A rare section of a letter written by Jane to her niece Anna Lefroy dated 29 November 1814 has gone on display after a dash to raise the agreed purchase price of £35,000.
The letter has been split into five portions (two are missing, one is in the British Library and one is in private hands). The piece rescued is the principal portion consisting of the first 40 lines of the letter.
I am very much obliged to you, my dear Anna, I should be very happy to come and see you again if I could, but I have not a day disengaged.
Jane wrote the letter on 29th November 1814 during a visit to London, where she was staying at her brother Henry’s house, to discuss a second edition of Mansfield Park. Addressed to Anna, her much loved Hampshire niece, the letter mentions Jane’s Chawton home and her views on family life,
I like first Cousins to be first Cousins, & interested about each other. They are but one remove from Br. & Sr.
And a trip to the theatre,
I took two Pocket handkerchiefs, but had very little occasion for either.
The letter is on display at Jane Austen’s House Museum from today until the 31 December 2019.
An outpouring of generosity from the public saw £10,000 raised in just six weeks through a crowdfunding campaign, with donations from 250 people from around the world. The remaining £25,000 came from a National Lottery grant and contributions from charitable trusts.