My Dear Creature


“My Dear Creature,”

Thus does Jane Austen’s character Alicia Johnson begin a letter to her close friend Lady Susan Vernon in the novella Lady Susan. The story, in epistolary style, is the basis of the delicious 2016 movie Love and Friendship, written and directed by Whit Stillman. If you haven’t seen it, do not deprive yourself!

The early 19th century endearment “creature” seems very contemporary. Just the way we might speak today to a naughty friend who has overstepped yet again. From this one word the reader understands Alicia’s wry fondness for Susan.

Such a friendship is a thing to be treasured. How nice to be able to share your casual self, preoccupied with silly things, overwhelming worries, trivia, dreams (or, in Susan’s case, schemes). A phone call, a walk, a lunch together sets you both right. You are laughing so hard that people at the next table turn to stare. Good. Cheers!

If you have such a dear friend, you might wish to spur her along with an encouraging gift, such as a remembrance from Jane’s Vanity. The “creature” theme could inform your choice: The zebra “Alba Nancy” shortie pajamas from Olivia Von Halle. Or Klements “British Museum” slouch kimono.

Perhaps you would like to have a similar garment of your own, just for fun! Creatures together.

Yours affectionately,
Kate L

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