My dearest Cassandra
I will keep this celebrated Birthday by writing to you, & as my pen seems inclined to write large I will put my Lines very close together.– I had but just time to enjoy your Letter yesterday before Edward & I set off in the Chair for Canty— & I allowed him to hear the cheif of it as we went along. We rejoice sincerely in Henry’s gaining ground as he does, & hope there will be weather for him to get out every day this week, as the likeliest way of making him equal to what he plans for the next.– If he is tolerably well, the going into Oxfordshire will make him better, by making him happier.–
Can it be, that I have not given you the minutiae of Edward’s plans?– See here they are– To go to Wrotham on Saturday ye 13th, spend Sunday there, & be in Town on Monday to dinner, & if agreable to Henry, spend one whole day with him– which day is likely to be Tuesday, & so go down to Chawton on Wednesday.– But now, I cannot be quite easy without staying a little while with Henry, unless he wishes it otherwise;– his illness & the dull time of year together make me feel that it would be horrible of me not to offer to remain with him– & therefore, unless you know of any objection, I wish you would tell him with my best Love that I shall be most happy to spend 10 days or a fortnight in Henrietta St– if he will accept me. I do not offer more than a fortnight because I shall then have been some time from home, but it will be a great pleasure to be with him, as it always is.– I have the less regret & scruple on your account, because I shall see you for a day & a half, & because You will have Edward for at least a week.– My scheme is to take Bookham in my way home for a few days & my hope that Henry will be so good as to send me some part of the way thither. I have a most kind repetition of Mrs Cooke’s two or three dozen Invitations, with the offer of meeting me anywhere in one of her airings.–
Fanny’s cold is much better. By dosing & keeping her room on Sunday, she got rid of the worst of it, but I am rather afraid of what this day may do for her; she is gone to Canty with Miss Clewes, Liz. & Ma. and it is but roughish weather for any one in a tender state.– Miss Clewes has been going to Canty ever since her return, & it is now just accomplishing. Edward & I had a delightful morng for our Drive there, I enjoyed it thoroughly, but the Day turned off before we were ready, & we came home in some rain & the apprehension of a great deal. It has not done us any harm however.–
He went to inspect the Gaol, as a visiting Magistrate, & took me with him.– I was gratified– & went through all the feelings which People must go through I think in visiting such a Building.– We paid no other visits–only walked about snugly together & shopp’d.– I bought a Concert Ticket & a sprig of flowers for my old age.–
To vary the subject from Gay to Grave with inimitable address I shall now tell you something of the Bath party– & still a Bath party they are, for a fit of the Gout came on last week.— The accounts of Lady B. are as good as can be under such a circumstance, Dr P.- says it appears a good sort of Gout, & her spirits are better than usual, but as to her coming away, it is of course all uncertainty.– I have very little doubt of Edward’s going down to Bath, if they have not left it when he is in Hampshire; if he does, he will go on from Steventon, & then return direct to London, without coming back to Chawton.– This detention does not suit his feelings.– It may be rather a good thing however that Dr P. should see Lady B. with the Gout on her. Harriot was quite wishing for it.–
The day seems to improve. I wish my pen would too.– Sweet Mr Ogle. I dare say he sees all the Panoramas for nothing, has free-admittance everywhere; he is so delightful!– Now, you need not see anybody else.– I am glad to hear of our being likely to have a peep at Charles & Fanny at Christmas, but do not force poor Cass. to stay if she hates it.– You have done very right as to Mrs F.A.–
Your tidings of S & S. give me pleasure. I have never seen it advertised.– Harriot, in a Letter to Fanny today, enquires whether they sell Cloths for Pelisses at Bedford House– & if they do, will be very much obliged to you to desire them to send her down Patterns, with the Width & Prices– they may go from Charing Cross almost any day in the week– but if it is a ready money house it will not do, for the Bru of feu the Archbishop says she cannot for it immediately.– Fanny & I suspect they do not deal in the Article.–
