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Archive for the ‘Jane Austen’s letters’ Category

Here are some photos of Bath – I’ve added a few snippets from Jane Austen’s books and letters!

Pump Room, Bath

She was intreated to give them as much of her time as possible, invited for every day and all day long, or rather claimed as a part of the family; and, in return, she naturally fell into all her wonted ways of attention and assistance, and on Charles’s leaving them together, was listening to Mrs. Musgrove’s history of Louisa, and to Henrietta’s of herself, giving opinions on business, and recommendations to shops; with intervals of every help which Mary required, from altering her ribbon to settling her accounts, from finding her keys, and assorting her trinkets, to trying to convince her that she was not ill-used by anybody; which Mary, well amused as she generally was, in her station at a window overlooking the entrance to the Pump Room, could not but have her moments of imagining.
Jane Austen, Persuasion

Upstairs at the Roman Baths Kitchen
We have not been to any public place lately, nor performed anything out of the common daily routine of No. 13, Queen Square, Bath. But to-day we were to have dashed away at a very extraordinary rate, by dining out, had it not so happened that we did not go.
Jane Austen, Bath, 1799
Minerva Art Supplies in Bath – Trim Street

Her taste for drawing was not superior; though whenever she could obtain the outside of a letter from her mother or seize upon any other odd piece of paper, she did what she could in that way, by drawing houses and trees, hens and chickens, all very much like one another.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.
Paxton and Whitfield – lovely Cheese shop in Bath
My mother does not seem at all the worse for her journey, nor are any of us, I hope, though Edward seemed rather fagged last night, and not very brisk this morning; but I trust the bustle of sending for tea, coffee, and sugar, &c., and going out to taste a cheese himself, will do him good.
Jane Austen, writing from Bath, 1799
Hanging Basket with a view towards the Pump Rooms, Bath

Such was the information of the first five minutes; the second unfolded thus much in detail — that they had driven directly to the York Hotel, ate some soup, and bespoke an early dinner, walked down to the pump–room, tasted the water, and laid out some shillings in purses and spars; thence adjoined to eat ice at a pastry–cook’s, and hurrying back to the hotel, swallowed their dinner in haste, to prevent being in the dark; and then had a delightful drive back, only the moon was not up, and it rained a little, and Mr. Morland’s horse was so tired he could hardly get it along.

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey


I’ve had a wonderful review for Searching for Captain Wentworth from Meredith Esparza at Austenesque Reviews 

Was Jane Austen’s Persuasion Inspired by Real-Life Events?

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
What if Jane Austen’s Persuasion was more autobiographical than fiction? What if Miss Austen’s poignant and powerful novel of lost love and second chances was in some part taken from her own life’s experience? Except that in her novel…she wrote the happy ending she knew she would never have…
Finding magical white gloves that transports her to Regency Bath in the year 1802, discovering her ancestors used to live next door to the Austen family in Sydney Place, meeting Jane Austen in the flesh, falling in love with one of her brothers – it seems like modern-day heroine, Sophie Elliot, has just hit the Janeite Jackpot! And after recently discovering that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her friend and finding no success in securing a job for herself, poor Sophie deserves such good fortune! Although she travels to Bath for inspiration and consolation, what Sophie finds is adventure, romance, and some strange time travel phenomenon!
Emotional, expressive, and enthralling – Searching for Captain Wentworth is quite unlike anything I’ve read before! With multiple romances, dual realities, and many hidden parallels and nods to Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this novel had me entranced. It was unpredictable; I found myself torn and undecided about the two men in Sophie’s life. In addition, like Sophie, I became embroiled in the past and the mysteries uncovered there; feeling all her eagerness and excitement at discovering what Jane Austen was doing and experiencing during those “silent Bath years.” Not wanting to give away all the delicious surprises and revelations to be divulged in this novel, I’ll just make a quick mention that I found the resolution to be profoundly satisfying, inspiring me to feel something akin to what Meg Ryan felt at the end of You’ve Got Mail – “I wanted it to be you, I wanted it to be you so badly…”
Ending scene of You’ve Got Mail.  One of my favorites!
One aspect of Jane Odiwe’s writing that brilliantly shines through in this novel is her keen artistic eye. As some as you may know, Ms. Odiwe is not just a talented author, but a gifted artist as well!* In Searching for Captain Wentworth, Ms. Odiwe’s descriptive and vivid narrative filled my head with distinct and tangible sights, sounds, and scenes. Whether she is writing about rain in modern-day Bath, illustrating the blossoming verdure of Sydney Gardens, or describing the physical attributes of the handsome Charles Austen, Ms. Odiwe utilizes such eloquent and sensatory language that readers will feel they are inside the story, experiencing and observing it all firsthand.
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Happy New Year! I’ve had a lovely, relaxing and happy Christmas and New Year with my family – I hope you all have too!

