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|Letter 85 (Brabourne 61)
Written by Myretta
(2/14/2013 10:11 a.m.)
Letter 85 (Brabourne 61) May 24, 1813 to Cassandra from Sloane Street to Chawton
Jane Austen is at her brother's in Sloane Street, London. She is, no doubt, there to help him in the aftermath of of the death of his wife Eliza and to help him prepare to move to Henrietta Street, where he will live over his bank.
The first part of the letter deals with the tradesman she has seen or has put off seeing. They are:
T. Remnant – Glover, 126 Strand.
Henry does take her to the exhibition at Spring Garden, a trip which prompts this much-discussed section of the letter:
Later, after she has attended The Great Exhibition (The British Academy exhibition at Somerset House that opened on May 3), she adds:
"Monday Evening. -- We have been both to the exhibition and Sir J. Reynolds's, and I am disappointed, for there was nothing like Mrs. D. at either. I can only imagine that Mr. D. prizes any picture of her too much to like it should be exposed to the public eye. I can imagine he would have that sort of feeling -- that mixture of love, pride, and delicacy."
Le Faye identifies Mrs. Bingley's picture as likely Portrait of a lady by J.F.M. Huet-Villiers but states that three miniatures by Charles John Roberston in the same exhibition of Lady Nelthorpe and her sisters-in-law Lady Anderson and Mrs. Clarke of Welton Place cannot be completely ruled out as alternatives. Here's Lady Nelthorpe
Some other notes from Le Faye:
Henry's wife is buried in the churchyard of ST. John-at-Hampstread. On May 1
"he will not come to bide" is a quotation from Frank Austen's childhood.
Miss D. - On Friday May 21 Fanny Knight had written to JA as Miss Darcy, evidently hoping that her aunt would answer in character.
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