Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140431025
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/28/1975
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 295,203
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817.

As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.

Margaret Drabble is recipient of many prestigious awards for her writing, which includes works of nonfiction as well as numerous novels.

Margaret Drabble is recipient of many prestigious awards for her writing, which includes works of nonfiction as well as numerous novels.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

Letter 1

Lady Susan Vernon to Mr. Vernon

Langford, December

My dear brother,

I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation when we last parted, of spending some weeks with you at Churchill, and therefore if quite convenient to you and Mrs. Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope within a few days to be introduced to a sister whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with. My kind friends here are most affectionately urgent with me to prolong my stay, but their hospitable and cheerful dispositions lead them too much into society for my present situation and state of mind; and I impatiently look forward to the hour when I shall be admitted into your delightful retirement. I long to be made known to your dear little children, in whose hearts I shall be very eager to secure an interest. I shall soon have occasion for all my fortitude, as I am on the point of separation from my own daughter. The long illness of her dear father prevented my paying her that attention which duty and affection equally dictated, and I have but too much reason to fear that the governess to whose care I cosigned her, was unequal to the charge. I have therefore resolved on placing her at one of the best private schools in town, where I shall have an opportunity of leaving her myself, in my way to you. I am determined you see, not to be denied admittance at Churchill. It would indeed give me most painful sensations to know that it were not in your power to receive me.

Your most obliged and affectionate sister

Susan Vernon

The first winter assembly in the town of D. in Surrey was to be held on Tuesday October the thirteenth, and it was generally expected to be a very good one; a long list of country families was confidently run over as sure of attending, and sanguine hopes were entertained that the Osbornes themselves would be there.

The Edwards' invitation to the Watsons followed me of course. The Edwards were people of fortune who lived in the town and kept their coach; the Watsons inhabited a village about three miles distant, were poor and had no close carriage; and ever since there had been balls in the place, the former were accustomed to invite the latter to dress dine and sleep at their house, on every monthly return throughout the winter.

On the present occasion, as only two of Mr. Watson's children were at home, and one was always necessary as a companion to himself, for he was sickly and had lost his wife, one only could profit by the kindness of their friends; Miss Emma Watson who was very recently returned to her family from the care of an aunt who had brought her up, was to make her first public appearance in the neighborhood; and her eldest sister, whose delight in a ball was not lessened by ten years' enjoyment, had some merit in cheerfully undertaking to drive her and all her finery in the old chair to D. on the important morning.

As they splashed along the dirty lane Miss Watson thus instructed and cautioned her inexperienced sister.—

'I dare say it will be a very good ball and among so many officers, you will hardly want partners. You will find Mrs. Edwards' maid very willing to help you, and I would advise you to ask Mary Edwards' opinion if you are at all at a loss, for she has very good taste. —If Mr. Edwards does not lose his money at cards, you will stay as late as you can wish for; if he does he will hurry you home perhaps—but you are sure of some comfortable soup. —I hope you will be in good looks — I should not be surprised if you were to be thought one of the prettiest girls in the room, there is a great deal in novelty. Perhaps Tom Musgrave may take notice of you — but I would advice you by all means not to give him any encouragement. He generally pays attention to every new girl, but he is a great flirt and never means anything serious.'

'I think I have heard you speak of him before,' said Emma.

'Who is he?' 'A young man of very good fortune, quite independent, and remarkably agreeable, a universal favourite wherever he goes. Most of the girls hereabouts are in love with him, or have been. I believe I am the only one among them that have escaped with a whole heart, and yet I was the first he paid attention to, when he came into this country, six years ago; and very great attention indeed did he pay me. Some people say that he has never seemed to like any girl so well since, though he is always behaving in a particular way to one another.' —

'And how came heart to be the only cold one?' — said Emma smiling.

"There was a reason for that' —replied Miss Watson, changing colour. — 'I have not been very well used, Emma, among them, I hope you will have better luck.'

'Dear sister, I beg your pardon, if I have unthinkingly given you pain.'

'When first we knew Tom Musgrave,' continued Miss Watson without seeming to hear her, 'I was very much attached to a young man of the name of Purvis, a particular friend of Robert's, who used to be with us a great deal. Everybody thought it would have been a match.'

