratulations to her.–

What cold, disagreable weather, ever since Sunday!– I dare say you have Fires every day.  My kerseymere Spencer is quite the comfort of our Eveng walks.– Mary thanks Anna for her Letter, & wishes her to buy enough of her new coloured frock to make a shirt handkf.– I am glad to hear of her Aunt Maitland’s kind present.– We want you to send us Anna’s height, that we may know whether she is as tall as Fanny;– and pray can you tell me of any little thing that wd be probably acceptable to Mrs F.A. — I wish to bring her something;–has she a silver knife–or wd you recommend a Broche?  I shall not spend more than half a guinea about it.–

Our Tuesday’s Engagement went off very pleasantly; we called first on Mrs Knight, & found her very well; & at dinner had only the Milles’ of Nackington in addition to Goodnestone & Godmersham & Mrs Moore.– Lady Bridges looked very well, & wd have been very agreable I am sure, had there been time enough for her to talk to me, but as it was, she cd only be kind & amiable, give me good-humoured smiles & make friendly enquiries.– Her son Edward was also looking very well, & with manners as un-altered as hers.  In the Eveng came Mr Moore, Mr Toke, Dr & Mrs Walsby & others;– one Card Table was formed, the rest of us sat & talked, & at half after nine we came away.–

Yesterday my two Brothers went to Canterbury, and J. Bridges left us for London in his way to Cambridge, where he is to take his Master’s Degree.– Edward & Caroline & their Mama have all had the Godmersham Cold; the former with sorethroat & fever which his Looks are still suffering from.– He is very happy here however, but I beleive the little girl will be glad to go home;– her Cousins are too much for her.– We are to have Edward, I find, at Southampton while his Mother is in Berkshire for the Races–& are very likely to have his Father too.  If circumstances are favourable, that will be a good time for our scheme to Beaulieu.–

Lady E. Hatton called here a few mornings ago, her Daughter Elizth with her, who says as little as ever, but holds up her head & smiles & is to be at the Races.–Annamaria was there with Mrs Hope, but we are to see her here tomorrow.–

So much was written before breakfast; it is not half past twelve, & having heard Lizzy read, I am moved down into the Library for the sake of a fire which agreably surprised us when we assembled at Ten, & here in warm & happy solitude proceed to acknowledge this day’s Letter.  We give you credit for your spirited voyage, & are very glad it was accomplished so pleasantly, & that Anna enjoyed it so much.– I hope you are not the worse for the fatigue– but to embark at 4 you must have got up at 3, & most likely had no sleep at all.– Mary’s not chusing to be at home, occasions a general small surprise.– As to Martha, she had not the least chance in the World of hearing from me again, & I wonder at her impudence in proposing it.– I assure you I am as tired of writing long letters as you can be.  What a pity that one should still be so fond of receiving them!–

Fanny Austen’s Match is quite news, & I am sorry she has behaved so ill.  There is some comfort to us in her misconduct, that we have not a congratulatory Letter to write.– James & Edward are gone to Sandling to day;– a nice scheme for James, as it will shew him a new & fine Country.  Edward certainly excels in doing the Honours to his visitors, & providing for their amusement.– They come back this Eveng— Elizabeth talks of going with her three girls to Wrotham while her husband is in Hampshire;– she is improved in looks since we first came, & excepting a cold, does not seem at all unwell.  She is considered indeed as more than usually active for her situation & size.–

I have tried to give James pleasure by telling him of his Daughter’s Taste, but if he felt, he did not express it.– I rejoice in it very sincerely.– Henry talks, or rather writes of going to Downes, if the St Albans continues there– but I hope it will be settled otherwise.– I had everybody’s congratulations on her arrival, at Canterbury;– it is pleasant to be among people who know one’s connections & care about them; & it amuses me to hear John Bridges talk of “Frank.”

I have thought a little of writing to the Downs, but I shall not; it is so very certain that he wd be somewhere else when my Letter got there.– Mr Tho. Leigh is again in Town–or was very lately.  Henry met with him last sunday in St James’s Church.– He owned being come up unexpectedly on Business–which we of course think can be only one business– & he came post from Adlestrop in one day, which– if it cd be doubted before — convinces Henry that he will live for ever.–

Mrs Knight is kindly anxious for our Good, & thinks Mr L.P. must be desirous for his Family’s sake to have everything settled.– Indeed, I do not know where we are to get our Legacy–but we will keep a sharp look-out.– Lady B. was all in prosperous Black the other day.– A Letter from Jenny Smallbone to her Daughter brings intelligence which is to be forwarded to my Mother, the calving of a Cow at Steventon.– I am also to give her Mama’s Love to Anna, & say that as her Papa talks of writing her a Letter of comfort she will not write, because she knows it wd certainly prevent his doing so.–

When are calculations ever right?– I could have sworn that Mary must have heard of the St Albans return, & wd have been wild to come home, or to be doing something.–Nobody ever feels or acts, suffers or enjoys, as one expects!– I do not at all regard Martha’s disappointment in the Island; she will like it better in the end.– I cannot help thinking & re-thinking of your going to the Island so heroically.  It puts me in mind of Mrs Hastings’ voyage down the Ganges, & if we had but a room to retire into to eat our fruit, we whave a picture of it hung there.–

[To be continued on the following day, 1st July]

One Response to 30 June 1808 – Thursday – from Godmersham

  1. Pingback: Nobody ever feels or acts, suffers or enjoys, as one expects!- | QuinnTessence

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