Dear Captain Anthony, Completely understand not wanting to upset your sister. You can always tell me whatever you need to say or would like to think out on paper.

Separations are anything but easy. Austen wrote a lot of about them in her letters. Sure it is difficult for you to be so far away from Lilyana, Rafael, your sister, family, friends and all you know that is familiar.

On a completely different note — years ago traveled and visited Bath as part of a larger tour of England. It was lovely but they did not play up the Austen connection. Recently online have read a literary travelogue about how now there is a tourist centre in Bath with a nice tearoom, and themed walking tours. Many of the readers have posted and recommended the tearoom’s scones at the tourist centre and then digressed on why Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, is the most popular Austen hero. Have to say I’m in agreement with many of these younger Janeites who favor Captain Wentworth from Persuasion and have duly started a little movement of their own in creating hashtag: #TeamWentworth.

Enclosed is a copy of Austen’s novel Mansfield Park, which again features this heroine, named Fanny that many Janeites love to discuss and disagree about. This book is also considered by some to be Austen’s most political novel, because she eludes to the war and also to slave trading and the funds associated with it.

Your friend, Janine


Not everyone agrees.

Dear Ms. J., I have finished Northanger Abbey and found Bath to be an interesting location with different types of people. The story though reminded me of the media my mother loves to consume, which are supposed to follow people in their lives but instead are mostly over-worked, scripted dramas. To sum it up not everyone agrees on books either. As a Janeite, what is your take on Northanger Abbey? Sincerely, Anthony Bates

Officially a Janeite.

Dear Ms. J., Everyone in our squad sending their thanks for the books and care packages. It is good to hear that your surgery went well. All right you have converted me, three books and I’m officially a Janeite. Please thank all your Bookcrossing friends for all the extra books they have donated for you to send to us. Give our thanks and best to Lulu as well and let her know Chris says he will send more poems. There are a number of new requests for books I have someone looking for the works of Ayn Rand, Bukowski, Kant and Descartes. Others are asking for art supplies and music if possible so we can expand our library offerings. There are no specific requests but I believe some baseball books are a good idea for our library. Sincerely, Captain Anthony Bates

Still get shivers.

Dear Captain Bates, Actually should have warned you a little more about the Kipling story because it refers to characters in other Austen novels, mainly Pride and Prejudice, and also Emma.  Classically believe it illustrates the universal love of Austen. With these men trying to survive day to day in the combat trenches.  My  A.P. English teacher Mr. d., had us do an entire World War I poets unit and still get shivers –- from  reading those gas mask poems.

Yes have wondered that about Edward myself, talking it over among my Austen loving friends (we are Janeites as well). We discuss many themes like this almost to distraction. My own theory is — there was more pressure on Edward because he was the oldest and his engagement to Lucy was secret for so many years. Perhaps the Ferrars’ family weren’t really thrilled with Robert for marrying Lucy, but at least Robert courted Lucy publicly, and well they had already tossed out Edward and they needed someone as the main and male, family heir. By choosing Robert, it was a done deal. Robert then was the legal heir and no one could tell him whom to marry, so Robert did not really have to submit to Mother Ferrars’ approval. Plus think Robert was the favorite, and overall their family really wasn’t too thrilled about Edward’s goal of joining the clergy.

Enclosed is a copy of Emma, and some of these characters from this novel, including Miss Bates, are mentioned in the Kipling short story. Please note, it recently took one of my book club friends, around four years to read Emma, and the main character is quite similar to a Regency Era “mean girl.” Not in the Tiny Fey definition really, but more a combination of a meddler, snob with a definite bit of a mean streak. Best Regards, J. Anise

Kipling and Austen.

Dear Captain Bates, Enclosed with this care package are some poems by children about summertime, and also a short story by Rudyard Kipling, which details the literary connection documenting how soldiers during World War I, read Jane Austen in the field trenches for comfort and escape. Be forewarned the dialect of the cockney accents can be a little difficult to handle. And on a completely different note, how is Larry the lizard?        Best regards, Ms. Anise