Letter to Cassandra: Sat. 3-Mon. Jan. 1801- “I am not sacrificing a great deal in quitting the Country.”

Per the notes, this letter follows one that is missing, sent from Jane Austen, is sent from Steventon to her older sister Cassandra, still away at their brother’s estate Godmersham Park in Kent.  Wondering if there is only one letter missing — Mr. Austen has apparently announced his retirement, and plans our being made to leave Steventon and move to Bath: “As you have by this time received my last letter, it is fit that I should begin another; & I begin with the hope, which at present uppermost in my mind, that you wore a white gown in the morning, at the time of all the gay party’s being with you.”

Austen has shifted what she writes about significantly.  Gone from the sister relaying all the latest family, neighborhood news and gossip, and updates on balls Cassandra either missed or attend and needed to provided detailed accounts back to Jane — to focusing mostly on family and household concerns connected to this very large transition in the lives.

Most of this letter concerns what the Austen family members will be doing to move from their home in Steventon to Bath.  Overall, Austen’s tone sounds positive, with pockets of her wicked wit and sometimes even playful. “My Mother looks forward with as much certainty as you can do, to our keeping two Maids–my father is the only one not in the secret.–We plan having a steady Cook, & a young giddy Housemaid, with a sedate, middleaged Man, who is to undertake the double office of Husband to the former & sweetheart to the latter.”

Austen seems to be also referring to the loss of a male servant John Bond, and how he will be employed when the Austen family leaves Hampshire, and apparently Cassandra had a better opinion of him and worries than her younger sister: “You feel more for John Bond deserves;–I am sorry to lower his Character, but he is not ashamed to own himself, that he has no doubt at all of getting a good place, & that he had even an offer many years ago from Farmer Paine of taking him into his Service whenever he might quit my fathers.”

Austen lays out the various options of houses, apartments in streets in Bath they are considering noting issues of expense and location, and also the furniture they may or may not be taking with them.  There is also a large discussion of distributing the art work: “Upon all these different situations, You & Edward may confer together, & your opinion of each will be expected with eagerness.  As to our Pictures, the Battlepeice, Mr. Nibbs, Sir William East, & all the old heterogenous, miscellany, manuscript, Scriptoral pieces dispersed over the House are to be given to James.”  (Austen’s own spelling.)  To paraphrase the notes, Anna Lefroy recalled that “‘The Battlepeice” was an oil painting of the battle in 1565 between the Swedes and the Poles, which hung in the rectory dining room.  Mr. Nibbs and Sir William were family nicknames given to the figures in the painting, which again cites to Anna Leroy as recalling been stored in cottage of John Bond, the Austen’s former servant in Hampshire and lost when the cottage burned down.

Austen also mentions Martha Lloyd visiting to see Cassandra before they quit the neighborhood, and there is some discussion of scheduling to move everything and everyone from Hampshire to Bath, but I think this is the most telling part of Austen wrestling with this move in her life: “It must not be generally known however that I am not sacrificing a great deal in quitting the Country–or I can expect to inspire no tenderness, no interest in those we leave behind.”

All cites to: Jane Austen’s Letters, Collected and Edited by Deirdre Le Faye, 4th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2011.

 

 

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Letter to Cassandra, Thurs. 20-Fri. 21, Nov. 1800–Mean Girls, a bad gentleman, and new gowns.

Writing to her older sister Cassandra visiting their brother’s estate in Godmersham park in Kent, from their home in Steventon — Austen is conveying all the local news, gossips, and goings on with a large dose of her wicked wit.

First starts out with a bit of health issues, she attributes to over indulging: “Your letter took me quite by surprise this morning; you are very welcome however, & I am very much obliged to you.–I beleive I drank too much wine last night at Hurstborne; I knew not how else to account for the shaking of my hand to day;–You will kindly make allowance therefore for any indistinctness of writing by attributing this venial Error.”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Next up, report on their brother Charles who seems to be visiting Steventon not just to see the Austen family, but to attendance the balls including a ball at Deane, and see various ladies: “Charles found it remarkably so, but I cannot tell why, unless the absence of Miss Terry–towards whom his conscience reproaches him with now being perfect indifferent–was a relief to him.”

