A Benevolent Spirit

By all accounts, Jane did embody a “benevolent spirit toward every fellow-creature,” in her relationships with her friends, acquaintances, and family. She was particularly loving toward her nieces and nephews. It doesn’t appear that Jane’s writing schedule or personal agenda ruled her life or her days or that she was annoyed by the talk, play, or presence of small children. In fact, quite the reverse seems true. Jane was generous with her time and her talents.

Austen family letters and memoirs show that Jane was a loving and affectionate aunt who enjoyed family life and entertained the children in her family with “the most delightful stories, chiefly of Fairy-land,” in which “her fairies had all characters of their own.” And though she wrote quite prolifically in the latter part of her life, she still spent time with her family and was reportedly “the general favourite with children; her ways with them being so playful, and her long circumstantial stories so delightful.”

Jane prayed

May the comforts of every day, be thankfully felt by us, may they prompt a willing obedience of thy Commandments & a benevolent spirit toward every fellow-creature.

Is there an area of your heart that shrinks back from wholehearted, full-bodied love for God?


Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.