This letter is from Jane Austen writing from Manydown, to her older sister Cassandra who is staying in Marylebone, London presumably with their brother Henry.  Austen’s letter mainly contains various news items of their Navy seafaring brother Charles but also including a good dose of her wicked wit: “Charles spent three pleasant days in Lisbon–They were well satisfied with their Royal Passenger, whom they found fat, jolly & affable, who talks of Ly Augusta as his wife & seems much attached to her.”  Per the notes, Austen is noting at the Duke of Sussex, 6th son of George III contracting a “morganatic marriage” in 1793 with Judy Augusta Murray, the daughter of the Earl of Dunmore.

Sidebar and to note dictionary definition of Morganatic:  Of, relating to or being a marriage between a member of a royal or noble family and a person of inferior rank in which the rank of the inferior partner remains unchanged and the children of the marriage do not succeed to the titles, fiefs, or entailed property of the parent of the higher rank.”

Austen also mentions Charles plans to visit them along with a mixed reaction to the news most likely of their father retiring and their eventual removal: “He received my letter, communicating our plans, before he left England, was much surprised of course, but is quite reconciled to them, & means to come to Steventon once more while Steventon is ours.”  Austen mentions scheduling not just for Cassandra but also for Catherine Bigg as well as her own travel plans: “My visit to Miss Lyford begins tomorrow, & ends on Saturday, when I shall have an opportunity of returning here at no expence as the carriage must take Cath [Bigg] to Basingstoke.–She meditates your returning into Hampshire together & if the Time should accord, it would not be undesirable.  She talks of only staying a fortnight, & as that will bring your stay in Berkeley Street to three weeks, I suppose you would not wish to make it longer.” (Austen’s own spelling and grammar).

The address where this letter was sent to Cassandra was: Miss Austen, 24 Upper Berkeley Street, Portman Square, London.  Via several online searches I found the Hadleigh Hotel in London W1H 7QH described as “budget hotel” in a “classic townhouse” located in Marylebone near the Marble Arch.  To note, not to be confused with a family run Hadleigh Hotel in Eastbourne, Sussex.

Cites to:  Jane Austen’s Letters, Fourth Edition, Collected and Edited by Deirdre LeFaye, Oxford University Press 2011 and Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1987.

2 thoughts on “Letter to Cassandra, Wed. 11 Feb. 1801-Wed. Feb. 11, 1801–from Manydown to Marylebone, London. (Image courtesy/via Google/Expedia UK).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s