’The Close, Tuesday
I do so wish that you could be with me, so that I could talk to you again. Aunt Stanbury is the most affectionate and kindest friend in the world; but she has always been so able to have her own way, because she is both clever and good, that I find myself almost like a baby with her. She has been talking to me again about Mr Gibson; and it seems that Mr Gibson really does mean it. It is certainly very strange; but I do think now that it is true. He is to come on Friday. It seems very odd that it should all be settled for him in that way; but then Aunt Stanbury is so clever at settling things!
He sat next to me almost all the evening yesterday but he didn’t say anything about it, except that he hoped I agreed with him about going to church, and all that. I suppose I do; and I am quite sure that if I were to be a clergyman’s wife, I should endeavour to do whatever my husband thought right about religion. One ought to try to do so, even if the clergyman is not one’s husband. Mr Burgess has come, and he was so very amusing all the evening, that perhaps that was the reason Mr Gibson said so little. Mr Burgess is a very nice man, and I think Aunt Stanbury is more fond of him than of anybody. He is not at all the sort of person that I expected.
But if Mr Gibson does come on Friday, and do really mean it, what am I to say to him? Aunt Stanbury will be very angry if I do not take her advice. I am quite sure that she intends it all for my happiness; and then, of course, she knows so much more about the world than I do. She asks me what it is that I expect. Of course, I do not expect anything. It is a great compliment from Mr Gibson, who is a clergyman, and thought well of by everybody. And nothing could be more respectable. Aunt Stanbury says that with the money she would give us we should be quite comfortable; and she wants us to live in this house. She says that there are thirty girls round Exeter who would give their eyes for such a chance; and, looking at it in that light, of course, it is a very great thing for me. Only think how poor we have been! And then, dear Priscilla, perhaps he would let me be good to you and dear mamma!
But, of course, he will ask me whether I love him; and what am I to say? Aunt Stanbury says that I am to love him. “Begin to love him at once,” she said this morning. I would if I could, partly for her sake, and because I do feel that it would be so respectable. When I think of it, it does seem such a pity that poor I should throw away such a chance. And I must say that Mr Gibson is very good, and most obliging; and everybody says that he has an excellent temper, and that he is a most prudent, well-dispositioned man. I declare, dear Priscilla, when I think of it, I cannot bring myself to believe that such a man should want me to be his wife.