And a report on her dance card: “There were only twelve dances of which I danced none, & was merely prevented from dancing the rest by the want of a partner.–”

Continues on with a list of dance partners: “My partners where the two St. Johns, Hooper Holder–and very prodigious Mr. Matthew, with whom I called the last, & whom I like the best of my little stock.”

Then her wicked wit kicks in with a detail of the competition of the ladies in attendance: “There were very few Beauties, & such as there were, were not very handsome.”

Austen does a very detailed run down of the people she met, spoke with and disliked, unsparing of a critical evaluation in a very “Mean Girls” kind of way, and also including  some bad gentleman’s behavior: “I looked at Sir Thomas Champneys & thought of poor Rosalie; I looked at his daughter & thought her a queer animal with a white neck.–Mrs. Warren, I was constrained to think a very fine young woman, which I made regret.  She has got rid of some part of her child, & danced away with great activity, looking by no means very large.–Her husband is ugly enough; uglier even than his cousin John; but he does not look so very old.–The Miss Maitlands are both prettyish; very like Anne; with brown skins, large dark eyes, & a good deal of nose.–The General has got the Gout, & Mrs. Maitland the Jaundice.–Miss Debary, Susan and Sally all in black, but without any Statues, made their appearance, & I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.”  (Austen’s own punctuation and emphasis.) Per the notes Rosalie was a former maid of their cousin Eliza, that “had attracted Sir Thomas’s attention.  Not sure if this means he had some sort of a physical relationship with this servant, got her pregnant and somehow ruined her life.  Austen seems to include a note of sympathy but the notes do not detail further.  Also per the notes, the reference to “statues” is presumed to be a family joke, making a reference to the color of gowns and the black statues or ornaments which were fashionable and on display in that family’s drawing room.

Austen also includes news of her wardrobe as well: “Mary said I looked very well last night; I wore my Aunt’s gown & handkercheif, & my hair was at least tidy which was all my ambition.”  (Austen’s own spelling and grammar.)  Per the notes, it’s unclear if their aunt had given Austen money for a new gown or if Jane was gifted an old gown of her aunt’s to alter and wear herself.

Later Austen adds more news on fashion: “Miss Summers had made my gown very well indeed & I grow more & more pleased with it.–Charles does not like it, but my father & Mary do; my Mother is very much reconciled to it, & as for James, he gives it the preference over every thing of the kind he ever saw; in the proof which I am desired to say that if you like to sell yours, Mary will buy it.”

Jumps next to news and a detailed account of a dinner party at Ashe including her sisterly observation: “James Digweed left Hampshire to day.  I think he must be in love with you, from his anxiety to have you go to the Faversham Balls, & likewise from his supposing, that the two Elms fell from their greif at your absence.–Was it not a galant idea?–It never occurred to me before, but I dare so it was so.”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

From here, Austen continues onto gardening and improvements at Steventon but adding: “–What is your opinion?–I say nothing & am ready to agree with anybody.”

The letter continues here, with Austen reacting to Cassandra’s previous letter, and asking: in her witty style: “What a droll party!–Do the Ashford people still come to Godmersham Church every Sunday in a cart?”

Austen continues with a combination and/or rundown comparison of liking and disliking people they have met in Kent before sending love from their brothers and closing with a long post script including more debates on the reception of her new gown, more news updates including a removal to Bath, plus additional quips of her wicked wit with rather unkind descriptions: “I had the comfort of finding out the other evening who all the fat girls were that disturbed me at the 1st H.Ball. They all proved to be Miss Atikinsons of Enham.”  All notes to: Jane Austen’s Letters, edited by Deirdre Le Faye, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, 2011.

 

 

Letter to Cassandra, Sat. 8–Sun. 9, November 1800.

