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Godmersham Park: Monday (Oct 11).
[MY DEAREST AUNT CASS.,
I have just asked Aunt Jane to let me write a little in her letter, but
she does not like it, so I won't. Good-bye!]
You will have Edward's letter to-morrow. He tells me that he did not send
you any news to interfere with mine, but I do not think there is much for
anybody to send at present.
We had our dinner party on Wednesday, with the addition of Mrs. and Miss
Milles, who were under a promise of dining here in their return from
Eastwell, whenever they paid their visit of duty there, and it happened to
be paid on that day. Both mother and daughter are much as I have always
found them. I like the mother -- first, because she reminds me of Mrs.
Birch; and, secondly, because she is cheerful and grateful for what she
is at the age of ninety and upwards. The day was pleasant enough. I sat
by Mr. Chisholme, and we talked away at a great rate about nothing worth
It was a mistake as to the day of the Sherers going being fixed; they are
ready, but are waiting for Mr. Paget's answer.
I inquired of Mrs. Milles after Jemima Brydges, and was quite grieved to
hear that she was obliged to leave Canterbury some months ago on account
of her debts, and is nobody knows where. What an unprosperous family!
On Saturday, soon after breakfast, Mr. J. P. left us for Norton Court. I
like him very much. He gives me the idea of a very amiable young man, only
too diffident to be so agreeable as he might be. He was out the chief
of each morning with the other two, shooting and getting wet through.
To-morrow we are to know whether he and a hundred young ladies will come
here for the ball. I do not much expect any.
The Deedes cannot meet us; they have engagements at home. I will finish
the Deedes by saying that they are not likely to come here till quite
late in my stay -- the very last week perhaps; and I do not expect to see
the Moores at all. They are not solicited till after Edward's return from
Monday, November 15, is the day now fixed for our setting out.
Poor Basingstoke races! There seem to have been two particularly wretched
days on purpose for them; and Weyhill week does not begin much happier.
We were quite surprised by a letter from Anna at Tollard Royal, last
Saturday; but perfectly approve her going, and only regret they should
all go so far to stay so few days.
We had thunder and lightning here on Thursday morning, between five and
seven; no very bad thunder, but a great deal of lightning. It has given
the commencement of a season of wind and rain, and perhaps for the next
six weeks we shall not have two dry days together.
Lizzy is very much obliged to you for your letter and will answer it soon,
but has so many things to do that it may be four or five days before she
can. This is quite her own message, spoken in rather a desponding tone.
Your letter gave pleasure to all of us; we had all the reading of it of
course, I three times, as I undertook, to the great relief of Lizzy, to
read it to Sackree, and afterwards to Louisa.
Sackree does not at all approve of Mary Doe and her nuts -- on the score
of propriety rather than health. She saw some signs of going after her
in George and Henry, and thinks if you could give the girl a check, by
rather reproving her for taking anything seriously about nuts which they
said to her, it might be of use. This, of course, is between our three
discreet selves, a scene of triennial bliss.
Mrs. Breton called here on Saturday. I never saw her before. She is a
large, ungenteel woman, with self-satisfied and would-be elegant manners.
We are certain of some visitors to-morrow. Edward Bridges comes for two
nights in his way from Lenham to Ramsgate, and brings a friend -- name
unknown -- but supposed to be a Mr. Harpur, a neighbouring clergyman; and
Mr. R. Mascall is to shoot with the young men, which it is to be supposed
will end in his staying dinner.
On Thursday, Mr. Lushington, M.P. for Canterbury, and manager of the Lodge
Hounds, dines here, and stays the night. He is chiefly young Edward's
acquaintance. If I can I will get a frank from him, and write to you all
the sooner. I suppose the Ashford ball will furnish something.
As I wrote of my nephews with a little bitterness in my last, I think it
particularly incumbent on me to do them justice now, and I have great
pleasure in saying that they were both at the Sacrament yesterday. After
having much praised or much blamed anybody, one is generally sensible
of something just the reverse soon afterwards. Now these two boys who
are out with the foxhounds will come home and disgust me again by some
habit of luxury or some proof of sporting mania, unless I keep it off by
this prediction. They amuse themselves very comfortably in the evening
by netting; they are each about a rabbit net, and sit as deedily to it,
side by side, as any two Uncle Franks could do.
I am looking over "Self Control" again, and my opinion is confirmed of
its being an excellently-meant, elegantly-written work, without anything
of nature or probability in it. I declare I do not know whether Laura's
passage down the American river is not the most natural, possible, everyday
thing she ever does.
Tuesday. -- Dear me! what is to become of me? Such a long letter! Two-and-forty
lines in the second page. Like Harriot Byron, I ask, what am I to do with
my gratitude? I can do nothing but thank you and go on. A few of your
inquiries, I think, are replied to en avance.
The name of F. Cage's drawing-master is O'Neil. We are exceedingly amused
with your Shalden news, and your self-reproach on the subject of Mrs.
Stockwell made me laugh heartily. I rather wondered that Johncock, the
only person in the room, could help laughing too. I had not heard before
of her having the measles. Mrs. H. and Alethea's staying till Friday was
quite new to me; a good plan however. I could not have settled it better
myself, and am glad they found so much in the house to approve, and I
hope they will ask Martha to visit them. I admire the sagacity and taste
of Charlotte Williams. Those large dark eyes always judge well. I will
compliment her by naming a heroine after her.
Edward has had all the particulars of the building, &c., read to him twice
over, and seems very well satisfied. A narrow door to the pantry is the
only subject of solicitude; it is certainly just the door which should
not be narrow, on account of the trays; but, if a case of necessity, it
must be borne.
I knew there was sugar in the tin, but had no idea of there being enough
to last through your company. All the better. You ought not to think this
new loaf better than the other, because that was the first of five which
all came together. Something of fancy, perhaps, and something of Imagination.
Dear Mrs. Digweed! I cannot bear that she should not be foolishly happy
after a ball. I hope Miss Yates and her companions were all well the day
after their arrival. I am thoroughly rejoiced that Miss Benn has placed
herself in lodgings, though I hope they may not be long necessary.
No letter from Charles yet.
