25 April 1811 – Thursday – from Sloane St, London

My dearest Cassandra

I can return the compliment by thanking you for the unexpected pleasure of your Letter yesterday, & as I like unexpected pleasure, it made me very happy; And indeed, You need not apologise for your Letter in any respect, for it is all very fine, but not too fine I hope to be written again, or something like it.  I think Edward will not suffer much longer from the heat; by the look of Things this morng I suspect the weather is rising into the balsamic Northeast.  It has been hot here, as you may suppose, since it was so hot with you, but I have not suffered from it at all, nor felt it in such a degree as to make me imagine it would be anything in the Country.  Everybody has talked of the heat, but I set it all down to London.–

I give you joy of our new nephew, & hope if he ever comes to be hanged, it will not be till we are too old to care about it.– It is a great comfort to have it so safely & speedily over.  The Miss Curlings must be hard-worked in writing so many Letters, but the novelty of it may recommend it to them;– Mine was from Miss Eliza, & she says that my Brother may arrive today.– No indeed, I am never too busy to think of S&S.  I can no more forget it, than a mother can forget her sucking child; & I am much obliged to you for your enquiries.  I have had two sheets to correct, but the last only brings us to W.s first appearance.  Mrs K. regrets in the most flattering manner that she must wait till May, but I have scarcely a hope of its being out in June.– Henry does not neglect it; he has hurried the Printer, & says he will see him again today.– It will not stand still during his absence, it will be sent to Eliza.– The Incomes remain as they were, but I will get them altered if I can.– I am very much gratified by Mrs K.’s interest in it; & whatever may be the event of it as to my credit with her, sincerely wish her curiosity could be satisfied sooner than is now probable.  I think she will like my Elinor, but cannot build on anything else.

Our party went off extremely well.  There were many solicitudes, alarms, & vexations beforehand of course, but at last everything was quite right.  The rooms were dressed up with flowers &c, & looked very pretty.– A glass for the Mantlepeice was lent, by the Man who is making their own.– Mr Egerton & Mr Walter came at 1/2 past 5, & the festivities began with a pr of very fine Soals.  Yes, Mr Walter– for he postponed his leaving London on purpose–which did not give much pleasure at the time, any more than the circumstance from which it rose, his calling on Sunday & being asked by Henry to take the family dinner on that day, which he did– but it is all smooth’d over now;– & she likes him very well.– At 1/2 past 7 arrived the Musicians in two Hackney coaches, & by 8 the lordly Company began to appear.  Among the earliest were George & Mary Cooke, & I spent the greatest part of the eveng very pleasantly with them.– The Drawg room being soon hotter than we liked, we placed ourselves in the connecting Passage, which was comparatively cool, & gave us all the advantage of the Music at a pleasant distance, as well as that of the first veiw of every new comer.– I was quite surrounded by acquaintance, especially Gentlemen; & what with Mr Hampson, Mr Seymour, Mr W. Knatchbull, Mr Guillemarde, Mr Cure, a Capt Simpson, brother to the Capt Simpson, besides Mr Walter & Mr Egerton, in addition to the Cookes & Miss Beckford & Miss Middleton, I had quite as much upon my hands as I could do.–

Poor Miss B. has been suffering again from her old complaint, & looks thinner than ever.  She certainly goes to Cheltenham the beginning of June.  We were all delight & cordiality of course.  Miss M. seems very happy, but has not beauty enough to figure in London.– Including everybody we were 66– which was considerably more than Eliza had expected, & quite enough to fill the Back Drawg room, & leave a few to be scattered about in the other, & in the passage.– The Music was extremely good.  It opened (tell Fanny) with “Prike pe Parp pin praise pof Prapela” — & of the other Glees I remember, “In peace Love tunes,” “Rosabelle,” “The red cross Knight,” & “Poor Insect.”  Between the Songs were Lessons on the Harp, or Harp & Piano Forte together– & the Harp Player was Wiepart, whose name seems famous, tho’ new to me.–

