Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters

A Family Record

Chapter XII

From Bath to Southampton


The addition of Martha to the family party made it easy for the two sisters to leave their mother in August and pay a visit to Godmersham; and owing to the fact that they, each in turn, varied their stay at Godmersham by paying a short visit to Lady Bridges at Goodnestone Farm, we have three brief letters from Jane at this date. She was spending her time in the usual way, seeing a good deal of her sister-in-law's neighbours and connexions, and playing with her nephews and nieces.

Godmersham Park: Saturday [August 24, 1805].

MY DEAR CASSANDRA,-- . . . George[146] is a fine boy, and well behaved, but Daniel chiefly delighted me; the good humour of his countenance is quite bewitching. After tea we had a cribbage-table, and he and I won two rubbers of his brother and Mrs. Mary. Mr. Brett was the only person there, besides our two families.

* * * * *

Yesterday was a very quiet day with us; my noisiest efforts were writing to Frank, and playing battledore and shuttlecock with William; he and I have practised together two mornings, and improve a little; we have frequently kept it up three times, and once or twice six.

The two Edwards went to Canterbury in the chaise, and found Mrs. Knight as you found her, I suppose, the day before, cheerful but weak.

* * * * *

I have been used very ill this morning: I have received a letter from Frank which I ought to have had when Elizabeth and Henry had theirs, and which in its way from Albany[147] to Godmersham has been to Dover and Steventon. It was finished on the 16th, and tells what theirs told before as to his present situation[148]; he is in a great hurry to be married, and I have encouraged him in it, in the letter which ought to have been an answer to his. He must think it very strange that I do not acknowledge the receipt of his, when I speak of those of the same date to Eliz. and Henry; and to add to my injuries, I forgot to number mine on the outside.

* * * * *

Elizabeth has this moment proposed a scheme which will be very much for my pleasure if equally convenient to the other party; it is that when you return on Monday, I should take your place at Goodnestone for a few days. Harriot cannot be insincere, let her try for it ever so much, and therefore I defy her to accept this self-invitation of mine, unless it be really what perfectly suits her. As there is no time for an answer, I shall go in the carriage on Monday, and can return with you, if my going to Goodnestone is at all inconvenient.

Goodnestone Farm: Tuesday [August 27, 1805].

There is no chance of tickets for the Mr. Bridgeses, as no gentlemen but of the garrison are invited.

With a civil note to be fabricated to Lady F., and an answer written to Miss H., you will easily believe that we could not begin dinner till six. We were agreeably surprised by Edward Bridges's company to it. He had been, strange to tell, too late for the cricket match, too late at least to play himself, and, not being asked to dine with the players,[149] came home. It is impossible to do justice to the hospitality of his attentions towards me; he made a point of ordering toasted cheese for supper entirely on my account.

Goodnestone Farm: Friday [August 30, 1805].

Next week seems likely to be an unpleasant one to this family on the matter of game. The evil intentions of the Guards are certain, and the gentlemen of the neighbourhood seem unwilling to come forward in any decided or early support of their rights. Edward Bridges has been trying to rouse their spirits, but without success. Mr. Hammond, under the influence of daughters and an expected ball, declares he will do nothing. . . .

Yours affectionately,
J. A.

Cassandra and Jane had a scheme for going to Worthing with some of their young nephews and nieces; but we can say no more about the plan, for the letters now cease until January 1807. As for the events of 1806, there is every reason to believe that the Austens spent the first part of that year in Bath, dividing their time somewhat uncomfortably between different lodgings.[150]

Meanwhile, Francis Austen had been helping to make history--though not always in so front a rank as he would have desired to occupy. We left him raising the 'sea fencibles' at Ramsgate, instructing the defenders of the coast, and considering the possibilities of a landing by the French in their flat-bottomed vessels. It was at Ramsgate that he was noted as 'the officer who knelt in Church,' and it was there that he met and fell in love with his future wife, Mary Gibson. She became in time one of the best loved of the sisters-in-law; but we are told that at the time the engagement was a slight shock to Cassandra and Jane, because the lady chosen was not Martha Lloyd, as they had hoped she might be.

