In the first place I hope you will live twenty-three years longer. Mr. Tom LeFroy's birthday was yesterday, so that you are very near of an age.This is the beginning of a letter from me to my sister Cassandra. The book Cassandra and Jane makes me think about the letters Cassandra destroyed after I died. Wouldn't people like to know what was in those letters? What would they see? What would they read? What would they interpret?
After this necessary preamble I shall proceed to inform you that we had an exceedingly good ball last night, and that I was very much disappointed at not seeing Charles Fowle of the party, as I had previously heard of his being invited. In addition to our set at the Harwood's ball, we had the Grants, St. Johns, Lady Rivers, her three daughters and a son, Mr. and Miss Heathcote, Mrs. Lefevre, Two Miss Ledgers, and a tall clergyman who came with them, whose name Mary would never have guessed.
We were so terrible good as to take James in our carriage, though there were three of us before, but indeed he deserves encouragement for the very great improvement which has lately taken place in his dancing.
Would they know more about Tom LeFroy? Would they know the story that starred Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy? Is that really what was between Tom and I? Would they know more about my brief engagement that I broke less than 24 hours after accepting? Would they understand my reasons? Would they mock me? Or even worse, would they pity me? Pity I don't think I could take.
Would my gentle readers (as I steal a line from Bronte) know me better if they had those missing letters? Would they love my characters more or would they see them in a different light? I am very curious, but as I did not want them read by anyone but Cassandra I will keep quiet on the subject.
But gentle reader, I would like to know what you think was in those letters? If you could go back in time and stop Cassandra from burning them, would you? Do you think the world today would want to know what Cassandra and I knew then?