Penelope Clay to John Shepherd
12 Queen-square, Bath. September 10, 1814
My dear father,
Our journey went off exceedingly well, with good roads, excellent horses, and no other anxiety than some agitation over our rooms at the inn at Wells, which were meaner in fittings and less generous in proportion than Sir Walter thought appropriate.
My own thoughts were too sadly preoccupied with the distress of leaving my two daughters, although relieved by the consolation of their being in excellent hands in their dear aunt’s household and in the care of her most competent nurse and governess. The company of their little cousins will no doubt fill that sad gap left by the absence of their mother, which will, I trust, be for but a short duration. I know, Papa, that – solicitous as you always are for the welfare and comfort of the family at Kellynch-hall – you recognize Miss Elliot’s need of my company and attendance at a time of some embarrassment of fortune.
We have been arrived at Bath just long enough to see our trunks unloaded and to inspect our quarters. The house suits well enough, and is convenient for the Pump-room, but Sir Walter is determined that it must be only a temporary accommodation of our needs; Miss Elliot is of the same mind and so the most pressing necessity is the discovery of a suitable residence for the winter months. A house in Camden-place has been recommended as being of superior furnishings, commanding a good prospect, and in the right part of town. It is probable that my next letter to you will be from that address.
Sir Walter is writing to you – although you will recognize my hand, since I act as his amanuensis. He has already compiled a long list of items for you to oversee regarding the activities of the tenants of Kellynch-hall, particularly the prompt payment of rents. He is alarmed at the possibility of the Crofts’ contemplating changes to Kellynch-hall in what would inevitably be inferior taste, and bids me impress on you the need for constant vigilance. I have begun to list his concerns about the shrubbery, Miss Elliot’s flower garden, the library, the small morning-room, the game-room, the laundry-room and the butler’s pantry; but there is much more, which I shall have delivered in due course.
Your most affectionate daughter,
Postscript: Papa, pray instruct Emily to find in the lower drawer of my dressing-table the large bottle of “Mrs Vincent’s Lotion” and send it to me along with your next eagerly awaited letter.