To Mrs Vicary, on her return to Tunbridge Wells

Mrs Martha Hankey

My Dear Elinor,
Now that you have returned to Tunbridge Wells, I am writing to you to say how very much I enjoyed your visit and how earnestly I am counting the days until you can next come and join me.
Indeed, to be left alone with Thompson is quite upsetting as I believe I intimated and today, I have feigned a terrible headache and am very quiet in my room. I thank God, that he has been called away and must go back to the Caribbean at the end of this week. My dearest, I shall have to have a strategy to deal with him in the future because I know of course that he will retire soon and therefore spend all his time here. Oh, the thought is too terrible. Perhaps I might encourage him to spend time in London and impress upon him the need to introduce our son in society, if he is to get anywhere. Meanwhile, the both of them are too loud. Indeed my headache is not feigned at all and I am reaching for my laudanum as I write this.
My dearest Martha is as ever bustling about the household and organising the housemaids. She is too good to me and always comforts me and tells me that since she has the energy I lack, she had best use hers. Sometimes I suspect that she enjoys my headaches because they mean that she can remain unchallenged, but in truth she organises things so well that I have no wish to intrude.
The muslin that I ordered has arrived, but I am not convinced that I am not a little old for that look. I may give the material to Martha since she already has gowns that show her figure to the best advantage. It worries me not a little, that she is so very pretty and yet not spoken for, but I know that I could not live without her. You understand how very muddled I am about the whole affair. And also I know that for all his faults, Thompson adores her and could not contemplate her leaving. When I try to raise the subject with her however, she brushes it aside and will not brook discussion. Perhaps she is hiding something .... in time, I may prise it out of her. Certainly, she looks very happy and shows no signs of wanting for anything that she has not already in her possession.
My dear, I must leave you now as I believe I shall have a little sleep.
Your best and most true friend,