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sometimes see about her. Harriet, I must own, appears not only unconcerned, but much gayer than she used to be. I have just parted from her with her mouth and nose drawn up on one side, and snifting through the latter, which you know is the highest elevation of her mirth and gladness. I do hope her aunt Charlotte will not set this down immediately as a mark of insensibility and hardness of heart, but, if you must be conjecturing, you will consider it as a violent effort she is making to raise her sister's spirits and mine.
I sent to Coleshill yesterday, but there was no letter, which, I am sure, was owing to your being out of the road that the mail travels. But this evening will make amends.
There came an invitation for you to dine at Mr. Blick's on Friday next, to meet Mr. Cary of Lichfield. Next Friday three weeks is the day you are to meet him in Anglesea. You will see he will be more punctual to his time and engagement than you allow him usually to be. The expectation of meeting you, and the desire of bringing us together again will make him exact to a day. It is not yet arranged where my melancholy hours are to pass while you are away. I am much pitied. My sister Charlotte, among others, I think, was so good as to say she felt compassion for me, which, pray tell her, I consider as a token of her forgiving that cruel thing, whatever it was, that you charged me as having said to her, but which, if I was solemnly sworn on the
Sorrows of Werter, I would affirm I never intended, though you know, we both forgot what it
Mrs. Grinfield wants me to pass my time at Lichfield, and to keep the children at my father's; but, as she had thoughts of going to Matlock soon for a few days, I shall wait till I hear her determination. Price wishes me to go and stay with them at Bromley, but of this I could not think twice.
The housekeeping goes on tolerably well; only, as there is less to do, there is still more parleying than when you were here. I was obliged to ring the bell after I was in bed last night to beg a truce.
Read Castle Rackrent, if you can meet with it, and resolve not to be made angry. In that case you will laugh heartily, as I did. Your faithful and fond husband,
H. F. C.
TO THE SAME,
Kingsbury, August 8, 1801. MY DEAREST JANE, My not having received a letter from you since that dated Monday last, makes me rather uneasy, though you know I am not easily discomposed by such events. In this case, as in others of the same sort, I am willing to think that some inconsiderable accident may have deprived me of the delight of hearing from you. Your brother John, who will
probably deliver this, will tell you the children are perfectly well, and indeed they have been since I wrote last. He has enlivened me very much, and made me happier than I expected to be during your absence. He will, no doubt, give you an account of our gaiety, for so it has been to me who am used to so quiet and stationary a life. I hope that you are enjoying yourself, and are as happy as you are making others. I think of going to Lichfield the middle of next week, and taking the children with
The house is just in the same state you left it, but the workmen have promised to recommence their operations next Monday. I find household matters proceeding very smoothly and well. Little Jenny, I must own, does not talk of you ; but it is not her way, and I verily believe she does not think of you the less. She still remains with me as much as she can, is pleased whenever I return into the house, and asks admittance into the study as soon as I am up. Harriet is in every respect as when you left her.
Ah, my dear love, what happiness we shall have in meeting ! After all I was more uneasy than I liked to allow about not hearing from you. You will not fail to give me a particular account of the welfare of all my friends. I shall leave this till to-morrow morning, that I may tell you the children are well then.
Sunday morning. They are so. Jenny is by my side, but says she will go with uncle John to you. He leaves me this morning. If the mail should be full, he is to put this into the post office. I shall send to Coleshill this evening in hopes of a letter from you.
. Ever your faithful and affectionate husband,
H. F. C.
TO THE SAME.
Kingsbury, August 11, 1801. MY DEAREST JANE, Your letter, which I have got this evening, has delivered me from a state of great anxiety for your safety. Last night I really began to feel dismal apprehensions that disturbed my rest. That I did not get your letter sooner was owing to its being mis-sent to Birmingham.
The children continue perfectly well. Jane better than when you left her, and Harriet as well; for better I believe she could not be. They begin to play very prettily together, or rather Jenny has found out the art of amusing her sister, who laughs very heartily at her tricks. She is indeed a pattern for little girls, very sociable without being the least troublesome, and as submissive as either a father or a husband could desire.
To give you joy of your safe journey and voyage and to express my compassion for Charles's sufferings is needless.
It will better answer the ends of our correspondence, if I communicate to you my feelings when you can have any doubts concerning them, and give you
some account of the way in which I pass my time. To begin then with the former. You ask me whether I am dull without you, and repent having let you go.
How, my dear love, can you suppose that my home can be equally cheerful during your absence? That it is sometimes not absolutely dull is owing to the efforts I make to render it otherwise, that I call off my thoughts to my books, that I amuse myself with the children, that I indulge myself with the hopes of your speedy return, that I think of the many pleasures we shall have when we meet.
You ask me, too, whether I repent having parted with you. No, my dear Jane, you know I preach repentance oftener than I practise it. When I do foolishly, to repent, as far as it means to be sorry, is fruitless. And when I do right, as I think I have done in this instance, it is inconsistent and absurd, let the consequence be what it will. And now let me ask you a question, which, I trust, you will answer with great plainness. Do you find your desire to return at all abated ? When my father spoke of bringing you back in a month, I flattered myself you embraced his offer with great readiness. But in your last letter, I am deceived if you do not show some little hesitation about it. If you resolve not to avail yourself of that opportunity, let me know as soon as possible, that I may not cherish the delusive hope of seeing you at the end of the short period I expected.
As to the manner in which I pass my time, it is very much as usual. I read, walk, and play with the