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- Letters of Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra Austen
- 1813 -- Part 1. [THIS FILE]
- 1813 -- Part 2
- Letters to Fanny Knight 1814-1816
- Letters to Anna Austen Lefroy, 1814-1816
- Letters from Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight, 1817
- Poetry, Backwards letter
THE eleventh division of the letters includes those written during that
which I believe to have been Jane Austen's last visit to Godmersham. With
regard to most of these later letters, I have derived much assistance
from my mother's old pocket-books, in which she regularly kept her diary
from the time she was eleven years old until she was unable to write.
During the earlier years there are only casual entries relating to Aunt
Jane. As, for instance: "June 18, 1807. -- Papa brought me a packet from
Southampton containing a letter from Aunt Cassandra, and a note and long
strip of beautiful work as a present from Aunt Jane." Then in September
of the same year the visit of "grandmamma and Aunts Cassandra and Jane
Austen" to Chawton House is duly chronicled, and in 1808 "Aunt Jane's"
stay at Godmersham for a week, accompanied by her brother James and his
wife. There is also an interesting entry of the date of September 28, 1811:
"Letter from At. Cass. to beg we would not mention that Aunt Jane wrote
Sense and Sensibility." But, although many passages both in our letters
and the pocket-books evince the affection which from a very early period
existed between the aunt and the niece, the time when that affection
seems to have ripened into more intimate friendship was in 1812, during
a visit which my mother, in company with her father and cousin, "Fanny
Cage" (afterwards Lady Bridges), paid to Chawton Great House in that
year. They arrived there on April 14, and stayed until May 7, when they
returned to Kent, paying Oxford a visit on their way. My mother had at
this time just completed her nineteenth year, and she and her aunt seem
to have been much together during this visit. Unfortunately I have no
letters bearing the date of this particular year; probably because the
sisters were more than usually together at Chawton Cottage; but during
the next three years I am able, by a comparison of the letters and the
pocket-books, to trace Jane's movements with greater ease, and in somewhat
more of detail.
And here there comes to me a great source of grief -- namely, that although
I have five letters addressed by "Aunt Jane" to my mother during the
years 1814-16, the pocket-books show the receipt in those same years of
upwards of thirty letters from the same aunt, which would be invaluable
for our present purpose, but which I fear must have been destroyed, with
the exception of those which I have already found, and now publish.
Miss Knight, the "Marianne" of our letters, known to and loved by all my
generation of the family as "Aunt May," who succeeded my mother in the
management of the Godmersham household, and reigned there, to her own
happiness and that of everybody about her, until my grandfather's death,
thus writes of the intimacy between her sister and aunt: --
"Your dear mother, being so many years older than the rest of us, was a
friend and companion of the two aunts, Cassandra and Jane, particularly
of the latter, and they had all sorts of secrets together, whilst we
were only children." That this was the case is abundantly shown by the
five letters above mentioned, from which we shall see that the aunt and
niece opened their hearts to each other, and wrote in the most unreserved
manner. The pocket-book of 1812 chronicled many "walks with Aunt Jane"
during that month at Chawton, but none of the "secrets" are told, nor is
there anything which illustrates the life of our heroine, if I may apply
such a term to one who would have been amused beyond measure at the idea
of its application to herself.
The ten letters of 1813 were written -- the first from Sloane Street, in
May, the next two from Henrietta Street (to which locality her brother
Henry had moved from Sloane Street), in September, and the seven following
from Kent, and are all addressed to her sister at Chawton. In that year
Godmersham required painting, and the family moved off to Chawton in
April, and stayed there for six months, during which time the friendship
between the aunt and niece grew and increased, as the entries in the
pocket-books prove to demonstration.
June 6th. -- "Aunt Jane and I had a very interesting conversation."
June 22nd. -- "Aunt Jane and I had a delicious morning together."
June 23rd. -- "Aunt Jane and I walked to Alton together."
July --. -- "Had leeches on for headache. Aunt Jane came and sat with me."
August 1st. -- "Spent the evening with Aunt Jane."
But, in fact, the whole diary is a continuous record of meetings between
the relations; every day it is either "The Cottage dined here" or "we
dined at the Cottage," "Aunt Jane drank tea with us," &c., &c. The first
letter of this series was written whilst Jane was on a visit to her brother
Henry, with whom she returned to Chawton on June 1. It contains some
interesting allusions to "Pride and Prejudice," from which we may gather
that the authoress had an ideal "Jane" (Mrs. Bingley) and "Elizabeth"
(Mrs. Darcy), and that she succeeded in finding a satisfactory likeness
of the first, but not of the second, in the picture galleries which she
visited. I am not much surprised at this circumstance, for with all her
beauty and sweetness, Jane Bingley is a less uncommon character than her
sister Elizabeth, upon whom the authoress had exerted all her power,
and was proportionately attached to this most successful creation of
her brain. The special message to "Fanny" upon this point reminds me of
another entry in this year's diary: "We finished `Pride and Prejudice.'"
I have often heard my mother speak of "Aunt Jane" reading some of her own
works aloud to her; perhaps this refers to one of the occasions on which
she did so. How delightful it must have been to hear those life-like
characters described by the lips of the very person who had called them
It will be seen from another paragraph in this letter that my mother had
written her aunt a letter in the character of "Miss Darcy," which made
her "laugh heartily." It was their habit to talk over the characters of
Aunt Jane's books together, and if I only had it in my power to add some
of their conversations to these letters I have no doubt that they would
prove highly interesting to my readers. Jane returned with the Godmersham
family to Kent early in September, and her letters from Henrietta Street
were written during the short stay which the party made with Henry Austen
on their homeward journey. I am able to fix the dates by the pocket-books.
On Tuesday, September 14, my mother writes: "Papa and Aunt Jane, Lizzie,
Marianne, and I left Chawton at nine, and got to Uncle Henry Austen's
house in Henrietta Street in good time." The letters of the 14th and
16th tell the story of their doings, which the diary summarises pretty
accurately: "We shopped all day; a complete bustle" on the 15th; and on the
16th: "We called on Mrs. Tilson, and were all Spenced," Spence being the
individual who was apparently entrusted with the superintendence of the
teeth of the Godmersham family. The allusions in the letter to the visit
to Covent Garden are also corroborated by entries in the pocket-book,
which prove the amusement which was derived by the younger members of the
party as well as by their aunt. The Mr. Tilson mentioned in the London
letters was one of Henry Austen's partners in the bank.
"Miss Clewes," after whom Jane inquires, was governess at Godmersham, whom
my mother had engaged for her younger sisters, and whom she describes
in her diary as "a treasure." She had been preceded by Miss Sharpe, who
was my mother's own governess, and is often mentioned in these letters.
