30 January 1809 – Monday – from Castle Square

My dear Cassandra

I was not much surprised yesterday by the agreable surprise of your letter, & extremely glad to receive the assurance of your finger being well again.  Here is such a wet Day as never was seen!– I wish the poor little girls had better weather for their Journey; they must amuse themselves with watching the raindrops down the Windows.  Sackree I suppose feels quite brokenhearted.– I cannot have done with the weather without observing how delightfully mild it is; I am sure Fanny must enjoy it with us.– Yesterday was a very blowing day; we got to Church however, which we had not been able to do for two Sundays before.–

I am not at all ashamed about the name of the Novel, having been guilty of no insult towards your handwriting; the Dipthong I always saw, but knowing how fond you were of adding a vowel wherever you could, I attributed it to that alone–& the knowledge of the truth does the book no service;– the only merit it could have, was in the name of Caleb, which has an honest, unpretending sound; but in Coelebs, there is pedantry & affectation.– Is it written only to Classical Scholars? —

I shall now try to say only what is necessary, I am weary of meandering–so expect a vast deal of small matter concisely told, in the next two pages.– Mrs Cooke has been very dangerously ill, but is now I hope safe.–I had a letter last week from George, Mary being too busy to write, & at that time the Disorder was called of the Typhus kind, & their alarm considerable–but yesterday brought me a much better account from Mary; the origin of the complaint being now ascertained to be Billious, & the strong medicines requisite, promising to be effectual.– Mrs E.L. is so much recovered as to get into the Dressing-room every day.– A letter from Hamstall gives us the history of Sir Tho. Williams’ return;–the Admiral, whoever he might be, took a fancy to the Neptune, & having only a worn-out 74 to offer in lieu of it, Sir Tho. declined such a command, & is come home Passenger.  Lucky Man! to have so fair an opportunity of escape.– I hope his Wife allows herself to be happy on the occasion, & does not give all her thoughts to being nervous.–

A great event happens this week at Hamstall, in your Edward’s removal to school; he is going to Rugby & is very happy in the idea of it.– I wish his happiness may last, but it will be a great change, to become a raw school boy from being a pompous Sermon-Writer, & a domineering Brother.– It will do him good I dare say.– Caroline has had a great escape from being burnt to death lately;– as her Husband gives the account, we must beleive it true.– Miss Murden is gone–called away by the critical state of Mrs Pottinger, who has had another severe stroke, & is without Sense or Speech.  Miss Murden wishes to return to Southampton if cirumstances suit, but it must be very doubtful.– We have been obliged to turn away Cholles, he grew so very drunken & negligent, & we have a Man in his place called Thomas.–

Martha desires me to communicate something concerning herself which she knows will give you pleasure, as affording her very particular satisfaction; it is, that she is to be in Town this spring with Mrs Dundas.– I need not dilate on the subject–you understand enough of the whys & wherefores to enter into her feelings, & to be conscious that of all possible arrangements, it is the one most acceptable to her.– She goes to Barton on leaving us–& the Family remove to Town in April.–

What you tell me of Miss Sharpe is quite new, & surprises me a little;–I feel however as you do.  She is born, poor thing! to struggle with Evil– & her continuing with Miss B. is I hope a proof that Matters are not always so very bad between them, as her Letters sometimes represent. — Jenny’s marriage I had heard of, & supposed you would do so too from Steventon, as I knew you were corresponding with Mary at the time.  I hope she will not sully the respectable name she now bears.– Your plan for Miss Curling is uncommonly considerate & friendly, & such as she must surely jump at.  Edward’s going round by Steventon, as I understand he promises to do, can be no reasonable objection, Mrs J. Austen’s hospitality is just of the kind to enjoy such a visitor.–

We were very glad to know Aunt Fatty was in the Country when we read of the Fire.–Pray give my best Compts to the Mrs Finches, if they are at Gm— I am sorry to find that Sir J. Moore has a Mother living, but tho’ a very Heroick son, he might not be a very necessary one to her happiness.– Deacon Morrell may be more to Mrs Morrell.– I wish Sir John had united something of the Christian with the Hero in his death.– Thank Heaven! we have had no one to care for particularly among the Troops– no one in fact nearer to us than Sir John himself.– Col. Maitland is safe & well; his Mother & sisters were of course anxious about him, but there is no entering much into the solicitudes of that family.–

My Mother is well, & gets out when she can with the same enjoyment, & apparently the same strength as hitherto.– She hopes you will not omit begging Mrs Seward to get the Garden cropped for us–supposing she leaves the House too early, to make the Garden any object to herself.– We are very desirous of receiving your account of the House– for your observations will have a motive which can leave nothing to conjecture & suffer nothing from want of Memory.– For one’s own dear Self, one ascertains & remembers everything.  Lady Sondes is an impudent Woman to come back into her old Neighbourhood again; I suppose she pretends never to have married before–& wonders how her Father & Mother came to have her christen’d Lady Sondes.–

[Continued below the address panel]

The storecloset I hope will never do so again– for much of the Evil is proved to have proceeded from the Gutter being choked up, & we have had it cleared.– We had reason to rejoice in the Child’s absence at the time of the Thaw, [continued upside down at top of p.1] for the Nursery was not habitable.– We hear of similar disasters from almost everybody.– No news from Portsmouth.  We are very patient.– Mrs Charles Fowle desires to be kindly remembered to you.  She is warmly interested in my Brother & his Family.–

Yrs very affec:ly  J. Austen

Miss Austen
Edwd Austen’s Esqr
Godmersham Park

1 Response to 30 January 1809 – Monday – from Castle Square

  1. Pingback: Here is such a wet Day as never was seen! – A Letter from Southampton | QuinnTessence

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