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|Always with the travel arrangements!
Written by Line
(8/31/2005 6:23 p.m.)
A recurring subject in the letters so far has been travel arrangements, and here they are again in letter 7! I wonder if they'll keep coming up in later letters. As others have said, it brings home to me quite how restricted and dependent on others "respectable" single (and even married) women were when they simply wanted to get from Point A to Point B, and how far they had to plan in advance. Here's Jane simply wanting to accompany her brother, but on tenterhooks because the friend she wants to stay with might not be home, and then where else could she possibly put up for the night? It makes me deeply grateful to be living at the turn of the 21st rather than the 19th century!
Another recurring theme at the time (not just in JA's writings) was the *fatigues* of travel. JA writes in letter 9 how well her mother withstood this particular journey, but Mrs. Austen is described as taking "some of her bitters at Ospringe, and some more at Rochester, and she ate some bread several times" (not a lot to eat, IMO). This makes me wonder if Mrs. Austen was actually ill (in which case, why was she travelling?), or possibly suffering from motion sickness. I know that travel was a good deal more strenuous in those days, but I'm not sure if I have a clear picture of just *how* strenuous.
I had to laugh at the story of how JA's things got put in the wrong coach by mistake. We all know the old joke about the traveller who flew to Paris, while his luggage went to Mexico - this reminded me that misdirected luggage has been around much longer than airplane travel! ;-)
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