Miss Clewes lived nearly eight years at Godmersham. The diary continues,
under date of Friday, the 17th: "We left town at eight, and reached dear
Godmersham before six."
During the next two months Jane remained in Kent, and here again the
comparison with the pocket-books enables me to make out the allusions
in the letters. "Her sister in Lucina, Mrs. H. Gipps" (Letter 64), was,
before her marriage, "Emma Plumptre," whose sister, "Mary P.," was a great
friend of my mother's; her other two chief friends being "Mary Oxenden,"
daughter of Sir Henry Oxenden, of Broome, afterwards Mrs. Hammond, and
"Fanny Cage," of all three of whom we find frequent mention in the
letters. The "Mr. K.s" who "came a little before dinner on Monday" were
Messrs. Wyndham and Charles Knatchbull, the first and second sons of my
grandfather, Sir Edward Knatchbull, by his second wife, Frances Graham,
and "their lovely Wadham" was their cousin, son of Wyndham Knatchbull,
of London, and afterwards the owner (on his brother William's death) of
Babington, in Somersetshire. Wyndham Knatchbull was twenty-seven in 1813,
as he was born in 1786. He was afterwards the Rev. Dr. Knatchbull, Rector
of Smeeth-cum-Aldington, and died in 1868, at the age of eighty-two.
"We hear a great deal about George Hatton's wretchedness." I remember
hearing from my mother that the gentleman here referred to had "a great
disappointment" in early life, but who the lady was or whether this was
the "wretchedness" I cannot say. Perhaps it had nothing to do with love,
and was only caused by the death of his great-aunt, Lady Charlotte Finch
(née Fermor), who died in June, 1813. But I am bound to say that I have
a letter before me which says, "all the young ladies were in love with
George Hatton -- he was very handsome and agreeable, danced very well, and
flirted famously." At any rate, Aunt Jane rightly surmised that his "quick
feelings" would not kill him, for he lived to be Earl of Winchilsea,
and to marry three times, his last wife being Fanny Margaretta, eldest
daughter of Mr. Rice, of Dane Court, and the "Lizzie" of our letters. He
died in 1858, and those who in later life knew the warm-hearted generosity
of his nature, the sterling worth of his character and excellence of his
disposition, will not be surprised to hear of that general popularity in
youth which he undoubtedly enjoyed. I may mention with regard to the
letter now before us, that he got over his "wretchedness" in due time,
for early in the following June my mother's diary records: "The intended
marriage of George Hatton and Lady Charlotte Graham announced," which duly
took place on July 26, and on the 30th the entry occurs "saw the bride
and bridegroom pass to Eastwell in proper state!" I ought perhaps to add
the entry of August 7, which is to this effect: "George Hatton and bride
called; Lady Charlotte is a sweet little perfection."
"The Sherers" were the Rector of Godmersham and his wife. Mr. Sherer is
often mentioned in my mother's diary, and seems to have been much liked.
He died in 1825.
Evington, where "the gentlemen" all dined one night, was and is the seat
of the Honywood family, in the parish of Elmsted, some miles the other
side of Wye from Godmersham. The Lady Honywood mentioned in these letters
was the wife of Sir John Courtenay Honywood, and daughter of the Rev. Sir
William Henry Cooper, Bart. The commendations which Jane bestows upon her
in a later letter (No. 70), were well deserved, for even within my memory
she was a graceful and charming woman, and must have been beautiful in her
youth. I have always heard her spoken of as one of the most delightful
people, and believe that she fully deserved the description.
I cannot unravel the "Adlestrop Living business" at this distance of time,
but it was a Leigh Living. The Rev. Thos. Leigh, younger son of William
Leigh, of Adlestrop (who was eldest brother of Thomas Leigh, Rector of
Harpsden, Henley-on-Thames, Mrs. George Austen's father), held this
living in 1806, and in that year succeeded to Stoneleigh under a peculiar
limitation in the will of Edward, fifth Lord Leigh, on the death of the
latter's sister Mary. Mr. Leigh Perrot, his first cousin, claimed to be
next in remainder, but sold his claim, and James Henry, son of James,
eldest brother of the Rev. Thomas of Adlestrop, and grandfather of the
present Lord Leigh, succeeded. I have no other clue to the matter, which
is not of much importance, and has little to do with Jane Austen.
The "Sackree" of whom such frequent mention is made in the letters from
Godmersham was the old nurse of my grandfather's children, an excellent
woman and a great favourite. I remember some of her stories to this day,
especially one of a country girl who, on being engaged by the housekeeper
of a certain family, inquired if she might "sleep round." "Sleep round?"
was the reply. "Yes, of course; you may sleep round or square, whichever
you please, for what I care!" However, after the lapse of a few days, the
girl having been kept up for some work or other till ten o'clock, did not
appear in the morning. After some delay, the housekeeper, fancying she
must be ill, went up to her room about nine o'clock, and finding her fast
asleep and snoring soundly, promptly woke her up, and began to scold
her for an idle baggage. On this, the girl with an injured air, began
to remonstrate, "Why ma'am, you told me yourself I might sleep round,
and as I wasn't in bed till ten o'clock last night, I a'nt a coming down
till ten this morning." Mrs. Sackree went by the familiar name of "Caky,"
the origin of which I have been unable to trace, but which was perhaps
given to her in the Godmersham nursery by the little ones, who were doing
their best to pronounce her real name. She lived on at Godmersham, saw
and played with many of the children of her nurslings, and died in March,
1851, in her ninetieth year. Mrs. Sayce was her niece, and my mother's
lady's-maid, of whom I know no more than that she occupied that honourable
position for twelve years, married a German in 1822, and died at Stuttgard
in 1844. Sackree succeeded her as housekeeper when she left Godmersham.
I have no further record of Jane's proceedings in September, save an entry
of my mother's that "Aunt Jane and I paid poor visits together," and
another that they "called on the Reynolds' at Bilting," which was a house
belonging to the Godmersham property, about a mile from Godmersham, of
which I suppose a family of that name were the tenants in 1813. I do not
know who the Dr. Isham was who was so good as to say that he was "sure
that he should not like Madame D'Arblay's new novel half so well" as
"Pride and Prejudice," but I imagine that the vast majority of the readers
of both books would have agreed with him; for the new novel referred to
was "The Wanderer," of which I have already hinted my opinion that the
falling off from the previous works of the fair authoress is so very
manifest that it is difficult to suppose that it was written by the same
hand to which we are indebted for "Evelina," "Cecilia" and "Camilla."
