Jane Austen’s May 1801 Letters: Letter 35

Letter 35: Tuesday 5th to Wednesday 6th May 1801

In this letter, Jane describes for her sister the journey she and her mother have just made to their new life in Bath, arriving Monday, 4 May. (Cassandra and their father followed later.)  They travel by hired post-chaise, the most comfortable form of transport at the time.  Arriving at Bath, they stay with Uncle and Aunt Leigh Perrot at No. 1 Paragon while they look about for a settled home of their own. They waste no time: and on Tuesday Jane and her Uncle go house hunting to Green Park Buildings.  House hunting and the new clothes, made by local dressmakers, that they need for their more extensive social lives, form sustained topics through these letters.


‘Frank, whose black head was in waiting’: Frank may be a black servant employed by the Leigh Perrots


There is to be only one more Ball: Arriving in May coincided with the end of the main social season, which ran during the winter and spring months. Though the baths and pump-rooms remained open all year, balls were over.  For Jane who loved dancing, this would be a blow.  It also threw her even more on the Leigh Perrots’ private parties and dull acquaintances.