Immediate marriage was out of the question, and in May 1804 Frank was appointed to the Leopard, the flagship of Admiral Louis, who at this time held a command in the squadron blockading Napoleon's flotilla. Frank's removal from the Leopard to the Canopus[151] brought him home, for a short time, just at the date of his father's death in January 1805. In March, Admiral Louis hoisted his flag in the Canopus and soon became second-in-command to Nelson. Frank, as his flag-captain, took part in the chase after Villeneuve to the West Indies and back. Thus far, fortune had favoured him: a state of things which seemed likely to continue, as he was personally known to Nelson and had reason to hope that he would soon give him the command of a frigate. But a sad reverse was in store for him. September was spent in blockading Cadiz; and, after Nelson's arrival from England in the Victory on September 28, the Canopus was ordered to 'complete supplies'[152] at Gibraltar. After this, followed an order to Admiral Louis to give protection, as far as Cartagena, to a convoy proceeding to Malta. Shaking themselves free from this duty on the news that the enemy's fleet was coming out of Cadiz, they made haste to join the main fleet in spite of contrary winds, and with the dreadful apprehension of being too late for the imminent battle. 'I do not profess,' he writes to Mary Gibson, 'to like fighting for its own sake, but if there has been an action with the combined fleets I shall ever consider the day on which I sailed from the squadron as the most inauspicious one of my life.' Six days later (on October 27) he had to add: 'Alas! my dearest Mary, all my fears are but too fully justified. The fleets have met, and, after a very severe contest, a most decisive victory has been gained by the English. . . . To lose all share in the glory of a day which surpasses all that ever went before is what I cannot think of with any degree of patience.' But he soon turns from selfish regrets to speak of the death of Nelson, and adds: 'I never heard of his equal, nor do I expect again to see such a man. To the soundest judgment he united prompt decision and speedy execution of his plans; and he possessed in a superior degree the happy talent of making every class of persons pleased with their situation, and eager to exert themselves in forwarding the public service.'

For his personal disappointment, Frank was, to a certain extent, consoled by taking part in Sir John Duckworth's cruise to the West Indies and in the victory over the French at St. Domingo; the squadron returning home, with three prizes, to receive the thanks of Parliament on their arrival at the beginning of May 1806. In the following July, Francis Austen and Mary Gibson were married.[153]

Meanwhile, the long residence at Bath of his mother and sisters had come to an end. On July 2, Mrs. Austen, her two daughters, and Martha Lloyd, left Bath. Cassandra and Jane were thoroughly tired of the place--so says Jane in a letter written two years afterwards to Cassandra, reminding her of their happy feelings of escape.[154] The immediate destination of the party was Clifton, and here Martha Lloyd left them--perhaps for Harrogate in accordance with the lines quoted above.[155] The Austens did not stay long at Clifton, and by the end of the month were at Adlestrop Rectory on a visit to Mr. Thomas Leigh; but neither did this prove more than a brief resting-place, for on August 5 they set out, in somewhat peculiar circumstances, together with Mr. Leigh, his sister (Miss Elizabeth Leigh), Mr. Hill (agent of Mr. Leigh),[156] and all the house party, to stay at Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire.

The circumstances were as follows. On July 2, 1806, occurred the death of the Hon. Mary Leigh, who had been for twenty years life-tenant of the Stoneleigh estates, under the will of her brother, the last Lord Leigh. The estates now passed--according to Lord Leigh's will--unto the first and nearest of his kindred, being male and of his blood and name, that should be alive at the time. All the Leighs of the Stoneleigh branch had died out, and an heir had to be sought among their remote cousins, the Adlestrop Leighs. In ordinary circumstances the heir would have been James Henry Leigh, who was the head of this branch; but by the peculiar wording of Lord Leigh's will, all those of an older generation who were thus 'the first and nearest of his blood and name' appeared to take precedence of the natural heir, although this does not seem to have been the intention of Lord Leigh.[157]

The eldest Leigh was the Rev. Thomas Leigh,[158] who therefore became the legal owner of Stoneleigh; but as it was thought possible that there might be other claimants, Mr. Leigh's solicitor advised his taking immediate possession; and accordingly Mr. Leigh and all his house party moved from Adlestrop to Stoneleigh.

