Category Archives: Austen family

Pictures of perfection

I love this quote!  Austen is writing to her niece, Fanny.  Fanny had forced one of her suitors to read her Aunt Jane’s books without telling him who the author was (she wrote them anonymously, and the books only said, “By a Lady”).  He, apparently, thought that the young ladies in her stories should have been better behaved.  So Austen replies, “Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.”  Which is one of the things I love about her stories.  She also told Fanny to fess up to her suitor and not to force him to read any more of her books.

Read more of my thoughts on Darcy’s imperfections over at Darcyholic Diversions.

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Filed under Austen family, Character, Letters, niece Fanny Knight, Writing

I am tolerably glad…

“I am tolerably glad to hear that Edward’s income is so good a one–as glad as I can at anybody’s being rich besides You & me.”

letter to Cassandra
January 8, 1799 [17]

Edward was Jane’s dear brother who was adopted by wealthy cousins.  Cassandra was staying with him at his gorgeous estate Godmersham, in Kent, when this letter was written.

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Filed under Austen family, brother Edward, Envy, Letters, Money, Wealth

Conspiracy theory

“The whole World is in a conspiracy to enrich one part of our family at the expence of another.”

letter to Cassandra
May 21, 1801 [37]

Jane was upset that her father’s extensive library had only been valued at 70 pounds.  Her brother James and his wife Mary had taken over the Steventon rectory (along with the living) when her father retired to Bath, and ended up with many of the family things.

The rectory no longer exists, but here is a picture of St. Nicholas in Steventon.

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Filed under Austen family, brother James, Letters, Money

Topaz crosses

“[Charles] has received 30 pounds for his share of the privateer & expects 10 pounds more–but of what avail is it to take prizes if he lays out the produce in presents to his Sisters.  He has been buying Gold chains & Topaze Crosses for us;–he must be well scolded.”

letter to Cassandra
May 27, 1801 [38]

Jane’s younger brother Charles was in the navy (along with their brother Frank).  You can see the topaz crosses Charles bought his sisters at Jane Austen’s House Museum.

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Filed under Austen family, brother Charles, Generosity, Letters, Money, the Navy

Upon the Sopha

I’m afraid this has become the daily-when-I’m-healthy-enough-to-post quote.  I hope it will be back to daily soon.  Tuesday I used all my available energy to see the D.C. premiere of the new Lyme documentary Under Our Skin.  It’s fabulous.  I was exhausted and too emotionally wrung out when I got home to be much good.  Yesterday was a couch day, due to nausea from a new med.  I’ve bravely ventured out to a coffee shop today, hoping said nausea will stay at bay.

A little from Jane in one of her last letters:

“I am gaining strength very fast.  I am now out of bed from 9 in the morning to 10 at night–Upon the Sopha t’is true–but I eat my meals with Aunt Cass: in a rational way, & can employ myself, & walk from one room to another.”

letter to her nephew James Edward
May 27, 1817 [160]


Filed under Austen family, Health, Letters, nephew James Edward, sister Cassandra

A Vile World

Lovely lunch with JASNA – DC this weekend — thanks to all who came.  It was an honor to be asked to speak.  Nothing Vile about it!

“We have used Anna as ill as we could, by not letting him [Jane’s nephew James-Edward, Anna’s half brother] leave us before tomorrow morning, but it is a Vile World, we are all for Self & I expected no better from any of us.”

Letter to her niece Caroline [all three were her brother James’s children — Anna from his first marriage, James-Edward and Caroline from his second]
January 23, 1817 [149]


Filed under Austen family, Humor, Letters, Morality, nephew James Edward, niece Anna Austen, niece Caroline, Sarcasm

The misery of being bound without Love

“The unpleasantness of appearing fickle is certainly great–but if you think you want Punishment for past Illusions, there it is–and nothing can compare to the misery of being bound without Love, bound to one, & preferring another.  That is a Punishment which you do not deserve.”

letter to her niece Fanny Knight
November 30, 1814 [114]


Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Marriage, niece Fanny Knight, Uncertainty in love

Another Man

“It is very true that you never may attach another Man, his equal altogether, but if that other Man has the power of attaching you more, he will be in your eyes the most perfect.”

letter to her niece Fanny Knight
November 30, 1814 [114]

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Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Men, niece Fanny Knight

A possible Evil

“I am at present more impressed with the possible Evil that may arise to You from engaging yourself to him–in word or mind–than with anything else.  When I consider how few young Men you have yet seen much of–how capable you are (yes, I do still think you very capable) of being really in love–and how full of temptation the next 6 or 7 years of your Life will probably be–(it is the very period of Life for the strongest attachments to be formed)–I cannot wish you with your present very cool feelings to devote yourself in honour to him.”

letter to her niece Fanny Knight
November 30, 1814 [114]

I think they quoted this nearly directly in Miss Austen Regrets. Olivia Williams as Jane Austen.

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Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Marriage, Men, niece Fanny Knight

How very far from a now

“I am perfectly convinced that your present feelings, supposing you were to marry now, would be sufficient for his happiness;–but when I think how very, very far it is from a Now, & take everything that may be, into consideration, I dare not say, ‘determine to accept him.’  The risk is too great for you, unless your own Sentiments prompt it.”

letter to her niece Fanny Knight
November 30, 1814 [114]

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Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Marriage, niece Fanny Knight, Uncertainty in love