On March 6 1814, Jane Austen continues to writes to her sister Cassandra.
Sunday. — I find a little time before breakfast for writing. It was considerably past four when they arrived yesterday, the roads were so very bad! As it was, they had four horses from Cranford Bridge. Fanny was miserably cold at first, but they both seem well.
No possibility of Edwd.’s writing. His opinion, however, inclines against a second prosecution; he thinks it would be a vindictive measure. He might think differently, perhaps, on the spot. But things must take their chance.
We were quite satisfied with Kean. I cannot imagine better acting, but the part was too short; and, excepting him and Miss Smith, and she did not quite answer my expectation, the parts were ill filled and the play heavy. We were too much tired to stay for the whole of “Illusion” (“Nour-jahad”), which has three acts; there is a great deal of finery and dancing in it, but I think little merit. Elliston was “Nour-jahad,” but it is a solemn sort of part, not at all calculated for his powers. There was nothing of the best Elliston about him. I might not have known him but for his voice.
A grand thought has struck me as to our gowns. This six weeks’ mourning makes so great a difference that I shall not go to Miss Hare till you can come and help choose yourself, unless you particularly wish the contrary. It may be hardly worth while perhaps to have the gowns so expensively made up. We may buy a cap or a veil instead; but we can talk more of this together.
Henry is just come down; he seems well, his cold does not increase. I expected to have found Edward seated at a table writing to Louisa, but I was first. Fanny I left fast asleep. She was doing about last night when I went to sleep, a little after one. I am most happy to find there were but five shirts. She thanks you for your note, and reproaches herself for not having written to you, but I assure her there was no occasion.
The accounts are not capital of Lady B. Upon the whole, I believe, Fanny liked Bath very well. They were only out three evenings, to one play and each of the rooms. Walked about a good deal, and saw a good deal of the Harrisons and Wildmans. All the Bridges are likely to come away together, and Louisa will probably turn off at Dartford to go to Harriot. Edward is quite [MS. torn].
Now we are come from church, and all going to write. Almost everybody was in mourning last night, but my brown gown did very well. Genl. Chowne was introduced to me; he has not much remains of Frederick. This young Wyndham does not come after all; a very long and very civil note of excuse is arrived. It makes one moralise upon the ups and downs of this life.
I have determined to trim my lilac sarsenet with black satin ribbon just as my China crape is, 6d. width at the bottom, 3d. or 4d., at top. Ribbon trimmings are all the fashion at Bath, and I dare say the fashions of the two places are alike enough in that point to content me. With this addition it will be a very useful gown, happy to go anywhere.
Henry has this moment said that he likes my M. P. [Mansfield Park] better and better; he is in the third volume. I believe now he has changed his mind as to foreseeing the end; he said yesterday, at least, that he defied anybody to say whether H. C. would be reformed, or would forget Fanny in a fortnight.
I shall like to see Kean again excessively, and to see him with you too. It appeared to me as if there were no fault in him anywhere; and in his scene with “Tubal” there was exquisite acting.
Edward has had a correspondence with Mr. Wickham on the Baigent business, and has been showing me some letters enclosed by Mr. W. from a friend of his, a lawyer, whom he had consulted about it, and whose opinion is for the prosecution for assault, supposing the boy is acquitted on the first, which he rather expects. Excellent letters; and I am sure he must be an excellent man. They are such thinking, clear, considerate letters as Frank might have written. I long to know who he is, but the name is always torn off. He was consulted only as a friend. When Edwd. gave me his opinions against the second prosecution he had not read this letter, which was waiting for him here. Mr. W. is to be on the grand jury. This business must hasten an intimacy between his family and my brothers.
Fanny cannot answer your question about button-holes till she gets home.
I have never told you, but soon after Henry and I began our journey he said, talking of yours, that he should desire you to come post at his expense, and added something of the carriage meeting you at Kingston. He has said nothing about it since.
Now I have just read Mr. Wickham’s letter, by which it appears that the letters of his friend were sent to my brother quite confidentially, therefore don’t tell. By his expression, this friend must be one of the judges.
A cold day, but bright and clear. I am afraid your planting can hardly have begun. I am sorry to hear that there has been a rise in tea. I do not mean to pay Twining till later in the day, when we may order a fresh supply. I long to know something of the mead, and how you are off for a cook.