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|Letter 35: The Leigh Perrots.
Written by JulieW
(9/19/2007 5:49 a.m.)
The reason I am doing this is that we are often shown a picture of Mrs L-P looking very grim in old age, but I think these pictures show she was a woman of quite some beauty,and she certainly seems to have quite captivated Mr L-P:
He wrote her this poem (with which was enlosed a seed pearl necklace) while she was awaiting trial at Ilchester Gaol on a charge of stealing a card of lace from a Bath Haberdashers shop:
My dearest Wife
He also shared her incarceration in the gaol- in the dirty and close confines of the warden's home within the gaol. She was acquitted.
Here is a silhouette of her wearing a fabulous 1780's style hat:
This is a wonderful portrait of Mr Leigh Perrot , still on view to the public in the collection of Isel Hall near Cockermouth in Cumbria. This portraits hows him to be very richly dressed: look at the quality of the lace, for example. They clearly were people of fashion and riches.
The portrait used to hang at Scarlets, and was one of Mrs L-P's favourtes. She coud write this very affectionate letter, about the picture when she was 84 and Mr J-P was long dead( he died in 1817):
Indeed that picture is one of my greatest Comforts! I can sometimes get into one of my fanciful moods and think it is saying something as truly Affectionate & gratifying as I have heard from the dear , highly Valued original- My feelings at some times I would not be without for all that they gay World could afford- I can flatter myself that he is approving every action of my Life-when such are my sentiments can it be wonder'd at, that I am fond of Solitude?
(see JAS Report 2007 page 80)
And here is a picture of their home Scarlets , which was situate at Kiln Green near Wargrave, Berkshire, :
This house is now sadly reduced form its former glory- the gardens have been sold off and built upon and the house is now in multi- occupation. But I thought you might like to see the type of home in which they resided . Quite a different type of place to Steventon rectory I'm sure you will agree.
JA seems to have had a friendly relationship with her uncle(Mr J-P was Mrs Austen's brother): but Mrs L-P seems to have been quite a different matter...
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