Mr. J. P. is Mr. John Pemberton Plumptre, grandson of the John Plumptre
who married Margaretta Bridges in 1750. His father married a Pemberton,
whence his second Christian name, and he himself married in 1818 Catherine
Matilda Methuen, daughter of Paul Cobb Methuen, of Corsham House, Wilts;
but, having only three daughters, Fredville came, on his decease in 1864,
to Charles John, the son of his brother Charles. Mr. Plumptre represented
East Kent for twenty years, from 1832 to 1852, having been returned as
"an unflinching Reformer," but afterwards seeing reason to ally himself
with the Conservative party. This caused much anger among his former
political friends, and was the occasion of some amusing election squibs,
one of which I remember. It was written in 1837, when Mr. Rider, whose
property was in West Kent, contested Mr. Plumptre's seat in the Liberal
interest. The squib was a parody on the song, "Oh where, and oh where, is
your Highland Laddie gone?" the words "Jockey Rider" being substituted
throughout for "Highland Laddie"; and the verse, "In what clothes, in
what clothes, is your Highland Laddie clad?" was thus transformed -- blue,
it should be observed, being the Liberal colour in East Kent: --
In what clothes, in what clothes, is your Jockey Rider clad?
He's clad all o'er in Blue -- but that Blue is very bad;
For it's all second-hand, being what J. P. Plumptre had!
"Norton Court" was the residence of the Mr. Lushington, who came to Godmersham
during this visit of Jane's, and who was afterwards, as the Right Hon.
Stephen Rumbold Lushington, for some years Patronage Secretary of the
Treasury, sat in several Parliaments for Canterbury, afterwards served
as Governor of Madras, married the daughter of Lord Harris, and died at
Norton Court in 1868, in his ninety-fourth year. He was a pleasant and
agreeable man of the world, and I am not surprised to find that he made
a favourable impression upon Jane. The most amusing thing I remember to
tell about him is in connection with the celebrated East Kent election
in 1852, when Sir E. Dering and Sir B. Bridges did battle for the seat
vacated by Mr. Plumptre, and the latter won. Soon after the contest, I
had a long talk with Mr. Lushington, who had very warmly espoused Sir E.
Dering's cause, and who loudly declared that his defeat had been in a
great measure owing to illegal expenditure on the part of Sir Brook, which
he vehemently denounced, and expressed himself very strongly in favour
of purity of election and as a hater of bribery of any sort. Presently,
however, our conversation drifted into a talk about old times, and the days
when he was Secretary of the Treasury before the Reform Bill of 1832. We
talked of the Dering family, of their Borough of New Romney, which used
to return two members, and of the present Sir Edward Dering's uncle, who
managed the Surrenden estates during his long minority. Upon this subject
our lover of purity of election waxed wroth. "A confounded old screw he
was!" he exclaimed. "I was always ready, on the part of the Government,
to give him a thousand for the seats, but the old fellow always insisted
upon two thousand guineas, and I had to give him his price!" Whatever
his views, however, upon such matters, he was certainly a favourite with
the ladies, his musical talents being one of his recommendations, for
I find an entry in my mother's pocket-book of one year "Mr. Lushington
sang. He has a lovely voice, and is quite delightful." I gather from a
similar source that he was generous with his "franks," another way to
ladies' hearts of which unfortunate M.P.'s have been deprived by the
progress of modern improvements. Mystole, to which allusion is made in
the sixty-fifth and sixty-sixth letters, was, and is, the seat of the
old Kentish family of Fagge. At the present moment it is let to Colonel
Laurie, lately M.P. for Canterbury, but at the date of our letters it was
occupied by the Rev. Sir John Fagge, rector of Chartham (in which parish
Mystole is situate), who had, as the letters show, a wife (Miss Newman,
of Canterbury, who survived her husband thirty-five years, and died in
1857), four sons and five daughters, all of the latter of whom Jane seems
to have been lucky enough to find at home upon the occasion of her visit.
The Mr. Wigram who is introduced as the friend of Edward Bridges would
have been mentioned more favourably by Jane if she had known him longer
and better. I only knew him as a man somewhat advanced in years, who
lived in Grosvenor Square, where I have had the honour of dining with
him more than once. But, undoubtedly, he was a most kind-hearted and good
man, a warm friend, of a generous and benevolent disposition, and quite
agreeable enough to justify his parents in having called him Henry (see
"The good old original Brett and Toke" (Letter 66) refers to the heads of
two very old Kentish families. "Spring Grove" is about half-a-mile from
"Wye," and was built in 1674, although Bretts had been buried in Wye
some 150 years before. Mr. Toke was the owner of Godinton, near Ashford,
which was and is a beautiful and interesting old house, standing in a
pleasant and well-timbered park, which lies between the town of Ashford
and the adjoining property of Hothfield Park, the seat of the Tufton
family, the head of which is now Lord Hothfield. Hasted gives a somewhat
lengthy description of the house at Godinton, and tells us that "in the
hall there is a series of fine family portraits, several of which are by
Cornelius Johnson. The staircase is of very ancient carved work, in the
windows of which are collected all the arms, quarterings, and matches -- in
painted glass -- of the family. The drawing-room upstairs is curiously
wainscotted with oak and carved; particularly along the upper part of it,
all round the room, is a representation of the exercise and manoeuvres
of the ancient militia, with the men habited and accoutred with their
arms, in every attitude of marching, exercise, &c., which makes a very
droll exhibition of them. There are several handsome chimney-pieces
through the house, of Bethersden marble, well carved and ornamented with
the arms of the family." This was the house in which "the Charles Cages"
were staying, which brings me to an account of the two brothers of that
name, who were both very cheery and popular visitors at many other houses
besides hospitable Godinton.
Edward and Charles Cage were the younger brothers of Lewis, the husband
of Fanny Bridges. They were both clergymen and both great sportsmen.
Edward married a Welsh lady, who was very worthy but extremely small. My
satirical relatives at Godmersham nicknamed her "Penny Piece," though I
do not exactly know why, and all I can remember of her is that she hated
butterflies and was terribly afraid of guns. Her husband was Rector of
Eastling and kept harriers. I have been told that he had the names of his
hounds upon his spoons and forks, and once observed to a visitor, "If the
Archbishop of Canterbury were to come here he would think it rather odd to
see the names of my hounds upon my spoons and forks," which was probably
true, though in those days bishops might have sometimes seen even more
extraordinary things in the houses of their clergy. Mr. E. Cage died in
1835, and his widow in 1848. Charles Cage had the livings of Bensted and
Bredgar, and lived at Chrismill, near Milgate, but afterwards removed to
Leybourne. He married Miss Graham, sister of Lady Knatchbull and Lady
Oxenden, and of Charles Graham, rector of Barham, also referred to in our
letters. She was much liked by the Godmersham family. She died in 1847,
and he survived her little more than a year. There are many anecdotes of
the two Cages, but I only recollect one of Charles -- namely, that when one
of his nieces was reading to him the 2nd Chapter of the Acts, he stopped
her with a sigh at the mention of the "Elamites," and on being asked why,
replied," It does so put me in mind of Brockman and his hounds in Elham
Park!" (a noted fox covert in East Kent). I remember that he came to grief
in a disagreeable manner during a visit to Hatch, which occurred in my
boyish days. In one of the passages there are two doors precisely alike,
one of which opens into a room and the other on to a back staircase. The
worthy old gentleman, going along this passage, opened the latter under
the impression that it was the former, marched boldly forward as if on
level ground, and naturally enough tumbled downstairs. How he escaped
serious injury I cannot imagine, but I believe he suffered no material
inconvenience from the shock, unpleasant though it must have been.
