Opinions of Mansfield Park. -
“We certainly do not think it as a whole
, equal to P. & P. - but it has
many & great beauties. Fanny is a delightful Character! and Aunt Norris
is a great favourite of mine. The Characters are natural & well sup-
-ported, & many of the Dialogues excellent. - You need not fear the
publication being considered as discreditable to the talents of it’s Author.”
F. W. A.
Not so clever as P. & P. - but pleased with it altogether. Liked the
character of Fanny. Admired the Portsmouth Scene. -
Mr K. -
Edward & George. - Not liked it ^ near
so well as P. & P. -
Edward admired Fanny - George disliked her. - George interested
by nobody but Mary Crawford. - Edward pleased with Henry C. -
Edmund objected to, as cold & formal. - Henry C.s going off
with Mrs R. - at such a time, when so much in love with Fanny,
thought unnatural by Edward. -
Fanny Knight. - Liked it, in many parts, very much indeed,
delighted with Fanny; - but not satisfied with the end - wanting
more Love between her & Edmund - & could not think it natural
that Edm[ond] sh[ould] be so much attached to a woman without Principle
like Mary C. - or promote Fanny’s marrying Henry. -
Anna liked it better than P. & P. - but not so well as S. & S. -
Could not bear Fanny. - Delighted with Mrs Norris, the scene
at Portsmouth, & all the humourous parts. -
Mrs James Austen, very much pleased. Enjoyed Mrs Norris
particularly, & the scene at Portsmouth. ^ Thought
going off with Mrs Rushworth very natural. -
Miss Clewes’s objections much the same as Fanny’s. -
Miss Lloyd preferred it altogether to either of the others. -
Delighted with Fanny. - Hated Mrs Norris. -
My Mother - not liked it so well as P. & P. - Thought Fanny
insipid. - Enjoyed Mrs Norris. -
Cassandra - thought it quite as clever, tho’ not so brilliant as
P. & P. - Fond of Fanny. - Delighted much in Mr Rushworth’s
My Eldest Brother - a warm admirer of it in general. - Delighted with
the Portsmouth Scene.
Edward - Much like his Father. - Objected to Mrs Rushworth’s Elop:
:ment as unnatural.
Mr B.L. - Highly pleased with Fanny Price - & a warm admirer
of the Portsmouth Scene. - Angry with Edmund for not being in love
with her, & hating Mrs Norris for teazing her. -
Miss Burdett - Did not like it so well as P. & P.
Mrs James Tilson - Liked it better than P. & P.
Fanny Cage - did not much like it - not to be compared to P. & P. -
Nothing interesting in the Characters - Language poor. - Characters
natural & well supported - Improved as it went on. -
Mr & Mrs Cooke - very much pleased with it - particularly with the
manner in which the Clergy are treated. - Mr Cooke called it
“the most sensible Novel he had ever read.” - Mrs Cooke wished
for a good Matronly Character. -
Mary Cooke - quite as much pleased with it, as her Father & Mother;
seemed to enter into Lady B.’s character, & enjoyed Mr Rushworth’s folly.
Admired Fanny in general; but thought she ought to have been
more determined on overcoming her own feelings, when she saw
Edmund’s attachment to Miss Crawford. -
Miss Burrel - admired it very much - particularly Mrs Norris &
Dr Grant. -
Mrs Bramstone - much pleased with it; particularly with the
character of Fanny, as being so very natural. Thought Lady Bertram
like herself. - Preferred it to either of the others - but imagined that
might be her want of Taste - as she does not understand Wit. -
Mrs Augusta Bramstone - Owned that she thought S. & S. - and
P. & P. downright nonsense, but expected to like M.P. better, & having
finished the 1st vol. - flattered herself she had got through the worst.
The families at Deane - all pleased with it. - Mrs Anna Harwood
delighted with Mrs Norris & the green Curtain.
The Kintbury Family - very much pleased with it; - preferred it
to either of the others. -
Mr Egerton the Publisher - praised it for it’s Morality, & for
being so equal a composition. - No weak parts.
Lady Rob: Kerr wrote - “You may be assured I read every line with
the greatest pleasure ^ interest
& am more delighted with it than my humble
pen can express. The excellent delineation of Character, sound sense, Elegant
Language & the pure morality with which it abounds, make it a very ^ most
desirable as well as useful work, & reflects the highest honour &c &c.
