Letters To Cassandra

March 4, 2012 Whitney Uncategorized 1 Comment

 While searching on the internet to learn more on Jane Austen I found a grouping of letters written to her sister Cassandra.  I thought this would be an interesting way to get a closer look into her everyday life.

Steventon: Saturday (January 9, 1796).

In the first place I hope you will live twenty-three years longer.
Mr. Tom Lefroy’s birthday was yesterday, so that you are very near
of an age.

After this necessary preamble I shall proceed to inform you that we
had an exceeding good ball last night, and that I was very much
disappointed at not seeing Charles Fowle of the party, as I had
previously heard of his being invited. In addition to our set
at the Harwoods’ ball, we had the Grants, St. Johns, Lady Rivers,
her three daughters and a son, Mr. and Miss Heathcote, Mrs. Lefevre,
two Mr. Watkins, Mr. J. Portal, Miss Deanes, two Miss Ledgers,
and a tall clergyman who came with them, whose name Mary would
never have guessed.

We were so terrible good as to take James in our carriage, though there
were three of us before, but indeed he deserves encouragement for
the very great improvement which has lately taken place in his dancing.
Miss Heathcote is pretty, but not near so handsome as I expected.
Mr. H. began with Elizabeth, and afterwards danced with her again;
but they do not know how to be particular. I flatter myself,
however, that they will profit by the three successive lessons
which I have given them.

You scold me so much in the nice long letter which I have this moment
received from you, that I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish
friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate
and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together.
I can expose myself however, only once more, because he leaves
the country soon after next Friday, on which day we are to
have a dance at Ashe after all. He is a very gentlemanlike,
good-looking, pleasant young man, I assure you. But as to our
having ever met, except at the three last balls, I cannot say much;
for he is so excessively laughed at about me at Ashe, that he is
ashamed of coming to Steventon, and ran away when we called on
Mrs. Lefroy a few days ago.

We left Warren at Dean Gate, in our way home last night,
and he is now on his road to town. He left his love, &c., to you,
and I will deliver it when we meet. Henry goes to Harden to-day
in his way to his Master’s degree. We shall feel the loss
of these two most agreeable young men exceedingly, and shall have
nothing to console us till the arrival of the Coopers on Tuesday.
As they will stay here till the Monday following, perhaps Caroline
will go to the Ashe ball with me, though I dare say she will not.

I danced twice with Warren last night, and once with Mr. Charles Watkins,
and, to my inexpressible astonishment, I entirely escaped John Lyford.
I was forced to fight hard for it, however. We had a very good supper,
and the greenhouse was illuminated in a very elegant manner.

We had a visit yesterday morning from Mr. Benjamin Portal, whose eyes
are as handsome as ever. Everybody is extremely anxious for your return,
but as you cannot come home by the Ashe ball, I am glad that I
have not fed them with false hopes. James danced with Alithea,
and cut up the turkey last night with great perseverance. You say
nothing of the silk stockings; I flatter myself, therefore, that Charles
has not purchased any, as I cannot very well afford to pay for them;
all my money is spent in buying white gloves and pink persian.
I wish Charles had been at Manydown, because he would have given you
some description of my friend, and I think you must be impatient
to hear something about him.

Henry is still hankering after the Regulars, and as his project
of purchasing the adjutancy of the Oxfordshire is now over, he has
got a scheme in his head about getting a lieutenancy and adjutancy
in the 86th, a new-raised regiment, which he fancies will be
ordered to the Cape of Good Hope. I heartily hope that he will,
as usual, be disappointed in this scheme. We have trimmed up
and given away all the old paper hats of Mamma’s manufacture;
I hope you will not regret the loss of yours.

After I had written the above, we received a visit from Mr. Tom Lefroy
and his cousin George. The latter is really very well-behaved now;
and as for the other, he has but one fault, which time will, I trust,
entirely remove — it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light.
He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, and therefore wears the same
coloured clothes, I imagine, which he did when he was wounded.
Sunday. — By not returning till the 19th, you will exactly contrive
to miss seeing the Coopers, which I suppose it is your wish to do.
We have heard nothing from Charles for some time. One would suppose
they must have sailed by this time, as the wind is so favourable.
What a funny name Tom has got for his vessel! But he has no taste
in names, as we well know, and I dare say he christened it himself.
I am sorry for the Beaches’ loss of their little girl, especially as it
is the one so much like me.
I condole with Miss M. on her losses and with Eliza on her gains,
and am ever yours,

J. A.

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