[Continuation of a letter begun on 7th January]
Thursday. We expected James yesterday, but he did not come; if he comes at all now, his visit will be a very short one, as he must return to-morrow, that Ajax and the chair may be sent to Winchester on Saturday. Caroline’s new pelisse depended upon her mother’s being able or not to come so far in the chair; how the guinea that will be saved by the same means of return is to be spent I know not. Mrs J.A. does not talk much of poverty now, though she has no hope of my brother’s being able to buy another horse next summer. Their scheme against Warwickshire continues, but I doubt the family’s being at Stoneleigh so early as James says he must go, which is May.
My mother is afraid I have not been explicit enough on the subject of her wealth; she began 1806 with 68l., she begins 1807 with 99l., and this after 32l. purchase of stock. Frank too has been settling his accounts and making calculations, and each party feels quite equal to our present expenses; but much increase of house-rent would not do for either. Frank limits himself, I believe, to four hundred a year.
You will be surprised to hear that Jenny is not yet come back; we have heard nothing of her since her reaching Itchingswell, and can only suppose that she must be detained by illness in somebody or other, and that she has been each day expecting to be able to come on the morrow. I am glad I did not know beforehand that she was to be absent during the whole or almost the whole of our friends being with us, for though the inconvenience has not been nothing, I should have feared still more. Our dinners have certainly suffered not a little by having only Molly’s head and Molly’s hands to conduct them; she fries better than she did, but not like Jenny.
We did not take our walk on Friday, it was too dirty, nor have we yet done it; we may perhaps do something like it to-day, as after seeing Frank skate, which he hopes to do in the meadows by the beach, we are to treat ourselves with a passage over the ferry. It is one of the pleasantest frosts I ever knew, so very quiet. I hope it will last some time longer for Frank’s sake, who is quite anxious to get some skating; he tried yesterday, but it would not do. Our acquaintance increase too fast. He was recognised lately by Admiral Bertie, and a few days since arrived the Admiral and his daughter Catherine to wait upon us. There was nothing to like or dislike in either. To the Berties are to be added the Lances, with whose cards we have been endowed, and whose visit Frank and I returned yesterday. They live about a mile and three-quarters from S. to the right of the new road to Portsmouth, and I believe their house is one of those which are to be seen almost anywhere among the woods on the other side of the Itchen. It is a handsome building, stands high, and in a very beautiful situation. We found only Mrs Lance at home, and whether she boasts any offspring besides a grand pianoforte did not appear. She was civil and chatty enough, and offered to introduce us to some acquaintance in Southampton, which we gratefully declined. I suppose they must be acting by the orders of Mr Lance of Netherton in this civility, as there seems no other reason for their coming near us. They will not come often, I dare say. The live in a handsome style and are rich, and she seemed to like to be rich, and we gave her to understand that we were far from being so; she will soon feel therefore that we are not worth her acquaintance.
You must have heard from Martha by this time. We have had no accounts of Kintbury since her letter to me. Mrs F.A. has had one fainting fit lately; it came on as usual after eating a hearty dinner, but did not last long. I can recollect nothing more to say. When my letter is gone, I suppose I shall.
Yours affectionately, JA
I have just asked Caroline if I should send her love to her godmama, to which she answered ‘Yes’.