This visit, and the whole question of the succession to Stoneleigh, must have been especially interesting to Jane's mother; for it seemed likely that Mrs. Austen's own brother, Mr. Leigh Perrot, would, under the terms of the will, have a life interest in the estate after Mr. Thomas Leigh, if he survived him. It was, however, obviously most in accordance with the desire of the testator, and with the general opinion of the family, that the estate should go according to the usual rules of succession by primogeniture in the Adlestrop branch; and as all the parties to the transaction were on excellent terms with each other, and as they believed it to be quite doubtful what interpretation a court of law would put upon the will, they settled the matter without any such intervention. Mr. Leigh Perrot resigned his claim to the estate and gained instead a capital sum of 24,000 and an annuity of 2000, which lasted until the death of his wife in 1835. This is no doubt the agreement with Adlestrop, mentioned below in the letter of February 20, 1807,[159] and it must, one would think, have been considered satisfactory: indeed, the writer speaks of the negotiation as 'happily over.' The remaining clause in it which ensured to the Leigh Perrots two bucks, two does, and the game off one manor annually was less successful, for the bucks sometimes arrived in such a condition as to demand immediate burial. Yet it can hardly have been this which made Jane at a later date speak of the 'vile compromise': we should rather treat this expression as one of her obiter dicta, not meant to be taken seriously.

'And here,' writes Mrs. Austen on August 13, 1806, 'we found ourselves on Tuesday (that is, yesterday se'nnight), eating fish, venison, and all manner of good things, in a large and noble parlour hung round with family portraits.'

Mrs. Austen had expected to find Stoneleigh very grand, but the magnificence of the place surpassed her expectations. After describing its exterior, she adds:--

At nine in the morning we say our prayers in a handsome chapel of which the pulpit, &c., is now hung in black. Then follows breakfast, consisting of chocolate, coffee, and tea, plum cake, pound cake, hot rolls, cold rolls, bread and butter, and dry toast for me. The house steward, a fine large respectable-looking man, orders all these matters. Mr. Leigh and Mr. Hill are busy a great part of the morning. We walk a good deal, for the woods are impenetrable to the sun, even in the middle of an August day. I do not fail to spend some part of every day in the kitchen garden, where the quantity of small fruit exceeds anything you can form an idea of.

She concludes her letter by saying:--

Our visit has been a most pleasant one. We all seem in good humour, disposed to be pleased, and endeavouring to be agreeable, and I hope we succeed. Poor Lady Saye and Sele, to be sure, is rather tormenting, though sometimes amusing, and affords Jane many a good laugh, but she fatigues me sadly on the whole. To-morrow we depart. We have seen the remains of Kenilworth, which afforded us much entertainment, and I expect still more from the sight of Warwick Castle, which we are going to see to-day.[160]

From Stoneleigh, we may imagine the Austens to have gone on to pay a promised visit to Hamstall-Ridware--Edward Cooper's living in Staffordshire; but the curtain drops on them once more, and is not raised again until Jane is writing from Southampton on January 7, 1807. Owing to the gap in the letters, we have no means of knowing why the Austens selected Southampton as a home; nor are we told what Jane herself thought of the place. At any rate, it was a change from Bath, and she preferred it to Canterbury, which, from its nearness to Godmersham, would have been another very suitable place of residence. Southampton was in her old county, and within fairly easy reach of her old home; and probably one reason for choosing the neighbourhood of a naval centre was, that it enabled them to join forces with Frank Austen and his newly married wife: but we should doubt whether Jane ever felt really at home during her two or three years' residence there, or took much to the society of the place. No doubt the partnership with the Frank Austens and with Martha made it possible for the party to command better quarters, and to live in greater comfort than would have been within reach of the slender means of the Austens by themselves; and when Jane's letters begin again it is pretty clear that the party, though still in lodgings,[161] were getting ready to take possession in March of their house in Castle Square. They were living in a very quiet way, not caring to add to their acquaintance more than was necessary. Cassandra was at this time on a visit to Godmersham, and Martha Lloyd was also away. The Austens were near enough to Steventon to be visited occasionally by James Austen and his wife; and between their own acquaintance, and Frank's friends in the service, they had what they wanted in the way of society.

Southampton: Wednesday [January 7, 1807].

