The Picnic at Cranford: A Letter from Miss Pole

© Gaskell Blog

Dearest Mary,

I hope this letter finds you well. Miss Matty meant to write but she’s rather worn out. Do not be alarmed, she is in good health (although if she followed my regime she’d be more robust).

What do you suppose we have all been up to in Cranford? –Well, Mrs. Jameison was reticent at first, but once she realized how fashionable they are become (I knew this several weeks ago) began claiming she had been wanting to plan one but felt too indisposed.

Poor Miss Matty! She was helping me with the arrangements, following exactly what I suggested, when Mrs. Jameison started giving her directions contrary to mine until she was going about, hither and thither, in a flurry of confusion. I gave her some of my aromatic vinegar to soothe her nerves.

Miss Barker was very pleased with how the cream for the strawberries turned out. Bessy died a few months back (if you ask me it was the coarse flannel that did it) but her new Aldernay, Jessie, has equally wonderful milk.

She was going to bring seed-cake for the occasion– Miss Barker that is, Mrs. Jameison wrinkled her nose but suggested since she now has a French cook, if she would but give her the recipe she needn’t worry. French indeed!

Peter teased Mr. Mulliner was setting his cap at the mademoiselle as he was serving us tea. He dropped one of the cups, turned the color of beetroot, and stormed out. Mr. Mulliner hasn’t been the same since and reads the chronicle even longer than he did before. But do you know? Peter took out a subscription too. Mr. Mulliner’s days of newspaper tyranny are at an end.

They are quite at odds with each-other and I greatly fear they will do something drastic. We’ve never had a duel in Cranford. I do hope they don’t choose to do so at the picnic. It would be the must shocking thing since Signor Brunoni!

Do you know, the dear Signore and his wife are to come and visit us for the occasion.

Well, I must bring this letter to a close Mary dear, for there is still much to do!

Yours very truly,

Miss Pole

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