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!