The sixty-seventh letter possesses now a more melancholy interest to some
who will read these pages than when I first discovered it among the rest.
It will be seen to be a joint composition, the first part being written
by Jane's niece, "Lizzy," afterwards Mrs. Rice, of Dane Court, who only
died as these pages were being prepared for publication. Few women ever
lived who possessed greater power of attracting the love of others, and
few have ever been more fondly loved by those who had the good fortune
to know her.
Milgate, mentioned in the sixty-ninth letter, was bought by Mr. R. Cage,
a barrister, in 1624, and has been in the Cage family ever since; its
present possessor being General (Lewis) Knight, only son of Henry and
The Mrs. Harrison mentioned in the sixty-ninth and seventieth letters must
have been Mrs. Lefroy's sister, née Charlotte Brydges, who had first
married Mr. Branfill, and, after his death in 1792 (leaving her with a
son and daughter), Mr. John Harrison, of Denne Hill, who died in 1818
without issue. The madness is, of course, a pleasantry of the writer, since
neither family was afflicted with more than the ordinary insanity which
mankind enjoy, although both had plenty of that ability which sometimes
appears like madness to those who do not happen to possess it.
The seventieth letter is the last from Godmersham, and begins by describing
a dinner party at Chilham Castle. "The Bretons" were Dr. Breton and his
wife. He was a gentleman little in stature, somewhat odd in appearance, and
eccentric in character. He married Mrs. Billington, and had the rectory
of Kennington, between Godmersham and Ashford, where he lived and died.
My mother chronicles this gathering as "a better party than usual," and
by "bits and scraps" of it Jane herself was "very well entertained."
Then comes an amusing account of a concert at Canterbury to which she
went, with my mother and Miss Clewes, and where the races of Bridges and
Plumptre seem to have come in force from Goodnestone and Fredville, and
to have had a pleasant time of it. My mother says of this concert that
she had "an enjoyable cose with sweet Mary Plumptre," which corresponds
with the account in the letter. The next letter -- for I do not doubt there
was a "next" from Godmersham -- would probably have given us an account of
the Canterbury ball, which was to take place on the following Thursday,
but unfortunately it is not forthcoming. All the same, however, the ball
did take place, for the pocket-book informs me: "We went to the Canty.
Ball; good company, but no dancing; officers idle and scarcity of county
Beaux. Sophia (Deedes) and I only danced the 2nd, and her partner was an
officer, mine Wm. Hammond; white sarsnet and silver, silver in my hair."
On Saturday, November 18, Jane left Godmersham, accompanying my grandfather
and mother to Wrotham Rectory, on a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Moore, and on
the 15th she went on to her brother Henry's house in Henrietta Street.
Sloane St.: Monday (May 24)
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA,
I am very much obliged to you for writing to me. You must have hated it
after a worrying morning. Your letter came just in time to save my going
to Remnant's, and fit me for Christian's, where I bought Fanny's dimity.
I went the day before (Friday) to Layton's, as I proposed, and got my
mother's gown -- seven yards at 6s. 6d. I then walked into No. 10, which
is all dirt and confusion, but in a very promising way, and after being
present at the opening of a new account, to my great amusement, Henry
and I went to the exhibition in Spring Gardens. It is not thought a good
collection, but I was very well pleased, particularly (pray tell Fanny)
with a small portrait of Mrs. Bingley, excessively like her.
I went in hopes of seeing one of her sister, but there was no Mrs. Darcy.
Perhaps, however, I may find her in the great exhibition, which we shall
go to if we have time. I have no chance of her in the collection of Sir
Joshua Reynolds's paintings, which is now showing in Pall Mall, and which
we are also to visit.
Mrs. Bingley's is exactly herself -- size, shaped face, features, and sweetness;
there never was a greater likeness. She is dressed in a white gown, with
green ornaments, which convinces me of what I had always supposed, that
green was a favourite colour with her. I dare say Mrs. D. will be in yellow.
Friday was our worst day as to weather. We were out in a very long and
very heavy storm of hail, and there had been others before, but I heard
no thunder. Saturday was a good deal better; dry and cold.
I gave 2s. 6d. for the dimity. I do not boast of any bargains, but think
both the sarsenet and dimity good of their sort.
I have bought your locket, but was obliged to give 18s. for it, which must
be rather more than you intended. It is neat and plain, set in gold.
We were to have gone to the Somerset House Exhibition on Saturday, but when
I reached Henrietta Street Mr. Hampson was wanted there, and Mr. Tilson
and I were obliged to drive about town after him, and by the time we had
done it was too late for anything but home. We never found him after all.
I have been interrupted by Mrs. Tilson. Poor woman! She is in danger of not
being able to attend Lady Drummond Smith's party to night. Miss Burdett
was to have taken her, and now Miss Burdett has a cough and will not go.
My cousin Caroline is her sole dependence.
The events of yesterday were, our going to Belgrave Chapel in the morning,
our being prevented by the rain from going to evening service at St. James,
Mr. Hampson's calling, Messrs. Barlow and Phillips dining here, and Mr.
and Mrs. Tilson's coming in the evening à l'ordinaire. She drank tea
with us both Thursday and Saturday; he dined out each day, and on Friday
we were with them, and they wish us to go to them to-morrow evening, to
meet Miss Burdett, but I do not know how it will end. Henry talks of a
drive to Hampstead, which may interfere with it.
I should like to see Miss Burdett very well, but that I am rather frightened
by hearing that she wishes to be introduced to me. If I am a wild beast
I cannot help it. It is not my own fault.
There is no change in our plan of leaving London, but we shall not be with
you before Tuesday. Henry thinks Monday would appear too early a day.
There is no danger of our being induced to stay longer.
