A comic tale by Jane Austen
in Volume the First
, the collection of juvenilia
she preserved, which she had written between the ages of 12 and 18. His "memoir
s" involve a single journey, made at a painfully slow pace, presented as if he was one of the great horsemen
and speed-fiends of the age, and with long rests in between to recuperate
Other touches of Janeite absurdity include the long list of carriages culminating in a wheelbarrow; and his lavish dinner of a whole egg boiled for himself and his servants.
Memoirs of Mr Clifford
An Unfinished Tale
To Charles John Austen Esqre
Your generous patronage of the unfinished tale, I have already taken the Liberty of dedicating to you, encourages me to dedicate to you a second, as unfinished as the first.
I am Sir with every expression
of regard for you and yr noble
Family, your most obedt
&c. &c. . . .
Mr Clifford lived at Bath; and having never seen London, set off one Monday morning determined to feast his eyes with a sight of that great Metropolis. He travelled in his Coach and Four, for he was a very rich young Man and kept a great many Carriages of which I do not recollect half. I can only remember that he had a Coach, a Chariot, a Chaise, a Landeau, a Landeaulet, a Phaeton, a Gig, a Whisky, an Italian Chair, a Buggy, a Curricle & a wheelbarrow. He had likewise an amazing fine stud of Horses. To my knowledge he had six Greys, 4 Bays, eight Blacks and a poney.
In his Coach & 4 Bays Mr Clifford sate forward about 5 o'clock on Monday Morning the 1st of May for London. He always travelled remarkably expeditiously and contrived therefore to get to Devizes from Bath, which is no less than nineteen miles, the first Day. To be sure he did not Set in till eleven at night and pretty tight work, it was as you may imagine.
However when he was once got to Devizes he was determined to comfort himself with a good hot Supper and therefore ordered a whole Egg to be boiled for him and his Servants. The next morning he pursued his Journey and in the course of 3 days hard labour reached Overton, where he was seized with a dangerous fever the Consequence of too violent Excercise.
Five months did our Hero remain in this celebratcd City under the care of its no less celebrated Physician, who at length compleatly cured him of his troublesome Desease.
As Mr Clifford still continued very weak, his first Day's Journey carried him only to Dean Gate. where he remained a few Days and found himself much benefited by the change of Air.
In easy Stages he proceeded to Basingstoke. One day Carrying him to Clarkengreen, the next to Worting, the 3d to the bottom of Basingstoke Hill, and the fourth, to Mr Robins's. ...