There was one female singer, a short Miss Davis all in blue, bringing up for the Public Line, whose voice was said to be very fine indeed; & all the Performers gave great satisfaction by doing what they were paid for, & giving themselves no airs.– No Amateur could be persuaded to do anything.– The House was not clear till after 12.– If you wish to hear more of it, you must put your questions, but I seem rather to have exhausted than spared the subject.–

This same Capt. Simpson told us, on the authority of some other Captn just arrived from Halifax, that Charles was bringing the Cleopatra home, & that she was probably by this time in the Channel– but as Capt. S. was certainly in liquor, we must not quite depend on it.– It must give one a sort of expectation however, & will prevent my writing to him any more.– I would rather he shd not reach England till I am at home, & the Steventon party gone.  My Mother & Martha both write with great satisfaction of Anna’s behaviour.  She is quite an Anna with variations — but she cannot have reached her last, for that is always the most flourishing & shewey — she is at about her 3d or 4th which are generally simple & pretty.–

Your Lilacs are in leaf, ours are in bloom.– The Horse chestnuts are quite out, & the Elms almost.– I had a pleasant walk in Kensington G on Sunday with Henry, Mr Smith & Mr Tilson– everything was fresh & beautiful.– We did go to the play after all on Saturday, we went to the Lyceum, & saw the Hypocrite, an old play taken from Moliere’s Tartuffe, & were well entertained.  Downton & Mathews were the good actors.  Mrs Edwin was the Heroine– & her performance is just what it used to be.– I have no chance of seeing Mrs Siddons.– She did act on Monday, but as Henry was told by the Boxkeeper that he did not think she would, the places, & all thought of it, were given up.  I should particularly have liked seeing her in Constance, & could swear at her with little effort for disappointing me.–

Henry has been to the Watercolour Exhibition, which open’d on Monday, & is to meet us there again some morng— If Eliza cannot go– (& she has a cold at present) Miss Beaty will be invited to be my companion.– Henry leaves Town on Sunday afternoon– but he means to write soon himself to Edward– & will tell his own plans.– The Tea is this moment setting out.– Do not have your cold muslin unless you really want it, because I am afraid I cd not send it to the Coach without giving trouble here.– Eliza caught her cold on Sunday in our way to the D’Entraigues;– the Horses actually gibbed on this side of Hyde Park Gate– a load of fresh gravel made it a formidable Hill to them, & they refused the collar;– I beleive there was a sore shoulder to irritate.– Eliza was frightened, & we got out — & were detained in the Eveng air several minutes.– The cold is in her chest — but she takes care of herself, & I hope it may not last long– This engagement prevented Mr Walter’s staying late– he had his coffee & went away.– Eliza enjoyed her eveng very much & means to cultivate the acquaintance– & I see nothing to dislike in them, but their taking quantities of snuff.–

Monsieur the old Count, is a very fine looking man, with quiet manners, good enough for an Englishman — & I beleive is a Man of great Information & Taste.  He has some fine Paintings, which delighted Henry as much as the Son’s music gratified Eliza– & among them, a Miniature of Philip 5. of Spain, Louis 14.s Grandson, which exactly suited my capacity.– Count Julien’s performance is very wonderful.  We met only Mrs Latouche & Miss East– & we are just now engaged to spend next Sunday Eveng at Mrs L.s– & to meet the D’Entraigues;– but M. le Comte must do without Henry.  It he wd but speak english, I would take to him.–

[continued below address panel]

Have you ever mentioned the leaving off Tea to Mrs K.?– Eliza has just spoken of it again.– The Benefit she has found from it in sleeping, has been very great.– [continued upside down at top of p1]  I shall write soon to Catherine to fix my day, which will be Thursday.– We have no engagements but for Sunday.  Eliza’s cold makes quiet advisable.– Her party is mentioned in this morning’s paper.  I am sorry to hear of poor Fanny’s state.– From that quarter I suppose is to be the alloy of her happiness.– I will have no more to say.–

Yrs affecly  J.A.

Give my Love particularly to my God-daughter.

Miss Austen
Edwd Austen’s Esqre
Godmersham Park
Faversham

 

One Response to 25 April 1811 – Thursday – from Sloane St, London

  1. Pingback: I have been delinquent of late… | QuinnTessence

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