I have not quite determined how I shall manage about my clothes; perhaps
there may be only my trunk to send by the coach, or there may be a band-box
with it. I have taken your gentle hint, and written to Mrs. Hill.
The Hoblyns want us to dine with them, but we have refused. When Henry
returns he will be dining out a great deal, I dare say; as he will then
be alone, it will be more desirable; he will be more welcome at every
table, and every invitation more welcome to him. He will not want either
of us again till he is settled in Henrietta Street. This is my present
persuasion. And he will not be settled there really settled -- till late
in the autumn; "he will not be come to bide" till after September.
There is a gentleman in treaty for this house. Gentleman himself is in
the country, but gentleman's friend came to see it the other day, and
seemed pleased on the whole. Gentleman would rather prefer an increased
rent to parting with five hundred guineas at once, and if that is the
only difficulty it will not be minded. Henry is indifferent as to the which.
Get us the best weather you can for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We
are to go to Windsor in our way to Henley, which will be a great delight.
We shall be leaving Sloane Street about 12, two or three hours after
Charles's party have begun their journey. You will miss them, but the
comfort of getting back into your own room will be great. And then the
tea and sugar!
I fear Miss Clewes is not better, or you would have mentioned it. I shall
not write again unless I have any unexpected communication or opportunity
to tempt me. I enclose Mr. Herington's bill and receipt.
I am very much obliged to Fanny for her letter; it made me laugh heartily,
but I cannot pretend to answer it. Even had I more time, I should not
feel at all sure of the sort of letter that Miss D. would write. I
hope Miss Benn is got well again, and will have a comfortable dinner with
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.
Setting aside this disappointment, I had great amusement among the pictures;
and the driving about, the carriage being open, was very pleasant. I liked
my solitary elegance very much, and was ready to laugh all the time at my
being where I was. I could not but feel that I had naturally small right
to be parading about London in a barouche.
Henry desires Edward may know that he has just bought three dozen of claret
for him (cheap), and ordered it to be sent down to Chawton.
I should not wonder if we got no farther than Reading on Thursday evening,
and so reach Steventon only to a reasonable dinner hour the next day;
but whatever I may write or you may imagine we know it will be something
different. I shall be quiet to-morrow morning; all my business is done,
and I shall only call again upon Mrs. Hoblyn, &c.
Love to your much . . . party.
May 2, 1813. From Sloane St.
Miss Austen, Chawton.
By favour of Messrs. Gray & Vincent.
 Miss Darcy.
Henrietta St.: Wednesday (Sept. 15, 1/2 past 8).
Here I am, my dearest Cassandra, seated in the breakfast, dining,
sitting-room, beginning with all my might. Fanny will join me as soon as
she is dressed and begin her letter.
We had a very good journey, weather and roads excellent; the three first
stages for 1s. 6d., and our only misadventure the being delayed about a
quarter of an hour at Kingston for horses, and being obliged to put up
with a pair belonging to a hackney coach and their coachman, which left
no room on the barouche box for Lizzy, who was to have gone her last stage
there as she did the first; consequently we were all four within, which
was a little crowded.
We arrived at a quarter-past four, and were kindly welcomed by the coachman,
and then by his master, and then by William, and then by Mrs. Pengird,
who all met us before we reached the foot of the stairs. Mde. Bigion was
below dressing us a most comfortable dinner of soup, fish, bouillée,
partridges, and an apple tart, which we sat down to soon after five, after
cleaning and dressing ourselves and feeling that we were most commodiously
disposed of. The little adjoining dressing-room to our apartment makes
Fanny and myself very well off indeed, and as we have poor Eliza's bed
our space is ample every way.
Sace arrived safely about half-past six. At seven we set off in a coach
for the Lyceum; were at home again in about four hours and a half; had
soup and wine and water, and then went to our holes.
Edward finds his quarters very snug and quiet. I must get a softer pen.
This is harder. I am in agonies. I have not yet seen Mr. Crabbe. Martha's
letter is gone to the post.
I am going to write nothing but short sentences. There shall be two full
stops in every line. Layton and Shear's is Bedford House. We mean to get
there before breakfast if it's possible; for we feel more and more how
much we have to do and how little time. This house looks very nice. It
seems like Sloane Street moved here. I believe Henry is just rid of Sloane
Street. Fanny does not come, but I have Edward seated by me beginning a
letter, which looks natural.
Henry has been suffering from the pain in the face which he has been
subject to before. He caught cold at Matlock, and since his return has
been paying a little for past pleasure. It is nearly removed now, but he
looks thin in the face, either from the pain or the fatigues of his tour,
which must have been great.
Lady Robert is delighted with P. and P., and really was so, as I
understand, before she knew who wrote it, for, of course, she knows now.
He told her with as much satisfaction as if it were my wish. He did not
tell me this, but he told Fanny. And Mr. Hastings! I am quite delighted
with what such a man writes about it. Henry sent him the books after his
return from Daylesford, but you will hear the letter too.
Let me be rational, and return to my two full stops.
I talked to Henry at the play last night. We were in a private box -- Mr.
Spencer's -- which made it much more pleasant. The box is directly on the
stage. One is infinitely less fatigued than in the common way. But Henry's
plans are not what one could wish. He does not mean to be at Chawton
till the 29th. He must be in town again by Oct. 5. His plan is to get a
couple of days of pheasant shooting and then return directly. His wish
was to bring you back with him. I have told him your scruples. He wishes
you to suit yourself as to time, and if you cannot come till later, will
send for you at any time as far as Bagshot. He presumed you would not
find difficulty in getting so far. I could not say you would. He proposed
your going with him into Oxfordshire. It was his own thought at first. I
could not but catch at it for you.
We have talked of it again this morning (for now we have breakfasted), and
I am convinced that if you can make it suit in other respects you need
not scruple on his account. If you cannot come back with him on the 3rd
or 4th, therefore, I do hope you will contrive to go to Adlestrop. By
not beginning your absence till about the middle of this month I think
you may manage it very well. But you will think all this over. One could
wish he had intended to come to you earlier, but it cannot be helped.
I said nothing to him of Mrs. H. and Miss B., that he might not suppose
difficulties. Shall not you put them into our own room? This seems to me
the best plan, and the maid will be most conveniently near.
Oh, dear me! when I shall ever have done. We did go to Layton and Shear's
before breakfast. Very pretty English poplins at 4s. 3d.; Irish, ditto
at 6s.; more pretty, certainly -- beautiful.
