29 May 1811 – Wednesday – from Chawton

It was a mistake of mine, my dear Cassandra, to talk of a 10th child at Hamstall; I had forgot there were but 8 already.– Your enquiry after my Uncle & Aunt were most happily timed, for the very same post brought an account of them.  They are again at Gloucester House, enjoying fresh air, which they seem to have felt the want of in Bath, & are tolerably well– but not more than tolerable.  My Aunt does not enter into particulars, but she does not write in spirits, & we imagine that she has never entirely got the better of her disorder in the Winter.– Mrs Welby takes her out airing in her Barouche, which gives her a headache– a comfortable proof I suppose of the uselessness of the new Carriage when they have got it.–

You certainly must have heard, before I can tell you, that Col. Orde has married our cousin, Margt Beckford, the Marchss of Douglas’s sister.  The Papers say that her Father disinherits her, but I think too well of an Orde, to suppose that she has not a handsome Independance of her own.– The Chicken are all alive, & fit for the Table– but we save them for something grand.– Some of the Flower seeds are coming up very well — but your Mignionette makes a wretched appearance.– Miss Benn has been equally unlucky as to hers; She had seed from 4 different people, & none of it comes up.  Our young Piony at the foot of the Fir tree has just blown & looks very handsome; & the whole of the Shrubbery Border will soon be very gay with Pinks & Sweet Williams, in addition to the Columbines already in bloom.  The Syringas too are coming out.– We are likely to have a great crop of Orleans plumbs– but not many greengages — on the standard scarcely any– three of four dozen perhaps against the wall.  I beleive I told you differently when I first came home, but I can now judge better than I could then.–

I have had a medley & satisfactory Letter this morng from the Husband & Wife at Cowes;– & in consequence of what is related of their plans, we have been talking over the possibility of inviting them here, in their way from Steventon– which is what one should wish to do, & is I daresay what they expect; but supposing Martha to be at home, it does not seem a very easy thing to accommodate so large a party.– My Mother offers to give up her room to Frank & Mary– but there will then be only the Best, for two Maids & three Children.– They go to Steventon about ye 22nd— & I guess (for it is quite a guess) will stay there from a fortnight to three weeks.– I must not venture to press Miss Sharpe’s coming at present;– we may hardly be at liberty before August.–

Poor John Bridges! we are very sorry for his situation, & for the distress of the Family.  Lady B. is in one way severely tried!– And our own dear Brother suffers a great deal I dare say on the occasion.– I have not much to say of ourselves.  Anna is nursing a cold caught in the Arbour at Faringdon, that she may be able to keep her engagement to Maria M. this evening, when I suppose she will make it worse.– She did not return from Faringdon till Sunday, when Ht B. walked home with her, & drank tea here.– She was with the Prowtings almost all Monday;– she went to learn to make feather Trimmings of Miss Anne, & they kept her to dinner– which was rather lucky, as we were called upon to meet Mrs & Miss Terry the same eveng at the Digweeds– & tho’ Anna was of course invited to, I think it always safest to keep her away from the family, lest she shd be doing too little or too much.  Mrs Terry, Mary & Robert, with my Aunt Harding & her Daughter came from Dummer for a day & a night — all very agreable & very much delighted with the new House, & with Chawton in general.– We sat upstairs– & had Thunder & Lightning as usual.  I never knew such a Spring for Thunder storms as it has been!– Thank God!– we have had no bad ones here.– I thought myself in luck to have my uncomfortable feelings shared by the Mistress of the House, as that procured Blinds & Candles.–It had been excessively hot the whole day.–

Mrs Harding is a goodlooking woman, but not much like Mrs Toke, inasmuch as she is very brown & has scarcely any teeth;– she seems to have some of Mrs Toke’s civility, but does not profess being so silly.– Miss H. is an elegant, pleasing, pretty looking girl, about 19 I suppose, or 19 & 1/4, with flowers in her head, & Music at her fingers ends.– She plays very well indeed.  I have seldom heard anybody with more pleasure.– They were at Godington 4 or 5 years ago; my cousin Flora Long was there last year.  My name is Diana.  How does Fanny like it?– What a change in the weather!– We have a Fire again now.–

Harriet Benn sleeps at the Gt House tonight & spends tomorrow with us; & the plan is that we should all walk with her to drink tea at Faringdon, for her Mother is now recovered, but the state of the weather is not very promising at present.– Miss Benn has been returned to her Cottage since the beginning of last week, & has now just got another girl;– she comes from Alton.– For many days Miss B. had nobody with her but her neice Elizth— who was delighted to be her visitor & her maid.  They both dined here on Saturday while Anna was at Faringdon; & last night, an accidental meeting & a sudden impulse produced Miss Benn & Maria Middleton at our Tea Table.– If you have not heard, it is very fit you should, that Mr Harrison has had the Living of Fareham given him by the Bishop, & is going to reside there;– And now it is said that Mr Peach (beautiful Wiseacre) wants to have the Curacy of Overton; & if he does leave Wootton, James Digweed wishes to go there.– Fare you well.– Yours affecly

J. Austen

[Postscript below address panel]

The Chimneys at the Gt House are done.  Mr Prowting has opened a Gravel pit, very conveniently for my Mother, just at the mouth of the approach to his House — but it looks a little as if he meant to catch all his company.  Tolerable Gravel.–

Miss Austen
Godmersham Park

1 Response to 29 May 1811 – Wednesday – from Chawton

  1. Pingback: …with flowers in her head, & Music at her fingers ends. | QuinnTessence

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