On a Saturday evening,  Jane Austen begins this letter to her older sister Cassandra away again in Kent at their brother’s estate Godmersham Park.  Per the notes, this letter follows one that is missing in the order of Austen’s correspondence.  Full of news from home in Steventon including their neighbors in Ashe and Dean — the first order of business is thanking Cassandra for her recent letters , and interesting story (including a request for updates), and then updating her sister on the state of the rest of the Austen household’s correspondence: “I thank you for so speedy a return to my two last, & particularly thank you for your anecdote of Charlotte Graham & her cousin Harriet Bailey, which has very much amused both my Mother & myself. If you can learn anything further of that interesting affair I hope you will mention it.–I have two messages; let me get ride of them, & then my paper will be my own.–Mary fully intended writing to you by Mr. Chute’s frank, & only happened to entirely to forget it–but will write soon–& my father wishes Edward to send him a memorandum in your next letter, of the price of the hops.”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Concluding these “messages,” Austen continues on describing to Cassandra recent furniture purchases and rearrangements at home in Steventon: “The two ends put together form our constant Table for everything, & the centre peice stands exceedingly well under the glass; holds a great deal most commodiously, without looking awkwardly.–They are both covered with green baize & send their best Love.” (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Furniture update complete — this is Austen’s transition: “So much for that subject; I now come to another, of a very different nature, as other subjects are very apt to be.”

Moving on Austen relays what I’m presuming must’ve have been a shocking story that rocked the local neighborhood around Steventon concerning Earle Harwood:  “About ten days ago, in cocking a pistol in the guard-room at Marcou, he accidentally shot himself through the Thigh.”  Austen relates all of the details including “Two young Scot Surgeons” suggesting the amputation of the leg which Earle Harwood refused: “accordingly in his wounded state he was put on board a Cutter & conveyed to Haslar Hospital at Gosport: where the bullet was extracted, & where he now I hope in a fair way of doing well.”

Austen continues about news being brought back to the family and their neighbors: “They went down on tuesday, & James came back the next day, bringing such favorable accounts as greatly to lessen the distress of the family at Deane, tho’ it will probably be a long while before Mrs. Harwood can be quite at ease.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Next up a bit of sisterly correspondence on wardrobe: “I cannot possibly oblige you by not wearing my gown, because I have made it up on purpose to wear it a great deal, & as the discredit will be my own, I feel the less regret.–You must learn to like it yourself & make it up at Godmersham; it may easily be down; it is only protesting it to be very beautiful, & you will soon think it so.”

From here to a relaying a little adventure: “Mary drove me all in the rain to Basingstoke, & still more all in the rain back again, because it rained harder; & soon after our return to Dean a sudden invitation & an own putsches took us to Ash Park, to dine tete a tele with Mr. Holder, Mr. Gauntlett & James Digweed; but our tete a tete was cruelly reduced by the non-attendance of the two latter.–”  Austen and Mary were left to dine only with Mr. Holder one of primary residents of Ash Park, and also per the notes this may possibly be a reference to the Rev. Samuel Gauntlett, in Hampshire during this time.

Austen despite being stood up by the other two gentlemen, wrote that she enjoyed the dinner, and their visit to this comfortable home, but wrote to Cassandra, that Mary perhaps not so much: “We had a very quiet evening, I believe Mary found it dull, but I thought it very pleasant.  To site in idleness over a good fire in a well-proportioned room is a luxurious sensation.”  Interesting perhaps Austen really relished the idea of dining out and enjoying the food and resources of a larger house and estate.

Here, another transition, again per the notes sliding into news of correspondence from one of Mr. Austen’s former students: “I have had a most affectionate letter from Buller; I was afraid he would oppress me by his felicity & his love for his Wife, but this is not the case; he calls her simply Anna without any angelic embellishments, for which I respect & wish him happy–and throughout the whole of his letter indeed he seems more engrossed by his feelings toward our family, than towards her, which You know cannot give any one disgust.”  Wondering if this former student’s zeal for the Austen family affairs is perhaps attached to a former attachment or crush he had on one of the Austen sisters?  The idea that Austen’s wicked wit here is targeting the idea she was expecting too much cloying or braying about his wife, but instead finds him asking about their family has me wondering.  Again I wish we had Cassandra’s letters back to read the rest of this story between the two sisters.

