Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!


Happy Birthday Jane Austen In the first place I hope you will live twenty-three years longer. Letter from Jane to Cassandra, January 9, 1796

The new infant, however, did not appear quite so soon as was expected, and the last letter of the series is written by George Austen on December 17, 1775.

Steventon: December 17, 1775.

DEAR SISTER,–You have doubtless been for some time in expectation of hearing from Hampshire, and perhaps wondered a little we were in our old age grown such bad reckoners, but so it was, for Cassy certainly expected to have been brought to bed a month ago; however, last night the time came, and without a great deal of warning, everything was soon happily over. We have now another girl, a present plaything for her sister Cassy, and a future companion. She is to be Jenny, and seems to me as if she would be as like Harry as Cassy is to Neddy. Your sister, thank God, is pure well after it.

George Austen’s prediction was fully justified. Never were sisters more to each other than Cassandra and Jane; while in a particularly affectionate family there seems to have been a special link between Cassandra and Edward on the one hand, and between Jane and Henry on the other.

Jane’s godparents were Mrs. Musgrave (a connexion of her mother’s), Mrs. Francis Austen (another Jane), wife of George’s kind uncle, and Samuel Cooke, Rector of Little Bookham.

From Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters: A Family Record, by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh, Chapter II

Happy birthday, Jane! May birthday cake and French wine flow long today out in the ether.

Gentle Readers, your party hat is hereby provided; Dorothy is serving vanilla rooibos and cake in the conservatory. Please feel free to leave your birthday greetings in this thread!

ETA: As on Jane’s birthday every year, JASNA has published the Winter 2009 issue of Persuasions On-line for your reading pleasure.

17 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

  1. Lauren H.

    Happy Birthday Jane Austen! Knowing it was your 239th birthday helped me get through my applied statistics final this morning!


  2. Deborah

    It’s her *234th* birthday (1775-2009), folks, not her 239th! I guess it’s pretty obvious we’re all English majors here. . .


  3. Denise

    Happy Birthday Miss Austen, and thank you for your books that we have enjoyed through out the years. We will always treasure them beyond all things.

    Again Happy Birthday Miss Austen. 🙂


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