- Universally admired in Edinburgh, by all the Wise ones
. - Indeed,
I have not heard a single fault given to it.” -
Miss Sharpe - “I think it excellent - & of it’s good sense & moral Tendency
there can be no doubt. - Your Characters are drawn to the Life - so
natural & just - but as you beg me to be perfectly honest,
I must confess I prefer P. & P.” -
Mrs Carrick - “All who think deeply & feel much will give the
Preference to Mansfield Park.”
Mr J. Plumptree - “I never read a novel which interested me so very
much throughout, the characters are all so remarkably well kept up
& so well drawn, & the plot is so well contrived that I had not an
idea till the end which of the two w[ould] marry Fanny, H.C. or Edm[und].
Mrs Norris amused me particularly, & Sir Tho[mas] is very clever, &
his conduct proves admirably the defects of the modern system
of Education.” - Mr J.P. made two
objections, but only one of them
was remembered, the want of some character more ^ striking &
to the generality of Readers, than Fanny was likely to be: -
Sir James Langham & Mr H. Sanford, having been told that it was
much inferior to P. & P. - began it expecting to dislike it, but were
very soon extremely pleased with it - & I believe
, did not
think it at all inferior. -
Alethea Bigg. - “I have read M.P. & heard it very much talked of, very
much praised, I like it myself & think it very good indeed, but as I
never say what I do not think, I will add that although it is superior
in a great many points in my opinion to the other two works, I
think it has not the spirit of P. & P., except perhaps the Price
family at Portsmouth, & they are delightful in their way.” -
Charles - did not like it near so well as P. & P. - thought it wanted
Mrs Maling - (Lady Mulgrave’s Mother) delighted with it; read it through
in a day & a half. -
Mrs Dickson - “I have bought M. P. - but it is not equal to P. & P. - .
Mrs Lefroy - liked it, &
but thought it a mere Novel. -
Mrs Portal - admired it very much - objected cheifly to Edmund’s
not being brought more forward. -
Lady Gordon wrote “In most novels you are amused for the time
with a set of Ideal People whom you never think of afterwards
or whom you the least expect to meet in common life, whereas
in Miss A-s works, & especially in M. P. you actually live
with them, you fancy yourself one of the family; & the scenes
are so exactly descriptive, so perfectly natural, that there is scarcely an Incident
or conversation, or a person that you are not inclined to imagine you
have at one time or other in your Life been a witness to, been a
part in, & been acquainted with.”
Mrs Pole wrote, “There is a particular satisfaction in reading all Miss A-s
works - they are so evidently written by a Gentlewoman - Most Novellists
fail, & betray themselves in attempting to describe familiar scenes in high
Life, some little vulgarism escapes & shews that they are not experimentally
acquainted with what they describe, but here it is quite different.
Everything is natural, & the situations & incidents are told in a
manner which clearly evinces the Writer to belong
to the Society
whose Manners she so ably delineates.” Mrs Pole also said that
no Books had ever occasioned so much canvassing & doubt, & that
everybody was desirous to attribute them to some of their own
friends, or to some person of whom they thought highly.
[Add. MSS.] 41253A
Adm[iral] Foote - surprised that I had the power of drawing the Portsmouth ~
~ Scenes so well. -
Mrs Creed - preferred S. & S. & P. & P. to Mansfield Park.
Opinions of Emma
Capt[ain] Austen. - liked it extremely, observing that though there
might be more Wit in P. & P. - & an higher Morality in
M. P. - yet altogether, on - account of it’s peculiar air of
Nature throughout, he preferred it to either.
Mrs F.A. - liked & admired it very much indeed, but must still
prefer P. & P.
Mrs J. Bridges - preferred it to all the others.
Miss Sharp - better than M.P. but not so well as P. & P. - pleased
with the Heroine for her Originality, delighted with Mr K. -
& called Mrs Elton beyond praise. - dissatisfied with Jane Fairfax. -
Cassandra - better than P. & P. - but not so well as M.P. -
Fanny K. - not so well as either P. & P. or M.P. - could not bear
herself. - Mr Knightley delightful. - Should like
J. F. - if she knew more of her. -
Mr & Mrs J. A. - did not like it so well as either of the 3 others.
Language different from the others; not so easily read. -
Edward - preferred it to M.P. - only
. - Mr K. liked by everybody.
