12 November 1800 – Wednesday – from Steventon

[This letter is written to the Austen family friend, Martha Lloyd]

My dear Martha

I did not receive your note yesterday till after Charlotte had left Deane, or I would have sent my answer by her, instead of being the means, as I now must be, of lessening the Elegance of your new Dress for the Hurstbourn Ball by the value of 3d.– You are very good in wishing to see me at Ibthrop so soon, & I am equally good in wishing to come to you; I beleive our Merit in that respect is much upon a par, our Self-denial mutually strong.– Having paid this tribute of praise to the Virtue of both, I shall have done with Panegyric & proceed to plain matter of fact.–

In about a fortnight’s time I hope to be with you; I have two reasons for not being able to come before; I wish so to arrange my visit as to spend some days with you after your Mother’s return, in the 1st place that I may have the pleasure of seeing her, & in the 2d, that I may have a better chance of bringing you back with me.– Your promise in my favour was not quite absolute, but if your Will is not perverse, You & I will do all in our power to overcome your scruples of conscience.– I hope we shall meet next week to talk all this over, till we have tired ourselves with the very idea of my visit, before my visit begins.–

Our invitations for the 19th are arrived, & very curiously are they worded.– Mary mentioned to you yesterday poor Earle’s unfortunate accident I dare say; he does not seem to be going on very well; the two or three last posts have brought rather less & less favourable accounts of him.  This morning’s letter states the apprehensions of the Surgeon that the violent catchings of his Patient have done material injury to the bone, which from the first has appeared so nearly broken that any particular irritation or sudden movement might make the fracture certain.– John Harwood is gone to Gosport again to day.– We have two families of friends that are now in a most anxious state; for tho’ by a note from Catherine this morning there seems now to be a revival of hope at Manydown, it’s continuance may be too reasonably doubted.– Mr Heathcote however who has broken the small bone of his leg, is so good as to be doing very well.  It would be really too much to have three people to care for!–

Mary has heard from Cassandra to day; she is now gone with Edward & Elizabeth to the Cages for two or three Nights.– You distress me cruelly by your request about Books; I cannot think of any to bring with me, nor have I any idea of our wanting them.  I come to you to be talked to, not to read or hear reading.  I can do that at home; & indeed I am now laying in stock of intelligence to pour out on you as my share of Conversation.– I am reading Henry’s History of England, which I will repeat to you in any manner you may prefer, either in a loose, disultary, unconnected strain, or dividing my recital as the Historian divides it himself, into seven parts, The Civil & Military – Religion – Constitution – Learning & Learned Men – Arts & Sciences – Commerce Coins & Shipping – & Manners;– so that for every evening of the week there will be a different subject.  The friday’s lot, Commerce, Coin & Shipping, You will find the least entertaining; but the next Eveng:’s portion will make amends.– With such a provision on my part, if you will do  your’s by repeating the French Grammar, & Mrs Stent will & then ejaculate some wonder about the Cocks & Hens, what can we want?– Farewell for a short time– You are to dine here on tuesday to meet James Digweed, whom you must wish to see before he goes into Kent.– We all unite in best Love, & I am

Yr very affecte  JA.–

It is reported at Portsmough that Sir T. Williams is going to be married– It has been reported indeed twenty times before, but Charles is inclined to give some credit to it now, as they hardly ever see him on board, & he looks very much like a Lover.–

[To be continued briefly on the following day, 13th November]

One Response to 12 November 1800 – Wednesday – from Steventon

  1. Pingback: I am now laying in stock of intelligence to pour out on you as my share of Conversation | QuinnTessence

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