The Sherers I beleive are now really going to go, Joseph has had a Bed here the two last nights, & I do not know whether this is not the day of moving. Mrs Sherer called yesterday to take leave. The weather looks worse again.– We dine at Chilham-Castle tomorrow, & I expect to find some amusement; but more from the Concert the next day, as I am sure of seeing several that I want to see. We are to meet a party from Goodnestone, Lady B. Miss Hawley & Lucy Foote– & I am to meet Mrs Harrison, & we are to talk about Ben & Anna. “My dear Mrs Harrison, I shall say, I am afraid the young Man has some of your Family Madness– & though there often appears to be something of Madness in Anna too, I think she inherits more of it from her Mother’s family than from our–” That is what I shall say– & I think she will find it difficult to answer me.–
I took up your Letter again to refresh me, being somewhat tired; & was struck with the prettiness of the hand; it is really a very pretty hand now & then– so small & so neat!– I wish I could get as much into a sheet of paper.– Another time I will take two days to make a Letter in; it is fatigueing to write a whole long one at once. I hope to hear from you again on Sunday & again on friday, the day before we move.– On Monday I suppose you will be going to Streatham, to see quiet Mr Hill & eat very bad Baker’s bread.– A fall in Bread by the bye. I hope my Mother’s Bill next week will shew it. I have had a very comfortable Letter from her, one of her foolscap sheets quite full of little home news.– Anna was there the first of the two Days.– And Anna sent away & an Anna fetched are different things.– This will be an excellent time for Ben to pay his visit– now that we, the formidables, are absent.
I did not mean to eat, but Mr Johncock has brought in the Tray, so I must.– I am all alone, Edward is gone into his Woods.– At the present time I have five Tables, Eight & twenty Chairs & two fires all to myself.– Miss Clewes is to be invited to go to the Concert with us, there will be my Brother’s place & ticket for her, as he cannot go. He & the other connections of the Cages are to meet at Milgate that very day, to consult about a proposed alteration of the Maidstone road, in which the Cages are very much interested. Sir Brook comes here in the morng, & they are to be joined by Mr Deedes at Ashford.– The loss of the Concert will be no great evil to the Squire.– We shall be a part of three Ladies therefore — & to meet three Ladies. —
What a convenient Carriage Henry’s is, to his friends in general!– Who has it next?– I am glad William’s going is voluntary, & on no worse grounds. An inclination for the Country is a venial fault.– He has more of Cowper than of Johnson in him, fonder of Tame Hares & Blank verse than of the full tide of human Existence at Charing Cross.–
Oh! I have more of such sweet flattery from Miss Sharp!– She is an excellent kind friend. I am read & admired in Ireland too.– There is a Mrs Fletcher, the wife of a Judge, an old Lady & very good & very clever, who is all curiosity to know about me– what I am like & so forth– . I am not known to her by name however. This comes through Mrs Carrick, not through Mrs Gore– You are quite out there.– I do not despair of having my picture in the Exhibition at last– all white & red, with my Head on one Side;– or perhaps I may marry young Mr D’Arblay.– I suppose in the meantime I shall owe dear Henry a great [continued below address panel] deal of Money for Printing &c.– I hope Mrs Fletcher will indulge herself with S & S.– If I am to stay in H. St & if you should be writing home soon I wish you wd be so good as to give a hint of it– for I am not likely to write there again these 10 days, having written yes[terday].
[continued on p1, upside down between the lines]
Fanny has set her heart upon its’ being a Mr Brett who is going to marry a Miss Dora Best of this Country. I dare say Henry has no objection. Pray, where did the Boys sleep?–
The Deedes’ come here on Monday to stay till friday– so that we shall end with a flourish the last Canto.– They bring Isabella & one of the Grown ups– & will come in for a Canty Ball on Thursday.– I shall be glad to see them.– Mrs Deedes & I must talk rationally together I suppose.
Edward does not write to Henry, because of my writing so often. God bless you I shall be so glad to see you again, & I wish you many happy returns of this Day.– Poor Lord Howard! How he does cry about it!– Yrs very truly,
10, Henrietta Street