Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen 15th-16th September 1813

Object name: Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen 15th-16th September 1813

Object number: CHWJA:JAHLTR50.1-2

Category: Letter

Description: Letter from Jane Austen at Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London to Cassandra Austen at Chawton (Letter 87 in The Letters of Jane Austen edited by Deirdre Le Faye Oxford University Press, 4th edition, 2011).  The letter is headed ‘Henrietta St Wednesday-1/2 past 8’ and is addressed to ‘Miss Austen, Chawton, By favour of Mr Gray’.   Four leaves quarto; about six lines and signature cut away from top of fourth leaf.  Black wafer seal. No postmark.

Made: 15th-16th September 1813

Context: This letter was written by Jane Austen when she was staying with her fourth brother Henry at his home above his banking premises at no. 10 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, to her sister Cassandra at home in Chawton.

Jane is accompanied by her third brother Edward and his three eldest daughters; the party are en-route to Edward’s home at Godmersham in Kent, where Jane would stay until November.

It is a long, chatty letter in which Jane discusses her journey to London, her shopping trips, visits to the dressmaker to have a new gown made, two theatre trips and accompanying her nieces on painful visits to the dentist.  She had also had her hair done but wasn’t happy with the result:

‘Mr Hall was very punctual yesterday & curled me out at a great rate.  I thought it looked hideous, and longed for a snug cap instead, but my companions silenced me by their admiration.’

She shares with Cassandra her delight in hearing that Lady Robert Kerr and Warren Hastings have both praised Pride and Prejudice which had been published earlier that year. Of Warren Hastings she writes:

‘I long to have you hear Mr H’s opinion of P&P.  His admiring my Elizabeth so much is particularly welcome to me.’

Read a transcript 📖

Credit: These letters are owned jointly by the Bodleian Libraries and Jane Austen’s House. They were given from the Blavatnik Honresfield Library by the Friends of the National Libraries, 2022.

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