On November 24 1815, Jane Austen writes to her sister Cassandra.
Hans Place: Friday (Nov 24).
MY DEAREST CASSANDRA, I have the pleasure of sending you a much better account of my affairs, which I know will be a great delight to you.
I wrote to Mr. Murray yesterday myself, and Henry wrote at the same time to Roworth. Before the notes were out of the house, I received three sheets and an apology from R. We sent the notes, however, and I had a most civil one in reply from Mr. M. He is so very polite, indeed, that it is quite overcoming. The printers have been waiting for paper — the blame is thrown upon the stationer; but he gives his word that I shall have no farther cause for dissatisfaction. He has lent us Miss Williams and Scott, and says that any book of his will always be at my service. In short, I am soothed and complimented into tolerable comfort.
We had a visit yesterday from Edwd. Knight, and Mr. Mascall joined him here; and this morning has brought Mr. Mascall’s compliments and two pheasants. We have some hope of Edward’s coming to dinner to-day; he will, if he can, I believe. He is looking extremely well.
To-morrow Mr. Haden is to dine with us. There is happiness! We really grow so fond of Mr. Haden that I do not know what to expect. He, and Mr. Tilson, and Mr. Philips made up our circle of wits last night; Fanny played, and he sat and listened and suggested improvements, till Richard came in to tell him that “the doctor was waiting for him at Captn. Blake’s”; and then he was off with a speed that you can imagine. He never does appear in the least above his profession, or out of humour with it, or I should think poor Captn. Blake, whoever he is, in a very bad way.
I must have misunderstood Henry when I told you that you were to hear from him to-day. He read me what he wrote to Edward: part of it must have amused him, I am sure — one part, alas! cannot be very amusing to anybody. I wonder that with such business to worry him he can be getting better, but he certainly does gain strength, and if you and Edwd. were to see him now I feel sure that you would think him improved since Monday.
He was out yesterday; it was a fine sunshiny day here (in the country perhaps you might have clouds and fogs. Dare I say so? I shall not deceive you, if I do, as to my estimation of the climate of London), and he ventured first on the balcony and then as far as the greenhouse. He caught no cold, and therefore has done more to-day, with great delight and self-persuasion of improvement.
He has been to see Mrs. Tilson and the Malings. By-the-bye, you may talk to Mr. T. of his wife’s being better; I saw her yesterday, and was sensible of her having gained ground in the last two days.
Evening. — We have had no Edward. Our circle is formed — only Mr. Tilson and Mr. Haden. We are not so happy as we were. A message came this afternoon from Mrs. Latouche and Miss East, offering themselves to drink tea with us to-morrow, and, as it was accepted, here is an end of our extreme felicity in our dinner guest. I am heartily sorry they are coming; it will be an evening spoilt to Fanny and me.
Another little disappointment: Mr. H. advises Henry’s not venturing with us in the carriage to-morrow; if it were spring, he says, it would be a different thing. One would rather this had not been. He seems to think his going out today rather imprudent, though acknowledging at the same time that he is better than he was in the morning.
Fanny has had a letter full of commissions from Goodnestone; we shall be busy about them and her own matters, I dare say, from 12 to 4. Nothing I trust will keep us from Keppel Street.
This day has brought a most friendly letter from Mr. Fowle, with a brace of pheasants. I did not know before that Henry had written to him a few days ago to ask for them. We shall live upon pheasants — no bad life!
I send you five one-pound notes, for fear you should be distressed for little money. Lizzy’s work is charmingly done; shall you put it to your chintz? A sheet came in this moment; 1st and 3rd vols. are now at 144; 2nd at 48. I am sure you will like particulars. We are not to have the trouble of returning the sheets to Mr. Murray’s any longer, the printer’s boys bring and carry.
I hope Mary continues to get well fast, and I send my love to little Herbert. You will tell me more of Martha’s plans, of course, when you write again. Remember me most kindly to everybody, and Miss Benn besides.
Yours very affectionately,
I have been listening to dreadful insanity. It is Mr. Haden’s firm belief that a person not musical is fit for every sort of wickedness. I ventured to assert a little on the other side, but wished the cause in abler hands.
Miss Austen, Chawton.