[Continuation of a letter to JA’s niece, Anna Austen, begun the prior week on 10 August]
Wednesday 17.– We have just finished the 1st of the 3 Books I had the pleasure of receiving yesterday; I read it aloud– & we are all very much amused, & like the work quite as well as ever.– I depend upon getting through another book before dinner, but there is really a great deal of respectable reading in your 48 Pages. I was an hour about it.– I have no doubt that 6 will make a very good sized volume.– You must be quite pleased to have accomplished so much.–
I like Lord P.- & his Brother very much;– I am only afraid that Lord P.-‘s good nature will make most people like him better than he deserves.– The whole Portman Family are very good– & Lady Anne, who was your great dread, you have succeeded particularly well with.– Bell Griffin is just what she should be.– My Corrections have not been more important than before;– here & there, we have thought the sense might be expressed in fewer words– and I have scratched out Sir Tho: from walking with the other Men to the Stables &c the very day after his breaking his arm– for though I find your Papa did walk out immediately after his arm was set, I think it can be so little usual as to appear unnatural in a book– & it does not seem to be material that Sir Tho: should go with them.–
Lyme will not do. Lyme is towards 40 miles distance from Dawlish & would not be talked of there.– I have put Starcross indeed.– If you prefer Exeter, that must be always safe.– I have also scratched out the Introduction between Lord P. & his Brother, & Mr Griffin. A Country Surgeon (dont tell Mr C. Lyford) would not be introduced to Men of their rank.– And when Mr Portman is first brought in, he wd not be introduced as the Honble— That distinction is never mentioned at such times;– at least I beleive not.–
Now, we have finished the 2d book– or rather the 5th— I do think you had better omit Lady Helena’s postscript;– to those who are acquainted with P. & P. it will seem an Imitation.– And your Aunt C. & I both recommend your making a little alteration in the last scene between Devereux & Lady Clanmurray & her Daughter. We think they press him too much– more than sensible Women or well-bred Women would do. Lady C. at least, should have discretion enough to be sooner satisfied with his determination of not going with them.– I am very much pleased with Egerton as yet.– I did not expect to like him, but I do; & Susan is a very nice little animated Creature– but St Julian is the delight of one’s Life. He is quite interesting.– The whole of his Break-off with Lady H. is very well done.–
Yes– Russel Square is a very proper distance from Berkeley St– We are reading the last book.– They must be two days going from Dawlish to Bath; They are nearly 100 miles apart.
[To be continued on the following day, Thursday 18th August]