Southey's "Life of Nelson": I am tired of "Lives of Nelson," being that I
never read any. I will read this, however, if Frank is mentioned in it.
Here am I in Kent, with one brother in the same county and another brother's
wife, and see nothing of them, which seems unnatural. It will not last
so forever, I trust. I should like to have Mrs. F. A. and her children
here for a week, but not a syllable of that nature is ever breathed. I
wish her last visit had not been so long a one.
I wonder whether Mrs. Tilson has ever lain-in. Mention it if it ever comes
to your knowledge, and we shall hear of it by the same post from Henry.
Mr. Rob. Mascall breakfasted here; he eats a great deal of butter. I dined
upon goose yesterday, which, I hope, will secure a good sale of my second
edition. Have you any tomatas? Fanny and I regale on them every day.
Disastrous letters from the Plumptres and Oxendens. Refusals everywhere -- a
blank partout -- and it is not quite certain whether we go or not; something
may depend upon the disposition of Uncle Edward when he comes, and upon
what we hear at Chilham Castle this morning, for we are going to pay
visits. We are going to each house at Chilham and to Mystole. I shall
like seeing the Faggs. I shall like it all, except that we are to set out
so early that I have not time to write as I would wish.
Edwd. Bridges's friend is a Mr. Hawker, I find, not Harpur. I would not
have you sleep in such an error for the world.
My brother desires his best love and thanks for all your information.
He hopes the roots of the old beech have been dug away enough to allow
a proper covering of mould and turf. He is sorry for the necessity of
building the new coin, but hopes they will contrive that the doorway should
be of the usual width -- if it must be contracted on one side, by widening
it on the other. The appearance need not signify. And he desires me to
say that your being at Chawton when he is will be quite necessary. You
cannot think it more indispensable than he does. He is very much obliged
to you for your attention to everything. Have you any idea of returning
with him to Henrietta Street and finishing your visit then? Tell me your
sweet little innocent ideas.
Everything of love and kindness, proper and improper, must now suffice.
Yours very affectionately,
Miss Austen, Chawton, Alton, Hants.
 The butler at Godmersham.
Godmersham Park: Thursday (Oct. 14).
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA,
Now I will prepare for Mr. Lushington, and as it will be wisest also to
prepare for his not coming, or my not getting a frank, I shall write very
close from the first, and even leave room for the seal in the proper
place. When I have followed up my last with this I shall feel somewhat
less unworthy of you than the state of our correspondence now requires.
I left off in a great hurry to prepare for our morning visits. Of course
was ready a good deal the first, and need not have hurried so much. Fanny
wore her new gown and cap. I was surprised to find Mystole so pretty.
The ladies were at home. I was in luck, and saw Lady Fagg and all her
five daughters, with an old Mrs. Hamilton, from Canterbury, and Mrs. and
Miss Chapman, from Margate, into the bargain. I never saw so plain a
family -- five sisters so very plain! They are as plain as the Foresters,
or the Franfraddops, or the Seagraves, or the Rivers, excluding Sophy.
Miss Sally Fagg has a pretty figure, and that comprises all the good looks
of the family.
It was stupidish; Fanny did her part very well, but there was a lack of talk
altogether, and the three friends in the house only sat by and looked at
us. However, Miss Chapman's name is Laura, and she had a double flounce
to her gown. You really must get some flounces. Are not some of your
large stock of white morning gowns just in a happy state for a flounce --
too short? Nobody at home at either house in Chilham.
Edward Bridges and his friend did not forget to arrive. The friend is a Mr.
Wigram, one of the three-and-twenty children of a great rich mercantile,
Sir Robert Wigram, an old acquaintance of the Footes, but very recently
known to Edward B. The history of his coming here is, that, intending to
go from Ramsgate to Brighton, Edw. B. persuaded him to take Lenham on his
way, which gave him the convenience of Mr. W.'s gig, and the comfort of
not being alone there; but, probably thinking a few days of Gm. would be
the cheapest and pleasantest way of entertaining his friend and himself,
offered a visit here, and here they stay till to-morrow.
Mr. W. is about five or six-and-twenty, not ill-looking, and not agreeable.
He is certainly no addition. A sort of cool, gentlemanlike manner, but
very silent. They say his name is Henry, a proof how unequally the gifts
of fortune are bestowed. I have seen many a John and Thomas much more
We have got rid of Mr. R. Mascall, however. I did not like him either.
He talks too much, and is conceited, besides having a vulgarly shaped
mouth. He slept here on Tuesday, so that yesterday Fanny and I sat down
to breakfast with six gentlemen to admire us.
We did not go to the ball. It was left to her to decide, and at last she
determined against it. She knew that it would be a sacrifice on the part
of her father and brothers if they went, and I hope it will prove that
she has not sacrificed much. It is not likely that there should have been
anybody there whom she would care for. I was very glad to be spared the
trouble of dressing and going, and being weary before it was half over,
so my gown and my cap are still unworn. It will appear at last, perhaps,
that I might have done without either. I produced my brown bombazine
yesterday, and it was very much admired indeed, and I like it better than
You have given many particulars of the state of Chawton House, but still
we want more. Edward wants to be expressly told that all the round tower,
&c., is entirely down, and the door from the best room stopped up; he
does not know enough of the appearance of things in that quarter.
He heard from Bath yesterday. Lady B. continues very well, and Dr. Parry's
opinion is, that while the water agrees with her she ought to remain
there, which throws their coming away at a greater uncertainty than we had
supposed. It will end, perhaps, in a fit of the gout, which may prevent
her coming away. Louisa thinks her mother's being so well may be quite
as much owing to her being so much out of doors as to the water. Lady B.
is going to try the hot pump, the Cross bath being about to be painted.
Louisa is particularly well herself, and thinks the water has been of use
to her. She mentioned our inquiries, &c., to Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Evelyn,
and had their best compliments and thanks to give in return. Dr. Parry
does not expect Mr. E. to last much longer.
Only think of Mrs. Holder's being dead! Poor woman, she has done the only
thing in the world she could possibly do to make one cease to abuse her.
