Letter from Mrs Austen to Mrs Walter, 20 August 1775

Object name: Letter from Mrs Austen to Mrs Walter, 20 August 1775

Object number: CHWJA:JAHLTR.37

Category: Letters

Description: A letter from Mrs Cassandra Austen to Mrs Walter, 20 August 1775. A single sheet, folded to create four pages. Some sections missing.

Made: 1775

Context: This is a letter from Jane Austen’s mother, Mrs Cassandra Austen, at Steventon, to her sister Mrs Susannah Walter at the Parsonage near Tunbridge, Kent. The letter talks of how she expects to be confined in November, referring to her pregnancy with Jane Austen, who was born in December 1775.

At the time of writing, Mrs Austen was five months pregnant with Jane, and refers to herself as ‘nimble and active’. She regrets that Mrs Walter had been unable to visit the Rectory that summer, particularly because she was in no position to make any travel plans of her own.

She also mentions her children: little Henry, then four, thought himself just as grown-up as his seven-year-old brother Edward. Two-year-old Cassie entertained her mother by talking ‘all day long’, while Francis, the youngest, was becoming a sturdy toddler.

This is a happy letter containing a delightful first reference to Jane Austen.

Read a full transcript of the letter.

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