It’s very chilly here in England and with more snow expected this week, I know my fires will be well stocked with logs. For the first time in years we saw snow just before Christmas, which was very exciting for all small children anxious that Father Christmas would have no trouble getting here on his sleigh. I must admit I love to see a wintry landscape – this morning the frost is sparkling in sunshine in clear, bright light that dazzles the eye.

I’m embarking on several new and exciting projects, some of which are a bit secret at present, but I hope to have a new book ready soon and Mr Darcy’s Secret has been recently sent to Sourcebooks, which is to be published next spring.

I’ve been out and about in the beautiful city of Bath with my husband and camera – I hope to share some of the lovely photos I’ve taken there over the Christmas period with you all soon.

Here’s a letter written by Jane Austen in January 1796 when she was 20. This letter is full of a new acquaintance, Tom Lefroy, and is written to her sister Cassandra who was celebrating her own birthday. The letter is written in high spirits with descriptions of dancing with the handsome Tom, and it is clear that Jane enjoyed shocking the old ladies in the neighbourhood by favouring her partner with a dance more times than was considered seemly at the time. Her voice is young, optimistic and full of humour – we can hear the light tone of the girl who was to begin writing First Impressions, a prelude to Pride and Prejudice. I hope you enjoy the letter and my painting of Jane and Tom dancing the night away!

Steventon: Saturday, January 9

In the first place I hope you will live twenty-three years longer. Mr. Tom Lefroy’s birthday was yesterday, so that you are very near of an age.

After this necessary preamble I shall proceed to inform you that we had an exceeding good ball last night, and that I was very much disappointed at not seeing Charles Fowle of the party, as I had previously heard of his being invited. In addition to our set at the Harwoods’ ball, we had the Grants, St. Johns, Lady Rivers, her three daughters and a son, Mr. and Miss Heathcote, Mrs. Lefevre, two Mr. Watkins, Mr. J. Portal, Miss Deanes, two Miss Ledgers, and a tall clergyman who came with them, whose name Mary would never have guessed.

We were so terrible good as to take James in our carriage, though there were three of us before, but indeed he deserves encouragement for the very great improvement which has lately taken place in his dancing. Miss Heathcote is pretty, but not near so handsome as I expected. Mr. H. began with Elizabeth, and afterwards danced with her again; but they do not know how to be particular. I flatter myself, however, that they will profit by the three successive lessons which I have given them.

You scold me so much in the nice long letter which I have this moment received from you, that I am almost afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together. I can expose myself however, only once more, because he leaves the country soon after next Friday, on which day we are to have a dance at Ashe after all. He is a very gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man, I assure you. But as to our having ever met, except at the three last balls, I cannot say much; for he is so excessively laughed at about me at Ashe, that he is ashamed of coming to Steventon, and ran away when we called on Mrs. Lefroy a few days ago.

We left Warren at Dean Gate, in our way home last night, and he is now on his road to town. He left his love, &c., to you, and I will deliver it when we meet. Henry goes to Harden to-day in his way to his Master’s degree. We shall feel the loss of these two most agreeable young men exceedingly, and shall have nothing to console us till the arrival of the Coopers on Tuesday. As they will stay here till the Monday following, perhaps Caroline will go to the Ashe ball with me, though I dare say she will not.

