Sheryl Bonar Craig (Central Missouri Region)
Letter from John Thorpe to Master Freeman

Master Freeman, Oxford

Hey-day Freeman,

What are you about you d- scoundrel?  I write from London with news of my exploits in Bath.  As I’ve always been an enemy to matrimony, I dare say you’ll be surprised to hear that I am to marry.  But then, I did not go to Bath to drive my sisters about and look like a fool.  No doubt you will quiz me famously, but what’s a young buck to do in Bath but go upon the strut and play the beau?  I won’t say that it hasn’t been a devilish long fortnight.  I had to squire the little woman about all day and stand up and jig it together at night, but what a dust she would have made had I not, for she was determined to have me.  When it comes to a woman, I hate to be pitiful.

“Oh! D-,” says I.  “I’m your man.”  So it’s all settled, more or less.

The little filly is a Miss Morland of Fullerton, a smart looking girl, but then you know I could never stand a thick ancle.  She has a monstrous deal of good-nature, but she’s a bit obstinate, wants to have her own head, but I’ll soon break her to harness.  Her father’s a rich old devil, rolls in money, so I expect ten to fifteen thousand pounds, which will be a pretty addition to the Allen estate and her other legacies.  Old Allen’s ninety from the look of him and all gout, so he can’t last long.  I believe there’s a rich aunt as well and only her brother James, you know James Morland, and two or three sisters.  So no more little tittuppy gigs and broken-winded jades for the best coachman in the country.  I’ve been looking at carriages here in town, and, as soon as the marriage settlement is made, I shall be ordering a new phaeton for Thorpe of Fullerton, by Jove, and four very pretty cattle to pull it.

Did I mention that General Tilney and I had a little touch together at billiards?  I did beat him, one of the cleanest strokes in the world, but I could not make you understand it without a table, and the General declared Miss Morland “the finest girl in Bath.”  “D- it,” says I.  “Is she?  I suppose she must be.”  A bit touchy that, as I had to cut out Tilney’s son who was after her for himself.  Henry Tilney’s a good figure of a man, well put together, but I dare say he knew when he was bettered.

I suppose Old Morland will lay in plenty of bottles for the wedding, so come if you like and help me to empty a few.  It may be a double wedding as my sister has got James Morland on toast as well.  And since Old Morland will be out the expense of my wedding, it would save old Mater a great deal of trouble, but Bella will have to see to herself.  It is not my way to bother my brains with what does not concern me.

A famous good thing this marrying scheme.  As long as it fills your pocket, it is no bad notion.  You know how going to one wedding brings on another, so come to Bath, d- you.  I dare say there will be broken hearts enough when my engagement is announced.  You may pick up one for yourself.

Your humble servant,
John Thorpe

P.S.  Do you want a horse?  Sam Fletcher has one to sell, a famous clever animal for the road – only forty guineas.