William Walter Elliot to Colonel Wallis
2 South Audley-street. Wednesday, November 16
I have received yours and am obliged. Your observations of my esteemed cousins of Kellynch-hall, now gracing Bath society, have afforded me some entertainment and not a little food for thought.
I could very well survive another ten years lacking the company and conversations of that superannuated dandy Sir Walter and tiresome Miss, but my curiosity and interest – you may surmise what kind of interest – are piqued, I confess, by your account of “Mrs Clay.” The baronet is quite fool enough to venture into marriage once more and, if the lady is as acute and purposeful as is implied in your description, her want of breeding may be no material disadvantage in his eyes. Her minor deficiencies in beauty might be seen to weigh against her chances with this baronet, but I should be happy to wager on a young woman’s determination when pitted against an old man’s vanity. I too am vain enough and sufficiently sensible of your friendship to impose my company on you for a day’s visit on my way to London from Sidmouth and Lyme. A reconnaissance of the House of Elliot seems in order.
My felicitations to you on the expectation of yet another young Wallis. I trust the air of Bath is not so contagious that more young Elliots may be contemplated – to inherit the “Sir William” which would seem to be the rightful property of