We last heard from JA in Letter 38, dated 26-27th May 1801, when she was looking forward to leaving the Leigh Perrot's home in the Paragon and setting up home in number 4 Sydney Place, Bath.
38. To Cassandra Austen
Tuesday 26-Wednesday 27th May 1801
My dear Cassandra
For your letter from Kintbury & for all the compliments on my writing which it contained, I now return you my best thanks.-I am very glad that Martha goes to Chilton; a very essential temporary comfort her presence must afford to Mrs Craven, and I hope she will endeavour to make it a lasting one by exerting those kind offices in favour of the Young Man, from which you were both with-held in the case of the Harrison family' by the mistaken tenderness of one part of ours. -The Endymion came into Portsmouth on Sunday, & I have sent Charles a short letter by this day's post.-My adventures since I wrote to you three days ago have been such as the time would easily contain; I walked yesterday morning with Mrs Chamberlayne to Lyncombe & Widcombe, and in the evening I drank tea with the Holders.-Mrs Chamberlayne 's pace was not quite so magnificent on this second trial as in the first; it was nothing more than I could keep up with, without effort; & for many, many Yards together on a raised narrow footpath I led the way. -The Walk was very beautiful as my companion agreed, whenever I made the observation-And so ends our friendship, for the Chamberlaynes leave Bath in a day or two.-Prepare likewise for the loss of Lady Fust, as you will lose before you find her.-My evening visit was by no means disagreable. Mrs Lillingston came to engage Mrs Holder's conversation, & Miss Holder & I adjourned after tea into the inner Drawingroom to look over Prints & talk pathetically. She is very unreserved & very fond of talking of her deceased brother & Sister,whose memories she cherishes with an Enthusiasm which tho' perhaps a little affected, is not unpleasing. -She has an idea of your being remarkably lively; therefore get ready the proper selection of adverbs, & due scraps of Italian & French. -I must now pause to make some observation on M' Heathcote 's having got a little Boy;-I wish her well to wear it out-& shall proceed:-Frank writes me word that he is to be in London tomorrow; some money Negociation from which he hopes to derive advantage, hastens him from Kent, & will detain him a few days behind my father in Town. -I have seen the Miss Mapletons this morning; Marianne was buried yesterday, and I called without expecting to be let in, to enquire after them all.-On the servant's invitation however I sent in my name, & Jane & Christiana who were walking in the Garden came to me immediately, and I sat with them about ten minutes. -They looked pale & dejected, but were more composed than I had thought probable.-When I mentioned your coming here on Monday, they said that they should be very glad to see you. We drink tea to night with M" Lysons;-Now this, says my Master, will be mighty dull.-On friday we are to have another party, & a sett of new people to you. -The Bradshaws & Greaves's, all belonging to one another, and I hope the Pickfords._Mrs Evelyn called very civilly on sunday, to tell us that Mr Evelyn had seen M Philips the proprietor of N° 12 G. P. B. and that M Philips was very willing to raise the kitchen floor;-but all this I fear is fruitless-tho' the water may be kept out of sight, it cannot be sent away, nor the ill effects of its' nearness be excluded.-I have nothing more to say on the subject of Houses;-except that we were mistaken as to the aspect of the one in Seymour Street, which instead of being due West is Northwest.-I assure you inspire of what I might chuse to insinuate in a former letter, that I have seen very little of Mr Evelyn since my coming here; I met him this morning for only the 4th time, & as to my anecdote about Sidney Gardens, I made the most of the Story because it came in to advantage, but in fact he only asked me whether I were to be at Sidney Gardens in the evening or not.-There is now something, like an engagement between us & the Phaeton, which to confess my frailty I have a great desire to go out in;-whether it will come to anything must remain with him.-I really beleive he is very harmless; people do not seem afraid of him here, and he gets Groundsel for his birds & all that.-My Aunt will never be easy till she visits them;-she has been repeatedly trying to fancy a necessity for it now on our accounts, but she meets with no encouragement. -She ought to be particularly scrupulous in such matters, & she says so herself-but nevertheless- - -Well-I am come home from M Lysons as yellow as I went;-You cannot like your yellow gown half so well as I do, nor a quarter neither. Mr Rice & Lucy are to be married, one on the 9th & the other on the l0th of July.
_yrs affec:'Y JA.
Wednesday. -I am just returned from my Airing in the very bewitching Phaeton & four, for which I was prepared by a note from M' E. soon after breakfast: We went to the top of Kingsdown-& had a very pleasant drive: One pleasure succeeds another rapidly-On my return I found your letter & a letter from Charles on the table. The contents of yours I suppose I need not repeat to you; to thank you for it will be enough. -I give Charles great credit for remembering my Uncle's direction, & he seems rather surprised at it himself. -He has received 3O for his share of the privateer & expects io more-but of what avail is it to take prizes if he lays out the produce in presents to his Sisters. He has been buying Gold chains & Topaze Crosses for us;-he must be well scolded.-The Endymion has already received orders for taking Troops to Egypt-which I should not like at all if I did not trust to Charles' being removed from her somehow or other before she sails. He knows nothing of his own destination he says,but desires me to write directly as the Endymion will probably sail in 3 or 4 days.-He will receive my yesterday's letter to day, and I shall write again by this post to thank & reproach him.-We shall be unbearably fine.-I have made an engagement for you for Thursday the 4th of June; if my Mother & Aunt should not go to the fireworks, which I dare say they will not, I have promised to join Mr Evelyn & Miss Wood-Miss Wood has lived with them you know ever "since my Son died-"
I will engage Mrs Mussell as you desire. She made my dark gown very well & may therefore be trusted I hope with Yours-but she does not always succeed with lighter Colours. -My white one I was obliged to alter a good deal.-Unless anything particular occurs, I shall not write again.
Miss Austen The Rev:c F. C. Fowle's Kintbury Newbury
No letters from JA survive for the period of three+ years that intervened, but a lot had gone on.
A the end of March 1802, the Treaty of Amines was signed and it brought a short break in the war with France. British sailors were signed off, and Charles Austen left the Endymion . He joined the Austens in Bath and accompanied them on a summer trip around the West Country and Wales. The Austens first visited Dawlish, and Teignmouth in Devonshire :
The places the Austen's visited were not flashy or particularly large : they were all quite quiet small sea-bathing places-Teignmouth being the largest and most cosmopolitan -as is evident from the contemporary descriptions I have found.