[Letter written to Martha Lloyd]
My dear Martha
The prospect of a long quiet morning determines me to write to you; I have been often thinking of it before, but without being quite able to do it– and You are too busy, too happy & too rich I hope, to care much for Letters.– It gave me very great pleasure to hear that your Money was paid, it must have been a circumstance to increase every enjoyment you can have had with your friends– and altogether I think you must be spending your time most comfortably. The weather can hardly have incommoded you by its’ heat.– We have had many evenings here so cold, that I was sure there must be fires in the Country.–
How many alterations you must perceive in Bath! & how many People & Things gone by, must be recurring to you!– I hope you will see Clifton. Henry takes me home tomorrow; I rather expect at least to be at Chawton before night, tho’ it may not be till early on Sunday, as we shall lengthen the Journey by going round by Sunning Hill;– his favourite Mrs Crutchley lives there, & he wants to introduce me to her.– We offered a visit in our way, to the Birches, but they cannot receive us, which is a disappointment.– He comes back again on Wednesday, & perhaps brings James with him; so it was settled, when James was here;– he wants to see Scarman again, as his Gums last week were not in a proper state for Scarman’s operations. I cannot tell how much of all this may be known to you already.–
I shall have spent my 12 days here very pleasantly, but with not much to tell of them; two or three very little Dinner-parties at home, some delightful Drives in the Curricle, & quiet Tea-drinkings with the Tilsons, has been the sum of my doings. I have seen no old acquaintance I think, but Mr Hampson. Henry met with Sir Brook & Lady Bridges by chance, & they were to have dined with us yesterday, had they remained in Town.
I am amused by the present style of female dress;– the coloured petticoats with braces over the white Spencers & enormous Bonnets upon the full stretch, are quite entertaining. It seems to me a more marked change than one has lately seen– Long sleeves appear universal, even as Dress, the Waists short, and as far as I have been able to judge, the Bosom covered.– I was at a little party last night at Mrs Latouche’s, where dress is a good deal attended to, & these are my observations from it.– Petticoats short, & generally, tho’ not always, flounced.– The broad-straps belonging to the Gown or Boddice, which cross the front of the Waist, over white, have a very pretty effect I think.–
I have seen West’s famous Painting, & prefer it to anything of the kind I ever saw before. I do not know that it is reckoned superior to his “Healing in the Temple”, but it has gratified me much more, & indeed is the first representation of our Saviour which ever at all contented me. “His Rejection by the Elders”, is the subject.– I want to have You & Cassandra see it.–
I am extremely pleased with this new House of Henry’s, it is everything that could be wished for him, & I have only to hope he will continue to like it as well as he does now, and not be looking out for anything better.– He is in very comfortable health;– he has not been so well, he says, for a twelvemonth.– His veiw, & the veiw of those he mixes with, of Politics, is not chearful– with regard to an American war I mean;– they consider it as certain, & as what is to ruin us. The [?Americans] cannot be conquered, & we shall only be teaching them the skill in War which they may now want. We are to make them good Sailors & Soldiers, & [?gain] nothing ourselves.– If we are to be ruined, it cannot be helped– but I place my hope of better things on a claim to the protection of Heaven, as a Religious Nation, a Nation inspite of much Evil improving in Religion, which I cannot beleive the Americans to possess.–
However this may be, Mr Barlowe is to dine with us today, & I am in some hope of getting Egerton’s account before I go away– so we will enjoy ourselves as long as we can. My Aunt does not seem pleased with Capt. & Mrs D.D. for taking a House in Bath, I was afraid she would not like it, but I ho[pe ?they] do.– When I get home, I shall hear [about five words missing]. . .[?shall be very happy to] find myself at [nearly all the next line missing]. . . Miss Benn [nearly all the bottom line missing]. . . to hear Mrs Digweed’s goodhumoured communications. The language of London is flat; it wants her phrase.– Dear me!– I wonder whether you have seen Miss Irvine!– At this time of year, she is more likely to be out of Bath than in.
One of our afternoon drives was to Streatham, where I had the pleasure of seeing Mrs Hill as well & comfortable as usual;– but there is a melancholy disproportion between the Papa & the little Children.– She told me that the Awdrys have taken that sweet St Bo[niface that we] passed by [three or four words missing] & Ventnor; [approximately two lines missing, with the conclusion.]
[Postscript below address panel]
Pray give my best [com]pts to your Friends. I have not forgotten their parti[cular] claim to my Gratitude as an Author.– We have j[ust hea]rd that Mrs C. Austen is safe in her bed with a Girl. It happened on board a fortnig[ht] before it was expected.
Captn Dean Dundas’ RN