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|Text of Letter 51
Written by Julie W
(Saturday, 17 January 2009, at 5:39 a.m.)
51. To Cassandra Austen
Friday 20-Sunday 22 February 1807
Southampton Friday FebY 20th
My dear Cassandra
We have at last heard something of Mr Austen's Will. It is beleived at Tunbridge that he has left everything after the death of his widow to W MY Austen's' son John; & as the said John was the only one of the Family who attended the Funeral, it seems likely to be true. -Such ill-gotten Wealth can never prosper! -I really have very little to say this week, & do not feel as if I should spread that little into the shew of much. I am inclined for short sentences. _Mary will be obliged to you to take notice how often Elizth nurses her Baby in the course of the 24 hours, how often it is fed & with what;-you need not trouble yourself to write the result of your observations, your return will be early enough for the communication of them.-You are recommended to bring away some flower-seeds from Godmersham, particularly Mignionette seed. -My Mother has heard this morn from Paragon. My Aunt talks much of the violent colds prevailing in Bath, from which my Uncle has suffered ever since their return, & she has herself a cough much worse than any she ever had before, subject as she has always been to bad ones. -She writes in good humour & chearful spirits however. The negociation between them & Adlestrop so happily over indeed, what can have power to vex her materially? -Elliston, she tells us has just succeeded to a considerable fortune on the death of an Uncle. I would not have it enough to take him from the Stage; she should quit her business, & live with him in London.-We could not pay our visit on Monday, the weather altered just too soon; & we have since had a touch of almost everything in the weather way;-two of the severest frosts since the winter began, preceded by rain, hail & snow.- Now we are smiling again.
Saturday. I have received your letter, but I suppose you do not expect me to be gratified by it's contents. I confess myself much disappointed by this repeated delay of your return, for-tho' I had pretty well given up all idea of your being with us before our removal, I felt sure that March would not pass quite away without bringing you. Before April comes, of course something else will occur to detain you. But as you are happy, all this is Selfishness, of which here is enough for one page.-Pray tell Lizzy that if I had imagined her Teeth to be really out I should have said before what I say now, that it was a very unlucky fall indeed, that I am afraid it must have given her a great deal of pain, & that I dare say her Mouth looks very comical. -I am obliged to Fanny for the list of Mr, Coleman's Children, whose names I had not however quite forgot; the new one I am sure will be Caroline.-I have got Mr Bowen's Recipe for you, it came in my Aunt's letter.- You must have had more snow at G than we had here;-on Wednesday morng there was a thin covering of it over the fields & roofs of the Houses, but I do not think there was any left the next day. Everybody used to Southampton says that Snow never lies more than 24 hours near it, & from what we have observed ourselves, it is very true. -Frank's going into Kent depends of course upon his being unemployed, but as the 1st Lord after promising Ld Moira that Capt. A. should have the first good Frigate that was vacant, has since given away two or three fine ones, he has no particular reason to expect an appointment now. -He however has scarcely spoken about the Kentish Journey; I have my information cheifly from her, & she considers her own going thither as more certain if he shd be at sea, than if not.-Frank has got a very bad Cough, for an Austen;-but it does not disable him from making very nice fringe for the DrawingroomCurtains._Mrs Day has now got the Carpet in hand, & Monday I hope will be the last day of her employment here. A fortnight afterwards she is to be called again from the shades of her red-check'd bed in an alley near the end of the High Street to clean the new House & air the Bedding.-We hear that we are envied our House by many people, & that the Garden is the best in the Town. There will be green baize enough for Martha's room & ours;-not to cover them but to lie over the part where it is most wanted, under the Dressing Table. Mary is to have a peice of Carpetting for the same purpose; my Mother says size does not want any; & it may certainly be better done without in her room than in Martha's & ours, from the difference of their aspect. -I recommend Mrs Grant's Letters, as a present to the latter;-what they are about, nor how many volumes they form I do not know, having never heard of them but from Miss Irvine, who speaks of them as a new & much admired work, & as one which has pleased her highly. -I have enquired for the book here, but find it quite unknown. I beleive I put five breadths of Linen also into my flounce; I know I found it wanted more than I had expected, & that I shd have been distressed if I had not bought more than I beleived myself to need, for the sake of the even Measure, on which we think so differently.-A light morng gown will be a very necessary purchase for you, & I wish you a pretty one. I shall buy such things whenever I am tempted, but as yet there is nothing of the sort to be seen. -We are reading Barretti's other book, & find him dreadfully abusive of poor Mr Sharpe. I can no longer take his part against you, as I did nine years ago.-Sunday--This post has brought me Martha's own assurance of her coming on tuesday evens which nothing is now to prevent except William should send her word that there is no remedy on that day. Her letter was put into the post at Basingstoke on their return from Eversley, where she says they have spent their time very pleasantly; she does not own herself in any danger of being tempted back again however, & as she signs by her maiden name we are at least to suppose her not married yet.-They must have had a cold visit, but as she found it agreable I suppose there was no want of Blankets, & we may trust to her Sister's' taking care that her love of many should be known.-She sends me no particulars, having time only to write the needful.-
I wish You a pleasant party tomorrow & not more than you like of Miss Hatton's neck.-Lady B. must have been a shameless woman if she named H. Hales as within her Husband's reach. It is a peice of impertinence indeed in a Woman to pretend to fix on anyone, as if she supposed it cd be only ask & have. -A Widower with children has no right to look higher than his daughter's Governess.-I am forced to be abusive for want of subject, having really nothing to say.-When Martha comes she will supply me with matter; I shall have to tell you how she likes the House & what she thinks of Mary.-You must be very cold today at Gm-We are cold here. I expect a severe March, a wet April, & a sharp May. -And with this prophecy I must conclude.-
My Love to everybody-
Miss Austen Godmersham Park Faversham Kent
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