Jane Austen

Christmas letters from Austen

Are you bracing yourself for them? Do you write them? Do you enjoy those cheerful missives from obscure relatives?

What do you think Austen’s characters would say?

My dear Wickham has acquitted himself most gallantly in protecting us from crazed weavers; just imagine, they complain of working 18 hours a day yet still find time to roam the streets in a most vulgar way, bemoaning their lot, hurling filth at the regiment’s handsome regimentals, and demanding an extra 2d a day! Talking of which, I regret my dear Wickham has suffered misfortune at the gaming tables once again, and if every member of the family could contribute a little, say 2 guineas, or possibly 5, we could overcome our temporary embarrassment and not bring shame upon the family… Captain and Mrs. George Wickham

Oh I am so happy in the great house and magnificent grounds of Pemberley; I roam for hours exclaiming aloud over my extreme felicity and great good fortune in marrying my dear Mr. Darcy, who naturally is busy with his trout streams and other male pursuits. We are both so well occupied that we meet but little, although I have taken the fortuitous step of drawing the route to the bedchamber in chalk upon the floors so that we may at least meet at night; Mr. Darcy suggested it after I lost my way and had to spend the night in such places as the third minor stillroom and once sharing the housekeeper’s bed. She sang her master’s praises all night long and I scarce got a wink of sleep… Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy

Ann proves herself a formidable ally against the enemy. Upon boarding our latest prize I was most diverted to find her at my side, her face black with powder and a knife clenched between her teeth, uttering terrible oaths and despatching several terrified Frenchies with violent blows. She demands a share of the prize money and her ration of rum but you will be pleased to learn she occupies herself also with more womanly pursuits such as comforting the wounded. Our ship’s surgeon says she beats any he has seen in the execution of a fast amputation… Captain and Mrs. Frederick Wentworth

In our first year of married bliss dear Mr. Knightley is so agreeable and charming it is quite as it is before which pleases Mr. Woodhouse mightily. Mr. Knightley spends most of the day with us, although he makes haste to return from visits to Donwell Abbey before nightfall, as for Mr. Woodhouse’s peace of mind we now have a dozen armed guards and as many mastiffs patrolling the garden and chicken coop after dark. I believe that Mr. Woodhouse will eventually not need to knock on our bedchamber door enquiring after our health at night; he is easily alarmed by various groans and other sounds that emanate from that room–he is all tender consideration!… Mr. and Mrs. George Knightley

Edmund and I enjoy the most perfect felicity and harmony and delight in counting the twelve toes of our beloved daughter Julia… Reverend and Mrs. Edmund Bertram

Happy birthday, Jane Austen, and sorry for the many liberties I’ve taken for so long… Give us your ideas for snippets of news from Austen characters’ holiday letters.

Why, may you ask, is there a pic of a naked man on this post? God knows why but I see them all over the place. I think it has something to do with writing romance.

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Kate Dolan
10 years ago

These are hysterical! I especially love the Knightleys’ letter. I am far too lazy to write one of these myself (and don’t want to follow your excellent act) but I do think it might be fun to hear from Catherine being haunted while visiting her inlaws or Elinor’s attempts to restrain Marianne from decorating the cows in the pasture witn romantic holiday garlands

Janet Mullany
10 years ago

Kate, are we the only people in the world who find holiday letters ridiculous???

I think Marianne’s holiday letter might be a reading list!

Diane Gaston
10 years ago

I think this is very clever, Janet!!! Who knows why there aren’t masses of commenters, especially because we are giving away prizes.

You’ll find it amusing that I didn’t even notice the mantitty until you mentioned it in another email!!!!

Shara Lanel
10 years ago

Happy Birthday, Jane! I miss letter writing. I’ve got a box in the attic filled with letters from friends. Emails just aren’t the same.

Elena Greene
10 years ago

LOL, Janet! Do I dare confess that I do the holiday newsletter thing?

Delle Jacobs
10 years ago

I have the feeling if Jane could travel to the 21st Century, she would very quickly realize the necessity of adaptation to the changed times. She would then come across Janet’s version of the letters and decide she must update her stories immediately. And then we’re all in trouble. you see what you have done to history, Janet?

Hm. Shall we write this story?

Delle Jacobs
10 years ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 years ago

My daughter and shared these over a steaming bowl of porridge this morning. Delightful, even if I did nearly gurgle porridge in my tea at the image of Elizabeth chalking up the haloed floors of Pemberly, aka Chatsworth.

Jane George
10 years ago

I don’t open those missives any more since they had little to do with spreading holiday cheer. Unlike yours! Thanks for the laughs. Especially loved Julia’s twelve toes.

10 years ago

Yes, the temptation in writing holiday letters is to go to one extreme or the other, either “After Junior won a gold medal in the summer Olympics, his fictionalized account of his life in sport was short-listed for the Booker Prize” or “Crops failed, livestock died, and the bank foreclosed on the farm”. Competitive holiday letters are a bane of the season.

Thanks to Janet for a chuckle on a gray day.

10 years ago

How delightful these missives were. You did such a wonderful job writing them, I wouldn’t consider attempting one. I especially liked the one from Elizabeth.

Have a wonderful Holiday.

Sophia Rose
10 years ago

LOL! Poor Jane! She would really shake her head to receive those missives.
I don’t write holiday letters and barely send out cards because I would sound like Miss Bates to Emma. I really don’t think everyone needs that kind of gentle torture at this time of the year.

Thanks for sharing your creativity, Janet.

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