Miss Bigg - not equal to either P.& P. - or M.P. - objected
to the sameness of the subject (Match-making) - all
through. - Too much of Mr Elton & H. Smith. Language superior
to the others. -
My Mother - thought it more entertaining than M.P. - but not so
interesting as P. & P. - No characters in it equal to L[ad]y Catherine
& Mr Collins -
Miss Lloyd - ^ thought it
as either of the others, but did not receive so
much pleasure from it as from P. & P. - & M.P. -
Mrs & Miss Cor__cer [?] - liked it very much, but not so much as
the others. -
Fanny Cage - liked it very much indeed & classed it between
P. & P. - & M.P. -
Mr Shirn - did not think it equal to either M.P. - (which he
liked the best of all) or P. & P. - Displeased with my
Pictures of Clergymen. -
Miss Bigg - on reading it a second time, liked Miss Bates
better than at first, & expressed herself as liking all the people
of Highbury in general, - except Harriet Smith - but c[ould] not
help still thinking her
too silly in her Loves.
The family at Upton Gray - all very much amused with it. - Miss
Bates a great favourite with Mrs Beaufoy.
Mr & Mrs Leigh Perrol - saw many beauties in it, but c[ould] not
think it equal to P. & P. - Darcy & Eliz[abeth] had spoilt them for
anything else. Mr K. however, an excellent Character; Emma
better luck than a Match-maker often has. - Pitied Jane
Fairfax - thought Frank Churchill better treated than he
Countess Craven - admired it very much, but did not think it equal to
P. & P. - which she ranked as the very first of it’s sort.
Mrs Guiton - thought it too natural to be interesting.
Mrs Digweed - did not like it so well as the others, in fact if she had
not known the Author could hardly have got through it.
Miss Terry - admired it very much, particularly Mrs Elton.
Henry Sanford - very much pleased with it - delighted with Miss
Bates, but thought Mrs Elton the best-drawn Character in
the Book. - Mansfield Park however, still his favourite.
Mr Haden - quite
delighted with it. Admired the Character of
Miss Isabella Herries - did not like it - objected to my exposing
the set in the character of the Heroine - convinced that
I had meant Mrs & Miss Bates for some acquaintance of
theirs - People whom I never heard of before. -
Miss Harriet Moore. - Admired it very much, but M.P. still
her favourite of all.
Countess Morley - delighted with it. -
Mr Cockerell - liked it so little that Fanny w[ould] not send
me his opinion.
Mrs Dickson - did not much like it - thought it very
to P. & P. - Liked it the less, from there being a Mr & Mrs Dixon
in it. -
Mrs Brandreth - thought the 3[r]d vol[ume] superior to anything I had
ever written - Quite beautiful! -
Mr B. Lefroy - thought that if there had been more Incident, it
would be equal to any of the others. - The Characters quite as
well drawn & supported as in any, & from being more Every-
-day ones, the more entertaining. Did not like the Heroine
so well as any of the others. Miss Bates excellent, but ra:
:ther too much of her. Mr & Mrs Elton admirable & John
Knightley a sensible Man. -
Mrs B. Lefroy - rank’d Emma
as a composition with S. & S. -
not so Brilliant as P. & P. - nor so equal
as M.P. - Preferred
Emma herself to all the heroines. - The Characters like
all the others admirably well drawn & supported -
perhaps rather less strongly marked than some but
only the more natural for that reason. Mr Knightly
Mrs Elton & Miss Bates her favourites - Thought one or
two of the conversations too long.
Mrs Lefroy - preferred it to M.P. - but liked M.P. the
least of all.
Mr Fowle - read only the first & last Chapters, because
he had heard it was not interesting. -
Mrs Lutley Sclater - liked it very much, better than
M.P. - & thought I had “brought it all about very
cleverly in the last volume.” -
Mrs C. Cage wrote thus to Fanny - “A great many thanks for the loan of
, which I am delighted with. I like it better than any. Every
character is thoroughly kept up. - I must enjoy reading it again with
Charles. Miss Bates is incomparable, but I was nearly Killed with
those precious treasures! - They are Unique, & really with more
fun - than I can express. I am at Highbury all day, & I can’t
help feeling I have just got into a new set of acquaintances.
No one writes such good sense & so very comfortable.