17 May 1799 – Friday – from No. 13 Queen’s Square, Bath

My dearest Cassandra,

Our Journey yesterday went off exceedingly well; nothing occurred to alarm or delay us;– We found the roads in excellent order, had very good horses all the way, & reached Devizes with ease by 4 o’clock.– I suppose John has told you in what manner we were divided when we left Andover, & no alteration was afterwards made.  At Devizes we had comfortable rooms, & a good dinner to which we sat down about 5; amongst other things we had Asparagus & a Lobster which made me wish for you, & some cheesecakes on which the children made so delightful a supper as to endear the Town of Devizes to them for a long time.  Well, here we are at Bath; we got here about one o’clock, & have been arrived just long enough to go over the house, fix on our rooms, & be very well pleased with the whole of it.  Poor Eliz: has had a dismal ride of it from Devizes, for it has rained almost all the way, & our first veiw of Bath has been just as gloomy as it was last November twelvemonth.  I have got so many things to say, so many things equally unimportant, that I know not on which to decide at present, & shall therefore go & eat with the Children.–

We stopt in Paragon as we came along, but as it was too wet & dirty for us to get out, we could only see Frank’, who told us that his Master was very indifferent, but had had a better night last night than usual.  In Paragon we met Mrs Foley & Mrs Dowdeswell with her yellow shawl airing out– & at the bottom of Kingsdown Hill we met a Gentleman in a Buggy, who on a minute examination turned out to be Dr Hall– & Dr Hall in such very deep mourning that either his Mother, his Wife, or himself must be dead.  These are all of our acquaintance who have yet met our eyes.–

I have some hopes of being plagued about my Trunk;– I had more a few hours ago, for it was too heavy to go by the Coach which brought Thomas & Rebecca from Devizes, there was reason to suppose that it might be too heavy likewise for any other Coach, & for a long time we could hear of no Waggon to convey it.– At last however, we unluckily discovered that one was just on the point of setting out for this place–but at any rate, the Trunk cannot be here till tomorrow– so far we are safe– & who knows what may not happen to procure a farther delay.–

I put Mary’s letter into the Post office at Andover with my own hand.– We are exceedingly pleased with the House; the rooms are quite as large as we expected, Mrs Bromley is a fat woman in mourning, & a little black kitten runs about the Staircase.– Eliz: has the apartment within the Drawing room; she wanted my Mother to have it, but as there was no bed in the inner one, & the stairs are so much easier for ascent or my Mother so much stronger than in Paragon as not to regard the double flight, it is settled for us to be above; where we have two very nice sized rooms, with dirty Quilts & everything comfortable.  I have the outward & larger apartment, as I ought to have; which is quite as large as our bed room at home, & my Mother’s is not materially less.– The Beds are both as large as any at Steventon’s; & I have a very nice chest of Drawers & a Closet full of shelves–so full indeed that there is nothing else in it, & should therefore be called a Cupboard rather than a Closet I suppose.

Tell Mary that there were some Carpenters at work in the Inn at Devizes this morning, but as I could not be sure of their being Mrs W. Fowle’s relations, I did not make myself known to them.  I hope it will be a tolerable afternoon; when first we came, all the Umbrellas were up, but now the Pavements are getting very white again.– My Mother does not seem at all the worse for her Journey, nor are any of us I hope, tho’ Edw:d seemed rather fagged last night, & not very brisk this morning, but I trust the bustle of sending for Tea, Coffee & Sugar &c., & going out to taste a cheese himself will do him good.–

There was a very long list of Arrivals here, in the Newspaper yesterday, so that we need not immediately dread absolute Solitude–& there is a public Breakfast in Sydney Gardens every morning, so that we shall not be wholly starved.– Eliz: has just had a very good account of the three little Boys–.  I hope you are very busy & very comfortable-.  I find no difficulty in doing my Eyes.– I like our situation very much–it is far more chearful than Paragon, & the prospect from the Drawingroom window at which I now write, is rather picturesque, as it commands a perspective view of the left side of Brock Street, broken by three Lombardy Poplars in the Garden of the last house in Queen’s Parade.–

I am rather impatient to know the fate of my best gown, but I suppose it will be some days before Frances can get through the Trunk– In the mean time, I am with many thanks for your trouble in making it, as well as marking my Silk Stockings     Yrs very affec:ly  


A great deal of Love from everybody.

Miss Austen

1 Response to 17 May 1799 – Friday – from No. 13 Queen’s Square, Bath

  1. Pingback: & a little black kitten runs about the Staircase | QuinnTessence

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