Ever yours?

Jane Austen (wikipedia)

The first letter by Jane Austen that has come down to us, addressed to her sister Cassandra, ends as follows:

I condole with Miss M. on her losses and with Eliza on her gains, and am ever yours,/J. A. (letter 1, ed. Le Faye 2011:3).

Cassandra Austen (wikipedia)

In the correspondence, it is very unusual, even in the letters to Cassandra, which are the most intimate ones in the collection: there is only one other instance besides this one, in letter 61. I have never come across this formula in 18th-century letters before, though reading Annemiek Korf’s MA thesis on John Wesley‘s letters to his wife, I discovered that Wesley used the form too, though only once.

So how common was this form in Late Modern English? Do we only find it in love letters, like Wesley’s, or is it also common in letters between correspondents who were extremely close, such as Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra?

Reference:

Le Faye, Deirdre (2011), Jane Austen’s Letters [4th ed.]. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Annemiek Korf is one of the contributors to this blog.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in 18th-century letters and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Thank you for commenting on this post!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s