“Does he love you?”
“Oh, yes. He says more than life itself.”
“And do you love him?”
“I cannot imagine life without him.”
“It is well for you as I can think of no fate worse than marriage without affection. As there is affection on both sides I believe you shall be fine.”
Jane remembered Darcy’s gentle touch, like a feather on her skin, his playful teasing. The thought of his kisses and the feel of his arms around her still made her heart beat fast.
She took a deep breath and quietly added, “I have it on excellent authority that a patient and gentle partner can make such times quite pleasurable.” She shivered at the memory of Darcy’s tender caress. “Very pleasurable,” she whispered. from YAJA based on Letter to niece
Fanny Austen-Knight dated 18 November 1814
Two days were soon gone and Jane was visiting at Chawton Great House. Inside Fanny’s bedroom Jane and her niece were sharing secrets as friends are wont to do.
“Did you know,” Jane asked her niece, “that Mrs. Knight offered me the gift of her spinning wheel, so that I might have one of my own?”
“Spinning wheel,” asked an incredulous Fanny, “what did she think you would do with a spinning wheel?”
Jane laughed, “If I were able to spin straw into gold I might have accepted it but as it was I probably would only have spun a rope to hang myself rather than use it to spin wool.”
from YAJA Based on letter to sister
Cassandra dated 31 may 1811
“Perhaps you are looking for the kind of excellence that it is more than difficult to find in people. You seem to want the kind of perfection where grace, spirit and worth are united with manners equal to heart and understanding, however, even should you find such a man he may not belong to your country.”
Fanny smiled, “You mean like Mr. Darcy?
“I made him up, Fanny.”
“He did not look made up to me and Mr. Darcy of Virginia was, most definitely, not of our country.”
from YAJA based on letter to
Fanny Austen-Knight dated 18 November 1814
The surrounding countryside seemed otherworldly, illuminated as it was by the lightning which preceded every clap of thunder, as her agitation grew the rain started in earnest. Jane turned the donkey around; there would be no American garden today.
Thankfully the donkey seemed inured to the loudness of the thunder that was causing her anxiety and trotted quickly all the way to the Great House. His speed, however, was not enough to get Jane out of the pelter in time to avoid getting wet through."
from YAJA based on a letter to nephew
James Edward Austen dated 9 July 1816
" As her thoughts were thus engaged the clouds she’d seen on the horizon earlier had moved in and far more quickly than she anticipated. A flash of lightning followed by a clap of thunder startled her and once again her stomach tightened.
In the preface to Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, Jane’s brother Henry Austen wrote that she had “a life of usefulness, literature, and religion, was not by any means a life of event.”
I make no pretension that Yours affectionately, Jane Austen is anything but a work of fiction however, I did attempt to portray a true sense of Jane by basing her character not on her novels but on the remaining letters she wrote to family and friends, allowing me to create imagined thought processes, actions and conversations…
"And there she sat, serene in what had to be an uncomfortable position for sleep; his nurse, his savior and much prettier than the only portrait of her to survive to the twenty-first century depicted. Not the brazen hussy of family lore but a sweet and loving woman who took care of him without concern for her own safety or expecting anything in return. His mother would have said she was a true Christian."
Perhaps in 1817 hers was not a life of event but in the modern world her life was, in fact, quite eventful. Before Austen was forty, three of her novels had been published with all three going into second printings during her lifetime. She found herself having to deal with a certain celebrity the books caused, whether she wanted it or not (and it seems she did not). Virtually her entire life, England was at war with the U.S. or France and with two brothers in the Navy there must have been very nervous times. More than one sister-in-law died in child birth and she lost a favorite cousin to breast cancer whose husband had been guillotined during the French Revolution. Certainly not everyday occurrences but major events in one’s life. She handled it all with grace and dignity, feeling blessed with her loving family.