It is with great pleasure that I write to express my sincere
thanks for the works on which you so tirelessly labored. The characters and plots are so infinitely superior to the majority of novels with which I
am acquainted, and have provided untold hours of enjoyment to myself.
After repeatedly indulging in all of your works (and having
finally declared Pride and Prejudice to be my absolute favorite) I have
determined that there remain multiple unanswered questions. Would you be so kind
as to indulge my curiosity?
Since I am less educated in the ways of 19th
century England than I am with 21st century America (and I wonder if
you are surprised to find that we endured), I find it intriguing that people
were so educated on the wealth and worth of their associates. How did this
knowledge come to be so public? We do not discuss our worth today, unless we
have obtained the honor of being noticed by a man called Forbes and subsequently
named in his illustrious lists. According to the etiquette of today, of which I
am sure Americans are in possession of a superior form, this information would
be considered gossip.
Another issue that has greatly puzzled me is the calling of
the clergy in your time. I am only accustomed to the idea of a true conviction
to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and following that conviction into the
ministry of the church. It seems apparent that in your time, the office of the
clergy was a position of rank, the attainment of which was to be desired most eagerly.
I wonder how a man could truly share the love of God and the message of Grace
if he was not intimately familiar with these subjects.
From my reading of other
works, I am aware that the Church of England operates quite differently from
the smaller denominations in America, which might explain this phenomenon. However, it is with strong conviction that I question the ability of a rogue such as Mr. Wickham to shepherd a flock, and I doubt Mr. Collins’ ability to worship anyone
other than Lady Catherine DeBourgh.
One aspect of your books that I desire to observe more of
today is a true race of gentlemen. The examples provided by Mr. Knightly and
Colonel Brandon are truly of a sort that must be held as the goal of every
young lady today. I believe myself to be most truthful in stating that the most
sought after men of our time would be greatly abhorrent to you. Do you think,
perhaps, that attire affects manners?
My observance would convince me that there is a possible relation.
Mr. Knightly in Emma
Alas! I grieve for the young ladies today who have so lowered their standards of what is desirable in a young man.
Concerning gentlemen, I cannot thank you enough for the
examples of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly, and Colonel Brandon. Even Edmund Bertram
is a good sort, although he seemed somewhat slow in his realization of where
his destiny was to lie. Mr. Darcy grew on me as he did Elizabeth,
and upon conclusion of Pride and Prejudice I found myself ecstatically expressing
my best wishes for his and Elizabeth’s
every happiness. He most graciously redeemed himself. Could you have imagined
with what perfect representation our modern movie industry could portray him?
Your Mr. Darcy has become the standard to which so many men today must attain,
as a hopeless romantic and a sincere gentleman.
Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice
Who else could, immediately following the most violent refusal of a marriage proposal, still wish his intended the "best wishes for her health and happiness?"
Ah, but my favorite of all your works is the last chapter of
MansfieldPark. The manner in which Fanny Price is
justified in her consistency, her morals, and her unwavering loyalty is so
pleasing! The admission of Sir Thomas’ shortcomings as a father, the
unintentional vindication of Fanny’s sufferings on the part of Mrs. Norris, the
consequences of Maria Bertram’s and Henry Crawford’s unseemly behavior, and the
salvation of Tom Bertram’s character are such a complete and pleasing
conclusion to a wonderful tale.
Let me close by saying how grateful I am for your ability to
provide such remarkable entertainment. The books you have written have
increased in popularity over the last 200 years and show no signs of abatement.
It is the mark of a true writer that she leaves her readers desiring more. Oh!
if only you had retained good health and lived to supply us with more
I have determined that your characters are not in vain. May I be a mother who is the opposite of Mrs. Bennett, raise daughters as desirable as Jane Bennett, raise sons as kind as Edmund Bertram, and never have the haughtiness of Catherine Bingley or Mrs. Norris.
Please accept my best wishes on your eternal rest.