I danced twice with Warren last night, and once with Mr. Charles Watkins, and, to my inexpressible astonishment, I entirely escaped John Lyford. I was forced to fight hard for it, however. We had a very good supper, and the greenhouse was illuminated in a very elegant manner.

We had a visit yesterday morning from Mr. Benjamin Portal, whose eyes are as handsome as ever. Everybody is extremely anxious for your return, but as you cannot come home by the Ashe ball, I am glad that I have not fed them with false hopes. James danced with Alithea, and cut up the turkey last night with great perseverance. You say nothing of the silk stockings; I flatter myself, therefore, that Charles has not purchased any, as I cannot very well afford to pay for them; all my money is spent in buying white gloves and pink persian. I wish Charles had been at Manydown, because he would have given you some description of my friend, and I think you must be impatient to hear something about him.

Henry is still hankering after the Regulars, and as his project of purchasing the adjutancy of the Oxfordshire is now over, he has got a scheme in his head about getting a lieutenancy and adjutancy in the 86th, a new-raised regiment, which he fancies will be ordered to the Cape of Good Hope. I heartily hope that he will, as usual, be disappointed in this scheme. We have trimmed up and given away all the old paper hats of Mamma’s manufacture; I hope you will not regret the loss of yours.

After I had written the above, we received a visit from Mr. Tom Lefroy and his cousin George. The latter is really very well-behaved now; and as for the other, he has but one fault, which time will, I trust, entirely remove – it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light. He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, and therefore wears the same coloured clothes, I imagine, which he did when he was wounded.

Sunday. -By not returning till the 19th, you will exactly contrive to miss seeing the Coopers, which I suppose it is your wish to do. We have heard nothing from Charles for some time. One would suppose they must have sailed by this time, as the wind is so favourable. What a funny name Tom has got for his vessel! But he has no taste in names, as we well know, and I dare say he christened it himself. I am sorry for the Beaches’ loss of their little girl, especially as it is the one so much like me.

I condole with Miss M. on her losses and with Eliza on her gains, and am ever yours,

J. A.

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Here are some pictures of me standing outside one of the houses that Jane Austen is believed to have stayed in at Lyme. Pyne House is on the main High Street of the town not far from the beach. As I was standing waiting to have my photo taken someone actually came out of the front door – needless to say I was a bit embarrassed! Here are some extracts from Jane’s letter written from Lyme to her sister Cassandra.

Lyme, Friday, September 14th 1804.

My dear Cassandra, – I take the first sheet of fine striped paper to thank you for your letter from Weymouth, and express my hopes of your being at Ibthorp before this time. I expect to hear that you reached it yesterday evening, being able to get as far as Blandford on Wednesday. Your account of Weymouth contains nothing which strikes me so forcibly as there being no ice in the town. For every other vexation I was in some measure prepared, and particularly for your disappointment in not seeing the Royal Family go on board on Tuesday, having already heard from Mr. Crawford that he had seen you in the very act of being too late. But for there being no ice, what could prepare me?

You found my letter at Andover, I hope, yesterday, and have now for many hours been satisfied that your kind anxiety on my behalf was as much thrown away as kind anxiety usually is. I continue quite well; in proof of which I have bathed again this morning. It was absolutely necessary that I should have the little fever and indisposition which I had: it has been all the fashion this week in Lyme.