Fanny and the two little girls are gone to take places for to-night at
Covent Garden; "Clandestine Marriage" and "Midas." The latter will be a
fine show for L. and M. They revelled last night in "Don Juan," whom
we left in hell at half-past eleven. We had scaramouch and a ghost, and
were delighted. I speak of them; my delight was very tranquil, and the
rest of us were sober-minded. "Don Juan" was the last of three musical
things. "Five hours at Brighton," in three acts -- of which one was over
before we arrived, none the worse -- and the "Beehive," rather less flat
I have this moment received 5l. from kind, beautiful Edward. Fanny has a
similar gift. I shall save what I can of it for your better leisure in
this place. My letter was from Miss Sharpe -- nothing particular. A letter
from Fanny Cage this morning.
Four o'clock. -- We are just come back from doing Mrs. Tickars, Miss Hare,
and Mr. Spence. Mr. Hall is here, and, while Fanny is under his hands, I
will try to write a little more.
Miss Hare had some pretty caps, and is to make me one like one of them,
only white satin instead of blue. It will be white satin and lace, and
a little white flower perking out of the left ear, like Harriot Byron's
feather. I have allowed her to go as far as 1l. 16s. My gown is to be
trimmed everywhere with white ribbon plaited on somehow or other. She
says it will look well. I am not sanguine. They trim with white very much.
I learnt from Mrs. Tickars's young lady, to my high amusement, that the
stays now are not made to force the bosom up at all; that was a very
unbecoming, unnatural fashion. I was really glad to hear that they are
not to be so much off the shoulders as they were.
Going to Mr. Spence's was a sad business and cost us many tears; unluckily
we were obliged to go a second time before he could do more than just
look. We went first at half-past twelve and afterwards at three; papa
with us each time; and, alas! we are to go again to-morrow. Lizzy is not
finished yet. There have been no teeth taken out, however, nor will be,
I believe, but he finds hers in a very bad state, and seems to think
particularly ill of their durableness. They have been all cleaned, hers
filed, and are to be filed again. There is a very sad hole between two
of her front teeth.
Thursday Morning, Half-past Seven. -- Up and dressed and downstairs in order
to finish my letter in time for the parcel. At eight I have an appointment
with Madame B., who wants to show me something downstairs. At nine we
are to set off for Grafton House, and get that over before breakfast.
Edward is so kind as to walk there with us. We are to be at Mr. Spence's
again at 11:05; from that time shall be driving about I suppose till four
o'clock at least. We are, if possible, to call on Mrs. Tilson.
Mr. Hall was very punctual yesterday, and curled me out at a great rate.
I thought it looked hideous, and longed for a snug cap instead, but my
companions silenced me by their admiration. I had only a bit of velvet
round my head. I did not catch cold, however. The weather is all in my
favour. I have had no pain in my face since I left you.
We had very good places in the box next the stage-box, front and second
row; the three old ones behind of course. I was particularly disappointed
at seeing nothing of Mr. Crabbe. I felt sure of him when I saw that the
boxes were fitted up with crimson velvet. The new Mr. Terry was Lord
Ogleby, and Henry thinks he may do; but there was no acting more than
moderate, and I was as much amused by the remembrances connected with
"Midas" as with any part of it. The girls were very much delighted, but
still prefer "Don Juan"; and I must say that I have seen nobody on the
stage who has been a more interesting character than that compound of
cruelty and lust.
It was not possible for me to get the worsteds yesterday. I heard Edward
last night pressing Henry to come to you, and I think Henry engaged to go
there after his November collection. Nothing has been done as to S. and
S. The books came to hand too late for him to have time for it before
he went. Mr. Hastings never hinted at Eliza in the smallest degree. Henry
knew nothing of Mr. Trimmer's death. I tell you these things that you may
not have to ask them over again.
There is a new clerk sent down to Alton, a Mr. Edmund Williams, a young
man whom Henry thinks most highly of, and he turns out to be a son of the
luckless Williamses of Grosvenor Place.
I long to have you hear Mr. H.'s opinion of P. and P. His admiring my
Elizabeth so much is particularly welcome to me.
Instead of saving my superfluous wealth for you to spend, I am going to
treat myself with spending it myself. I hope, at least, that I shall find
some poplin at Layton and Shear's that will tempt me to buy it. If I do,
it shall be sent to Chawton, as half will be for you; for I depend upon
your being so kind as to accept it, being the main point. It will be a
great pleasure to me. Don't say a word. I only wish you could choose too.
I shall send twenty yards.
Now for Bath. Poor F. Cage has suffered a good deal from her accident. The
noise of the White Hart was terrible to her. They will keep her quiet, I
dare say. She is not so much delighted with the place as the rest of the
party; probably, as she says herself, from having been less well, but
she thinks she should like it better in the season. The streets are very
empty now, and the shops not so gay as she expected. They are at No. 1
Henrietta Street, the corner of Laura Place, and have no acquaintance at
present but the Bramstons.
Lady Bridges drinks at the Cross Bath, her son at the Hot, and Louisa is
going to bathe. Dr. Parry seems to be half starving Mr. Bridges, for he
is restricted to much such a diet as James's bread, water and meat, and
is never to eat so much of that as he wishes, and he is to walk a great
deal -- walk till he drops, I believe gout or no gout. It really is to that
purpose. I have not exaggerated.
Charming weather for you and us, and the travellers, and everybody. You
will take your walk this afternoon, and . . .
Henrietta St., the autumn of 1813.
Miss Austen, Chawton.
By favour of Mr. Gray.
 Eliza, Henry Austen's first wife, who had died in the earlier part of this year.
 "Pride and Prejudice."
 Lizzie and Marianne.
 "Sense and Sensibility."
Henrietta St.: Thursday (Sept. 16, after dinner).
Thank you, my dearest Cassandra, for the nice long letter I sent off this
morning. I hope you have had it by this time, and that it has found you
all well, and my mother no more in need of leeches. Whether this will
be delivered to you by Henry on Saturday evening, or by the postman on
Sunday morning, I know not, as he has lately recollected something of
an engagement for Saturday, which perhaps may delay his visit. He seems
determined to come to you soon however.
I hope you will receive the gown to-morrow, and may be able with tolerable
honesty to say that you like the colour. It was bought at Grafton House,
where, by going very early, we got immediate attendance and went on very
comfortably. I only forgot the one particular thing which I had always
resolved to buy there -- a white silk handkerchief -- and was therefore obliged
to give six shillings for one at Crook and Besford's; which reminds me
to say that the worsteds ought also to be at Chawton to-morrow, and that
I shall be very happy to hear they are approved. I had not much time for
We are now all four of us young ladies sitting round the circular table
in the inner room writing our letters, while the two brothers are having
a comfortable cose in the room adjoining. It is to be a quiet evening,
much to the satisfaction of four of the six. My eyes are quite tired of
dust and lamps.
