Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 9 February 1813

Object name: Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen, 9th February 1813

Object number: CHWJA:JAHLTR7

Category: Letter

Description: Letter from Jane Austen at Chawton to Cassandra Austen at Manydown. Letter 81 in The Letters of Jane Austen edited by Deirdre Le Faye, Oxford University Press, 4th edition, 2011. The letter is headed ‘Chawton Tuesday Feb:9’. Two leaves quarto, laid.  Watermark device above a florid letter, possibly H.  Red wax seal impressed with oval device but design indistinct.  No postmark.

Made: 9th February 1813

Context: This letter was written less than two weeks after the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Jane is enjoying the praise of her sister and her eldest niece Fanny.

‘I am exceedingly pleased that you can say what you do, after having gone thro’ the whole work – & Fanny’s praise is very gratifying; – my hopes were tolerably strong of her, but nothing like a certainty: Her liking Darcy & Elizth is enough.  She might hate all the others, if she would.’

Whilst Cassandra was away, Jane and her mother had been reading Pride and Prejudice aloud after dinner to their friend Miss Benn. The last reading had taken place the previous Friday but Jane comments that there is ‘still work for one evening more.’

The rest of the letter is full of family news including Uncle Leigh Perrott being confined to a chair with a large broken chilblain on one foot and a ‘violent swelling’ of the other; their youngest brother Charles being now safely aboard HMS Namur accompanied by his wife and two of their three children; and news that the new manservant at Chawton Cottage, Browning, is settling in well and Mrs Austen is ‘exceedingly pleased’ with him.

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