[Letter written to Ann Sharpe]
Your kind Letter my dearest Anne found me in bed, for inspite of my hopes & promises when I wrote to you I have since been very ill indeed. An attack of my sad complaint seized me within a few days afterwards– the most severe I ever had– & coming upon me after weeks of indisposition, it reduced me very low. I have kept my bed since the 13. of April, with only removals to a Sopha. Now, I am getting well again, & indeed have been gradually tho’ slowly recovering my strength for the last three weeks. I can sit up in my bed & employ myself, as I am proving to you at this present moment, & really am equal to being out of bed, but that the posture is thought good for me.– How to do justice to the kindess of all my family during this illness, is quite beyond me!– Every dear Brother so affectionate & so anxious!– And as for my Sister!– Words must fail me in any attempt to describe what a Nurse she has been to me. Thank God! she does not seem the worse for it yet, & as there was never any Sitting-up necessary, I am willing to hope she has no after-fatigues to suffer from. I have so many alleviations & comforts to bless the Almighty for!–
My head was always clear, & I had scarcely any pain; my cheif sufferings were from feverish nights, weakness & Languor.– This Discharge was on me for above a week, & as our Alton Apothy did not pretend to be able to cope with it, better advice was called in. Our nearest very good, is at Winchester, where there is a Hospital & capital Surgeons, & one of them attended me, & his applications gradually removed the Evil.– The consequence is, that instead of going to Town to put myself into the hands of some Physician as I shd otherwise have done, I am going to Winchester instead, for some weeks to see what Mr Lyford can do farther towards re-establishing me in tolerable health.– On Saty next, I am actually going thither– My dearest Cassandra with me I need hardly say– and as this is only two days off you will be convinced that I am now really a very genteel, portable sort of Invalid.– The Journey is only 16 miles, we have comfortable Lodgings engaged for us by our kind friend Mrs Heathcote who resides in W. & are to have the accomodation of my elder Brother’s Carriage which will be sent over from Steventon on purpose. Now, that’s a sort of thing which Mrs J. Austen does in the kindest manner!– But still she is in the main not a liberal-minded Woman, & as to this reversionary Property’s amending that part of her Character, expect it not my dear Anne;– too late, too late in the day;– & besides, the Property may not be theirs these ten years. My Aunt is very stout.–
Mrs F.A. has had a much shorter confinement than I have– with a Baby to produce into the bargain. We were put to bed nearly at the same time, & she has been quite recovered this great while.– I hope you have not been visited with more illness my dear Anne, either in your own person or your Eliza’s.– I must not attempt the pleasure of addressing her again, till my hand is stronger, but I prize her invitation to do so.– Beleive me, I was interested in all you wrote, though with all the Egotism of an Invalid I write only of myself.–
Your Charity to the poor Woman I trust fails no more in effect, than I am sure it does in exertion. What an interest it must be to you all! & how gladly shd I contribute more than my good wishes, were it possible!– But how you are worried! Wherever Distress falls, you are expected to supply Comfort. Ly P- writing to you even from Paris for advice!– It is the Influence of Strength over Weakness indeed.– Galigai de Concini for ever & ever.– Adeiu.– Continue to direct to Chawton, the communication between the two places will be frequent.– I have not mentioned my dear Mother; she suffered much for me when I was at the worst, but is tolerably well.– Miss Lloyd too has been all kindness. In short, if I live to be an old Woman I must expect to wish I had died now, blessed in the tenderness of such a Family, & before I had survived either them or their affection.– you would have held the memory of your friend Jane too in tender regret I am sure.– But the Providence of God has restored me– & may I be more fit to appear before him when I am summoned, than I shd have been now!– Sick or Well, beleive me ever yr attached friend
Mrs Heathcote will be a great comfort, but we shall not have Miss Bigg, she being frisked off like half England, into Switzerland.