We are quite settled in our lodgings by this time, as you may suppose, and everything goes on in the usual order. The servants behave very well, and make no difficulties, though nothing certainly can exceed the inconvenience of the offices, except the general dirtiness of the house and furniture, and all its inhabitants. I endeavour, as far as I can, to supply your place, and be useful, and keep things in order. I detect dirt in the water decanter as fast as I can, and give the cook physic which she throws off her stomach. I forget whether she used to do this under your administration. The ball last night was pleasant, but not full for Thursday. My father staid contentedly till half-past nine (we went a little after eight), and then walked home with James and a lanthorn, though I believe the lanthorn was not lit, as the moon was up, but sometimes this lanthorn may be a great convenience to him. My mother and I staid about an hour later. Nobody asked me the two first dances; the next two I danced with Mr. Crawford, and had I chosen to stay longer might have danced with Mr. Granville, Mrs. Granville’s son, whom my dear friend Miss A. offered to introduce to me, or with a new odd-looking man who had been eyeing me for some time, and at last, without any introduction, asked me if I meant to dance again. I think he must be Irish by his ease, and because I imagine him to belong to the honbl. B.’s, who are son, and son’s wife of an Irish viscount, bold queer-looking people, just fit to be quality at Lyme. I called yesterday morning (ought it not in strict propriety to be termed yester-morning?) on Miss A. and was introduced to her father and mother. Like other young ladies she is considerably genteeler than her parents. Mrs. A. sat darning a pair of stockings the whole of my visit. But do not mention this at home, lest a warning should act as an example. We afterwards walked together for an hour on the Cobb; she is very conversable in a common way; I do not perceive wit or genius, but she has sense and some degree of taste, and her manners are very engaging. She seems to like people rather too easily.

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Here are some pictures of me standing outside one of the houses that Jane Austen is believed to have stayed in at Lyme. Pyne House is on the main High Street of the town not far from the beach. As I was standing waiting to have my photo taken someone actually came out of the front door – needless to say I was a bit embarrassed! Here are some extracts from Jane’s letter written from Lyme to her sister Cassandra.

Lyme, Friday, September 14th 1804.

My dear Cassandra, – I take the first sheet of fine striped paper to thank you for your letter from Weymouth, and express my hopes of your being at Ibthorp before this time. I expect to hear that you reached it yesterday evening, being able to get as far as Blandford on Wednesday. Your account of Weymouth contains nothing which strikes me so forcibly as there being no ice in the town. For every other vexation I was in some measure prepared, and particularly for your disappointment in not seeing the Royal Family go on board on Tuesday, having already heard from Mr. Crawford that he had seen you in the very act of being too late. But for there being no ice, what could prepare me?

You found my letter at Andover, I hope, yesterday, and have now for many hours been satisfied that your kind anxiety on my behalf was as much thrown away as kind anxiety usually is. I continue quite well; in proof of which I have bathed again this morning. It was absolutely necessary that I should have the little fever and indisposition which I had: it has been all the fashion this week in Lyme.

We are quite settled in our lodgings by this time, as you may suppose, and everything goes on in the usual order. The servants behave very well, and make no difficulties, though nothing certainly can exceed the inconvenience of the offices, except the general dirtiness of the house and furniture, and all its inhabitants. I endeavour, as far as I can, to supply your place, and be useful, and keep things in order. I detect dirt in the water decanter as fast as I can, and give the cook physic which she throws off her stomach. I forget whether she used to do this under your administration. The ball last night was pleasant, but not full for Thursday. My father staid contentedly till half-past nine (we went a little after eight), and then walked home with James and a lanthorn, though I believe the lanthorn was not lit, as the moon was up, but sometimes this lanthorn may be a great convenience to him. My mother and I staid about an hour later. Nobody asked me the two first dances; the next two I danced with Mr. Crawford, and had I chosen to stay longer might have danced with Mr. Granville, Mrs. Granville’s son, whom my dear friend Miss A. offered to introduce to me, or with a new odd-looking man who had been eyeing me for some time, and at last, without any introduction, asked me if I meant to dance again. I think he must be Irish by his ease, and because I imagine him to belong to the honbl. B.’s, who are son, and son’s wife of an Irish viscount, bold queer-looking people, just fit to be quality at Lyme. I called yesterday morning (ought it not in strict propriety to be termed yester-morning?) on Miss A. and was introduced to her father and mother. Like other young ladies she is considerably genteeler than her parents. Mrs. A. sat darning a pair of stockings the whole of my visit. But do not mention this at home, lest a warning should act as an example. We afterwards walked together for an hour on the Cobb; she is very conversable in a common way; I do not perceive wit or genius, but she has sense and some degree of taste, and her manners are very engaging. She seems to like people rather too easily.