Of your visit there [to Canterbury] I must now speak 'incessantly'; it surprises, but pleases me more, and I consider it as a very just and honourable distinction of you, and not less to the credit of Mrs. Knight. I have no doubt of your spending your time with her most pleasantly in quiet and rational conversation, and am so far from thinking her expectations of you will be deceived, that my only fear is of your being so agreeable, so much to her taste, as to make her wish to keep you with her for ever. If that should be the case, we must remove to Canterbury, which I should not like so well as Southampton.

* * * * *

Alphonsine[162] did not do. We were disgusted in twenty pages, as, independent of a bad translation, it has indelicacies which disgrace a pen hitherto so pure; and we changed it for The Female Quixote which now makes our evening amusement: to me a very high one, as I find the work quite equal to what I remembered it.

* * * * *

Our acquaintance increase too fast. He [Frank] was recognised lately by Admiral Bertie, and a few days since arrived the Admiral and his daughter Catherine to wait upon us. There was nothing to like or dislike in either. To the Berties are to be added the Lances, with whose cards we have been endowed, and whose visit Frank and I returned yesterday. They live about a mile and three-quarters from S[outhampton] to the right of the new road to Portsmouth, and I believe their house is one of those which are to be seen almost anywhere among the woods on the other side of the Itchen. It is a handsome building, stands high, and in a very beautiful situation.

We found only Mrs. Lance at home, and whether she boasts any offspring besides a grand pianoforte did not appear. She was civil and chatty enough, and offered to introduce us to some acquaintance in Southampton, which we gratefully declined.

I suppose they must be acting by the orders of Mr. Lance of Netherton in this civility, as there seems no other reason for their coming near us.

Southampton: [February 8, 1807].

Our garden is putting in order by a man who bears a remarkably good character, has a very fine complexion, and asks something less than the first. The shrubs which border the gravel walk, he says, are only sweetbriar and roses, and the latter of an indifferent sort; we mean to get a few of the better kind, therefore, and at my own particular desire he procures us some syringas. I could not do without a syringa, for the sake of Cowper's line.[163] We talk also of a laburnum. The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.

The alterations and improvements within doors, too, advance very properly, and the offices will be made very convenient indeed. Our dressing table is constructing on the spot, out of a large kitchen table belonging to the house, for doing which we have the permission of Mr. Husket, Lord Lansdown's[164] painter--domestic painter, I should call him, for he lives in the castle. Domestic chaplains have given way to this more necessary office, and I suppose whenever the walls want no touching up he is employed about my lady's face.

The morning was so wet that I was afraid we should not be able to see our little visitor, but Frank, who alone could go to church, called for her after service, and she is now talking away at my side and examining the treasures of my writing-desk drawers--very happy, I believe. Not at all shy, of course. Her name is Catherine, and her sister's Caroline. She is something like her brother, and as short for her age, but not so well-looking.

What is become of all the shyness in the world? Moral as well as natural diseases disappear in the progress of time, and new ones take their place. Shyness and the sweating sickness have given way to confidence and paralytic complaints.

* * * * *

Evening.--Our little visitor has just left us, and left us highly pleased with her; she is a nice, natural, open-hearted, affectionate girl, with all the ready civility which one sees in the best children in the present day; so unlike anything that I was myself at her age, that I am often all astonishment and shame. Half her time was spent at spillikins, which I consider as a very valuable part of our household furniture, and as not the least important benefaction from the family of Knight to that of Austen.

* * * * *

There, I flatter myself I have constructed you a smartish letter, considering my want of materials, but, like my dear Dr. Johnson, I believe I have dealt more in notions than facts[165].

Southampton: [Friday, February 20, 1807].

We have at last heard something of Mr. Austen's[166] will. It is believed at Tunbridge that he has left everything after the death of his widow to Mr. M. Austen's third son John; and, as the said John was the only one of the family who attended the funeral, it seems likely to be true.

* * * * *

My mother has heard this morning from Paragon. My aunt talks much of the violent colds prevailing in Bath, from which my uncle has suffered ever since their return, and she has herself a cough much worse than any she ever had before, subject as she has always been to bad ones. She writes in good humour and cheerful spirits, however. The negotiation between them and Adlestrop so happily over, indeed, what can have power to vex her materially?

* * * * *

Saturday.--I have received your letter, but I suppose you do not expect me to be gratified by its contents. I confess myself much disappointed by this repeated delay of your return, for though I had pretty well given up all idea of your being with us before our removal, I felt sure that March would not pass quite away without bringing you. Before April comes, of course something else will occur to detain you. But as you are happy, all this is selfishness, of which here is enough for one page.

