The Mystery

an unfinished Comedy


To the Revd George Austen


I humbly solicit your Patronage to the following Comedy, which tho’ an unfinished one, is I flatter myself as complete a Mystery as any of its kind.

I am Sir your most Humle


The Author



The Mystery

a Comedy –


Dramatis Personae

Men                                                          Women.

Colonel Elliott                                            Fanny Elliott

Sir Edward Spangle                                   Mrs Humbug

Old Humbug                                                      and          .

Young Humbug                                           Daphne –    .

and                                                        .       



Act the First

Scene the 1st

A Garden.

Enter Corydon.

Cory.) But Hush! I am interrupted.

(Exit Corydon)

             Enter Old Humbug & his Son, talking.

Old Hum:) It is for that reason I wish you to follow my advice. Are you convinced of its propriety?

Young Hum:) I am Sir, and will certainly act in the manner you have pointed out to me.

Old Hum:) Then let us return to the House.



Scene the 2d

A Parlour in Humbug’s house.

Mrs Humbug & Fanny, discovered at work.


Mrs Hum:) You understand me my Love?

Fanny) Perfectly ma’am. Pray continue your narration.

Mrs Hum:) Alas! it is nearly concluded, for I have nothing more to say on the Subject.

Fanny. Ah! here’s Daphne.

Enter Daphne.

Daphne) My dear Mrs Humbug how d’ye do? Oh! Fanny t’is all over.

Fanny) Is it indeed!

Mrs Hum:) I’m very sorry to hear it.

Fanny) Then t’was to no purpose that I. . . .

Daphne) None upon Earth.

Mrs Hum. And what is to become of?. . . . .

Daphne) Oh! thats all settled.   (whispers Mrs Humbug)

Fanny) And how is it determined?

Daphne) I’ll tell you.     (whispers Fanny)

Mrs Hum:) And is he to? . . .

Daphne) I’ll tell you all I know of the matter.     (whispers Mrs Humbug & Fanny)

Fanny) Well! now I know every thing about it, I’ll go away.



Scene the 3d

The Curtain rises and discovers Sir Edward Spangle reclined in an elegant Attitude on a Sofa, fast asleep.

Enter Colonel Elliott.

Colonel) My Daughter is not here I see . . .  there lies Sir Edward . . . Shall I tell him the secret?   . . . No, he’ll certainly blab it . . . But he is asleep and wont hear me . . . So I’ll e’en venture.

(Goes up to Sir Edward, whispers him, & Exit)

End of the 1st Act.


© Oxford University Press

Extract from Teenage Writings by Jane Austen, edited by Kathryn Sutherland and Freya Johnston. Published by Oxford University Press in April 2017, available in paperback and eBook formats, £8.99