Category Archives: Juvenilia

Beautifull indeed

“She then proceeded to a Pastry-cooks where she devoured six ices, refused to pay for them, knocked down the Pastry Cook and walked away.”

The Beautifull Cassandra
Volume the First of Jane’s Juvenilia

Jane must have been very young when she wrote this!  Actually, what I love about these stories (though I haven’t read many of them) is her already obvious enthusiasm for the ridiculous.  There’s more slapstick humor here than silly school-girl romance.

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The Beautifull Cassandra

Yesterday was Labor Day here in the States — a day in which, in honor of work (or, rather, in honor of the common laborer), everyone takes the day off.  😉

More from Jane’s Juvenilia today.  This is her introduction to her sister for the story “The Beautifull Cassandra.”  This is from Volume the First (there are three in all), so Jane was somewhere between 12 and 15 when she wrote this.


You are a Phoenix.  Your taste is refined, your Sentiments are noble, and your Virtues innumerable.  Your Person is lovely, your Figure, elegant, and your Form, magestic.  Your Manners are polished, your Conversation is rational and your appearance singular.  If therefore the following Tale will afford one moment’s amusement to you, every wish will be gratified of
Your most obedient
humble servant
The Author”

I love this — “Madam You are a Phoenix.”  Is that really a compliment?  You certainly see Jane’s spirit here.

Thanks to for the silhouette of Cassandra Austen.


Filed under Austen family, Juvenilia, On being a lady, sister Cassandra, The Beautifull Cassandra

Venting my spleen

Historyofengland Henry the 6th

“I cannot say much for this Monarch’s Sense–Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian.  I suppose you know all about the Wars between him and the Duke of York who was of the right side; If you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning only to vent my Spleen against, and show my Hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, and not to give information.”

from The History of England “By a partial, prejudiced, and ignorant Historian.”

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The History of England

Life is constant activity these days, in spite of purposefully trying to slow down.  Today all the pipes are being replaced in my house — there is plastic all over everything, and they’re in the process of cutting out large sections of sheetrock to get to all that darn polybutylene.  Argh!

Today’s quote is from one of Austen’s Juvenilia pieces (all the writing she did when she was young, pre-publication).  This is from The History of England, which Ms. Place has posted about on Jane Austen’s World.  I love the spirit here.  Jane wrote it and Cassandra illustrated it.  It’s available online at The British Library and there’s a wonderful edition from Algonquin which shows the manuscript and Cassandra’s drawings.


Henry the 4th

“Henry the 4th ascended the throne of England much to his own satisfaction in the year 1399, after having prevailed on his cousin and predecessor Richard the 2d, to resign it to him, and to retire for the rest of his Life to Pomfret Castle, where he happened to be murdered.  It is to be supposed that Henry was Married, since he had certainly four sons, but it is not in my power to inform the Reader who was his Wife.  Be that as it may, he did not live for ever, but falling ill, his son the Prince of Wales came and took away the crown; whereupon the King made a long speech, for which I must refer the Reader to Shakespear’s Plays, and the Prince made a still longer.  Things being thus settled by them the King died…”

Jane was about 16 when she wrote this.

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