A sigh accompanied these words, which Emma respected in silence—but her sister after a short pause went on—'You will naturally ask why it did not take place, and why he is married to another woman, while I am still single.—But you must ask him—not me—you must ask Penelope. —Yes Emma, Penelope was at the bottom of it all. —She thinks everything fair for a husband; I trusted her, she set him against me, with a view of gaining him herself, and it ended in his discontinuing his visits and soon after marrying somebody else. —Penelope makes light of her conduct, but I think such treachery very bad. It has been the ruin of my happiness. I shall never love any man as I loved Purvis. I do not think tom Musgrave should be named with him in the same day.'

A gentleman and lady traveling from Tonbridge towards that part of the Sussex coast which lies between hastings and Eastbourne, being induced by business to quit the high road, and attempt a very rough lane, were overturned in toiling up its long ascent half rock, half sand. —The accident happened just beyond the only gentleman's house near the lane—a house, which their driver on first being required to take that direction, had conceived to be necessarily their object, and had with most unwilling looks been constrained to pass by—. He had grumbled and shaken his shoulders so much indeed, and pitied and cut his horses so sharply, that he might have been open to the suspicion of overturning them on purpose (especially as the carriage was his master's own) if the road had not indisputably become considerably worse than before, as soon as the premises of the said house were left behind—expressing with a most intelligent portentous countenance that beyond it no wheels but cart wheels could safely proceed. The severity of the fall was broken by their slow pace and the narrowness of the lane, and the gentleman having scrambled out and helped his companion, they neither of them at first felt more than shaken or bruised. But the gentleman had in the course of the extrication sprained his foot—and soon becoming sensible of it, was obliged in a few moments to cut short, both his remonstrance to the driver and his congratulations to his wife and himself—and sit down on the bank, unable to stand.

'There is something wrong here,' said he—putting his hand to his ankle—but never ind, my dear—looking up at her wih a smile, —'it could not have happened, you know, in a better place. —Good out of evil—. The very thing perhaps to be wished for. We shall soon get relief. —There, I fancy lies my cure' —pointing to the neat-looking end of a cottage, which was seen romantically situated among wood on a high eminence at some little distance—'Does not that promise to be the very place?'

His wife fervently hoped it was—but stood, terrified and anxious, neither able to do or suggest anything—and receiving her first real comfort from the slight of several persons now coming to their assistance. The accident had been discerned from a hayfield adjoining the house they had passed—and the persons who approached, were a well-looking hale, gentlemanlike man, of middle age, the proprietor of the place, who happened to be among his haymakers at the time, and three or four of the ablest of them summoned to attend their master—to say nothing of all the rest of the field, men, woman and children—not very far off.

Mr. Heywood, such was the name of the said proprietor, advanced with a very civil salutation—much concern for the accident —some surprise at anybody's attempting that road in a carriage—and ready offers of assistance. His courtesies were received with good-breeding and gratitude and while one or two of the men lent their help to the driver in getting the carriage upright again, the traveler said— 'You are extremely obliging sir, and I take you at your word. —The injury to my leg is I dare say very trifling, but it is always best in these cases to have a surgeon's opinion without loss of time; and as the road does not seem at present in a favourable state for my getting up to his house myself, I will thank you to send off one of these good people for the surgeon.'

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2003

    Only four stars

    I absolutly LOVE Jane Austen but I could only give this book four stars because I have not yet read Lady Susan. I am sure when I do though my rating will go up to five stars. The Watsons is great and Sandition is even better. They are not to be compared with Persuasion, Emma, or Pride and Prejudice though!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2003

    SANDITION IS GREAT!!!!

    I am one of the biggest Jane Austen fans out there. I think that any fan should read sanditon, even though she did not finish it, it still has the charm and wit that only Jane herself can produce. The book has a very good plot that ties you in the moment you pick it up to read. Although it was finished by 'another lady' it was very entertaining. And i can safly say that Jane Austen would be happy with the finished product.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    AUSTEN FAN

    Although these works cannot compete with her completed, more mature works, they were entertaining. Lady Susan was clever, despite the fact it cannot even compare with the writing Jane completed later in life. As for the Watsons and Sanditon, it is just sad that Jane Austen was unable to complete them.

    I was hoping that Sanditon was the version completed by "another lady" as eluded to in one of the reviews, which it was not. But, it is still wonderful to read and try to imagine where Jane Austen would have taken this story if she had a chance to complete it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2002

    A fan of Jane Austen disapointed

    I have only read half of Lady Susan because unlike the other Jane Austen books, I found this one boring and unlike any of her other stories. I was hoping it to be better but unfortuantly it isnt.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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