Such reading isn't limited to periods of free time when she is by herself.On several occasions she evidently breaks the monotony and loneliness of spinning or knitting by herself by reading for short periods. It would appear that this is a long-standing tradition.
After I came from my friend 's Mrs. Allen's last night, it was too late to write the accounts of the day. -- It was spent much after the old fashion--spinning and reading a little. (N1)(See also O10 , O11, and poss. N20 .) On other occasions, when she has a friend with her, one reads out loud while the other works (see O6 ,O9 ). And in the evening, the whole family may gather round the table to work and listen to reading.
I have left them all seated round the table at their domestic employments, some sewing and others knitting and Papa at the head reading. --I must hurry to return to my work or I shall be in disgrace. -- All's well! (O6)("All's well!" Things could hardly be otherwise for Louisa when Harriet is visiting.)
But mainly Louisa reads when she has time on her hands and no company—as when she must "pass away a tedious hour of a winter's evening." (D19 )