* * * * *

Frank's going into Kent depends, of course, upon his being unemployed; but as the First Lord, after promising Lord Moira that Captain A. should have the first good frigate that was vacant, has since given away two or three fine ones, he has no particular reason to expect an appointment now. He, however, has scarcely spoken about the Kentish journey. I have my information chiefly from her, and she considers her own going thither as more certain if he should be at sea than if not.

Frank has got a very bad cough, for an Austen; but it does not disable him from making very nice fringe for the drawing-room curtains.

* * * * *

I recommend Mrs. Grant's[167] letters, as a present to her [Martha]; what they are about, and how many volumes they form, I do not know, having never heard of them but from Miss Irvine, who speaks of them as a new and much-admired work, and as one which has pleased her highly. I have inquired for the book here, but find it quite unknown.

* * * * *

We are reading Baretti's other book,[168] and find him dreadfully abusive of poor Mr. Sharpe. I can no longer take his part against you, as I did nine years ago.

Our knowledge of the house which was the Austens' home at Southampton for two years, and of its surroundings, is derived from the personal reminiscences of the author of the Memoir, who was now old enough to visit his relatives, and who tells us that at this time he began to know, and 'what was the same thing, to love' his Aunt Jane. 'They lived,' he says,[169] 'in a commodious old-fashioned house in a corner of Castle Square . . . with a pleasant garden, bounded on one side by the old city walls; the top of this wall was sufficiently wide to afford a pleasant walk, with an extensive view easily accessible to ladies by steps.' Castle Square itself was occupied 'by a fantastic edifice, too large for the space in which it stood, though too small to accord well with its castellated style, erected by the second Marquis of Lansdowne.' The whole of this building disappeared after the death of its eccentric owner in November 1809. His half-brother and successor in the peerage--the well-known statesman--became in after life an ardent admirer of Jane Austen's novels, and told a friend[170] that 'one of the circumstances of his life which he looked back upon with vexation was that Miss Austen should once have been living some weeks in his neighbourhood without his knowing it.' Had he known it, however, he would have had no reason--in the Southampton period--for imagining her to be an author.

On March 9, 1807, we may imagine the party taking possession of their new house; but Frank can have seen but little of it before he took command of the St. Albans in April, and went to the Cape of Good Hope on convoying duty. He was back by June 30.

On Cassandra's return, the two sisters must have been together for a considerable period; but till June 1808 we know little that is definite about them, except that in September 1807, together with their mother, they paid a visit to Chawton House--Edward Austen's Hampshire residence.[171]

During these years, Charles Austen was long engaged in the unpleasant and unprofitable duty of enforcing the right of search on the Atlantic seaboard of America. Hardly anything is said in the extant letters of his marriage to Fanny Palmer, daughter of the Attorney-General of Bermuda, which took place in 1807.

The month of June 1808 found Jane staying with her brother Henry in Brompton[172]; but we have no details of her stay beyond the fact that she watched some of her acquaintance going to Court on the King's birthday. On June 14 she left London with her brother James, his wife and two children, on a visit to Godmersham.

Godmersham: Wednesday [June 15, 1808].

MY DEAR CASSANDRA,--Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first? At half after seven yesterday morning Henry saw us into our own carriage, and we drove away from the Bath Hotel; which, by-the-bye, had been found most uncomfortable quarters--very dirty, very noisy, and very ill-provided. James began his journey by the coach at five. Our first eight miles were hot; Deptford Hill brought to my mind our hot journey into Kent fourteen years ago; but after Blackheath we suffered nothing, and as the day advanced it grew quite cool. At Dartford, which we reached within the two hours and three-quarters, we went to the Bull, the same inn at which we breakfasted in that said journey, and on the present occasion had about the same bad butter.

At half-past ten we were again off, and, travelling on without any adventure reached Sittingbourne by three. Daniel was watching for us at the door of the 'George,' and I was acknowledged very kindly by Mr. and Mrs. Marshall, to the latter of whom I devoted my conversation, while Mary went out to buy some gloves. A few minutes, of course, did for Sittingbourne; and so off we drove, drove, drove, and by six o'clock were at Godmersham.

