Austen, Jane . Jane Austen's Letters To Her Sister Cassandra and Others
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Anna 1814

   Chawton Wednesday Sept: 28. My dear Anna

   I hope you do not depend on having your book back again immediately. I keep it that your G:mama may hear it-for it has not been possible yet to have any public reading. I have read it to your Aunt Cassandra however-in our own room at night, while we undressed-and with a great deal of pleasure. We like the first chapter extremely-with only a little doubt whether Ly Helena is not almost too foolish. The matrimonial Dialogue is very good certainly.-I like Susan as well as ever-& begin now not to care at all about Cecilia-she may stay at Easton Court as long as she likes.-Henry Mellish I am afraid will be too much in the common Novel style-a handsome, amiable, unexceptionable Young Man (such as do not much abound in real Life) desperately in Love, & all in vain. But I have no business to judge him so early.-Jane Egerton is a very natural, comprehendable Girl-& the whole of her acquaintance with Susan, & Susan's Letter to Cecilia, very pleasing & quite in character.-But Miss Egerton does not entirely satisfy us. She


is too formal & solemn, we think, in her advice to her Brother not to fall in love; & it is hardly like a sensible Woman; it is putting it into his head.-We should like a few hints from her better.-We feel really obliged to you for introducing a Lady Kenrick, it will remove the greatest fault in the work, & I give you credit for considerable forbearance as an Author in adopting so much of our opinion.-I expect high fun about Mrs. Fisher and Sir Thomas.-You have been perfectly right in telling Ben of your work, & I am very glad to hear how much he likes it. His encouragement & approbation must be quite " beyond everything."-I do not at all wonder at his not expecting to like anybody so well as Cecilia at first, but shall be surprised if he does not become a Susan-ite in time. Devereux Forester's being ruined by his Vanity is extremely good; but I wish you would not let him plunge into a " vortex of Dissipation." I do not object to the Thing, but I cannot bear the expression;-it is such thorough novel slang-and so old, that I dare say Adam met with it in the first novel he opened.-Indeed I did very much like to know Ben's opinion.-I hope he will continue to be pleased with it, I think he must-but I cannot flatter him with their being much Incident. We have no great right to wonder at his not valueing the name of Progillian. That is a source of delight which he hardly ever can be quite competent to.-Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones.-It is not fair.-He has Fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people's mouths.-I do not like him, & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it-but fear I must.-I am quite determined


however not to be pleased with Mrs. West's Alicia de Lacy, should I ever meet with it, which I hope I may not.-I think I can be stout against any thing written by Mrs. West.-I have made up my mind to like no Novels really, but Miss Edgeworth's, Yours & my own.-

   What can you do with Egerton to increase the interest for him? I wish you cd* contrive something, some family occurrence to draw out his good qualities more-some distress among Brothers or Sisters to releive by the sale of his Curacy-something to [tak]e him mysteriously away, & then heard of at York or Edinburgh-in an old great coat.-I would not seriously recommend anything Improbable, but if you cd* invent something spirited for him, it wd* have a good effect.-he might lend all his Money to Captn* Morris-but then He wd* be a great fool if he did. Cannot the Morrises quarrel, & he reconcile them?-Excuse the liberty I take in these suggestions.-

   Your Aunt Frank's Housemaid has just given her warning, but whether she is worth your having, or wd* take your place I know not.-She was Mrs. Webb's maid before she went to the Gt* House. She leaves your Aunt, because she cannot agree with her fellow servants. She is in love with the Man and her head seems rather turned; he returns her affection, but she fancies every body else is wanting to get him too, & envying her. Her previous service must have fitted her for such a place as yours, & she is very active and cleanly.-She is own Sister to the favourite Beatrice.-The Webbs are really gone. When I saw the Waggons at the door, & thought of all the trouble they must have in moving, I began to reproach myself for not


having liked them better-but since the Waggons have disappeared, my Conscience has been closed again-& I am excessively glad they are gone.-I am very fond of Sherlock's Sermons, prefer them to almost any.-

   Your affecte** Aunt

   J. Austen

   If you wish me to speak to the Maid, let me know.-