Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 29 January 1813

Object name: Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 29 January 1813

Object number: CHWJA:JAHLTR.5

Category: Letters

Description: Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, marked Chawton Friday Jan y. 29. A single leaf closely written on both sides.

Made: 1813

Context: Pride & Prejudice was published on 28 January 1813. Jane wrote this letter to Cassandra the following day. She was in Chawton, whilst Cassandra was staying with their brother James and his family in Steventon.

Jane described receiving her first copies of P&P: ‘I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London;—on Wednesday I received one Copy, sent down by Falknor, with three lines from Henry to say that he had given another to Charles & sent a 3d by the Coach to Godmersham’.

Find out more about that third copy, also in the Museum collection.

In her letter, Jane went on to describe how their neighbour, Miss Benn, had dined with them on the very day that the first copy of Pride & Prejudice had arrived. After dinner Jane and her mother ‘set fairly at it’ and read half of the first volume to her, without telling her that Jane was the author. Jane commented that Miss Benn seemed to enjoy it:

‘She was amused, poor soul! that she cd not help you know, with two such people to lead the way; but she really does seem to admire Elizabeth.  I must confess that I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print, & how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know.’

Read a transcript of the full letter.

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