8 January 1801 – Thursday – from Steventon

My dear Cassandra

The “Perhaps” which concluded my last letter being only a “perhaps”, will not occasion your being over-powered with Surprise I dare day, if you should receive this before tuesday, which unless circumstances are very perverse will be the case.– I received yours with much general Philanthropy & still more peculiar good will two days ago; & I suppose I need not tell you that it was very long, being written on a foolscap sheet, & very entertaining, being written by You.–

Mr Payne has been dead long enough for Henry to be out of mourning for him before his last visit, tho’ we knew nothing of it till about that time.  Why he died, or of what complaint, or to what Noblemen he bequeathed his four daughters in marriage we have not heard.– I am glad that the Wildmans’ are going to give a Ball, & hope you will not fail to benefit both yourself & me, by laying out a few kisses in the purchase of a frank.– I beleive you are right in proposing to delay the Cambric muslin, & I submit with a kind of voluntary reluctance.

Mr Peter Debary has declined Dean Curacy; he wishes to be settled nearer London.  A foolish reason–! as if Deane were not near London in comparison of Exeter or York.– That the whole World through, & he will find many more places at a greater distance from London than Deane, than he will at a less.– What does he think of Glencoe or Lake Katherine?– I feel rather indignant that any possible objection should be raised against so valuable a peice of preferment, so delightful a situation!– that Deane should not be universally allowed to be as near the Metropolis as any other Country Village.– As this is the case however, as Mr Peter Debary has shewn himself a Peter in the blackest sense of the Word, We are obliged to look elsewhere for an heir; & my father has thought it a necessary compliment to James Digweed to offer the Curacy to him, tho’ without considering it as either a desirable or an eligible situation for him.– Unless he is in love with Miss Lyford, I think he had better not be settled exactly in this Neighbourhood, & unless he is very much in love with her indeed, he is not likely to think a salary of 50£ equal in value or efficacy to one of 75£.–  Were you indeed to be considered as one of the fixtures of the house!– but you were never actually erected in it either by Mr Egerton Brydges or Mrs Lloyd.– 

Martha & I dined yesterday at Deane to meet the Powletts & Tom Chute, which we did not fail to do.– Mrs Powlett was at once expensively & nakedly dress’d;– we have had the satisfaction of estimating her Lace & her Muslin; & she said too little to afford us much other amusement.– Mrs John Lyford is so much pleased with the state of widowhood as to be going to put in for being a widow again;– she is to marry a Mr Fendall, a banker in Gloucester, a man of very good fortune, but considerably older than herself & with three little children.– Miss Lyford has never been here yet; she can come only for a day, & is not able to fix the day.- I fancy Mr Holder will have the Farm, & without being obliged to depend on the accomodating spirit of Mr William Portal; he will probably have it for the remainder of my father’s lease.– This pleases us all much better than it’s falling into the hands of Mr Harwood or Farmer Twitchen.–Mr Holder is to come in a day or two to talk to my father on the subject, & then John Bond’s interest will not be forgotten.–

I have had a letter to day from Mrs Cooke.  Mrs Lawrel is going to be married to a Mr Hinchman, a rich East Indian.  I hope Mary will be satisfied with this proof of her cousin’s Existence & Welfare, & cease to torment herself with the idea of his bones being bleaching in the Sun on Wantage Downs.–

Martha’s visit is drawing towards it’s close, which we all four sincerely regret.– The wedding-day is to be celebrated on the 16th because the 17th falls on saturday– & a day or two before the 16th Mary will drive her sister to Ibthrop to find all the festivity she can in contriving for everybody’s comfort, & being thwarted or teized by almost everybody’s temper.– Fulwar, Eliza, & Tom Chute are to be of the party;– I know of nobody else;– I was asked, but declined it.– Eliza has seen Lord Craven at Barton, & probably by this time at Kintbury, where he was expected for one day this week.– She found his manners very pleasing indeed. — The little flaw of having a Mistress now living with him at Ashdown Park, seems to be the only unpleasing circumstance about him.– From Ibthrop, Fulwar & Eliza are to return with James & Mary to Deane.– The Rices are not to have an house on Weyhill;– for the present he has Lodgings in Andover, & they are in view of a dwelling hereafter in Appleshaw, that village of wonderful Elasticity, which stretches itself out for the reception of everybody who does not wish for a house on Speen Hill.–

Pray give my love to George, tell him that I am very glad to hear he can skip so well already, & that I hope he will continue to send me word of his improvement in the art.– I think you judge very wisely in putting off your London visit– & I am mistaken if it be not put off for some time.– You speak with such noble resignation of Mrs Jordan & the Opera House that it would be an insult to suppose consolation required– but to prevent your thinking with regret of this rupture of your engagement with Mr Smithson, I must assure you that Henry suspects him to be a great Miser.–

[This letter then continues on Friday, 9th January]

One Response to 8 January 1801 – Thursday – from Steventon

  1. Pingback: We’ve Got FOUR Letters Today! | QuinnTessence

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