? 21 December 1815 – Thursday – Letter from J.S. Clarke to Miss Austen

[Letter from James Stanier Clarke to Jane Austen, date presumed based on content.  Letter itself indicates Carlton House Thursday, 1815]

My dear Madam,

The Letter you were so obliging as to do me the Honour of sending, was forwarded to me in Kent, where in a Village, Chiddingstone near Sevenoaks, I had been hiding myself from all bustle and turmoil– and getting Spirits for a Winter Campaign– and Strength to stand the sharp knives which many a Shylock is wetting to cut more than a Pound of Flesh from my heart, on the appearance of James the Second.

On Monday I go off to Lord Egremonts at Petworth– where your Praises have long been sounded as they ought to be.  I shall then look in on the Party at the Pavilion for a couple of nights– and return to preach at Park Street Chapel Green St. on the Thanksgiving Day.

You were very good to send me Emma– which I have in no respect deserved.  It is gone to the Prince Regent. I have read only a few Pages which I very much admired– there is so much nature– and excellent description of Character in every thing you describe.

Pray continue to write, & make all your friends send Sketches to help you — and Memoires pour servir — as the French term it.  Do let us have an English Clergyman after your fancy — much novelty may be introduced — shew dear Madam what good would be done if Tythes were taken away entirely, and describe him burying his own mother– as I did– because the High Priest of the Parish in which she died– did not pay her remains the respect he ought to do.  I have never recovered the Shock.  Carry your Clergyman to Sea as the Friend of some distinguished Naval Character about a Court– you can then bring foreward like Le Sage many interesting Scenes of Character & Interest.

But forgive me, I cannot write to you without wishing to elicit your Genius;– & fear I cannot do that, without trespassing on your Patience and Good Nature.

I have desired Mr Murray to procure, if he can, two little Works I ventured to publish from being at Sea– Sermons which I wrote & preached on the Ocean– & the Edition which I published of Falconers Shipwreck.

Pray, dear Madam, remember, that besides My Cell at Carlton House, I have another which Dr Barne procured for me at No 37, Golden Square– where I often hide myself.  There is a small Library there much at your Service– and if you can make the Cell render you any service as a sort of Half-way House, when you come to Town– I shall be most happy.  There is a Maid Servant of mine always there.

I hope to have the honour of sending you James the 2d when it reaches a second Ed:– as some few Notes may possibly be then added.

Yours dear Madam, very sincerely
J.S. Clarke

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