It was the beginning of February; and Anne, having been a month in Bath, was growing very eager for
news from Uppercross and Lyme. She wanted to hear much more than Mary had communicated. It
was three weeks since she had heard at all. She only knew that Henrietta was at home again; and that
Louisa, though considered to be recovering fast, was still in Lyme; and she was thinking of them all very
intently one evening, when a thicker letter than usual from Mary was delivered to her; and, to quicken the
pleasure and surprise, with Admiral and Mrs Croft's compliments.
The Crofts must be in Bath! A circumstance to interest her. They were people whom her heart turned to
`What is this?' cried Sir Walter. `The Crofts have arrived in Bath? The Crofts who rent Kellynch? What
have they brought you?'
`A letter from Uppercross Cottage, Sir.'
`Oh! those letters are convenient passports. They secure an introduction. I should have visited Admiral
Croft, however, at any rate. I know what is due to my tenant.'
Anne could listen no longer; she could not even have told how the poor Admiral's complexion escaped; her
letter engrossed her. It had been begun several days back.
`February 1st.`My dear Anne, - I make no apology for my silence, because I know how little people
think of letters in such a place as Bath. You must be a great deal too happy to care for Uppercross,
which, as you well know, affords little to write about. We have had a very dull Christmas; Mr and Mrs
Musgrove have not had one dinner party all the holidays. I do not reckon the Hayters as anybody. The
holidays, however, are over at last: I believe no children ever had such long ones. I am sure I had not.
The house was cleared yesterday, except of the little Harvilles; but you will be surprised to hear they
have never gone home. Mrs Harville must be an odd mother to part with them so long. I do not understand
it. They are not at all nice children, in my opinion; but Mrs Musgrove seems to like them quite as well,
if not better, than her grandchildren. What dreadful weather we have had! It may not be felt in Bath,
with your nice pavements; but in the country it is of some consequence. I have not had a creature call
on me since the second week in January, except Charles Hayter, who had been calling much oftener
than was welcome. Between ourselves, I think it a great pity Henrietta did not remain at Lyme as long
as Louisa; it would have kept her a little out of his way. The carriage is gone to-day, to bring Louisa and
the Harvilles to-morrow. We are not asked to dine with them, however, till the day after, Mrs Musgrove
is so afraid of her being fatigued by the journey, which is not very likely, considering the care that will
be taken of her; and it would be much more convenient to me to dine there to-morrow. I am glad you
find Mr Elliot so agreeable, and wish I could be acquainted with him too; but I have my usual luck: I am
always out of the way when any thing desirable is going on; always the last of my family to be noticed.
What an immense time Mrs Clay has been staying with Elizabeth! Does she never mean to go away?
But perhaps if she were to leave the room vacant, we might not be invited. Let me know what you think
of this. I do not expect my children to be asked, you know. I can leave them at the Great House very
well, for a month or six weeks. I have this moment heard that the Crofts are going to Bath almost immediately; they
think the Admiral gouty. Charles heard it quite by chance; they have not had the civility to give me any
notice, or of offering to take anything. I do not think they improve at all as neighbours. We see nothing
of them, and this is really an instance of gross inattention. Charles joins me in love, and everything
proper. Yours affectionately,`Mary M - -.`I am sorry to say that I am very far from well; and Jemima has
just told me that the butcher says there is a bad sore-throat very much about. I dare say I shall catch
it; and my sore-throats, you know, are always worse than anybody's.'So ended the first part, which had
been afterwards put into an envelope, containing nearly as much more.
`I kept my letter open, that I might send you word how Louisa bore her journey, and now I am extremely
glad I did, having a great deal to add. In the first place, I had a note from Mrs Croft yesterday, offering
to convey anything to you; a very kind, friendly note indeed, addressed to me, just as it ought; I shall
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