It was the beginning of February; and Anne, having been a month in Bath, was
growing very eager for news from Uppercross and Lyme. She wanted to hear
much more than Mary had communicated. It was three weeks since she had
heard at all. She only knew that Henrietta was at home again; and that Louisa,
though considered to be recovering fast, was still in Lyme; and she was thinking
of them all very intently one evening, when a thicker letter than usual from Mary
was delivered to her; and, to quicken the pleasure and surprise, with Admiral and
Mrs. Croft's compliments.
The Crofts must be in Bath! A circumstance to interest her. They were people
whom her heart turned to very naturally.
"What is this?" cried Sir Walter. "The Crofts have arrived in Bath? The Crofts who
rent Kellynch? What have they brought you?"
"A letter from Uppercross Cottage, Sir."
"Oh! those letters are convenient passports. They secure an introduction. I
should have visited Admiral Croft, however, at any rate. I know what is due to my
Anne could listen no longer; she could not even have told how the poor Admiral's
complexion escaped; her letter engrossed her. It had been begun several days
"My dear Anne,--I make no apology for my silence, because I know how little
people think of letters in such a place as Bath. You must be a great deal too
happy to care for Uppercross, which, as you well know, affords little to write
about. We have had a very dull Christmas; Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove have not had
one dinner party all the holidays. I do not reckon the Hayters as anybody. The
holidays, however, are over at last: I believe no children ever had such long
ones. I am sure I had not. The house was cleared yesterday, except of the little
Harvilles; but you will be surprised to hear they have never gone home. Mrs.
Harville must be an odd mother to part with them so long. I do not understand it.
They are not at all nice children, in my opinion; but Mrs. Musgrove seems to like
them quite as well, if not better, than her grandchildren. What dreadful weather
we have had! It may not be felt in Bath, with your nice pavements; but in the
country it is of some consequence. I have not had a creature call on me since the
second week in January, except Charles Hayter, who had been calling much
oftener than was welcome. Between ourselves, I think it a great pity Henrietta did
not remain at Lyme as long as Louisa; it would have kept her a little out of his
way. The carriage is gone to-day, to bring Louisa and the Harvilles to-morrow.
We are not asked to dine with them, however, till the day after, Mrs. Musgrove is
so afraid of her being fatigued by the journey, which is not very likely, considering
the care that will be taken of her; and it would be much more convenient to me to
dine there to-morrow. I am glad you find Mr. Elliot so agreeable, and wish I could
be acquainted with him too; but I have my usual luck: I am always out of the way
when any thing desirable is going on; always the last of my family to be noticed.
What an immense time Mrs. Clay has been staying with Elizabeth! Does she