Jane Austen Letter: missing lines found

July 21, 2019 at 2:15 pm (history, jane austen, news) (, , )

Usually, the active Jane Austen vine twitches non-stop. If something sells for an outrageous sum… If a known letter goes on the chopping block, help us… If Jane sneezed and this handkerchief is what she once used…

Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera.

So it has been with extreme puzzlement that I’ve come across so little since the announcement in February 2019 of a missing snippet from a letter penned by Jane Austen in 1813 being found in an ‘autograph’ book (the album sold for the astounding sum of £16,000 in 2017, though probably for its cumulative items rather than one piece by Austen).

NPG 3630; Jane Austen by Cassandra Austen

The Telegraph broke the news, with the headline (17 Feb 2019):

Missing six lines from Jane Austen letter discovered after 200 years, and are revealed to be about laundry.

It was inevitable that one of the other news services would then quip, “Lost letter airs Jane Austen’s dirty linen in public.”

Let’s be SERIOUS! It is an interesting and valuable *find*.

Only Deborah Yaffe picked up the ball, in March, commenting on “Life imitates Northanger Abbey.”

This Italian site, dedicated to presenting and translating Austen’s letters, actually has attached the missing lines to its letter. The letter affected by the snipped off closing (and the autograph book does NOT include the signature) is Letter 87, written to Cassandra from Henrietta Street, 15-16 Sept 1813.

This manuscript was “seen” after Chapman’s edition of the letters went to press (link to the later 2nd edition; it is letter 82); corrections were made on the page proof against the manuscript, which Le Faye consulted for her subsequent editions. It’s possible more of the letter, after a sale or two and a death or two back in the early 20th century, exists in just such a manner — further cut up and pasted down. After all, someone else got the signature.

Jane Austen 1813 snippet

Chapman correctly assumed “about six lines and signature cut away from top of fourth leaf.” These now reinstated lines finish this thought from Jane to Cassandra:

Charming weather for you & us, and the Travellers, & everybody. You will take your walk this afternoon & [4] by the time you get this, I hope George & his party will have finished their Journey, — God bless you all. — I have given M:de B. my Inventory of the Linen, & added 2 round towels to it by her desire. — She has shewn me all her Storeplaces, & will shew you & tell you all the same.–
Perhaps I may write again by Henry. —

Letter 87 is quite long, and how the snipped out section of page 4 affects page 3 hasn’t been touched on. Brabourne left out a paragraph, and it’s this paragraph (in Le Faye with no explanation; same for Chapman before her, and Brabourne before him) that reads “odd,” as if more text came before it. Rather than the ellipses used at the end (Chapman discloses the missing text; Brabourne does not), Brabourne evidently x’ed the entire paragraph instead:

This not seeing much of Henry, I have just seen him however for 3 minutes, & have read him the Extract from Mrs. F.A.’s Letter — & he says he will write to Mrs. Fra. A. about it…. [notes to letter 82, Chapman]

Le Faye puts in a period after “Henry”. But the sentence, as the start of a paragraph, still makes less sense than it should. Without the manuscript, we shall not know the original position of the (undisclosed) affected text.

That Brabourne – who transcribed the letters – had no ‘finish’ to this particular letter, indicates to me that Frank was not the only Austen to cut up letters in his possession for souvenir hunters.

Passing from Cassandra Austen to Fanny Knight (Lady Knatchbull), the only other person in a position to quench an autograph hound’s inquiry would be Fanny. If it had been Brabourne himself, he would have been smart to copy the sentences he was gifting away. Letters to the publisher Bentley indicate how quickly Brabourne thought about selling manuscripts (not just JA’s) in his possession. That he ultimately got Bentley’s go-ahead and publication happened, marking the collection up to the point at which they sold, is our luck. Some letters do ‘exist’ only in transcription.

Unlike the snippet of a sermon tipped into a copy of the Memoir, no discussion is being made to remove this piece from its pasting, to see what is on the underside. Not much discussion, either, on the autograph album as a whole, nor its “American buyer.” At the time of the original newspaper story, the album, open to the Austen page, was on display at the Jane Austen’s House Museum.

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More “Fashionable World,” 1801

October 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm (books, diaries, entertainment, fashion, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , )

1801 turns out to be an unusually RICH year for finding the Smiths & Goslings in the newspapers.

The “London Season” was in full-swing!

