My dear Cassandra,
Why, yes, I am indeed vastly diverted! Such a great deal of interest in the anniversary of the publication of my own darling child. Ah, Pride and Prejudice! How I loved it – light, bright, sparkling as it was. You will recall, though, what I thought of it later. I did feel it wanted shade— or at the very least a diversion, an essay on Bonaparte, perhaps, or thoughts on the perilous state of the world. It is as it is, however and, though I am all astonishment, there they are down there, still reading it and, it would seem, every bit as delighted as we were, as the Knight girls were all those years ago when I read it to them. Poor little May, do you remember? I found her outside on the stairs with the little ones, quite disconsolate at having been excluded. I made amends. I went with her to the theatre for her birthday and she was quite in raptures. Fireworks, spectacle, noise and clamour! My raptures, you may recall, were more tranquil.
I am resolved this January day to begin to acquaint myself with the manners of the world below, and to attempt to understand their continued fascination with my trifles of a world unknown to them. I shall read, and report to you on a number of works— Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one title which intrigues me, though it may not be the work with which I begin. I must first discover the meaning of the word zombie. I cannot think it is one with which Dr Johnson was familiar, though the dear doctor, great though our regard for him may be, had not travelled the length of the world, or heard all of its expressions. I am inclined to think even he could not have foreseen the extent to which our passing thoughts would continue to be of interest to later generations.
It is this, my dear Cassandra, which most intrigues me. What, do you suppose, they think was different? Our clothes, our mode of transport, our sources of income, yes: that I can understand. Their habits are so vastly different from ours that they are to me as great an object of curiosity as I to them. Yet, do they suppose we were so different? Does anyone truly imagine we did not live and love and suffer in just the same way as they do? My task now—or at least so long as the humour takes me — is to explore, in a world so alien to ours, the ways of the human heart and its touching deceptions as I once loved to do. Naturally, you, and you alone, will be the recipient of these musings. How I should hate to have my private thoughts revealed to the world! With you, Cassandra, I know there is no such danger.
Your own sister,