Our two brothers[173] were walking before the house as we approached, as natural as life. Fanny and Lizzie met us in the Hall with a great deal of pleasant joy; we went for a few minutes into the breakfast parlour, and then proceeded to our rooms. Mary has the Hall chamber. I am in the Yellow room--very literally--for I am writing in it at this moment. It seems odd to me to have such a great place all to myself, and to be at Godmersham without you is also odd.

You are wished for, I assure you: Fanny, who came to me as soon as she had seen her Aunt James to her room, and stayed while I dressed, was as energetic as usual in her longings for you. She is grown both in height and size since last year, but not immoderately, looks very well, and seems as to conduct and manner just what she was and what one could wish her to continue.

Elizabeth, who was dressing when we arrived, came to me for a minute attended by Marianne, Charles, and Louisa, and, you will not doubt, gave me a very affectionate welcome. That I had received such from Edward also I need not mention; but I do, you see, because it is a pleasure. I never saw him look in better health, and Fanny says he is perfectly well. I cannot praise Elizabeth's looks, but they are probably affected by a cold. Her little namesake has gained in beauty in the last three years, though not all that Marianne has lost. Charles is not quite so lovely as he was. Louisa is much as I expected, and Cassandra I find handsomer than I expected, though at present disguised by such a violent breaking-out that she does not come down after dinner. She has charming eyes and a nice open countenance, and seems likely to be very lovable. Her size is magnificent.

* * * * *

Thursday.-- . . . I feel rather languid and solitary--perhaps because I have a cold; but three years ago we were more animated with you and Harriot and Miss Sharpe. We shall improve, I dare say, as we go on.

* * * * *

Friday.--Edward and Caroline[174] seem very happy here; he has nice play-fellows in Lizzie and Charles. They and their attendant have the boys' attic. Anna will not be surprised that the cutting off her hair is very much regretted by several of the party in this house; I am tolerably reconciled to it by considering that two or three years may restore it again.

Godmersham: Monday [June 20, 1808].

This morning brought me a letter from Mrs. Knight, containing the usual fee, and all the usual kindness. She asks me to spend a day or two with her this week, to meet Mrs. C. Knatchbull, who, with her husband, comes to the White Friars to-day, and I believe I shall go. I have consulted Edward, and think it will be arranged for Mrs. J. A.'s going with me one morning, my staying the night, and Edward driving me home the next evening. Her very agreeable present will make my circumstances quite easy. I shall reserve half for my pelisse.

* * * * *

Wednesday.--I sent my answer by them [the Moores] to Mrs. Knight; my double acceptance of her note and her invitation, which I wrote without effort, for I am rich, and the rich are always respectable, whatever be their style of writing.

Ought I to be very much pleased with Marmion?[175] As yet I am not. James reads it aloud every evening--the short evening, beginning at about ten, and broken by supper.

Godmersham: Sunday [June 26, 1808].

I am very much obliged to you for writing to me on Thursday, and very glad that I owe the pleasure of hearing from you again so soon to such an agreeable cause; but you will not be surprised, nor perhaps so angry as I should be, to find that Frank's history had reached me before in a letter from Henry. We are all very happy to hear of his health and safety; he wants nothing but a good prize to be a perfect character.

* * * * *

They [the Knatchbulls] return into Somersetshire by way of Sussex and Hants, and are to be at Fareham, and, perhaps, may be in Southampton, on which possibility I said all that I thought right, and, if they are in the place Mrs. K. has promised to call in Castle Square; it will be about the end of July. . . . You and I need not tell each other how glad we shall be to receive attention from, or pay it to anyone connected with Mrs. Knight. I cannot help regretting that now, when I feel enough her equal to relish her society, I see so little of the latter.

Godmersham: Thursday [June 30, 1808].

You are very kind in mentioning old Mrs. Williams so often. Poor creature! I cannot help hoping that each letter may tell of her suffering being over. If she wants sugar I should like to supply her with it.

* * * * *

I give you all joy of Frank's return, which happens in the true sailor way, just after our being told not to expect him for some weeks. The wind has been very much against him, but I suppose he must be in our neighbourhood by this time. Fanny is in hourly expectation of him here. Mary's visit in the island is probably shortened by this event. Make our kind love and congratulations to her.