And my ladies – Eliza Gosling (Mary’s mother, the former Eliza Cunliffe), Mary Smith (Mary’s Aunt and Emma’s great-aunt; the former Mary Cunliffe, now Mrs Drummond Smith), were giving balls and routs; my gentlemen – William Gosling (Mary’s father), Drummond Smith (Emma’s great-uncle), were giving dinners.

fashionable world1

Quick IDs to some others:

  • Alexander Davison had married William Gosling’s sister, Harriet.
  • The Francis Goslings lived in Bloomsbury Square.
  • Lady Cunliffe was the widowed mother of Eliza Gosling and Mary Smith.
  • Lord Walsingham was a de Grey relation of the future (2nd wife) Mrs William Gosling.
  • Mrs Thomas Smith (later of Bersted Lodge) was Emma’s great-aunt, the former Susannah Mackworth Praed.
  • Mrs Gregg of Bedford Square was Mary’s “Aunt Gregg,” sister of William Gosling.
  • Lady Frances Compton was the unmarried sister of Lord Northampton, called “Aunt Frances” by the Smiths of Suttons siblings.

* * *

{newspaper} The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 6 Feb 1801

Mrs. Drummond Smith’s parties, during the fashionable season, will be given in the same stile they were last year.

Mrs. Gosling had a large party of fashionable visitants at her house a few days ago in Portland-place.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 14 Feb 1801

Mr. and Mrs. Davison have returned to town for the residue of the winter. Mrs. Davison’s fashionable parties are expected to commence in the course of a fortnight.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 18 Feb 1801

among the attendees at the Marchioness of Salisbury’s Rout, among Mistresses: Drummond Smith

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 24 Feb 1801

Mrs. Drummond Smith’s parties commence early in next month, at her magnificent house in Piccadilly.”

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 27 Feb 1801

among “near five hundred personages of distinction”: Messrs. – Drummond Smith…Mistresses – Drummond Smith

… “Mrs. Gosling’s Rout on Monday night, in Bloomsbury-square, was very respectably attended.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 2 Mar 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

Friday.

Mrs. Drummond Smith’s Rout, Piccadilly

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 4 Mar 1801

at Mrs. Vaughan’s Rout (Monday evening, Manchester-square) “attended by upwards of three hundred personages of distinction”: both Drummond and Mrs Drummond Smith

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 6 Mar 1801

Mrs. Drummond Smith will entertain a small party of friends, this evening, at her elegant house in Piccadilly.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 14 Mar 1801

at the Countess of Mansfield’s Rout (her “first assembly since her marriage”) {the house a “noble and spacious family mansion, in the centre of Portland-place; the house having previously undergone improvements in the first style of elegance”} “near 500” attend: among them Lady Cunliffe, Lord Walsingham; also Lady Wingfield, Lady Sey and Sele [sic], Mistress Drummond Smith, Mistress Fremantle.

same issue: “Mrs. Drummond Smith’s rout, last night, was attended by a very numerous party of distinguished friends.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 25 Mar 1801

notice is given of Mrs Methuen’s rout; among the “upwards of three hundred personnages of fashion” was Mrs William Gosling and Mrs Drummond Smith. Mr C. Smith may be Charles (“Papa”). Among the “Ladies” are Lady Cunliffe and Lady Frances Compton. At the top of the guest list: The Prince of Orange.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 1 April 1801

Mrs. Davison had a private ball on Friday evening in St. James’s-square, which commenced at ten o’clock, and broke up at one.

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 6 April 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK

Friday

Mr Gosling’s Grand Dinner, Portland Place

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 13 Apr 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

Tuesday.

Mr. Gosling’s grand Dinner, Portland-place

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout, Portland-place

Thursday.

Mr. Cure’s grand Dinner, Great George-street.

Mr. Drummond Smith’s Dinner, Piccadilly.

Friday.

Mrs. Thomas Smith’s Rout, New Norfolk-street.

Saturday.

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout.

*

 The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 20 Apr 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

This evening.

Mrs. Thomas Smith’s Rout, New Norfolk-street

Thursday.

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout, Portland-place

Saturday.

Mr. Davidson’s Grand Dinner, St. James’s-square

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 27 Apr 1801

FASHIONABLE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE WEEK.

This evening.

[note Lady Syke’s Rout, Audley-sq]

Mrs. Gosling’s Rout, Bloomsbury-square

Tuesday – Mrs. Gregg’s Rout, Bedford-square

*

The Morning Post & Gazetteer, 5 May 1801

among the LONG list of attendees at the Duchess of Chandos’ Ball: Mrs W. Gosling, Mrs Drummond Smith

* * *

Read about The Beau Monde, in the book
by Hannah Greig

beau monde

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The Fashionable World

October 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm (british royalty, estates, history, london's landscape, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , )

Today, I came across this mention of a glittering party at truly sumptuous-sounding residence, the home of Sir Drummond and Lady Smith:

LADY DRUMMOND SMITH’S ASSEMBLY.