Now, if you please, Hooper must have it in his power to do more by his
uncle. Lucky for the little girl. An Anne Ekins can hardly be so unfit
for the care of a child as a Mrs. Holder.
A letter from Wrotham yesterday offering an early visit here, and Mr.
and Mrs. Moore and one child are to come on Monday for ten days. I hope
Charles and Fanny may not fix the same time, but if they come at all in
October they must. What is the use of hoping? The two parties of children
is the chief evil.
To be sure, here we are; the very thing has happened, or rather worse -- a
letter from Charles this very morning, which gives us reason to suppose
they may come here to-day. It depends upon the weather, and the weather
now is very fine. No difficulties are made, however, and, indeed, there
will be no want of room; but I wish there were no Wigrams and Lushingtons
in the way to fill up the table and make us such a motley set. I cannot
spare Mr. Lushington either, because of his frank, but Mr. Wigram does
no good to anybody. I cannot imagine how a man can have the impudence to
come into a family party for three days, where he is quite a stranger,
unless he knows himself to be agreeable on undoubted authority. He and
Edw. B. are going to ride to Eastwell, and as the boys are hunting, and
my brother is gone to Canty., Fanny and I have a quiet morning before us.
Edward has driven off poor Mrs. Salkeld. It was thought a good opportunity
of doing something towards clearing the house. By her own desire Mrs.
Fanny is to be put in the room next the nursery, her baby in a little
bed by her; and as Cassy is to have the closet within, and Betsey William's
little hole, they will be all very snug together. I shall be most happy to
see dear Charles, and he will be as happy as he can with a cross child,
or some such care, pressing on him at the time. I should be very happy
in the idea of seeing little Cassy again, too, did not I fear she would
disappoint me by some immediate disagreeableness.
We had the good old original Brett and Toke calling here yesterday,
separately. Mr. Toke I am always very fond of. He inquired after you and
my mother, which adds esteem to passion. The Charles Cages are staying
at Godington. I knew they must be staying somewhere soon. Ed. Hussey is
warned out of Pett, and talks of fixing at Ramsgate. Bad taste! He is
very fond of the sea, however. Some taste in that, and some judgment,
too, in fixing on Ramsgate, as being by the sea.
The comfort of the billiard-table here is very great; it draws all the
gentlemen to it whenever they are within, especially after dinner, so
that my brother, Fanny, and I have the library to ourselves in delightful
quiet. There is no truth in the report of G. Hatton being to marry Miss
Wemyss. He desires it may be contradicted.
Have you done anything about our present to Miss Benn? I suppose she must
have a bed at my mother's whenever she dines there. How will they manage
as to inviting her when you are gone? and if they invite, how will they
continue to entertain her?
Let me know as many of your parting arrangements as you can, as to wine,
&c. I wonder whether the ink-bottle has been filled. Does butcher's meat
keep up at the same price, and is not bread lower than 2s. 6d.? Mary's
blue gown! My mother must be in agonies. I have a great mind to have my
blue gown dyed some time or other. I proposed it once to you, and you
made some objection, I forget what. It is the fashion of flounces that
gives it particular expediency.
Mrs. and Miss Wildman have just been here. Miss is very plain. I wish Lady
B. may be returned before we leave Gm., that Fanny may spend the time of
her father's absence at Goodnestone, which is what she would prefer.
Friday. -- They came last night at about seven. We had given them up, but I
still expected them to come. Dessert was nearly over; a better time for
arriving than an hour and a-half earlier. They were late because they
did not set out earlier, and did not allow time enough. Charles did not
aim at more than reaching Sittingbourne by three, which could not have
brought them here by dinner time. They had a very rough passage; he would
not have ventured if he had known how bad it would be.
However, here they are, safe and well, just like their own nice selves,
Fanny looking as neat and white this morning as possible, and dear
Charles all affectionate, placid, quiet, cheerful, good humour. They are
both looking very well, but poor little Cassy is grown extremely thin,
and looks poorly. I hope a week's country air and exercise may do her
good. I am sorry to say it can be but a week. The baby does not appear
so large in proportion as she was, nor quite so pretty, but I have seen
very little of her. Cassy was too tired and bewildered just at first to
seem to know anybody. We met them in the hall -- the women and girl part of
us -- but before we reached the library she kissed me very affectionately,
and has since seemed to recollect me in the same way.
It was quite an evening of confusion, as you may suppose. At first we were
all walking about from one part of the house to the other; then came
a fresh dinner in the breakfast-room for Charles and his wife, which
Fanny and I attended; then we moved into the library, were joined by the
dining-room people, were introduced, and so forth; and then we had tea
and coffee, which was not over till past 10. Billiards again drew all the
odd ones away, and Edward, Charles, the two Fannies, and I sat snugly
talking. I shall be glad to have our numbers a little reduced, and by the
time you receive this we shall be only a family, though a large family,
party. Mr. Lushington goes to-morrow.
Now I must speak of him, and I like him very much. I am sure he is clever,
and a man of taste. He got a volume of Milton last night, and spoke of it
with warmth. He is quite an M.P., very smiling, with an exceeding good
address and readiness of language. I am rather in love with him. I dare
say he is ambitious and insincere. He puts me in mind of Mr. Dundas. He
has a wide smiling mouth, and very good teeth, and something the same
complexion and nose. He is a much shorter man, with Martha's leave. Does
Martha never hear from Mrs. Craven? Is Mrs. Craven never at home?
We breakfasted in the dining-room to-day, and are now all pretty well
dispersed and quiet. Charles and George are gone out shooting together,
to Winnigates and Seaton Wood. I asked on purpose to tell Henry. Mr.
Lushington and Edwd. are gone some other way. I wish Charles may kill
something, but this high wind is against their sport.
Lady Williams is living at the Rose at Sittingbourne; they called upon
her yesterday; she cannot live at Sheerness, and as soon as she gets to
Sittingbourne is quite well. In return for all your matches, I announce
that her brother William is going to marry a Miss Austen, of a Wiltshire
family, who say they are related to us.
I talk to Cassy about Chawton; she remembers much, but does not volunteer
on the subject. Poor little love! I wish she were not so very Palmery,
but it seems stronger than ever. I never knew a wife's family features
have such undue influence.