Austen continues with news,a report of another injured neighbor, invitations and acceptances for local balls, and the ongoing debate between their brother Edward and Mr. Holder (from Ash) about a proposed plan for a Rookery.  Then adds news of a recent engagement and an item of news concerning  Frank one of their seafaring brothers: “Mr. Holder’s paper tells us that sometime in last August, Capt: Austen & the Petterrell were very active in securing a Turkish Ship (driven into a Port in Cyprus by bad weather) from the French.–He was forced to burn her however.–You will see the account in the Sun I dare say.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Noting Sunday evening Austen gives an update on the severity weather apparently overnight that Saturday night, and its damage to their “Elm Walk” and maypole, as well: “We have had a dreadful storm of wind in the forepart of this day, which has done a great deal of mischeif among our trees.–I was siting alone in the dining room, when an odd kind of crash startled me–in a moment afterwards it was repeated; I then went to the window, which I reached just in time to see the last of our two highly value Elms descend into the Sweep!!!!!!  The other, which had fallen I suppose in the first crash, & which was the nearest to the pond, taking a more easterly direction sunk amongst our screen of Chestnuts & firs, knocking down one spruce fir, beating the head of another, & stripping the two corner chestnuts of several branches, in its fall.–This is not all—.One large Elm out of two on the left hand side, as you enter what I call the Elm walk, was likewise blown down, the Maypole bearing the weathercock was broke in two, & what I regret more than all the rest, is that all the three Elms which grew in Hall’s meadow & gave such ornament to it, are gone.–Two were blown down, & the other so much injured that it cannot stand.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

After the reportage of the damage Austen adds though: “–I am happy to add however that no greater Evil than the loss of Trees has been the consequence of the Storm in this place, or in our immediate neighborhood.–We greive therefore in some comfort.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

This letter concludes with a short post script, making me think she received another letter and news from Cassandra about Charles — before sending this off: “You spend your time just as quietly & comfortably as I supposed you would.–We have all seen & admired Fanny’s letter to her Aunt.–The Endymion sailed on a cruize last friday.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

All notes/cites to: Jane Austen’s Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye, 4th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2011.

Letter to Cassandra, Saturday One November 1800–two Naval brothers, the “Petvals,” and a ball with a “Scarcity of Men.”

Austen is writing to her older sister Cassandra, away again visiting their brother’s household in Godmersham Park in Kent, from their home in Steventon.  This letter is full of news: including updates concerning their naval and seafaring brothers Frank and Charles, discussions of clothing and household purchases, a neighborhood ball Austen attended, plus other local news.

“You have written I am sure, tho’ I have received no letter from you since your leaving London;–the Post, & not yourself must have been unpunctual.”  Later on we learn, there a cross between the sisters letters along with a literary bit of Austen’s wicked wit: “Your letter is come; it came indeed twelve lines ago, but I could not stop to acknowledge it before, & I am glad it did not arrive till I had completed my first sentence, because the sentence had been made ever since yesterday, & I think forms a very good beginning.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Before acknowledging the arrival of Cassandra’s letter Austen had delved first into news of naval brother Frank: “We have at last heard from Frank; a letter from him to You came yesterday, & I mean to send it on as soon as I can get a ditto, (that  means a frank,) which I hope to do in a day or two.”   (Austen’s own emphasis, spelling and punctuation.)

Not really sure what Austen means by a “ditto” if she means her own letter from brother Frank or some sort of word from Frank to forward the letter, obviously this is understood by the two sisters as Austen continues the update on their brother Frank with specific naval maneuvers: “En attendant, You must rest satisfied with a knowing that on the 8th of July the Petterell with the rest of the Egyptian Squadron was off the Isle of Cyprus, whither they went from Jaffa for Provisions, & c., & whence they were sail in a day or two for Alexandria, there to wait the result of the English proposals for the Evacuation of Egypt.  The rest of the letter, according to the present fashionable stile of Composition, is cheifly Descriptive; of his Promotion he knows nothing & of Prizes he is guiltless.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

To note, I did only a quick online search for the Petterell the ship, but I could not locate its historical record, so I’m presuming it was a British gunship or frigate of some kind due to the time period. But the name of the ship particularly intrigues me, in similarity to: “The Petvals” — or “Mother Carey’s Chickens” — Citing/paraphrasing: Barbara Walker here: “Mother Carey, Sea Goddess, per lore English Sailors.  Mother Cara (Latin) and literally: Beloved Mother.  Her “soul-birds” called Mother Carey’s Chickens or The Petvals.  Per the French, “Birds of our lady,” and later associated with St. Peter, i.e. with the name “Little Peters.”

