[continued from Monday, 21 January 1799]
Tuesday.– Your letter has pleased and amused me very much. Your essay on happy fortnights is highly ingenious, and the talobert skin made me laugh a good deal. Whenever I fall into misfortune, how many jokes it ought to furnish to my acquaintance in general, or I shall die dreadfully in their debt for entertainment. It began to occur to me before you mentioned it that I had been somewhat silent as to my mother’s health for some time, but I thought you could have no difficulty in divining its exact state–you, who have guessed so much stranger things. She is tolerably well–better upon the whole than she was some weeks ago. She would tell you herself that she has a very dreadful cold in her head at present; but I have not much compassion for colds in the head without fever or sore throat. Our own particular little brother got a place in the coach last night, and is now, I suppose, in town. I have no objection at all to your buying our gowns there, as your imagination has pictured to you exactly such a one as is necessary to make me happy. You quite abash me by your progress in notting, for I am still without silk. You must get me some in town or in Canterbury; it should be finer than yours. I thought Edward would not approve of Charles being a crop, and rather wished you to conceal it from him at present, lest it might fall on his spirits and retard his recovery. My father furnishes him with a pig from Cheesedown; it is already killed and cut up, but it is not to weigh more than nine stone; the season is too far advanced to get him a larger one. My mother means to pay herself for the salt and the trouble of ordering it to be cured by the sparibs the souse, and the lard. We have had one dead lamb.
I congratulate you on Mr E. Hatton’s good fortune. I suppose the marriage will now follow out of hand. Give my compliments to Miss Finch. What in March may we expect your return in? I begin to be very tired of answering people’s questions on that subject, and, independent of that, I shall be very glad to see you at home again, and then if we can get Martha and shirk. . .who will be so happy as we? I think of going to Ibthorp in about a fortnight. My eyes are pretty well, I thank you, if you please.
[To be continued again on Wednesday, 23 January 1799]