Once more, our dearest librarian Linda has proven herself worthy of the title (she didn’t realise she handed me gold!). She just posted me the link of a web that contained the now de-functioned website of Carrigglas Manor (the house of Tom Lefroy and his family). Thank you Linda, and also to the person who saved the entire web into "The Wayback Machine", for now we can read about the Carrigglas Manor in the link here. This is the excerpt of the web section ‘Family History’:
'The Lefroy family originally came from the town of
Ah… so their original name was L’Offroy. Lovely… Battle of Agincourt, eh? James McAvoy’s character (Brian Jackson) in Starter for Ten (2006) was once asked about Battle of Agincourt by Rebecca, his friend. What a weird coincidence. Anyway, now the cream and ganache:
'Thomas Lefroy, Anthony's son, was born in 1776 and after graduating from
Let me say it again: on learning of her death Thomas traveled the considerable distance to
I never knew that Tom paid his respect… traveling from
And Tom Lefroy bought the Cadell letter? I thought it was Thomas Edward Preston Lefroy who bought it! See the excerpt of Caroline Austen’s letter dated
'I enclose a copy of Mr. Austen’s letter to Cadell – I do not know which novel he would have sent – The letter does not do much credit to the tact or courtesy of our good Grandfather for Cadell was a great man in his day, and it is not surprising that he should have refused the favour so offered from an unknown – but the circumstance may be worth noting, especially as we have so few incidents to produce. At a sale of Cadell’s papers &c Tom Lefroy picked up the original letter – and Jemima copied it for me –' [bolded sentence by Icha]
The novel Cadell was refused in that particular letter was the early version of Pride & Prejudice (originally titled First Impression), rejected in 1797. This is Mr. Austen's letter to Cadell dated
‘Sir, - I have in my possession a manuscript novel, comprising 3 vols., about the length of Miss Burney’s “Evelina.” As I am well aware of what consequence it is that a work of this sort shd make its first appearance under a respectable name, I apply to you. I shall be much obliged therefore if you will inform me whether you choose to be concerned in it, what will be the expense of publishing it at the author’s risk, and what you will venture to advance for the property of it, if on perusal it is approved of. Should you give any encouragement, I will send you the work.
I am, Sir, your humble Servant,
Most importantly to me, the Carrigglas website suggested that the Tom Lefroy who bought back the letter, the person Caroline was talking about, was Thomas Langlois Lefroy (!), the original Tom Lefroy. I was a bit expecting this Tom to be our Tom Lefroy, but then I thought Caroline would not address the Chief Justice Lefroy as only ‘Tom Lefroy’. If it is true that the original Tom Lefroy purchased the Cadell letter after Jane’s death (perhaps immediately during his stay in
Oh, wait! How did Tom Lefroy learn of the Cadell rejection? If the buyer of the letter was indeed the Thomas Langlois Lefroy, would he not learn of the rejection from Jane Austen herself circa November-December 1797? In another word, would it not imply that both were still in good communication in 1797?
Anyway, now I can sleep better, knowing that Tom Lefroy did care so much for Jane Austen, that when he was older, he did pay her a visit, even though a bit late, after her death… Oh… now I want to cry!
I'm not sure what happens to Carrigglas Manor now, whether it is still under the Lefroys or already handed over to the Irish government or County Longford. However, Jeffry Lefroy (the owner, or previous owner of Carrigglas) became one of the extras in Becoming Jane. I think he is the key person we should talk to about the veracity of the information.
Pic 1: Carrigglas Manor drawing room, Longford, Ireland
Pic 2: the young Tom Lefroy, from the Carrigglas site