The letter you forwarded from Edward, junr., has been duly received. He
has been shooting most prosperously at home, and dining at Chilham Castle
and with Mr. Scudamore.
My cap is come home, and I like it very much. Fanny has one also; hers is
white sarsenet and lace, of a different shape from mine, more fit for
morning carriage wear, which is what it is intended for, and is in shape
exceedingly like our own satin and lace of last winter; shaped round the
face exactly like it, with pipes and more fulness, and a round crown
inserted behind. My cap has a peak in front. Large full bows of very
narrow ribbon (old twopenny) are the thing. One over the right temple,
perhaps, and another at the left ear.
Henry is not quite well. His stomach is rather deranged. You must keep him
in rhubarb, and give him plenty of port and water. He caught his cold
farther back than I told you; before he got to Matlock, somewhere in his
journey from the North, but the ill effects of that I hope are nearly gone.
We returned from Grafton House only just in time for breakfast, and had
scarcely finished breakfast when the carriage came to the door. From 11
to half-past 3 we were hard at it; we did contrive to get to Hans Place
for ten minutes. Mrs. T. was as affectionate and pleasing as ever.
After our return Mr. Tilson walked up from the Compting House and called
upon us, and these have been all our visitings.
I have rejoiced more than once that I bought my writing-paper in the
country; we have not had a quarter of an hour to spare.
I enclose the eighteen-pence due to my mother. The rose colour was 6s.
and the other 4s. per yard. There was but two yards and a quarter of the
dark slate in the shop, but the man promised to match it and send it off
Fanny bought her Irish at Newton's in Leicester Square, and I took the
opportunity of thinking about your Irish, and seeing one piece of the
yard wide at 4s., and it seemed to me very good, good enough for your
purpose. It might at least be worth your while to go there, if you have
no other engagements. Fanny is very much pleased with the stockings she
has bought of Remmington, silk at 12s., cotton at 4s. 3d. She thinks them
great bargains, but I have not seen them yet, as my hair was dressing
when the man and the stockings came.
The poor girls and their teeth! I have not mentioned them yet, but we were
a whole hour at Spence's, and Lizzy's were filed and lamented over again,
and poor Marianne had two taken out after all, the two just beyond the eye
teeth, to make room for those in front. When her doom was fixed, Fanny,
Lizzy, and I walked into the next room, where we heard each of the two
sharp and hasty screams.
The little girls' teeth I can suppose in a critical state, but I think he
must be a lover of teeth and money and mischief, to parade about Fanny's.
I would not have had him look at mine for a shilling a tooth and double
it. It was a disagreeable hour.
We then went to Wedgwood's, where my brother and Fanny chose a dinner
set. I believe the pattern is a small lozenge in purple, between lines
of narrow gold, and it is to have the crest.
We must have been three-quarters of an hour at Grafton House, Edward
sitting by all the time with wonderful patience. There Fanny bought the
net for Anna's gown, and a beautiful square veil for herself. The edging
there is very cheap. I was tempted by some, and I bought some very nice
plaiting lace at 3s. 4d.
Fanny desires me to tell Martha, with her kind love, that Birchall assured
her that there was no second set of Hook's Lessons for Beginners, and that,
by my advice, she has therefore chosen her a set by another composer. I
thought she would rather have something than not. It costs six shillings.
With love to you all, including Triggs, I remain.
Yours very affectionately,
Henrietta St., autumn of 1813.
Miss Austen, Chawton.
By favour of 
Godmersham Park: Thursday (Sept 23).
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA,
Thank you five hundred and forty times for the exquisite piece of workmanship
which was brought into the room this morning, while we were at breakfast,
with some very inferior works of art in the same way, and which I read
with high glee, much delighted with everything it told, whether good or
bad. It is so rich in striking intelligence that I hardly know what to
reply to first. I believe finery must have it.
I am extremely glad that you like the poplin. I thought it would have my
mother's approbation, but was not so confident of yours. Remember that
it is a present. Do not refuse me. I am very rich.
Mrs. Clement is very welcome to her little boy, and to my congratulations
into the bargain, if ever you think of giving them. I hope she will do
well. Her sister in Lucina, Mrs. H. Gipps, does too well, we think. Mary
P. wrote on Sunday that she had been three days on the sofa. Sackree does
not approve it.
Well, there is some comfort in the Mrs. Hulbart's not coming to you, and
I am happy to hear of the honey. I was thinking of it the other day. Let
me know when you begin the new tea, and the new white wine. My present
elegancies have not yet made me indifferent to such matters. I am still
a cat if I see a mouse.
I am glad you like our caps, but Fanny is out of conceit with hers already;
she finds that she has been buying a new cap without having a new pattern,
which is true enough. She is rather out of luck to like neither her gown
nor her cap, but I do not much mind it, because besides that I like them
both myself, I consider it as a thing of course at her time of life -- one
of the sweet taxes of youth to choose in a hurry and make bad bargains.
I wrote to Charles yesterday, and Fanny has had a letter from him to-day,
principally to make inquiries about the time of their visit here, to which
mine was an answer beforehand; so he will probably write again soon to
fix his week. I am best pleased that Cassy does not go to you.
Now, what have we been doing since I wrote last? The Mr. K.'s came a
little before dinner on Monday, and Edward went to the church with the
two seniors, but there is no inscription yet drawn up. They are very
good-natured you know, and civil, and all that, but are not particularly
superfine; however, they ate their dinner and drank their tea, and went
away, leaving their lovely Wadham in our arms, and I wish you had seen
Fanny and me running backwards and forwards with his breeches from the
little chintz to the white room before we went to bed, in the greatest
of frights lest he should come upon us before we had done it all. There
had been a mistake in the housemaids' preparation, and they were gone to bed.
He seems a very harmless sort of young man, nothing to like or dislike in
him -- goes out shooting or hunting with the two others all the morning,
and plays at whist and makes queer faces in the evening.
On Tuesday the carriage was taken to the painter's; at one time Fanny and
I were to have gone in it, chiefly to call on Mrs. C. -- Milles and Moy --
but we found that they were going for a few days to Sandling, and would
not be at home; therefore my brother and Fanny went to Eastwell in the
chair instead. While they were gone the Nackington Milles's called and
left their cards. Nobody at home at Eastwell.
We hear a great deal of Geo. H.'s wretchedness. I suppose he has quick
feelings, but I dare say they will not kill him. He is so much out of
spirits, however, that his friend John Plumptre is gone over to comfort
him, at Mr. Hatton's desire. He called here this morning in his way. A
handsome young man certainly, with quiet, gentlemanlike manners. I set
him down as sensible rather than brilliant. There is nobody brilliant
nowadays. He talks of staying a week at Eastwell, and then comes to
Chilham Castle for a day or two, and my brother invited him to come here
afterwards, which he seemed very agreeable to.
