Steventon Wednesday Janry 21st.
Expect a most agreeable Letter; for not being overburdened with subject–(having nothing at all to say)–I shall have no check to my Genius from beginning to end.–Well–& so, Frank’s letter has made you very happy, but you are afraid he would not have patience to stay for the Haarlem, which you wish him to have done as being safer than the Merchantman.– Poor fellow! to wait from the middle of November to the end of December, & perhaps even longer! it must be sad work!– especially in a place where the ink is so abominably pale.– What a surprise to him it must have been on the 20th of Oct:r to be visited, collar’d & thrust out of the Petterell by Capt:n Inglis!–He kindly passes over the poignancy of his feelings in quitting his Ship, his Officers & his Men.–What a pity it is that he should not be in England at the time of this promotion, because he certainly would have had an appointment!–so everybody says, & therefore it must be right for me to say it too.–Had he been really here, the certainty of the appointment I dare say would not have been half so great–but as it could not be brought to the proof, his absence will be always a lucky source of regret. —
Eliza talks of having read in a Newspaper that all the 1st Lieut:s of the Frigates whose Captains were to be sent into Line-of-Battle ships, were to be promoted to the rank of Commander.–If it be true, Mr Valentine may afford himself a fine Valentine’s knot, & Charles may perhaps become 1st of the Endymion–tho’ I suppose Capt: Durham is too likely to bring a villain with him under that denomination.
I dined at Deane yesterday, as I told you I should;–& met the two Mr Holders.–We played at Vingt-un, which as Fulwar was unsuccessful, gave him an opportunity of exposing himself as usual.– Eliza says she is quite well, but she is thinner than when we saw her last, & not in very good looks. I suppose she has not recovered from the effects of her illness in December.– She cuts her hair too short over her forehead, & does not wear her cap far enough upon her head–in spite of these many disadvantages however, I can still admire her beauty.– They all dine here to day. Much good may it do us all. William & Tom are much as usual; Caroline is improved in her person; I think her now really a pretty Child. She is still very shy, & does not talk much. Fulwar goes next month into Gloucestershire, Leicestershire & Warwickshire, & Eliza spends the time of his absence at Ibthrop & Deane; she hopes therefore to see you before it is long. Lord Craven was prevented by Company at home, from paying his visit at Kintbury, but as I told you before, Eliza is greatly pleased with him, & they seem likely to be on the most friendly terms. — Martha returns into this country next tuesday, & then begins her two visits at Deane.– I expect to see Miss Bigg every day, to fix the time for my going to Manydown; I think it will be next week, & I shall give you notice of it if I can, that you may direct to me there.– The Neighbourhood have quite recovered the death of Mrs Rider–so much so, that I think they are rather rejoiced at it now; her Things were so very dear!–& Mrs Rogers is to be all that is desirable. Not even Death itself can fix the friendship of the World.–
You are not to give yourself the trouble of going to Penlingtons when you are in Town; my father is to settle the matter when he goes there himself; You are only to take special care of the Bills of his in your hands, & I dare say you will not be sorry to be excused the rest of the business.–
[to be continued the next day, Thursday, 22 January 1801]