After the Frank update, Jane Austen dives into wardrobe matter discussions apparently answering some of Cassandra’s opinions on either ordering or altering their clothes: “Your abuse of our Gowns amuses, but does discourage me; I shall take mine to be made up next week, & the more I look at it, the better it pleases me.–”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Apparently, Cassandra was responsible for sending home certain items of clothing and glassware for the household and Austen is both confirming their arrival and everyone’s thoughts and opinions on them.  First, Austen seems very impressed with a cloak trimmed with lace her older sister selected and sent home to Steventon: “My Cloak came on tuesday & tho’ I expected a good deal, the beauty of the lace astonished me.–It is too handsome to be worn, almost too handsome to be looked at.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

However, Austen seems to be gently breaking the news that Cassandra’s purchase of glassware for their house at Steventon was not as much as a success with their mother Mrs. Austen:  “The Glass is all safely arrived also, & gives great satisfaction.  The wine glasses are much smaller than I expected, but I suppose it is the proper size.–We find no fault with your manner of performing any of our commissions, but if you like to think yourself remiss in any of them, pray do.–My Mother was rather vexed that you could not go to Pennington’s, but she has since written to him, which does just as well.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Not sure, but it seems Cassandra did not go to a specific store or merchant that Mrs. Austen preferred, and Austen gives her older sister another sibling update: “Mary is disappointed about her Locket, & of course delighted about the Mangle which is safe at  Basingstoke.”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Sort of like eavesdropping here, apparently something happened to Mary’s locket either it was lost or broken, but the mangle (an accessory to help wring out laundry) was either found or accessible at Basingstoke.  Austen doesn’t offer further details and this is a private exchange between the sisters, that obviously understand the unsaid details.

The neighborhood ball is the next topic of news Austen conveys to her sister, including her options for invitations, among other details: “I dined and slept at Deane.–Charlotte & I did my hair, which I fancy looked very indifferent; nobody abuse it however, & I retired delighted with my success.–It was a pleasant Ball, & still more good than pleasant, for there were nearly 60 people, & sometimes we had 17 couple.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

And this next part of Austen’s letter, make me think of Pride and Prejudice:  “There was a scarcity of Men in general, & still a greater scarcity of any that were good for much.–I danced nine dances out of ten, five with Stephen Terry, T. Chute & James Digweed & four with Catherine.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.) Not sure about that last name of a partner being “Catherine” as a surname for a male person, I am not familiar with Regency dance enough to elaborate, but generally I thought they were all male to female and females never danced together, but I could be wrong, and I will look into it.

“There was commonly a couple of ladies standing up together, but not often any so amiable as ourselves.–I heard no news, except that Mr. Peters, who was not there, is supposed to be particularly attentive to Miss Lyford.–You were enquired after very prettily, & I hope the whole assembly now understands that you are gone into Kent, which the families in general seemed to meet in ignorance of.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)  Again, this seems to be a private exchange or reference, between the two sisters regarding Cassandra’s often traveling to Kent.

Austen passes along a bit more about the ball, including who she chatted with; ” I said civil things for Edward to Mr. Chute, who simply returned them by declaring that had he known of my brother’s being at Steventon he should have made a point on calling on him to thank him for his civility about the Hunt.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

From there, Austen delves right back into the second of their naval brothers, “I have heard from Charles, & am to send his shirts by half dozens as they are finished;–one sett will go next week.–The Endymion is now waiting only for orders, but may wait for them perhaps a month.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Also includes a short bit about Charles had attempted a quick visit possibly to Chawton to see Edward but it did not work out: “Charles had actually set out & got half the way thither in order to spend one day with Edward, but turned back on discovering the distance to be considerably more than he had fancied, & finding himself & his horse to be very much tired.”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Austen proceedings with a long paragraph filled with news and updates, closing with a little bit of extra fondness toward her nephew Edward’s son: “Love to all.–I am glad George remembers me.”  Before actually closing with two postscripts, the first with the owning up of a younger sister apparently have borrowed some of the older’s clothing: “I wore at the Ball your favourite gown, a bit of muslim of the same round my head, border’d with Mrs. Cooper’s band–& one little Comb.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.) Apparently, Austen forgot to mention this when she gave Cassandra the ball update earlier and per the notes, Mrs. Cooper was their aunt, Mrs. Austen’s sister.

