Penelope Clay to Adelaide Hampson
Camden-place. April 1
My dear sister,
Mr Elliot is mine!! Wish me joy, Addie! We leave for town – or to be more exact, my dear William leaves Sydney-place on Tuesday and travels to London to prepare for my arrival. While some necessary alterations are being made to his house in Mayfair, he is arranging for a set of very well-appointed private apartments for me off Drury Lane. I shall write from that address as soon as may be.
The Elliots entertain no notion of this (though Miss Anne did spy on a meeting between us in Bath Street and challenged me on it, whereat I improvised vague excuses which seemed to allay her suspicions). All are now preoccupied with the sudden engagement of Anne to Captain Wentworth. She has indeed recaptured him after all these years! Sir Walter is mollified by the captain’s wealth and wonders if in light of his naval reputation there is a chance of the bestowal of a knighthood – a baronetage being of course out of the question. Miss Elizabeth says little, looks pained in private but in public bestows ingratiating smiles on Mr Elliot. (Imagine her vexation when she discovers that she has lost him to me!)
The discovery must not be immediate and so I beg your silence, especially with Papa. I do not doubt that he will eventually rejoice at the acquisition of such a son, but the marriage must be delayed a little in light of the relatively recent death of the first Mrs Elliot. There are several legal complications to which Mr Elliot must give his full attention before we make our engagement public.
Although it grieves me to postpone a reunion with the girls, Mr Elliot thinks it in their best interest not to hazard their health or disturb their tranquility by a removal to town.
I have not the least doubt that they will be much happier remaining at Ashley-hall with their cousins and kind Aunt Adelaide.
Your happy and ever grateful sister,