Persuasions #13, 1991                                                                                                                                 Pages 148-149


Persuasions Competition, 1992


This year the conference is to be held aboard ship, the Queen Mary at Long Beach.  On July 3, 1813, Jane Austen wrote to her brother Frank who was visiting Sweden.  (Letter No. 81)


It must be a real enjoyment to you … seeing something of a new Country, & one that has been so distinguished as Sweden … I hope you may have gone to Carlscroon.  – Your Profession has it’s douceurs to recompense for some of it’s Privations; – to an enquiring and observing Mind like yours, such douceurs must be considerable.  – Gustavus-Vasa, & Charles 12th, & Christina, & Lineus ….”


Obviously Jane Austen’s knowledge of Sweden was considerable.  Supposing Frank’s naval duties had taken him to the pacific coast like Captain Cook and Captain Vancouver, both officers in the Royal Navy?  What sort of letter might Jane have written to him, if he had visited California?  “Imagination is everything.”





1.  Open to JASNA members only.


2.  No more than 250 words, typed, double-spaced.


3. Submit under a pseudonym only.  Attach to your ms. an envelope with your pseudonym on the OUTSIDE, your real name, address and pseudonym INSIDE the envelope.


4. Post by August 1, 1992 to: Gene Koppel, Editor, Persuasions Department of English, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721.




Report on Persuasions Competition 1991


In Persuasions No. 12 readers were invited to compose a letter from Mrs. Elton to Mrs. Suckling describing a dinner at Hartfield.  The judge was Cheryl McNiece of Tucson, AZ.


Winner: Charlotte Samelstein Syracuse, NY.


Runners Up: Dolores A. Springer Three Rivers, MI and Pauline Goodman Cambridge, Ontario.

The Winning Letter



The Vicarage,

Friday, April 12


My dear Selina,


Never were people as sought after as my caro sposo and me; everyone is eager to show us attention!  Yesterday, Mr. and Miss Woodhouse honored us at dinner, where we met Knightley, Mr. John Knightley, Mrs. Weston, and my protegee, Jane Fairfax.  Mr. Woodhouse is a dear old creature – he admired my gown excessively, the gown you chose.  Certainly, it was the smartest gown in the room.  I do not at all like Miss Woodhouse; she holds herself very high, unlike dear Jane who is humble and quiet, – as becomes her inferior rank.  I am extremely fond of her, you know, she is so very grateful for my attention.  The dinner itself was almost in the style of Maple Grove.  Before tea, Mr. Weston joined the company, bringing a letter from his son, Frank Churchill.  The Churchill family leave Yorkshire for London immediately – therefore, he expects to see his son in Highbury tolerably often.  Mr. Weston particularly wishes to introduce Frank Churchill to my notice, and is most anxious to know my opinion of him.  Mr. E. and I are in great hopes you will not delay your visit; all Highbury is eager to meet you and my brother.  We strongly recommend you to bring the barouche-landau.  Indeed, the barouche-landau is much preferable to the chaise for exploring.  I fancy such a carriage is not often seen in this country.  By the bye, do look about the neighborhood of Maple Grove for a superior situation for dear Jane.  Nothing less than a family such as yours or Mrs. Bragge’s will suit.  I shall write Mrs. Partridge and some others, begging them to be on the watch, also.  Jane fears she is giving trouble – however, I fancy she will be gratified by the results of my efforts.  But I must write no longer – Wright has been waiting this half hour to confer with me.  Upon my word, so many morning calls are being paid and returned, and so many evening engagements made, that I have not touched my crayons or instrument these three weeks.  Do excuse this short note.  My dear Selina. Mr. E. wishes his compliments and best regards to you and Mr. Suckling.


Your affectionate sister,


A. Elton


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