Category Archives: Austen’s friends

Ideas in common (or lack thereof)

“Only one comes back with me tomorrow, probably Miss Eliza, & I rather dread it.  We shall not have two Ideas in common.  She is young, pretty, chattering & thinking chiefly (I presume) of Dress, Company, & Admiration.”

Of a journey back home with one of the Miss Moores
letter to her niece, Fanny Knight
November 30, 1814 [114]

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Filed under Austen's friends, Beauty, Conversation, Letters, Youth

Uphill work

” . . . tho’ I like Miss H. M. as much as one can at my time of Life after a day’s acquaintance, it is uphill work to be talking to those whom one knows so little.”

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

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Filed under Austen's friends, Conversation, Letters

So many dear friends…

“My Uncle & Aunt drank tea with us last night, & in spite of my resolution to the contrary, I could not help putting forward to invite them again this Evening.  I thought it was of the first consequence to avoid anything that might seem a slight to them.  I shall be glad when it is over, & hope to have no necessity for having so many dear friends at once again.”

letter to Cassandra
April 23, 1805 [44]

It seems that one of the reasons Jane disliked Bath was the increased social obligations.  She preferred her quiet country life.

The silhouette is of Jane’s aunt, Mrs. Leigh-Perrot, from the Jane Austen Society of Australia web site.

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Filed under Austen family, Austen's friends, Letters, uncle and aunt Leigh-Perrot

Unlucky me!

“My Evening Engagement & walk was with Miss Armstrong, who had called on me the day before, & gently upbraided me in her turn with change of manners to her since she had been in Bath, or at least of late.  Unlucky me! that my notice should be of such consequence & my Manners so bad!”

letter to Cassandra
April 21, 1805 [44]

Evidently Jane met Miss Armstrong in Lyme the previous fall, and concluded that she had “some degree of Sense” but no “Wit or Genius.”

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Filed under Austen's friends, Letters

I do not want people to be agreeable…

Okay, this has to be one of my all-time favorites:

“I do not want People to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”

letter to Cassandra
December 24, 1798 [15]

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Filed under Austen's friends, Humor, Letters

In Memoriam

Img_0631_2Jane died on July 18, 1817, at this house on College Street in Winchester.  She was forty-one.  Jane and Cassandra were staying on the first floor (what we Americans would call the second floor) with the bay window.  The house is now a private home. (And I have been told that if you are ever in Winchester, please don’t knock and ask to see the room where Jane died — the couple who owns the house are tired of getting inquiries like that!  I can’t say that I blame them.)

This is from a letter Jane wrote to a dear friend a couple months before she died:

“In short, if I live to be an old Woman I must expect to wish I had died now, blessed in the tenderness of such a Family, & before I had survived either them or their affection.–You would have held the memory of your friend Jane too in tender regret I am sure.–But the Providence of God has restored me–& may I be more fit to appear before him when I am summoned, than I should have been now!”

letter to Anne Sharp
May 22, 1817 [159]

Ms. Place at Janites on the James has posted more information about Jane’s death, including a picture of her memorial in Winchester Cathedral.

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Filed under Austen family, Austen's friends, Christianity, Letters

Some degree of taste

“I called yesterday morning–(ought it not in strict propriety be termed Yester-Morning?) on Miss Armstrong, & was introduced to her father & Mother.  Like other young Ladies she is considerably genteeler then her Parents . . . 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 & some degree of Taste, & her manners are very engaging.  She seems to like people rather too easily . . .”

letter to Cassandra
September 14, 1804 [39]

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Filed under Austen's friends, Character description, Letters

Poor Marianne Mapleton

“You will be sorry to hear that Marianne Mapleton’s disorder has ended fatally; she was beleived out of danger on Sunday, but a sudden relapse carried her off the next day.–So affectionate a family must suffer severely; & many a girl on early death has been praised into an Angel I beleive, on slighter pretensions to Beauty, Sense & Merit than Marianne.”

letter to Cassandra
May 21, 1801 [37] (emphasis mine)

The spelling here is Jane’s.  She continually got her i‘s and e‘s mixed up.

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Filed under Austen's friends, Beauty, Letters, Neighbors

First Impressions

“I would not let Martha read First Impressions again upon any account, & am very glad that I did not leave it in your power.—She is very cunning, but I see through her design;–she means to publish it from Memory, & one more perusal must enable her to do it.”

letter to Cassandra, First Impressions later became Pride & Prejudice, Martha is Jane and Cassandra’s dear friend Martha Lloyd, who lived with them after their father died and eventually married their brother Frank
June 11, 1799 [21]

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Filed under Letters, Martha Lloyd, Pride and Prejudice

Some prevailing wish

“I am quite pleased with Martha & Mrs. Lefroy for wanting the pattern of our Caps, but I am not so well pleased with Your giving it to them–.  Some wish, some prevailing Wish is necessary to the animation of everybody’s Mind, & in gratifying this, You leave them to form some other which will not probably be half so innocent.”

letter to Cassandra
June 2, 1799 [20]

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Filed under Fashion, Humor, Letters, Martha Lloyd, Morality, Mrs. Lefroy