I happened upon a letter written by Jane Austen in 1817 to her niece Cassandra, daughter of her brother Charles. This particular Cassandra Austen was born in 1808, so would have only been about nine when receiving this letter. The “little Cassy” mentioned in the letter was probably Cassandra Austen, born to Jane Austen’s brother Francis, in 1814.
I thought it appropriate for the New Year, and – since I am away on holidays – a quick and easy post for your entertainment. It is written in a simple code, with the letters of each word backwards.
YM RAED YSSAC,
I hsiw uoy a yppah wen raey. Ruoy xis snisuoc emac ereh yadretsey, dna dah hcae a eceip fo ekac. Siht si elttil Yssac’s yadhtrib, dna ehs si eerht sraey dlo. Knarf sah nugeb gninrael Nital. Ew deef eht Nibor yreve gninrom. Yllas netfo seriuqne retfa uoy. Yllas Mahneb sah tog a wen neerg nwog. Teirrah Thgink semoc yreve yad ot daer ot Tnua Ardnassac. Doog eyb, ym raed Yssac.
Tnua Ardnassac sdnes reh tseb evol, dna os ew od lla.
Rouy etanoitceffa Tnua, ENAJ NETSUA.
Notwahc: Naj. 8.
Happy New Year to you all!
Sources and Relevant Links
The Letters of Jane Austen – read online
MY DEAR CASSY,
I wish you a happy new year. Your six cousins came here yesterday, and had each a piece of cake. This is little Cassy’s birthday, and she is three years old. Frank has begun learning Latin. We feed the Ribon every morning. Sally often enquires after you. Sally Benham has got a new green gown. Harriet Knight comes every day to read to Aunt Cassandra. Good bye, my dear Cassy.
Aunt Cassandra sends her best love, and so we do all.
Your affectionate Aunt, JANE AUSTEN.
Chawton: Jan. 8.