[This is a letter to Jane Austen’s brother, Frank]
My dearest Frank
I have melancholy news to relate, & sincerely feel for your feelings under the shock of it.– I wish I could better prepare You for it.– But having said so much, Your mind will already forestall the sort of Event which I have to communicate.– Our dear Father has closed his virtuous & happy life, in a death almost as free from suffering as his Children could have wished. He was taken ill on Saturday morning, exactly in the same way as heretofore, an oppression in the head with fever, violent tremulousness, & the greatest degree of Feebleness. The same remedy of Cupping, which had before been so successful, was immediately applied to–but without such happy effects.
The attack was more violent, & at first he seemed scarcely at all releived by the Operation.– Towards the Evening, however he got better, had a tolerable night, & yesterday moring was so greatly amended as to get up & join us at breakfast as usual, walk about with only the help of a stick, & every symptom was then so favourable that when Bowen saw him at one, he felt sure of his doing perfectly well.– But as the day advanced, all these comfortable appearances gradually changed; the fever grew stronger than ever, & when Bowen saw him at ten at night, he pronounc’d his situation to be most alarming.– At nine this morning he came again–& by his desire a Physician was called;–Dr Gibbs–But it was then absolutely a lost case–. Dr Gibbs said that nothing but a Miracle would save him, and about twenty minutes after Ten he drew his last gasp.–
Heavy as is the blow, we can already feel that a thousand comforts remain to us to soften it. Next to that of the consciousness of his worth & constant preparation for another World, is the remembrance of his having suffered, comparatively speaking, nothing.– Being quite insensible of his own state, he was spared all the pain of separation, & he went off almost in his Sleep.– My Mother bears the Shock as well as possible; she was quite prepared for it, & feels all the blessing of his being spared a long Illness. My Uncle & Aunt have been with us, & shew us every imaginable kindness. And tomorrow we shall I dare say have the comfort of James’s presence, as an Express has been sent to him.– We write also of course to Godmersham & Brompton. Adieu my dearest Frank. The loss of such a Parent must be felt, or we should be Brutes–. I wish I could have given you better preparation– but it has been impossible.– Yours Ever affecly