Updated: Apr 27, 2022
Congratulations to Leslie Hawley, winner of our "Crafting with Jane Austen" creative writing contest. Leslie is a long-time lover of Jane Austen who enjoys continually learning about the Regency period and sharing her passion for all things Jane related.
You can read her short story, "Lucy Steele's Diary" below.
"Lucy Steele’s Diary"
Oh, I am ever so fortunate! Anne and I arrived in town not a week ago, and we already find ourselves guests of the Middletons! It is no surprise I am favored by Lady Middleton, since I made sure to make myself so agreeable. Lady Middleton is someone who understands how important it is to be around those who exemplify charm, gentility, and humility. She can, of course, recognize how I am nothing like the dull Dashwood sisters, who are either too melancholy or serious to enjoy a bit of fun. Lady Middleton had been so desperate to play whist, and she made sure to tell me how pleased she was to have such a pleasant partner. We were able to win ever so many fish with the tricks I set up for her against Sir John and Mrs. Jennings. Of course, I was blessed with opportune cards, but it does seem there was a grander power at play who rewarded me for being humble and wishing for my partner to shine. My heart is full when I think how happy Lady Middleton was in her success. Happy enough that she invited us to stay with her so there would be more opportunities for cards. Needless to say, I am sure she will want me close by to partner for more rounds of whist and perhaps enjoy some speculation, as well.
I continue to be ever so blessed! To think, Anne and I will have the opportunity to join the Middletons when they dine with Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood! The fates have shined upon me with a chance to meet Mrs. Ferrars, who will likely be a guest at the party. I understand both Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrars enjoy taking part in whist after dinner, so that may be my opportunity to exhibit my best qualities. How Miss Dashwood will envy me for being the center of attention with my future sister and mother. Of course, I will have to play my cards right to win the favor of Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrars without losing my position with Lady Middleton. Perhaps I should encourage Sir John to join in the whist game instead of Anne? Anne loves to win fish, so I will need to make sure she is distracted. Talk of beaux is sure to encourage conversation with Mrs. Jennings.
[Anne Steele’s Diary]
Lucy is so lucky to have me for a sister! To think, she was going to lose all those fish because she didn’t notice her trump card. Funny, Lucy never misses a card when we play. She always makes a big show of taking my fish, laughing, and telling me I never pay attention. It seems I was finally the one paying attention, even after all that talk of beaux! I said to myself, “This is Lucy’s chance to turn a trick on Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrars—make sure she shows her hand!”