|Transcript or Index||Decr 16 1824|
A letter of shreds and patches, of matters necessary to be communicated, but neither important nor interesting – I do not know, my Dearest, how I happened forget little Goose, unless because I had been laughing and playing with her half the morning, for she has got such a trick of crowing and chattering at me, that there is no getting away from her. Then as to Ducks and Turkeys, I think with Mr Booth’s permission that I shall prefer the week after Christmas, begging at the same time that you will thank him and his good lady for their kindness towards us. Our Christmas Turkey always comes from York, and I find we shall have no party as the Richardsons cannot leave Chatham till January. The Flaxmans have declined dining, and come to us on the Evening of the 31st for which I shall ask the Beauforts etc – so there is another dinner got rid of, which I must say is no matter of grief to me, so long as it is their choice, and not our lack of attention. For the week after I am ready for dinner, or evening, or both, & will have my lists prepared against you come, as I am anxious to get part of it over while you have time, and I am well enough.
Now for another matter – do you wish me to send oysters into Lincolnshire for Christmas day as last year, and if so, am I to send to all at once, or shall part go at one time, & part a little while after? They are not things that keep, & I think it must make an overflowing of little fishes, if the family are at all together at that time. Or had I better send another jar of grapes by James instead, if the invalids found them pleasant, and they are not easily to be got there. Oysters can be sent at any time but the others only at such an opportunity. James means certainly to spend his Christmas in Lincolnshire. He intends to set out some day next week, and will write as soon as he can determine. His present idea is to go first to Ingoldmells. Tell Mrs Booth that I rejoice in the prospect of seeing her and Mary, and though we shall be two invalids croaking together, we must try what can be done to pass the hours away. I certainly had no idea her danger had been so extreme, but as she has had Delicate health for some years past, I should not wonder if the effect of such a severe attack should finally be to renovate her constitution. – I am glad you think their fears respecting Isabella [ ^ in pencil (Cracroft)] unfounded. I should hardly have thought her likely to forsake either the Church of England, or its Liturgy, but there are many minor degrees of danger, which in fact may be said to be rather habits than opinions. Above all there is a sort of melancholy to which Religious contemplation itself might lead, one that is perfectly consistent with resignation, and apparent cheerfulness <in the presence of others> but which would at the end undermine her health, and bring on an indifference to every thing here. I confess I speak partly from experience, and her friends must watch her. The more she has summoned her fortitude to support the first weight of affliction, the more is she likely to sink under it afterwards, perhaps when superficial observers would think the danger over. To such a consequence the abstraction of a Country residence would of course be likely to conduce. I am perhaps speaking without a sufficient knowledge of her temper and constitution but I think that I must be right upon general principles.
Mr Garry has transmitted to you, a copy of Mr Halkett’s work, “from the Author,” and begged a dinner of you next Wednesday, to which I replied that you were away, but I would give him one with pleasure. I have invited your brother to meet him and think of asking the Millers for the Evening. James did the honours yesterday to Mrs Byrne & Mrs Kennion, and having the principal part to play, acquitted himself most active[ely] and admirably. This is certainly the secret of his ordinary supineness. However he made the old Lady half tipsy, and she chattered away till I wished either her or myself asleep. Mrs Kennion and I lost a rubber, as usual, in spite of the Cards, which she would not allow to win. I generally make a point of being her partner poor body, for I know so perfectly that she is not to be depended upon as even to pick amusement out of her bad play. William has been to see me today, and I find that his Mama is in town with the two girls, having come up to meet him & Henry. The young ones are all going to a juvenile Masquerade at Miss Appleton’s tomorrow. Sister sent to ask if I would dine with them today. I must say I felt half provoked, as she knows I have not been permitted to go out, even in the day time. It looked so beautiful and mild today that I felt much tempted, but as I am certainly better since I have kept house, I thought it best to let well alone unless I had had a dry carriage to pop into, or your arm to lean upon.
I have not yet been an evening alone, and as my company has been so quiet as not to fatigue me, I am the better for being called on again to practise the duties of hostess. My friends have been very kind, and my time has passed pleasantly, but one half hour by your side is worth it all. As for Nottingham, I suppose you are best judge, but it seems that none of your family can do anything without you, and your self love is flattered by it, you vain animal! How will they get on when you have taken wing.
My love to them all however and pretty speeches to Mr & Mrs Elliott & the Burnsides. I suppose tomorrow will bring your answer to some of my questions. Miss Mitford has just been sitting an hour with me. I am sorry to find she is again in the hot water of the Green Room. Baby sends you a kiss.
Ever yours most affectionately
Eleanor Anne Franklin.
Captain Franklin, R.N.
U 16 DE 1824