Jane Austen’s May 1801 Letters: Letter 36

Letter 36: Tuesday 12th to Wednesday 13th May 1801

One week later, and still staying with Uncle and Aunt Leigh Perrot at No. 1 Paragon, Jane writes again to Cassandra with family news and, specifically, news of the sale of furniture, books, and farm stock from Steventon. The three-day sale of the contents of the Rectory began 5 May and included Jane’s beloved piano and her books.

 

Jane’s acid comments on Mary’s greater attention to ‘their own Gains’ is a reference to brother James’s wife whom Jane views with some suspicion because, moving into Steventon Rectory, she is so clearly benefitting at the expense of Jane, her sister, and her parents.

 

Jane attends one of the last Balls of the season and finds the dancers disappointingly few.

 

There is a first mention in this letter of Mr Evelyn, who will become more intriguing by Letter 38!

 

But on the whole, we sense in this letter Jane’s weariness with the Leigh Perrots and their friends.

 

The Cassoon: or caisson; a particularly ingenious lock on the Somerset Coal Canal, and clearly a tourist attraction.