[Letter to Jane Austen’s niece, Caroline Austen]
My dear Caroline
I am glad to have an opportunity of writing to you again, for my last Note was written so long before it was sent, that it seemed almost good for nothing. The note to your Papa, is to announce the death of that excellent woman Elizth Leigh; it came here this morning enclosed in a Letter to Aunt Cassandra.– We all feel that we have lost a most valued old friend, but the death of a person at her advanced age, so fit to die, & by her own feeling so ready to die, is not to be regretted.– She has been so kind as to leave a little remembrance of £20- to your Grandmama.– I have had a letter from Scarlets this morning, with a very tolerable account of health there.– We have also heard from Godmersham, & the day of your Uncle & Fanny’s coming is fixed; they leave home tomorrow senight, spend two days in Town & are to be with us on Thursday May 2d— We are to see your Cousin Edward likewise, but probably not quite so soon.– Your Uncle Henry talks of being in Town again on Wednesday. He will have spent a complete fortnight at Godmersham, & no doubt it will have done him good.– Tell your Mama that he came back from Steventon much pleased with his visit to her.– Your Grandmama is not quite well, she seldom gets through the 24 hours without some pain in her head, but we hope it is lessening, & that a continuance of such weather as may allow her to be out of doors & hard at work every day will gradually remove it.– Cassy has had great pleasure in working this– whatever it may be– for you; I beleive she rather fancied it might do for a quilt for your little wax doll, but you will find a use for it if you can I am sure.– She often talks of you; & we should all be very glad to see you again– and if your Papa comes on Wednesday, as we rather hope, & it suited everybody that you should come with him, it wd give us great pleasure.– Our Fair at Alton is next Saturday, which is also Mary Jane’s Birthday, & you would be thought an addition on such a great day.– I shall say no more, because I know the[re ?may be] many circumstances to make it inconvenient at home.– We are almost ashamed to include your Mama in the invitation, or to ask her to be at the trouble of a long ride for so few days as we shall be having disengaged, for we must wash before the Gm Party come & therefore Monday would be [the omitted] last day that our House ould be comfortable for her; but if she does feel disposed to pay us a little visit & you could all come, so much the better.– We do not like to invite her to come on Wednesday, to be turned out of the house on Monday. . . .
[The last five lines of the letter mentioned James-Edward, and the “sad weather” which they had for him at Easter, so that his ride on Saturday “could only be tolerable by its taking him home.”]