My dearest Cassandra
I have received your Letter, & with most melancholy anxiety was it expected, for the sad news reached us last night, but without any particulars; it came in a short letter to Martha from her sister, begun at Steventon, & finished at Winchester.– We have felt, we do feel for you all–as you will not need to be told–for you, for Fanny, for Henry, for Lady Bridges, & for dearest Edward, whose loss & whose sufferings seem to make those of every other person nothing.– God be praised! that you can say what you do of him– that he has a religious Mind to bear him up, & a Disposition that will gradually lead him to comfort.– My dear, dear Fanny!–I am so thankful that she has you with her!– You will be everything to her, you will give her all the Consolation that human aid can give.– May the Almighty sustain you all– & keep you my dearest Cassandra well– but for the present I dare say you are equal to everything.–
You will know that the poor Boys are at Steventon, perhaps it is best for them, as they will have more means of exercise & amusement there than they cd have with us, but I own myself disappointed by the arrangements;– I should have loved to have them with me at such a time. I shall write to Edward by this post.– We shall of course hear from you again very soon, & as often as you can write.– We will write as you desire, & I shall add Bookham. Hamstall I suppose you write to yourselves, as you do not mention it.– What a comfort that Mrs Deedes is saved from present misery & alarm–but it will fall heavy upon poor Harriot– & as for Lady B.– but that her fortitude does seem truely great, I should fear the effect of such a Blow & so unlooked for. I long to hear more of you all.–
Of Henry’s anguish, I think with greif & solicitude; but he will exert himself to be of use & comfort. With what true simpathy our feelings are shared by Martha, you need not be told;– she is the friend & Sister under every circumstance.– We need not enter into a Panegyric on the Departed–but it is sweet to think of her great worth– of her solid principles, her true devotions, her excellence in every relation of Life. It is also consolatory to reflect on the shortness of the sufferings which led her from this World to a better.– Farewell for the present, my dearest Sister. Tell Edward that we feel for him & pray for him.–
Yrs affecly J. Austen
I will write to Catherine.
Perhaps you can give me some directions about Mourning.
Edward Austen’s Esqr