1 November 1800 – Saturday – from Steventon

My dear Cassandra

You have written I am sure, tho’ I have received no letter from you since your leaving London;– the Post, & not yourself must have been unpunctual.– We have at last heard from Frank; a letter from him to You came yesterday, & I mean to send it on as soon as I can get a ditto, (that means a frank,) which I hope to do in a day or two.– En attendant, You must rest satisfied with knowing that on the 8th of July the Petterell with the rest of the Egyptian Squadron was off the Isle of Cyprus, whither they went from Jaffa for Provisions &c., & whence they were to sail in a day or two for Alexandria, there to wait the result of the English proposals for the Evacuation of Egypt.  The rest of the letter, according to the present fashionable stile of Composition, is cheifly Descriptive; of his Promotion he knows nothing, & of Prizes he is guiltless.–

Your letter is come; it came indeed twelve lines ago, but I could not stop to acknowledge it before, & I am glad it did not arrive till I had completed my first sentence, because the sentence had been made ever since yesterday, & I think forms a very good beginning.–  Your abuse of our Gowns amuses, but does not discourage me; I shall take mine to be made up next week, & the more I look at it, the better it pleases me.– My Cloak came on tuesday, & tho’ I expected a good deal, the beauty of the lace astonished me.– It is too handsome to be worn, almost too handsome to be looked at.–

The Glass is all safely arrived also, & gives great satisfaction.  The wine glasses are much smaller than I expected, but I suppose it is the proper size.– We find no fault with your manner of performing any of our commissions, but if you like to think yourself remiss in any of them, pray do.– My Mother was rather vexed that you could not go to Penlington’s, but she has since written to him, which does just as well.-  Mary is disappointed of course about her Locket, & of course delighted about the Mangle which is safe at Basingstoke.– You will thank Edward for it on their behalf &c. &c., & as you know  how much it was wished for, will not feel that you are inventing Gratitude.–

Did you think of our Ball on thursday evening, & did you suppose me at it?– You might very safely, for there I was.– On wednesday morning it was settled that Mrs Harwood, Mary & I should go together, & shortly afterwards a very civil note of invitation for me came from Mrs Bramston, who wrote I beleive as soon as she knew of the Ball.  I might likewise have gone with Mrs Lefroy, & therefore with three methods of going, I must have been more at the Ball than anybody else.– I dined & slept at Deane.– Charlotte & I did my hair, which I fancy looked very indifferent; nobody abused it however, & I retired delighted with my success.– It was a pleasant Ball, & still more good than pleasant, for there were nearly 60 people, & sometimes we had 17 couple.– The Portsmouths, Dorchesters, Boltons, Portals & Clerks were there, & all the meaner & more usual &c. &c.’s– There was a scarcity of Men in general, & a still greater scarcity of any that were good for much.– I danced nine dances out of ten, five with Stephen Terry, T. Chute & James Digweed & four with Catherine.– There was commonly a couple of ladies standing up together, but not often any so amiable as ourselves.– I heard no news, except that Mr Peters who was not there, is supposed to be particularly attentive to Miss Lyford.–

You were enquired after very prettily, & I hope the whole assembly now understands that you are gone into Kent, which the families in general seemed to meet in ignorance of.– Lord Portsmouth surpassed the rest in his attentive recollection of you, enquired more into the length of your absence, & concluded by desiring to be “remembered to you when I wrote next.”– Lady Portsmouth had got a different dress on, & Lady Bolton is much improved by a wig.– The three Miss Terries were there, but no Anne;– which was a great disappointment to me; I hope the poor girl had not set her heart on her appearance that Eveng so much as I had.– Mr Terry is ill, in a very low way.  I said civil things for Edward to Mr Chute, who amply returned them by declaring that had he known of my brother’s being at Steventon he should have made a point of calling on him to thank him for his civility about the Hunt.–

I have heard from Charles, & am to send his shirts by half dozens as they are finished;– one sett will go next week.– The Endymion is now waiting only for orders, but may wait for them perhaps a month.– Mr Coulthard was unlucky in very narrowly missing another unexpected Guest at Chawton, for Charles had actually set out & got half the way thither in order to spend one day with Edward, but turned back on discovering the distance to be considerably more than he had fancied, & finding himself & his horse to be very much tired.– I should regret it the more if his friend Shipley had been of the party, for Mr Coulthard might not have been so well pleased to see only one come at a time.

Miss Harwood is still at Bath, & writes word that she never was in better health & never more happy.–  Jos: Wakeford died last saturday, & my father buried him on Thursday.  A deaf Miss Fonnereau is at Ashe, which has prevented Mrs Lefroy’s going to Worting or Basingstoke during the absence of Mr Lefroy.– My Mother is very happy in the prospect of dressing a new Doll which Molly has given Anna.  My father’s feelings are not so enviable, as it appears that the farm cleared 300£ last year.– James & Mary went to Ibthrop for one night last monday, & found Mrs Lloyd not in very good looks.– Martha has been lately at Kintbury, but is probably at home by this time.– Mary’s promised maid has jilted her, & hired herself elsewhere.– The Debaries persist in being afflicted at the death of their Uncle, of whom they now say they saw a great deal in London.– Love to all.– I am glad George remembers me.– Yours very affec:tely

JA.

[End of p4, next paragraph upside down at top of first page]

I wore at the Ball your favourite gown, a bit of muslin of the same round my head, border’d with Mrs Cooper’s band–& one little Comb.–

[Postscript below address panel]

I am very unhappy.– In re-reading your letter I find I might have spared any Intelligence of Charles.– To have written only what you knew before!– You may guess how much I feel.–

Miss Austen
Godmersham Park
Faversham
Kent

 

One Response to 1 November 1800 – Saturday – from Steventon

  1. Pingback: the sentence had been made ever since yesterday, & I think forms a very good beginning | QuinnTessence

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