Papa and mamma have not yet made up their mind as to parting with her or
not; the chief, indeed the only, difficulty with mamma is a very reasonable
one, the child's being very unwilling to leave them. When it was mentioned
to her she did not like the idea of it at all. At the same time, she has
been suffering so much lately from sea-sickness that her mamma cannot
bear to have her much on board this winter. Charles is less inclined to
part with her. I do not know how it will end, or what is to determine it.
He desires his best love to you, and has not written because he has not
been able to decide. They are both very sensible of your kindness on the
I have made Charles furnish me with something to say about young Kendall.
He is going on very well. When he first joined the "Namur" my brother
did not find him forward enough to be what they call put in the office,
and therefore placed him under the schoolmaster, but he is very much
improved, and goes into the office now every afternoon, still attending
school in the morning.
This cold weather comes very fortunately for Edward's nerves, with such
a house full; it suits him exactly; he is all alive and cheerful. Poor
James, on the contrary, must be running his toes into the fire. I find
that Mary Jane Fowle was very near returning with her brother and paying
them a visit on board. I forget exactly what hindered her; I believe the
Cheltenham scheme. I am glad something did. They are to go to Cheltenham
on Monday se'nnight. I don't vouch for their going, you know; it only
comes from one of the family.
Now I think I have written you a good-sized letter, and may deserve whatever
I can get in reply. Infinities of love. I must distinguish that of Fanny,
senior, who particularly desires to be remembered to you all.
Yours very affectionately,
Faversham, Oct. 15, 1813.
Miss Austen, Chawton, Alton, Hunts.
Per S. R. Lushington.
 Mrs. Charles Austen, née Fanny Palmer.
Godmersham Park (Oct. 18).
MY DEAR AUNT CASSANDRA,
I am very much obliged to you for your long letter and for the nice account
of Chawton. We are all very glad to hear that the Adams are gone and hope
Dame Libscombe will be more happy now with her deaffy child, as she calls
it, but I am afraid there is not much chance of her remaining long sole
mistress of her house.
I am sorry you had not any better news to send us of our hare, poor little
thing! I thought it would not live long in that Pondy House; I don't
wonder that Mary Doe is very sorry it is dead, because we promised her
that if it was alive when we came back to Chawton, we would reward her
for her trouble.
Papa is much obliged to you for ordering the scrubby firs to be cut down; I
think he was rather frightened at first about the great oak. Fanny quite
believed it, for she exclaimed: "Dear me, what a pity, how could they be
so stupid!" I hope by this time they have put up some hurdles for the
sheep, or turned out the cart-horses from the lawn.
Pray tell grandmamma that we have begun getting seeds for her; I hope we
shall be able to get her a nice collection, but I am afraid this wet
weather is very much against them. How glad I am to hear she has had such
good success with her chickens, but I wish there had been more bantams
amongst them. I am very sorry to hear of poor Lizzie's fate.
I must now tell you something about our poor people. I believe you know
old Mary Croucher, she gets maderer and maderer every day. Aunt Jane has
been to see her, but it was on one of her rational days. Poor Will Amos
hopes your skewers are doing well; he has left his house in the poor Row,
and lives in a barn at Builting. We asked him why he went away, and he
said the fleas were so starved when he came back from Chawton that they
all flew upon him and eenermost eat him up.
How unlucky it is that the weather is so wet! Poor uncle Charles has come
home half drowned every day.
I don't think little Fanny is quite so pretty as she was; one reason is
because she wears short petticoats, I believe. I hope Cook is better;
she was very unwell the day we went away. Papa has given me half-a-dozen
new pencils, which are very good ones indeed; I draw every other day. I
hope you go and whip Lucy Chalcraft every night.
Miss Clewes begs me to give her very best respects to you; she is very
much obliged to you for your kind inquiries after her. Pray give my duty
to grandmamma and love to Miss Floyd. I remain, my dear Aunt Cassandra,
your very affectionate niece,
Thursday. -- I think Lizzy's letter will entertain you. Thank you for yours
just received. To-morrow shall be fine if possible. You will be at Guildford
before our party set off. They only go to Key Street, as Mr. Street the
Purser lives there, and they have promised to dine and sleep with him.
Cassy's looks are much mended. She agrees pretty well with her cousins,
but is not quite happy among them; they are too many and too boisterous
for her. I have given her your message, but she said nothing, and did not
look as if the idea of going to Chawton again was a pleasant one. They
have Edward's carriage to Ospringe.
I think I have just done a good deed -- extracted Charles from his wife and
children upstairs, and made him get ready to go out shooting, and not
keep Mr. Moore waiting any longer.
Mr. and Mrs. Sherer and Joseph dined here yesterday very prettily. Edw.
and Geo. were absent -- gone for a night to Eastling. The two Fannies went
to Canty. in the morning, and took Lou. and Cass. to try on new stays.
Harriot and I had a comfortable walk together. She desires her best love
to you and kind remembrance to Henry. Fanny's best love also. I fancy
there is to be another party to Canty. to-morrow -- Mr. and Mrs. Moore and me.
Edward thanks Henry for his letter. We are most happy to hear he is so
much better. I depend upon you for letting me know what he wishes as to
my staying with him or not; you will be able to find out, I dare say.
I had intended to beg you would bring one of my nightcaps with you, in
case of my staying, but forgot it when I wrote on Tuesday. Edward is much
concerned about his pond: he cannot now doubt the fact of its running
out, which he was resolved to do as long as possible.
I suppose my mother will like to have me write to her. I shall try at least.
No; I have never seen the death of Mrs. Crabbe. I have only just been
making out from one of his prefaces that he probably was married. It is
almost ridiculous. Poor woman! I will comfort him as well as I can, but
I do not undertake to be good to her children. She had better not leave
Edw. and Geo. set off this day week for Oxford. Our party will then be
very small, as the Moores will be going about the same time. To enliven
us, Fanny proposes spending a few days soon afterwards at Fredville. It
will really be a good opportunity, as her father will have a companion. We
shall all three go to Wrotham, but Edwd. and I stay only a night perhaps.