"'Tis night, and the landscape is lovely no more," but to make amends for
that, our visit to the Tylden's is over. My brother, Fanny, Edwd., and I
went; Geo. stayed at home with W. K. There was nothing entertaining, or out
of the common way. We met only Tyldens and double Tyldens. A whist-table
for the gentlemen, a grown-up musical young lady to play backgammon with
Fanny, and engravings of the Colleges at Cambridge for me. In the morning
we returned Mrs. Sherer's visit. I like Mr. S. very much.
Well, I have not half done yet, I am not come up with myself. My brother
drove Fanny to Nackington and Canty. yesterday, and while they were gone
the Faggs paid their duty. Mary Oxenden is staying at Canty. with the
Blairs, and Fanny's object was to see her.
The Deedes want us to come to Sandling for a few days, or at least a day
and night. At present Edwd. does not seem well affected -- he would rather
not be asked to go anywhere -- but I rather expect he will be persuaded to
go for the one day and night.
I read him the chief of your letter; he was interested and pleased, as he
ought, and will be happy to hear from you himself. Your finding so much
comfort from his cows gave him evident pleasure. I wonder Henry did not
go down on Saturday; he does not in general fall within a doubtful intention.
My face is very much as it was before I came away; for the first two or
three days it was rather worse. I caught a small cold in my way down, and
had some pain every evening, not to last long, but rather severer than
it had been lately. This has worn off, however, and I have scarcely felt
anything for the last two days.
Sackree is pretty well again, only weak. Much obliged to you for your
message, &c.; it was very true that she blessed herself the whole time
that the pain was not in her stomach. I read all the scraps I could of
your letter to her. She seemed to like it, and says she shall always
like to hear anything of Chawton now, and I am to make you Miss Clewes's
assurance to the same effect, with thanks and best respects, &c.
The girls are much disturbed at Mary Stacey's not admitting Dame L. Miss
C. and I are sorry, but not angry; we acknowledge Mary Stacey's right,
and can suppose her to have reason.
Oh! the church must have looked very forlorn. We all thought of the empty
pew. How Bentigh is grown! and the Canty. Hill Plantation! And the
improvements within are very great. I admire the chintz room very much.
We live in the library except at meals, and have a fire every evening.
The weather is set about changing; we shall have a settled wet season
soon. I must go to bed.
Friday. -- I am sorry to find that one of the nightcaps here belongs to
you -- sorry, because it must be in constant wear.
Great doings again to-day. Fanny, Lizzy, and Marnne. are going to Goodnestone
for the fair, which is to-morrow, and stay till Monday, and the gentlemen
are all to dine at Evington. Edwd. has been repenting ever since he promised
to go, and was hoping last night for a wet day, but the morning is fair.
I shall dine with Miss Clewes, and I dare say find her very agreeable.
The invitation to the fair was general. Edwd. positively declined his
share of that, and I was very glad to do the same. It is likely to be a
baddish fair -- not much upon the stall, and neither Mary O. nor Mary P.
It is hoped that the portfolio may be in Canty. this morning. Sackree's
sister found it at Croydon and took it to town with her, but unluckily
did not send it down till she had directions. Fanny C.'s screens can be
done nothing with, but there are parts of workbags in the parcel, very
important in their way. Three of the Deedes girls are to be at Goodnestone.
We shall not be much settled till this visit is over, settled as to
employment I mean. Fanny and I are to go on with Modern Europe together,
but hitherto have advanced only twenty-five pages. Something or other has
always happened to delay or curtail the reading hour.
I ought to have told you before of a purchase of Edward's in town; he
desired you might hear of it -- a thing for measuring timber with, so that
you need not have the trouble of finding him in tapes any longer. He
treated himself with this seven-shilling purchase, and bought a new watch
and new gun for George. The new gun shoots very well.
Apples are scarce in this country -- 1l. 5s. a sack. Miss Hinton should take
Hannah Knight. Mrs. Driver has not yet appeared. J. Littleworth and the
grey pony reached Bath safely.
A letter from Mrs. Cooke: they have been at Brighton a fortnight; stay at
least another, and Mary is already much better.
Poor Dr. Isham is obliged to admire P. and P., and to send me word that
he is sure he shall not like Madame D'Arblay's new novel half so well.
Mrs. C. invented it all, of course. He desires his compliments to you and
Of the Adlestrop living business, Mrs. C. says: "It can be now no secret,
as the papers for the necessary dispensations are going up to the
Archbishop's Secretary. However, be it known that we all wish to have it
understood that George takes this trust entirely to oblige Mr. Leigh, and
never will be a shilling benefited by it. Had my consent been necessary,
believe me, I should have withheld it, for I do think it on the part of
the patron a very shabby piece of business. All these and other Scrapings
from dear Mrs. E. L. are to accumulate no doubt to help Mr. Twisleton to
a secure admission again into England." I would wish you, therefore, to
make it known to my mother as if this were the first time of Mrs. Cooke's
mentioning it to me.
I told Mrs. C. of my mother's late oppressions in her head. She says on
that subject: "Dear Mrs. Austen's is, I believe, an attack frequent at
her age and mine. Last year I had for some time the sensation of a peck
loaf resting on my head, and they talked of cupping me, but I came off
with a dose or two of calomel, and have never heard of it since."
The three Miss Knights and Mrs. Sayce are just off; the weather has got
worse since the early morning, and whether Mrs. Clewes and I are to be
tête-à-tête, or to have four gentlemen to admire us, is uncertain.
I am now alone in the library, mistress of all I survey; at least I may
say so, and repeat the whole poem if I like it, without offence to anybody.
Martha will have wet races and catch a bad cold; in other respects I hope
she will have much pleasure at them, and that she is free from ear-ache
now. I am glad she likes my cap so well. I assure you my old one looked
so smart yesterday that I was asked two or three times before I set off
whether it was not my new one.
I have this moment seen Mrs. Driver driven up to the kitchen door. I cannot
close with a grander circumstance of greater wit.
I am going to write to Steventon, so you need not send any news of me there.
Louisa's best love and a hundred thousand million kisses.
Miss Austen, Chawton, Alton, Hants.
 Mrs. C. Milles was the mother of Mr. R. Milles of Nackington and Elmham, Norfolk. "Moy" means "Molly" Milles -- probably an imitation of her mother's way of pronouncing her name. She was sister to Mr. R. Milles, and "the Nackington Milles'" refers to his widow who lived there after his death
 Mary Oxenden.
 Mary Plumptre.
 "Pride and Prejudice."
[Go to second part of 1813 letters]
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