All Things Austen – A Letter from Jane to Cassandra (8-11 April 1805) — 29 Comments

  1. JA’s comment on April 8th being March and April together put me in mind of the current weather here in the Northeast, alternating between the “glare and warmth” — snow and 60+ degrees within the space of a week. A little less glare and more warmth, please.

    • It’s very much as she describes here at the moment. Today is such a lovely spring day, but I’m not holding my breath that it will stay this way! Thanks, Florence!

    • She did! She was so bluntly honest in her letters to Cassandra as well. It makes me feel I am seeing more of who she was in private–what she did and didn’t like, who she did and didn’t like. I am so glad the letters for April were all to Cassandra! Thanks, Ceri!

  2. Her letter makes me wish I knew all those people she met. It’s a pity she didn’t live long enough to write a biography. But surely she wouldn’t like the idea!

    • I agree. She would’ve hated a biography. In some ways, her descriptions of those she knew are very vivid. You may not know what they looked like, but you get an idea of their personality. That was why I was so happy to find pictures of her brothers to include with the letters. Thanks, Rosa!

  3. Thank you for sharing this letter. Jane brings to life her era, the people she knew and the area she lived. She would have been a wonderful person to know and the ‘characters’ she knew.

    • I feel like I see her characters in some of the personalities she describes. In the letters from April, I get the impression her mother was a bit of the inspiration for Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Woodhouse, and Mary Musgrove. The way she describes some of her illnesses, I get the impression her mother fancied herself ill more than she actually was ill. Thanks, Deborah!

  4. All those “you couldn’t possibly be looking well since you looked so poorly last time I saw you” would have given me a complex. LOL So much going and doing. Although I would have loved all the walks!

    • I thought they were kind of funny, though I do wonder how ill Cassandra was. They must have all been pretty concerned. Thanks, Stephanie!

  5. Jane’s letters are always so funny, even when discussing serious topics. There’s that sly underpinning of wit that we can’t help but expect to pop out at us, rather like a jack-in-the-box.

    Thanks for posting this delightful spring missive!

    Susanne 🙂

    • There are a few letters that really crack me up with what she observes. She really did watch and take note of people’s personalities. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks, Susanne!

  6. Thanks for the letter. You can visualize these characters. She is quite blunt with all the comings and goings in her letter to her sister. How she feared for Mr. Buller and his illness. Could everyone Jane met be used as part of her characters’ personalities?

  7. Thanks for posting this, and for the pictures that accompanied it. I haven’t read many of her letters before, so this was quite enjoyed.

    • I’ve read a few and always enjoy them, which is why I thought of doing this for Austen in April. The pictures were fun to give a picture to a place or a person. Makes it more real, I think. Thanks, Wendy!

  8. Thank you for sharing this letter with us. It was fascinating to read about the various events and the detail that was included. Thanks again!

    • I thought it was fun that I could think on this day she was writing this, or she just wrote it. I’m glad you liked it! Thanks, Laura H!

  9. In reading such a long letter (and I do know how they crossed over the lines in the other plane) I wonder how many pages this would have consisted of? Chatty and mentioning so many people, even the style of the one lady and how their tea and sugar would last longer. Sad to think of Jane living in such constrained circumstances. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Oh! I have a book of her letters tells which page and how it was written. I’ll have to look it up and respond to this when I have a bit more time tonight or tomorrow morning:) I think the end was written on the same part of the page as the direction. I thought it was really interesting.

      • Hi Sheila,

        Page 1 is the beginning through “How happy they are at Godmersham now!-I shall be very glad of” Page 2 picks up from the remainder of that sentence – “a letter from Ibthrop…”

        Page 2 ends with “…for though he is altogether in a more comfortable state as to spirits and appetite than” Page 3 begins with the remainder of that sentence – “when I saw him last…”

        Page 4 starts with Thursday and ends with “He talks of the Rambles we took together last summer with pleasing affection.”

        Then JA begins writing upside down on the top of page 1 with “Mary Cooke did walk with us on tuesday…” this section ends with “…so that it will soon appear whether they can do anything for him.”

        She then moves below the address panel with “Mrs Buller goes with us to our Chapel on the morrow…”

        I would imagine the last part looks something like this one from 1799 – JA Letter 1799

  10. I’m currently around halfway through reading an illustrated edition of a selection of Jane Austen’s letters, titled “My Dear Cassandra”. It’s fascinating reading. The selection was made by Penelope Hughes-Hallett and she’s chosen contemporary illustrations, written introductions for each chapter and annotations or commentaries for each letter wherever clarification is necessary.

    Miss Austen was a very acute observer, wasn’t she? There’s also quite a lot of caustic commentary about people!

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