My dear Miss Austen,
I pray you will forgive any familiarity in addressing you thusly, but I feel as though I know you, although ‘as through a glass darkly.’ You see, I am a devout fan of your writing that I presume to write to tell you just how ardently I admire you. Yes, I understand you sought to remain unknown for your world considers it most unseemly for a mere woman to write – simply scandalous! But I wish to assure you that your writing has had more influence that these small minds could ever conceived!
On my part, dear Miss Austen, I have learned about the dangers in judging either by one’s own prejudices or by another’s appearance. Oftimes, I have learned the lesson in looking backwards, but learned it I have. You have also taught me of the value of kindness and loyalty; of the difficulty of adhering to a moral standard when the world around you scorns such standards; of the importance of friendship, oh, and so many more lessons that I find myself unable to fully express them all!
May I also say that your words have shown those of us living in a less gracious time a glimpse into how to act with more civility and courtesy (even while your rather pointed barbs at conceit leave us with sides aching with laughter!) I believe that one reason that we are still so devoted to reading and talking about your writing is that we long to experience some of this same civility in our own interactions.
In closing, I just want to thank you once more for your wonderful words and characters, Miss Austen! Rest assured your novels will continue to be read as long as there are people of good sense and good taste.
Your devoted reader