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Written by Myretta
(2/11/2013 10:59 a.m.)
This is the wonderful letter in which Jane Austen writes, "I want to tell you that I have got my own darling Child from London;"
In it she also writes some often quoted lines. She calls Elizabeth Bennet "As delightful a creature as ever appeared in print"
And, on finding some errors in the text writes, "I do not write for such dull Elves" "As have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves." This, Le Faye tells us, is a play on " From Marmion vi 38:
As has already been discussed on this board, this is the letter in which she asks Cassandra about ordination. As we see in the last letter, she is already quite far along in writing Mansfield Park, so it is unlikely that this is meant to be an indication of the theme she is about to take up. As Cassandra is currently staying with her brother James in Steventon, it seems likely that Jane Austen wants to know from James the length of time Edmund would be spending in Peterborough to prepare for ordination.
In this same letter, she inquires about whether there are hedgerows in Northamptonshire. Le Faye notes,"RWC (Chapman) assumed this enquiry meant that JA thought of using in MP the device which she later used in Persuasion (overheard dialog in hedgerows heard by Fanny between Edmund and Mary) and that she did not do so because CEA told her there were no hedgerows in Northamptonshire. Professor Treitel points out that JA could equally well have been asking CEA to check the reference to hedgerows which she had already made in vol ii, ch. 4 was correct."
Betsy, by the way, is a maidservant at Chawton.
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