By Jill Pitkeathley

They have been liked sisters and the easiest of associates. yet Jane and Cassandra Austen suffered a similar destiny as a few of the girls in their period. compelled to spend their lives depending on family, either financially and emotionally, the sisters spent their time jointly buying and selling secrets and techniques, not easy every one other's evaluations, and rehearsing in myriad alternative routes the household dramas that Jane may later deliver to fruition in her well known novels. for every sister suffered via painful romantic disappointments—tasting ardour, understanding nice love, after which wasting it—while the opposite stood witness. Upon Jane's loss of life, Cassandra intentionally destroyed her own letters, thereby ultimate the door to the personal lifetime of the popular novelist . . . till now.

In Cassandra & Jane, writer Jill Pitkeathley ingeniously reimagines the original and intimate dating among striking siblings, reintroducing readers to at least one of the main interesting figures on the planet of literature, as noticeable in the course of the eyes of the single one who knew her best.

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He wrote a most touching poem in which he imagined dear Tom’s body lying: cassandr a & jane 53 Where Ocean ceaseless pours His restless waves ’gainst Western India’s shore Friend of my soul and brother of my heart Our friendship soon had known a dearer tie Than friendship’s self could ever yet supply And I had lived with confidence to join A much loved sister’s trembling hand to thine. How I wept when I read that. But it was my sister who was the greatest strength to me in those dark days. She hardly left my side.

At about the same time, another family which was to play an important part in our lives inherited Manydown, a nearby estate. Their father, Mr. Bigg Wither, was quite well-to-do and the three daughters, Catherine, Elizabeth and Alethea were certainly richer than most young women we knew, with the exception of Eliza. ” They became great friends almost as soon as they moved into Manydown. We often laughed at the confusion caused, because the 20 jill pitk e athle y men in the family took the extra name of Wither while the girls remained only as Bigg.

I do not wish to know only that—I must know—where were you? How did he look? Did he kneel down? Did he take your hand? Did he kiss you? ” I could not bring myself to give her the details she sought—they were an intimacy I could share only with Tom. ” “No, no, you know I shall never love anyone as I love you and in any case we cannot be married for some years. ” It was like her to make light of what must have been a difficult moment and she did try hard to be pleased for Tom and me. She teased me a great deal about “conjugal duties” and instructed me that when I finally knew exactly what such duties comprised, I was to tell her in great detail so that she might decide whether to undertake them for herself.

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