The second postscript–also refers back to the second seafaring brother Charles and again crossing letters: “I am very unhappy.–In re-reading your letter I find I might have spared any Intelligence of Charles.–To have written only what you knew before!–You may guess how much I feel.–”   (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Notes/cites to: 1) Jane Austen’s Letters, 4th Edition, Collected and Edited by Deirdre LeFay, Oxford University Press, 2011 & 2) A Companion to Jane Austen, by Claudia L. Johnson, 2011, via Google Books, and 3) Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara Walker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to Cassandra, Sat. 25–Mon. 27, October 1800.

This letter per the notes follows a missing letter, dated Sunday 23 June. Back at home in Steventon, Jane Austen is writing to her old sister Cassandra, who has traveled with their brother Edward and family to their estate Godmersham Park in Kent.

Apparently they stopped in London and sent a package to Steventon which Jane relayed was still en route: “I am not yet able to acknowledge the receipt of any parcel from London, which I suppose will not occasion you much surprise.”

Her wicked wit kicks right off, “You have had a very pleasant Journey of course & have found Elizabeth & all the Children very well on your arrival at Godmersham, & I congratulate you on it.  Edward is rejoicing this even I dare say to find himself once more at home, from which he fancies he has been absent a great while.”

Continues onto the weather, describing their recent neighborhood visits to Deane, Oakley Hall and Oakley and procuring seeds: “At Oakley Hall we did a great deal–eat some sandwiches all over mustard, admired Mr. Bramston Porter’s & Mrs. Bramston’s Transparencies, & gained a promise of two roots of hearts-ease, one all yellow & the other all purple for you.”

There is a large update of local news including recent purchases, visitors, visitations, plus acquisitions including a new Horse bought at the Winchester Fair, and passing along updates of one neighbor’s misfortune: “Our whole Neighborhood is at present very busy grieving over poor Mrs. Martin, who has totally failed in her business, & had very lately an execution in her house.”  Which to clarify sounds like more like a repossession of assets to prevent bankruptcy: “Her own brother & Mr. Rider are the principal creditors, & they have seized her effects in order to prevent other people’s doing it.”

Austen follows this with news about a forced auction, plus more teasing wit, “There has been the same affair going on, we are told at Wilson’s, & my hearing nothing of you makes me apprehensive that You, your fellow travellers & all your effects, might be seized by the Bailiffs when you stopt at the Crown & sold altogether for the benefit of the creditors.”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)  The Crown  per the notes is a reference to a coaching inn, and Mr. Wilson was the landlord of that inn.

As the letter continues to Sunday, Austen notes she may be repeating herself on the subject of the fine weather or not having it, “This morning’s unpromising aspect makes it absolutely necessary for me to observe once more how peculiarly fortunate you have been in your weather, and then I will drop the subject for ever.–”

The subject shifts then to the preparation of seeds and planting, before the receipt of the package and her thanks for the contents: “I am now able to thank you for executing my Commissions so well.–I like the Gown very much & my Mother thinks it very ugly.–I like the Stockings also very much & greatly prefer having only two pairs of that quality, to three of an inferior sort.–The Combs are very pretty, & I am much obliged to you for your present; but am sorry you should make me so many.–The Pink Shoes are not particularly beautiful, but they fit me very well –the others are faultless.–I am glad that I have still my Cloak to expect.”  (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

The closing begins with Austen thanking Cassandra for writing when on a Regency Road Trip: “Among my other obligations, I must not omit to number your writing me so long a letter in a in a time of such hurry.  I am amused by your going to Milgate at last & glad that you have so charming a day for your Journey home.”

There is a bit of a back and forth at the end with another dose of wit, perhaps a little bit of a follow up discussion: “I am surprised Mrs. Marriot should not be taller–Surely You have made a mistake.–Did Mr. Roland make you look well?–” (Austen’s own spelling and punctuation.)

Austen adds a postscript, about Mr. Austen opinions on these purchases and or gifts sent by Cassandra: “My father approves his Stockings very highly–& finds no fault with any part of Mrs. Hancock’s bill except the charge of 3s 6d for the Packing box.–”

All cites to: Jane Austen’s Letters, Fourth Edition, Collected and Edited by Deirdre Le Faye, Oxford University Press, 2011.