The letter today from 1798 is, in fact, very short! Yet Good News for the family Austen it does indeed deliver, from the commonplace to the profound! Jane Austen herself remarks on closing it that though she hasn’t time to write more, she has “written enough to make you very happy & therefore may safely conclude.”
So, what is all the news that was so great as to beg a letter to Cassandra? Read it and find out! 🙂
There is also a letter from 1808, a continuation from the previous day the 27th, which I also previously published on my blog with that day’s letter.
28th December 1798
28th December 1808 (a continuation from previous day)
What a newsy letter we have to read today from 27th December 1808 (and continued on 28th December 1808 for which the link is also included here) written from Southampton. Plans are afoot for a move to Chawton in the summer, but there’s also there’s much else to discuss as well — such as who is marrying for love (reference the post title quote)? Or a recent spate of company and why they all spent an hour “yawning & shivering in a wide circle round the fire” which “was dull enough–but the Tray had admirable success.” Or perhaps you are curious as to why on another visit, Jane Austen felt want of a cannon and to whom she talked “a little with my fingers, which was funny enough.” Or who is well behaved and Genteel, and who is well behaved “without being at all Genteel.” What has Mrs Austen been adding to her Plate? And who does a silver tea ladle make Jane Austen think of even as it contributes to making their “sideboard border on the magnificent”? Enjoy this quick but diverting read as you wind down from your holiday celebrations… 🙂
27th December 1808
28th December 1808 (continuation from previous day)
Jane Austen mentions Christmas a few times in passing in her letters, but would likely be astonished (and have some choice things to say) if she were to see the entire industry around it today — this simple quote (post title) is in a letter to Cassandra (visiting in Kent) in 1798 and followed by the curious phrase, “but no compliments of the season,” and then is referenced no more as she goes on with the news of the day.
For myself, I’ve been baking and cleaning and decorating and wrapping for weeks, and am ready for a reward now that the holiday is upon us… so I’m taking a few moments to cozy up and read this letter, written on 24th and 25th December (with a postscript on 26th) to find out what is going on with brothers Frank and Charles, who supped with the Prince, why Jane Austen doesn’t like agreable people, what the snowy weather may have kept her from, … and all manner of lovely Austen quotables (which ones, you ask?… read and find out!)
Before I begin, though, I want to echo JA’s sentiment, and wish you all a merry Christmas or, if you celebrate a different holiday at this time of year, all the joys of the season — and of continued Jane Austen “moments” in a healthy and happy 2015 !
24th December 1798
25th December 1798
26th December 1798 (postscript)
Thankfully, Cassandra Austen’s letters did come often, so that we have her sister’s replies to enjoy! This letter, written over two days on 18th and 19th December 1798 primarily offers Austen family updates, but also gives glimpses of their friends, the fashion of the day, patronage, and all the other concerns of daily life in 1798.
We’re winding down on letters for the year – only a handful to come in what remains of December – so take a few moments from your own holiday preparations, settle in and enjoy this one for a break from the madness…
18th December 1798
19th December 1798 (continuation from previous day)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY today, to Jane Austen — my favorite author, a woman of talent, wit, great understanding — and longevity!!! Though today’s post title quotation was not made in reference to its being her birthday (it was written to her sister Cassandra on the occasion of attending a ball in a location where they had attended one several years before) I would certainly like to think that Jane Austen would, were she still living today (at a ripe old age! 😉 ) would indeed be quite happy now with the acclaim she achieved and the warmth of feeling so many people feel for her… not to mention, of course, with the continued success of her books!
We have several letters today from the past week or so — today’s post title came from one to her sister on 9 December 1808, and contains also many conjectures on their planned move from Southampton to Chawton some months hence. There are also notes to her publisher John Murray and to James Stanier Clarke, with reference to Emma, soon to be published in 1815. And one I particularly enjoyed, written on 16-17 December 1816 to her nephew James Edward on the occasion of his having finished school in Winchester. In this one you will find one of the most famous of her quotations, concerning “the little bit (two inches wide) of Ivory” on which she worked… and so much more to intimate the caring relationship she had with that young gentleman.