Love to Mr. Tilson.
Yours very affectionately,
Miss Austen, 10 Henrietta St.,
Covent Garden, London.
Godmersham Park: Tuesday (Oct. 26).
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA,
You will have had such late accounts from this place as (I hope) to prevent
your expecting a letter from me immediately, as I really do not think I
have wherewithal to fabricate one to-day. I suspect this will be brought
to you by our nephews; tell me if it is. It is a great pleasure to me to
think of you with Henry. I am sure your time must pass most comfortably,
and I trust you are seeing improvement in him every day. I shall be most
happy to hear from you again. Your Saturday's letter, however, was quite
as long and as particular as I could expect. I am not at all in a humour
for writing; I must write on till I am.
I congratulate Mr. Tilson, and hope everything is going on well. Fanny
and I depend upon knowing what the child's name is to be; as soon as you
can tell us. I guess Caroline.
Our gentlemen are all gone to their Sittingbourne meeting, East and West
Kent, in one barouche together -- rather, West Kent driving East Kent. I
believe that is not the usual way of the county. We breakfasted before
nine, and do not dine till half-past six on the occasion, so I hope we
three shall have a long morning enough.
Mr. Deedes and Sir Brook -- I do not care for Sir Brook's being a baronet; I
will put Mr. Deedes first because I like him a great deal the best. They
arrived together yesterday, for the Bridges' are staying at Sandling,
just before dinner; both gentlemen much as they used to be, only growing
a little older. They leave us to-morrow.
You were clear of Guildford by half-an-hour, and were winding along the
pleasant road to Ripley when the Charleses set off on Friday. I hope we
shall have a visit from them at Chawton in the spring or early part of
the summer. They seem well inclined. Cassy had recovered her looks almost
entirely, and I find they do not consider the "Namur" as disagreeing with
her in general, only when the weather is so rough as to make her sick.
Our Canterbury scheme took place as proposed, and very pleasant it
was -- Harriot and I and little George within, my brother on the box with
the master coachman. I was most happy to find my brother included in the
party. It was a great improvement, and he and Harriot and I walked about
together very happily, while Mr. Moore took his little boy with him to
tailor's and hair-cutter's.
Our chief business was to call on Mrs. Milles, and we had, indeed, so
little else to do that we were obliged to saunter about anywhere and
go backwards and forwards as much as possible to make out the time and
keep ourselves from having two hours to sit with the good lady -- a most
extraordinary circumstance in a Canterbury morning.
Old Toke came in while we were paying our visit. I thought of Louisa.
Miss Milles was queer as usual, and provided us with plenty to laugh at.
She undertook in three words to give us the history of Mrs. Scudamore's
reconciliation, and then talked on about it for half-an-hour, using such
odd expressions, and so foolishly minute, that I could hardly keep my
countenance. The death of Wyndham Knatchbull's son will rather supersede
the Scudamores. I told her that he was to be buried at Hatch. She had
heard, with military honours, at Portsmouth. We may guess how that point
will be discussed evening after evening.
Owing to a difference of clocks the coachman did not bring the carriage so
soon as he ought by half-an-hour; anything like a breach of punctuality
was a great offence, and Mr. Moore was very angry, which I was rather glad
of. I wanted to see him angry; and, though he spoke to his servant in a
very loud voice and with a good deal of heat, I was happy to perceive that
he did not scold Harriot at all. Indeed, there is nothing to object to
in his manners to her, and I do believe that he makes her -- or she makes
herself -- very happy. They do not spoil their boy.
It seems now quite settled that we go to Wrotham on Saturday, the 13th,
spend Sunday there, and proceed to London on Monday, as before intended. I
like the plan. I shall be glad to see Wrotham. Harriot is quite as pleasant
as ever. We are very comfortable together, and talk over our nephews and
nieces occasionally, as may be supposed, and with much unanimity; and I
really like Mr. M. better than I expected -- see less in him to dislike.
I begin to perceive that you will have this letter to-morrow. It is throwing
a letter away to send it by a visitor; there is never convenient time
for reading it, and visitor can tell most things as well. I had thought
with delight of saving you the postage, but money is dirt. If you do not
regret the loss of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire I will not, though I
certainly had wished for your going very much. "Whatever is, is best."
There has been one infallible Pope in the world.
George Hatton called yesterday, and I saw him, saw him for ten minutes;
sat in the same room with him, heard him talk, saw him bow, and was not
in raptures. I discerned nothing extraordinary. I should speak of him as
a gentlemanlike young man -- eh! bien tout est dit. We are expecting the
ladies of the family this morning.
How do you like your flounce? We have seen only plain flounces. I hope you
have not cut off the train of your bombazin. I cannot reconcile myself to
giving them up as morning gowns; they are so very sweet by candlelight.
I would rather sacrifice my blue one for that purpose; in short, I do
not know and I do not care.
Thursday or Friday is now mentioned from Bath as the day of setting off.
The Oxford scheme is given up. They will go directly to Harefield. Fanny
does not go to Fredville, not yet at least.
She has had a letter of excuse from Mary Plumptre to-day. The death of Mr.
Ripley, their uncle by marriage, and Mr. P.'s very old friend, prevents
their receiving her. Poor blind Mrs. Ripley must be felt for, if there
is any feeling to be had for love or money.
We have had another of Edward Bridges' Sunday visits. I think the pleasantest
part of his married life must be the dinners, and breakfasts, and
luncheons, and billiards that he gets in this way at Gm. Poor wretch! he
is quite the dregs of the family as to luck.
I long to know whether you are buying stockings or what you are doing.
Remember me most kindly to Mde. B. and Mrs. Perigord. You will get
acquainted with my friend, Mr. Philips, and hear him talk from books,
and be sure to have something odd happen to you, see somebody that you
do not expect, meet with some surprise or other, find some old friend
sitting with Henry when you come into the room. Do something clever in
that way. Edward and I settled that you went to St. Paul's, Covent Garden,
on Sunday. Mrs. Hill will come and see you, or else she won't come and
see you and will write instead.