     Decidedly is the residence of the above fashionable Lady, on the Terrace, in Piccadilly, one of the most elegant mansions in the metropolis. There are four drawing-rooms of ample dimensions on each floor, superbly furnished, enriched with sculpture, &c. On Tuesday evening the house was opened with singular eclat; the company exceeded 500 persons. In the great gallery a band of chosen musicians were stationed during the night; the latter was illuminated by radiant arches and festoons of variegated lamps; glasses of wonderful magnitude and beauty, some of them exceeding 10 feet in height, were placed in appropriate situations to reflect every object (particularly the Grecian chandeliers) ad infinitum.

The write-up was published in The Morning Post on 18 May 1810.

It has been suggested, in a history of the Comptons, that the turnpike played a role in the marriage of Mamma and Papa Smith: Drummond Smith “built No. 144 Piccadilly, next to his brother’s house, and just beyond the two houses was the turnpike gate which was the entrance to London. One night he was helped home by a Mr. Charles Smith, no relation, … who [later] married Augusta, daughter of Joshua Smith.”

Just had to find a map, showing the probable location (for the area was bombed in World War II and the building does not exist). 144-145 Piccadilly were located between (present-day) Apsley House and Hamilton Place. This is a map from 1795.

piccadilly

I’ve written before about the residence of Drummond’s brother Sir John and Lady Smith-Burgess, at 145 Piccadilly; Queen Elizabeth lived there as a child. You can find a superb exterior shot, and some interiors of the Royal Residence at English Heritage.

piccadilly2

Strolling through some other newspaper mentions, I am intrigued to begin copying some of these DE-LIGHT-FUL writings under the heading of “The Fashionable World“. So announcing two *new* items you’ll see come on the blog: Under the Smith & Gosling Timeline I’ll post some of these (typically one or two lines) short newspaper mentions of the family. And on its own, I’ll post some – with a desire to do all – elements of early “Fashionable World” mentions (say, 1800-1810 or so).

Useful links:

lady drummond smith3

LADY SMITH
second wife of Sir Drummond Smith, bart
née Elizabeth Monckton,
daughter of the 2nd Viscount Galway;
widow of Sir Francis Sykes, bart, of Basildon

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Mrs William Gosling’s Concert

October 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm (a day in the life, british royalty, entertainment, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Anyone reading Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know that I LOVE classical music. Mrs William Gosling, Mary’s stepmother was an inveterate “party, ball, concert” giver during the London season.

Thanks to Craig in Australia, I found the following newspaper announcement of a tremendous party given in 1821. It was reported in The Morning Post, Wednesday 6 June 1821:

“In Portland-place, on Monday evening, was attended by 300 fashionables. The music commenced at half-past ten, with an instrumental Septetto, the composition of HAYDN. An Aria, by Madame CAMPORESE, from Don Giovanni, accompanied by Mr. LINLEY, on the violoncello [sic], was a delightful treat. A duetto, by Madam CAMPORESE and Signor AMBROGETTI, from Il Turco in Italia, was followed by an air by Miss STEPHENS. ‘Hush, ye pretty warbling choir.’ Selections from HANDEL, ROSSINI, ROMBERG, MAYER, BISHOP, and BEETHOVEN. Leader of the Band, Mr KIESEWETTER; at the pianoforte, Sir George SMART.

Among the audience were —-
His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess de Frias and suite, Bavarian Envoy, Marchioness of Salisbury and Lady Georgiana Wellesley, Sir William Abdy, Mr. and Lady Drummond, Miss Nugent, Lady Elizabeth Talbot, Mrs. Malcolm and Miss Macleod, Lady Robert and Miss Fitzgerald, Marchioness of Winchester and Lady Mary Paulet, Sir Eyre Coote, Mrs. and Misses Blackshaw, Earl and Countess Verulam, Countess of Westmeath, Mrs. Hope.”

What fun! though could _I_ ever envision a party for three hundred people?! Yow! Love the term “fashionables”! In a letter I have, from the Two Augustas (Mamma and her eldest daughter), they speak of Rossini being in London: did Mrs Gosling open her purse (as Augusta intimated would NOT be the case with another grand lady) and invite him to her home?

Do you think they served any Syllabub??

Because this 1824 article describes the layout of the house, I include this brief notice about Mrs Gosling’s “excellent quadrille Party” :

“The three drawing rooms were appropriated to dancing.

The supper was set out in the large bow banquetting-room, on the ground floor. There was an abundance of sparkling champaigne [sic], and fruits peculiar to the season…”

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