Jane Austen writes in this letter to her older Sister Cassandra from the Paragon in Bath–reporting on the events of her days plus her efforts to cultivate and retain new friends and acquaintances — relying her visits, walks and talks with a variety of people and then the status of their relationships which are often short lived.
Austen’s wicked wit is rife here at times, not just on the interactions and character observations but also the comings and goings of people they briefly met — as well as her larger commentary and opinion as well on the transient nature of Bath. Austen admits especially as she ages her preference to be at home and the restless nature and ever changing cast of characters in Bath — does not seem to sit well with her.
“The walk was very beautiful as my companion agreed, whenever I made the observation–And so ends our friendship, for the Chamberlaynes leave Bath in a day or two.–Prepare likewise for the loss of Lady Fust, as you will lose before you find her.” (Austen’s own spelling and capitalization.)
Austen also relays news about their ongoing issues with their accommodations: “Mrs. Evelyn called very civilly on sunday, to tell us that Mr. Evelyn had seen Mr. Philips the proprietor of No. 12 G.P.B. and that Mr. Philips was very willing to raise the kitchen floor; –but all this I fear is fruitless–tho’ the water may be kept out of sight, it cannot be sent away nor the ill effects of its’ nearness be excluded.–I have nothing more to say on the subject of Houses;–except that we were mistaken as to the aspect of the one in Seymour Street, which instead of being due West is Northwest.” (Austen’s own spelling and capitalization.)
Austen includes updates about paying a courtesy memorial call and her aunt and uncle as well and updates about dresses and engaging a certain dressmaker. This letter is particular known though for her relaying news about their naval brother Charles and the news he will be gifting both Jane and Cassandra with topaz crosses: “We shall be unbearably fine.”