* * * * *

James and Edward are gone to Sandling to-day--a nice scheme for James, as it will show him a new and fine country. Edward certainly excels in doing the honours to his visitors, and providing for their amusement. They come back this evening.

* * * * *

It is pleasant to be among people who know one's connections and care about them, and it amuses me to hear John Bridges talk of 'Frank.' I have thought a little of writing to the Downs, but I shall not, it is so very certain that he would be somewhere else when my letter got there.

* * * * *

Friday, July 1.--It will be two years to-morrow since we left Bath for Clifton, with what happy feelings of escape!

* * * * *

In another week I shall be at home, and there, my having been at Godmersham will seem like a dream, as my visit to Brompton seems already.

* * * * *

The orange wine will want our care soon. But in the meantime, for elegance and ease and luxury, the Hattons and the Milles' dine here to-day, and I shall eat ice and drink French wine, and be above vulgar economy. Luckily the pleasures of friendship, of unreserved conversation, of similarity of taste and opinions, will make good amends for orange wine.

Little Edward is quite well again.

Yours affectionately, with love from all,
J. A.


[146] George (Hatton) was afterwards Earl of Winchilsea; Daniel was Rector of Great Weldon and Chaplain to Queen Victoria.

[147] Henry's banking premises were then in Albany, Piccadilly.

[148] At Ushant, after the chase of Villeneuve.

[149] The cricket dinner seems to have come at the end of the play, as it did in the celebrated match played at a somewhat later date in the same county between All-Muggleton and Dingley Dell (Pickwick Papers, chapter vii.).

[150] A letter from Mrs. Austen is extant, dated 'April 1806, Trim Street still.' Most writers state that the Austens went to Southampton towards the end of 1805--a year too early.

[151] Jane afterwards asked Frank's leave to introduce the names of some of his ships (one of which was the Canopus) into Mansfield Park.

[152] This order is said to have been given to each squadron in succession; and it is evident that the ships of Admiral Louis's squadron were especially likely to be in need of supplies, as they had taken their part in Nelson's chase of Villeneuve.

[153] Sailor Brothers, chaps. ix, x, and xi.

[154] See p. 208.

[155] See p. 70.

[156] Probably Joseph Hill--the frequent correspondent of the poet Cowper.

[157] Miss Mary Leigh left her property--in so far as she had any right to do so--in trust for (a) the Rev. Thomas Leigh; (b) James Leigh Perrot; (c) William Henry Leigh.

[158] Not to be confused with his uncle, Thomas Leigh, Rector of Harpsden and father of Mrs. Austen.

[159] See p. 201.

[160] This letter is quoted by Miss Hill, pp. 163-7.

[161] Unfortunately, Jane appears to date her letters merely 'Southampton,' until she moved to Castle Square.

[162] Alphonsine, by Madame de Genlis; The Female Quixote, published 1752, by Mrs. Charlotte Lennox, author of the phrase: 'A thought strikes me: let us swear an eternal friendship.'

[163] Miss Hill supplies us with the line from The Task, 'The Winter Walk at Noon,' ll. 149-50:-- 'Laburnum rich In streaming gold; syringa, ivory pure.'

[164] The Austens were about to become Lord Lansdowne's tenants in Castle Square.

[165] Johnson to Boswell, July 4, 1774.--Birkbeck Hill's Boswell, ii. 279.

[166] Mr. John Austen of Broadford, under whose will the property at Horsmonden came into the possession of the family of 'Uncle Frank' on the failure of his own direct heirs. See Chapter I.

[167] Letters from the Mountains: being the real Correspondence of a Lady, between 1773 and 1807, by Mrs. Grant of Laggan.

[168] Probably An Account of the Manners and Customs of Italy, etc. London, 1768-9.

[169] Memoir, p. 77.

[170] Ibid. p. 140.

[171] Brabourne, vol. ii. p. 116.

[172] The Henry Austens were then living at 16 Michael's Place, Brompton--a row of houses on the site of the present Egerton Mansions.

[173] James having arrived by the coach before the others.

[174] Son and daughter of James.

[175] Mr. W. Fowle speaks of a visit to Steventon, when Jane read 'very sweetly' the first canto of Marmion. By that time she was no doubt a warm admirer of the poem.