I have had a late account from Steventon, and a baddish one, as far as
Ben is concerned. He has declined a curacy (apparently highly eligible),
which he might have secured against his taking orders; and, upon its
being made rather a serious question, says he has not made up his mind
as to taking orders so early, and that, if her father makes a point of
it, he must give Anna up rather than do what he does not approve. They
are going on again at present as before, but it cannot last. Mary says
that Anna is very unwilling to go to Chawton and will get home again as
soon as she can.
Good-bye. Accept this indifferent letter and think it long and good. Miss
Clewes is better for some prescription of Mr. Scudamore's, and, indeed,
seems tolerably stout now. I find time in the midst of port and Madeira
to think of the fourteen bottles of mead very often.
Yours very affectionately,
Lady Elizabeth, her second daughter, and the two Mrs. Finches have just
left us; the two latter friendly, and talking, and pleasant as usual.
Harriot and Fanny's best love.
Miss Austen, 10 Henrietta St.,
Covent Garden, London.
Godmersham Park: Wednesday (Nov. 3).
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA,
I will keep this celebrated birthday by writing to you, and as my pen
seems inclined to write large, I will put my lines very close together.
I had but just time to enjoy your letter yesterday before Edward and I
set off in the chair for Canty., and I allowed him to hear the chief of
it as we went along.
We rejoice sincerely in Henry's gaining ground as he does, and hope there
will be weather for him to get out every day this week, as the likeliest
way of making him equal to what he plans for the next. If he is tolerably
well, the going into Oxfordshire will make him better, by making him happier.
Can it be, that I have not given you the minutiæ of Edward's plans? See,
here they are: To go to Wrotham on Saturday the 13th, spend Sunday there,
and be in town on Monday to dinner, and, if agreeable to Henry, spend one
whole day with him, which day is likely to be Tuesday, and so go down to
Chawton on Wednesday.
But now I cannot be quite easy without staying a little while with Henry,
unless he wishes it otherwise; his illness and the dull time of year
together make me feel that it would be horrible of me not to offer to
remain with him, and therefore unless you know of any objection, I wish
you would tell him with my best love that I shall be most happy to spend
ten days or a fortnight in Henrietta St., if he will accept me. I do not
offer more than a fortnight, because I shall then have been some time
from home; but it will be a great pleasure to be with him, as it always
is. I have the less regret and scruple on your account, because I shall
see you for a day and a-half, and because you will have Edward for at
least a week. My scheme is to take Bookham in my way home for a few days,
and my hope that Henry will be so good as to send me some part of the
way thither. I have a most kind repetition of Mrs. Cooke's two or three
dozen invitations, with the offer of meeting me anywhere in one of her
Fanny's cold is much better. By dosing and keeping her room on Sunday, she
got rid of the worst of it, but I am rather afraid of what this day may do
for her; she is gone to Canty. with Miss Clewes, Liz., and Marnne., and
it is but roughish weather for any one in a tender state. Miss Clewes has
been going to Canty. ever since her return, and it is now just accomplishing.
Edward and I had a delightful morning for our drive there, I enjoyed it
thoroughly; but the day turned off before we were ready, and we came home
in some rain and the apprehension of a great deal. It has not done us any
harm, however. He went to inspect the gaol, as a visiting magistrate,
and took me with him. I was gratified, and went through all the feelings
which people must go through, I think, in visiting such a building. We
paid no other visits, only walked about snugly together and shopped. I
bought a concert ticket and a sprig of flowers for my old age.
To vary the subject from gay to grave with inimitable address, I shall
now tell you something of the Bath party -- and still a Bath party they
are, for a fit of the gout came on last week. The accounts of Lady B. are
as good as can be under such a circumstance; Dr. P. says it appears a
good sort of gout, and her spirits are better than usual, but as to her
coming away, it is of course all uncertainty. I have very little doubt
of Edward's going down to Bath, if they have not left it when he is in
Hampshire; if he does, he will go on from Steventon, and then return
direct to London, without coming back to Chawton. This detention does
not suit his feelings. It may be rather a good thing, however, that Dr.
P. should see Lady B. with the gout on her. Harriot was quite wishing for it.
The day seems to improve. I wish my pen would, too.
Sweet Mr. Ogle. I dare say he sees all the panoramas for nothing, has free
admittance everywhere; he is so delightful! Now, you need not see anybody
I am glad to hear of our being likely to have a peep at Charles and Fanny
at Christmas, but do not force poor Cass. to stay if she hates it. You
have done very right as to Mrs. F. A. Your tidings of S. and S. give me
pleasure. I have never seen it advertised.
Harriot, in a letter to Fanny to-day, inquires whether they sell cloths for
pelisses at Bedford House, and, if they do, will be very much obliged to
you to desire them to send her down patterns, with the width and prices;
they may go from Charing Cross almost any day in the week, but if it is
a ready money house it will not do, for the bru of feu the Archbishop
says she cannot pay for it immediately. Fanny and I suspect they do not
deal in the article.
The Sherers, I believe, are now really going to go; Joseph has had a bed
here the two last nights, and I do not know whether this is not the day
of moving. Mrs. Sherer called yesterday to take leave. The weather looks
We dine at Chilham Castle to-morrow, and I expect to find some amusement,
but more from the concert the next day, as I am sure of seeing several
that I want to see. We are to meet a party from Goodnestone, Lady B.,
Miss Hawley, and Lucy Foote, and I am to meet Mrs. Harrison, and we are
to talk about Ben and Anna. "My dear Mrs. Harrison," I shall say, "I am
afraid the young man has some of your family madness, and though there
often appears to be something of madness in Anna too, I think she inherits
more of it from her mother's family than from ours." That is what I shall
say, and I think she will find it difficult to answer me.
I took up your letter again to refresh me, being somewhat tired and was
struck with the prettiness of the hand: it is really a very pretty hand
now and -- so small and so neat! I wish I could get as much into a sheet
of paper. Another time I will take two days to make a letter in: it
is fatiguing to write a whole long one at once. I hope to hear from you
again on Sunday and again on Friday, the day before we move. On Monday,
I suppose, you will be going to Streatham, to see quiet Mr. Hill and eat
very bad baker's bread.