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In November 1800, Jane Austen was a month short of her 25th birthday. The following is a much edited letter, written to her sister Cassandra but I particularly love her description of the ball and more particularly the images that are conjured up by the descriptions of the people who attended.
The lovely illustrations are by Philip Gough from Sense and Sensibility.

Steventon: Thursday, November 20, 1800.

MY DEAR CASSANDRA,

Your letter took me quite by surprise this morning; you are very welcome, however, and I am very much obliged to you. I believe I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne; I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand to-day. You will kindly make allowance therefore for any indistinctness of writing, by attributing it to this venial error.

Your desiring to hear from me on Sunday will, perhaps, bring you a more particular account of the ball than you may care for, because one is prone to think much more of such things the morning after they happen, than when time has entirely driven them out of one’s recollection.

It was a pleasant evening; Charles found it remarkably so, but I cannot tell why, unless the absence of Miss Terry, towards whom his conscience reproaches him with being now perfectly indifferent, was a relief to him. There were only twelve dances, of which I danced nine, and was merely prevented from dancing the rest by the want of a partner. We began at ten, supped at one, and were at Deane before five. There were but fifty people in the room; very few families indeed from our side of the county, and not many more from the other. My partners were the two St. Johns, Hooper, Holder, and very prodigious Mr. Mathew, with whom I called the last, and whom I liked the best of my little stock.

There were very few beauties, and such as there were were not very handsome. Miss Iremonger did not look well, and Mrs. Blount was the only one much admired. She appeared exactly as she did in September, with the same broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, and fat neck. The two Miss Coxes were there: I traced in one the remains of the vulgar, broad-featured girl who danced at Enham eight years ago; the other is refined into a nice, composed-looking girl, like Catherine Bigg. I looked at Sir Thomas Champneys and thought of poor Rosalie; I looked at his daughter, and thought her a queer animal with a white neck. Mrs. Warren, I was constrained to think, a very fine young woman, which I much regret. She has got rid of some part of her child, and danced away with great activity looking by no means very large. Her husband is ugly enough, uglier even than his cousin John; but he does not look so very old. The Miss Maitlands are both prettyish, very like Anne, with brown skins, large dark eyes, and a good deal of nose. The General has got the gout, and Mrs. Maitland the jaundice. Miss Debary, Susan, and Sally, all in black, but without any stature, made their appearance, and I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.

Mary said that I looked very well last night. I wore my aunt’s gown and handkerchief, and my hair was at least tidy, which was all my ambition. I will now have done with the ball, and I will moreover go and dress for dinner.

We had a very pleasant day on Monday at Ashe, we sat down fourteen to dinner in the study, the dining-room being not habitable from the storms having blown down its chimney. Mrs. Bramston talked a good deal of nonsense, which Mr. Bramston and Mr. Clerk seemed almost equally to enjoy. There was a whist and a casino table, and six outsiders. Rice and Lucy made love, Mat. Robinson fell asleep, James and Mrs. Augusta alternately read Dr. Finnis’ pamphlet on the cow-pox, and I bestowed my company by turns on all.

The three Digweeds all came on Tuesday, and we played a pool at commerce. James Digweed left Hampshire to-day. I think he must be in love with you, from his anxiety to have you go to the Faversham balls, and likewise from his supposing that the two elms fell from their grief at your absence. Was not it a gallant idea? It never occurred to me before, but I dare say it was so.

Farewell; Charles sends you his best love and Edward his worst. If you think the distinction improper, you may take the worst yourself. He will write to you when he gets back to his ship, and in the meantime desires that you will consider me as

Your affectionate sister, J. A.

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