So, raise a glass (virtual or otherwise) with me for a toast to Jane Austen — and then sit back and enjoy this handful of letters that serve as wonderful reminders of just why we love her so!
6th December 1814
9th December 1808
11th December 1815
14th December 1815
16th December 1816
17th December 1816
Lots of letters this week to please us, though – December was a good month for corresponding, and it’s only just begun!
We wave goodbye to November with some letters to Jane Austen’s nieces (that spill over in small bits to December) — featuring everything from writing and plot advice/critique to matters of love and marriage! There are also letters to Martha Lloyd (from which today’s title quotation comes) and referenced from brother Frank, as well as the ‘usual’ to sister Cassandra that are filled with characteristic — and yet, as always, unique — observations on friends, acquaintances, and the occasional oddity. (For example, what is a Shrewsbury Clock (in relation to any other kind), why can Mrs Stent verify its accuracy, and what are Jane Austen and Martha Lloyd doing throwing themselves “into a postchaise, one upon the other, [our] heads hanging out at one door, & [our] feet at the opposite”???
Let’s find out, shall we?
29th November 1812
30th November 1812 (very short addendum to 29th)
29th November 1814
30th November 1814 – to Anna Lefroy
30th November 1814 – to Fannie Knight
30th November 1800
1st December 1800 (very short P.S. to 30th November)
1st December 1798
2nd December 1798 (short addendum to 1st December)
2nd December 1815
Lots of good snippets in a handful of letters for this week (I have given up on daily postings, I think, for a lack of time to get them done, but will post the remaining letters once a week hereon.) There’s one letter from 25 November 1798, and the rest hark from 1814 and 1815. Interesting the change in the tenor of Jane Austen’s ‘voice’ over the years when read on the same dates but over the spread of years.
I had trouble choosing a title post today as there were many I could have done — but I love the tantalizing mentions of Mr Haden that appear in these letters from 1815. What are you waiting for?… click on the links below to read the letters for yourself and find out what else Miss Austen has to say about the charming Mr Haden… and Miss Debary’s “pot hat” and an “Oxford smack” and proofs for Emma, and any number of other oddities and people!!!
22nd November 1814 – to niece Anna Lefroy
23rd November 1815 – to John Murray, publisher
24th November 1814 – to niece Anna Lefroy
24th November 1815
25th November 1798
26th November 1815
I can commiserate with the feeling — had a late and ‘winey’ evening myself with friends last night and hoping my typing does not show the same effects that Jane Austen’s handwriting purportedly did in her letter to Cassandra of 20 November 1800, LOL. Several letters today, including short continuations from either previous or following days — and chock full of scrumptious details with which to curl up on a cold day in November. Balls, brothers, lovers, neighbours, houses and gardens — they all receive nods within these letters, as well as many other topics and quotables.
19th November 1814 (short continuation from 18th)
20th November 1814 (continuation from 18-19th)
20th November 1800
21st November 1800 (very brief continuation from 20th)
20th November 1808
It seems love is in the air… or is it!? Letters for today (including one begun yesterday which I had no opportunity to post as I was travelling all day) include some commentary in 1798 on Jane Austen’s dalliances (or not) — from which today’s post title is taken — and also an illuminating and lengthy ‘conversation’ from 1814 where Jane Austen opines on niece Fanny’s feelings for a certain Mr John Plumtre. Lots of quotables in these letters — enjoy!!!
17th November 1798
18th November 1798 (continuation from 17th)
18th November 1814 (to be continued next two days)
I have been laying in a “stock of intelligence” the last week, travelling out west to visit family and friends much as Jane Austen did (except mine is via air travel) so haven’t been able to post daily. As a result, I have for you letters today from 12-13th November 1800 and another from 15 November 1815 to James Stanier Clarke, together with his response the following day. I will be back in my own home late tomorrow night, so will begin anew at that time with daily letters — in the meantime, enjoy!
12th November 1800 – to Martha Lloyd
13th November 1800 – continuation from 12th
15-16th November 1815 (James Stanier Clarke)