By F B Pinion
A Jane Austen spouse: A serious Survey and Reference booklet by way of F. B. Pinion 1973 Hardcover 342 pages together with Index Macmillian
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Letters were of limited size, folded rather like airmail forms, and sealed. They were frequently chequer-written (E. xix) to give the recipient, who paid the postage, good value for high charges. 'Dear mel what is to become of mel Such a long letter! Two and forty lines in the second page. ' Jane wrote to Cassandra (Letters, 214, 344). Another result of high costs was the common abbreviation of words. P. wrote the address and added his signature. It was a great convenience to Lady Bertram that her husband should have to 'frank' her letters in this way (MP.
Xliv). The usual pace was little more than seven miles an hour, rather less for the journey of not more than twenty-five miles from Hunsford to London, and considerably less in the hilly country from Uppercross to Lyme (NA. xi; PP. xxvii, xxxii, xxxviii; P. xi). Goods were carried in cumbersome hooded wagons drawn by four, six, and sometimes eight horses, at a rather slow walking-pace (see Letters, 290). For long journeys, the poor rarely had any other alternative to travelling on foot or, if they owned one, on horse or donkey.
With the exception of the neighbouring naval base at Portsmouth, there were few places in the country where the ordinary citizen could know more about the war. Jane knew more than most, from Frank's accounts of what he had seen and heard abroad. There can Background 27 be little doubt that through his offices she became familiar with the dockyard and fortifications at Portsmouth, scenes which she recalled so vividly that she did not hesitate to use some of them in Mansfield Park. The Austen family had some knowledge of Antigua before her brothers brought back reports of their experience in theWest Indies naval zone (seep.
A Jane Austen Companion: A critical survey and reference book by F B Pinion