William Walter Elliot to Penelope Clay
(By hand) Thursday, February 23
My dear Penelope,
My excuse of leaving for Thornberry this evening is, as you are aware, a necessary device to cover our assignation – one which I most sincerely hope you will honour tomorrow morning.
It is important I speak with you – to reassure you that my courtesies to Miss Anne or to Miss Elliot should never be, can never be, construed as anything other than the dues of a kinsman and a gentleman. One might as readily suspect me of making love to the Honorable and formidable Miss Carteret!
Surely Penelope cannot accuse me of deception? Disguise of any kind is abhorrent to me. Such are my feelings for you, feelings which I have professed and proved, that I am wounded that you should ever doubt me.
If you could with your usual tact, devise some pretext to be in Bath-street at eleven tomorrow morning – some obligation for Miss Elliot, perhaps? – I shall anxiously wait for you under the colonnade.
In haste, but ever your,