A fall in bread by-the-bye. I hope my mother's bill next week will show
it. I have had a very comfortable letter from her, one of her foolscap
sheets quite full of little home news. Anna was there the first of the
two days. An Anna sent away and an Anna fetched are different things.
This will be an excellent time for Ben to pay his visit, now that we, the
formidables, are absent.
I did not mean to eat, but Mr. Johncock has brought in the tray, so I must.
I am all alone. Edward is gone into his woods. At this present time I
have five tables, eight-and-twenty chairs, and two fires all to myself.
Miss Clewes is to be invited to go to the concert with us; there will be
my brother's place and ticket for her, as he cannot go. He and the other
connections of the Cages are to meet at Milgate that very day, to consult
about a proposed alteration of the Maidstone road, in which the Cages are
very much interested. Sir Brook comes here in the morning, and they are
to be joined by Mr. Deedes at Ashford. The loss of the concert will be no
great evil to the Squire. We shall be a party of three ladies therefore,
and to meet three ladies.
What a convenient carriage Henry's is, to his friends in general! Who has
it next? I am glad William's going is voluntary, and on no worse grounds.
An inclination for the country is a venial fault. He has more of Cowper
than of Johnson in him -- fonder of tame hares and blank verse than of the
full tide of human existence at Charing Cross.
Oh! I have more of such sweet flattery from Miss Sharp. She is an excellent
kind friend. I am read and admired in Ireland, too. There is a Mrs.
Fletcher, the wife of a judge, an old lady, and very good and very clever,
who is all curiosity to know about me -- what I am like, and so forth. I
am not known to her by name, however. This comes through Mrs. Carrick,
not through Mrs. Gore. You are quite out there.
I do not despair of having my picture in the Exhibition at last -- all white
and red, with my head on one side; or perhaps I may marry young Mr.
D'Arblay. I suppose in the meantime I shall owe dear Henry a great deal
of money for printing, &c.
I hope Mrs. Fletcher will indulge herself with S. and S. If I am to stay
stay in H. S., and if you should be writing home soon, I wish you would
be so good as to give a hint of it, for I am not likely to write there
again these ten days, having written yesterday.
Fanny has set her heart upon its being a Mr. Brett who is going to marry
a Miss Dora Best, of this country. I dare say Henry has no objection.
Pray, where did the boys sleep?
The Deedes come here on Monday to stay till Friday, so that we shall
end with a flourish the last canto. They bring Isabella and one of the
grown-ups, and will come in for a Canty. ball on Thursday. I shall be
glad to see them. Mrs. Deedes and I must talk rationally together, I suppose.
Edward does not write to Henry, because of my writing so often. God bless
you. I shall be so glad to see you again, and I wish you many happy returns
of this day. Poor Lord Howard! How he does cry about it!
Yours very truly,
Miss Austen, 10 Henrietta St.,
Covent Garden, London.
 This expression completely puzzles me. It is clearly written "Bru of feu" or "face," and may have been some joke in connection with the fact that "Harriot" was the daughter-in-law of Archbishop Moore, but, if so, the joke is lost. [In French bru is "daughter in law", while one of the many meanings of feu is "deceased".]
 I cannot pass this paragraph over without remarking that it is hardly possible to imagine anything neater or prettier than Jane's own hand. Most of her letters are beautifully written, and the MS. of her "Lady Susan" remarkably so.
Godmersham Park: Saturday (Nov. 6).
MY DEAR CASSANDRA,
Having half-an-hour before breakfast (very, snug, in my own room, lovely
morning, excellent fire -- fancy me!) I will give you some account of the
last two days. And yet, what is there to be told? I shall get foolishly
minute unless I cut the matter short.
We met only the Bretons at Chilham Castle, besides a Mr. and Mrs. Osborne
and a Miss Lee staying in the house, and were only fourteen altogether.
My brother and Fanny thought it the pleasantest party they had ever
known there, and I was very well entertained by bits and scraps. I had
long wanted to see Dr. Breton, and his wife amuses me very much with her
affected refinement and elegance. Miss Dee I found very conversable; she
admires Crabbe as she ought. She is at an age of reason, ten years older
than myself at least. She was at the famous ball at Chilham Castle, so
of course you remember her.
By-the-bye, as I must leave off being young, I find many douceurs in
being a sort of chaperon, for I am put on the sofa near the fire, and
can drink as much wine as I like. We had music in the evening: Fanny and
Miss Wildman played, and Mr. James Wildman sat close by and listened, or
pretended to listen.
Yesterday was a day of dissipation all through: first came Sir Brook to
dissipate us before breakfast; then there was a call from Mr. Sherer, then
a regular morning visit from Lady Honeywood in her way home from Eastwell;
then Sir Brook and Edward set off; then we dined (five in number) at
half-past four; then we had coffee; and at six Miss Clewes, Fanny, and
I drove away. We had a beautiful night for our frisks. We were earlier
than we need have been, but after a time Lady B. and her two companions
appeared -- we had kept places for them; and there we sat, all six in a
row, under a side wall, I between Lucy Foote and Miss Clewes.
Lady B. was much what I expected; I could not determine whether she was
rather handsome or very plain. I liked her for being in a hurry to have
the concert over and get away, and for getting away at last with a great
deal of decision and promptness, not waiting to compliment and dawdle and
fuss about seeing dear Fanny, who was half the evening in another part
of the room with her friends the Plumptres. I am growing too minute, so
I will go to breakfast.
When the concert was over, Mrs. Harrison and I found each other out, and
had a very comfortable little complimentary friendly chat. She is a sweet
woman -- still quite a sweet woman in herself, and so like her sister! I
could almost have thought I was speaking to Mrs. Lefroy. She introduced
me to her daughter, whom I think pretty, but most dutifully inferior to
la Mère Beauté. The Faggs and the Hammonds were there -- Wm. Hammond the
only young man of renown. Miss looked very handsome but I prefer her
little smiling flirting sister Julia.
I was just introduced at last to Mary Plumptre, but should hardly know
her again. She was delighted with me, however, good enthusiastic soul!
And Lady B. found me handsomer than she expected, so you see I am not so
very bad as you might think for.
