14 January 1801 – Wednesday – from Steventon

[to Cassandra]

Poor Miss Austen!– It appears to me that I have rather oppressed you of late by the frequency of my letters.  You had hoped not to hear from me again before tuesday; but Sunday shewed you with what a merciless Sister you had to deal.– I cannot recall the past, but you shall not hear from me quite so often in future.– Your letter to Mary was duly received before she left Dean with Martha yesterday morning, & it gives us great pleasure to know that the Chilham Ball was so agreable & that you danced four dances with Mr Kemble.– Desirable however as the latter circumstance was I cannot help wondering at it’s taking place;–Why did you dance four dances with so stupid a Man?–why not rather dance two of them with some elegant brother-officer who was struck with your appearance as soon as you entered the room?–

Martha left you her best Love; she will write to you herself in a short time; but trusting to my memory rather than her own, she has never-theless desired me to ask you to purchase for her two bottles of Steele’s Lavender Water when you are in Town, provided you should go to the Shop on your own account;– otherwise you may be sure that she would not have you recollect the request.–  James dined with us yesterday, wrote to Edward in the Evening, filled three sides of paper, every line inclining too much towards the North-East, & the very first line of all scratched out, and this morning he joins his Lady in the fields of Elysium & Ibthrop.– Last friday was a very busy day with us.  We were visited by Miss Lyford & Mr Bayle.– The latter began his operations in the house, but had only time to finish the four sitting-rooms; the rest is deferred till the spring is more advanced & the days longer.–He took his paper of appraisement away with him, & therefore we only know the Estimate he has made of one or two articles of furniture, which my father particularly enquired into.  I understand however that he was of opinion that the whole would amount to more than two hundred pounds, & it is not imagined that this will comprehend the Brewhouse, & many other &c. &c.–

Miss Lyford was very pleasant, & gave my mother such an account of the houses in Westgate Buildings, where Mrs Lyford lodged four years ago, as made her think of a situation there with great pleasure; but your opposition will be without difficulty, decisive, & my father in particular who was very well inclined towards the Row before, has now ceased to think of it entirely.–At present the Environs of Laura-place seem to be his choice.  His views on the subject are much advanced since I came home; he grows quite ambitious, & actually requires now a comfortable & a creditable looking house.– On Saturday Miss Lyford went to her long home–that is to say, it was a long way off; & soon afterwards a party of fine Ladies issuing from a well-known, commodious green Vehicle, their heads full of Bantam-Cocks & Galinies, entered the house.– Mrs Heathcote, Mrs Harwood, Mrs James Austen, Miss Bigg, Miss Jane Blachford.  Hardly a day passes in which we do not have some visitor or other; yesterday came Mrs Bramstone, who is very sorry that she is to lose us, & afterwards Mr Holder, who was shut up for an hour with my father & James in a most aweful manner.– John Bond est a lui.– Mr Holder was perfectly willing to take him on exactly the same terms with my father, & John seems exceedingly well satisfied.– The comfort of not changing his home is a very material one to him.  And since such are his unnatural feelings his belonging to Mr Holder is the every thing needful; but otherwise there would have been a situation offering to him which I had thought of with particular satisfaction, viz – under Harry Digweed, who if John had quitted Cheesedown would have been eager to engage him as superintendant at Steventon, would have kept an horse for him to ride about on, would probably have supplied him with a more permanent home, & I think would certainly have been a more desirable Master altogether.– John & Corbett are not to have any concern with each other; — there are to be two Farms & two Bailiffs.– We are of opinion that it would be better in only one.–

This morning brought my Aunt’s reply, & most thoroughly affectionate is it’s tenor.  She thinks with the greatest pleasure of our being settled in Bath; it is an event which will attach her to the place more than anything else could do, &c., &c.– She is moreover very urgent with my mother not to delay her visit in Paragon if she should continue unwell, & even recommends her spending the whole winter with them.–At present, & for many days past my mother has been quite stout, & she wishes not to be obliged by any relapse to alter her arrangements.–  Mr and Mrs Chamberlayne are in Bath, lodging at the Charitable Repository;–I wish the scene may suggest to Mrs C. the notion of selling her black beaver bonnet for the relief of the poor.– Mrs Welby has been singing Duetts with the Prince of Wales.– My father has got above 500 Volumes to dispose of;– I want James to take them at a venture at half a guinea a volume.– The whole repairs of the parsonage at Dean, Inside & out, Coachbox, Basket & Dickey will not much exceed 100£.– Have you seen that Major Byng, a nephew of Lord Torrington is dead?– That must be Edmund.–

(This letter concludes two days later, on 16 January 1801]

One Response to 14 January 1801 – Wednesday – from Steventon

  1. Pingback: I Mean to Confine Myself in Future to Mr Tom Lefroy… | QuinnTessence

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