The Persuasive Books of Jane Austen is the title of ABE’s little stroll through “All Books Austen”:
I include a screen shot of both Mansfield Park — which is this fall’s topic at the JASNA AGM, as well as Emma — since her covers are so photogenic here!
ABE’s list was included as part of their current newsletter, which features explorations of historical novels, graphic novels, even “books by Inklings“. They call it their BUCKET LIST FOR AVID READERS.
Spencer Compton — often described here as “Lord Compton”, for in his youth he was his father’s heir and only in 1828 did he become “Lord Northampton”. Emma’s “Uncle Northampton” (the first Marquess) is whom I typically refer to here as Lord Northampton.
Spencer Compton, only brother of Lady Elizabeth Compton (the future Lady Elizabeth Dickins, wife of Charles Scrase Dickins), married in 1815 Margaret Maclean Clephane – one of three sisters who were wards of Walter Scott.
- At the Jane Austen Society of North America: “Pemberley’s Welcome: Or, An Historical Conjecture upon Elizabeth Darcy’s Wedding Journey, ” (Persuasions On-Line, Winter 2009), by Kelly M. McDonald
- “The Accomplished Ladies of Torloisk,” by Karen E. McAulay
Philip Compton, archive researcher to the current Marquess, has written an informative article, published in The Geoscientist, the Fellowship Magazine of the Geological Society of London, on Spencer Compton’s interest in collecting fossils and his correspondence with imminent scientists. To read a side of Spencer, Lord Compton which you will rarely see discussed here, click on the picture below.
The article, entitled “Through the Looking Glass,” is nicely illustrated – including of Lord Northampton (first cousin of Emma Austen Leigh) and his home, Castle Ashby (which Emma knew well).
Have been busy trying to assess what letters I have transcribed, what letters I need to track down. Part of me wishes the letters were a bound book, but I suspect it would be HUGE: over 700 pages! And yet every time I read a section of letters (lately I have been in the 1790s and early 1800s), I notice something never before thought about. They are precious, and the life-blood (in many ways) of this project.
Perusing the letters, I’ve added a few more SIGNATURES to my list. I cannot stress more that if anyone ever discovers letters written by any of these people, or even a short mention of a line or a paragraph about them, I’d love to hear about your discovery!
In SIGNATURES I’ve swapped out one or two poorer images for clearer images; and added a few NEW people — like dear Eliza Gosling. Mary’s mother died at such a young age (in her 30s). Her handful of letters to Eliza Chute are all that are currently known to exist, and yet they are such wonderful letters, filled with decisive thoughts. She must have been a delight to have known. Letters of Sarah Smith (wife of Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park; mother to Maria, Eliza, Augusta and Emma) make brief mention of the youthful, newly-wedded Goslings. Just as (even briefer) mention is made of Jane Austen’s dear Madame Lefroy. SUCH Delicious letters!
But now that I’ve actual specimens of the handwriting of ALL four Erle Stoke sisters, I really wanted to share these with Two Teens‘ readers.
Going from youngest to eldest, let’s begin with Miss Emma Smith (known to the Smith of Suttons siblings as “Aunt Emma”). Living until Joshua’s death (in 1819) at Erle Stoke Park, Emma later removed to Sidney and then Glenville, Southampton. Emma never married; traveled extensively. She has really grabbed my attention lately, for she is rather sassy!
EMMA [“Aunt Emma”]: When I saw her handwriting in 2007, my thoughts were: “Oh Emma has a spiky hand that it will take me time to get used to – and time I don’t have”. I later called it “easy but hard to read” and made a note, “I’ll pass on this”.
And my reaction only a year ago: “I thought the one letter I have VERY easy to read!”
Time — practice-practice-practice — conquers all.
* * *
AUGUSTA [“Mamma”]: There wasn’t a day when I had thoughts about Mamma’s writing, because I concentrated on her de-light-ful letters over my entire stay at the Hampshire Record Office. Her letters deserve their own book! She’s forthright, opinionated, and witty. I love her – and LOVE her handwriting. She has some VERY distinctive orthography, especially her capitals (as in Friend and Picture here).
I must say I detected in nearly ALL of them a propensity for double-l words – for instance, well – to look more like wele. Emma especially exaggerates this tiny second ‘l’, as you see above in the word ‘will’ which looks more like wile.
* * *
ELIZA [“Aunt Chute”]: this image is a bit unfair, for it’s more of a draft hand than Eliza Chute’s formal writing. I’m so eager to get her SIX letters to sister Augusta that The Vyne was able to obtain – but they are the most elusive place… Writing, calling even, seems to get one nowhere.
For Eliza, my thoughts have typically been that she had a “legible” hand. The capitals look large in comparison to the lower case letters; the little loops on the ‘d’ are quite fun to see. In the specimen above the “W.C. Esq:r. MP” is telling her correspondent where to address responses, so that Eliza gets it more quickly than the initial letter. “Mr C,” as he often is in her notes to herself, was husband William Chute.
* * *
MARIA [“Aunt Northampton”]: 2007 “again I just can’t deal with a hard to read hand!” In comparing youngest and eldest sister, I noted down: “now her sister Maria a totally different hand! lot of up/down strokes – I simply couldn’t describe either of them!”
Now I think of Maria’s hand as “fresh” and “youthful”:
I can guess why the word “youthful” sprang to mind, because in its ‘neatness’ it somewhat reminds me of the children’s early writings — see, for instance, this sample from young Emma (my Emma Austen Leigh, circa 1811).
- link to Who’s Who in the Smith&Gosling family, including a pedigree chart
- link to Portraits, SEE what people looked like
I must say that I’ve been very lucky to be able to see letters from grandparents – parents – siblings – children. So many generations! But I am voracious: I always want MORE.
Happy Easter for those celebrating, and talk to you soon. Must get back to the 18th century…
If you’ve ever been frustrated by finding the obscure person you needed to read about in DNB – but then hit their paywall, now is your chance!
Oxford University Press is giving U.S. readers FREE Access from April 13 through April 19th to several databases. Along with the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB), there’s such as Berg Fashion Library – Grove Music Online – Grove Art Online.
Celebrate National Library Week, without even having to travel to your local library!
In anticipation of the 300th anniversary of the accession of the first Hanoverian King (1 August) British television is beginning to present a lot of things “Georgian”.
A friend watched the first among this series — and recommends the collaborative BBC2/BBC4/Radio3 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY BRITAIN: MAJESTY, MUSIC, AND MISCHIEF.
Being in the US, I can only look on, and drool. The BBC website has teasers that include:
- Explore the story behind the Charity Concert “The Messiah” at the Foundling Hospital (1750)
- The “mass consumption” of music
- A look at “the first Georgians”
- An examination of the World Premier, in Prague, of Mozart’s Don Giovanni
And SO much more!
It’s a RICH era, and lucky will be those who can watch/listen, or find items online. READ more at The Telegraph.