A "novel" from the juvenilia
of Jane Austen
, and one of the funniest things she ever wrote. I find it utterly surreal
and cannot believe that anyone was writing such brilliant nonsense
in around 1790. It is about her elder sister Cassandra Austen
and dedicated to her. This is also one of the best dedication
s ever written. She was something like fifteen when she wrote this.
THE BEAUTIFUL CASSANDRA
A Novel in Twelve Chapters,
dedicated by permission to Miss Austen.
You are a phoenix. Your taste is refined, your sentiments are noble, and your virtues innumerable. Your person is lovely, your figure elegant, and your form majestic. Your manners are polished, your conversation is rational, and your appearance is singular. If, therefore, the following tale will afford one moment's amusement to you, every wish will be gratified of
Your most obedient
CHAPTER THE FIRST
Cassandra was the daughter and the only daughter of a celebrated milliner in Bond Street. Her father was of noble birth, being the near relation of the Duke of ---'s butler.
CHAPTER THE SECOND
When Cassandra had attained her sixteenth year, she was lovely and amiable, and chancing to fall in love with an elegant bonnet her mother had just completed, bespoke by the Countess of ---, she placed it on her gentle head and walked from her mother's shop to make her fortune.
CHAPTER THE THIRD
The first person she met was the Viscount of ---, a young man no less celebrated for his accomplishments and virtues than for his elegance and beauty. She curtseyed and walked on.
CHAPTER THE FOURTH
She then proceeded to a pastry-cook's, where she devoured six ices, refused to pay for them, knocked down the pastry cook, and walked away.
CHAPTER THE FIFTH
She next ascended a hackney coach and ordered it to Hampstead, where she was no sooner arrived than she ordered the coachman to turn round and drive her back again.
CHAPTER THE SIXTH
Being returned to the same spot of the same street she had set out from, the coachman demanded his pay.
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH
She searched her pockets again and again; but every search was unsuccessful. No money could she find. The man grew peremptory. She placed her bonnet on his head and ran away.
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH
Through many a street she then proceeded and met in none the least adventure, till on turning a corner of Bloomsbury Square, she met Maria.
CHAPTER THE NINTH
Cassandra started and Maria seemed surprised; they trembled, blushed, turned pale, and passed each other in a mutual silence.
CHAPTER THE TENTH
Cassandra was next accosted by her friend the widow, who, squeezing out her little head through her less window, asked her how she did? Cassandra curtseyed and went on.
CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH
A quarter of a mile brought her to her paternal roof in Bond Street, from which she had now been absent nearly seven hours.
CHAPTER THE TWELFTH
She entered it and was pressed to her mother's bosom by that worthy woman. Cassandra smiled and whispered to herself, 'This is a day well spent.'