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Written by Myretta
(2/11/2013 10:45 a.m.)
There's a lot of reading going on in letter 78. As Jane Austen writes to her sister, "We are quite over run with books."
Mrs. Austen is reading Travels in Spain by Sir John Carr and Jane is reading Essays on the Military Policy and institutions of the British Empire by Sir Charles William Pasley which she apparently had from The Alton Book Society.
This brings on a spate of reminiscences about authors she has loved. I'll just list these here with some links.
James and Horatio Smith (the 2 Mr. Smiths) - Rejected Addresses; or the New Theatrum Poetarum (a collection of parodies of contemporary poets)
Not exactly light reading. But it gives you a good idea of the wide range of topics that informed her writing.
In this letter, we also have an indication of how far along she is with Mansfield Park, when she writes, "I learn from Sir J. Carr that there is no Government House at Gibraltar. -- I must alter it to the Commissioner's. This alteration appears in vol. ii, chapter 6 of MP or Chapter 24 of the one volume edition.
Here's the OED definition of a tax-cart (or taxed cart): A "two-wheeled (originally springless) open cart drawn by one horse, and used mainly for agricultural or trade purposes, on which was charged only a reduced duty (afterwards taken off entirely)
For those of you who don't have access to Le Faye's fabulous 4th edition, here's a partial list of the people mentioned in this letter:
Mrs. Leigh is probably Cassandra's godmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Leigh
Brother Michael presumably Michael Terry
Miss Benn Daughter/Sister? Of Revd Michael Benn of Farringdon, Hants
Chute family The Vyne
Digweeds Steventon Manor House
Hinton John rector of Chawton until 1802
Papillon family distant cousins of the Knights
Patience & Michael Terry Children of Thomas Terry of Dummer, Hants. Michael engaged briefly to Anna Austen
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