It was 12 before we reached home. We were all dog-tired, but pretty well
to-day: Miss Clewes says she has not caught cold, and Fanny's does not
seem worse. I was so tired that I began to wonder how I should get through
the ball next Thursday, but there will be so much more variety then in
walking about, and probably so much less heat, that perhaps I may not
feel it more. My China crape is still kept for the ball. Enough of the
I had a letter from Mary yesterday. They travelled down to Cheltenham last
Monday very safely, and are certainly to be there a month. Bath is still
Bath. The H. Bridges' must quit them early next week, and Louisa seems
not quite to despair of their all moving together, but to those who see
at a distance there appears no chance of it. Dr. Parry does not want to
keep Lady B. at Bath when she can once move. That is lucky. You will see
poor Mr. Evelyn's death.
Since I wrote last, my 2nd edit. has stared me in the face. Mary tells me
that Eliza means to buy it. I wish she may. It can hardly depend upon any
more Fyfield Estates. I cannot help hoping that many will feel themselves
obliged to buy it. I shall not mind imagining it a disagreeable duty to
them, so as they do it. Mary heard before she left home that it was very
much admired at Cheltenham, and that it was given to Miss Hamilton. It
is pleasant to have such a respectable writer named. I cannot tire you,
I am sure, on this subject, or I would apologise.
What weather, and what news! We have enough to do to admire them both. I
hope you derive your full share of enjoyment from each.
I have extended my lights and increased my acquaintance a good deal within
these two days. Lady Honeywood you know; I did not sit near enough to
be a perfect judge, but I thought her extremely pretty, and her manners
have all the recommendations of ease and good humour and unaffectedness;
and, going about with four horses and nicely dressed herself, she is
altogether a perfect sort of woman.
Oh, and I saw Mr. Gipps last night -- the useful Mr. Gipps, whose attentions
came in as acceptably to us in handing us to the carriage, for want
of a better man, as they did to Emma Plumptre. I thought him rather a
good-looking little man.
I long for your letter to-morrow, particularly that I may know my fate as
to London. My first wish is that Henry should really choose what he likes
best; I shall certainly not be sorry if he does not want me. Morning
church tomorrow; I shall come back with impatient feelings.
The Sherers are gone, but the Pagets are not come; we shall therefore have
Mr. S. again. Mr. Paget acts like an unsteady man. Dr. Mant, however,
gives him a very good character; what is wrong is to be imputed to the
lady. I dare say the house likes female government.
I have a nice long black and red letter from Charles, but not communicating
much that I did not know.
There is some chance of a good ball next week, as far as females go.
Lady Bridges may perhaps be there with some Knatchbulls. Mrs. Harrison,
perhaps, with Miss Oxenden and the Miss Papillons; and if Mrs. Harrison,
then Lady Fagg will come.
The shades of evening are descending, and I resume my interesting narrative.
Sir Brook and my brother came back about four, and Sir Brook almost
immediately set forward again to Goodnestone. We are to have Edwd. B.
tomorrow, to pay us another Sunday's visit -- the last, for more reasons
than one; they all come home on the same day that we go. The Deedes do
not come till Tuesday; Sophia is to be the comer. She is a disputable
beauty that I want much to see. Lady Eliz. Hatton and Annamaria called
here this morning. Yes, they called; but I do not think I can say anything
more about them. They came, and they sat, and they went.
Sunday. -- Dearest Henry! What a turn he has for being ill, and what a thing
bile is! This attack has probably been brought on in part by his previous
confinement and anxiety; but, however it came, I hope it is going fast,
and that you will be able to send a very good account of him on Tuesday.
As I hear on Wednesday, of course I shall not expect to hear again on
Friday. Perhaps a letter to Wrotham would not have an ill effect.
We are to be off on Saturday before the post comes in, as Edward takes his
own horses all the way. He talks of 9 o'clock. We shall bait at Lenham.
Excellent sweetness of you to send me such a nice long letter; it made
its appearance, with one from my mother, soon after I and my impatient
feelings walked in. How glad I am that I did what I did! I was only
afraid that you might think the offer superfluous, but you have set my
heart at ease. Tell Henry that I will stay with him, let it be ever so
disagreeable to him.
Oh, dear me! I have not time on paper for half that I want to say. There
have been two letters from Oxford -- one from George yesterday. They got
there very safely -- Edwd. two hours behind the coach, having lost his way
in leaving London. George writes cheerfully and quietly; hopes to have
Utterson's rooms soon; went to lecture on Wednesday, states some of his
expenses, and concludes with saying, "I am afraid I shall be poor." I am
glad he thinks about it so soon. I believe there is no private tutor yet
chosen, but my brother is to hear from Edwd. on the subject shortly.
You, and Mrs. H., and Catherine, and Alethea going about together in Henry's
carriage seeing sights -- I am not used to the idea of it yet. All that you
are to see of Streatham, seen already! Your Streatham and my Bookham may
go hang. The prospect of being taken down to Chawton by Henry perfects
the plan to me. I was in hopes of your seeing some illuminations, and you
have seen them. "I thought you would come, and you did come." I am sorry
he is not to come from the Baltic sooner. Poor Mary!
My brother has a letter from Louisa to-day of an unwelcome nature; they are
to spend the winter at Bath. It was just decided on. Dr. Parry wished it,
not from thinking the water necessary to Lady B., but so that he might
be better able to judge how far his treatment of her, which is totally
different from anything she had been used to, is right; and I suppose he
will not mind having a few more of her Ladyship's guineas. His system is
a lowering one. He took twelve ounces of blood from her when the gout
appeared, and forbids wine, &c. Hitherto, the plan agrees with her. She
is very well satisfied to stay, but it is a sore disappointment to Louisa
The H. Bridges leave them on Tuesday, and they mean to move into a smaller
house; you may guess how Edward feels. There can be no doubt of his going
to Bath now; I should not wonder if he brought Fanny Cage back with him.
You shall hear from me once more, some day or other.
Yours very affectionately,
We do not like Mr. Hampson's scheme.
Miss Austen, 10 Henrietta Street,
Covent Garden, London.
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